Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Mar 25 2013 21:53:36

How Should eBay Compensate Sellers for Last Week's Meltdown?

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay sent an email to sellers on Monday to provide information about last week's meltdown that caused listings from 10,000 sellers to disappear. The letter promised sellers compensation.

Since the glitch, I've been hearing from sellers who were impacted. For 12 hours, they were completely in the dark about what was happening. eBay then posted a notice on its announcement board, and sellers were uncertain as to whether they should relist the missing listings or wait in case eBay relisted the items.

The problem intensified on Friday as sellers tried to figure out which of their listings eBay had put back online, and which ones were missing.

"I was thinking I only had about 2600 listing up, but Ebay keeps posting more on my account," a seller emailed me on Friday. "Now I could have been wrong about the number as I don't always have it memorized. But I have to do some investigating and make sure they aren't bringing back listings that I closed because I was out of stock or whatever my reason might have been. So far they have brought back a couple hundred listings and they are still coming. What a damn mess !!!"

Another seller wrote that all of his listings were back up as of 5:00 am Friday morning. But, he wrote, "I did manually relist my best sellers and now they are double listed. I'm sure that's some sort of eBay policy violation." (It is - eBay prohibits duplicate listings.)

Another seller who provided regular updates as to what was happening with her listings wrote to me on Sunday. "Yesterday they told me not to relist that they would relist my auctions, but they couldn't tell me when. I just called again, and he told me that they will not be relisting them, that I should relist them and they will credit me the fees. I asked why they don't update their announcements or send an email, and he couldn't tell me why. This is horrible, and basically, I am losing a weeks pay because of this and they don't care."

Reading about the compensation to sellers is telling how serious the problem was - eBay rarely issues refunds in cases of technical glitches or outages. I also found it quite interesting that no one signed the letter sent to sellers - it's signed, "Sincerely, eBay Selling Team" - a departure from eBay's old culture where executives signed their names to such notices.

Here's the letter eBay sent to sellers impacted by the meltdown.

Dear (seller name)
We wrote you late last week to let you know about a software issue on Wednesday, March 20 that mistakenly ended some of your listings and may have temporarily hidden others from search. As promised, this is the follow-up on what eBay is doing.

Our teams have been hard at work around the clock to rectify this quickly and get your listings restored:

- The software issue was fixed Wednesday within a few hours of when it happened.

- Hidden listings were restored to view by midnight PST that same day.

- Most ended listings have now been automatically relisted. Note we did NOT automatically relist your multi-variation fixed price listings, and we did not relist your auction-style listings if you had more than 35 auctions ended.

We know there can be concerns about inventory management for multi-variation listings, and that it can be disruptive to your service to have a large number of auction-style listings all ending at once. That's why, in these cases, we've chosen not to automatically relist without consulting you first. One of our customer support representatives is reaching out to you personally to help you get this inventory relisted as quickly and easily as possible.

Meanwhile, if you prefer to relist any of these items on your own you are free to do so. The automated relisting process is now complete. If you have items that were not relisted, you can find them in My eBay, purchase history, unsold items to relist.

Either way, there will be no adverse impact on your standing in Best Match search, your seller feedback, or standards.

Here are a few additional steps we will take to do the right thing for our sellers:

- You'll be issued a credit for two times the insertion and any advanced listing upgrade fees for all impacted listings.

- If we did relist any auction-style listings on your behalf, we scheduled them to end at the same time of day (not necessarily on the same day of the week) as the original listings. In that case you will also see a credit for the scheduled listing fee charged as part of the listing restoration process.

- We are refunding final value fees for any hidden auction-style listings that ended naturally during or within an hour of the time the time they were impacted (Wednesday, March 20, 10:00 am PST- Thursday, March 21, 1:00 am PST).

These refunds should be reflected in your next eBay invoice.

Again, we apologize for any inconvenience. As always, thank you for selling on eBay.
Sincerely,
eBay Selling Team


Let us know what you think of the compensation eBay is promising these sellers.




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Readers Comments

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Mon Mar 25 23:33:41 2013

Before I choke and say ebafia finally did something right, I'll wait to hear from affected sellers just how well or even of they were compensated fairly.

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by: AuctionMonkey This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 25 23:47:00 2013

This sounds like a really positive step!! I know generally all I think it "blah blah horrible eBay, being horrible!" but their plan to fix the issue is pretty good. Sure, some people will have lost sales, but seeming no one sells much these days the real loss is in the fees :) Good on them!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Tue Mar 26 00:03:50 2013

Is there any word on whether this meltdown had any effect at all on the corporate or ''diamond'' sellers... or was it limited to the rank-and-file sellers only?

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by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 26 00:20:38 2013

ebay 'paid' with listings that occupy the same FINITE SPACE that all sellers paid for.   True compensation out of ebay's pocket and should not add adverse impact to small American sellers listings in the search.

Ebay need to compensate all of us for hiding our listing all these years.
And stop charging fees if listings are still hidden from buyers.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Mar 26 02:45:50 2013

Speaking for myself, as one of the sellers impacted by this problem, this does nothing to address the ghost listings.  The listings that went MIA for the better part of a day.  These aren't the listings they deleted, but the listings that were still there, but no one could see.  There doesn't appear to be any consideration for those.

Then the other problem that happened was where listings were actually deleted.  Those they had to relist and make no mistake, they did not get those back anywhere near as quickly as the ghost listing.  For those listings it took up to 4 days to get them back.

Using the example given above and 200 listings x 5 cents [premium store rate] = $10.00 x 2 = $20.00

Really, that's it.  

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by: Deltamaster This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 26 07:53:57 2013

Certianly no one expected eBay to offer any meaningful compensation to those effected by this now did they?

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by: vman This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 26 09:25:12 2013

Ebay still sucks.  Most of my listings that were taken down were free listings.  So refunding double of nothing is nothing.  I lost my personal time relisting auctions that Ebay didn't relist. as well as sales.  Ebay is just throwing a bone and they know it.  I plan on calling today and asking for better compensation.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Mar 26 09:37:01 2013

It isn't even a bone, it's a piece of kibble.

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This user has validated their user name. by: askalice59

Tue Mar 26 11:04:46 2013

The term 'hidden listings' in the letter is telling...

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Mar 26 11:16:55 2013

@askalice59

You may not have had the opportunity to read all that was publicized about this particular problem on Ebay.  This doesn't have anything to do with what is commonly known as Rolling Blackouts.

This was sometime of software meltdown that affected 10,000 + Sellers.  It was a two fold problem.

First was the hidden/ghost/MIA listings.  This all started last Wednesday.  These listings were restored before the day was over.  While they were still active, no one could see them.

The second portion of this problem was the closed listing.  Many listings got closed by Ebay.  The relisting of those listings took Ebay about 4 days to completely recover as far as they could recover them.  Some were done by the sellers themselves.

This is all related to an email received by the affected sellers saying we had exceeded our selling limits.  Not true, but it was part of the software meltdown.

Just a short explaination of a few days that some sellers are still trying to recover from.

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This user has validated their user name. by: askalice59

Tue Mar 26 12:55:58 2013

Marie
Does the fact that listings could even BE hidden seem weird to you? Was the cause of all this a programming glitch involving eBay trying to hide listings? I read this site everyday. I am well advised on eBay's issues.

If you get to caught up in the minutia you will fail to see the big picture. I'm not meaning that the losses sellers have endured are trivial in the least bit.

''...commonly known as ''Rolling Blackouts''? This is like trying to explain our existence using ''The Five Classic Elements''. Over time and with further observations and data we reach some more realistic conclusions about our existence. Do you see the wizard behind the curtain Dorothy?

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Mar 26 13:01:50 2013

I was only trying to explain to you that it had to due with non existant selling limits.  You are entitled to believe whatever you choose.  I am one of the many sellers caught up in this and am intimately aware of what transpired.

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 26 13:39:07 2013

@ASKALICE--

There is something at the back of my brain that is telling me that when you go to list an item there is some sort of "Escape Clause" that ebay has in the very fine print about how your listings:::

"Might not show up for "X" time after the list time and start / end times will not ness be what YOU think they will be and oh yeah we will HIDE any "duplicate" auctions if we wanna".  

Now I am sure it doesn't read EXACTLY that way but you get the gist and can go check if you want.  So--yes;  ebay HAS the ability to "Hide" listings and does it ALL THE TIME.  Now--

That said---this appears to be ONLY for Suzy Small Seller who will be slapped with a Duplicate Listing Violation and possibly SHUT DOWN long before ebay admits to hiding her auctions;; and NOT for some one from the other side of the planet listing cell phone screen cleaners 10,000 listings of the same thing every day.

Please don't kill me if I am wrong on the number of cell phone screen cleaners listed by our friends in Shen Zhen.  IT could be 100,000,000 for all *I* know.  

The point it---it is NOT the same for Suzy Small Seller vs Shen Zhen Industrial Giants.

And the fact that ebay ADMITS this is a bit--chilling.  The hiding and breakdown in their system that is.  Now any system can break down--it is the RESPONSE to the problem that is the measure of the companies devotion to their CUSTOMERS--the sellers--and to ALL of their customers alike.  

And to toss out such a SMALL bone---not really giving ME much confidence here.  What if anything DID Shen Zhen Industrial Giants GET by way of "compensation" here?  OR--were they affected at ALL?  

Inquiring minds want to know.  Perhaps Ina can find out.  

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

Wed Mar 27 09:58:29 2013

Most of my listings have been hidden from search for years.
Ebay,if it isn't broke,dont fix it.
Simples.

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by: Will This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 27 11:31:34 2013

Expect compensation for something like this to not happen again in the future. Once *all* listings are free on the insertion side, all bets are off.

To those that think it's so great to have all listings be free to insert, be careful what you wish for. At that point, nobody will have a leg to stand on, if and when, an issue arises.

Yes, it's eBay's playground and all that, but at least one could have a voice to a small claims court in the event of eBay screwing around with listings exposure. Not any longer.

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by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 27 17:28:06 2013

ebay way of 'compensation' is another shameful act of corporate greed.  We all know, it is not only the listing fees were involved.   It is the money @  Present Value.  There is also value of lost opportunity cost.  There is also hardship cost to others. Just giving free listings is definitely a shamefule corporate conduct.  

Compounding the problem is the likely cause of the disaster.  ebay is likely gaming with hidding listings, bulk deletion of sellers' listings and caping small American seller selling limit.  

If I were a Judge, there should be monetary damage + a huge punitive damage.  Additional punitive damage on handing out fake 'compensation'.

Ebay free listing 'compensation' only exacerbate small American sellers listings visibility.  Asking small American sellers to give free donkey rides to those affected is wrong.

One way to properly compensate affected sellers is handing out cash matching their daily profit loss.  

If ebay doesn't truly compensate affected sellers, there won't be any remorse on ebay's part and ebay mischieves would be repeated again and again.








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

Tue Sep 17 17:43:15 2013

Donahoe should step down and every high level executive including uncle Grief should also step down. This place is ran by a bunch of kids that have nothing but disdain for it's users. I think there should also be an investigation with all the fraudulent vehicle fraud happening on eBay Motors.



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