Recently I noticed an interesting "feature" on eBay, and thought it might fit as a story for your blog. I sell stamps and collectibles on German eBay site, but I have read similar stories from users of US version as well.
Yesterday evening I needed to edit something in the item description of all my listings, and first tried eBay bulk editor for that. However, in it I noticed that after description revision some of my items were calculated with INSERTION fee. It was obviously a glitch bulk editor is notorious for, so I switched to CSV manager.
I have about 20000 items in stock, and I changed a description for all of them.
Next morning I routinely checked my seller account and was very surprised to see the balance change of more than 600 USD just over night.
After some investigation I saw that randomly some of the items were charged insertion fee. I checked the CSV report and yes there it is. Action "Description Revision", Status "Success", insertion fee, 0.42 EURO (about 0.50 USD). Later I noticed that the same story happened when I listed about 200 items a week ago. 25 of those got insertion fee. And overall, I am clueless to how long this has been happening and how much extra fees I paid in the past.
In Germany we have different Store subscription to US site: as premium store subscriber I can have unlimited number of fixed price listings in my store for free, no insertion fees are charged. Well, should not be charged at least.
So this morning I called eBay customer support, after about 10 min of explaining them the situation, they told me that I have to send them the list of all items to which I believe fees were unjustified.
Not only I did not hear any apologies, but also I have to invest a lot of time in making a list of items where "I believe" the fees are unjustified.
Overall I spent about 1 hour over the phone talking with two representatives, and finally they agreed to contact their technical support to ask if there's any other way to generate the list by themselves and issue a refund for the insertion fees I did not have to pay.
I discussed the situation with my sister, who also sells on eBay, and she told me she had experienced exactly the same issue a couple of days ago. She wanted to relist some of the items, and from about 70 she saw insertion fees on 5 of them. So she relisted those items as "sell similar", in this way insertion fee was not charged.
Now I have several points about this issue:
- Since it has been happening for some time, eBay obviously knows about this, so why not to announce a technical issue, so all are aware of the situation? Something like "We know about the issue and working on it, please accept our apologies for the inconvenience".
- Because there has not been any open announcement of the issue, I am asking myself how many sellers have never noticed that they were charged unjustified fees. When big volume sellers pay thousands of fees every month, would they notice extra 50-100 USD? Probably not. But 50-100 USD from every seller, and there are tens of thousands in Germany alone, will be a nice bonus to eBay profits.
- The outcome to my situation is still unclear, but I am pretty certain I will have to make up the list by myself in the end, and the most I will get is my fees corrected. There won't be any gift card or anything a customer would expect from a company that made a mistake.
- I am 100% certain that if I did not notice the fees myself, I would never get any refund or apology for the mistake from eBay. It would just go silently in their pocket.
The issue is well known to eBay, here's a link
for eBay.com discussion board where several sellers discuss the same one year ago.
I hope you find this situation interesting. I would be happy to share more details with you if needed. I am available by email or phone.