Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Nov 22 2017 19:39:36

New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns

By: Ina Steiner

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Let's say you're looking for a holster on eBay, and you need to know if it will fit your Colt 1911. The seller didn't include the words Colt 1911 in their description because eBay told them that is "brand misuse," so you send the seller an email through the eBay messaging system to see if it will fit. 

Instead of an answer from the seller, you get a notice chiding you for trying to take the transaction off eBay, because eBay's Artificial Intelligence bots can't distinguish between a legitimate inquiry and a solicitation. According to users, the bots think model numbers are phone numbers - call it Artificial Paranoia.

You probably either buy the holster hoping it will fit (and return it if it does not), or you move on to another seller or perhaps another ecommerce website.

eBay's new practices will inevitably lead to an increase in buyer dissatisfaction and returns, which are costly to sellers.

Online seller, expert, and author Skip McGrath has taught many a person how to sell on eBay, Amazon and their own websites over the past 2 decades. He's a person eBay should be paying attention to for two reasons: his expertise, which could help improve the marketplace, and for his reach and influence with sellers and would-be sellers.

But it's clear he's feeling more than a little frustrated these days. The example above was inspired by Skip's experience. "If eBay wonders why Amazon is eating their lunch, this is an excellent example," he told me. The subject line of the email notice he received recently for a listing takedown: "Your eBay listing has been removed: Brand Name Misuse."

Skip said he asked eBay Trust and Safety if it was acceptable to put the words "Fits" or "Compatible with" in such listing, but was told no. He pointed out, "If you are looking for a case for an iPhone 8, you would type that into the search bar - not "iPhone case."" (Nor, for that matter, would a typical shopper type "smartphone case.")

"Just for the heck of it, I typed iPhone 8 case into the search bar and got 1,380,699 results for iphone 8 case. Should eBay cancel all of those listings also?" he asked.

Another reader shared a similar experience recently in this letter to the editor

If eBay isn't going to let sellers fully describe their items, and at the same time is cracking down on the communications between buyers and sellers through its messaging system, it's a recipe for disaster.

Comments (24) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns   New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 22 20:35:19 2017

Just another good reason not to waste your time on Ebay. Buy elsewhere, you will be happier.

Perminate Link for New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns   New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 22 21:35:54 2017

eBay as usual is WRONG.

Its NOT "brand misuse" - its FAIR USE under the DMCA.

Stupid eBay - they know little about ecommerce and nothing about IP.

NEVER listen to eBay about anything - they simple just DONT KNOW.

Perminate Link for New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns   New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns

by: Studiolines This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 22 21:54:32 2017

Thank You Ina and Skip. I cannot figure out what the objective is in some of the current policy with Ebay other than to destroy Ebay, lowering its value. Communication between buyers and sellers is critical. A return is a hassle for both buyer and seller most times and it also takes a small seller at least 4 more sales to offset the postal expense of a average return. Not to mention the time involved.  

Perminate Link for New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns   New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Thu Nov 23 00:10:32 2017

Well, I'm selling a 1858 Remington Cylinder made by Pietta of Italy

Here's my description: Pietta 1858 Remington New Navy .36 cal Black Powder Cylinder A432/ST 36

It would be hard to sell if I didn't use the word "Remington"

In fact the manufacture (Pietta) has Remington right on the box!

eBay has lost what little mind they had left. . .

Perminate Link for New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns   New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: Castoman

Thu Nov 23 00:12:50 2017

Wow.....just wow.  They are being run by leaders that are going to ruin this company.  Again..just wow.  

Perminate Link for New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns   New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns

by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 23 06:14:41 2017

I had hoped that Devin would turn eBay around ... but that's not happened yet.

Same for Josh over at Etsy.  

Perminate Link for New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns   New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Thu Nov 23 11:31:31 2017

There are over 400,000 eBay listings which state ''compatible'' in the title.

And the reason is legitimate- would one purchase a Philips Sonicare tooth brush head (for instance) thinking they are getting a genuine original equipment product, only to find out it is a Chinese knockoff?? This would not be a benefit to anyone.

How is this brand name misuse? Of course, it must be mentioned which product an item fits with, or no buyer will find the listing.

So it must be noted that, while the item does work, it is not original, and not the same brand name as found in a retail store. By stating it is compatible is just being honest, and avoids problems later on.

If someone purchases something that they expect to be original equipment and not a lookalike or knockoff, and receive an incorrect item (no matter how inexpensive it is), they will blame eBay, not the seller. And then take their business elsewhere.

This is not 15-20 years ago where eBay and Amazon were the only games in town as far as purchasing goods online which can be mailed to your doorstep. The companies that plan to survive, no matter how large or small, must realize this!!
 

Perminate Link for New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns   New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Thu Nov 23 12:15:22 2017

Ebafia is actually Wenig's second job.

He's really a Bain or Icahn secret agent.

Perminate Link for New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns   New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 23 19:32:24 2017

Stupid is as stupid does (eBay).

VERO is ONLY "exists" to protect eBay - and thats where the issue is. eBay doesnt want ANY maker to question it or worse try to take it to court over a sellers listing - even if the seller is %100 in compliance with US law.

Thats why a good portion of VERO takedowns are "over protective" ie - eBAy wont make rules that accurately mirror real trade law.

In the case of copyright:

What Is Not Protected by Copyright?
Copyright does not protect:

• Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, or discoveries
• Works that are not fixed in a tangible form (such as a choreographic work that has not been notated or recorded or an improvisational speech that has not been written down)
• Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans <--------
• Familiar symbols or designs <------------
• Mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring
• Mere listings of ingredients or contents

as far as trademarks go:

Trademark law limits the ability of one company selling a particular product to use a mark–words, images, distinctive color themes–that is used by another company selling similar products. If you are a trademark owner you can stop another business from using a mark that is similar to yours. Because the protection is so strong, you can’t limit folks from using a word or phrase they need to describe what they make or sell (more than one company can publish comic books so you couldn’t trademark the name “Comic Book Publisher”); you can only limit others from using marks that are distinctive to your customers as being associated with you.

In other words "you can’t limit folks from using a word or phrase they need to describe what they make or sell" which is what the above person in Inas post on the topic.

Its all a game with eBay as they dont know what they are doing.

Perminate Link for New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns   New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Thu Nov 23 22:10:22 2017

We can only hope that this misguided overreaction will ultimately cost ebafia more than the profits from their VERO scam.

Ebafia's foot looks like a piece of Swiss cheese.

Common sense disqualifies all ebafia job applicants.

Perminate Link for New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns   New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 24 03:38:33 2017

When you're manipulating the search results to this degree, it really becomes a useless, mess  just think about it, search results are being filtered by so many rules, algorithms and policies, anywhere from giving ebay  the best advantage, or to punish sellers for something like not offering something ebay wants, but it's now so complex, so distorted that search algorithms are most likely fighting themselves, so many determining routes to the end results that in fact the end results become garbage, that in the end  ebay itself and everyone else including the Buyers, are the ones that loose.

Sellers, Buyers  ebay  and the Shareholders  are loosing big time

Obviously ebay cannot see the pure destruction they are doing to themselves, they continue to point the finger at the seller when it's their own doing that is causing their downfall.

Just like this week, ebays wants free returns , they use search as weapon , so another distorted rule inserted into search, that doesn't belong, and that will not give the true search results to the Buyer, possibly driving the buyer to other venues like Amazon, or Google to buy the item

Self destruction, self mutilation, describe what ebay is doing to itself,  

Perminate Link for New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns   New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 24 04:41:48 2017



And just for the record, I am not complaining one bit about ebay, self destruction I'm just pointing out the facts, their Self Mutilation is making us rich, we are doing more sales on our website then ever before, for every sale we loose on ebay we must gain like 3 on our site, it's been truly a great couple of years,  the more ebay destroys itself, the better it is for us,  it's truly funny how things sometime turn out in life.


I think at this point with ebay, they might have hit the point of no return, make no mistake it's been hard to loose a venue that in reality had worked so good, for so many years, we never really had to look anywhere else, but you have to do, what you have to do to survive,  as mentioned above, ebay's failure, works for us,

Like the old saying goes ''turning lemons into lemonade''  

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by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 24 09:23:13 2017

Ming, all these changes are for your own good, Devin wants to get ahead of the curve so eBay can serve all the customers who use virtual reality headsets to buy with this augmented reality platform he is building.

Get with the program if you want to share in the massive upside.

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by: Studiolines This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 24 13:28:06 2017

There is a really good new article on Forbes that details the problems with Ebay and Amazon and the Fake stuff. You have to read it, really details how deep this problem really is and why Ebay is so deep in so deep on this.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/wadeshepard/2017/11/22/as-amazon
-a
nd-ebay-flood-with-illegal-goods-from-china-beijing-cracks-down-on-foreign-e-commerce/2/#2f9ce5a84a23

Perminate Link for New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns   New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: DeathFromAbove

Mon Nov 27 00:06:52 2017

Reverb and bonanza LET YOU link to your own web site.  People still buy from the venues.

Trying to put everyone in a sensory deprivation box is not the answer.  Open communication IS.  

Perminate Link for New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns   New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns

by: Paul W This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 27 00:31:00 2017

Just wait until eBay requires every item to be shipped to an eBay shipping center.  Then the separation of buyer and seller will be complete.  No more selling directly to your previous buyer, who will only be known to you only as #4476232.

Perminate Link for New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns   New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Mon Nov 27 00:51:35 2017

I fully appreciate how it might be important to include descriptives in selling your item. Years ago, too many sellers were abusing the system by including 'fits' in their item title. For example, you're looking for a charm from brand XYZ. Sellers were advertising their charms as "fits brand XYZ." Unless you read carefully it's easy to miss the deceptive 'fits' part. eBay cracked down and its been like this since.  

Perminate Link for New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns   New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns

by: Gemz This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 27 00:58:48 2017

This is a good thing! The more Ebay plays their games, the more Amazon is going to take their business. Once the idiots on Wallstreet finaly get fed up of the stupid antics the CEO and other (mis)management keep initiating, then the time will be right for someone to come in and buy them up. Trust me...It's coming sooner than anyone thinks it is!

Perminate Link for New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns   New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns

by: JWsax This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 27 09:57:09 2017

Nothing stupid they do surprises me anymore. Earlier this year they kept insisting that my attempts to sell clarinets and clarinet parts in the clarinet section was somehow an abuse of the categories. They kept cancelling the listings.

My reaction to every stupid thing they've ever done is to increase my efforts to grow my business away from ebay. Its been about a year since I stopped offering any of my first tier products through them and I'm very happy with the results.

Perminate Link for New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns   New eBay Practices Vex Buyers and Increase Returns

by: spooky This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 27 10:21:32 2017

last night Listed an antique clock. collector 1 town away asked if he could come over  and check it out in person. I answered that it is now impossible for me to give him my address or info with new eBay rules.

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