EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 109 - December 21, 2003 - ISSN 1528-6703     6 of 6

Letters from Readers

Email This Story to a Friend

In reply to the Paypal messages not being sent out (December 07 issue) I think this is a pure case of Paypals servers being overloaded and not being able to handle the load. I have found a trick that works for me when I am not getting the "invoice sent" email or customers are not receiving emails.

What I am finding I have to do is go to the Post-Sale Management screen in Paypal. Select Items sold. Once you are in the screen you have to click on the refresh button in the right corner to get Paypals servers to generate the invoices. I found this out by trial and error after getting emails from my customers saying they have not received invoices or receiving invoice sent messages two days after the auction ended. Now I refresh the page a couple times a day to make sure that my invoices are sent, and this seems to work almost 100% of the time.

I have to admit this is not looking good for Paypal or eBay. eBay has to spend some of that money they hold on to so tightly and get some QUALITY servers and equipment that can handle the growth.


This is a continuing problem that keeps cropping its ugly head on eBay. This auction was reported on 12/6 and I reported it again on 12/7. These people are selling ebooks and putting them in the wrong category, to scam unsuspecting bidders. [eBay] used to pull these types of auctions, shortly after being reported. Why aren't they now?

This is the auction:

This is the Thread about it:

Thanks for any information you can provide, as to why they won't pull it.


Thanks for your response. It's incredible the amount of people that are having problems. If you go to EBay Answer center and click Technical issues you'll see what I mean! You can type in various searches and get more or different problems. My big issue was Script Errors. There are over 700 postings on 76 pages of this issue alone. All the changes eBay made is not compatible with many peoples Browser, software, Java script?, and virus/firewall/security software.

My problem turned out to be the eBay changes caused conflict with my McAfee internet security 5.0. After a month of frustration (I could not even bring up eBay on my computer, it was all error messages), I finally went to my mom and dad's house and searched for hours on the eBay chat rooms and discovered a patch for my problem.

I never received anything from McAfee or EBay that this was an issue for everyone that used McAfee. This had to be a problem for thousands of people.

The biggest issue seems to be the horrible Customer service at EBay. Everyone is left to fend for themselves. This is what you'll discover at the answer center (Tech issues). Do a search for things like Script Errors, McAfee, Browser, Etc. and you'll see exactly what I mean.

I feel so bad for all these people right before Christmas and they can't use EBay. I hope you can help!!! Thanks,


Hi Ina,
Just read the latest issue of AuctionBytes-Update #108 and wanted to comment on a couple of the remarks from other readers. Pat asked about others feelings concerning eBay's decision to close I loved and listed books there from the time I first learned of the site until eBay purchased it. After eBay became involved the site went downhill rapidly. When eBay announced the pending close of I immediately removed all my listings from I also no longer shop there for books. It was a great site until eBay got involved. I can only hope that another similar independent site will spring up somewhere for those of use who cannot deal with eBay's high handed attitude.

Another reader mentioned UPS and the increase in rates. I can tell you that the glass collecting community has long called UPS "United Parcel Smashers". Glass shipments rarely arrive in good shape and UPS has routinely then refused to honor the insurance on the shipment. It matters not how well an item is packed (including double boxing, bubble wrap & styrofoam) UPS will claim they do not insure glass. The USPS has a wonderful track record for getting glass to the buyer in excellent condition and will pay the insurance with little hassle if any damage is done. Most of us (glass sellers) use USPS Priority Mail unless the item is too heavy. Then the preferred shipper is FedEx Ground - cheaper and more reliable that UPS. With the news that UPS is now using the USPS to deliver many of their packages I ask "Why not just go to USPS and save your money?"

One more thing. Pat asked Nancy Hix about eBay Stores. I have been a buyer & seller on eBay since early 1999. I have never even looked at items in an eBay store. I only shop the auctions. If others' actions are like mine, this may explain why Pat could not sell $1 items in the store, but get market value from the same item in an auction. I have my fixed price store at Ruby Lane and also shop there for fixed price items. It is my feeling that eBay should stick to what made them big in the first place - online auctions - and stay out of other online businesses. It is obvious that they are reaching beyond their ability to provide decent service to their users.

Thanks for an excellent source of info for the online auction seller. I really appreciate your effort.


Dear Ina:
eBay has a brand new glitch for the Christmas season that is driving buyers and sellers crazy. Items that are already sold are being relisted by eBay with a quantity of 0. One seller already reported a lost sale when the bidder tried to buy the zero quantity item, and the eBay page kept coming back with an error message. The bidder contacted the seller who ended the 0 quantity item and listed another one, but by that time, the bidder had moved on. You can read more about this glitch here: Thank you for your great newsletter, I am happy to subscribe!


You should know that PayPal's "Seller Protection Policy" is totally useless. I have shipped an item to a verified address and this transaction meets all of the requirements for seller protection but still I have been charged back the full amount.

PayPal's notice states: "The transaction was reversed because our Seller Protection Policy does not cover sellers from chargebacks filed for anything other than fraudulent funds or false claims of non-receipt of merchandise."

The buyer received the merchandise in April of 2003 and tracking and proof of delivery has been provided to PayPal.

Their notice further states: "If you have not already received your merchandise from the buyer and would like the merchandise returned to you, please contact the buyer directly."

The buyer has sold the merchandise and PayPal has been so notified. I cannot think of a better qualified case for "Seller Protection."

By the way the amount in this case is over $900.


My Blocked Bidder List disappeared in November and I have been trying to get PowerSeller Support to help me recover it without success. When your December 7 newsletter arrived I was amazed to discover that eBay knew it was not an isolated situation. In addition to the unpleasant emails which others have apparently received as well, today a truly appalling one arrived:

"There was a problem and some lists were lost. They are not recoverable. It is time to get over it and move on. The Blocked Bidder list is a courtesy service. There is never a guarantee that all the data will be there. There is no charge for it.

We do not always provide explanations. This is one case where we will not be giving out the details like the how or why. We will not be researching individual accounts and restoring information.

I wish that I could give you better news, but cannot. It is time to think and work on moving forward, not back. You can go back through your feedback and transaction-related emails to get some User IDs to add right away."

No charge - what are all those fees I pay every month? Get over it! No explanations! Move forward! Go back!


Thank you - interesting article about e-bay ! I have been having an on-going problem with them, that does not affect my auctions, but does affect my customers, ( and ultimately, myself ) .

When I go to leave feed-back, I will do a number of feedbacks messages, go to page bottom, and hit submit - and sometimes one, sometimes four or five will come back with the message: "Sorry, we cannot accept this feedback on items # xxkdskdskk, because you are not a valid participant in this transaction." For example , I will do 15 feedback messages--it will accept 10 and kick back 5 !

It then proceeds to erase those names and numbers from my feedback list, so I can never go back in and leave a good customer feedback. My deserving good customers think I have just blown them off !! Forget trying to contact e-bay or get any answers or help ! Grrrrr !


Hi Ina,
Have you ever approached the subject of "communication" between seller and buyer at all? I have been buying more on eBay this month - what I find is absolutely "no" communication from the "seller" after purchasing an item. No replay when your payment is received. No communication when or if your item has been mailed. It has been almost like pulling teeth to get responses from these people. I guess I have been giving my customers too much - I email them after they have won an auction, after I receive their payment and when item will be shipped, etc., etc. I don't know how many emails I had to send before one guy finally answered me. Once that auction is won and once that payment is made - that's the end of any kind of communication. I let one go and decided to wait and see how long it took her to send me any mailing fees so I could pay for the dumb thing - I waited 4 days and then finally asked her. Now she's playing games with me on the postage. She, unfortunately, didn't get any bidders on her items and I got them for $1.00 - I don't think she wants to sell them to me now. Maybe she has learned her lesson on starting auctions for $1.00. Wow, has eBay changed in more ways than one. Talk about the buyers........we should concentrate a little more on beefing up the sellers' selling habits! They absolutely stink! I'm not just talking "new kids on the block" either - I'm talking powersellers and all the way down the line. Whew! Thanks - had to get that off my chest! Don't know who else to crab to, so I picked you. I went on your forum but couldn't find anything that remotely resembled my problem.


Dear Ina,
I've been a subscriber to your newsletter for quite awhile now (sort of a neighbor of yours from MA). I am strictly an EBay buyer, and have purchased 50+ items. I used PayPal exclusively until I ran out of the allotted $2000. I am not comfortable allowing access to my checking account. I know I could set one up for that purpose, but I just didn't see it as a necessity.

I wrote to PayPal asking for an alternative. They suggested one of their credit cards. That sounded like a good solution. I ordered one. I used it happily for a few months. Suddenly, though the web site states that charges using the PayPal credit card do not count towards your limit, I could no longer use PayPal-had to send cashier's checks for the items-a pain for the seller and me. I called the credit card customer service. The answer I received was that I had reached my limit-and even when I read the statement from the web site stating that no limits applied to the PayPal credit card, I got the same answer over and over.

Then I noticed my last bill for $11.15. The original charge was $11 even. This was before I'd had a chance to pay the bill! I paid it anyway, well before the due date. When my new bill came, (no new charges by me), it was for nine cents-apparently you get charged just for having the card! Needless to say, I cancelled the card-and the customer service person seemed to know just why I was upset.

Today I received a refund from a reputable web site. I had paid with PayPal, so they refunded my $11 (see above) through PayPal. I had just made an EBay purchase, so I thought I'd use the $11 to pay for it. No. No. No. You can't actually get the money back UNLESS YOU GIVE THEM A BANK ACCOUNT NUMBER! Oh, you can have them send you a check-with a $1.50 charge! A friend signed up and had $1.95 charged to her card as a way to verify.

Who know where it is now, though a credit was supposed to be given. She can't find it anywhere. Does she feel duped? The point of this is that such frustration drives customers away, since there are very few alternatives available to pay for EBay items. I wouldn't be surprised if this is part of the reason for lower sales. I know I am thinking twice now. I've had nothing but positive experiences with sellers, and I promote EBay in the volunteer computer class I teach, but PayPal is really becoming a problem. Thought the sellers ought to know.


my eBay accounts have recently been suspended because another eBay member has signed up to eBay with my details, address, name etc, and performed several fraudulent transactions, with the intention of being reported and becoming suspended. The false user signed up on the 30th January 2003, and performed the false bids on the very same day.

Well, eBay doing their random cross account linking checks have matched the accounts, and decided that I should not be allowed to use eBay as I already have an account that is suspended - which is not the case, as this is not my account, it is the account of someone who has deliberately signed up with my details with the intention of doing the above.

But how would he know or find out my details?, this is simple, as all one has to do to perform this is buy an item from an eBay member and 99 times out of 100 they will email you their address so that payments can be forwarded - just as I used to.

But surely eBay verify new sign-ups?, no!, only if they have an email addy that belongs to a free IP, like Hotmail or Freeserve. So in theory, anyone could signup as anyone, and be who ever they wish to be on eBay - or if they are devious and selfish, they could simply sign up and perform a similar action as above - with no checks from eBay at all.

So now I am jumping though hoops trying to get my accounts back for something that bears no relation to any action that I have performed. I really feel let down by eBay that they even have a system that allows this to happen; eBay clearly states that to either buy or sell through their website that you need to be over 18, so why do they not verify new members when they sign-up, and not just when they wish to become sellers?

As I have already stated, I really don't know what to do, eBay have asked me to fax my details (passport, and a recent bill) as proof of identity and they will then review the suspension, although I done this 48 hours ago and have still not heard from them.

I am also considering consulting a solicitor about the way that I have been falsely suspended from eBay - due to someone else using my identity to sign-up as a new member, basically identity theft, of which eBay are harbouring and performing actions based on. If eBay really wanted to resolve this I'm sure that that have enough information within their records and server logs to prove that it was not me!.

Any opinions that you have would be of great assistance, Best Regards,


Hi Ina,

Your article "The Glitch that Stole Christmas?" hits home very hard right about now. Technical problems with both eBay and PayPal this holiday season have been mounting. Late end-of-auction notifications from eBay have become an expected part of Christmas sales over the past few years, so we anticipate and work around them. However, it seems that the techno-virus has spread to PayPal as well in the form of omission of payment notices. I'm finding that about 10-15% of payments made to my acount by buyers are not being reported by PayPal e-mails. The money shows up in my account in a timely fashion, but having to search regularly thru hundreds of account entries each week to confirm a customer's payment is getting to be quite tiresome.

Also, in the area of glitches, has anyone else reported a problem remaining "signed in" on their "my eBay" page? This just started and has been going on for me now for about three weeks. No changes at all to my computer system, but eBay's system will not now keep me signed in, no matter how many times I check the box on the sign-in screen. When my auctions are accessed from "my eBay", the note in the upper left corner says I am signed in, but buyer's e-mail addresses don't show unless I sign in again and come back to the auction screen. When I'm trying to respond to 20-30 auctions each morning, this gets to be quite irritating. I must sign in about 50 times each morning just to get thru the closings. Of course, I've contacted eBay tech support, but you can imagine the "canned" response I got for that effort. Just curious if you've heard anything along these lines from others.




Thanks for including the article re: the Abilene, TX high-schoolers selling items on eBay. Hopefully, their fund-raising efforts are being conducted with an adult's user ID, e.g., their teacher or other faculty member. The article (not yours, I know) failed to mention the age requirements for individuals to sell and enter legally binding contracts.

I hope the wrong message isn't sent. I have dealt with far too many underage eBay users, those of the non-paying variety.

Just a thought,



I am so glad to see you addressing the problem with sales at eBay. No impulse buyer better go there because the 1st question asked is "What are you looking for?" That shuts out the buyer seeing other things for sale. I used to sell 10 out of 12 items. Now I'm lucky to sell 2 out of 12!! I also blame the myriad of categories. I've sold for 4 years and have seen that steadily grow until it's ridiculous! I used to be able to put an animal figurine in the Animal category where many saw it. Now, I have to put it in 1 of at least 50 dog categories alone!! How could a buyer possibly find it? We sellers are their bread and butter. I wonder when they will realize that and try to HELP US. Thanks for listening.

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

You may quote up to 50 words of any article on the condition that you attribute the article to and either link to the original article or to
All other use is prohibited.