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EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 397 - December 11, 2016 - ISSN 1528-6703     5 of 5

EcommerceBytes Soundoff: Letters to the Editor - December 11, 2016

By Ina Steiner

December 11, 2016

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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.


Dear Ina,
I've noticed a new strategy from the Chinese Sellers on Amazon in the latest round of fake accounts.

Normally, they use nonsense and broken English words to create new Seller Nicknames. Now, they are attempting to masquerade as sellers located in the USA. When you look at a listing that has been corrupted by Chinese sellers, you will see a bunch of new seller names that consist of American proper names; a first and last name, such as "JOHN SMITH" or "VICKIE LOPEZ." And these names have the same mix of 1 million+ listings that I've seen over and over on Chinese seller names.

Additionally, they are using various US States as their location instead of stating "China." So now I submit reports to Amazon that they fraudulently stating their location in shipping settings, which is deceptive to customers as to expected shipping times.

I emphasize what a bad buying experience it makes for customers to be misled as to the delivery time of products. It seems like these types of reports have led to quicker removal of these particular accounts.

Thanks again for everything you do!


Dear Ina,

Certainly, there is much to complain about regarding the methods eBay has been using to "build" their company over the last few years. They are finally acknowledging that they (specifically, Donahoe) made an error in alienating the true core of their business, which of course is small to medium "flea market sellers" who sell that rare collectible or vintage item one would have needed to search for years for before this site was started.

They did this by listening to people who are misinformed, and now the damage control may be too little, too late. Constantly penalizing sellers for the sole purpose of increasing the bottom line (taking away TRS discounts) has done two things:

  • (1) Sellers will find different options to sell their wares, and

  • (2) The sellers who do lose their discounts and stay around now have no incentive to provide excellent customer service, since the lofty TRS requirements are near impossible to meet.

So what customer service advantage does this give this site over, say, Amazon? NONE!!

In no other business, either brick-and-mortar or online, will a company pay for shipping both ways on a return under any circumstance. But on eBay, all a buyer has to do is state "The Item Was Not As Described", and basically borrow an item for free.

Many on the EcommerceBytes site complain about "renters" on eBay. The definition of rent is money paid in exchange to use an item for an amount of time, and then return it. Since the buyer makes a NAD or SNAD claim, they pay nothing to use a product. Nothing. So, no, they are not renting it. In fact, they are attempting to STEAL it, since they will keep the item and the seller's money if the seller refuses the return.

But wait a minute. Don't they have a form a seller can fill out to report a buyer who abuses the program by claiming an item is not as described? Well, yes. Does anything happen to buyers who lie and cheat? Probably not. And if they are deservedly disciplined, they can just create a brand new identity on the site. And the buyers know this. So why not try to get free merchandise??

While eBay does have printed policies to "protect sellers" from buyer fraud, they are nothing more than illusions rather than actual rules. When push comes to shove, these so-called protections for sellers are in place to create a sense of trust that eBay will do the right thing and punish buyers who "game the system".

When a SAD or NSAD return request comes from the buyer even when the seller has described the item 110% accurately, it cannot be challenged. The seller is either forced to issue a full, immediate refund, pay for shipping to get their item back, or refuse the return, where, again, they buyer will eventually keep the item and their money. A true LOSE-LOSE situation.

So, what gives? Well, the bottom line is that if a buyer has a bad experience, they will stop buying on the site, and tell their friends and associates to follow suit. If a seller is cheated out of money, they will be told by eBay that "this is the cost of doing business", and will likely stay, since there still is no site that has the traffic of eBay. So they have to coddle the party that may leave, rather then the one who will likely not go anywhere.

Enough Is Enough


Dear Ina,
What's going on with eBay Australia? November 2016 is very slow.

Has anyone else experienced dramatic downturn in sales? Over the last couple of years I have averaged a sale for every day of the month - with today being the 18th I have only sold 4 items the whole month. Is it just me; or Australia Post price increases; or eBay making changes to their site?

Kind regards,


Visit the Letters to the Editor blog for more letters from readers published recently.

Send your letter to the editor by emailing ina@auctionbytes.com with "Letters to the Editor" in the subject line (remember to include your name as you would like it to appear).

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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 ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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