Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Nov 5 2012 22:20:03

HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay

By: Ina Steiner

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Danny Hone, aka HoneVille, had no idea when he listed some closeout tshirts on eBay for $7.95 with free shipping that it would end up causing him major headaches. His intent in offering the shirts cheap was to shake things up a bit, but it resulted in seven negative feedback from buyers who demanded he pay for return shipping, not part of his return policy.

Hone said eBay's Trust & Safety agreed with him that the negative feedback was extortion and should be removed, but they have yet to remove the negs.

In today's newsletter, Hone explains why he believes building his business on eBay was like building a house out of straw on the sand. While he'll continue selling on eBay, he's determined to spend more time investing in his website, HoneVille.com, and use paid search to drive traffic to his listings.

Why didn't he spend more time on his own website? He said eBay's constant changes kept him too busy - for example, he spent over 3,000 hours this year revising pictures on eBay to comply with its new picture policy.

Read the EcommerceBytes interview with Danny Hone in Tuesday's newsletter for a peek inside the challenges of selling on eBay.




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay   HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Mon Nov 5 22:45:01 2012

Honestly, I think seller who ever spent any time in the eBay Stores discussion board certainly will feel no pity for Danny (aka Honeville).

On more than one occasion when a thread full of sellers were complaining about poor sales and intolerable eBay policies Danny would always pop up and rub salt in open wounds and brag how great his sales were.

I'm so sick of people who tow the line for eBay and blame other sellers for bad situations, then cry like babies when they fall victim to the same poor eBay policies.



Perminate Link for HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay   HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay

by: blaumann This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 5 23:52:54 2012

stating the obvious.

Perminate Link for HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay   HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay

by: lonestar This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 5 23:52:58 2012

Spartacus nailed it.  Took the words right out of my mouth.

Perminate Link for HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay   HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: eBankrupted

Mon Nov 5 23:54:28 2012

Selling on ebay is like playing Russian roulette with one in the chamber. Cheerleading for ebay on the discussion boards is Russian roulette with a full chamber.

Perminate Link for HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay   HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay

by: tny681 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 5 23:56:16 2012

Its fairly clear after reading this article why the seller in question has encountered road blocks.  If the reader is unable to recognize fundamental flaws in the sellers numbers, philosophy, attitude, they will only be destined for the same fate.  Beware of those who advertise their various shortcomings and learn from such.

Perminate Link for HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay   HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 6 00:09:16 2012

I don't spend much time reading the ebay Boards altho there are a few I have read.  And I am not familiar with HoneVille.

But the problem is NOT whether or not some one dared to stop by a Forum and express an opinion there about how GOOD his business was doing on a day when YOUR business might have been in a bad place.

The issue HERE is that once again ebay's unrealistic expectations and bizarre policies and utter contempt and hatred for it's OWN CUSTOMERS has destroyed a business.

Now I SELL clothing.  Generally used clothing.  And I KNOW that the biggest problem is EXACTLY as HoneVille says--the Touch factor.

But imagine you are standing in the return line at---Nordstroms.  What do you SEE being returned?  A smattering of random goods and--a ton of CLOTHING.  And that is AFTER the buyer TOUCHED AND TRIED the stuff IN THE STORE.  Now some might be for a family member who did not get to try it in the store.  OR for some flaw only discovered at home.  But most is just---change of heart.  Buyers remorse.  Didn't match the item in the closet at home.  

And so they bring it back.  And--no one asks or EXPECTS the store to re-imburse them for their GAS when they return this stuff!  Just as they did not expect the store to PAY them to shop there in the first place---which is after all what FREE SHIPPING is.  

But what ebay has in typical knee jerk fashion done is to try and force this alternate reality on sellers--FREE SHIPPING--or else!   Accept ALL returns--now and forever--OR ELSE!   Shell out for RETURN SHIPPING--OR ELSE.  

And no one is "rating" Nordstroms on the number of returns in the hateful way ebay is rating it's OWN customers--the sellers.  Oh I am very sure Nordstroms etc are always trying to make the number of returns LESS.  But aiming for ZERO and having a miniscule percent of buyers able to bring their sales to a skreeching halt?  Only ebay could be this assinine.

IF I was HoneVille I might actually see if I could get an attorney to write a letter citing ebays OWN STATED POLICY about BLACKMAIL and EXTORTION and see what happened.  And contacting the New York Times THE HAGGLER might do some good too.   And calling back--over and over and over if needed--might at least get some satisfaction on getting these NEG's removed.

And congrats on building your own site!!!!!!!!!  

Just recently I got an email from ebay telling ME that they are "looking our for me" and that they had removed a buyers DSR 1's from my listings.  Gee I was thankful--no really I AM.  But--there never should BE a situation where this transaction is so one sided.  And ebay FORCED this down our throats and now we are all reaping the sowing of this.

Can't anyone see their way to making an online sales and auction venue that WORKS?????

Perminate Link for HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay   HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay

by: everygoodthing This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 6 00:25:50 2012

Honeville, if you're not selling tee shirts on Amazon, you should be.  And forget FB ads...you'd be better off creating a fb page for Honeville and getting your customers to 'like' it...you could offer special deals, etc there. Free, and just a little time invested! I know several sellers who have made the switch to Amazon and their sales (apparel - one t-shirts!) have gone through the roof since they started. Out pacing ebay easily.  

You're right - with all the constant changes ebay throws out, along with the ridiculous DSRs that only take a very few or one disgruntled customer to bring you down, it's getting hard to appreciate the ebay market. My customers are usually very easy to deal with - and we are very attentive...but we've all had that one customer who is just out to see what they can get because they do know the system.  Ebay's a good place to draw customers...but convert them to your website or send them to Amazon.

BTW...if you're printing your own tees, be sure to use only good quality blanks. I know what they cost...and I know how the cheap ones feel.  Don't go there. Raise your prices if necessary to cover a better quality tee.

Just some friendly advice.  Good luck with your business.  Let's hope there aren't any more ugly ebay changes in store for us next quarter!

Perminate Link for HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay   HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Tue Nov 6 00:33:16 2012

I quit selling on eBay in May. From May 2011 through May 2012, I had 3800+ feedback, 0 negatives and 2 neutrals. This guy's got 21 negs and 24 neutrals out of 500 transactions.

In that time, I never had a buyer file a case, however, whenever I could tell a buyer was fishing for trouble, I'd just send them a full refund and add them to my block list. All in all, it cost me $100 in refunds to maintain perfect feedback.

Danny claims to be making $160,000 to $200,000 per year. I don't see how, with his average item price around $10 and 2500 feedback, doesn't add up for me but if it did, wouldn't it have been better to send refunds to those 20-30 buyers, a grand total of $200-$300 to maintain a perfect rating?

Sorry, but Danny is just a poor businessman.

As an example, just look at this listing....

http://www.ebay.com/itm/T-shirt-WIN-Hebrews-Christi
an-/120450230997

First
off, there is no item description in text, it's all an image.

Second, pandering to religion or politics is a novice mistake. I personally would never, ever, ever buy from someone who is openly stating they are a Christian any more than I would buy from somebody who said they are voting for Mitt Romney.

Dumb, dumb, dumb...

If you make business personal, you open yourself to people with personality disorders who cling to the smallest iota of connection to love or hate you.

My dad and grandpa taught me, be nice, be helpful but give them a pat on the ass out the door.

Perminate Link for HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay   HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay

by: Brainiac jones This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 6 00:34:35 2012

I'm glad that Hone has finally 'wised up' as for the longest time I would read his posts where he urged all to be practical and work with the changes that eBay put in place.

Finally he has seen the light!

Ha ha--glad to see. Our own business ion eBay continues apace without serious difficulties and we manage to make yearly sales of $40k or much more, it appears, depending. Wouldn't mind earning $160k a year--I could get a raise, but circumstances won't allow for that.

Perminate Link for HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay   HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay

by: scissors This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 6 00:36:40 2012

OK bragging rights aside in the forums, why are we as sellers not taking our power back in mass?
I never miss an opportunity to complain about the TSR situation ever. No matter what I call in about I talk to the CS rep about it - multiple items are the issue and shipping costs for me. They have no system in place for first class items rolling over into priority - meaning when you buy so many items suddenly now your cost becomes priority and no one but no one reads listings and waits for an invoice, thus the 11 percent shipping rates apply. Oh they tell me they know about the problem and they also tell me they are losing sellers left and right.
 So why are we not all calling and complaining all of the time?? How many would it take before they took action? I have brought up offering a system like prime shipping on Amazon. A pop up to buyers about waiting for an invoice. All kinds of ideas and suggestions. Today I was told they may implement the pop up on the invoice - time will tell.
 But in mass we have power. Complaining here well what does it really do? I too have started selling elsewhere and will put up a site after the holiday rush. I am over the 200,000 mark this year but the big business still is on ebay. Amazon owns the biggest company in the world for what I sell but it will not stop me from trying them after the holidays. I also mention this every time I call in. They know Etsy is cutting into their business - I remind them of this each time I call in for the same reason. Its the new ebay and they dang well know it. So why are we not all telling them this? Power comes in mass and ebay needs us all to get on the stick and tell them now.
Just my thoughts - they even have someone calling me tomm to see what else they can do for me. It might be too late after the holidays but for now I will take whatever they can do to take care of the TSR issue. I too am a one person operation and am so sick of this bs feedback situation. I encourage you all to take back the power we have in mass.

Perminate Link for HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay   HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay

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

Tue Nov 6 00:44:20 2012

Sellers must understand that eBay/Amazon/etc are just tools to make sales and not a "lifestyle".  

Perminate Link for HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay   HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Tue Nov 6 00:50:19 2012

823,856 items listed and 2627 total feedback over the last year would have been my first clue eBay is a disaster.

@scissors - I left eBay and Amazon back in May for my own site where I set my own policies. I'm spending 1/10th of my previous fees on Google Adsense and Shopping but my sales are up and now I have several other people selling through my site for a modest commission.

eBay and Amazon are publicly traded companies, they will always do whatever they can to please shareholders. The smart merchants are moving towards niche sites with co-op search advertising. After looking at eBay again today, the new changes, the site is a freaking mess. Anybody selling on eBay is destined for failure.

Perminate Link for HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay   HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: JusTrains

Tue Nov 6 05:12:50 2012

tny681: didn't get it.
comet: did get it.

btw... I just did a seller search for HoneVille on eBay and there is nothing there now. Zip. Nadda. Ziltch.

I also had problems. 7 appeals in 2010 both online and delivered by messenger. They ignored them all. I did however get a CSR tell me that if I would pursue this to court, they would removed the negs & restore my Powerseller & TRS status. But I had to file in court first. They weren't interested in contesting it. How about them apples, huh?

Perminate Link for HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay   HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay

by: salesrep1 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 6 06:36:09 2012

Its honeville1 and there are 824607 listings.

Perminate Link for HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay   HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Nov 6 07:36:03 2012

Comet nailed it:  "The issue HERE is that once again ebay's unrealistic expectations and bizarre policies and utter contempt and hatred for it's OWN CUSTOMERS has destroyed a business."

Sounds like so many others, Honeville will soon be Goneville.  Ebay do not value their customers.

Perminate Link for HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay   HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay

by: HardWorkingSeller This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 6 07:44:58 2012

Seems like HoneVille made a tactical error in continuing to sell a line with a quality issue that wasn't consistent with the brand that he is trying to establish.  A better approach might have been to sell off those under a different eBay ID (which you're prepared to have lower DSR scores on) and not to jeopardize TRS status on the primary account.

I never sell anything that I thing there's even a small chance of a neg or neutral FB (eg. RMAs/spares-repair items) under my main ID.  I'd rather pay 50c for a listing under a low volume ID than to pay 5c under my main ID if that avoids risking compromising my metrics.

It's just part of optimizing your operations to suit the way that eBay works.

Perminate Link for HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay   HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay

by: Theresa This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 6 08:27:21 2012

For $7.95 a shirt, I'm guessing he could not have had more than a buck or two invested in each shirt.  Add in shipping cost and ebay fees and maybe he cleared a dollar or so per sale.  IMO, I would never have asked for these flawed shirts to be returned.  I would have just sent refunds and been done with it.  (And as one poster stated, I would have avoided the entire mess by not offering poor quality close-out items under my primary seller ID to start with.)  Lesson learned.

Perminate Link for HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay   HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: MJRock

Tue Nov 6 08:51:12 2012

Here's my method on DSR's and Feedback.  If there is any hint of aggression or stupidity on a customers part either before or after a sale . . .  BLOCK BLOCK BLOCK them!  

Anytime I get a question from a potential buyer before a sale, I will first check the feedback they leave for others.  If they have a habit of leaving neutral or negative feedback, BLOCK BLOCK BLOCK them before they have a chance to buy your item!

Once I receive a sale, I will first check the feedback a buyer leaves sellers.  If they have a history of negs, I will BLOCK BLOCK BLOCK them from further transactions, then I will baby them all through the sale.  After they receive the item, I will check with them to make sure everything is OK and encourage positive feedback.  Once they leave a positive, I'm done with them.  If they leave a neutral or negative, I offer to give them a complete refund no questions asked if they change the feedback.  Most will go for that (of course), but any low DSR's they left will not be changed . . .  

I received my first neg after 7 years selling, and it was from an idiot who leaves EVERYONE he purchased from negative feedback.  His remarks in feedback were : great item!   . . . fast shipping!   etc.  Just out of sheer stupidity this customer would leave everyone with negs.  BLOCK BLOCK BLOCK on the first sign of this . . . I also had low DSR's that month, and it had to be from this same seller.  

The feedback system is BROKE, and I refuse to use it anymore.  I will not leave feedback unless a customer requests it.  I've learned that leaving feedback probably automates an email to the customer REMINDING them to leave feedback, and I DON'T WANT THEM TO!

Just this year alone, I've probably lost a few thousand dollars in sales, because I refuse to deal with aggressive or stupid buyers by BLOCK BLOCK BLOCKing them.  In turn, eBay loses transaction fees. Some may feel that losing that much money is not worth blocking so many people, but it is either that or get suspended from eBay and loose everything . . .

Bottom line, BLOCK BLOCK BLOCK!  I'm getting close to the 5000 member name block limit, don't know what I'll do when I get to that point . . .

Perminate Link for HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay   HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Tue Nov 6 08:51:54 2012

All of the controversial issues and bragging rights aside. I find the article fascinating as to the logic of a small retailer and how crises and perceived solutions are managed.

A follow-up within a year or 2 may be more enlightening.

That's if we all can survive as sellers.....

Perminate Link for HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay   HoneVille Becomes Disillusioned with eBay

by: minibeesknees This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 6 08:52:31 2012

I am on the stores board but do not have the same reaction to Hone posting that some others seem to have. I want to hear someone is doing well...I'm not wasting my time reading dozens of posts that do nothing but complain about low sales. At least Danny would do something and not just complain.  Did he make mistakes?  Possibly...it is not up to me to determine what is a mistake, and what isn't.  I'm an itty-bitty seller compared to Hone-investing far less time into my endeavor but I have lower goals.  I achieve my goals which satisfies me, and I'm the only one I have to satisfy.  I've always believed I sold in spite of ebay, not because of them. Hone sums up ebay's shortcomings in one word: unstable. I've been selling on ebay since 1998 and they have lost me too-for more then one reason but the biggest one is the risk that every minute you spend trying to better your situation is wasted if only a few folks can ruin everything.  I find it amazing that buyers have not revolted, but maybe they have as evidenced by so many complaining of low sales. The ebay belief that they can continue to raise costs that sellers are just supposed to pass on to buyers paired with the continuous tinkering with the site that improves nothing but requires more seller time investment which results in less profit that takes longer to generate...has to have some point at which each of us come to realize that selling on ebay just isn't worth it.

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