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Is eBay Keeping Its Promise to Protect Sellers after Outages?

eBay has been experiencing major technical issues recently and promised to protect sellers from any fallout resulting from problems in two of the incidents. However, in a recent eBay live chat session, a seller reported that was not the case for her and others like her, and she said many sellers would fail to meet eBay’s tracking-upload requirements because of eBay outages.

The case pertained to the eBay anniversary outage on September 3rd. eBay called it a service interruption that was the result of a technical issue that occurred during scheduled server maintenance. The disruption began shortly before 10:00 am PDT – “the issue was fixed for most users within two hours. Transactional issues were completely resolved for all users by 4:16 PM PDT,” according to eBay.

In a letter to eBay sellers impacted by the September 3rd disruption, eBay’s Steve Boehm promised to protect sellers, including the following:

    • Any transaction defects we can identify as resulting from this issue will be automatically removed and will not impact your performance record.


  • Your seller status and any applicable Top Rated Plus discounts will be protected if you were not able to upload tracking information to eBay within your stated handling time due to this issue.

But eBay seller “ladykingel” said eBay is displaying 14 of her packages as not having been uploaded in a timely fashion. She said she purchased the postage via PayPal, which shows tracking on those packages, and she blames the problem on eBay’s September 3rd service disruption. She says she is unable to get eBay to fix the problem.

An eBay employee told her to phone customer service. But after spending over 7.5 hours in two separate phone calls, she was unable to get the problem resolved. “NO ONE had a clue how to fix this per the Boehm memo…they simply do not know who the right person is to fix the discrepancy,” she wrote on the September 17th post.

Jeff Terrell, eBay’s Director of Community, replied to her post, writing, “CS is the best option to resolve your issues. Since it seems that that option may not be working for you, Griff has said he would be glad to look into this for you if you send him an email at griff@ebay.com.”

Note that Boehm had said in his letter the process would be automatic – sellers were not expected to have to spend any time resolving these problems. Not only might this issue cost this seller money by losing TRS discounts, it’s already cost her a day of work (not to mention the frustration she must be feeling).

While ladykingel’s problem stemmed from the September 3rd outage, eBay also promised to protect sellers from the September 14th incident in which many users could not log in to their eBay accounts for over 7 hours.

We’re curious if others are indeed experiencing this same issue and if their TRS discounts or seller performance standings are being impacted.

Comment on the AuctionBytes Blog.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.