Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Feb 11 2021 09:46:10

With Billions of Dollars, eBay Shortchanges Payments Support

By: Ina Steiner

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What eBay chooses to do with its money is one thing, but now that it plays in the payment-processing game, how it handles sellers' funds is a different story.

Here's what eBay tells sellers seeking answers on how eBay is handling their money:

Author: eBay for Business
Hello Dawn - Thank you for address your concerns with us. This is definitely not the experience we'd like for our sellers to have. Currently our managed payments specialists are having a longer than usual wait time. We do suggest requesting your call back as soon as possible since call back spots to do fill up quickly. Your feedback is always appreciated and we're hoping to get this call back issue resolved in the future. ~Gabriel (Facebook post, February 9, 2021 at 3:24 pm)

That response from an eBay moderator on its Facebook page from February 9, 2021 is not an aberration. eBay itself has acknowledged hours-long wait times on July 15, 2020 - that was 7 months ago.

This is not a start-up company, or a company that is having cashflow issues and struggling to fund proper customer support for its customers. 

On the contrary, eBay recently shared that in 2020, it paid $447 million in cash dividends to shareholders.

It also took $5.1 billion in cash and bought back shares of eBay stock. ("A company might buy back its shares to boost the value of the stock and to improve the financial statements," according to Investopedia.)

eBay management made the decision to leave what sellers describe as inadequate customer support for those experiencing problems accessing their funds, despite the over $5 billion it had in its coffers last year.

This leaves sellers scrambling when they can't get answers about things like disbursements (payouts) and potentially impacts the cash flow of small businesses. It's hard to imagine a company like PayPal not getting called out if it provided the kind of service eBay sellers describe.

The thread on the Facebook post is eye-opening for anyone not already familiar with the issues with which sellers are struggling. It may be tempting to dismiss comments left by anonymous posters on industry boards. But Facebook doesn't allow anonymous posts - these are sellers using their real names to lodge their concerns.

Comments (28) | Leave Comment | Permalink
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Perminate Link for With Billions of Dollars, eBay Shortchanges Payments Support   With Billions of Dollars, eBay Shortchanges Payments Support

by: Disgusted This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 14 00:26:59 2021

Who in their right mind wants to pay ebay and give away items????

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by: leavingNY This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 14 01:45:12 2021

On Facebook - Ebay for business - a public forum - decided that it is OK to block me when I complained to them and was looking for answers. My legal team says this is not legal for a public forum to block me on their platform. I was on Facebook for only one year, because I was so offended by the censorship I received by Ebay. HOw many other Ebay sellers have they blocked because they are afraid of others reading a complaint about the company ? I have been selling on Ebay for 18 years. I am so disgusted and discouraged by the way I am treated by Ebay, my goal is to get my inventory sold and get off Ebay as soon as possible. I need to stop the anxiety and severe depression Ebay has caused over the years. I won't give them over 5k per month for being treated so badly. I have no use for Facebook.  

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by: Calling You Out This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 15 05:14:53 2021

I ask a serious question of all of you that can not get in touch with customer service. Are any of you using a 1-877 - xxx- xxxx phone number to reach Ebay customer service? Customer support department for Anchor Store subscribers? Concierge services?

An Ebay executive gave me the phone number. When I call that number I always reach a courteous English speaking customer service agent in Utah. They always answer within just a very few minutes (3-5-7 minutes at the most). They have always been able to resolve any and all issues immediately.

When I was placed into Managed Payments, I too, had some issues, but was put in contact with the MP dept. immediately and the issue was resolved in just minutes.

The majority of my most recent calls to them were to have a few dozen negative feedback for late delivery removed due to the USPS total crash and burn during the 4th qtr of 2020. Always professional courteous and near instantaneous results.

Possibly it is due to my higher volume of sales or subscribing to the Anchor Store, or maybe due to me having been a seller on Ebay for 22 years, but for me, Ebay customer service has been a very pleasant and efficient experience.

I am sorry so many are having such problems. Ebay has been a true partner of my business for many years now. I expect that to be the same for many more years to come.

Another solution is to become friends on facebook with all of the executives that are easily accessible. That has also been a quick way to have access to the various ebay departments that you may need to contact. Just send a private message to one of these people.

Ranting, raving and complaining does nothing to resolve your issues.

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This user has validated their user name. by: unsuck
Web Site

Mon Feb 15 08:37:13 2021

1) Back in 2017, eBay's Wendy Jones committed that, "eBay will make the concierge-level service standard in 12 - 18 months."

🔗 http://bit.ly/2Ov3Cb2

2) In 2018, Devin Wenig and Paul Pressler awarded Wendy Jones with $11 Million in bonuses, including an $8 million "retention" bonus, ostensibly to keep Jones from bailing to more lucrative pastures.

🔗 https://bit.ly/3aidouO

3) To the best of our knowledge, Jones was allowed to depart with her "retention" bonus millions (still, it was probably worth it to say "adios" to Jones).

🔗 https://bit.ly/3praFDr

4) As most are aware, MP CS support isn't the only eBay channel with problems and budget-cutting, C2C sellers (and buyers) regularly complain of waiting hours for call-backs or half day or more for replies via social support channels.

5) Not only is eBay failing to invest in MP customer onboarding while spending billions on buy-backs (and millions on dividends), but EBAY continues cost-cutting measures as evidenced by the 70 bps YoY G&A cost-control reductions (on-point comments above about support = cost center)

🔗 https://bit.ly/3rZn7Mn (slide 8 of EBAY's Q4 '20 investor deck)

6) As covered by ECB, eBay rolled-out an paid experts program in the UK last year.

Last November we expressed hope this pilot would be rolled-out to the US at some point in the future, though offloading in-house and outsourced CS has a number of pros and cons.. It appears eBay is doing so with a semi-stealth US launch (with extremely limited contact types at this point).

🔗 https://bit.ly/3dsfURl
🔗ebay.to/3diAALg (eBay community forum thread with discussion from several eBay community experts)

ACC also has a number of comments/observations (after reviewing the Limitless material and eBay pitch) in her Twitter timeline worth checking out.

🔗 https://twitter.com/acc7561

Perminate Link for With Billions of Dollars, eBay Shortchanges Payments Support   With Billions of Dollars, eBay Shortchanges Payments Support

by: Denny This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Feb 15 10:20:48 2021

To lessthanthreerecords likely a wrong number and she just felt bad for you. Hence your surprises.

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 15 10:47:23 2021

I always get good response from Ebay twitter.  They are courteous and very helpful.  As for the Customer Support callbacks - they usually call me back within an hour.  I appreciate EB's CS, compared to AMZ, which is the failed and pitiful Seller Support.  AKA the "robot" workers.

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by: acc756 This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Feb 15 21:00:08 2021

@ Calling You Out - for more general issues or anything not related to Managed Payments, Concierge service is still doing fairly well in my experience.

As Unsuck pointed out though, Wendy Jones said that would be the standard experience across eBay in 12-18 months back in 2017 and well, we all know the end of that story.

As a larger business seller, with a subscription that comes with Concierge support, it would be easy for me to just bury my head in the sand on this one, but the pleas of desperate sellers on the eBay community and across social media are difficult to ignore....and the silence from eBay is often deafening, especially on anything related to Managed Payments.

Please ask those executives on Facebook what sellers who have had thousands of dollars in payouts on hold for months should do.  I'd be willing to bet the answer will be some version of "request a callback from the Managed Payments team" - which is what many sellers have been told for weeks or months without any resolution to their issues, even when they do finally get a call back.

I too experienced fairly easy access to MP support back when I enrolled in August 2020. I also understand that my experience 6 months ago may bear little resemblance to the experiences many sellers are facing today.

It doesn't have to be an all or nothing, black or white issue for me.  I can acknowledge (and be grateful) that I am not experiencing some of these difficulties while also empathizing with other sellers who are.

The way customer service in general is being handled by eBay right now is not OK in my opinion - even if it doesn't affect me personally at this exact moment.

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This user has validated their user name. by: unsuck
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Thu Mar 11 10:57:38 2021

In a Twitter rant that has to be seen to be believed, eBay's VP ''Buyer Experience'' (''Harry Temkin'' for buyers?) Bradford Shellhammer rants to retailer Lowes and ZLINE Kitchen about their lack of phone support for his broken oven:

Bradford Shellhammer (@youngbradford): ''@ZLINEKitchen @Lowes
it is unacceptable that you do not have phone support for 3 month old overn that just stopped working.''

🔗 https://bit.ly/30CmzQU

It's hard to imagine a much more out-of-touch rant by an eBay exec as buyers continue to express their frustrations at their inability to call-in to eBay directly.

What does this Shellhammer guy do, exactly ?
How is it possible he's this far removed from his own buyer's awful eBay CX?

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