Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Sept 11 2013 23:16:08

eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

eBay updated its User Agreement with a number of changes that are proving worrisome to sellers. The one most sellers are keying in on is eBay's provision that allows it to hide listings in search results for any reason.

"To further create a marketplace where buyers find what they want and drive positive user experience, we updated the provision regarding listing conditions to recognize that the appearance and placement of listings in search and browse results will depend on a variety of factors.  So, in some situations a listing may not appear in some search and browse results regardless of sort order."

Sellers pay eBay fees to have their listings appear on the site, so were not happy at the prospect of potentially paying fees for zero exposure. eBay has muddied the water by granting sellers a certain number of free listings each month in addition to running certain free-listing promotions, many of which apply only to one subset of sellers at a time.

eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore said eBay would not be refunding any listing fees for sellers impacted as a result of the policy.

Some sellers are cynical about whether eBay had already been hiding some listings in search results. Others blame eBay's new Cassini search engine for the company having to create the new policy.

One can only wonder if eBay is poised to push a button and change its search algorithms once the agreement takes effect for all users in October - as the all important holiday shopping season is underway.

eBay also made changes in its User Agreement that some sellers fear will mean its Managed Returns program will soon be mandatory.

And eBay changed its Buyer Protection policy: "if as a seller you choose not to engage with the eBay Buyer Protection process on an item not as described case, we may seek to carry out a reimbursement from you without asking the buyer to return the item to you."

Read the eBay announcement board post and look for Thursday's Newsflash news article for more details, and let us know what you think.

Comments (192) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

by: Small Guy This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 12 09:55:07 2013

I really do want and need to stop "trying" to sell on Ebay.  (I've sold antiques/collectibles)for 12 year with 500 sales and 100% feedback.  I am so insignificant Ebay wants me gone.  Ok, Ok, I get it!

I keep hearing Etsy is the best place to go.  Question... anybody... "What sells well on Etsy?"  Same question for Ebid... "Can a small antique seller do any good on Ebid?

I'm pi55ed off, perplexed, and don't know where to go. I could use some advice.  

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

by: utty This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 12 09:55:17 2013

"So, in some situations a listing may not appear in some search and browse results regardless of sort order."

What exactly does that mean? Which listings won't appear? It seems rather vague.  

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

This user has validated their user name. by: baconsdozen

Thu Sep 12 09:55:27 2013

I dont list anymore with my business listing its been a waste of time for months. I use my private ID but only on free listing days.I've put the costs up to cover the rip off fees and if anyone is silly enough to bid when I can sell them the same tools much cheaper via my own site,then I guess its up to them.
Ebays dead in the water,it's become  a waste of time as every time they alter anything,views,watchers and sales all decrease.
Ebays just a sick joke now.

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Thu Sep 12 09:57:54 2013

Andy Geldman writes: ''I think this is OK if listing fees are abolished...''

Perhaps so. In that case, the actual VALUE of listing on eBay would match the COST of listing on eBay.

But with so few views, it's difficult for me to understand why anyone (without a staff) would invest any time in creating listings in the first place.

All things considered, many rank-and-file sellers are making LESS than minimum-wage when you factor-in the hours and hours it takes to stock their eBay shelves and babysit their listings.

Then, on an impulse, on a whim... and without meaningful notice... eBay makes up a new rule, a new policy, a new standard that renders all of those listings (and photos) as non-compliant. Back to square-one!

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

by: bunnspec This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 12 09:58:50 2013

Once again: "Interesting game, the only way to win is not to play". True in 2008, even more true now-face it folks, the Bainmeisters have got ebay all tied up in knots and they are the only ones getting any ROI at all...

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles

Thu Sep 12 10:07:16 2013

I see eBay's comments about search just an excuse for the failure and glitches in their search system. It isn't logic trying to get sales in a site and block the search system. For eBay stuff, I use eBay search system not Google, Yahoo, or Bing.

I use the ''free'' promos. I don't have problem if they applied it for sellers using the ''free'' promos. But it isn't fair for sellers paying the insertion/posting fees.  

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Sep 12 10:09:48 2013

As other have said, the hidden listings are no surprise.  It has been going on for a long time, it is just now Ebay has put the practice into writing.  However I do not agree that this is just about small sellers.  I think its about all sellers with the possible exception of Diamond sellers.

Now I personally find the Buyer Protection policy changes a little interesting.  They changed it from 45 days to open to 30 days from est. delivery date.  In some cases that can cut that window of opportunity for a buyer down by a week or at least a few days.

As for the thing about Ebay refunding buyers and not requiring a return.  I'm unsure as to why some are surprised by this.  Ebay has been doing this for years.  Again it is just in writing now.  BUT, read that statement a little closer, it isn't as bad as it may have appeared to you originally.

It says "...if as a seller you choose NOT to engage with the eBay Buyer Protection process on an item not as described case, we may seek to carry out a reimbursement from you without asking the buyer to return the item to you."

This is saying if the seller is NOT working with the claim.  Ebay has to do something.  If a seller has chosen not ignore claim / buyer, Ebay does have to step in.  The buyer is going to expect that and personally I think that is a reasonable expectation.  

Sellers should always respond and work with a claim / buyer.  If they are non responsive, something has to happen.  You can't or shouldn't just leave the customer out in the cold. That is not to say that the buyer is right.  That has to be considered on the merits of each case.  But it is still the seller's responsibility to work it not ignore it.

The part of the managed returns update is really nothing new.  They said a long time ago they were going to auto up new members, they have just now put it into writing.  And of course they would leave this open ended to someday possibly apply it to all sellers.  Hopefully that day will never come, but we have all known it is a possibility.  Nothing to worry about now, but could be at a later date.

And while new members are auto up'd for this, they can still opt out.

I think a question that begs being asked and answered is how legal is all this?  I certainly do not have the education to adequately answer that, but it seems to me that they can't just put whatever they want into a UA.  There has to be laws and rules that go along with it.  After all they are merely venue, not my employer.

And what is this stuff about sharing my info with other Ebay partners.  I get plenty of junk mail / borderline spam from Ebay, I sure as heck don't need more from their partners.

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 12 10:13:14 2013

2 things ...

1) Forced Managed Returns have been spoken about here for a LONG time. We all knew it was comming. eBay is cavalier about everything - you getting paid, them helping you when theres an issue etc - IF YOU THINK FOR ONE SECOND THAT EBAY CARES ABOUT YOUR MONEY AKA RETURNS - YOU ARE OUT OF YOUR MIND!.

eBay wants CS issues gone. They tried by forcing people to call nudnicks in the Phillipeans. When that didnt work, they decided that automatically doing things - anything and everything - would be how eBay would work going forward.

JD is too busy making dumb speeches, flying his lear jet around the world, having thinking days, swimming in his mansions pool to be bothered with providing REAL customer service ... to anyone. This way its all automated. His snowflakes want and get returns, you get the stick and too damn bad on you.

*MY* manufactorers have STRICT percentage returns issues. You cant just send stuff back as you please - direct or NOT.

So far its "we sneak you in and hope you dont realize it, but some day soon we will FORCE you". Thats great for a ecommerce co to do to people in 2013.

Yet there are STILL eBay chearleaders who SWEAR eBay isnt bad ... I wonder how they can look at themselves in the mirror!

2) Paid listings ...... Careful - its how you parse the english language. You thought it was bad when BJ Clinton asked what the definition of IS was .... Here its similar - just theres no blue dress and no Monica.

You dont pay to be seen... PERIOD. Go ahead - read the TOS. Its the sneakiest thing anyones EVER DONE ... but if you think JD cares - you're crazy - he doesnt. More money for him, less for you.

You pay to be LISTED. WHen you do create an auction or a BIN LISTING (notice the word says LIST and not anything else), the verbage at the end talka about how and when it may or will be seen - its been there for ages.

It NEVER says VIEWS - EVER.

That is how eBay scams people. You think Views, they SAY LISTING.

Of course its fraud - but its just vague enough that if you go to court, eBay will trot out its matchbook graduate lawyers and show you that the TOS says LISTINGS. NO WHERE does it say views, provide ANY guarentees of being seen and certainly not of any possibility of making a sale.

This way, JD gets to decide who gets seen (iphone 5s will get seen , grannies dishes not so much) because JD cant wait to get paid. Any time theres no sale(s) being made JD (aka eBay) is loosing money. What if no one buys your Howdy Doody lamp shade? Do you REALLY exect JD to loose 1 penny? Hes gonna use his Cassini knee breaking program to force you to look at what HE wants you to see.

Besides, if you TRY and sue him, he will pull the "arbitration game" on you. You will spend $$$ to go out there with your lawyer, and the greedy judge that JD plays cards with every Thursday night at the club "will fix YOUR little red wagon".

The game is fixed - JD donates to judges and lawyers that need to get elected, so that in CA (where they are SO desperate to keep companied - ie TAX revenues) he can BUY a judge.

He will say LISTING to the crooked judge, you will tell of your expectations, the crooked judge will smile and say - YOU didnt read the TOS, JD will buy him a steak dinner and you go home hat in hand.

Its a shady deal - a con game. Thats why I say over and over and over and over (Annie and others say it too) DONT RELY ON EBAY FOR ANYTHING -DIVERSIFY!!!

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

by: AgendaSwallowsAll This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 12 10:13:39 2013

This is not a whine and it's not about us, it's just a further example of the JD singularly self-serving agenda based ignorance-insanity.

We were selling a particular type of item one after the next on our newer account we had to create in order to at least in part get back international sales we had lost on our other for a multitude of reasons too lengthy to explain.

About a month ago we received a 500 sale Purple Shooting Star email from ebay thanking us, blah blah blah. All of a sudden our sales of that given product line ceased so we did a little research finding our first listing in a generic-general search for that type of product was now near 700 listings down with the bulk being well below 1.000 down when just prior to that email we were prominent at top of that given search.

Must be ebay's reward for a TRS account making them money.

With respect to Cassini, for years it has taken minutes to at most a day to figure out how a given change in ebay's search algorithm functioned. There is no rhyme or reason behind the Cassini search algorithm whatsoever even after having taken many new factors relating to ebay policy changes in to account.

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Sep 12 10:15:26 2013

Even if you get free listings, why would anyone waste the time and energy to shoot photos and type listings when you know that no one will be seeing your items? How does that generate income for eBay if nothing is selling and no FVFs are being paid? And didn't JD warn that revenue would be down next quarter? Obviously this change was what was behind that statement.

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

by: mazelgirl This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 12 10:21:34 2013

We all know this has been going on for years--I have two accounts-one of them is generally experiencing good views-the other nothing-with the same sort of items in both accounts.  I just list heavily in the one that is showing up-when they switch I also switch.  Crazy game.

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

by: rhawk This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 12 10:26:38 2013

Ebays new User update appears  to have them committing an illegal act of  ''TORTIOUS INTERFERENCE'' against sellers.

According to wikipedia, it is:

Tortious interference with business relationships occurs where the tortfeasor acts to prevent the plaintiff from successfully establishing or maintaining business relationships. This tort may occur when a first party's conduct intentionally causes a second party not to enter into a business relationship with a third party that otherwise would probably have occurred. Such conduct is termed tortious interference with prospective business relations, expectations, or advantage or with prospective economic advantage

By admitting that it may not show your listings, when the entire site is built upon the premise that it will, ebay  appears  to committing an illegal act.

Rather than debate this to death, I am simply asking concerned seller to take a few minutes and contact the Federal Trade Commission with your concerns.

here are the links.....

http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/contact.shtm


About a Company, an Organization, or a Business Practice
Online: Use our secure complaint form.
Phone: Call our toll-free helpline: 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357);
TTY: 1-866-653-4261

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

This user has validated their user name. by: Map

Thu Sep 12 10:34:23 2013

Does the nightmare ever end?

I am done with this crap.

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

This user has validated their user name. by: Map

Thu Sep 12 10:44:58 2013

@ Ina

Is it possible that you could contact the FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION asking for this department to investigate the complaints of ebay sellers whom are protesting complaints on your website about ebays alleged illegal business practices that the company is forcing upon sellers at the ebay site.

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 12 10:56:19 2013

ebay stopped showing my listings long ago.  If you see your listings, just go to the library or any public computer and do a search without signing in. Then you will realize that everyone is not seeing your listings. Regardless of best match, lowest price etc.. They just disappear.
This does not classify as a bombshell in my book - has been around a long time now. For whatever reason, they decided to go public. Maybe too many lawsuits or arbitrations.????
This has really covered ebays butttt. Like previously mentioned, a way of wording that we will never give refunds for listings or equal to anyone for anything(possible exception of Diamond boys-but I doubt if they pay for listings anyway).
Managed returns means giving away free merchandise. Every brick-mortar has rules for returns. Amazon has rules also. Must be returned.  ebay wants to do one up on Amazon - (JD thinking day) This moves of managed returns will get everyone to buy from ebay and not Amazon overnight and leave Amazon in the dust this holiday season). Would love to get my hands on the crap that jd is smoking. Need a break from reality and pain.

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

by: ssusannss This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 12 10:58:18 2013

Yes, please contact the FTC, how about news media? Does anyone think that maybe if enough of us write CNN or WSJ that someone may do a story about this? I mean really, to charge customers a listing fee, and then reserve the right to hide the listings? And have the utter nerve to put it in the user agreement?

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

by: Filadelfos This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 12 11:08:05 2013

What eBAY is doing is FLAT OUT ILLEGAL:

Tortious interference, also known as intentional interference with contractual relations: ''no one may go in intentionally intermeddling with the business affairs of others.'' Tortious interference with business relationships occurs where the tortfeasor acts to prevent the plaintiff from successfully establishing or maintaining business relationships.

Not showing a sellers listings fits nicely into BOTH definitions, they had better have their fancy lawyers start prepping for cases right now.  

Their clause in the current legalese user agreement, not allowing users to participate in a class action lawsuit is completely null & void if the lawsuit is about them engaging in illegal activities.  This would be considered a CRIMINAL ACT.

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Thu Sep 12 11:11:33 2013

GOOD NEWS : having spoken with some People, the Small Seller Protection Act (SSPA) is about to become a reality. This will be the WORSE NIGHTMARE for entities and individuals believing they can hoodwink hard working people.

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 12 11:13:59 2013

Its kind of fun to watch a once successful auction site fall apart due to the most arrogant and ignorant mismanagement I've ever seen LMAO

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

by: twohens This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 12 11:18:50 2013

Hi: I don't know if this is the right location for this comment, but here it is anyway. For over a month now I have had issues with ebay about their item specifics. I was told originally that I needed to do item specifics in order to get the best search results or more exposure.  I have been doing that all along. I have called ebay 4 times to ask why  I need to add mmore items specific especially when some do not even relate to  my products. So I asked if that meant that my items were not showing up in search. One time I was told to ignore it, three times I was told "that is a systems problem and that only systems can fix it", but someone would call me to let me know when it was fixed. Now I have 35 items that they say I need to add specifics to only what they are asking for is not related or required for most of my products. I feel my sales are down because of it and that I am not getting into eBay's search.

I have been on ebay for over 12 years, but this, I have to say is the really upsetting me, and upsetting me is not the word I would like to use. And to top it all off most of the people I talk with have a foreign accent and I find it very difficult to understand what in god's name they are saying.

So 35 items are at the top of my listings in manage pro, telling me to add most item specifics.  I cannot delete them and the list is growing as I list on ebay.

Click to view more comments
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.