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eBay Reverses Unpopular Change to Markdown Manager

eBay is reversing an unpopular change it made to the Markdown Manager tool after a flood of complaints. For a week now, eBay has been giving mixed messages to sellers.

The problem? The change prevented sellers from putting listings on sale in their shop if they used eBay’s Best Offer feature. We explained the problem in Monday’s EcommerceBytes Newsflash in “eBay Prevents Sellers from Putting Items on Sale.”

Sellers were left guessing about why they were unable to use Markdown Manager, with some thinking the change was a glitch, and others guessing it was an unannounced change.

The problem was compounded by extremely long wait times sellers are experiencing to talk to customer service. Sellers reported via Twitter long wait times to ask eBay customer service about the Markdown Manager change; one seller tweeted, “Was told it was a “bug” they were aware of.”

Yesterday on the eBay Radio program, Jim Griffith (Griff) said eBay had made an “emergency decision” to prevent Markdown Manager from being used on listings where sellers used the Best Offer feature. The two did not work well together, he said, explaining there was a conflict with listings where sellers used the Best Offer auto decline feature.

“Listings were breaking,” he said, calling it a serious problem. He also said he did not know what eBay’s plans for the feature were going forward.

We’ve talked to many sellers about how they use Markdown Manger. An eBay seller named Beth explained she uses Best Offer on most of her items, and occasionally runs sales using Markdown Manager – “say all of my Christmas items on 35% off sale for 3 days.”

Since Thursday, she’s been unable to use Markdown Manager on her listings, and would have to remove Best Offer from her items before she could put them on sale. Once the sale was over, she could not bulk edit her listings since each item had a different “decline” price, and, “once the sale is over, the sale items are not identified in any way, so I would either have to remember what I had in the sale or have made a list, not easy if the items are not related.”

For her, the issue meant she would not have been able to run any sales from now until Christmas.

“Too bad, the Markdown always generated sales for me, and made my customers happy, but I do not have the time for what it involves now. Big mistake on Ebay’s part. In an effort to fix a glitch that was affecting a few dozen people, the fix now makes sales impossible for thousands,” she said.

The entire incident highlights eBay’s communications problems, and it vowed to give sellers notice of changes in the future in a post on Facebook:

“On Friday October 3, eBay implemented a change to Markdown Manager that prevented sellers from adding Best Offer items to their Markdown Manager promotions. We are rolling back that change over the coming days. We are committed to ensuring that these features work smoothly for both sellers and buyers. We will give sellers advance notice of changes. Meanwhile, we apologize for any inconvenience.”

eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore responded to EcommerceBytes inquiries on Wednesday evening, pointing to the statement on the Technical Issues board but providing no further information about the incident and reversal.

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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). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.