There's a popular rumour online that eBay is better for buyers than sellers. When as a seller I received the following reply to a detailed report I submitted on a potentially fraudulent buyer, trying to return fake goods and claim a full refund, I felt vindicated and pleased.
"I want to thank you for your detailed report. I have taken the time to read it and I have also reviewed all the information available to us in the case. After reviewing this case ... we're not holding you responsible for this case. eBay will refund the buyer in full and you will keep your funds. This case won't count against your seller performance standards. Your funds will be released back to you ... and don't need to do anything else."
I was a little disappointed that the buyer's fraudulent claim did not lead to him being investigated or punished in any way though I actually thought they'd be on the case based on long conversations with "eBay customer support".
A month later I found that the case had been closed in the buyer's favour and I was expected to refund eBay in full for the amount. The only way to recover my money would be using a small claims court or engaging with a small time crook. The basis of the buyer winning was that there was a tracking number when he returned the items and therefore it was collected - nothing to do with him returning a load of rubbish back. Furthermore I'd have to authenticate my items with proof before selling them, even though I was selling them so cheap.
In the process I spent 3-4 days trying to compile a defence such as being a detective, writing a report, paying for the return of fake goods as well as other costs such as eBay listing fees.
In the end, even after the letter above, I felt that my status both as a buyer and seller is being abused and eBay is exposing others to a crook who knows how to manipulate the eBay system (he has a very high feedback score). There was so much circumstantial evidence about what he did as I put on my report. I produced receipts and detailed weights and measures of the items sold with copious photographs. In the end I was the criminal.
Whereas I'm sympathetic to eBay and its bargains, it treats sellers and buyers as unequal parties and only seems to rate people based on feedback, a very dubious way to judge people. Even when a seller goes to the trouble of writing a report - eBay ultimately only looked at its bottom line and superficial features of the case. The constant calls to customer support (at least they have real humans) proved ultimately futile.
So if their share price is stagnant and most of their sellers seem to be from China, it is hardly surprising as both (mostly Western) sellers and buyers attack them. eBay is big for clothes and shoes as opposed to quality electronic items that I prefer to buy from Amazon.
Quality sellers (and I make no claims as such) are effectively ignored when they become the victims of fraud and there seem to be few brains and little co-ordination in how to approach investigations of fraud.
The letter I got above was implied to be fabricated as they didn't have it on their system. Without quality sellers with classy goods at bargain prices, I'm afraid the platform is very creaky and smart buyers will avoid casting their pearls before swine.
Sarakani, PhD (pseudonym)