Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Apr 5 2021 22:37:32

eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay acknowledged, but did not warn sellers, that it is having problems with its sneaker authentication program due to demand overwhelming capacity, including a glitch and a change in eligibility criteria. But it is eBay sellers who are paying the price.

As a result of the backlog of sneakers in queue for authentication, which is done by third-parties, buyers are opening claims, and at least one seller said they received a negative feedback from an impatient buyer.

A reader had tipped us off last week to a change in eligibility that had the potential for surprise fees. "All the sellers that think now that they sell an item for $100 to $149.99 and are not going to pay any fees on those items are going to be in for a surprise when they are charged and once again no announcement to the change that I could find."

Today, an eBay moderator acknowledged in a discussion thread that the company had changed the eligibility criteria, blaming it on high demand for the program.

"eBay is experiencing an explosion in demand for sneakers and a huge surge in orders that are eligible for Authenticity Guarantee," she wrote. "As a result of all the excitement in this category, we have decided to temporarily raise the threshold on eligible sneakers to $150. This change is only temporary, and our teams are working around the clock to carefully inspect each pair so we can return to the $100 threshold."

Some of the seller comments on the thread included:

"I've seen a ton of bugs with the system and significant delays, negative buyer feedback, even eBay's customer service dept not having a clue how to manage these issues."

"Have a bunch of listings that used to be covered by program and now all the sudden they are not. You would think they would have notified people! 

"Separately, I just posted a problem with a few packages that are stuck at the authenticator for 2 weeks AFTER it was authenticated and tracking provided. Ebay customer service doesn't seem to even understand how the program works. They are clearly having problems with the volume."

A reader emailed us a link to another thread. "Looks like eBay's sneaker authentication program is suffering some growing pains," the seller wrote. 

In the thread, the poster said a buyer left a negative feedback for a sale that he shipped the same day and arrived at the authentication center the next day. Contributing to the problem, he said, was the fact eBay would not let him communicate with the buyer.

"To add insult to injury, a buyer decided to leave negative feedback for one of these sales that was shipped same day to the center (and arrived to the hub the next) because they're unable to communicate with me through the message system due to eBay disabling it when there's an authenticity program transaction in place."

In the first thread above, the eBay moderator also acknowledged a glitch that caused "the disappearance of Authenticity Guarantee" which has since been resolved. "However," she said, "if any items sold under the current $150 threshold, they would correctly not go through the Authenticity program."

It's hard to know why eBay was caught off-guard by demand for the program and why sneakers are piling up at the authentication center, according to reports on the eBay seller discussion boards. In February, eBay said $100+ sneaker sales had tripled in the fourth quarter of 2020. 

Feel free to share your experiences with the program, including if you sold sneakers for over $100 and received surprise fees.

Comments (14) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads   eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads

by: lessthanthreerecords This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 5 23:09:26 2021

I do not buy or sell sneakers on eBay, so I have no first hand experience, but I don't know that eBay was necessarily "unprepared."  Maybe a better way to put it is that they may have been "intentionally unprepared."  Here's my idea: under managed payments, it is eBay themselves (no longer PayPal) who holds a seller's money once a claim is opened.  Undoubtedly, eBay is making interest on those funds while they hold them.  It is basic logic to assume that the longer a package is in transit (or "being authenticated") the more likely it is that a claim is opened.  And, once a claim is opened, the longer that package takes to get to its destination, the longer eBay holds the money, and the more interest they make.  So, eBay takes forever "authenticating," and they pad their pockets with each passing day!  Was it intentional?  Who knows?  eBay is so bad at doing anything right, it could just be business as usual for them.  But in this case, how convenient!

Perminate Link for eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads   eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 6 06:45:05 2021

Not sure why anyone is surprised as eBays total %100 ineptness.

eBay has done this time after time in every roll out. They roll out a 1/2 baked program and then it fails.

Look to the idiots from Walmart, Sleepy Griff and all the other useless eBay freeloaders for the cause.

Yeh - go buy eBay stock!

Perminate Link for eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads   eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads

by: ynsider This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 6 11:26:02 2021

The idea that eBay can handle authenticating all their sneakers over $100 in one location in NY is quite dumb. Most buyers do not realize that their sneakers will arrive in at least 10 days (in slow times) and 2 weeks + in busy times. A buyer from CA buying from a seller in CA must wait for their package to go to NY first then come back to CA. To say that they experience a boom in demand for sneakers is MISLEADING to say the least. People got their stimulus checks - and much like it happened last year they rushed to spend the money. To imply that this process of authentification is related to this increased demand (which by the way slowed down already) is like saying that the boom in online sales in 2020 is related to hiring some competent leaders at eBay - it all has to do with the stimulus checks , obviously. This "demand" was easy to foresee , any seller could tell you that. They just hoped that they'll ride the wave but it's a complete mess.  

Perminate Link for eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads   eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads

This user has validated their user name. by: unsuck

Tue Apr 6 11:56:33 2021

Arguably reductive and oversimplified, but at its core this move was nothing more than an end-of-quarter EBAY brass-ring GMV grab, not entirely unlike the desperate EOQ sitewide coupons we've seen from eBay in years past.

Ebay authentication delay complaints have crescendoed for weeks, but despite that Jamie bit the pillow and opened-up authentication floodgates for more brands, then appropriately threw the April-fools breaker switch.

More interesting info has surfaced since, but last Friday's ECB comment is still largely applicable, you can read that here 🔗 https://bit.ly/39KZjVS

Perminate Link for eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads   eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads

by: Twinriver17 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 6 12:18:53 2021

There are still no fees being charged on all sneaker sales over $100, they are just no longer requiring the shoes in the $100-$149 to be sent in to the authentication center.

I’d also like to point out my issues with the system. I sell approximately 30 pairs a day, so I’m very familiar. Why does eBay turn off messaging between buyer and seller? I’ve had a couple negative feedbacks from buyers who think that I’ve “blocked” incoming messages from them. I don’t understand the harm in allowing communication between buyer and seller. At least let the buyer know eBay turned off communication, and the seller did not block them.

I’ve also had a negative feedback from a buyer who was furious that the shoes were delivered to a different state, when in fact the shoes were actually delivered to the authentication center.

This leads me to my next point. When using the authentication service, why are buyers even allowed to leave negative feedback?  If the shoes were shipped on time, authenticated (aka the shoes were as described), and communication is turned off by eBay, what conceivable reason could a buyer even have to  leave negative feedback?  If eBay is turning off communication, they should also disable negative feedback from buyers.  

Perminate Link for eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads   eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Tue Apr 6 12:20:55 2021

A seller said eBay is not charging fees on sneakers sold over $100 - "There are still no fees being charged on all sneaker sales over $100, they are just no longer requiring the shoes in the $100-$149 to be sent in to the authentication center," the seller said.

Perminate Link for eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads   eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads

by: ynsider This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 6 20:06:05 2021

Today a buyer left a negative asking why it takes over 2 weeks and still no delivery (item is sitting at the eBay facility for 2 weeks) - he implies that I ship from China. 10 minutes later my listing was removed for location violation (even if tracking shows initial acceptance scan in Chicago). EBay is becoming a joke.  

Perminate Link for eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads   eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 6 22:49:43 2021

@ynsider

Funny how Ebay can immediately remove US listings that they deem to have location violations yet they allow all of the Chinese listings that state they are being shipped from a US location but surprisingly also say that it will take 30-40 days for the item to arrive.  Once again Ebay showing why Wenig was always saying that China was Ebays future and based on how they are performing I think they are going to keep sinking like a lead balloon just like Chinas economy is doing since all of Trumps tariffs went into effect and then low and behold along comes Covid.

Perminate Link for eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads   eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads

by: ynsider This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 7 07:38:33 2021

As we sell quite a bit of sneakers  we get a full taste of the biggest mess we've ever seen on eBay in 10 years of selling. Last week we got someone else's return instead of ours (this went thru the inspection facility) , luckily is a pretty expensive item so we can sell it and recover  our money. Turns out they are humans after all.  

Perminate Link for eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads   eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads

by: ValueAddedResource This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 7 09:03:10 2021

Jamie Iannone has mentioned in several interviews and earnings calls about sneakers bringing more buyers to the platform. In the March Seller Check In, Andrea Stairs repeated this spin saying sneakerheads on average shop in 10+ categories outsides of sneakers, spend ~$2500 with 80% of GMB outside of sneakers, and buy more items than general eBay buyers.

That's the theoretical "payoff" for sellers in other categories (many of whom were just hit with FVF increases), ostensibly meant to balance out the fact that they are effectively subsidizing these fee free sales so eBay can try to gain back a market segment they so carelessly lost.

But what happens when eBay's execution is so poor that it actually drives buyers away? I've seen countless examples across social media of buyers who are fed up with this whole process and swear they will never shop on eBay again - but I doubt we'll hear much about that from Jamie or Andrea any time soon.

Perminate Link for eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads   eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 7 19:54:35 2021

Of course eBay needs to be “bringing more buyers to the platform”.

They just spent the last decade driving them away with every seller of other than the ‘preferred’ items from ‘favored’ sellers. All those other sellers have been alienated by eBay’s unprecedented ineptitude and ham handed micromanagement of the entire potential marketplace. And so have those seller’s buyers.

While eBay has been decimating the seller base of less volume, treating one fraudulent or otherwise no-fault transaction ‘defect’ as cause for alarm by ‘possibly’ driving ONE buyer away thus claiming cause for seller sanction since their ‘percentages’ were ‘below standard’, the preferred sellers have amassed a thousand times the amount of ‘unhappy’ buyers - but are forgiven because their volume keeps their dragging feet above the muck that is eBay’s measurement of capability.

And now they are doing it again with buyers having to wait, uninformed, cut off from comms, while this latest ‘best new idea this quarter marketing ploy’ sale has to pass through a single point bottleneck which can’t possibly feasibly handle the volume while avoiding making the buyer displeased with the whole sordid money grabbing process. TAlk about a lack of ‘bandwidth’...

eBay’s sellers have been telling eBay for years how to attract buyers. More importantly, how to KEEP them, which is much cheaper than constantly scheming up ways to snare new ones to a platform that could not care less about the members that use it, rely on it, try to eek a living through it.

One more thing - to the point about all those newly attracted buyers making ancillary purchases now that they’ve been exposed to the ‘wonders’ of eBay. Who’s listings are they going to be offering as bait?

It won’t be those eBay has determined to be ‘unworthy’, (deserved or not), or out of alignment with their idea of what buyers want in form, fit, or price in eBay’s ongoing attempts to manipulate supply and demand.
It’s not like eBay’s going to toss off their invisibility cloaking.

So, just who is going to benefit from all these ‘new eyes’ and their stated proclivity for impulse purchases, even if they do materialize and show unprecedented patience with eBay’s marketplace machinations?

Nobody. Except eBay in the short term. Heckofa job, Brownie.

Perminate Link for eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads   eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 7 23:09:52 2021

This experience of Ebay being unprepared for what happened is no different than any other changes they make.  They are never prepared for the outcomes as they truly believe that they will somehow magically take care of all the uptick in workloads these changes bring.  All of this happening  while eliminating staff and hiring the lowest cost personnel they can possibly find on this planet, even if they do not understand English or know anything about Ebay.   Nor do they care if the buyers or sellers are happy anymore, just so long as they can put some type of positive spin on the changes for Wall Street and their investors.  Then these fantastic executives sit there and wonder why Ebay's stock has done nothing during the pandemic while all of the competitions stock prices are going through the roof.

Nothing is ever going to change at Ebay until they make a complete replacement of all upper level management and their entire BOD.  Then they MIGHT actually see some positive changes if those personnel manage to get replaced by some competent personnel.  

Perminate Link for eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads   eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 8 05:21:02 2021

i DON'T UNDERSTAND why anyone would pay over $150 for a pair of sneakers.  I know about the ponzi scheme  buying, selling and reselling sneakers, using it as a commodity. The same way you sell houses, but they are SNEAKERS! and unless they have DIAMONDS encrusted, I just don't get it.

Perminate Link for eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads   eBay Unprepared for Onslaught of Sneakerheads

by: DevilishlySarky This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 8 08:54:57 2021

Yeah totally unprepared for an upsurge in sneaker buying , while a world wide pandemic is on , and the world and his brother is in lockdown - No sports shops open , no shoe shops open , all and sundry exercising and working out running jogging ,treadmills all sold out etc .....

Who'd have thought it ??



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