EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 329 - February 17, 2013 - ISSN 1528-6703     6 of 6

EcommerceBytes Soundoff: Letters to the Editor - February 17, 2013

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In every issue, readers soundoff about issues important to them. From shipping issues to payment processing, from fees to online marketplace policies, EcommerceBytes Soundoff gives you a chance to air your views.


I have emailed eBay and posed a question to which I have yet to receive any response. I want to block bidders with private feedback. It makes me unable to ascertain how many times they have negged a seller.

I am aware of one who routinely finds the teensiest fault with an item, demands a full refund including return shipping, performs a credit card chargeback and gets a refund, keeps the item and negs the poor seller. I have had email conversations with some of his other victims so I know I am not alone. Now his feedback is private.

Does anyone feel this is not a justifiable option?
Wondering in Missouri

Note from the Editor: See also, Why Do You Block Buyers on eBay?.


Re: USPS Price and Service Changes Impact eBay Sellers

Incredible....we received absolute no notice of the inability of eBay or PayPal to process the new Parcel Select shipping service. As a result, we suffered total chaos this morning as we struggled to find an online solution to ship our parcel packages.

We settled on and the shipping was computed at $20.40 Parcel Select on eBay, which the seller paid. We then shipped via and were shocked that the cost was over $27.00 for shipping!!!!! The shipping calculator should have added an additional $2.50 for insurance and shipping supplies so not only were we $7.00+ Iin the hole for the shipping, but we did not receive any credit for the handling.

We called eBay customer support and were credited with $7.00 but.......oh hell, I am so frustrated....we never were notified that eBay and PayPal would not integrate parcel select until March.........

We are full time seller on eBay and are seriously considering quitting after over 10 years.


Hi Ina,
I had to write to you to vent my anger at how eBay treats its sellers.

I just had a case where an international buyer purchased a brand new Collectibles Price Guide from me. She had three basic complaints:

1) The book was a fake because it did not contain several of her collectibles.
2) The book was not bound.
3) The pictures were not in color.

I provided evidence that the book was legitimately purchased from the publisher along with more of the same, in bulk.

My eBay auction clearly showed pictures of the book in its spiral binding. Finally, my auction stated that the pictures in the book were in black & white. I also offered to give buyer her money back, less shipping.

Buyer complained to eBay and eBay folded like a cheap camera and awarded her full restitution. What on Earth could possess eBay to make such a decision based on the evidence I provided?

I am so livid at eBay's decision and frustrated that I can't do more about it. They have the upper hand and they know it. Will I continue to use eBay for my sales?

What choice do I really have? That's why they don't care about their sellers. I do plan to explore other venues and my own web site to unshackle myself as much as I can from the grip of eBay and their unjust system of decision making.

Thank you for letting me vent.


I just got this email from Google. Are they getting desperate for ads?

More visitors to your website and $150 from Google Analytics.
How to get more visitors to your site.
Run an online ad

Hello from Google.
As a Google Analytics customer, you've shown that you really care about attracting high-quality visitors to your website. That's why I'm writing: to suggest a way to attract even more.

Your current customers most likely search for your business by name. But prospective customers tend to search by topic, such as "real estate" or "florists" or "oil change." With an ad on Google, you can make it easy for people to find you using the words they choose.

Getting started is easy.

You can set your own budget and your own price for ads. Plus, as a Google Analytics customer, you're eligible to try $150 worth of Google ads for just $50. This offer includes free set up support and friendly advice from our customer care team. There is no obligation and it's easy to get started.

Try an ad on Google and see if more customers find you. To redeem this offer go to or call 1-800-903-0274 before March 31, 2013. Please use this offer code: D3XRC-QPALV-TQJQ. (Offer valid for new customers only.)

Thanks for your partnership with Google.
Best wishes,
Brett Willms
The Google AdWords Team


Good Afternoon to you.
I have posted a thread on Seller Central (eBay discussion board) with the title Worldwide Visibility does it exist?

I am a UK based seller who sells by auction and pays for Worldwide visibility.

On a basic search in my category of items for sale by auction using WORLDWIDE and time ending soonest as the simplest of search parameters, my items do not appear on either the or sites.

A little digging on category numbers has thrown up a basic coding error in my category.

The number used on both the .com &.de sites is #222.

The .uk site however has allocated #220

Hence NO VISIBILITY on basic search as paid for and advertised on the ebay site.

Isn't this a case of mis-selling??

Would hope to hear from you as ebay support staff cannot grasp the concept of the wrong category number impacting on International visibility.

Thank you for your time,
Best Wishes,


Ask eBay why they don't verify phone numbers before allowing someone to register a new account. Note this request I made just hours after the account was opened and the phone # was already disconnected. Proof that eBay did not verify the phone number.

Craigslist, a free site, verifies phone numbers. But despite the massive fees eBay charges, they don't?


Hello, Ina!
Your followers may be interested in something that has annoyed me for a while: EBay offers to "help" sellers by printing First Class International Mail shipping labels online... fast and easy. But at what cost?

An International shipping label for a package that weighs 1 pound, 4 ounces will cost a seller $16.49 through eBay. Great? Not when you can purchase the SAME service from the post office for $13.10!

Duplicate this "loss" several times a week, and eBay is gleaning millions in free money from all their sellers. When you point it out to their customer service reps, you hear about "convenience charges". So, they not only help themselves to 11% of the postage we collect... they tap an additional 18% because... it is convenient for the seller? Huh?

I put postage money in the USPS orange envelope, send it with all my other packages (carrier pickup), and the Postmaster sends back the change the next day. Granted, not everyone can trust their postal workers, but for those sellers who are sending out several First Class International packages each week... you may want to get the rates on a chart, and send a check along, instead! This is only for First Class International service.

This is in addition to eBay soaking sellers on postage "final value fees" for multiple International sales. I have my American sales set up so that postage never exceeds $4.99, regardless of how much they purchase. We were PROMISED that International postage FVFs would be calculated on our AMERICAN rates. Ha ha haaaaaa! If I sell 14 items to an American, I pay 53 cents FVF on the postage. If I sell 14 items to someone in Germany, for instance... I pay $4.00 to $5.00 FVF... on the postage. EBay charges FVF on EACH item, as if it were an individual sale, instead of the "maximum $4.99" rate!

Of course... the customer service reps have been soooooo concerned with the gobs of money I am over-charged each month... until they hang up the phone. Then, it is back to their text messages and iPods.

Watch the math, sellers! It is 2nd grade level stuff, but it has managed to perplex the eBay empire for over 2 years!


Dear Editor,
We are having problems posting some items within the U.K. as the Royal Mail website Press Release dated 11 January (re. alterations effective 15 January), together with the Prohibited & Restricted items sections of the website for personal customers (as opposed to registered business ones), are different to the instructions currently in the hands of Royal mail Post Office staff.

This is a quote from the Press Release:

"The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Department for Transport (DfT) and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) have also agreed updated rules with Royal Mail for individuals sending small quantities of specific previously prohibited consumer items through the post to UK addresses. It is intended that these will come into effect on 15 July, following public consultation expected to begin in March.

The changes in July, which follow a review of Royal Mail's position with the CAA, DfT and MCA, mean consumers will be able to post toiletry and medicinal aerosols, nail varnishes, perfumes and aftershaves, which are currently prohibited by dangerous goods regulations, to UK addresses. Customers posting will need to comply with quantity, volume, packaging and labelling requirements. They will also allow customers to post alcohol up to 70 per cent ABV and electronic items sent with or containing lithium batteries within the UK (conditions apply)."

Having just returned from talking to our lovely Postmaster, who has read me the same instructions as other peoples' P.O.'s, & since R.M. have not replied to my email yet, I tried to speak to the guy in the Press Office who happily spoke with me yesterday.

Unfortunately, the phone was answered by a female jobsworth who not only refused to speak to me, but tried not to even listen & totally refused to give her name several times (despite the fact that I had given mine). Apparently, the Press Office only speak to Press & customers need to speak with Customer Service.

I explained that their possibly incorrect press release dated January 15 was the reason for my call as it contained different info. to that which had been given to staff and that I really need to know whether the website or the staff instructions are correct.

As she still refused to discuss it, I'm afraid that I told her that if she wanted to speak with the Press I'd do my level best to find her some!

So, whether the website is incorrect or not, the R.M. Post Offices have been given totally different written instructions.

Therefore, at the moment, we MAY post scent inland.

The Overseas aspect appears to be the same on the website & in the P.O.'s I'm losing the will to post anything!
Best wishes,

Note from the Editor: See also, eBay Seller Thinks New Royal Mail Rules Stink.


Visit the Letters to the Editor blog for more letters from readers published over the past weeks.

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).

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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