|Fri Mar 16 2012 12:01:19|
eBay Buyers Pet Peeve: Can't Ask Seller a Question
By: Ina Steiner
One of the biggest pet peeves I hear from buyers is the inability to ask certain eBay sellers a question. A buyer who writes to me regularly wrote today to say he encountered an eBay listing for a $550 camera lens. "Well, isn't this cute - Seller has ONE item listed, has feedback for 7 sales over the past year - and a buyer can't contact them to clarify condition? Pass this foolishness along to the new eBay guy!"
He wrote back after contacting eBay and said a customer service agent confirmed that the seller had blocked questions.
eBay began allowing sellers to change their settings to block shoppers from asking questions a few years ago in response to higher-volume sellers who did not want to get bogged down corresponding with eBay shoppers. The following screenshot explains the process for asking sellers questions and states, "Note: Not all sellers accept questions before you buy an item, but all sellers accept questions after you've bought an item."
When you go through the "Ask a Question" process for one of these sellers, if their FAQs don't answer your question, you receive the following message:
"We're sorry we couldn't find an answer for you. Unfortunately, due to the high volume of messages this seller receives, they are unable to respond to your specific question right now. We suggest reviewing the item again to see if your answer is in the seller's listing."
The buyer who contacted me wrote, "First, the "High Volume ..." is dishonest and misleading. Nice lady (the eBay rep) says more and more sellers use it and doesn't think most eBay buyers mind the block. When I suggested an auto bold red insert in the listing "This Seller Does Not Accept Inquiries" she thought that might hurt sales."
I receive buyer emails like his periodically. If you're an eBay seller who blocks questions from shoppers, could this be hurting your sales without you realizing it?
Is it a bad buying experience if you can't ask a seller a question, and are sellers who do accept questions from shoppers hurt by those who don't? Is this so very different from policies on other marketplaces? Let us know where you stand, as a buyer and as a seller.