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Fri May 14 2010 16:10:12

Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?

By: Ina Steiner

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Earlier this week, I published a letter from a reader about a case in which they had received a low DSR feedback rating from a seven-year-old child. There was much discussion about the case and about how both the seller and eBay handled the matter.

The author of the letter posted in the comments a response they had received from eBay's customer support that included the sentence, "Parents are able to leave feedback on a transaction when they allow the child to use their account."

Since it was my understanding that eBay did not allow minors to buy or sell on the site, I asked spokesperson Johnna Hoff whether eBay allowed parents to let their children use their accounts. She answered:

eBay requires users to be at least 18 years old to transact on the site. If the seller will allow us to look further into his/her situation, we will review and take appropriate action.

It’s important to stress that if sellers believe buyers are inappropriately using the feedback system, we want them to report it to us. Sellers can review help options at http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/report_problem.html. We will remove feedback that violates our policies, and buyers are subject to a range of actions to include buyer account restrictions and suspensions.

Can you provide me with the seller’s name/ID so we can look into it?

Problems like these arise due to the anonymity of DSRs and one-sided feedback system and eBay's carrot-and-stick approach to fees and search exposure, causing sellers to be on edge, compounded by inconsistent and incorrect answers from eBay's customer service reps.

Despite all of eBay CEO John Donahoe's efforts to make eBay into a more retail-like experience, eBay has gotten much more contentious, pitting buyer against seller. It's difficult to imagine this scenario playing out on any other ecommerce website.




Comments (69) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?   Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?

by: Doris Knight

Fri May 14 16:21:20 2010

Summing it up: "...causing sellers to be on edge, compounded by inconsistent and incorrect answers from eBay's customer service reps"

Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?   Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?

by: fat frog

Fri May 14 16:25:06 2010

Ebay = canned response.

Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?   Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?

by: yep

Fri May 14 16:41:27 2010

My 3 year old has an account, he likes all the pretty stars.

Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?   Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?

by: Jim This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 14 16:41:35 2010

" It's difficult to imagine this scenario playing out on any other ecommerce website."

OR any other retail environment.  

Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?   Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?

by: seth

Fri May 14 16:57:51 2010

I hate how ebay always says to report issues to them. I have done this and they never help or even read what I say. I get a canned auto response which is always against me. The last time I received a negative from a non-paying bidder who clearly purchased only to leave a negative. eBay of course did nothing about it.

Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?   Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?

by: speckles

Fri May 14 17:01:25 2010

"Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?"

Becoming?

Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?   Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?

by: old timer

Fri May 14 17:05:29 2010

"Problems like these arise due to the anonymity of DSRs and one-sided feedback system and eBay's carrot-and-stick approach to fees and search exposure, causing sellers to be on edge, compounded by inconsistent and incorrect answers from eBay's customer service reps.

Despite all of eBay CEO John Donahoe's efforts to make eBay into a more retail-like experience, eBay has gotten much more contentious, pitting buyer against seller. It's difficult to imagine this scenario playing out on any other ecommerce website."

Can we name even one other selling site on the internet that has become as toxic to sellers as eBay has under JD's direction?  I don't think so.

If I were a conspiracy theory advocate (and sometimes they ARE right), I would suggest that this is all part of JD's plan to eradicate small sellers from eBay.  It's pretty obvious that only smaller sellers care about customer service anymore on eBay (perhaps because they can be quickly put out of business by these draconian policies).  I don't think the large (particularly the diamonds) sellers care enough to spend one second worrying about DSRs.

Today I had sales though an alternate venue (Bonanzle) that totaled more than my last two - three weeks of sales on eBay.  Guess where my sales efforts are focused?  Sure not eBay anymore.

eBay doesn't want us smaller sellers and anyone who doesn't understand that and who is not actively working on developing other venues (including your own website) shouldn't expect to receive much sympathy any more.

Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?   Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?

by: james

Fri May 14 17:32:23 2010

Good post Ina.....she hit it dead on with those few sentences of buyer against seller.

Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?   Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?

by: 156124

Fri May 14 17:46:45 2010

IMO, the juvenile behavior all started with ebay management.

Among the first acts of Donahoe was to divide the community by removing checks and balances of mutual (varied weight - pos and/or neg) feedback ability, and also by implying more than once if a seller was not TRS or PS, and/or prefer paypal, or accepted money orders and/or checks, they were scammers / trash.

They started what has become a war of sorts between buyers and sellers.
Keeping BOTH (overlapping) groups from concentrating on the overall picture/issues/effects.

The situation has now devolved greatly as pointed out here. One can't help but wonder if this is not some larger well thought out plan to remove (cough route off cough) the great unwashed masses from the site.

People aren't likely and or able to focus on real issues when they are under stress/duress from all the rapid fire, ambiguous, cockamamie. absurd, unfair, and yes, JUVENILE changes.

The worst of all is that the biggest troubles ebay had are STILL BIG problems today. Fakes, security, shill-bidding, reliability, glitches... ad infinitum-nauseum.
They have not corrected, nor even improved, ONE SINGLE issue!

Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?   Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?

by: zztopshlf

Fri May 14 18:17:47 2010

When I have to walk an ebay customer service rep through their own rules and policies that they are supposed to know, it doesn't take a lame bain brain to understand how screwed up Ebay is.

If they had a DSR for Ebay, they'd have to suspend themselves. It's that pathetic...

Make the site more onerous, more tedious, more irritating, and guess what? Less and less people will show up to both buy and sell.

Just keep it simple....

Make the site more fun to be on, easy to understanding. friendly and fair to both buyer and seller, and you'll see more people coming to it to both sell and buy.

Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?   Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 14 19:45:13 2010

There will be juvenile buyers and juvenile sellers - trouble here is that Ebay management also thinks like a bunch of juveniles.  Its clear that lack of traffic and lack of sales is starting to take its toll on Ebay and STILL they insist on their own juvenile policies and methods of ''handling'' sellers so that buyers can get an even better shot at them!  Ebay - in its juvenile thinking feels if they give buyers free rein they will like it on the site and want to stay....they still have not figured out that most of the buyers that are gone were also sellers!  So...all one can do is step back and hope that the site sinks SO low the present management will have to be swept out.  They still have not figured out that this is the difference between Ebay and Amazon and is the reason why Ebay is failing!  Without seller/buyers Ebay is doomed!  Far as I can see new managment is the only chance Ebay has to survive!

Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?   Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?

by: Hardrock Rules

Fri May 14 19:56:08 2010

Yes and the customer Reps, may speak English, but I am sure they are in India, or some other country, they ALL have an accent, no more USA Based American Reps when I call. Anyone else notice this also ?

Way to go Donahoe, kill American Jobs of American sellers on eBay, and lay off or fire the American Reps, and give jobs to Reps in foreign Country's over Americans

Man you suck JD !

Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?   Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Fri May 14 20:56:43 2010

Juvenile behavior???

When the hostess of the eBay Radio Show continuously refers to listeners as boys and girls?

When the ''seller advocate'' is called Uncle Griff?

The eBay ''sandbox''...

Not that it's more comforting to see everyone forced to wear a yellow star at ethics on Vacation, I mean eBay on Location... last time I saw the yellow star thing was on 1945 German newsreels.

Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?   Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?

by: Harriet This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 14 21:36:05 2010

Just got to say the little cartoon is adorable, baby with a cigar and a very angry determined look, probably dinging someone's stars. LOL Clever!

Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?   Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?

by: Steve

Fri May 14 21:42:32 2010

Ina you have hit the nail on the head.  BRAVAO

And eBay HAS DONE NOTHING AND WILL DO NOTHING when a seller reports a buyer.  Ebay is purely motivated by money and nothing else.

This is the most greedy, deceitful, dishonest and unethical company that ever existed.

Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?   Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?

by: Another Voice

Fri May 14 21:50:53 2010

Ebay closed their Vancouver Centre which WAS their customer support headquarters, headed up by an industry expert in online customer satisfaction.

Ian - the former head of that department - has been moved to China and the new customer services reps are there or in the Philippines.  English is NOT their native language and they are given form books to use to respond to the users.  

Internally the brightest (that are left) at Ebay are frustrated and know that the their lack of accurate responses is further degrading the site.

Donahoe doesn't care.  His juvenile drive to prove himself right, at the cost of destroying one of the (formerly) most successful ecommerce sites is what is steering this ship.

Juvenile behavior becoming the norm??  Average intelligence of their mid level employees and new hires is around age 8.  So yes, juvenile is most appropriate.

Nice post, Ina.

Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?   Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?

by: Quicksilver Messenger

Fri May 14 22:54:20 2010

Juvenile behavior will continue to run rampant as long as you have a delinquent moron like John Donahoe in charge. After all, JD=Juvenile Delinquent does it not?. It will continue to go down hill as long as you have Donut Hole and his "Blackboard Jungle"-(or is it spread sheet?) gang of corporatist thugs in charge.

Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?   Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?

by: Rick1

Fri May 14 23:42:35 2010

eBay has to be hammered by the media as they continue to make bad faith policy changes. The legality of many of their changes, given they say in their own User Agreement that they do not take part in the transaction between seller and buyer (they are just a selling venue), would be interesting for eBay to explain to the reporter who knows what questions to ask. Accepted Payments Policy, feedback/DSR's on mutually agreed canceled transaction, and so on and so on. I tried on the Ask Griff thread and he either gave inaccurate/useless answers or bailed out and quietly removed my inquiries. Talk about being juvenile.

Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?   Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: Mercy the Mingless

Fri May 14 23:59:25 2010

In May 2008, Scot Wingo interviewed eBay CEO John Donahoe for Wingo's blog ''Ebay Strategies''

Wingo - Q: ''What are you doing to accelerate eBay?''

Donahoe - A: ''We are driving more changes than ever. There are no silver bullets, we're testing in different geos, when we find things that work, we'll do more of them and less of the ones that don't.''

Donahoe recently used the ''silver bullet'' metaphor again.  Who is the werewolf he is trying to kill?

Donahoe is delusional.  There is no other explanation.

Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?   Is Juvenile Behavior Becoming the Norm on eBay?

by: jeff

Sat May 15 00:42:00 2010

My question is when do you think Donahoe is gone? I think next year...

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