Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Oct 23 2017 21:35:28

eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers

By: Ina Steiner

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There's a lot of confusion about how to ask an eBay seller a question thanks to two changes eBay has rolled out:
 
1) eBay renamed "Ask Seller a Question" link on the listing page to "Contact Seller" - and moved its location.

2) It introduced "Questions & Answers" into the listing page. Note that this feature allows buyers to ask questions about a generic product that any seller could be selling, not a specific item an individual seller is selling. (It has appeared on Product pages before eBay decided to add the feature to Listing pages as well.)

Just one example of the frustration: a clothing shopper asked in this thread, "Did eBay purposely omit the “ask seller a question” from the bottom of the clothing ads? Too many sellers don't give any info about the size of their item, and now we can't inquire? Thanks for your answer. Appreciated. Frustrating!!"

Luckily another user responded right away with the answer: "Ask a seller questions is now to the right hand side of the page under seller information." 

Not helping matters - eBay has yet to update its help pages, where it still provides the following advice about contacting a seller: "To contact a seller, use the Ask a question link in the listing" and points to its former location at the bottom of the page.

While eBay had announced that it would add the Questions & Answers feature to listings pages this month as part of the Fall Seller Release, it appears eBay never informed buyers and sellers that it was renaming and moving the link where buyers could contact sellers with questions.

On Message #38 in the October 17th eBay Weekly Chat, a user outlined the problems users were encountering as a result of the overlapping changes. Among the issues he described:

"For items that are in the catalog it appears buyers are using the new catalog Q&A area thinking it is going directly to a specific seller about their item since it is in the same place that they are used to the old ask question being located. Seller gets the question but has no idea who the buyer is so cannot reach out to the buyer & answer. This cannot be a good experience for the buyer and is making the sellers look bad."

Sellers are motivated to figure out problems and changes, but as that user in the weekly chat noted, "many buyers have said they moved on to another site because if they can't ask the seller a question they aren't going to purchase."

EcommerceBytes readers have also brought this problem to our attention. "Every item I've looked at today no longer has the link to ask a seller a question, including many items from sellers I've bought from before," one reader wrote. "Seems strange that many different sellers would be missing the link. Guess I’m done buying on eBay now too."

He did eventually find it and sent us a second email, "Just realized there is still a link but instead of asking the seller a question it seems it's now just "Contact Seller.""

This is just one of numerous changes eBay is making that is unsettling not only to sellers, but to buyers as well. 

Ironically, eBay used to have the Ask a Seller a Question link at the top of the page where the "Contact Seller" link now appears - it began running a test to change the location to the bottom back in 2010, which is when it likely went ahead with the relocation of the link to the bottom of the listing page.

As for the reader who initially couldn't find the link to contact sellers, he followed up with us - it turns out that now that he knows where the link is, he likes its location:

"It's actually much easier to find now that they put it in the Seller Information box near the top between "Save this Seller" and "Visit Store," "See other items." Actually makes a lot more sense once you're used to it being there."




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers   eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers

by: drumnguy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 23 22:46:17 2017

eBay is an absolute freakin mess and keeps getting worse by the day.  I received a community question today from a customer asking for a shipping quote on my item.  The customer thought he was messaging me but the question went on the ''Help Answer a Question on the eBay Community'' forum.  

So all the things that are broken today:
1) Ask a question is screwed up.  Who knows if the customer received my shipping quote???
2) Freightquote Freight Shipping quote tool is gone....has been for several months.
3) Item description is gone.  You have to click a button to see the full item description.  It used to be on the listing page below the gallery pics.  Now, a customer has to click the ''See Full Item Description'' button to see listing details and descriptions.

WHAT A FREAKIN MESS!~

Perminate Link for eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers   eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Oct 23 22:49:17 2017

Can you imagine if General Motors moved the brake, gas & clutch pedals in their new line up of cars & trucks?

Why is eBay making so many changes so fast?

Even a loyal eBayer like myself thinks they've gone too far. . .& my sales say the same!

Perminate Link for eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers   eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 24 02:23:45 2017

Coming soon...they'll re-name the site and not tell anybody.

Perminate Link for eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers   eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 24 04:27:30 2017

@drumnguy

The reason your description is gone and you have to click to see description is because you have bad HTTP's

Until you fix that your description will remained hidden. Its not an ebay glitch but a seller problem because you need to update your html in your listing.

Perminate Link for eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers   eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Oct 24 06:51:00 2017

Questions and Answers is straight from Amazon's playbook.

The  "default offer"  forced on sellers who use the "listing for dummies" is straight from Poshmark's playbook, though it is a breeze to list on Poshmark.

eBay have no original ideas.  Is it any surprise that sellers have left eBay?  It's "Who Moved my  Cheese" day at eBay every day.

Perminate Link for eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers   eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 24 07:28:26 2017

Changing the location of links or adding senseless  features  won't help ebay one bit,

Just like the new guaranteed 3 day delivery button, I tried it today in a few catagories and guess what ? ZERO listings show up,,,,,, unless I missed something, I just don't see how this could help sales

 

Perminate Link for eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers   eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers

by: Donkey This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 24 08:34:41 2017

What a mess.  No wonder no one uses ebay anymore.
They cannot figure out how to use it and if they do everything right, it still does not work.

Perminate Link for eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers   eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers

by: Mark4 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 24 09:54:51 2017

I have more buyers contacting us and asking if they can buy our products somewhere other than ebay. Enough said.  

Perminate Link for eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers   eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers

by: DingDong This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 24 10:11:32 2017

And they want to know why the profits on eBay are going, going gone.

AND they do all this as the holidays are coming.

NICE JOB EBAY!  
(To dumb it down: DUH! )

Perminate Link for eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers   eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers

by: b86fiero This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 24 14:24:19 2017

Too much, too fast, too many glitches, too many frustrated buyers, too many frustrated sellers.

Can't wait to see the damage during the upcoming holiday selling season.

Perminate Link for eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers   eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Oct 24 15:28:56 2017

What they did was put the "Contact Seller" right back where it use to be and used the same name as it use to be called.  Of course there should have been an announcement and an email to ALL members to inform us all of the change.

Ebay put the contact seller at the bottom of the page by the request of many sellers years ago.  The thought was that it may encourage buyers to actually review the entire listing before contacting the seller.  Of course as we all know it didn't work, but that was the thought behind it.

Now they have moved it back to where it was originally and I'm confident they did that to benefit the ever increasing amount of people shopping via mobile device.  

I actually like it back where it use to be.  It makes more sense to me to be right where they have it now.  But I really would have like to have seen Ebay give every active member a heads up regarding the move.

Perminate Link for eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers   eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Oct 24 17:28:32 2017

Yet another change!

When did they implement this on the sold page?

eBay note: An unpaid item case was opened on Oct-24 and you are awaiting payment. (In bright yellow right below the track number area)

Perminate Link for eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers   eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers

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

Tue Oct 24 22:09:25 2017

HOLD IT RIGHT THERE !
That's right....Hold it....hold it....
The item page is beginning to look like it did back in the Early Days.
Everything you need to know and want to do are in the upper right hand corner.
No need to scroll.
NOW. All Ebay needs to do is ADD STRIPE PAYMENTS  and stop forcing PayPal.
2 THINGS WILL HAPPEN if I can omit PayPal :
I'll start selling again (left in 2008)...people LOVE my product (Hot in California)
I will buy 1,000 shares (that's right) of Ebay Stock.

Perminate Link for eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers   eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 25 04:57:49 2017

@Marie

You'r dead wrong on what they did to Contact Seller. Placement of the function isn't the point. The entire functionality has been destroyed. Rather than direct shopper to seller communication, they've turned it into a free-for-all where any Tom, Dick, or Harry [and it'll be mostly the 2nd kind!] can and will throw his 2c into the conversation. They're trying to turn it into a kind of review process, which it was never meant to be. Just watch all the crap you'll have to wade through to see if there's any response from the seller to your particular question. It'll be a complete cluster....

Perminate Link for eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers   eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 25 11:04:19 2017


good job Devin, you idiot!!

Perminate Link for eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers   eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Oct 25 13:49:02 2017

@volvo351

I'm not wrong and you are talking about two different things.  One of which I didn't even address, so at the point of your posting I couldn't have been wrong about something I didn't even post about.

I posted about the position of the Contact Seller Button.  Why it was originally placed at the bottom of the page and the return of the button to the top right side of the page.  Exactly what did I get wrong about this?  Is it not now showing on the top right side of your listings?

Perminate Link for eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers   eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers

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

Wed Oct 25 14:47:29 2017

Many of you will disagree with this, but I've found the following to be true with my product line. So I speak only for myself as usual.

I wish they'd eliminate the Contact Seller link altogether. More than 95% of all the questions I receive are answered in the Item Specifics or the Item Description or both. Many buyers are simply too lazy to read because ebafia has taught them that everything will be handed to them with no effort whatsoever on their part.

My responses are always professional and courteous regardless how annoyed I am by the question. Nevertheless, so few result in a sale that I'd gladly forego a few sales than waste enormous amounts of time answering inane questions from the lazy class.

Buyers who don't read are dangerous, and ebafia enables them by hiding Item Specifics and Item Descriptions (and no, Froggy, my descriptions don't contain any forbidden html).

Perminate Link for eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers   eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Wed Oct 25 14:58:05 2017

I could really care less about the contact seller button because most buyers with questions just call and ask me!

My listings are short and sweet and I provide pictures from all angles. . .

I have no problem with customer questions be it in an eBay message or by phone.

I'M HERE TO GIVE THE BEST SERVICE I CAN!

Perminate Link for eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers   eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 25 15:01:14 2017

@ Ming.

You may think that they don't just like we didn't think ours did. But one call to ebay set us straight on that and just how to fix the problem.

Perminate Link for eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers   eBay Confuses Buyers with a New Way to Contact Sellers

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 25 16:50:25 2017

Happy to glad and back again.  That's what we called an aimless change to a document under review, when another change reinstated the original version.  Especially maddening when the original was already optimal.  

Typically fatal when all that 'productivity' was wasted on such 'improvements', while that which REALLY required corrective attention languished.

And they wonder where the money went.

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