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Mon Nov 20 2006 12:20:07

eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...

By: Ina Steiner

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In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, eBay CEO Meg Whitman explains why it took so long to reach a settlement over complaints about PayPal's customer service. In answering the question, she says something that really left me scratching my head (and no doubt has some eBayers pulling out their hair). She states in part,

"In the earliest days, they (PayPal) didn't answer the phone because there was likely a customer on the other end of the phone who they didn't want to talk to."

It's not like eBay has a great track record of answering customer phone calls. Probably not a road I would have gone down if I were Whitman. The Chronicle did not pursue, but it's a very good interview and they covered a lot of ground. It's also refreshing to see Whitman grant an interview to the non-financial press.

"ON THE RECORD: MEG WHITMAN," San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, November 19, 2006




Comments (13) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...   eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...

by: Helen

Mon Nov 20 12:46:40 2006

I was surprised by the amount Meg claims to buy and sell on eBay. Does anyone know if they've bought and sold from her?

eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...   eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...

by: Biddy

Mon Nov 20 13:25:03 2006

She's probably right, but sometimes such brutal honesty isn't quite the best policy :O

eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...   eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...

by: Randy Smythe

Mon Nov 20 15:48:04 2006

If eBay would spend as much time with Sellers as they do with Wall Street some of the problems with eBay's Marketplaces could be fixed.

eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...   eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...

by: Cornelius

Tue Nov 21 05:54:17 2006

I like her honesty.  PayPal at one point was a startup with constraints on people, resources, and time.  You can't compare the customer service they offered then with the service they offer today as part of eBay.

eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...   eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...

by: Beth Cherkowsky

Tue Nov 21 06:23:18 2006

Interesting that she disses Paypal for not answering the phone in view of how many years it took ebay to publish a phone number or provide phone support to sellers - even store sellers spending beaucoup money had no phone number.  Until 2004 I think, all we had was their lame email system with programed autoresponders.  Or did she conveniently forget that?

eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...   eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...

by: Beth M.

Tue Nov 21 08:29:52 2006

I've never expected eBay to CARE about my small business, but I DO expect them to provide the services that I have paid for.  That includes making my listings, no matter what format, available to a customer to allow THEM to choose.   Her statements seem to suggest that she considers the average eBay buyer to be too stupid to know what they want, so they need to be force-fed less options.   I also found her statement about including store listings in search results to be a ''merchandising mistake'' a real insight into her value system. When most store owners were reporting skyrocketing sales numbers and increased profits, which in turn results in increased profits for eBay as well (for merely hosting the listings - not for any of the work behind them), she saw this as a ''mistake''.   It took a while for me to admit defeat on eBay, but I am waiving the white flag too. Not on my business, mind you, because I know we offer great things. But, I can no longer continue to toss revenue in Meg's general direction with nothing in return.   eBay has greatly failed the store owners this year. What many in media seem to perceive only as complaining over the fee increase, the real issues are the LACK of service for those fees. I can handle a fee increase (despite it being 250%-500%, not the 6% on Bill's calculator) - but I can NOT handle the behind-the-scenes data manipulation that leaves us out of the search results entirely, puts our stores at the bottom of the heap (if at all) under the scammer penny listings, the China/Hong Kong listings, even after the Half.com listings, and many times not appearing at all.   If store rent was free, and listings there were free, then we'd have no grounds for complaint. I for one, have seen my costs skyrocket, while sales have taken a regular double-digit nosedive each consecutive month since the August changes.   We are closing our eBay store this week, after four years of successful business there. Our feedback is nearly double what our posted score is, as a result of satisfied repeat customers. (Repeats are not counted in non-powerseller scores.) I've never failed to pay a bill, never failed to provide outstanding customer service. However, that isn't the current eBay ''core'' value. Therefore, we no longer are a good fit with each other. I don't care to give eBay payments in return for nothing, and they don't care for my store listings!   If eBay spent as much time fixing the real problems in there (which sellers have been telling them about for many YEARS, not days) as they do putting out PR spins, eBay would be running as smooth as glass, and everyone would be happy.
What eBay is apparently also failing to add into their equations, are that many sellers are/were also BUYERS. When you chase off your sellers, you are also insulting a large number of former regular buyers.  I used to look on eBay first for the things I needed for our business, even for basic supplies like envelopes.  Now I look to Bidville and other competitors first. eBay comes last, since I am more aware of the internal drive behind the force. If I have a favorite seller, I contact them about buying their merchandise either directly or from another venue. (Buyers can contact sellers, but sellers cannot contact buyers in eBay-land.)  
As a non-eBay employee, I predict a continued growth for them - by new sellers only.


As David Hannum surmised, there is a sucker born every minute. I am sure eBay plans to net every single one of them possible. (Side note - Mr. Hannum was the head of a NY bank when he uttered those infamous words often attributed to PT Barnum. I wonder how many people he financially destroyed over his years in banking...)

eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...   eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...

by: Frank Ross

Tue Nov 21 15:26:09 2006

It looks like Meg forgot to check under her own roof before she put foot in mouth.  eBay provides almost NO phone customer service unless you reach Silver Power Seller.  Used to be all Power Sellers had phone support but now you have to reach Silver before you get that.  You get phone support if you open a store, but not the same kind of support; you only get support relating to the store.  Without adequate phone support, you have no one to call if you get bogus VERO'd or get your listings pulled for some unknown reason.

eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...   eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...

by: pete

Wed Dec 19 15:06:38 2007

xtremeram... Do not do business through paypal with this seller! He won't ship, and they offer no help!

eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...   eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...

by: pete

Wed Dec 19 15:15:08 2007

No help from paypal/ebay customer service on dispute, despite 2 hours on the phone and many emails.

eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...   eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...

by: Glenn

Wed Jan 16 13:58:27 2008

I began buying on eBay at the end of October 2007. Two and one half months later I am totally fed up with the organization. I've been in business for nearly forty years and for more than a decade have done consulting and business development.
eBay Ebay Security and Customer Support, as they call it, is a travesty. I've dealt with them in a number of contexts and have found them poorly trained, to say the least. They are ignorant about topics, not empowered to problem solve, contradict each other, are impersonal and soetimes hostile, and have not taken any major issue to resolution with me.
This reveals a corporate culture of mismanagement, failure to properly prioritize, and a general disregard for employees, customers, and sellers.
So when will that change? Did you ever notice that when milk spoils the first trhing visible is the scum at the top? eBay's failures are the manure that fettilizes competition.

eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...   eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...

by: Jimmie M

Tue Apr 29 16:01:55 2008

April 29th, 2008

Madder than a wet hornet! Pay Pal is always right, the customer is never right. When will ebay wise up and open up payment options, by Credit Card thru other parties apart from pay pal? Trying to resolve a problem dealing with pay pal is like trying to get into Fort Knox! Trying to communicate the problem is like trying to communicate with and un-intelligent party. Trying to follow-up and enlist the help of ebay, or to enlighten ebay to the problem is like the same. I would like to know why it is so difficult! I would love to see a Rising Star to replace, both ebay and pay pal. If there are any, someone point me in their direction, please!! My problem began 10 months ago and numberous times and considerable effort have simply compounded my frustration and now anger at such a disrespectful and inconsiderate attitude! I would love for the U.S. Government, Consumer Affairs, to begin an investigation into complaints by the buying public! Jimmie Mitchell, Texas

eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...   eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...

by: Joyce Cannon

Thu Dec 18 16:01:11 2008

I am trying to inform you of the death of oneof your top sellers OLD MAN SILVER. He is my brother .  my emailaddress is cannonj @charter.net

eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...   eBay Customer Service: People in Glass Houses,...

This user has validated their user name. by: Bob

Mon Jan 26 18:04:55 2009

Ebay fails... with pricing so rediculous now you cant afford to sell your tems anymore.. you cant make a profit and get a sale at the same time on Ebay anymore... http://www.efleaa.com for a good change.



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