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Sat Sept 15 2007 09:03:12

Warning: Bad Data in eBay Completed Search

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay has acknowledged a glitch with its Completed Item search feature that brings back bad data. eBay sellers use the data to help them make critical business decisions, such as inventory acquisition, listing and product pricing. The feature is also used by buyers to help them make purchasing decisions based on past selling prices.

Here is an excerpt of a letter I received from a seller on Wednesday telling me about the problem:

I have shown the problem to the Ebay help desk at least 15 times in the last 18 days. And their response is that it is a known problem and that Tech is working on it. The help desk staff advised me that Tech was made aware of the problem on August 21st and as of tonight the results still can not be trusted.

The list will come back showing items as not sold, when they did actually sell. It may come back with items listing as sold but showing the wrong number of bids and final sale price. Or it will come back missing days or weeks of data for some sellers.

In almost every 'conversation' with live help I have asked then to please post this information to the systems announcements because buyers and sellers make business decisions based on historical sales data for items. They have refused, and my letters to the technical support group have gone unanswered.

I have become so frustrated with this bad data that I have begun the complaint process through both the Pennsylvania Attorney Generals Office and the Santa Clara District Attorney's office.

Ebay had been knowingly supplying false information for the last 22 days, and refuses to let the community know of this problem.

Someone posted a thread about it on September 8 on the eBay discussion boards. No eBay employee responded to the concerns on the board.

eBay spokesperson Hani Durzy confirmed the problem on Friday. "We know it's happening, we've been working on it. We've rolled a fix to the site. But at this time, the issue is not completely resolved by that fix, so we're continuing to work on it. It's in the process of being resolved, but it's not completely resolved."

So why no posting on the Announcement board? "It's something we chose not to announce on, but rather address as it came up if people were to ask," Durzy said.

Asked about the fact that people are making business decisions based on bad data without knowing it's bad data, Durzy said, "We understand. The thing we're doing right now is working to fix it, first."




Comments (11) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Warning: Bad Data in eBay Completed Search   Warning: Bad Data in eBay Completed Search

by: Alex

Sat Sep 15 10:20:32 2007

This has been going on since last month. You have to click on the auction page to see the actual price. The prices on the search list are wrong. All usually much lower than the actual sale price.

The worst pat is, people that subscribe to Marketplace Research are PAYING for this bad data....

Warning: Bad Data in eBay Completed Search   Warning: Bad Data in eBay Completed Search

by: Phil

Sat Sep 15 11:50:37 2007

Ebay's Marketplace Reasearch has been a joke for months.  They are charging for totally incomplete data and that is if you can even get it to work without haning up!  Terapeaks free 30 day search will often bring up more information than Ebay's paid 60 day search.  We have already cancelled our Marplace subscription and swapped over to the 90 day Terapeak membership, it is the best $25.00 a month any serious seller can spend.

Warning: Bad Data in eBay Completed Search   Warning: Bad Data in eBay Completed Search

by: Gail

Sat Sep 15 17:52:54 2007

I believe Hani Durzy has perfectly summed up eBay's stance on their responsibility to the eBay ''community'' of buyers and sellers.

We're not going to tell anyone, unless they specifically ask about it.  Hopefully, not too many people will notice.  If they’re basing their buying and selling decisions on our faulty data, that's life.

Ever notice how many “it’s fixed” announcements are made, even when the problem hasn’t been fixed?  For eBay, it’s all about public image.

Warning: Bad Data in eBay Completed Search   Warning: Bad Data in eBay Completed Search

by: RJ

Sun Sep 16 09:45:33 2007

Very good article, Ina!   And, so very true.   eBay has the absolute worst customer support of any company that I deal with.   And, eBay can't be trusted to be truthful to it's customers.  That's evident because eBay refuses to post such site-wide issues such as this one on the Systems Announcements Board.     That's been proven time and time again.

eBay has been rolling out coding that has severely impacted the searching experience on the site in a very negative way.   For me, the completed item flaws began on August 19, 2007.  Hard to believe that if eBay was putting forth any effort, that a ''fix'' would be in place before now.  

Warning: Bad Data in eBay Completed Search   Warning: Bad Data in eBay Completed Search

by: Tony P.

Sun Sep 16 17:32:15 2007

''It's something we chose not to announce on, but rather address as it came up if people were to ask,''

OMG! Ina, what a statement! Are you still in bewilderment at such unprecendted candor, or simply shaking your head in disbelief?

Evidently the system-wide glitches have started to affect the server that contains the PR data. :-O

Even a lame-duck politician wouldn't have put it that way. Maybe ebay has finally reached the point of not only, not giving a damn, but also to the point of no longer hiding it.

IOW - honesty. IT's refreshing. I predict a stern ''Begone, insects'', forthcoming.

Warning: Bad Data in eBay Completed Search   Warning: Bad Data in eBay Completed Search

by: Bill Affeldt

Mon Sep 17 21:31:03 2007

::laughing::  I hate to burst your bubble about the truth finally coming out even if it was a bad truth.  I am the person who interacted with live help for 14 or 15 days.  Everytime  I asked if the problem was fixed they would say  'What problem?'  and I would have to walk them through how to verify the data was in error. So  LIVE HELP  WAS NOT TELLING PEOPLE ABOUT THE PROBLEM ---- THEY WERE NEVER TOLD ABOUT IT  AND HAD TO BE WALKED THROUGH THE ED THEM.  Then they would look up the tech notes and say 'ohhhhhhhhh  yeah we know about it and are working on it. Is there anything else I can help you with today? '

At best they would admit there was a problem if you really pressed hard.

(I used to get big $  for debugging technical systems,  I wonder if they would balk if I sent them a bill for my going system analysis rates ? I estimate at least 20 hours invested and at going rates that would be about $1200 - $1400 -- 1099 of course)

Warning: Bad Data in eBay Completed Search   Warning: Bad Data in eBay Completed Search

by: jsicolts

Tue Sep 18 05:44:54 2007

More lies and right wing tactics from awful eBay. Just ignore the problems, lie about it, say all is well, and HASSLE your Sellers - perfect for ebay. We sell more and happy about it, on OTHER sites now. We hate ebay.

Warning: Bad Data in eBay Completed Search   Warning: Bad Data in eBay Completed Search

by: Ifounditshop

Tue Sep 18 09:39:46 2007

This has not only been recently,it's been ongoing for well over 2 years on many items.When Ebay offered the extended Marketplace reseor a discounted price I was selling pressed steel trucks.At the very time,I had one sell for $270.00;Problem was that the buyer wondered why in completed search this very item was showing as selling for $73.00;The seller was disgruntled that I manipulated the price when it was Ebay that had the wrong data.This has been ongoing for at least 2 years on a small scale but obviously Ebay never checked on the "SERVICE ENGINE" light and it has developed into a total joke.

Just another among many at Ebay.This site is a longstanding joke with many in the computer programming communities.For an incompetent programmer their is always the last resort of working for EBAY.

Warning: Bad Data in eBay Completed Search   Warning: Bad Data in eBay Completed Search

by: Diz Gustad

Tue Sep 18 20:57:41 2007

What oh what is it going to take to get a serious contender-competitor for ebay? And a *real* option/choice for buyers and sellers. I have a well-running website but I still need ebay for finding new customers.

Express your feelings about ebay's arrogance and careless sabotage with your support of alternatives or dont complain!

I hope every reader of this column has signed up for Google Checkout.   I actually have a few buyers using it and I'm going to give Google Checkout every bit of support I possibly can. (Paypal has totally screwed me and others that I know.) And Google Adwords are working well for me, so i am supporting them. But nothing can replace my need for ebay... yet...

Warning: Bad Data in eBay Completed Search   Warning: Bad Data in eBay Completed Search

by: logan

Wed Sep 19 00:14:23 2007

I remember 9 months of ''mobile Ebay'' where bids always showed as ''0'' and final price was the number of bids, ie: if it had 2 bids, the final price listed by mobile Ebay was $2.  I complained many times and eventually they discontinued showing completed auctions completely at mmm.ebay.com without ever having fixed the problem.  Remember the more buying errors a seller is tricked into making, the better Ebay thinks it is for them.  They figure the seller still has to sell regardless.  And Ebay doesn't care care if their lack of support or care eventually bankrupts a seller.  As former power seller with thousands of feedbacks (99.9% positive), I am eagerly awaiting another site to begin selling again.

Warning: Bad Data in eBay Completed Search   Warning: Bad Data in eBay Completed Search

by: Laura

Sun Sep 23 04:10:02 2007

Yes, I e-mailed Ina last year around this time about the same issue. I had no luck with EBay and thought maybe reaching out to auctionbytes might help put some pressure on EBay. It's difficult to wrap my brain around the fact that this is an ongoing problem with no ongoing solution. How can they fix it and then have it happen again and not be able to fix it? I know if the software that computed their commission checks and bonuses did not function properly by underestimating their pay, heads would roll. It's sad that it all boils down to money, but it does. Bottom line, if they stepped up and paid for excellent programmers or gave the ones they had the tools to do their job, these problems would be non-existent. The only way to be the best and the brightest is to hire the best and the brightest. And why oh why can't someone come along and give them a run for their money? I would love to get a group of sellers together to go to their corporate headquarters and demand some answers on this issue and many others. I believe the integrity of data in this business is of the utmost importance. They must be held liable and accountable.



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