Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Oct 16 2017 21:02:01

eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error

By: Ina Steiner

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A week after sellers erupted upon learning eBay had added the Make an Offer feature to their auction listings, eBay made an official announcement about it today. While it will continue to test the feature on a "select group of consumer sellers," it also stated it had no plans to test the feature on business sellers.

The feature, also called "Best Offer," had previously been available only for Fixed Price listings and Classified Ad formats. Sellers had the option of offering the feature, which allows buyers to make an offer to the seller, who can choose to accept or decline it. 

Many sellers were livid that the feature was added to auction listings last week without notice and without giving sellers a way to opt out - it had suddenly become mandatory on auction listings.

Sellers were also upset that eBay could provide no clear, consistent explanation when they sought help. 

One of the biggest concerns came when a customer service rep said the feature appeared for auctions where sellers had listed a starting price that exceeded its recommended Buy it Now price. The rep said "eBay applies Best Offer to over-priced listings to help increase their chances of selling," which sellers argued signaled to buyers that they shouldn't bid on the item since eBay was signaling that the start price was too high.

We followed up on Tuesday's post with an update on Friday, which you can read here. And you can read eBay's official explanation published on its announcement board today, where it wrote:

"Last week, this feature was inadvertently applied to some of our small business sellers' auctions. We have addressed the issue and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused."

It's concerning that eBay could roll out a major feature unannounced "by accident." (That error follows a glitch in which eBay put all of the listings in its Collectibles category for sale at 20% off!) Also concerning - eBay appears to have offered no credits to sellers impacted by its mistake.

Let us know what you think. Does Make an Offer belong on any auction listings, even for what eBay calls consumer sellers? And should eBay credit sellers fees for listings impacted by its error?




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error   eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 16 21:54:50 2017

eBay executives are too stupid to realize that many new sellers simply quit selling after they get burned following their idiotic recommendation to start all auctions at 99 cents.

Most of the time when they only get one bid they never ship the item out anyway and simply never sell on eBay again.  

Perminate Link for eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error   eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error

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

Mon Oct 16 22:27:55 2017

Just when I think ebafia management can't possibly display any more incompetence, something like this comes along.

Issue credits/refund fees to sellers whose auctions they ruined? LOL. That would be, of course, the ethical thing to do so I won't hold my breath.

Never before has the Peter Principle been so apropos than to this gaggle of keystone kops.

Perminate Link for eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error   eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 16 23:57:02 2017

The idea of having an auction is to get the price higher as time goes on, but since many eBay auctions close without any bids due to eBay's tiny customer base now days they would rather create a race to the bottom to sell at the lowest possible price defeating the purpose of selling on eBay in the first place, in addition to that eBay makes tiny fees in this scenario.

So in addition to the lunacy recommendation of starting auctions at 99 cents, they want sellers to take whatever low ball offer they can get while they also at the same time show their race to the bottom sponsored listings on sellers pages.

All this lunacy is the result of management who are grasping at straws for ideas to try to close sales with the few customers they have left in most categories.

Perminate Link for eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error   eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Oct 17 02:26:33 2017

New sellers have lots to learn.  We all did when we started out.  It takes time and experience in any new job to do it well.  All sellers on Ebay are adults capable of making their own decisions.  It is just that some choose to make those decisions without doing the research on whatever subject they are making the decision on.  So they make the decision and move forward.  If it turns out that it wasn't the best decision for them to make for their little business, then somehow it is now Ebay's fault because they suggested it?  

Some new sellers just don't want to put in the time to make sure they know what they are doing.  They want things quick and easy.  With a little research, a new seller would find out quickly that starting off an auction at 99 cents may not be the best idea for them to do.

As to this Make Offer thing.  Ebay is now saying they are testing it on Non Business seller and in our preferences allowing us to opt out of it if we want to.  So that is a good thing for those of us that don't want anything to do with this.  At least they have allow us to opt out.  There will be those sellers that like the option and that is great, it may work well for them.  I'm glad we can opt out if we want to.

Perminate Link for eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error   eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Tue Oct 17 06:53:31 2017

TEST THIS :
Add Money Orders and Checks to accepted payments.
Add STRIPE as a payment gateway.
Add Open Communications between buyers and sellers.
Subtract Ebay's interference.
Subtract forced PayPal.

Perminate Link for eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error   eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Tue Oct 17 09:46:37 2017

All sellers on eBay are adults?  Think again.  eBay used to be an easy way to make a few bucks if you couldn't drive yet or weren't old enough to be hired for a summer job.  Possibly now with the layers and layers of contractual legalese on top of banking requirements, it's harder for an industrious kid to participate, but it probably still happens from time to time.  So much better than the founder's original philosophy, don't you think?

And, yes, with eBay manipulating visibility based on factors it does not reveal and its users usually cannot control, their suggesting a 99c starting price _is_ irresponsible.

Perminate Link for eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error   eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 17 11:38:12 2017

LOL Marie, if it were up to eBay all sellers would start auctions a 99 cents with free shipping.

This is ill advised, in the old days it worked when the marketplace was vibrant and before it was flooded with goods from Devin's prized China sellers who have spammed eBay with millions of duplicate listings in all categories.

eBay knows they are finished, that is why they are trying any gimmick they can dream up to try to close a sale, the marketplace is right now deader than dead, see the comments from sellers on DownDetector, the go like this, I have never had more items on eBay than I do today, and sales have never been worse.

You see the very same comments over and over on the eBay forums.  

Perminate Link for eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error   eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Oct 17 11:47:08 2017

@Marie writes: "New sellers have lots to learn.  We all did when we started out."

I have to disagree with that. I started as a seller on eBay in 2000. There were only two rules: list your item, and when it sold, mail it. There were no hidden agendas on the part of eBay, no super-secret rules, and no oppressive anti-seller policies. People actually made money back then. Personally, I made a lot. My items for the most part sold for ridiculously high prices, and each item had hundreds of views. Back in the early 2000s, I sold 95-98% of everything I listed. No one told me what payment methods to take, that I had to take returns, or that I had to guarantee the recipient would have the widget in their hands in two days. I paid a listing fee, and a FVF only on the amount the item sold for, and everyone was happy and made money.

And PayPal didn't charge for bank-to-PayPal account transfers, and the first $100 each month received via a credit card was free for the seller. But I digress.

Nowadays, there are so many rules and micromanagement on the part of eBay, I don't think I could ever sell there again. That's why I love eCrater: you list an item, and when it sells, you mail it, just like eBay used to be.  

Perminate Link for eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error   eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Oct 17 12:37:30 2017

@jack

It wasn't as simple as that.  I started selling the year before you and it wasn't that simple then either.  While you are absolutely correct, it was not as complicated as it is now, we still had to learn how to write & structure a listing, how to price our items, how to invoice a customer, how to communicate with a customer, develop a return policy etc.  Again I agree with you, it was much easier back then, but we ALL still had to learn how to best use the system.

@Shill

The fact is that it is NOT up to Ebay and a seller needs to use their own brain cells and research to try and properly price their items they want to sell on the internet.  There are many things that Ebay SUGGESTS in various policies and/or rules.  Again we each need to think for ourselves and figure out if what they suggest is really going to work or us.  If it isn't, it is very SIMPLE, don't use the suggestion.

If you are suggesting that sellers are unable to think for themselves, then that is something entirely different, but I don't think you believe that nor do I.

My opinion of why they are testing this feature is possibly a way to be able to offer Immediate Payment Required on auction listings.  Just my opinion.

Perminate Link for eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error   eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 17 12:42:29 2017

Noo Marie, they are doing it the same way they did Seller Hub, read this thread to see what sellers think of these  morons running eBay, Wenig's days are numbered.

  https://community.ebay.com/t5/Seller-Hub/WHO-ELSE-HATES-THE-NEW-quot-S
ELLER-HUB-quot-aka-quot-LANDING/td-p/27416273

Perminate Link for eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error   eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 17 13:09:31 2017

Ina, they did not add this feature in error, it was deliberate, just like the pulling down of millions of sellers listings was, just like adding buy it now automatically to new sellers listings was, just like adding immediate payment required on many sellers accounts costing them millions in sales when customers could not combine shipping.

Just yesterday they changed the search engine again, in the results they show the results and they have links to the very same item cheaper right next to the photo of the items that come up to promote their idiotic race to the bottom and sponsored listings.

Devin and his 'idiotic intelligence' and his flawed catalog has to go, this guy is the worse thing that has ever happened to eBay and it looks like the Board of Directors is going to have to fire this nut.

Perminate Link for eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error   eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 17 14:01:38 2017

@ebay shill buster

Don't hold your breathe......

Perminate Link for eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error   eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Oct 17 14:11:49 2017

@Marie - We had to write and structure a listing? Are you kidding me? How hard do you think it is to describe something? "Dark blue widget, NRFB." In the good old days, customers were expected to at least have a clue about what they were buying. And for the last couple of years, whenever I search for something, the listings state something along the lines of, "What you see is what you get," or "Total of ten widgets, check photos for details." I hardly call that "structuring."

We had to know how to send a invoice and communicate with the customer? That was basically an e-mail (which wasn't suppressed back then), and stated, "You owe me X, here's my address" (because back then we could take paper payments without getting threatening notes from eBay), or "You owe me X, here's my PayPal ID" (if that's the way the customer wanted to pay).

We had to develop a return policy? I doubt anyone had a return policy back then because there weren't a plethora of scammers populating eBay, and when customers made a mistake, they owned up to it. They didn't claim SNAD because they chose the pink widget when what they really needed was the scarlet widget. Now on eBay, every buyer yells "It's not my fault," and eBay yells back, "You're right, it's the big, bad seller's fault."

Perminate Link for eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error   eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Oct 17 14:37:09 2017

@shill

I wasn't talking about the Seller Hub.  Mine was for the subject of this particular blog.  I was not intending my comments to be on any other subject.

Ebay has already admitted they were running a test on non business sellers.  The error was they started it before they say they were actually ready to do so.  So whether someone jumped the gun at Ebay or by some other means the test started, Ebay has announced this is an active test.

Perminate Link for eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error   eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Oct 17 14:43:15 2017

@jack

I agree with you, it is not hard to structure a listing description.  But that doesn't change the fact that many new sellers don't really use the description field for much of anything.  Sometimes it is only a couple of words and nothing more.  In time they will learn that there are much better ways of doing this, but it comes with experience for some of these new sellers.  Certainly not all, but there are plenty that just don't have a clue because they have not done their research.

I also agree with you that there are seasoned sellers out there that don't use the description field very well either.  While I don't agree with it, they are the seller of the item and can do as they wish within the rules of Ebay on structuring their listings.

I don't think we are really disagreeing about anything.  Because a seller has made the choice to have little to no description or a price that is way too low for what they are selling, that is something that the seller decides, NOT Ebay.  It isn't Ebay's fault that some sellers just don't want to put in the effort or don't understand that they would be better off with doing their own research so they can make an informed decision about anything that Ebay may be suggesting they do.

Perminate Link for eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error   eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error

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

Tue Oct 17 17:24:49 2017

Many new sellers are completely unaware of how devious and deceitful ebafia is.

While I partially accept Marie's premise that sellers have the responsibility to determine what works best for them, I suspect many new sellers believe auctions will attract many bids by starting at .99 with "free" shipping when probably most do not.

Let's see who profits when ebafia deceives a new seller.

Hypothetical example:

Seller is selling an item with a fair market price of $20.00. Seller starts item at .99 with free first class shipping at about $2.00 based on the item's weight.

Items sells for .99.

Seller loses $19.00 on the item, $2.00 on the shipping, .18 on ebafia's shipping fee commission, PayPal fees, plus whatever the initial listing fee and final value fees were which vary from category to category. So it's not a stretch to say that a seller could lose as much as $25 by trusting ebafia's advice.

On the on the other hand, ebafia gets the listing fee, final value fee, shipping fee, and shuttles 3% plus .30 to PayPal while the new seller has lost their shirt and is unlikely to ever sell on ebay again.

This is a scam that intentionally targets newbies and offers no full disclosure.

Perminate Link for eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error   eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Oct 17 17:39:11 2017

Ebay's suggestion of 99 cent auctions is NOT a new thing.  There should be plenty of history to view if Ebay wanted to see if it works or not.  Back when they started suggesting the 99 cents, it very well may have been a bit of good advice.  Once upon a time we would get multiple bidders for lots of auctions.  I use to, years ago, run 99 cent auctions and I worked great for me then.  Now the climate is different and I haven't done it for a long time as now days we are lucky to get a single bidder.

Perminate Link for eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error   eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 17 18:22:01 2017

Ming, the cheapest label you can buy is $2.61 from the eBay shipping system, in addition sellers are starting items at a buck with a predetermined shipping fee of $6.99 on expensive items, I hit one a few years ago, won it for a Buck and 6 dollars shipping and sold it at the flea market for 100 bucks.

You can make more money buying on eBay than you can selling if you bid on thousands of items and only place low bids.

But one must have the time to do it.......

Perminate Link for eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error   eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 17 18:26:19 2017

Ming, when I do buy this way, I have had many sellers never ship the item and have to file cases against them, you can bet those new sellers will quit selling on eBay when they find out eBay auctions are suckers game now days because eBay has few buyers.

That is why I win bids for nothing all the time, the marketplace is not what it once was, the buzz is long gone for eBay sellers unless you have very hot items.

Perminate Link for eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error   eBay Adds Major Feature to Auctions in Error

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Oct 17 18:49:07 2017

How many here do auctions these days?

Raise you hand!

My hand is DOWN

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