|Wed Jan 9 2013 21:45:59|
eBay Overstates Selling Prices in Search Results
By: Ina Steiner
In some cases, eBay is overstating the selling prices of items that have sold on its marketplace. The problem, which affects Completed Item searches, was revealed last month by an EcommerceBytes reader, but the apparent glitch has yet to be acknowledged or corrected by eBay.
Last year, sellers noticed some apparent glitches with items that had not sold having a "sold" banner appearing on them, so anyone perusing sold items would think the sell through rate was higher than it actually was. That issue has since been fixed.
Last month, a reader discovered another problem - an antiques mall that had sold some of her items on eBay had reported a selling price lower than what she was seeing on eBay. Luckily she clicked through to the listings, where the prices were accurate, unlike those shown in search results.
This vase sold on eBay for $850, but eBay shows the selling price as $1,400 in its Completed Item search results.
After publishing her letter in the EcommerceBytes Letters to the Editor blog, commentors noted that it the pricing problem seemed to appear only when there was a Best Offer associated with the listing.
Today, a reader reached out to me to say that her research showed it is indeed a problem with the Best Offer feature. If you do a Completed Item search on eBay, sort by price (highest price first), then scroll down noting the selling prices in green, you will occasionally see a price that is out of order.
It appears that eBay is displaying the original price the seller offered for the item before accepting the lower "Best Offer."
For example, I looked for a Fenton vase in Completed Items, sorted by price, and scrolled down til I found a listing for $1,400 tucked in with all the other listings that had ended. Sure enough it actually sold for $850 - $550 lower than the $1,400 shown in eBay search results. It seems seller accepted a Best Offer from a buyer.
The seller who contacted me today said the inaccurate pricing was misleading to both buyers and sellers doing pricing research on eBay.
"It's outright deceptive, it's not the price it sold at," she said. And she was also concerned whether eBay was using the inaccurate figures in their reports to shareholders, "which is a much more serious picture," she said.
Whatever the source of the problem, the lesson from these recent inaccuracies is clear: when doing research on eBay, double check everything - including the sold status and ending price.