Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Dec 1 2015 22:36:24

What Do You Think of eBay's Advice to Holiday Shoppers?

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay sent a special email to shoppers over the holiday weekend. The subject line of the missive may have raised questions about the safety of shopping on its marketplace with the line, "The eBay way: Shop with confidence."

Inside, it provided tips to receive the "best shopping experience." That advice included looking for Top Rated Sellers and filtering search results to limit items to those offering free shipping.

eBay's third tip started off well: Check the seller's return policy. That's a reasonable thing to advise shoppers to do. But then it continued:

"If the item isn't exactly what you ordered, the eBay Money Back Guarantee may be able to help."

It's fine to showcase buyer protection, but is eBay encouraging shoppers to use it in cases of buyer's remorse?

Does eBay's advice set reasonable shopper expectations? And are those the three tips you would give to family and friends asking you for advice about shopping on eBay? 

You can read more in Wednesday's Newsflash, available here, and let us know what kind of email you'd like to see eBay send shoppers during the holiday season.




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by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 1 23:44:28 2015

Typical Ebay Speak, forked tongue...

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Dec 1 23:53:16 2015

What do I think?

I think eBay is scaring more buyers away than they are attracting each time they send out a sugar coated negative view of their own operation.

It is getting to the point that eBay actually allows, permits and condones scam artist buyers on the site because their transactions are about the only thing keeping eBay's volume above zero growth.

With eBay profiting from the costs associated with returns, there is little wonder they encourage buyers to buy - buy - buy and then return - return - return.

eBay management continues to destroy the value proposition of both buying and selling on their platform.

Investors should be very concerned as sales grind to a slow steady halt and management remains clueless and unable to effect a turn around.

About the only thing saving eBay's GMV is the fact that carriers constantly increase shipping costs coupled with the fact that sellers continue to include those costs in their selling prices.

If it were not for increased shipping costs, eBay's GMV growth rate would be hovering in the very low single digits and investors would be running from this company as quickly as their disappointed sellers.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Wed Dec 2 00:03:21 2015

Just for the simple fact that no one can find what they are looking for on eBay because the search is so messed up is in fact the real reason that buyers do not go there to purchase what they want.

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 2 00:26:28 2015

#1) What RIC said

#2) See #1


If I may add - the LAST people anyone should take advise from is the charlatans over in San Jose.

The slimy ick factor when dealing with eBay - should tell you all you need to know.

Its nice to tout top rated sellers - but what about smaller good non top rated sellers? Are they all "canon fodder" just there to fill eBays coffers?

More over the constant drum beat to be Amazon + in the returns dept is shameful.

How does a seller in collectibles or other sensitive categories handle the onslaught of returns pushed by eBay?

Not getting what you ordered is one thing, having buyers remorse is quite another.

eBay has never answered how sellers should deal with items returned in poor, used, unsaleable condition, and probably never will.

The BS of how its part of business to loose money is utter tripe. I PROMISE you if Jordan Sweetbutt didnt get his $4000 a month paycheck due to "sometimes you have toloose money and so its ok take the loss" - you know he'd be on the phone to his shyster lawyer in a NY minute.

As long as eBay doesnt take the hit - its all ok. THAT shows you they cant be trusted - therefor - ignore what they tell you since its OBVIOUSLY some kinda con .... on someone  ... usually the seller(s) they claim they are connecting with.

The ONLY connection eBay wants with you is with your wallet.  

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by: GuardianAngel This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 2 06:04:17 2015

Well, I am not a top rated seller plus and I don't offer free shipping so I guess that makes me unreliable in Ebay's standards.  So to the bottom of the search I go.  Bad seller!!!  Ebay is directing customers away from my store because I will not make shipping ''free'' by adding it back into the price of the item. My customers are not stupid.  They know the accepted price range of my merchandise and are unwilling to accept an inflated price.  I also don't take returns unless I make a mistake (which is very  rare because I have a tight grip on quality control).  The incredibly great reputation I have built and maintained for over 10 years now is being used against me.  I keep making less and less on ebay and they keep making less and less and gee! it is never their fault.  To intimate that customers should not have confidence in a seller like me and to rig search results to push me to the bottom of the pile is prejudicial and certainly illegal.   I am waiting for the day for some really smart and brave person to find how to make this actionable.  In response to ebay's prejudicial treatment against my business,  I have opened a brick and mortar store. I can no longer depend on the level of income I was making on ebay despite my great track record.  I like being my own boss. I used to feel like my own boss on ebay, but obviously no more.   I wonder if there will be a migration back to local small businesses as people get tired of companies who make you jump through more financial hoops  to play the ''How much do I have to pay to be visible on the internet'' game.  Meaning pay, not only in money, but in time and labor.  Ebay is expensive and exhausting.  Having your own business is also expensive and exhausting but less so if the game is not rigged, like on ebay.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Dec 2 07:23:20 2015

eBay doing what eBay do best--sticking their nose where it doesn't belong. No one could ever call this company a business partner, because their actions towards their sellers are ALWAYS so adversarial.

Sales are the slowest that they have ever been, so I really could care less what this company does.

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by: Mark4 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 2 08:17:16 2015

Great, ebay the site that can't keep the lights on is inviting more people to come in and get pissed off when they can't checkout or shop due to all the tech problems. perfect....

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by: ignatz This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 2 08:54:43 2015

As most have already said - the more eBay tells shoppers how easy it is to get your money back when you're disappointed, the more they're sending the message of how EASY it is to be be disappointed when you shop on ebay.

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by: rhawk This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 2 09:28:59 2015

Sometimes Ebay does not know when to just shut the pie hole.  

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by: Sonny Young This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 2 09:50:56 2015

eBay's sophomoric management is at it again. This is the only company that actually destroys its income by actively encouraging returns. The concept of ''shopping experience'' is something that a company should work on behind the scenes, not advertise. Customers don't care about your marketing strategies and cool jargon. A company's reputation comes from word of mouth and actual experience, not what it proclaims to be. eBay's desperate attempt to emulate Amazon, has driven away many of their best sellers and discouraged those that remain. This has spawned many specialty sites, like reverb and Etsy. eBay's self inflicted downward spiral is fascinating to watch. The company is by no means shutting down, but the glory days are over. Eventually, it will be just another online site, not the kingpin it once was.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Wed Dec 2 10:30:56 2015

eBay works if you work it!

I sell between $1000-$2000 a week

I usually have between 75-150 items listed

I've been in the process of moving and haven't listed anything new in over a week. My sales are down to 1 a day or about $250 the last week.

When I was adding a few new items each day my sales were blooming.

Looks like I need get busy and start working my eBay again.

IT'S NO LONGER easy money LIKE IT WAS IN THE PAST!

You have COMPETITION. . .

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed Dec 2 10:32:02 2015

@Sonny Young who said: "This is the only company that actually destroys its income by actively encouraging returns. "

The facts are that unlike other retailers who deduct the retail value of returns from their Gross Sales, eBay DOES NOT engage in that practice. That is worth repeating;  eBay DOES NOT deduct the retail value of returns from their Gross Merchandise Value.  As such, eBay has no skin in the game and encourages returns since only the sellers bottom line is negatively impacted.

Another sad fact.... If eBay were compelled to follow standard accounting practices and deduct the retail value of returns from their Gross Sales, they would be reporting near zero GMV growth when they answer to Wall Street each quarter.

eBay collects fees when items are listed and if they sell.  If shipping labels are processed through eBay, eBay gets a cut of that too.

Now, take a look at the eBay returns process and how it generates income for the company:

* eBay does not refund the fees collected from the original sale. EBAY PROFITS

* When sellers have agreed to eBay's automated returns process, the cost of return shipping is billed to the sellers account in the form of a fee which in turn is counted as revenue on eBay's books.  This artificially inflates eBay's profit statements. EBAY PROFITS

*  When items are returned using a label processed through eBay, eBay again collects a cut of the cost of that label. EBAY PROFITS

* If the item can be resold once the seller receives it back, eBay profits again from the listing fee, final value fee and shipping label commission if the item sells again. EBAY PROFITS

So, as you can see, eBay encourages returns both legitimate and fraudulent because the company has no skin in the game, and because they have methodically manipulated the returns process so that it generates income for the company which makes them appear to be more successful than they really are.

eBay management has no concerns what so ever about customer satisfaction - the company's only concern is for their bottom line.

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by: Randy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 2 10:33:43 2015

eBay is DEAD!

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by: Randy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 2 10:36:02 2015

Woke up this morning to find 7 overnight sales on Amazon, 0 on eBay!

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by: aim04744 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 2 10:47:04 2015

I had been trying to hang on as long as I could as a seller on Ebay but this week I decided it is time for me to get out. After seeing what my "defect rate" is going to be next spring because Ebay keeps relisting sold items, and they sell again, then I have to cancel that sale and take a hit. Coupled with sales figures the lowest I have ever seen them, it is no longer worth selling on Ebay.

I am not TRS and I dont offer free shipping, nor do I take returns. So according to Ebay, I am the lowest of lowly sellers and cant be trusted. Even though I have 6 years of selling history and very few problems. Before Ebay started meddling I actually WAS able to take care of my customers.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Shop and Ship

Wed Dec 2 11:07:51 2015

My first eBay BIN purchase was a digital camera listed by a student Seller located in New England. eBay Buyer Protection guaranteed that I would receive the item in the picture, in good working condition as described, at the price shown, and mailed to me within a reasonable time. The Buyer never shipped and never responded to any of my messages. It took nearly 6 weeks for eBay/PayPal to refund my money. And it was nearly 3 years before my next purchase on eBay.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Wed Dec 2 11:29:48 2015

@ Shop and Ship

"The Buyer never shipped and never responded to any of my messages."

I know you meant to say "seller"

I find it amazing how many times I see this mistake on this & eBay's forums.

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 2 13:19:10 2015

I think some fiesty AG's need to go look into the deep dark sunken sea chest of the ebay Return System (as outlined above)  and being to the cleansing light of day how corrupt and illegal it really IS.  

In my case--in order to need to worry about a return---you need to have a SALE.  As one of the Untouchables--as in the Indian Caste System here!!!--I have been apparently branded by ebay as UNCLEAN.  I have perfect FB on all of my accounts;  ship same/next day; have glowing remarks on how good my items etc are;  I have been doing this ON ebay for 15 YEARS now---and yet;  I am--dung in their eyes because I won't advertise that I take "returns"  and I will NOT inflate my pricing to make it "Free"  shipping.  Frankly--if the customer is not smart enough to look at the TOTAL cost (Price plus shipping vs price with "free"  shipping)  then I am pretty sure I don't WANT them as a customer!  

Unless things open up and my items--on 5 accounts!!!--get some exposure--I will have ZERO sales thru the Holiday season--and I will not be SPENDING money AT EBAY because of this.  

Can YOU say "Death Spiral"?

I knew you could!  

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by: aim04744 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 2 15:09:12 2015

I had been trying to hang on as long as I could as a seller on Ebay but this week I decided it is time for me to get out. After seeing what my "defect rate" is going to be next spring because Ebay keeps relisting sold items, and they sell again, then I have to cancel that sale and take a hit. Coupled with sales figures the lowest I have ever seen them, it is no longer worth selling on Ebay.

I am not TRS and I dont offer free shipping, nor do I take returns. So according to Ebay, I am the lowest of lowly sellers and cant be trusted. Even though I have 6 years of selling history and very few problems. Before Ebay started meddling I actually WAS able to take care of my customers.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Shop and Ship

Wed Dec 2 18:57:57 2015

Last week's sermon message: "We find what we're looking for". So ok, toolguy, you understood what you read, so your comment speaks volumes about what you're looking for.

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