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Tue Sept 26 2017 22:37:36

A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I have been an avid and faithful buyer on eBay for about 17 years. For the most part, buying was safe, reliable, and affordable. 

Over the past year, eBay has been exhibiting symptoms of a business about to go under. The impression I get is that someone at the top is bored with the problems of running an electronic business. Sellers have complained regularly about their frustrations with eBay; now, buyers are being neglected, abused, or robbed. 

With the new shipping arrangements, the price of shipping is outrageous. I can find a $2.50 saucer for $2.50, but the shipping is $7.  

Mostly of my book buying has been done on Half.com. I am deeply dismayed to see that Half.com has been closed. I do a lot of research on a variety of subjects, and, Half.com has been a rich resource for books that I can’t find elsewhere. 

In my experience, the sense of buying and selling safely has eroded over the past year. Sellers with long lists of complaints continue to sell. When one of these sent me a defective item, I lost hundreds of dollars in "restocking" fees and another $150 for return shipping. The computer seller had 42 angry complaints in feedback yet is allowed to continue selling. 

With every smack, I ask myself : Why am I still shopping via this organization? There has to be a bigger story here. Why don't you write it?
Jane




Comments (31) | Permalink

Readers Comments

A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay   A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay

by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 26 23:23:33 2017

Sorry, I may be wrong, but such is life, but I don't believe Jane's sotry.

A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay   A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Wed Sep 27 00:08:36 2017

@ Reader

"When one of these sent me a defective item, I lost hundreds of dollars in "restocking" fees and another $150 for return shipping."

If the item was defective why did you have to pay for return shipping & restocking fees?

A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay   A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay

by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 27 00:31:14 2017

I see what you are talking about. After reading the article on here about Amazon sellers selling more refurb items, I checked the ebay refurb sellers. And it seems ebay does turn a blind eye and has different standards applied to sellers selling high popularity refurb electronic items. Possibly because it has a large customer draw? It seems that with the high amount of negative and neutral feedback that they should not be allowed to have the top rated seller placed on their account.

At the same time it is your responsibility as a buyer to check the sellers feedback, policies and return costs that are charged. You cant place blind trust in ebay and accept no responsibility yourself.

A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay   A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 27 01:58:43 2017

Interesting.  Let us assume benefit of doubt though.

First, there is nothing 'new' about shipping 'arrangements'.  The $7 exampled is the price of priority shipping, with tracking eBay requires.  Raised a bit - as prices do, from last year.  And note: sellers pay an additional fee on each penny, so it's in their best interest not to artifically inflate it.  

Perhaps you thought it should be 'free'?  Including the materials used to try to ensure it arrives in the same number of pieces sent?  Well, on eBay, it IS.....IF you're willing to pay $9.50 for that precious saucer.  Make another note: 'free' isn't really free.  

Or you if you can find that china in China.  Might take a couple extra days to show up though.  And it might turn out to be plastic.  That's called 'china-like' btw.  Jot that one down too.

Next, for your research, may I suggest your local library?  Free actually IS free there.  And when you're done, they don't charge to put it back on the shelf either.  But, if you're unwilling or unable to actually dress and travel, they have this thing called the internet.  Might have the data you require - it's pretty vast.

Finally, as for 'safety' granted to eBay buyers, you're kidding, right? Unless you ARE buying Chinese china, all you need to do is pretend you have an issue, and you not only get your funds refunded, (plus shipping - both ways), you might even get to keep the item too.  Don't believe it?  Well, remember that internet thingy? (Refer to notes if need be.)  Tons of examples and even videos how to do that there.   For YEARS now.  

And if the item really IS defective, there IS no restocking fee either.  It's called a SNAD - a very powerful and almost majical acronym that....well...YOU'RE the researcher.  Look it up.

In fact, if the seller is small enough, it can take only but a couple of such incidents (read mere allegations) to relagate the seller, their livelihood, and all those associated to their business to eBay's trash pile, where they throw away all their sucesses in favor of plagerized 'innovations'.  So one has to wonder - perhaps there IS a 'bigger story' here.  Only not just 'about eBay'.

We can start with why one would WANT to deal with a seller of such documented ill repute as exampled.  Of course, it's more than possible eBay offered only that one to work with while continuing to disadvantage the professional, but nevertheless less 'preferred' competition, but still....

Now, bear in mind I'm no fan of eBay myself (ask around).  In fact, with their klugy rigged search and proclivity to hide listings from sellers of much better rep than that noted, it's a wonder you could find something you actually sought to begin with.  

But when you do, AND purchase armed with knowledge of how eBay will bend a seller butt over hairline to accomodate a buyer's every whim - with naught but unfounded accusation as justification, even to buyers who don't even TRY to conduct even a minimum of due dilligence, it actually IS a bit harder to grant benefit of doubt for events as described.  And lookie here - soon to come - mandated 'free returns'. Full refunds, unconditionally.  Slicker than snail snot, as gramps liked to say.

Regardless, it was still....interesting.  And you're likely right on re 'imminent demise' - at least as a 'member-friendly venue'.  But for many more and different reasons than cited.  And one needs NO research skills to find those.  Just follow the 'noise'.

It's been blaring for more than just the past year now.  

Thanks for sharing yours.

A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay   A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Sep 27 02:39:05 2017

Jane, I completely understand and respect your concern over shipping charges.  The item you spoke about is most likely being shipped via UPS first class parcel.  If your seller only charged you $2.50 for shipping then that seller is losing money as it cost more than that to ship the lightest of packages via USPS.  Ebay has no say in this matter, it is all about USPS and what they get approved to charge.  So in a case like this, don't hold it against Ebay as it is not their fault.  And remember you seller is actually eating some of the actual cost to ship.

As to a seller's FB.  It can be alarming to pop into a seller's FB and see they have about 100 negative FB yet they are still selling on Ebay.  It is important to remember it is all in the numbers.  To hold a seller that sells 1,000 items a month to the same standards that a seller of 100 item a month is just not going to work.  Nor will it the other way around.

A seller with 100 FB and 1 negative FB = is 1.0%
A seller with 1000 FB and 1 negative FB = is 0.1%

You have to take into consideration how many transactions they have.  

Your problem with the defective item is interesting and more information would be needed to accurately figure out what happen.  Just using the information you posted, you may have filed your claim with Ebay incorrectly.  If you had filed a SNAD [significantly not as described], the seller would have never been allowed to charge you a restocking fee.  Ebay does not allow that.  The only time a seller is allowed to charge that restocking fee is when the buyer files a Buyer's Remorse type claim.

So if you have time, please tell us more about the claim you filed and maybe we can help you appeal it and get a different outcome.

A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay   A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 27 05:15:35 2017

Sounds like one of those buyers that everyone wants to put on their blocked bidder list.

Complains about shipping, whines about the price, doesn't fix feedback until after the fact. THATS A NEGATIVE IN THE MAKING.

A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay   A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Wed Sep 27 08:13:57 2017

The story starts off good, veers off the path ($7 shipping is outrageous?  have you ever shipped anything?), and completely crashes ($150 return shipping?  was it a bowling ball going back to China?).

I've been on eBay just as long as this person.  I remember when buyers were utterly powerless to do anything if they were cheated.  The situation today is a complete 180 from back then.  I hate to say, if you lost out on a return, it's likely you either didn't pay attention during the returns process or were so far out there that even eBay had to side with the seller.

A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay   A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 27 10:32:14 2017

The babies that amazon and ebay have created.

A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay   A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay

by: DingDong This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 27 12:51:26 2017

I sell and have sold plates. Normally they are higher priced but the shipping is anywhere from $7-$10 to ship.
There are times that I lower the plate prices hoping to sell it, but that doesn't change the price of shipping.

I don't know why you are whining over shipping, because that is the cost of shipping.

A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay   A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Wed Sep 27 14:02:46 2017

You really have to wonder where some of these complaints about sub-$10 shipping come from.  These people almost certainly never have to buy anything like store fixtures (even small ones) or packing supplies online.  I have to order the latter in bulk because otherwise shipping from within my state costs more than what I order.

A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay   A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Thu Sep 28 00:05:42 2017

When USPS sets shipping prices they do not factor in value. It will cost $7 to ship a $2.50 flea market saucer and the same $7 to ship a $400 Meissen saucer. The only thing that will change is the insurance valuation.

This is why it behooves sellers to simply charge $9.50 for the saucer with 'free' shipping (otherwise risk a neg or neutral).  

A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay   A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 28 01:34:57 2017

Shipping fees take a big chunk out of our revenue.  I normally like to "ship free" and imbed the shipping cost in the cost of the product, but lately I've been tacking on shipping because of the cost to ship.
If a buyer wants a product they will pay for the product and shipping.  I think most buyers understand there's a cost to ship, esp. if the product is over 1 lb.
As a buyer myself, I like ship free or ship to store.  I don't condone any seller than charges outrages amounts of shipping fees.  I know when a 1 oz. product is being overcharged for shipping.

A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay   A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Sep 28 06:51:33 2017

I heard a  lot of folks say that they raised their shipping fees when eBay started taking a percentage. They did this to offset eBay's hand in the cookie jar.  I do remember that before eBay starting taking a cut they were always coming down on sellers about their shipping prices.  You'll note that you haven't heard a peep from them about shipping since they are now taking a percentage.

Despite what eBay and the big box retailers tell you, there is no such thing as free shipping.  Sellers have costs associated with shipping and USPS and the other carriers stick it to them every year, while China gets subsidized.   Moreover, even flea market saucers can break, so perhaps that extra money goes to insuring the item through a third party.

A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay   A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay

by: JWsax This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 28 07:55:17 2017

This story rings false for me as well and I am no fan of ebay. But lets put the criticism where it belongs not against $7 shipping. I weigh things like $7 shipping against getting in my car and driving to a brick and mortar and it comes out on top every time.

A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay   A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay

by: frustrated This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 28 08:08:17 2017

There is no restocking fee for a defective item. Complain to ebay.  When a restocking fee is LEGITIMATE, they tell you that you can charge it.

This part?:
   With the new shipping arrangements, the price of shipping is outrageous. I can find a $2.50 saucer for $2.50, but the shipping is $7.  

Reason for that is that shipping costs WENT UP. As a seller I have to charge based on shipping 3800 miles away. (since if I use calculated, my listing goes to the end of ALL LISTINGS...) So using a medium flat rate is likely going to COST ME 6.25. Then I GET TO PAY EBAY a cut of the money I made (uh, SPENT) and that is 10%, so add .62. Whaddayaget? 6.87. Now, go back to the original statement. 2.00?? IF I were silly enough to pay  .10 a listing for that item, and it sat there for a year, charging me every 30 days.   WHADDAYAGET? So that's 1.20.  I just made .80 for this BS listing of a saucer. THEN (I know you buyer you, forgot this part. I PAID PAY-PAL a fee of 3% to get the money. WADDAYAGET: 9.00 - 1.20 (listIng fee)  = 7.80 - .27 to pay-pal = 7.53. Less shipping label 6.25 =  1.28. Less ebay fee .90.  = .38
TOTAL "take" .38.

Am I in the hole now>??? (assuming I value my labor cost at 12 cents an hour)

Let's get a math major to tell me yes or no??

A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay   A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: VV

Thu Sep 28 09:32:40 2017

It's better if some people don't shop online. Sounds like one of those buyers that get clothing in multiple sizes to try on and then return the ones that don't fit as 'not as described'.

A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay   A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Thu Sep 28 09:45:36 2017

@ frustrated

You don't have an eBay store?

A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay   A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 28 09:50:21 2017

@frustrated
You forgot that paypal has a minimum fee of .30 (may be higher than that by now).

I offer best offer so you would not believe the amount of buyers who still quote me that they "know" I am only paying 5.00 for priority mail shipping so I should be able to ship for that. No matter how many or how much an item is likely to cost.
Then there are a significant number that want to make an offer of less than a first class package price and write "free shipping" on the offer.
I educate each and every one of them though.

A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay   A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 28 10:02:59 2017

@Jane
As a general rule, you should look at the sellers feedback no matter where you purchase. There are bad sellers everywhere and ebay is much easier to spot them than anywhere else. Most other big sites they don't have to write their own listings and feedback is much less visible.

But don't just look at the number or the percentage (although under 99% I usually won't even bother with) - you must look at the comments the buyers are making. Many times you will see a pattern. Can you figure out that this seller does not actually have the items in hand; therefore cannot possibly state the quality/condition/delivery of the items? Is the seller just listing and not delivering? Is the quality of the item or a subset of items not up to par? Are you buying an item from a large seller that does not seem to be a specialty of that seller? You need to just click on the neutral and negatives to see the issues with the seller.
If a seller actually responds to the feedback, this tells me they at least care about it. If I see no comment at all to a negative then I know this seller is not one I want to utilize and I give a pass to sellers who do not respond to foolishness. I also totally disregard any issues that I know were not in sellers control.

A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay   A Word from an Avid Buyer Losing Faith in eBay

by: HardWorkingSeller This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 28 10:21:16 2017

I buy thousands of dollars worth of items on eBay each month.

In my experience the quality of that experience has dropped significantly in the last couple of years since sellers' DSRs were removed from the best match ranking.

Now people tend just to focus on getting the package out on time.  The fact that it hasn't been tested like the listing claimed and arrives bent from poor packing no longer affects the seller's sales so all too often they just don't care anymore.

And as the Shipping cost DSR is no longer counted, the shipping prices are heading back up to the levels they were in the days before FVF was charged on shipping.  Once the eBay Money Back Guarantee kicked in with seller-paid returns for SNADs it seemed that a large number of sellers just doubled their shipping charges in response.

Being a ''Top Rated'' seller now has nothing to do with your ratings.  It just means you get the stuff out on time.

Personally as a seller I keep my DSRs at solid 5.0's as that's my choice as a business, but it irks me that eBay gives me no credit in search for looking after my customers.

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