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EcommerceBytes Soundoff: Letters to the Editor for October 15, 2017

Letters to the Editor column

Letters to the Editor columnIn every issue, readers soundoff about issues important to them. From shipping issues to payment processing, from fees to online marketplace policies, EcommerceBytes Soundoff gives you a chance to air your views.


Dear Ina,
I am experiencing on eBay what I believe is an unannounced buying change on the site. I should mention that I always pay for eBay purchases direct from my bank account, and have everything shipped to my post office box for safety.

Last night I purchased an item for my husband’s car (which I could not find on Amazon), and was first advised (via a notice box) that the seller wouldn’t ship to post office boxes, so I reluctantly changed the ship-to address to my street address. Then I was advised that the seller would only accept payment via a credit card through PayPal, or with PayPal credit. So, I reluctantly changed the payment method to my credit card.

This morning I decided to buy a collectible, and during checkout I was again advised that I had to pay with a credit card or PayPal credit, and that the item could not be shipped to a post office box. So I didn’t continue further.

In checking other items this morning, it seems like every seller is now requiring these same payment and ship-to requirements.

I am very unhappy about this and I will most likely not be buying anything else from eBay.



Hi Ina,
What’s up with Ebay’s email server? We’ve seen it slow for days, but it gets more and more laggy. it started a few days ago with notifications that used to arrive near-real-time being an hour or two delayed.

Today we’ve seen delays of 12+ hours from an item selling, ending, etc. before we get the notification via email. Not a true crisis, since we don’t rely on email notifications anyway, but not confidence-inspiring either.


Dear Ina,
I don’t know if you consider this ecommerce but your readers using Square devices to scan charge cards should be very wary of updating the app.

On Android, Square doesn’t verify version compatibility. As of the 4.70 update, they boasted Android 4.0 compatibility. That update actually causes the app to randomly restart. Now they claim 4.71 is Android 4.4 compatible. Unfortunately, they will happily let you update a working app to a non-working app through the Google Play store. I can only imaging the Apple version is handled just as stupidly.

When you contact support, they say they can’t help you and you need to buy a new device. This is unacceptable behavior. We’re conditioned to always keep software updated. But your business could lose hundreds or thousands of dollars, on top of needless hardware replacement costs, because of this surprise bricking due to their utter lack of quality control.


Dear Sirs,
Something is wrong with eBay search engine.

I have been trying to search on eBay as I usually do (I am a member since 1999) and I get the following results.

I search for “germany” on ebay.com via eBay mobile platform on my phone (m.ebay.com) and get 1,695,698 items….

I switch to eBay classic site on my phone (www.ebay.com) and I get 160 items ONLY

Same happens to my laptop (161 results on ebay.com) but on ebay.co.uk search I get 1,588,505 items. This is happening for a few days now.

When I use a specific word in main search bar on eBay.com like “greece’ , “germany” “poland” which is a country I get 0 results.

When I try a keyword like “FDC” (First Day Cover (I am a stamps dealer)) I get 447,059 results from which 1,689 are inside stamps -> Europe – Greece , 5,365 are inside Stamps -> Europe -> Germany, and 636 are inside Stamps -> Europe -> Poland.

So I believe something is seriously wrong with eBay search engine.
Best regards


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Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
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/.