EcommerceBytes Letters to the Editor Letters to the Editor
Your emails to EcommerceBytes
For consideration, send your email to ina@auctionbytes.com with "Letters to the Editor Blog" in the subject line! Remember to include your name as you would like it to appear in the blog.
Mon Oct 21 2013 11:46:43

eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension

By: Reader

Sponsored Link

Dear Ina,
I had an extremely slow couple of weeks during the sequester when I sold off some older items at reasonable deals 9 or 10 on eBay, but the person asked me to delay shipping until November 10th so that his wife would be surprised.

I agreed then realized that this may jeopardize my discounts and top rated seller status right before the holidays.

I called eBay and was told that this was true, that I cannot comply with the customer's wishes - that it is all based on the date the "date that tracking info is uploaded" and that I could use this for my time to have 3 months to make it up and then if I am a "good girl" (my term) for the next 3 months, then it would not count against me as one of those times they would take exception.

My response was that I would prefer not to do that when I was providing a service requested by the customer and complying with their request which seems to be the goal... Maybe I would like to take a few days off one time or have it in reserve for an emergency since they say that they can't really make exceptions, and use my "go to jail free pass" when it was needed not squander it meeting a customer request.

He also suggested that I asked the seller to rebuy the items. This would mean refunding him quite a bit of money and hoping he would not find something else, canceling the transactions possibly and then making the CUSTOMER re-buy the items.

Initially the customer had put the items in his cart and asked for a discount and we agreed upon one, but this was not possible for eBay. I had to wait another day and hope he didn't find something else somewhere else off or on eBay.

How many sales are lost due to the inflexibility? The rep said sorry that's how it is. Even if you are doing as the customer asks you have to follow OUR program to be top rated.

I will call the buyer and see if I can ship the items early. eBay rep said the buyer would not be protected if he did not get these out from me but he would still have another 7 days to file with eBay and another 22 days with Paypal and Billmelater allows 60 says from delivery date to file. He didn't know anything about Paypal or Billmelater. He was acting like transacting with me was a huge risk when the customer was not worried about that, he had another goal besides the eBay one.

They are out of touch with customer service. Sometimes the customer does not want an item right away; they just want to secure it.
L.

PS: He also said that he can't treat top rated sellers any better than anyone else because "the FCC requires that we treat everyone equally. " In what way I do not know. In shipping, in exposure to the search?




Comments (29) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension   eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension

by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 21 13:38:43 2013

"PS: He also said that he can't treat top rated sellers any better than anyone else because "the FCC requires that we treat everyone equally. " In what way I do not know. In shipping, in exposure to the search?"

Not that is HILARIOUS.  Since WHEN does ebay treat sellers "equally"?

Wouldn't that mean that they could not give special treatment in FB and DSRS, search result etc to the Diamond sellers?

ebay reps just make things up as they go along to make ebay sound as if they are fair and doing things "by the law".

ebay is LAWLESS, they do whatever suits them and do not care what laws they break and who they hurt as a result.

But, rest assured, justice will find every single one of them one day.  

eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension   eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Oct 21 14:50:42 2013

The fact that eBay is unwilling to allow a seller to accommodate a buyers request is yet another shining example of how the John Donahoe one size fits all policies are a complete and utter failure.

eBay should have been able to clearly see the message from the buyer requesting a delayed shipping date, and based on that request, should have allowed the seller an exemption for that transaction.

eBay insists that sellers bend over backwards to please buyers, yet when a buyer makes a special request, the ebay answer is to refuse sellers the ability to comply with that request or else face punishment.

John Donahoe's eBay is the only company on the face of the planet that penalizes sellers when they attempt to please buyers.

Clearly, eBay's CEO, management and Customer Service department fail to realize that rigid policy enforcement is contributing to the decline in the buyer experience on eBay.

Instead of looking at their own failed policies, eBay prefers to simply stick their head in the sand and lay all the blame at the sellers feet.

John Donahoe needs to spend his next thinking day focused on how his policies have done more to anger buyers and sellers than they have done to improve eBay. Clearly,

Here we are approaching year seven of Donahoe's three year turn around plan, and the net result is eBay's prediction of a soft holiday selling season, and Donahoe is clearly unable to see the data right in front of his face... His plan is not producing the results he promised and as such is an abject failure.

eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension   eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension

This user has validated their user name. by: Captain Nemo

Mon Oct 21 15:30:22 2013

No freakin way I hold on to a product for weeks before shipping. I also wouldn't do it on my website. I am not someone's warehouse.

I would just offer to mail it as discretely as possible - perhaps even ship it to his work address or another relative.  

You buy it, you get it. Simple concept.  

eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension   eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension

by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 21 15:52:39 2013

This is what ebay does: Broad policies that work for hardly anyone. An ebay CSR mentioned that to me.  

Heh.

When will googleauctions.com go live to supplant ebay?  

eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension   eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 21 16:55:50 2013

FCC??? I think the dope at eBay meant FTC.

Another case of dealing with the clueless eBay staff.

Instead of hiring that dope from Apple (dude - why would you leave APPLE for EBAY - are you ON CRACK?)(its like prefering to be Presindent of Luxembourg over the US!) maybe invest that money in normal CS people??? guess not.

The dopes resume says hes basically a genius on BRIC countries - and since US sales are non existant - they probably REALLY need him... BAD.

He will be just another high cost employee that will have to get paid by making up another punishment or fee for something asinine.

In this case, doing what the customer asked for gets eBay angry at you.

eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension   eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension

by: alfabarn This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 21 17:38:38 2013

Why didn't the buyer just delay payment? I know that I am to playing devils advocate but had the buyer contacted the seller and held off payment until they wanted the item shipped the seller would not be in this position. ship it to him, and explain to Ebay that you will contest whatever DSR's the buyer leaves. And use the bad buyer feature. Let Ebay put the pressure on the buyer.    

eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension   eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Mon Oct 21 17:41:28 2013

Here's the only way that you might have been able to bypass this.

1) Tell the customer that eBay will punish you if they believe that the items have not been shipped in a timely manner.

2) Tell the customer that you'll be sending him an empty box (or lightweight envelope) with delivery tracking.

3) Upload the delivery tracking info for the empty box into eBay's system.

4) eBay's bots will hopefully be fooled. --- You sold something, you uploaded tracking data, something was delivered. Done! The bots will be happy.

5) Thank your honest and understanding customer and reassure him that you'll be shipping his items on the agreed-upon timetable.

eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension   eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension

This user has validated their user name. by: monkey

Mon Oct 21 17:44:39 2013

Let's face it, you have a fairly unusual situation here, OP.

eBay or any other e-commerce site must have some structure to operate. You do need to play by their rules.

If you truly want to accommodate this person ... why not simply contact your buyer off the eBay messaging platform and offer to complete the transaction without involving eBay?

As Nemo mentioned above, I also would hesitate to hold on to a purchase for a long period of time.

eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension   eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension

This user has validated their user name. by: monkey

Mon Oct 21 17:49:26 2013

I just realized I have contradicted myself in my last post.

I stated that we sellers need to play by eBay's "rules" ... then I suggested you go around eBay with your transaction. Which is technically against their rules.

eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension   eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 21 18:21:52 2013

This situation is NOT UNUSUAL AT ALL.
If you sell 40-50 items per week you get this request about 1 time ever 2 weeks so it is VERY COMMON.
It is not a ''Fairly Unusual'' at all- this is a COMMON problem.
MH

eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension   eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Mon Oct 21 19:05:21 2013

@Annie - That sounds like a good idea, except knowing how insane buyers seem to be on eBay, once the box is received, your buyer will "forget" your agreement, file a SNAD claim, get a refund and leave you a negative for sending an empty box. When it comes to eBay, no good deed goes unpunished.  

eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension   eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension

by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 21 23:02:19 2013

We have people ask us to do things that are against the rules all the time.  

The most frequent used to be putting an alternate shipping address in the notes field or in email. Or we get an email later stating that we should not have required a signature on their $400 package because they are not home to sign for it.

As you know if you don't have a signature for a paypal item of $250 you lose.  Our hands are tied.

We actually say in our ebay text which no one ever reads not to do this, because we cannot do it no matter what.  

eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension   eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension

This user has validated their user name. by: Bad Hair Day

Tue Oct 22 09:43:58 2013

I just experienced this very same situation this past week. I suggested that the Buyer add an alternate address to their PayPal account where their purchase could be sent. They did just that.I mailed their purchase. It was received. They left a 5 star rating along with glowing feedback and all is well.If they make the request prior to paying, then it's not a huge problem. If they make the request *after* paying then that's another story altogether.

eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension   eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension

This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Tue Oct 22 16:50:24 2013

I like Annie's suggestion. I would contact the buyer and tell them you'll be sending them their invoice so eBay won't hassle either of you about shipping timeframes.

eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension   eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Oct 22 19:47:07 2013

OP the situation is even worse than that for you.  If you actually wait that long to ship, chances are pretty good you lose seller protection too.  

I've had customers ask for shipment delays before and typically I work with them for a different resolution.  I explain to them the particular rules on Ebay that doesn't really allow me to do that safely.  We either ship to a different address so a friend can hold the package for them or to be held at the post office.

Ebay isn't punishing anyone.  They are the stated rules for being TRS and getting the discount.  If you don't meet the shipping requirement for the TRS discount, you don't lose TRS, you just lose the discount on those transactions.  

This is one of the very few times I disagree with Annie.  I would never tell my customer that Ebay is "punishing" me for anything.  It isn't professional and there is no need for your customer to be made to feel that they are playing a part in that.  Just not a good idea in my opinion.

Item #2 on Annie's post.  You do realize that is mail fraud, right?  In doing this you are bringing your customer into gaming the system.  Do you think that puts you in a good like with the buyer.  

If I were the buyer, I'd say just give me back my money.  I'd want no part of it.

I'd simply ask for an alternate address to ship the items to.  That way he can surprise his wife whenever he chooses.  Make sure he sends the alternate address in an email in the ebay system and make sure you acknowledge this.  That could become important if a claim ever arised as to where it was shipped.



eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension   eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension

by: expertbenefits This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 22 21:51:37 2013

I personally have always honored special requests but never under the new guidelines. Their systems are too archaic to handle any changes, it's all black or white and they figure they will do what Amazon did 5 years ago now. By the time they catch up with Amazon, Amazon is doing something else. They don't get about meeting the changing needs of customers. It's a competitive marketplace. The internet is just about shoppnig now, ads and shopping. I realize you can only do so much but a large sale is helpful after pre-holiday Sequesters, they are becoming routine at spoiling Christmas for many except Congress will find some real bargains now with their same paycheck and their secret ones.  

eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension   eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Oct 22 21:59:14 2013

There are consumer protection laws that you need to abide by too.  And the law REQUIRES that on line orders are DELIVERED within 30 days.  

The guidelines on Ebay for shipping next business day is ONLY for those interest in TRS w/ discount.

eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension   eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension

by: spirit-of-shiloh This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 22 23:40:02 2013

For the last year or so I have been hoping for  googleauctions.com now that they are well known...I would LOVE IT if they actually SQUASHED eBay into oblivion ;)

eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension   eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 23 00:21:15 2013

You can always send the items to the local Post Office as GENERAL DELIVERY which is held at the counter to be picked up.

That way you would have a scanned delivered package and the customer could pick it up whenever it was agreeable for him.  He could of course tell the Post Master of this so the item was not put in the regular delivery sort pile.

This is one time where a PO Box comes in handy!

I have many times collected mail for friends who don't want their families to see the packages and open gifts early--and they have done the same for me.  If you are worried about the ebay/PP "verified"  address they can add several address' to their accounts and when they pay they opt for which one they want to use for that purchase---I do this for my kids all the time as they live far enough away to make it a pain to have to stockpile stuff I buy for them and then re-ship

I do agree that ebay is the most inane and inflexible company on the face of the planet tho---and getting worse every day.  Even if you get a CSR who might possibly understand one word in three that you speak they have NO clue what the context of the conversation is and they read from some screen where they allegedly have all the answers to all the possible questions---when in reality they have NO answers for ANY questions.  

eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension   eBay's Inflexibility Causes Buyer-Seller Tension

by: BackInBlack This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 23 00:21:56 2013

I love the way @Annie thinks... that's me too and one of my life mottoes is, "There's always a way to beat the system."  I was thinking along similar lines:
o Just mark it 'shipped'
o Print a label that uploads a tracking number (does it even have to track as 'delivered?' Does the bot know?), then cancel the label
and a few others

But also gotta agree with JackSparrow - too many psycho buyers (and sellers) on eBay now to trust anyone or bend rules to do favors - remember, "No good deed goes unpunished!"

Only 'safe' ways have also been suggested:
o Delay payment
o Use alternate PayPal shipping addy

Otherwise, I just wouldn't risk it.


However, in this case,  

Click to view more comments
1 2  [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.