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eBay UK Outage Ends, Outrage Ensues

A relieved eBay announced a mid-August 2014 interruption of service has come to an end and all has returned to normal. Though the culprit appears to be related to changes to internet routing tables made by telecom firm Verizon, some irate eBayers are baying for recompense from eBay over the trouble.

“Due to a technical issue, some eBay customers may notice a problem with key areas of the eBay site,” the UK arm of the company said at the onset of the problem. And notice they did, according to reporting at The Telegraph, which said users demanded consideration for the problems they encountered.

“Thanks @eBay_UK just lost a item I was buying as couldn’t log on to bid,” user Sam Hammond posted on Twitter. Another, Ian Owen, tweeted, “@eBay_UK can I ask what compensation sellers will be getting due to loss of revenue? I had items where people were watching but couldn’t bid.”

The problem that affected eBay UK also affected a multitude of other websites around the world. A later blog post at The Telegraph said Verizon made changes to entries in routers in an effort to free up some unused internet addresses. Unfortunately those changes had the effect that led to eBay UK and other sites being put upon an unplanned vacation.

However, eBay UK seems to have heeded the complaints from its users about the service being unavailable. In a statement, eBay said, “We take these issues very seriously and would like to protect sellers who may have been impacted at this time. During the window where sellers could have been impacted by the technical issues, we’ll remove any shipping related defects and sellers will be able to cancel any auction based transactions that were affected without penalty.”

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eBay users might wonder if such “windows” could find themselves open again. As noted by Daily Mail and others, this is eBay’s tenth major outage of 2014. It also comes just as eBay imposed new pricing rules on sellers, a few of which will result in some eBay services, like “Buy It Now,” become more expensive – see this this July Newsflash article for details.

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David A Utter
David A Utter
David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.