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."
"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.