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eBay Reneges on Coupon Sent to UK Shoppers

eBay shoppers in the UK said the company is reneging on a coupon it offered them in an email invitation on Monday. As we reported in Newsflash on Tuesday, after recipients invested time shopping on the site deciding what to purchase, they found that when they and went to redeem the coupon, the redemption code would not work. Those trying to reach eBay to ask what they should do found the wait was nearly an hour or more.

The promotion invited sellers to receive 20% off when they spent 20 pounds or more on eBay UK, with a maximum coupon value of 50 pounds.

eBay responded to some customers on Twitter on Tuesday with the message, “Our promotion exceeded expectations. Unfortunately, due to high demand, this coupon is no longer available.”

Some unhappy shoppers reported the company to Advertising Standards Authority, UK’s independent agency for regulating advertising. “Those keen to take decisive action against a promotion that wasn’t as advertised might find this link well worth a visit,” wrote one eBay buyer.

We spoke to a reader who said he was late for an appointment on Monday because of the long wait time trying to get help from eBay. “I phoned eBay Monday and I was told to pay full amount and they would refund. I was told that only people who paid by the midnight deadline would get the discount. They say it could take a fortnight to refund.”

The seller said he believed eBay punishes sellers when they make mistakes and called it “patently unfair.”

“I did not get a promised email to confirm the CS promise that I would get a refund (but I trust them …I think lol!!). However, to have to wait a fortnight is outrageous. Since when did eBay give me a fortnight to resolve problems between me and customers? It is quite clear that eBay says one thing to me as a seller but when it comes to eBay making a mistake then different rules apply.”

We have emailed eBay to learn more about the issue. The company provided the following statement:

Our coupon campaign on June 15th proved to be hugely popular with customers and the promotion exceeded all our expectations. Due to huge customer demand, the promotion was suspended. We apologise to any customers who were unable to participate. We will contact and reimburse any UK customer who processed a transaction on June 15th and tried to redeem the coupon but didn’t receive the 20% discount. We know our buyers love to shop and those customers who attempted to redeem the coupon code but were unable to do so on June 15th, will receive an additional voucher in July.

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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.