Sellers are writing about their concerns over a practice by online marketplaces that they say "trick" them into paying more in fees. At the heart of the matter: checkboxes in the listing process that are automatically checked, which the seller may not notice - and cases where marketplaces may change the action of display buttons usually found in the same spot.
A reader sent EcommerceBytes a link to a thread on the eBay forums
where sellers claimed eBay moves buttons around in an attempt to get sellers to accept offers they would normally counter or decline. The original poster wrote:
"eBay is now literally trying to trick you into accepting offers when you think you're declining or countering offers. When you're doing a repetitive task, like answering a LOT of offers in a row, User Interface, muscle memory, and other habits are very important. eBay is deceptively moving the buttons around as you're loading pages."
To bolster their argument, the seller used the following example:
"Can you imagine if each time you took a phone call, the "answer" and "decline" buttons were randomly assigned to the left or right side? How many calls would you answer that you didn't mean to, and how many would you decline that you needed to answer?"
One seller believed the feature highlighted "accept offer" when the offer was in range of what eBay considered to be the average selling price (ASP), and highlighted "counter offer" when the offer was lower than the ASP. "At least that's how it appears to work," they wrote. "I agree with all of you that it should display the same way no matter what the offer."
Not everyone agreed there was a usability problem - one seller wrote, "To me those buttons are very easy to see and I cannot see anyone trying to hit a button by memory and not reading it first."
Another seller pointed to an Etsy practice they said was similarly troubling to them - having a checkbox for "automatic relist" pre-checked. "If you are not careful and forget to UNCHECK the automatic relist (pre-checked by Et*y) button, your listings will continually relist $$$."
That concern was dismissed by another seller: "Well, that checkbox is prominent on the page and in the same place. And if 20 cents for 4 months is going to eat into your profits, well, you have bigger worries."
That prompted the first seller to take offense - "ANY fee for any amount $ that is received/taken/stolen by using deceitful practices or "trickery" should be illegal to protect consumers," and they said such fees add up.
"No checkbox/option which will incur fees should EVER be checked by default (on ANY site)," another seller replied.
An eBay moderator was asked to get the "offers" usability issue fixed, and one responded by writing, "I've passed this feedback over to the appropriate team."
One seller claimed PayPal did something similar that almost proved costly to them. "I've noticed that PayPal did the same thing on their app a while ago when you have the choice to transfer your money instantly for a fee or the standard way for free. It's just deceptive and disgusting. Every time these companies tweak something, that's easy money for them because not everyone is quick to notice these things."