EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 298 - November 06, 2011 - ISSN 1528-6703     5 of 5

EcommerceBytes Soundoff: Letters to the Editor

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In every issue, readers soundoff about issues important to them. From shipping to payment services, from fees to online marketplace policies, EcommerceBytes Soundoff gives you a chance to air your views. Send your letter to the editor by emailing with "Letters to the Editor" in the subject line. (Remember to include your name as you would like it to appear.)

Also visit the Letters to the Editor blog, here are links to letters published from October 24, 2011 to present:

Seller Says New eBay Shopping Cart Swallowed Sales (November 5, 2011) - Link to letter

eBay Loses Loyal Seller Thanks to Overzealous Fraud Detection (November 4, 2011) - Link to letter

eBay 21-Day Holds Drive Seller to (November 3, 2011) - Link to letter

Is eBay Removing Email Addresses from Buyer Communication? (November 1, 2011) - Link to letter

eBay Cross Border Trade Agreement Required for Non-US Sellers (November 1, 2011) - Link to letter

eBay Shopper Says He Can't Communicate with Sellers (October 30, 2011) - Link to letter

eBay Sellers Should Test New Shopping Cart (October 27, 2011) - Link to letter

eBay Changes Process for Printing Shipping Labels (October 26, 2011) - Link to letter

Impossible to Gain Top-Rated Status on eBay (October 25, 2011) - Link to letter

Sellers Look for eBay Alternatives (October 24, 2011) - Link to letter


Ebay is joining in the fools chorus in this country that thinks deficits can be dealt without raising revenue. Ebay is backed into a corner with their charging FVF on shipping and demanding free shipping. If fees go up, sellers will be bailing on ebay.

The post office will have to raise some fees. Of course a post office can NEVER operate at a profit. Make money at .44 cents per letter? Just look at the back of your post office, all those trucks, all those employees...

A smart man once told me there are 3 things that can never make money:
Post Office
passenger railroads
transit systems.

They MUST be subsidized. This post office at a profit is pure fantasy.
Phil deBasquet


Dear Ina,
I haven't sold on eBay for several years, however I buy there and have always kept up with their policies, basically from your column which I subscribe to.

You do not have to publish this if you feel it's not important but I would like to hear your opinion on this. I think eBay feels buyers are stupid and that's insulting! If a sellers feedback or stars drop too low they are limited on what the amount of listings or even worse banished from eBay. I have purchased many items over the years and I always look at a sellers feedback. I have purchased items from sellers whose FB is as low as 96%. (Back in the days when they were still allowed to sell with that FB)

I look at their Dashboard and many times find all the negatives were from their buying, not selling. Also have found negatives that were totally ridiculous and undeserved. Now eBay and their intelligent MBA's will not let these people sell. Do they not give buyers credit for common sense? I was never, in over 3000 transactions, cheated by a seller with less than 99% positive feedback.

eBay is trying to play God, yes they are telling sellers what they can and cannot do but they are also thinking buyers are pretty stupid in determining who they want to buy from. Every buyer is different. Some feel item received in 3 days is slow shipping, or didn't read the description correctly or not at all, therefore negatives and low stars. Get a few of those type and you are gone!

I just feel eBay should give buyers more credit for commom sense rather that treating them like two year olds who don't know better.

Please don't print my name if you do print this, just sign me Fed Up.


Dear Ina,
It took me two months (June & July) to change my 3000 EBay listings to free shipping as advised by Ebay. After almost three months ( August, September and October ) the results of this change are abysmal to say the least.....sales are down almost 30%, auction views are way down, but the fees are up.

Now EBay wants me to change lengthen my return policy from 7 days to 14 days and reduce my shipping time from 2 days to 1 day. Think I'm gonna pass on these changes as I don't want to waste another two months and cannot afford another 30% drop in sales. So I want to thank EBay for trying to drive me out of business. With friends like these....

I have a couple of questions that I hope you or someone may have some info on.

1) Are there any relatively inexpensive internet website marketing companies out there?

2) Is there any software where I could list my items once and then have the listings sent out to many other platforms (Ebay, Gemm, my website, Musicstack, etc., etc.)

Thanks for your help and keep up the good work. Elliot Y.


I just went to my seller account and got the following message:
There will be a delay of 24 hours or more in updating your fee and account balance.
What's their problem???


I'm having a really strange experience on Ebay. Last year at about this period of the year from one day to another I was no longer able to compete with my main rival. It was as if from one day to another my shop no longer existed. For months I've been struggling. No matter what I did would help.

Last June I was so frustrated I contacted one of the Pinkies to ask him to take a look at my account to see if there was anything wrong. They called me about it, confirming me everything was ok and that I was even Top Rated. Well, there must have been something. After a few days, all the problems I had been struggling with for the last few months disappeared in a matter of days. The number of visitors to my shop boomed, and sales quickly followed.

Normally during the summer sales are slow. Last summer I had the best summer ever, selling more than I normally do with the holiday season. For me it was as if my competitor no longer existed. I was completely outselling him. This lasted until the last week of August when sales generally slowed down. Since beginning September I'm in exactly the same position as I was months ago. The number of visitors to my shop has significantly dropped, and so did my sales. Today my competitor sold about 3 times the number of items I sold. In 1 category I have +300 different items while my competitor has less than 200 and he easily sells 1/3th more of them than I do. I see him selling several copies of a certain item a week while mine doesn't sell. Lowering my price has totally no effect. Nothing I do seems to help. We offer the same kind of items at the same price and he sells the double amount of items that I do.

My problem was fixed when I contacted the EBay pinky last June. I recently send him a new message. This time I didn't even get a response. I'm now at a point that I'm considering leaving Ebay. It's the last thing what I want to do, it's my full time profession. But I really don't want to continue the way it is going. Everything was ok until last year this period. Than my problems started. EBay didn't put the light out for me, but only left a faint light. I make my complaint. For a month or 2-3 I'm completely in the spotlight.

And now the last 2 months they turned the light back down for me.

I have no clue how EBay does it and why they do it. I have a few thousand 100% feedback. Hardly any low DSR. Not a single policy breach. Greedbay only wants to have my money and nothing else. If they continue like this in a few months time, nor Ebay, nor PayPal will receive any money more from me.

Greetings from a very disgruntled Ebayer


EBay is alienating sellers by making it easy to lose TRS status. If eBay is searching for another reason why their Gross Merchandise Volume is dropping since 2007 (except for the occasion spike due to promotions), one might be because their TRS program is lacking personal service to the seller.

Sure it makes good business sense to cater to the buyer. without them you have no sales But wait. What about the seller? The seller of used items is what made eBay a brand.

The discussion boards a full of disgruntled sellers. This results in once loyal eBayer moving their wares and purchases to Amazon or Yahoo, or Etsy etc. Author included. They give you big discounts and promote your items for achieving TRS and then let it slip away by allowing a poorly designed set of rules and letting customers hold you hostage to the feedback system. If I sell bubble wrap its a heck of a lot easier to retain TRS than If I am selling used items such as records or jewlery.

Then to be fair if I put myself in eBay shoes and imagine what is it is like to have so much business that you cannot handle it with present staffing, then allowing it to slip away is better for the bottom line. They make most of their money from sales. Nine Percent give or take goes when a sale is made. If I'm giving 20% of my 9% away that's a huge hit to the bottom line.

Also imagine the customer relations nightmare that ensues from people who sell used items. Don't blame them for coddling to the large retailers and forcing out the little guy. Well on to Amazon selling, and my own site too!!


I would like to try selling on Ecrater and webstore. On ecrater in particular I would have to be google compliant. I just looked at your link. Google is completely insane. I have no idea what they would want me to do if I was using a marketplace and if I was using more than one. I see no way to get help or ask questions. They make it more complicated every few months. They seem to not want sellers to use their service. I am just dazed and confused.
Sign me, Phil DeBasquet.

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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