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.
Wed Nov 5 2014 09:20:06

Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Price-Fixing?

By: Reader

Sponsored Link

Dear Ina,
Good afternoon.

I have an issue with eBay's suggested pricing updates and issues with potential price fixing issues.

Prior to today when I simply choose the "remove recommended option" on the selection for updating these listing, the listing was removed from the suggestion and nothing additional needed to be done.

When I am online today trying to work with this, I can no longer remove the recommendation or do anything but change the pricing to get it to go away.

The particular item I was working on today is actually a custom product we have built for our company, we have been selling this product successfully for 3 years at similar pricing. eBay is now stating that I should change my pricing to 60% of my current price, which is not acceptable, because if for no other reason, there are only a few comparable products like this on eBay and they are selling for a higher price.

I also called eBay on this, the CSR I talked to said they are having a lot of issues with this due to the updated requirement on returns and the system is overloaded. She also stated her hands were tied in being able to do anything about this. So, my option is to wait a few days to see if eBay can "fix" their system (it's been crazy since June) or change my price. In the meantime, I have to sit and look at this recommendation wondering if the eBay search genius will allow it to show up with this defect in the listing.

The way eBay is operating this "price recommendation" which clearly really does not take into account similar products, just apples and oranges. They are really bordering on price fixing issues with in this marketplace. They are forcing good sellers to either go to other venues or to slow their sales down or accept a price against a totally different product.

I work in 3 different industries, the other 2 are much more mature and informed, and even there, price is all over the board based on quality, performance, service, etc. eBay should be the same way, but their search engine doctors want to make everyone the same, this is not possible in the real world. Their approach to this could get both eBay and myself in trouble if someone decided to push an issue with how our price is set on eBay.

It is totally different if I as a business person agree to MAP pricing or research the market place myself to set pricing to market. It is totally different when an eBay intercedes in pricing to force the sellers to work with in their search parameters.

These guys can hire the best in the industry and yet, still today (Nov 1) they are having constant issues with their self imposed features on their search engine. This has been going on since June.

Regards,
John




Comments (22) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri   Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Nov 5 11:36:32 2014

Another great example of how eBay interfere in sellers' businesses. The seller is the expert regarding the production, pricing and positioning of his product, yet eBay steps in with their "infinite wisdom", knowing nothing about the product, and becomes the "pricing expert".

And OP, eBay's "search genius" and CSR will be about as helpful as the pricing suggestion.

Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri   Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Nov 5 11:36:46 2014

John observes: "They are forcing good sellers to either go to other venues...."

I think most people who visit this site will agree that that is the intent behind every one of eBay's crazy policies.

Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri   Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Nov 5 11:48:50 2014

Oh, and OP, if your product is a hot seller it is just a matter of time before eBay share that data with the Chinese so that they can manufacture it and sell it for much less.  It is documented that they are sharing sales data with  Chinese manufacturers.

Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri   Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed Nov 5 12:15:47 2014

OP... have you tried eBay's quirky Turbo Lister? While it is not the best software on the planet, it does work and will help you escape the ebay attempts at price manipulation.

TL stores completed listings - sold and unsold. It will also allow you to click on any completed listing, then relist it without any of eBay's price fixing attempts.

On the topic of eBay's price manipulation, their suggested retail pricing format is a complete waste of time for eBay, for buyers and for sellers.

In my category, If I list a video card, eBay will suggest a price which one must assume is based on averaging out the prices previous items of that make and model sold for.

However, there are multiple defects in eBay's price manipulation process.

The suggested price does not account for items that may have sold with calculated shipping. As such, the eBay suggested price may be substantially lower than my price due to the fact that I include shipping in my selling price.

Also, I frequently bundle accessories with items I sell. In this case, a video card might be listed with a video splitter cable, and include free shipping. Now, my selling price might be as much as twice the eBay 'suggested' price.

eBay once encouraged sellers to bundle items as in the case above as the higher price of the bundled items offers a better value for buyers and just happens to bring more revenue for eBay.

However, their suggested retail pricing, if factored into best match algorithms, will actually serve to lower the visibility of bundled item listings, making the better value for buyer items virtually invisible in search.

eBay one size fits all policies continue to be swayed by 'big data' eBay collects, stores and uses as the basis for many of their decision making processes  including search algorithms.  

However, as illustrated above, the data eBay collects is being used to actually destroy the ability of buyers to see listings which offer better values to buyers.

This defective process hurts buyers, hurts sellers and hurts eBay, yet eBay marches on anyway because they do not listen to their sellers.

Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri   Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Wed Nov 5 18:20:34 2014

"These guys can hire the best in the industry and yet, ..."

And therein lays the problem; obviously, they don't hire the best in the industry; they hire the likes of ... yuk, the list is simply to long to contemplate ...

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri   Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri

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

Wed Nov 5 23:57:21 2014

John's message seems to be that he has an eBay problem, so he contacted eBay, and eBay said we know and we're not going to do anything about it.  

Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri   Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri

by: Lois This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 6 07:02:15 2014

I've noticed for myself another ridiculous glitch on Ebay recommended prices -recently, I listed an item starting at a particular price and - incredibly - got the message that the recommended price was three times higher than my own!
Clearly, whatever program they are using to find ''recommended prices'' was designed by a programmer who has absolutely no idea what her or she is doing.

Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri   Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri

by: frustrated This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 6 07:14:00 2014

No idea is right.

Yesterday they told me to list a brand NEW encoder that has a retail of $1100.00 for $35.


PAY NO ATTENTION TO THEM. Go look in another window, nothing sold for that amount, they figure if we sell everything for 2% of it's retail it will sell.

Geniuses.  

Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri   Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri

by: Maui5150 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 6 07:22:29 2014

Give you an example of eBay's price recommendations... I have a NEW with tag Gucci dress.  $3700 retail value.  

I periodically check ebays "recommendations".

On this dress, they were telling me I should set the start price of $0.99 for faster sales.  

Gee... No kidding.

Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri   Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri

by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 6 08:21:02 2014

Bring me up to speed here, please. Have these price Suggestions somehow become mandatory?  I've been merrily blowing right past them ever since the Very First Time I saw one. I pick my own Buy Now price by Filtering search for SOLD prices on Same Condition ( New vs Used ) and factor In or Out the reasonable shipping charges. I then price up toward the TOP end of those results. With store listings as Buy Now / Good Til Cancel why be in any rush?  The thing about eBay's ''Tips to Improve Your Listings'' suggestions are that 97 percent of the time they are Wrong, Pointless or downright Silly. The vast majority of my sales are movies / tv seasons on DVD - BluRay. Nutcases at eBay keep nagging me to fill in Sub-Genre descriptions when even listing Genre itself is totally pointless. Who is it they think I should Target that would Want 'Gone with the Wind' and would search for that classic using Genre Drama and Sub-Genre of De Woah o' Northern Aggression?  They also keep nagging me to squander my 80 character per title Scrabble tiles to throw in features that are perhaps number 17 on a list of 20 potential reasons to search for any particular movie.  By the way, now that SubTitle line that once upon a time were FREE now cost $1.50 per listing Per Month I reserve that Gilded Lily for only items like Vitamins, Mass quantities of DVDs, and OTC generic drugs where I'm listing Dozens or even Hundreds of the same item.    

Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri   Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri

by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 6 08:46:19 2014

?Dear seller ebay doesn't give a flying %^#$%^@# about your profits. Their "Price recommendation" is carefully calculated to maximize eBays profit!

Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri   Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri

by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 6 09:03:22 2014

Same thing here, ebay is claiming a price that is just plain wrong.
This is just outrageous, it is more of the dishonest and deceptive behavior by a group of greedy law breaking executives who are being enabled and protected by the white house, that is an absolute true statement.

Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri   Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri

by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 6 09:52:52 2014

I have put several of an item together and sold them as a lot, to get rid of them.

The ebay system surmises that my listing for three for $30 is really only worth $15, which might be one one sells for.  

But if I have a blowout sale, they surmise that the price should be something else.  Not realizing it's a lot.

That is just dumb, but that is one of the limitations of computerizing this kind of stuff.  You just cannot know if it's new, broken, a lot of 10.

And they don't sell, so clearly if I don't follow their pricing they suppress me in search.

Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri   Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 6 11:16:13 2014

I have noticed a distinct downward number on the "Suggested start price"  to an almost universal $0.99----on almost EVERYTHING.  Pair of fairly mundane wind pants?  $0.99.  Coach leather top of the line travel brief case?  $0.99.  Ummmmm---NO!  Rare Schott leather flight jacket?  Sorry---not starting it at any level below what I KNOW it should--and eventually DID---sell for---months AFTER it was listed when others similar sold the same DAY as listed or within a few days.  

Sheesh

Everythings broken

Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri   Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri

by: Sorbet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 6 18:44:53 2014

The OP's price fixing theory is interesting because, if eBay isn't suggesting that a multitude of independent sellers fix their prices,  then it is usurping all our listings in an attempt to ask a uniform prices under a single umbrella "seller".  That would be eBay.

The line between "venue" and "bad boss" is ever more and more blurred.  They have effectively set my salary via limits, were I to continue selling here full-time.

Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri   Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri

by: collectorjim This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 6 22:53:43 2014

What we are seeing are desperate attempts by eBay to raise their revenue. The stock market is expecting good news next time eBay reports. If it's bad news the walls will start tumbling down as will the stock.

Alibaba just reported their revenue jumped 54 percent in their first filing as a publicly held company.

Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri   Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri

by: YiweiJang818 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 7 01:04:44 2014

Good thing to know that Comrade Johnny Ho (or Chairman) has taken drastic measures to improve eBay's finances by fixing or rigging prices on all thing sold through eBay.

Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri   Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 7 01:12:36 2014

Ebay's pricing assistant doesn't work in my case. I was putting on a sterling silver locket with chain and designer name and the price I was given was $4.00. The program is not able to differentiate between the Asian sterling plated junk and vintage signed real silver items. Same with set of 20 vintage books. Recommended price for the set 99 cents.  

Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri   Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri

by: LadyAnne This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Fri Nov 7 09:39:09 2014

eBay's Price recommendation is NOT price-fixing...its just a suggestion.  The times when I have used the suggested price for an auction item, I have actually done quite well.  A lot of our items are drop shipped to the customer and our suppliers use MAP pricing.  Which means that we can't sell items below a certain price point.  However, when we sell items at auction, eBay's price recommendation as been right on point.  

eBay, while not perfect (and no company is perfect) provides sellers and buyers with an amazing opportunity. We have learned so much about running a business and have appreciated the fact that eBay has continued to provide a platform for sellers to grow a sustainable business.  

For all those that complain about eBay - if you can build a better platform - then do it--go for it. Instead of complaining; provide constructive solutions.

We are so happy we did not listen to all the complainers on this board; because if we had, we would never have listed one item on eBay.  Needless to say, we didn't listen and we continue have a good business on eBay that will continue to grow and prosper.

Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri   Is eBay's Price Recommendation Feature akin to Pri

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Nov 7 11:27:50 2014

LadyAnne says "For all those that complain about eBay - if you can build a better platform - then do it--go for it. Instead of complaining; provide constructive solutions."

LadyAnne, longtime sellers (especially here) provide many constructive suggestions and solutions.  eBay doesn't listen.  I personally think that the voice of one's customer is one of the most important elements of one's business.  I don't think you would hear so much complaining and frustration from eBay's paying customers if they felt that eBay was  listening and actually implementing at least a fraction of the suggestions.

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.