Saturday, February 02, 2008

Has Ebay Finally Gone Too Far?


This past week has been simply filled with drama! And not the sham reality show kind, either. Real, gripping, human drama…at least if you happen to sell on (ugh) Ebay.

Let me see if I can explain this in layperson’s language. It is so terribly complicated, even your faithful correspondent cannot understand it all.

You see, first Meg Whitman, head of Ebay, stepped down, and in her place came a gentleman I can assure you knows nothing about buying and selling on the Internet (or anywhere else, for that matter). I name no names; that is for Fortune and CNN to do.

This week, the-powers-that-be introduced “fee reductions” that turned out to be Orwellian fee INCREASES! That is, you would pay less up front to list your item, but suddenly the fee extracted from the sale would rocket upwards. And some of the fees that are refunded upon selling your item are no longer refundable.

But what turned most sellers’s hair white overnight was the announcement of an outrageous, unbelievable change to one of the fundamental principles of Ebay: the feedback system.

If you have ever used Ebay at all (and who at some time hasn’t decided to buy a used Gameboy?) then you know that sellers and buyers are rated by feedback. The more positive feedback, the higher the rating. Following me so far? Good. The more negative feedback, the lower the rating. This was true for both sellers and buyers. As a seller, I can tell you that more than once I have checked a buyer’s feedback and been appalled at what I’ve found…no details, this discussion is cluttered enough.

WELL. Ebay, in its wisdom, decided to REMOVE the right of sellers to leave negative or even neutral feedback for buyers! The thought makes one’s head spin.

Last year yours truly was the victim of buyer fraud. Again, I name no names. The buyer left me a negative. I was able to leave negative feedback that explained my side of the story. What is to happen now? One seller suggested that since we can now only leave positive feedback, perhaps we should say, “I am positive that this buyer sucks.”

Forgive the common language. I am merely quoting.

And to add insult to injury, apparently they will require us to ship our merchandise before it is paid for! This might be the only retail environment on the planet with such a requirement: somehow I do not envision Saks Fifth Avenue being so broadminded should you try to leave with a sable coat. They can hold the money in your Paypal account for up to 21 days if you do not meet their incredibly complicated requirements (why do I suspect it accrues interest for Paypal while it does so?). There are other changes, but I am too dispirited to list them, and this entry is already far too long.

I am in despair, dear readers. Not even a stiff shot of Kahlua in my evening espresso would cheer me up. What is one to do? What is one to do?

Elisa & Bucky The Wonderdog


Fat_Chic said...

My darling Mad Fashionista -

The solution is simple, really. Contact the federal trade commission.

Encourage other Ebay sellers to do so. State your case in droves. Especially over that "ship without payment" part.

Hoardmeister said...

Yes, according to my sources, the money can be put on hold for 21 days and we still have to ship the item! Then the buyer can ship it back claiming dissatisfaction, and we lose both the money and the item, assuming they put something else in the package!