Sitting down at a kitchen table stacked with returns and a spreadsheet showing deteriorating profits, an eBay seller made a heartfelt plea for better conditions. Were all the years dedicated to building a business on eBay for naught, the seller asked rhetorically.
Among the challenges the clothing seller described in a post on the eBay discussion boards were shrinking margins, faulty search, constant change, and abusive returns.
"I find myself making so much less money than I did even one year ago - that I am literally appalled at the thought of how my time has been wasted. For what purpose did I devote all of those precious hours to eBay? So I could see my earnings plummet, my stress level go up - only now to have the dreadful realization that I should have been putting my best efforts elsewhere? Tell me that it is all just the imaginings of a tired seller's overworked mind - that this eBay, right now - is not what I wasted all these years on."
The seller estimates their costs rose dramatically over the past year after eBay removed the 20% Final Value Fee discount and due to higher postage and a higher rate of returns.
The seller said they had had to go through their over 1,200 listings many times to keep up with new eBay requirements, "And again - I sit down to do listings, and end up having to figure out how this GTC is going to work. I have read all the postings on this change, and I am still worried - and a little bit confused too. Just another thing to be wary of. Another reason not to trust this company - and another source of stress."
But what seemed to be the last straw for this very frustrated seller was a search they'd conducted just prior to posting. "I was looking for prom dresses for my daughter earlier today, and sure enough, I was only shown a small handful of choices." After describing in detail the experience of searching for the dress, the seller wrote, "no seller on eBay got a sale from me today, because after two hours of wasting time here, and after getting seriously frustrated, I did what tons of other buyers must be doing - I went somewhere else - and found what I wanted."
"It is absolutely criminal to hide our listings that we pay for - either with store fees, listing fees, or final value fees - we pay several times over when one item sells, and sometimes we pay all THREE ways. BUT eBay isn't satisfied with that - they want us to also pay for Promoted Listing fees, and HIGH return fees - so we can then pay FIVE different ways to sell ONE item - the absolute greed is just sickening."
"And it won't stop, they have gotten far too comfortable with their big pay-offs from us. It won't stop unless we make it stop. So I will make my stand on April Fools's Day - and as I do, not only will I be hoping for the best April Fools Day prank ever, but I will also be thinking about the wise words of Abraham Lincoln, repeated by the brilliant Bob Marley - both heroes of men, and champions of the "little" people. "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you can't fool all the people all the time.""
While eBay sellers are often described as either "critics" or "cheerleaders," most tend to follow the money. If it's the case that this particular poster is not optimizing their listings effectively, it doesn't seem to be for want of trying. How can eBay improve the plight of sellers like this, aside from asking them to pony up more money to pay for Promoted Listings in the hopes of getting greater visibility? A difficult question, given the fact eBay itself is experiencing slow growth.
You can find the full post here
along with comments from other sellers and buyers.