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Wed June 5 2013 13:35:10

Used Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay

By: Julia Wilkinson

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According to CEO John Donahoe, eBay is testing a search experience where "a new user to eBay that's never been to eBay should when they show up we only show them fixed price, brand new items from top-rated sellers." He went on to say more, but I have to say that sentence gave me pause, even as it may have been out on context.

From my perspective as both a buyer and seller, I look frequently for "pre-owned" (aka the less-appealing sounding "used") items so I can get a great bargain. I also am not immune to the auction, as those can lead to great deals too (though I find often I need to set up an auto-snipe to win).

If fact, I got a great deal on a high-end brand polo shirt the other day, which I blogged about recently, joking that the lack of a packing slip in the package I received made me think the seller was ticked off I got such a great bargain!

So I am wondering where the thinking is that pre-owned and auction items should not be shown to new users. Shouldn't new users be able to experience all of eBay as it is?

Donahoe went on to say, "It's a more familiar commerce experience and then as they learn eBay they get the wider experience or should we be showing a woman buyer who buys in a clothing - with a heavy Clothing, Shoes & Accessories buyer a different experience than we show up a 42-year- old man that buy steadily in auto parts."

Much as the auction format's demise may have been hailed, I still rely on it both as a seller to test the market for an item and see how high an item can sell for, especially on my higher-end items. Couple it with a Buy-It-Now that you'd be happy with, and you can embrace both worlds as a seller.

I still don't understand the thinking at eBay where they are so fixed on fixed-price, and now moreso on new vs. used items. What's wrong with used items? Don't they still serve a hungry market?

So I am going to take a quick poll of friends and family and see how they feel. How about you? Do you as a buyer still look for used items on eBay? Do you mind the auction format? And as a seller, do you peddle at least some used wares and still use the auction format at least sometimes? Post a comment here!




Comments (41) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Used  Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay   Used Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Wed Jun 5 17:56:57 2013

I think some lawyer will start a class action suit.

If one is to advertise in a publication, billboard, subway station, sandwich board - but the company/entity displaying the ad will only show it to "certain" segments of the population does not one assume that the advertiser is not getting what he/she contracted for?? After all, a newspaper is just a venue for advertising - they may not print certain type of ads, but by golly - every eyeball gets to see the ones they do print.

So - is eBay breaking a trust by not offering our advertisements for goods equally or by what a potential buyer searches for?

Here - pay me money, but there is no guarantee your listing will be visible.

I hope eBay has a great set of lawyers. Does the law firm have stock - I want to invest in them.

Used  Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay   Used Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay

by: wanda This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Jun 5 18:26:54 2013

What is so great about class action lawsuits?  I think they are smoke and mirrors.  I can think of exactly zero times i have ever benefited from one and i know of no one else who has either.  The typical victim is out hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars and gets a couple bucks back... whoop de do.  Then it's business as usury the next day.

I don't know about you, but i've been paying attention and all of them are breaking trust... from corporations to government to law enforcement to the judicial system... so it's a moot question, is it not?

Used  Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay   Used Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay

by: wanda This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Jun 5 18:46:22 2013

Of course i still use the auction format for buying, and of course i still search used items... why wouldn't anyone, on the absurd assumption Ebay puts out that that isn't what the buyers want.  How about letting the buyers dictate the market?  Ebay is a crappy Dictator.

And, yes, i sell vintage glass, and other vintage, used games and pre-owned interesting and/or useful items.  Of late, only the new items are selling... nothing else.  Of the new items, i notice it is only the items that include shipping and handling, so something is rotten in Denmark.

I would like to point out something... when Donahoe says he is happy with the changes, and all us chickens disagree, we should sometimes shut-up, listen and learn.  He is saying that the changes they are making are deliberate and they are happy with the results.  That is the crux of the matter.    

Used  Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay   Used Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Wed Jun 5 20:04:09 2013

I was the beneficiary of 2 class action suits - one for $0.01 (mounted & framed) and one for $1.00.

I'm not referring to me being the beneficiary, but to eBay waking up & seeing what is going on.

99 and 44/100ths of what I sell is used and collectible. My buyers range from feedbacks of 10 into the high 4 digits or better. To have any "newbie" not able to see my wares to me is a breach of trust on eBay's part. I just think that they are opening a huge can of worms on this one.

As far as eBay being happy with the results - it's their show & they could be happy with whatever turns them on. I'd be happy with a $20+ million stock option too.

The problem is that eBay top level management does not answer to anyone & don't give me BS about "the board of directors" - they are in it just as deep or they are on Kool-aid.  

Used  Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay   Used Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Jun 5 20:34:30 2013

Julia, I have always wondered why John Donahoe completely ignores everything that made eBay successful to begin with. It was not the Chinese and mega-sellers who built eBay, it was the small sellers selling unique new AND used items.  It was a community of sellers and buyers working in a vibrant e-commerce ecosystem.

No one needs another e-commerce version of Walmart.  Ebay had an ad campaign a few years ago with the "Find IT" theme.  The campaign pretty much summed up what eBay was all about--finding "it", no matter what "it" was.

As a buyer I like buying pre-owned as well, especially using eBay to buy high end items that I simply wouldn't pay $hundreds$ for new.

I honestly think Donahoe's legacy will be a destroyed impotent marketplace.  I see future articles entitled "The Man Who Destroyed eBay".

Used  Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay   Used Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Wed Jun 5 20:38:16 2013

As many of us have found, ''used'' doesn't necessarily equate to low cost. For example, some collectible brand pre-owned clothing items command a high price! So much for thrift!

For myself, I buy pre-owned most of the time. I don't know if it is due to being ''green'', thrifty, supportive of other fave sellers that sell ''pre-owned'' or just habit.

Maybe I'm just getting old & have come to my senses about where consumerism has led us. Probably all of the above. But I'm quite comfortable with it & I doubt I ever change.


Recently Mr. Basset wanted a cooking item that can be quite pricy. Like magic, someone listed a used one FP (an hour after I had just lost out on one in auction format) for a decent price & I jumped on that like a flea on a southern dog. Mr B couldn't be happier!


When looking for food, personal care & undies we buy new. Appliances & electronics - iffy - it all depends on the warranty. But my default seems to be ''used''.  For selling, it is FP, with a sprinkling of auctions now & then.

The ''used'' button is there to flick for filtering, but I only use it on a few searches. I still get an abundance of used items (just as I prefer) in other search results depending on the category. I would not be a very happy Basset if my search results started to get ''heavy'' on new items.

After all, the reason I became acquainted with eBay in the first place was the ''who knows what you'll find if you dig deep enough'' potential of the original worldwide garage sale.  Will buyers be forced to ''dig'' deeper to find the pre-owned items they seek?

Used  Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay   Used Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay

by: ConsumerAtLarge This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 5 20:42:52 2013

oh baaaaahhhhhh.....call me a sheep and send in the blue healers....does this bloke think we're all cattle to be herded this way and that?  so arrogant it isn't funny.  

I've been a 'CUSTOMER' since 2001, (not that Ebay acknowledge anyone as such) and I'm also a collector. In all the years of ebays so called 'improvements', they've never ONCE improved their user interface in terms of the customer setting THEIR OWN search criteria.  

It's like an exercise in repetitive brain strain having to press 'Used' or 'pre-owned' after every search.

The other thing that drives me nuts is the function that fills in your search term for you = even more herding.   Another default sends you straight back to 'best match' even if you've searched 'lowest price'.  

If the search can't find the item in your AUSTRALIAN ONLY search, then you guessed it...defaults to worldwide....crikey I press more buttons searching than I ever did before and it has made MY search 'EXPERIENCE', worse, not better.

Whereas once I never used the 'save search' function I now have no choice, or I'll be herded this way and that.  On last count I think I had about 20 saved searches so I didn't have to go thru this BS anymore.  BAAAAAAHHHHHHH HUMBUG.

I now search and buy much less = consumer unfriendly and no fun at all these days.  they've managed to kill ebay with all their arrogant 'in your face' herding.

Used  Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay   Used Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay

by: wanda This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Jun 5 21:16:18 2013

Thank you for responding Al G, and making my point.  As to making any corporation change their ways... never happened, never will.  It's all a big set up to make us think something is going to change... we witness, unless we are completely witless, things get progressively worse... and never better.

They spend maybe what they make in a week in defense and payout.  Drop in the ocean to keep us all in snooze mode while they are creeping up behind us with the knife.  We are witnessing the controlled take down of America.  Wise up now or be forever silent... or, better stated, be silenced for quite a while to come.

We need to stop acting stupid and thinking they are incompetent.  Right, that's why they are so filthy rich, because they are incompetent.

The truth of the matter is... THEY ARE IMMORAL, HEARTLESS AND BRUTAL.

Used  Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay   Used Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Map

Wed Jun 5 21:36:45 2013

They at ebay are so arrogant. They stupidly believe that millions of new shoppers and sellers are coming online every day and that their will be no end to their growth. But they stupidly fail to realize how many sellers have been busted broke since 2012 when so many of the sellers products have gone on the invisible search list. How can that many sellers be bankrupted and ebay still manage to have record growth. Fools they all are.
eBay will fall like all the old empires.

Donahoe what is wrong with you. You are liken to an idiot. Get the sellers products back in front of the customers. We have all been begging you to take our products off the invisible search list since August 2012.

You are crippling peoples business and adding ebay sellers to Obama's unemployment line, he has enough problems.

Used  Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay   Used Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Map
Web Site

Wed Jun 5 22:07:30 2013

Also, Mr Donahoe we have many women who are buying used auto parts for their cars & trucks.

I have had many conversations with women customers who are asking me for install instructions because they themselves are mechanically experienced enough to install many interior USED auto parts.

THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF PARTS THAT NO ONE CAN GET FROM THE DEALERSHIP OR NEW AFTERMARKET. YOU CAN ONLY GET THAT PART FROM SALVAGE.

I have included my link to our ebay store. I invite you & wife to shop my store. we have the best pictures on ebay. However your policys are driving us from eBay to other sites. Over 500 times i have called your CSR to discover why we have gone from 30K page views a month to near nothing. 80-90% of my traffic came from ebay search but since October 2012 it has been 1-2% delivery from ebay search engine.

Me & my crew have spent thousands of hours making thousands of tweeks and edits that had no reaction to increase visibility and sales. our attempts have failed. Its not us FAILING its ebay.

How can any ebay seller make it on these numbers.

JD, call me you have my number.

...I am laughing now because i have gone as delusional as ebay.

Used  Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay   Used Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay

by: ConsumerAtLarge This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 5 22:24:39 2013

Hey Map....you can buy most of the mass produced garbage they've flooded the ebay au site with, from the reject shop and Kmart these days.  The so called 'boot sale' sellers (so dubbed by Donahoe) made the place what it was...and I stress the word 'WAS'.  

As a result of making it almost impossible to sell collectibles at a competitive price these days,  I have a garage full of mid century and antique collectibles I'll have to send to traditional auction or garage sale off.

Why bother with ebay anymore?  they don't want to bother with us even though it was collectors who started the whole thing....

Whats' wrong with Donahoe? = CRANIAL RECTAL INVERSION SYNDROME.

(Not shouting - Waving)

Used  Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay   Used Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 6 10:10:38 2013

To answer the question--yes, I frequently wish to search for used items of every kind. Sometimes used is really like new.
Sometimes the item cannot be found any other way. eBay's manaegment does not understand its market. They are giving away the store by letting small sellers fail and leave.

Used  Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay   Used Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Jun 6 10:30:21 2013

It is just the arrogance of Ebay.  Such a perfect word to describe them and I use it often.  When the guy that runs the place can call Ebay customers "noise".  That one statement says so much.  

They are suppose to be a venue, but they now are not satisfied with micro managing the sellers [EBay's customers], they now want to micro manage the buyers too.  Sheer arrogance.  They really believe they are ALL THAT and have the right to do just as they please when they please to do it.  Everyone else will just fall into line.  But with this, about the only thing that is going to fall is sales.  Buyers will go elsewhere.  Ebay will make them jump through too many hoops to get to where they want to go and they will get tired of it.

I understand developing a more intelligent search program.  But enough is enough.  Get rid of BM, get rid of all these top secret formulas for placement.  Allow members to set their search returns the way THEY WANT to see them and then leave them the hell alone.  Don't make them reset them when they change screens or search words.  

Leave my customers alone.  Ebay is running them off in droves.  Stop treating them as if they don't have a brain to figure out what they want to buy.  We do NOT want Ebay to start treating the buyers like they treat the sellers.  That would eventually cause an implosion.

Used  Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay   Used Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Jun 6 11:42:23 2013

Marie, I honestly think that eBay are too arrogant to think that they can fail.  Time will prove otherwise.

Is Pierre Omidyar still on the Board?  If he gives a plug nickle about the wonderful site he created many years ago he should do some major maneuvering behind the scenes to pull the plug on this arrogant CEO.

Used  Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay   Used Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Jun 6 11:59:48 2013

@Rexford

I whole heartedly agree with you.  

As far as I know he is.  I thought the same thing, but it has now been almost 5 years and he has done nothing to curb what is going on.

So often it is stated that Ebay will fail with JD at the top, yet here we are 5+ years later and Ebay is still strong.  It defies logic, but the fact remains they are financially strong even after all this stuff over the past few years.  I certainly don't understand it.

While I sometimes defend Ebay as I certainly do not think they do everything wrong and sometimes it is the member that has created the issue.  Many times unintentionally, but sometimes it is pilot error.  I've taken a whole lot of heat on these threads for that as there are those that can't or won't own their mistakes or acknowledge anything about Ebay unless it is negative.

I don't subscribe to that way of thought.  Which I've been pretty clear about here on other threads.  With that said, EBay's constant manipulation of the searches is my single biggest problem with what they do.  The majority of us pay the same rates for listings yet we get widely different benefits from that money.  

Some seller even pay more in listing fees and get less service / visibility than other sellers.  I find none of this fair or right in any way.  If you pay for a service, you should receive that service.  It is NOT at the discretion of Ebay.  If they accept our money we have a right to get the service.  They are a service provider.  It is time they act like one.  But that will only happen in my dreams.

Used  Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay   Used Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 6 12:59:47 2013

Arrogance it one thing.  

MAKING LIES IS ILLEGAL!

JD should be accountable from making LIES in public.

Used  Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay   Used Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 6 13:03:17 2013

ebay CSR has no power.  It won't admit any IT FAILURE.  So CSRs would makes responses as if Cassini never failed and NO SEARCH problem that IT need to address.

All CSRs want to do is hang up the phone.


Used  Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay   Used Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 6 13:12:14 2013

If ebay applies the same measuring stick to ebay buyer refund to its ebay sellers, then ebay owes me 7 years of fees that I paid them.

Used  Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay   Used Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay

by: ConsumerAtLarge This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 6 21:58:13 2013

Hey Marie, they're actually NOT a venue when put to the test, but they like to use that kind of spin to put off anyone thinking they have any rights as a consumer or small business.

However, In a consumer case in Victoria Australia, they were classified definitively as a SERVICE PROVIDER.

CASE EXAMPLE - ONLINE AUCTIONS
Relatively few complaints concerning internet auctions have come before the courts. However, in 2001 VCAT determined that hosting an online auctions is providing a service.

This means that a complaint in relation to the provision of this service can be regarded as a fair trading dispute under section 107 of the Fair Trading Act 1999 (Vic) (''FTA'') (see Evagora v eBay Australia and New Zealand Pty Ltd [2001] VCAT 49).

The same precedent would be applicable in any other state too for the purpose of bringing a consumer complaint.

Evagora V Ebay

http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinodisp/au/cases/vic/VC
AT/2001/49.html?stem=0&synonyms=0&query=evagora

BUT,
that wouldn't cover a seller,even though they are conceivably ebay's direct 'customers'. Fair trading would consider them a business = not covered under Consumer Protection Laws....(which begs the question, why doesn't ebay consider them 'businesses' when it comes to any dispute or fair trade practices?).

This is where they've always muddied the waters....sellers are also CUSTOMERS, but under our laws they're businesses (=Doesn't matter because ebay don't recognise either).  

Even so, their ignorance of and dominance over small businesses would have to be covered under Trade Practices - ACCC.

Is there even a contract to speak of?...or just their ambiguous one-size-fits-all 'member' agreement that throws us all into the same ambiguous 'member' paddock?  baaaaahhhhhhhhh.

I've always wondered why businesses don't take them on via ACCC for a fair shake. ?  Or are EBAY above our laws?  

Used  Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay   Used Vs. New and Auction Vs. Fixed-Price on eBay

by: retiredcatlady This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 6 23:08:00 2013

I don't mind auctions and do look for pre-owned items.  

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