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eBay Fails to Notify Sellers of Costly Glitch

Sellers say eBay failed to notify them of a glitch this week that is impacting the prices of their goods. See update below. eBay Store subscribers who use a feature called Markdown Manager to run a sale, such as a percentage off on certain types of goods, discovered that eBay was not ending sales when the sellers had scheduled them to end.

“I woke up yesterday 10/19 to package my items going out for the day. In doing so, I noticed that the majority of my listings were “On Sale”. The promotion I was running for my store was supposed to have expired 10/18 at Midnight PST,” one eBay seller told EcommerceBytes.

eBay’s Markdown Manager has had technical issues from day one, and the latest glitch has the potential to be quite costly for sellers. Compounding the matter is the amount of time sellers say they have spent trying to reach someone in customer service who is aware of the problem, only to be told there is no fix.

Sellers reported it on the eBay boards and on Ecommerce EKG, where sellers confirmed it wasn’t just happening to them, but unsure of what to do.

“What can we do to get it fixed? Is eBay going to admit the mistake and refund us the difference,” one seller asked.

The seller who wrote to us said the advice offered by an eBay customer service rep was not helpful. The options were to either cancel any orders that came in, or else contact and re-invoice the buyer for the correct amount – “to which my thought was “What a way to lose a sale/buyer,”” the seller said.

“I would appreciate it more if eBay picked up the difference of the sale vs. non-sale price (extremely wishful thinking) or waived final value fees on any sold “On Sale” item during this time. This morning 10/20, everything is still on sale,” they said.

The seller also explained that they could change all of the BIN prices manually to “eject” them from the glitch sale, but that would result in losing any watchers who wanted the item at its sale price, they believed. “I could use all the sales I can get, so I will let it ride out, but still think eBay needs to address it publicly.”

On the eBay boards, sellers shared details of the problem and their theories on what was behind the glitch.

“I just created a sale to see if it would end the “stuck” ones and used my smalled category to test. The items that it put on sale weren’t even IN that category! And the items in that category are still stuck on the 50% off sale,” said one seller.

“Perhaps unrelated, this sale was started on the 15, and was to last for 2 days, during that time, and ever since I have had ZERO sales, maybe unrelated, but who knows? I can’t remember the last time I did not get a sale on a Friday and Saturday and now half a Sunday,” another seller said.

“Yep same here. Sale was supposed to end on the 16th and still going. Can’t stop it at all and can’t start a new one. Great timing as we are now missing holiday promotion sales. Worst thing…getting switched to three different departments before I get someone that tells me that they don’t have a fix for it. What a waste of time sitting on the phone…extremely poor customer service considering the thousands of dollars we have paid them in commission through the years.”

In one case, the glitch was costing a seller an enormous amount of money – the sale was supposed to be for free shipping on select items, but eBay placed everything on sale and it was 4 days past the date the sale was supposed to end. “I am paying out of my pocket over 800.00 in “free” shipping expenses and have shipped hundreds of items out because(who wouldnt buy something when somebody else is virtually giving it away with free shipping).”

eBay has not responded to EcommerceBytes’ inquiry about the issue.

Update: A seller believes he has a fix for those whose sales are not ending, see the third comment on the EKG post (it has to do with bulk editing).

Update: eBay posted an announcement about the glitch, which you can find here, and look for a followup in Thursday’s Newsflash.

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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. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.