"Unable to buy"; "Unable to complete purchase"; "Having problem buying"; these are not the words retailers want to hear from shoppers, but that's exactly what happened on eBay this morning.
Reports came in on Ecommerce EKG
under the title, "eBay Payment & Checkout not functioning." Buyers were receiving an error message: "Checkout is currently unavailable, so you won't be able to pay for your items right now. Please pay for your items later. We apologize for the inconvenience."
One sellers said the problem also occurred on eBay UK and eBay Germany; another said eBay customer service told them it was a global problem. eBay buyers were also reporting the problem on DownDetector.com
The problem began happening around 8 am ET, and eBay tweeted at about 9 am, "Some members are having problems with desktop checkout on eBay. We're working to resolve this. Mobile checkout is unaffected."
At 9:20 am, eBay posted on the Systems Announcement Board, "We are aware that some members are currently experiencing problems with checkout on eBay. We are working to resolve the issue as a priority."
At 10 am, eBay posted again on the Systems Board
, "Members are again able to checkout successfully. Thank you for your patience."
And at around 10:30 am, eBay tweeted, "Desktop checkout issue is now resolved. Our priority is delivering the best experience to our customers. We apologise for any inconvenience." (British spelling.)
While some shoppers were persistent - one wrote, "Up and running again after an hour of trying to make a purchase" - it's possible many shoppers gave up during the 2 hours or so that they were unable to purchase items on the site. Exactly how much does a 2-hour outage in which shoppers are unable to make purchases cost eBay - and its sellers? eBay's unlikely to share its estimates, but no doubt managers are scrambling to determine what went wrong.
Thanks to sellers for reporting the problem on Ecommerce EKG - and kudos to eBay for acknowledging the problem on the Systems Board, hopefully that's a practice it will continue when technical problems occur.