AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Mon Aug 27 2007 15:53:47

Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

I'm getting pleas from sellers whose accounts have been restricted or suspended by eBay for violating its Seller Non Performance policy. Some say they are below the 5 percent buyer dissatisfaction mark and have no "Items not Received" or "Items not as Described" complaints against them. Others say the negs or neutrals they received were from deadbeat buyers or were otherwise undeserved. I had one woman write me today that she was recently hospitalized and was able to contact buyers to warn them to expect delays, but received some negs anyway, and has had her account restricted.

What's common among the sellers is that they aren't getting answers to their questions from eBay, and feel eBay is not reviewing their accounts upon nrequest. Many don't know when eBay will let their accounts go back to normal levels and have sent me the canned responses from eBay customer support they received.

One frustrated seller sent the following tongue-in-cheek email to eBay and copied me.

TO: eBay Trust and Safety Department.

Because of the large number of NEGATIVE comments you have generated for your lack of support and lack of reasonably addressing issues raised by Sellers; please be advised that you and the whole department have been SUSPENDED.

How does this affect your department? (Same as it is now affecting the Sellers)

All support staff must NOT report to work.

All support staff must NOT be paid.

What can you do to have this Suspension removed?

Stop sending out canned, useless emails.

Stop automated Seller account restrictions immediately.

Reinstate those seller accounts that have been restricted at the 5 percent and below threshold.

Obey and follow the eBay (one sided) agreement. Specifically the enforcement of policy changes after 30 day notice posting.

Follow what has been said Publicly, eBay Senior Vice President of Auctions Philipp Justus, said the restriction would be JUST 14 DAYS, he did not say subject to review in 30 days.

Start a hands-on committee to review each and every situation that is of concern. Be aware that some negatives are out of the seller control when dealing with bad drop-ship companies. Learn to take this into account by doing a hands-on review.

Start answering emails with information that is specific to the question asked.

Start to answer phones and have a serious conversation to resolve the seller problem.

Start treating sellers with a lot of RESPECT. They are your paycheck. Buyers do NOT pay direct fees.

We are sorry it has come to this; we will review this in 30 days to see if we can remove this suspension. We understand that this may change the economy of the world. The unemployment rates are surely going to go up, the amount of home foreclosures will increase, and the list goes on and on. If this Trust and Safety Department should last a long time, the tickle down problems will eventually hit eBay as fewer buyers will have money to…




Comments (49) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance   Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance

by: JJ

Mon Aug 27 20:42:12 2007

Lets be serious here, this one policy is going to damage eBay so much that they will have to stop it (or re-evaluate as the community requested it ??? ebay talk for messed up)

This is one massive class action law suit waiting …can you say “Restriction of Business Practices”…also lets start to see Buyers who default and give negative sued as a way to get eBay to get serious about these deadbeats…who are literally forcing us out of business

eBay are not playing with a full deck, stupidity at it finest…restrict your fee payers NOT the people who default on your fee payers……complete madness

Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance   Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance

by: brian james

Tue Aug 28 07:06:15 2007

I Couldnt agree more------------97.1% positive feed back over 5 years-----accouunt  now restricted------problems caused by very impatient buyers---generally newbies, who haven't had the time to see how Ebay works from a sellers viewpoint

Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance   Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance

by: Lee

Tue Aug 28 07:45:57 2007

At 3500+ and 99.9% I am shopping for a new site. Very unhappy with eBay's treatment of the seller. HATE the star rating - it's a sneaky way to hide and leave a nasty comment even after leaving a glowing written feedback. We don't get to say - I waited a month for your payment! etc. One more straw on the camel's back.  

Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance   Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance

by: sjj

Tue Aug 28 11:55:28 2007

Does ANYONE understand the 75% rule? Is it sales or number of items sold? I can't get A STRAIGHT answer anywhere and it seems that ebay is contradicting itself by saying sales volume once, and dollar amounts later. Either way, does it flip over each week. When does the week start? How is it calculated? How can I calculate my limit? I am SO CONFUSED and ANGRY!

I will take my punishment and do what they say. Why won't they just TELL US what our limits are so we can plan our sales?

Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance   Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance

by: laura

Tue Aug 28 19:04:31 2007

I am a great seller who has been selling on ebay for five years. My feedback is 99.9% positive. I sell high dollar low volume items. I pay well over $1000.00 a month to ebay in seller fees. I average 20 sales per 90 days. DO THE MATH!!!
If I get one neutral in that 90 day period, acoording to the new seller restrictions, I am suspended.
I expect lawyers will soon be scrambleing to get a class action lawsuit filed. This ridiculous policy is the biggest mistake ebay has ever made.

Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance   Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance

by: Willow

Tue Aug 28 20:52:47 2007

This is the first I heard of this new rule & I think it stinks. At the start of this month I had to leave for New Mexico in a hurry to help my Mom who had her motorhome stolen & was in a hospital with nothing but what she was wearing. The guy got her home & everything she owned. The hospital was keeping her an extra day knowing we were on our way to go get her & lucky for her they put her in a hotel the last day or she'd have been out on the streets with nothing.

I did take a few minutes to post on the auctions that had no bids what the situation was & thankfully everyone was very understanding. If not I probably would have had my account suspended too.

The problem is that there are times when it's not possible to let people know about any delays & instead of automatically suspending a person they need to go by the circumstances on each case & decide on a case by case basis. Yeah good luck right? That will never happen & this is why.

I use to have a friend who worked in the billing department for Ebay. I was told by her that the tech support are required to answer so many emails in a certain time period or they are replaced with someone who can. That explains the canned emails we get.

She also told me that almost all of the original people quit because they didn't like the changes on ebay.

I started selling on ebay before anyone ever heard of ebay. It use to be a good safe place to buy & sell. Once they went public with their stock it changed-sadly for the worse for the most part.Now it's all about keeping the stockholders happy & who cares about the sellers.

Anyways I just felt like adding my thoughts on this matter. Have a good one.
Willow

Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance   Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance

by: Another Wronged Seller

Tue Aug 28 22:55:07 2007

Ebay is out on a very dangerous ledge right now!

Between the class action suit over listing duration, banning ''unauthorized payment methods'' and now ''seller non performance'' they are asking for trouble on a lot of fronts.

I, too am restricted and have been unable to get a straight answer despite numerous emails to T and S and Bill Cobb, phone calls to stores support and several livechats.

I also understand Bill Cobb and Rob Chestnut are on ''sabbatical'' for an extended period at the present time. I am told ebay allows its emplyees to take extended leaves of absence. Great time to take off you two! At least you weren't forced to take off( like Ebay did to me and thousands of others)!!

I don't know the chances of the class action suit about listing duration but I have read that there are pages of arguments being presented to get ebay claasified as an auction house. IF that happens, ebay will be forced to follow the strict regs that auctions in the state of california must abide by. I think this would mean big changes for ebay as well as for sellers and buyers. I don't know if Ebay could even survive the changes.

At the very least, they have created the potential for a public relations nightmare. At worst, another class action lawsuit, individual suits by sellers, government intervention,  sellers going to other ''venues'' for good because of the INSULTING way ebay has handled this.

This is by far the WORST decision ebay has ever made and in my opinion among the worst conceived, executed, communicated and responded to of any company I have ever seen!

Disgraceful!

Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance   Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance

by: maria

Tue Aug 28 23:08:14 2007

I suspect it is no coincidence that Bill Cobb's and Rob Chestnut's "sabbaticals" were taken at this particular time.  I'm rather surprised that Mr. Justus isn't on "sabbatical," too...or calling in sick.

Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance   Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance

by: worried seller

Wed Aug 29 02:20:46 2007

FYI: When I mentioned going to my atty during a conversation with eBay about another matter - the rep ended the phone call after telling me that when someone talks about legal action, they were trained to disconnect the call.

I suppose this plea will be diconnected too.

It's much easier than doing the right thing and talking to sellers and explaining the ins and outs of all of this and how to correct what eBay thinks is an issue.

Sellers spend a ton of money on fees and they deserve answers. They deserve to straight forward information... not create and implement an initiative and then duck and run like they are getting now.

C'mon eBay - talk to us and give us answers. If what you are doing is the right thing, you should have nothing to hide and should be upfront with all sellers.

Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance   Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance

by: jsicolts

Wed Aug 29 05:45:57 2007

PLEASE try other sites - you will NOT see that double standard ebay provides.
ALIBRIS.COM : GREAT for selling/buying Books, paper, movies etc. Excellent serive, NO ebay hassles & NO star ratings! and BIBLIO.COM - also excellent with no ebay right wing heavy handed tactics.

Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance   Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance

by: Jennifer Smith

Wed Aug 29 07:50:22 2007

I recently had a listing pulled by ebay. It was in no way in violation of eBay policy. When I called customer service, guess what? I got voicemail! Who here is surprised by this?

When I called another number we have for ebay, an extremely rude operator refused to put me through to customer service unless I had a rep's last name! If ever you've dealt with eBay, you know that you only get the rep's first name and last initial.  He continuously referred me to Live Chat. (Telling me later that obviously  I didn't know how to use Live Chat since I continued to call him)!  When I asked why eBay had a customer service number, he told me they were required to by law because they are a publicly traded company, but they didn't have to use it! I asked what his name was and he replied "Operator".  I explained that I would continue to call back until he agreed to put me through to Customer Service.  I kept getting the same guy named "Operator" who kept refusing to put me through without a first and last name.  After about my 9th attempt he stated that this was fine, after all HE was getting paid to sit there and hang up on me.  (Yes he actually said this).  Then he said that if I continued to call, he was required by law to tell me that he would have ME arrested for harrassment!  I don't know about all of you but I think it's we sellers being harrassed!  And it's because of sellers that this idiot has a job!  

EBay has the nerve to suspend sellers for poor customer service even though they have no grasp on the term themselves!

Hypocritically incredible!

Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance   Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance

by: Alex

Wed Aug 29 08:10:31 2007

Every day while browsing I see sellers that fall well below eBay's mystical ''line'' that are NOT suspended.

Here is one I saw yesterday. azliquidate

What are they doing that the supposed bot is overlooking their dismal performance ?

At the time of this posting they had 725 active listings....

Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance   Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance

by: tula

Wed Aug 29 14:02:46 2007

I really feel for the people who are being restricted unfairly, but I have to say that I'm glad eBay is taking steps to improve seller performance.  Bad sellers give the rest of us a bad name.  All of us who sell know that there are deadbeat buyers out there as well.  I'd love to see a requirement for buyers to have a valid credit card registered before they can bid.  In the meantime, sellers just have to suck it up and try to improve.  

Buyers are used to dealing with the likes of Amazon or Barnes & Noble or any  other large online retailers.  They don't care about the personal problems you have that cause delays in their shipments.  They also don't care if it's the Post Office or UPS guys who broke the item in transit.  All they know is that they got their item late or damaged.  In their eyes, the responsibility lies with the seller, whomever that may be.  Can you honestly say you'd feel any different?  Put yourself in the buyer's shoes and treat them the way you'd want to be treated.

Sure, there are going to be nasty or crazy buyers who live to cause misery to sellers.  That can't be helped and eBay should be looking at these things.  But, the automated stuff won't see that.  All it sees is numbers.  eBay does need to have much better communication with the sellers and they need to be a little more hand-on.  It's also unfair that some of the high-volume sellers, with crappy feedback ratings, are not falling under the hammer as well.  In my opinion, these guys are the biggest problem for eBay's reputation, not the small mom & pop sellers who are just trying to make some extra money.

So, I'm glad eBay is doing something, but I wish they'd communicate better with the sellers (who are, after all, their bread and butter) and apply the policies to everyone.

Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance   Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance

by: multi-titanium

Wed Aug 29 14:03:09 2007

I'm sorry, but listening to all your pleas are sickening. We moved several of our eBay business off eBay over a year ago, and now our websites are booming. And guess what? Nobody in the world can ''suspend'' our websites. How ridiculous? You all need to stop relying on eBay and make the great leap forward.

Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance   Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance

by: Larry

Wed Aug 29 15:36:19 2007

I have a feedback score at 874, Positive Feedback 99.5%.  eBay uses the last 90 days and automation to put seller accounts on restriction of 75 percent.  

My feedback score for the last 90 days is 86, Positive feedback 99.5 percent with one (1) negative, this is only 1.1 percent and is not within the 5 percent guideline given by the new policy.  I have never had a “not as described” or “not received” issue, which are also in the criteria eBay is using to restrict sellers.  

Today I looked at the sold and shipped items that I am reminded by eBay to leave feedback for.  There were 28 waiting for my feedback.  However, I took a closer look at the buyer’s records and found that 26 of these BUYERS have NEVER left one feedback for a seller.  This seems to be an area that eBay policy enforcement has overlooked.  I have included a message in the shipment asking them to leave me a feedback after they receive their order.  In my opinion a feedback should be at the end of the transaction for a true measurement of buyer satisfaction.  That way any issues can be resolved properly.

Would you like to go to your local retail establishment, put needed items in your shopping cart, wait ten minutes in the check-out line, and finally you get to the register and they say “Sorry, we have been restricted on our sales, please come back after the restriction has been removed”.  Think about the employees that will be affected by the restriction.  There could be temporary (or permanent) lay-off.  These employees could also be eBay buyers!  

My buyer/seller account was restricted on August 21st and will not be reviewed for 30 days.  Although, in the statement made by eBay Senior Vice President of Auctions Philipp Justus, he said the restriction would be 14 DAYS.  He did not say 30 days.  I can see the clever and evil actions of eBay.  They will not review my account for 30 days and during that time all of my listings will expire.  Thus they have all but cancelled my account.  At the present time I am not able to list new items.

They say that only one (1) percent of the sellers will be affected.  If my information is correct from listening to their phone on-hold recordings, which translates to about 300,000 sellers!!!  Another way to look at it is 300,000 BUYERS!!!

Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance   Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance

by: Brent

Wed Aug 29 16:51:28 2007

eBay is a company with a lot of empty suits.  Whoever thought this up is a complete idiot.  My guess is it was a whole room of idiots.

They never took into account that different items have different rates of negatives.  I sell mainly apparel.  Even if I ship everything on time and describe everything exactly, I still deal with 1 - 2% neutrals and negatives due to sizing issues.  A person selling dvds doesn't have this problem.

In reality, if the sizes are correct for 98%+ of my customers, I'm happy with that.  The 2% that leave bad feedback usually never bother to request a size change.  It's hard to convince a woman that orders an XL that she is really a 2XL. :)

I'm a long time seller doing 7 figures in yearly revenue.  30% of that revenue comes from ebay.  I have already talked to a VERY GOOD lawyer and had them look over the ebay user agreement.

His feeling is eBay isn't quite as insulated as they think.  Sure, they have a user agreement, but they also have public statements, statements made by reps, emails, etc that set a grounds for a suit.  

I hope it never comes to that.  My guess is if you can survive the next few weeks, Meg will eventually rein this jerk back in.

In the meantime, if you want to cause a stir at eBay, do the following.  

Write a letter explaining your problem, the lack of support, the 10 responses to the same question, etc.  Include as much documentation as you can such as emails from T&S.  Be professional and direct to the point.  Try to keep the letter under 3 pages at most.

Make multiple copies of each letter and include a c.c. list with each letter you mail stating who you mailed the letter to.  

For $3 - $4 you can put each letter in a priority mail envelope.  It is more likely to be opened that way.  If you can't afford that, just use a stamp.

Send a copy of the letter to the following people.

Margaret Whitman, CEO
eBay Inc.
2145 Hamilton Avenue
San Jose, CA 95125

Philip Justus
eBay Inc.
2145 Hamilton Avenue
San Jose, CA 95125

PIERRE M OMIDYAR
eBay Inc.
2145 Hamilton Avenue
San Jose, CA 95125

Look up these addresses yourself.  These are the largest holders of ebay stock.  If only one of these starts to sell you will see a massive drop in stock price.  Meg owns 27 million shares of stock.  Every $1 drop is 27 million out of her pocket.  

You can also look up the addresses for the Board of Directors.  I promise if 100 people will do this, this policy will change overnight.  

LEGG MASON INC.
Barclays Global Investors UK Holdings
DODGE & COX INC
VANGUARD GROUP, INC
STATE STREET CORPORATION
AXA
PRICE (T.ROWE) ASSOCIATES
OPPENHEIMER FUNDS, INC.
MORGAN STANLEY
BAILLIE GIFFORD AND COMPANY
DODGE & COX STOCK FUND
VANGUARD 500 INDEX FUND
GROWTH FUND OF AMERICA INC
FIDELITY GROWTH & INCOME PORTFOLIO
AMCAP FUND

Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance   Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance

by: TOM

Wed Aug 29 21:51:56 2007

Oh!! give me a break.  You whiners always have an excuse--no matter what the problem.  QUIT!!! Do your job--have a good customer oriented business plan-think of the customer 1st--not your poor brused ego. Communicate--not bitch!! I 100% agree with ebay new policy.  Maybe it will get rid of you whiners and complainers.  Go somewhere else to sell--I hope you do, very soon.  The sooner the better.  The first thing you whiners say is ''sue'', instead of trying to fix the problem with your bidders.I hate to be redundant, but I personally want you complainers to leave ebay and sell somewhere ''better''. LEAVE!!!

Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance   Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance

This user has validated their user name. by: Bob

Wed Aug 29 22:15:34 2007

Here has been my last 3 weeks experience.  
1.) Got SNP notice
2.) Tallied up all neutrals, negs and INR/SNAD complaints and best I can find is 3.9%
3.) Next day 4 auctions come down for Circumventing Fees.  eBay said I had a 99 cent BIN with $12 shipping.
4.) I email eBay saying I had a 99 cent opening bid and NO BIN.
5.) Email comes back 3 days later saying after ''careful review'' they determined the action was justified because I had a 99 cent BIN.
6.) I email again being as nice as I can that they need to look again because I had a 99 cent opening bid and don't use BIN.
7.) 3 Days later they said ''after careful review'' they determined the action was correct because I had a 99 cent BIN.
8.) I email again in ALL CAPS calling them a bunch of freakin idiots and asked if they even knew what a BIN looked like?  I then filled out their wonderful customer survey asking if my recent email to customer service resolved.  I blasted the heck out of them calling them a bunch of morons.
9.) Next day I get another response from eBay customer service saying after careful review they determined they did in fact, make a mistake and they were relisting my 4 auctions.  It never happened but getting them to admit an error seemed satisfaction enough.
10.) I email about this SNP restriction requesting they show me how they came up with 5% when I can't even find 4%.  
11.) A week later (with no new listings being posted) I get a response that says I need to wait 30 days for a review and to fix the problems.  No information on how they calculated 5%.
12.) I fire another email back and say what is with the double standards of applying this rule?  My worst (and I mean worst) competitor wholesaleworldstore was over 15% (he's now over 23%)and he's listing like a madman.  No action is being taken to a seller clearly running customers off eBay while I'm restricted with less than 4%.
13.) eBay response was they would ''look'' at this seller but couldn't disclose any findings (DUH) and in the meanwhile I need to work on my own account.  That was 3 weeks ago!
14.) I emailed Monday and said ''Sure, you're looking at this account; it was at 15% and is now at 23% in just 3 weeks!''.  I again asked what is with the double standard of applying this rule and WHY IN HELL hasn't anything happened now that a seller with 23% negative rating has been reported!  
15.) I got their response today and they didn't mention anything about this seller and he's still listing daily with over 450 listings, 126 negs in last 30 DAYS, 65 neutrals in last 30 DAYS, and 836 positives in last 30 DAYS.  Thats a SOLID -23% NOT COUNTING HIS DISPUTES which I'm sure are out of this world.  I'm betting this seller is at about 30% and I reported him 3 weeks ago.  T&S basically told me to mind my own business.
16.) In review, I'm done with this eBay site.  I have 4 Powerseller accounts (none linked to the other) and can withstand any storm eBay throws at me but the bottom line is WHAT'S THE POINT?  There is no money to be made and eBay is determined to interfere with everyone's business.  My lowest rating is 98.9 and highest is 99.9 and frankly I'm fed up with these idiots.  Anytime they can suspend or restrict a PS with a 98.9 while letting a demon run lose at 95.9 we're in an unfair marketplace.  I can't compete on a field where the refs only throw the flags at one team (us).  Anyone investing in eBay had better think again; you never know when you're going to be thrown off the site and HA HA to all the ''holier than thou'' sellers that gave us a bunch of crap 2 years ago when we were wrongfully thrown off eBay for SNP.  I've got a 2 year head start on how to successfully create secondary eBay IDs and turn them into PowerSeller IDs.  I guess it's now time for you to go to school.  Second thought, just walk away and forget about eBay; you can create new IDs easy enough and get back to selling but sooner or later they'll pull the plug again.  

Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance   Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance

by: Brent

Thu Aug 30 00:07:44 2007

Tom,

You seem to be doing a lot of whining in your complaining about whiners?  It is sort of like the abortion protestors that kill clinic workers to "save lives".  

Go look up hypocrite in your Websters.  Before you get back, your ebay account could be suspended to.

Probably one of the empty suits at eBay anyway.

Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance   Pleas for Answers on eBay Seller Non Performance

by: jj

Thu Aug 30 00:23:36 2007

Obviously TOM you have issues or are just plain dumb; just how you can fix a problem with a NPB when they NEVER answer messages…Just another dumb cheerleader that most probably never even sells on eBay ……  PATHETIC

Click to view more comments
1 2 3  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.