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eBay Gets Bad Press over Handling of Disputes

eBay received bad press in the UK over the way the company handles fraud and disputes. A reader wrote to EcommerceBytes with a link to the article, calling the 2-page spread depressing reading.

The Daily Mail’s “This Is Money” interviewed a 67-year-old collector and a 73-year-old guitarist who both had problems with their eBay purchases. But it isn’t just bad sellers users have to contend with – the newspaper also interviewed numerous sellers who they were scammed by bad buyers.

The common theme – all of them had trouble dealing with eBay and PayPal in the dispute process. Discussing one eBay user who had been unable to get a satisfactory resolution, the newspaper wrote, “He is just one of many Money Mail readers to get in touch after running into a brick wall with eBay and PayPal.”

“You’ve told us how you’ve suffered appalling service that leaves you out of pocket,” it continued, “and often without your goods. In some cases, you’ve lost thousands of pounds – and have vowed to never use the businesses again. In particular, older customers who are not used to eBay complain about being ignored for weeks on end and falling foul of the two firms’ reams of small-print.”

The publication said eBay’s guarantee was “full of loopholes” and proceeded to list restrictions and exceptions to the money back guarantee. Fraudsters will prey on uninformed eBayers, it said.

It also included a response by eBay, which said the vast majority of its users experience no problems. As a marketplace, eBay never meets its buyers, sellers or sees the items, making it more difficult to resolve problems, a spokesperson told the Daily Mail, and said eBay spends millions of pounds a year on cases where eBay refunds both the buyer and the seller.

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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.