Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Jan 8 2014 20:22:13

eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

Buyers can be excused for being impatient for their orders, but eBay should not be excused for allowing black marks to be placed on a seller's account because its own automated systems can't detect days that the post office is closed.

A seller on the eBay discussion board explained how she tried unsuccessfully to get eBay to remove a low mark on her shipping time DSR in October. Recently she finally realized that the buyer and eBay were both counting the Columbus Day holiday as a valid shipping day.

The buyer had purchased the item on a Sunday and expected the seller to get the package in the mail the next day - when in fact the post office was closed thanks to the holiday.

The seller said she then tried again and was able to get through to a Trust & Safety supervisor who acknowledged the problem and removed the low DSR from her account. The seller said the supervisor told her eBay's system was at fault in not recognizing Columbus Day as a postal holiday.

One has to wonder how many times this happens where eBay's system fails to protect sellers, and even when shown a mistake, likely doesn't take action to proactively investigate other sellers who may have been impacted by the same error.

The other thing about this story that makes one want to bang one's head against the wall is the fact that this seller spent hours of her time before she was finally able to get the bad mark removed from her account. How many sellers spend fruitless hours trying to get an eBay problem resolved?

While to the casual observer it may seem like a small point and hardly worth the effort, I continue to get emails from frantic sellers whom eBay has suspended indefinitely while having what looks like pretty good feedback. While one such case had a happy ending after a hue and cry on the eBay discussion boards, that's the exception to the rule. And I've been told suspended sellers are no longer able to make a case for themselves on the boards after that fiasco was exposed through discussion threads.

The other part of this story: if eBay's system fails to account for days when the post office is closed, it could also be displaying unrealistic delivery estimates in sellers' listings - something sellers have often complained about. (eBay has yet to respond to numerous inquiries about just such an issue that arose in December.)

Is there anyone at eBay who can make sure software programmers have accounted for Sundays and postal holidays when it comes to delivery estimates and shipping-time DSRs?




Comments (56) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly   eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed Jan 8 20:59:45 2014

Broken algorithms should come as no surprise to eBay sellers - as it seems just about everything eBay does is based on an algorithm - and those automated functions fail sellers at every turn.

This issue raises some questions...

1)  How many of those previously purged sellers would still be selling if eBay's algorithm has been working properly?  

2)  How many more sellers are on the cusp of being purged due to eBay's internal malfunction?

3)  eBay knows there is a problem, so why no announcement?

4)  Is eBay going to compel sellers to search their own accounts, track holidays, research transactions and then contact eBay for untold hours to fight for feedback removals?

5)  Now that this is out in the open, is eBay's crack Seller Protection team going to take steps to protect sellers who have fallen victim to eBay's own errors?


Because of the size of the site, eBay as a company is totally dependent upon algorithms to automate processes - and as we see in this case, eBay's algorithm is faulty.

eBay's Can't See Me Search engine is driven by algorithms... are there defective algorithms in Can't See Me which are causing so many sellers to report low visibility?

eBay's picture scanning software is driven by algorithms... Are defective formulas in their software the reason pictures are rejected by eBay for no reason?

eBay's seller compliance tools are algorithm based... What bad formula is lurking in that program and how much damage has been done to sellers as a result?

Issues such as this go a long way to explain why eBay found it necessary to revise their user agreement and essentially protect themselves from class action law suits. Had eBay not granted themselves immunity, there could be untold numbers of sellers who have been impacted that would have lined up to initiate action against the company for their gross incompetence.







Perminate Link for eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly   eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly

by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 8 21:17:06 2014

Business as usual at ebay...

Perminate Link for eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly   eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly

by: brokentoys19 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 8 21:23:08 2014

@Ric
That stuff would only apply in the real world. In the ebay bizarro world it's all covered under the limitation of liabilities clause in the UA, and the "No brains allowed" policy.

Perminate Link for eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly   eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly

by: dans parts This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 8 21:31:23 2014

''How many sellers spend fruitless hours trying to get an eBay problem resolved?''

I had to pay Verizon $62.00 more this month due to minute overage because I was on the phone (mostly on hold) with eBay SOOOOO many times this month trying to get those imbeciles in CSR to transfer me up a level, since the first responders always know nothing, and just read the scripts.

I was trying to get those idiots to help with the fact that in Bulk Shipping, I'm not getting the Scan Form when printing.  After 4 phone calls and LOTS of time on the phone, I finally got some in the US to talk to, and they admitted that it is a bug, but ''it's not eBay's, it's Pitney-Bowes' problem'', and they can't do anything about it, but ''Yes, it's been reported.''

I guess that really helped me...

Perminate Link for eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly   eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly

by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 8 21:46:30 2014

It all really shouldn't matter.  
It's neither appropriate nor reasonable to be examining and judging everything that happens when someone places an order online.  

If you buy online you must not be in an hurry, because only a fool would buy online if something had to be in hand at a certain time.  If that's the way you feel give us all a break and go buy it locally.  Please.

If you buy online you have to be doing it because:

1. The price is very cheap, much cheaper than you can buy it locally. ''Only a fool would buy mail order if the price wasn't right''
2. The time you will have to wait to receive it is a secondary concern.  IMHO this should all be de-emphasized.  

That ebay is emphasizing it is inappropriate.  This is mail order, after all.  It's gonna take shipping time.  If that's not a good tradeoff for you just don't buy online. Buy locally.

Or maybe
3. You can't get it locally, or maybe anywhere else.  Since it's not something you can buy locally you shouldn't be complaining about it being shipped and that taking the time it takes.  Don't be in a hurry when buying online. It's inappropriate. Stop being a whining complainer.

Ebay has created a whole generation of whining complainers.  People who have a sense of entitlement.  Entitled to buy online and it's much cheaper than buying locally, and just as fast.  That's the whole problem. You need to either pay much more if you want it fast online, or you need to wait for shipping. I for one think all ebay sellers should have to ship within 3 working days. If someone wants it faster they should be prepared to pay.

FWIW I often order a book on Amazon, and it comes before I'd have found the time to go get it locally. And much cheaper!  

Perminate Link for eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly   eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Wed Jan 8 22:10:20 2014

Let’s face it, this organisation is run by a bunch of white-collar gangsters; they are only interested in maximizing the profit on which their “performance” bonuses are based; nothing else occupies the particularly small minds of this bunch of imbecilic sociopaths … http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Perminate Link for eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly   eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly

by: MacDuffs Cool Stuff This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed Jan 8 22:55:19 2014

I agree completely. This is exactly the reason I won't sell on eBay any longer. I feel like I'm working for them instead of myself. I now host my own online auctions and couldn't be happier. I set my own rules. All of my items for sale are vintage, there is now way I can accept returns.

Perminate Link for eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly   eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 8 23:18:06 2014

''is eBay's crack Seller Protection team going to take steps to protect sellers who have fallen victim to eBay's own errors?''
Of course not.

Perminate Link for eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly   eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly

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

Wed Jan 8 23:50:15 2014

eBay should protect sellers considering weather conditions and holidays not only when shipping and delivering but also when the order is placed. We have so many buyers who purchase on a Friday and expect packages on Tuesday because they think we ship same day or that all sellers have to ship on Saturday. So unfair, but to the buyer's eyes the negative feedbacks are only showing eBay as a problematic marketplace. Way to go eBay..

Perminate Link for eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly   eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly

by: andreaprior This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 8 23:51:29 2014

I've just finished writing a nice email to eBay Seller Protection to see if they would kindly review the low DSR's that I've received over the last 2-3 months.  I've been on eBay for 13 years and never had negative feedback or low DSR problem before.  But suddenly in this last 2-3 month period I've got 3 low DSR dings in both 'Item as described' and 'Postage Time', 2 low DSR dings in 'Communication' (and I very very rarely communicate with buyers) and 1 low DSR ding in 'Postage Costs' (95% of my items are free shipping).
eBay should really look at the fact that buyers are getting wise and leaving glowing positive feedback, but doing us sellers some serious damage with low DSR's.  I now, after 13 years on eBay, find myself close to being one of the 'bad sellers' that could get thrown off eBay.
This has been said by many before me but the eBay Seller Protection department should get rid of the DSR rating as it certainly does nothing to protect sellers.

Perminate Link for eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly   eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 9 00:59:07 2014

It isn't just ebay. It is other venues as well. Amazon with its 1 through 5 star system, leaves buyers a chance to leave lower scores such as a 4 and 2 for no reason whatsoever. It may not seem like a lot and it may not effect the final score, but please tell me what a 4 means when the buyer doesn't even leave a comment? I got one the other day, 3 MONTHS after delivery. The package had been shipped from PA on Friday and showed up in ALASKA in 3 days! Three days before even Amazon estimated it could be delivered. As I only sell new items, it couldn't have been for a SNAD thought either. I get tired of seeing buyers whether for me or others leaving pointless lower scores. If the item arrived within the time frame and was as described, what else do we have to do to get a 5? Stand on our Heads? Personally deliver items 4-5000 miles away? It doesn't make sense to me.

I don't mind having a feedback system as I do want to know what others have felt about their buying  experience with a seller.

For ebay to let their glitches to cause even more problems in their feedback is ridiculous.

Perminate Link for eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly   eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Thu Jan 9 01:06:48 2014

This is why it is risky having any items listed, whether Buy It Now or auctions ending on a Friday, Sat, any holiday including Christmas, New Years eve and day. If the buyers don't ding you, ebay will get you if tracking is not uploaded within one day of shipping. Then there is ebays unrealistic delivery times and extended return policy. So sellers not only have to jump through hoops but they have to hold their breath until all is peachy keen with the buyer.

I had this happen about a year ago with a purchase on Black Friday and ebay's CSR just stating ''Oh well'' and not doing a darn thing about it. This year I am so glad I had nothing listed on ebay two weeks before Christmas through the first of the year.  

Perminate Link for eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly   eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 9 02:16:57 2014

eBay will do absolutely nothing about this. Instead we get another half baked imitation of Amazon.

''New eBay Shipping Logistics Team Working on Lockers and Kiosks''

Perminate Link for eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly   eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 9 02:28:25 2014

I think both Bezos and the Ho spent a leeeeetle too much time watching Hunger Games and those nifty little golden orbs that delivered special items to the people in the Arena.  

Now they think these things are REAL.  

Perminate Link for eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly   eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 9 03:14:28 2014

Oops.

''Staples, RadioShack Yank Amazon Lockers From Stores''

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-18/staples-radio
shack-yank-amazon-lockers-from-stores.html

Perminate Link for eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly   eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 9 03:14:59 2014

I think it is like the gas stations on the corner. Big companies came along and wiped them out. Walmart is famous for shutting down every mom & pop store in the area and will take a loss on merchandise to do it. So the common Ebay seller is destined to naturally fall by the wayside as imports and large box stores shove them off the search page. It is e-volution of the internet market.  

Perminate Link for eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly   eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly

by: cosqueen This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 9 06:51:10 2014

The expectations from sellers set by Ebay and Amazon are unrealistic.  A seller can get the entire transaction perfect but cannot control what happens after shipment.  Buyers need to realize sellers cannot be held accountable for holiday volume and weeather and other Acts of God.  The area where I live was hit with the worst snow and temperatures in 30 years.   Roads, schools and businesses were closed and major highways shut down.  For the first time in 3 years on Amazon I received a red x in my account health, all due to late deliveries.  Amazon measures metrics for late arrivals based on tracking information.  So, the sellers are not only at the mercy of the sites we sell, but the buyers' perception of what went wrong as well, even if we can do NOTHING about weather and delivery times.  Both major sites need to be forthcoming and forgiving for the months of December and January so we can move on from the holiday fiasco of 2013.

Perminate Link for eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly   eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Jan 9 07:29:50 2014

Ric says: " eBay knows there is a problem, so why no announcement?"

eBay only make announcements when they are forced to, or embarrassed into making them.

I get my news from ecommercebytes long before I think that eBay is even where of an issue.

Perminate Link for eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly   eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly

by: doboy This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 9 08:21:29 2014

Hey, when I tell eBay more than once to fix my log in, they can't do it.  For over two years, I receive a message after logging in to replenish my Paypal account.  According to eBay, they refunded when my account did not have sufficient funds, thereby resulting in an "overdraft" situation.  Baloney.  I've complained about this for over two years.  If it doesn't bother eBay, it isn't a prolem.

Perminate Link for eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly   eBay System Mistake Allows Buyers to Ding Sellers Unfairly

by: 4news-and-me This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Jan 9 08:34:27 2014

I am having a problem with eBay also, my problem is the shipping.  In the last year I had four people give me a low star for my shipping. I use eBay's calculator and I print from eBay's label, I have no control over what the Post Office charges or what eBay's calculator comes up with, yet, I am on a low standard, my funds are being held and I may be limited.  This is not fair as far as I can see, none of it is my fault.  I have been selling on eBay since 2007 and I feel because I'm a small seller eBay wants to get rid of me.  I keep looking for another place to sell but am not having much luck, I'm on about 5 other sites and have not sold a thing.

Click to view more comments
1 2 3  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.