EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 333 - April 21, 2013 - ISSN 1528-6703     6 of 6

EcommerceBytes Soundoff: Letters to the Editor - April 21, 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.

Be sure to visit the Letters to the Editor blog for more letters from readers published over the past 2 weeks.


Dear Ina,
So I guess eBay started their new turn everything into a Case Report 2 days ago. I have customers sending me questions after purchasing items and cases are being opened left and right. I have contacted the customers about opening the cases and they all told me they had no idea any kind of case was opened. All they were doing was sending me a message. So all of the buyers had to go in and close the cases. This is going to be a real pain in the @ss!!!!

Ebay isn't even letting the buyer know that they are opening cases when they send a message? I have never had a case opened against me until yesterday and bam.... I was hit with multiples over the past couple days.

Also I received an email today from eBay that told me they will be doing away with "Self Hosting" pictures. Great. On top of you need to make your pictures 500x500 or whatever the size is. Like I didn't have enough work to do already in a day.

I have several thousand items up already and have no idea where I'm going to get the time to update every single one of them. Take new images? Your kidding me right. I would have to hire a team of 10 people to re-do everything and have them work for 2 weeks straight. What's even worse is they will add 10 more things to change when their fall updates come out. Ebay has become a joke. If it ain't broke....ah the hell with that old line, lets break everything and piss off all the sellers at the same time!

All these changes are for their Stock image catalog. You have one of use this picture and sell it. Takes all the hard work away from the workers and gives it to the lazy people that don't want to do any work. Sounds like Ebay is copying the Governments business plan.


Dear Ina,
I just called eBay to request a copy, or access to an online copy (for printing), of the recently changed eBay User Agreement. I was told, "Unfortunately, we can't provide that."

The current agreement was posted on Feb. 4, 2013 (according to eBay's website) and it applied immediately to all new users; however, but didn't apply to existing users until March 26, 2013.

As a 14-year eBay member, and as a seller who has operated with a Premium Store subscription for several years, I have a legal right to reasonable access of ALL current and prior versions of contracts I had with eBay.

It's outrageous that I would have to struggle just to access ONE prior version that expired only 2 weeks ago.

What is eBay hoping to accomplish with this obstructionism? What are they hiding?

If anyone has a helpful tip, or knows of any shortcuts regarding this, I'd really appreciate hearing it!


I sent this to eBay about their new returns policy:

For as long as eBay is going to FORCE sellers to signup for the new automatic returns policy I will NOT be listing on eBay ANYMORE! You can give me a million free listings a month for LIFE and I still will not be listing ANYTHING on eBay under those terms!

I'm in the business of selling not returning items just because someone changes their mind or scratches their nose? I been selling long before eBay was even an idea and will be selling long after eBay CHASES all the HONEST sellers off their site.


Hi Ina:
I'm writing to give you my thoughts on Ebay's new return and international shipping programs. As usual Ebay isn't giving sellers enough information to make a decision. While I use their site to sell, I generally feel the less I have to do with their programs the better off I will be.

I recently tried doing FedEx Home shipping through Ebay - they had no provision to issue a return tag and wanted to force me into their return program..... so, back to ShipRush.

While it sounds interesting there's just not enough hard information available to let me use the international shipping program. Click on their link and you get 5-6 pages of fine print legalese w/ little hard information.

I need to know what the actual total cost of this service is going to be to my buyers, and they outright tell me that the seller will not know what the buyer is paying for shipping.... Well, without knowing I'm not going to use this program. I am afraid they will be charging too much and kill sales. They should be able to negotiate cheaper shipping, but I know they will not - everything Ebay does "for" its sellers has to include an immediate, often considerable, profit for Ebay.

It's about the same story with the managed return program - no hard information. What's this service going to cost me, the seller? Again no hard examples. I would hope Ebay could negotiate cheap shipping and pass it on to the seller, but that is apparently not the case. A dealer friend of mine used it several times and told me the total return routine ended up costing him about twice what it would have cost him to do it himself w/ a FedEx Home return label. Again any Ebay program has to include considerable immediate profits for Ebay.

Its the same old story.... not bad ideas, but poorly implemented w/ not enough information and big immediate profits for Ebay.... Ebay has never been able to understand that if dealers sell more they will make more money too. They could streamline their site and I could list 10% more items, and they would make 10% more, but they would rather charge .10 more here, and .50 more there and leave the site very slow and awkward.


Hello, Ina.
eBay doesn't seem to learn from any of its past mistakes. The reason is that it never listened to sellers' voices complaining. I am sick and tired to tell the CSR to be a conduit to sellers' voice to the management and its IT department. But eBay CSR are only tasked to deflect buyers and sellers complain and point finger to either buyer or seller (and never point at eBay). eBay never accept mistakes so it never learned. eBay CSR are trained to be robo-readers reading from eBay CS manual and paroting them to the sellers and buyers.

eBay glued its ears to the mouth of its diamond sellers.

eBay needs to provide the same tools that it equipped to its robo-cops to ALL sellers, especially the small American sellers. Let the sellers' used these same tools and self-audit each of their items and allow them time to correct them. How the heck would we know that out of 150 to 2000 items (x6 average number of picture per listings), a small fraction (enough to be called VIOLATORS) of our items need to be revised.

eBay should not task hundred of thousand sellers to manually inspect thousands of pictures without providing the tool.

Small American sellers are out of resource and suffered most when robo-cops abuse them. Diamond sellers always have OUT-OF-JAIL cards. eBay provide VANISHING CREAM to wipe out NEG FEEDBACK and bad DSRs only to these Diamond sellers. It is why we almost always hear screams only from small American sellers whenever there are eBay changes.

Doesn't eBay know that it would cost sellers hundred of millions dollars in wasted man-hours?

Is eBay the dumbest company on earth? Does eBay has an IT department at all in the USA? It would be better if eBay launch a social events to raise funds for charity to redirect these wasted time and effort ... requiring sellers to remove watermarks and checking thousand of photos and retaking pictures. Ebay can choose to listen to sellers' reasons or force this nonsense requirement and remain the SOCIAL OUTCAST on eBay SOCIAL NETWORK. Ebay should postpone the July 1st deadline until after 2 months that it supplied a fully tested self-auditing tools to all small American sellers.

Ebay is clearly focused on issue compliance violations instead of developing self-auditing tools.

I am very concerned that all these hundred of thousand editing would be cause of thousand of violations to small American sellers. I am 100% sure that evil eBay robots would be duplicating items without sellers' knowledge AND eBay robo-cops would be issuing violation tickets. Ebay need to stop these ENTRAPMENTS.

Most of my item pictures are clear and enough to convey the look of the item. I don't see any value added to this non-sense Picture requirement. I don't sell fashion clothing which require the highest resolution. The new Picture Requirement is yet another eBay's DEMAND that requires a lot of energy and without eBay using it's technology to aid seller. These time and energy take a lot of time from managing the store and keeping all buyers needs and inquiry.

I am not good at taking pictures and don't use photoshop at all. I need a lot of help.

Does anyone know of an online tool that could automatically take eBay's item pictures, check for the resolutions. If any picture is under 500x500, "enhance" or "enlarge it" or "modify it" to make it meet the 500x500 eBay requirement?

Ina. I hope to get the help from my fellow sellers. Could you also call eBay and ask why they don't provide tools to sellers that could help us self audit our listings or store. Calling sellers violators had been part of eBay culture that need to stop.

For duplicate listings, I know very well from my experience eBay robot did them and eBay robo-cops ticketed me for them. This is very simple request and eBay owes these self-auditing tools to small American sellers who are way out of resource.


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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