Ebay Morons Galore!

January 31, 2008

Ebay to sellers: SCREW YOU … Analysis Part Two (Feedback)

Filed under: ebay is the moron — Tags: , , , , , , — J @ 1:30 am

Yesterday I looked at the changes in the fee structure for 2008 and today I’ll examine the new feedback rules that will go into effect at an undetermined time. Tomorrow I’ll look at the previously unheard-of focus on Powersellers and the star rating system. Good times.

The biggest change everyone is talking about is that buyers will no longer be able to receive negative or neutral feedback. That’s right, sellers can only leave positive feedback once these rules go into effect. That’s ridiculous for a million reasons.

Sometimes buyers deserve negs, too. I’ve always said that there’s more to being a buyer than just paying. What about those new buyers who leave negs after three days, complaining about slow shipping? Or international scam artists who claim their item never arrived for half of their transactions? Or buyers who send daily threatening/vulgar/insulting emails? Or idiots who didn’t understand the auction and thought they were receiving something else? Or trigger-happy buyers who leave feedback THEN explain the problem to you?

Not to mention those special buyers who combine several forms of minor annoyance into one transaction, like paying extremely late, paying an incorrect amount, paying via an incorrect method, expecting you to ship using a service you don’t use, complaining that they paid $8 for shipping but postage only cost $6.50, and sending daily whining emails demanding you give them a tracking number when none exists. Yeah, all buyers are angels.

Apparently, this is being done to give buyers peace of mind when they leave a negative for a seller, since they no longer need to live in a world of fear that includes big, mean sellers leaving retaliatory negs for them. Give me a break. Buyers have never been shy about handing out negative feedback.

How are sellers supposed to be able to weed out the bad buyers? It’s easy to spot a bad seller, because their feedback generally includes many harsh comments. Whenever I have a high-end auction going, I always briefly glance at the competing bidders’ feedback page to see if there’s anything I need to look out for. If I see something particularly egregious, I have no problem canceling their bid and adding them to my Blocked Bidder List. Now it’s going to be much harder to see if a buyer is one of those people who cries about a 75 cent difference in shipping and actual postage, or if they have a history of filing false Paypal chargebacks.

Another new change I don’t understand the point of is that feedback more than a year old won’t count towards your total feedback percentage. So? What is this accomplishing? Who does this benefit? From what I’ve been reading, it helps no one. I just did the math and my personal feedback percentage over the last year exactly matches the percentage over the lifespan of my account. This doesn’t make ebay more secure because an actual scammer isn’t going to last more than a year anyway.

Thankfully, the rest of the feedback changes are a little more positive for sellers. I got excited when I first heard about how now repeat customers who leave positive feedback will count individually. Unfortunately, I later read the fine print, which said “(up to 1 Feedback from the same buyer per week.)” Oh. I was hoping that each transaction would count as one, but I suppose that’s simply wishful thinking.

One change I fully support (!!) is that when a user gets suspended, all their negative and neutral feedback they left gets removed. I have been waiting for this for a long time and this can’t go into effect any quicker.

Another nice new rule is that you will only be allowed to leave feedback within 60 days of the auction close instead of 90. Too often would I receive the random neg or neutral from a user who claimed some inane problem 75 days after the auction closed, to the effect of “i dont like the item can i exchange it” or “i never got it, bad seller” out of the blue. Maybe these’ll still happen, but at least they won’t come out of nowhere.

One policy change that looks better on paper is that, as ebay puts it, “Buyers must wait 3 days before leaving negative or neutral Feedback for sellers with an established track record, to encourage communication.”

Yeah, this will stop the instant negs from buyers who win auctions just to mess with you, but I’ve found a better way to combat them – require the buyer to have a Paypal account. People are less likely to mess with you if you can find their Paypal address and report them that way. I made this change about 16 months ago, and I haven’t been victimized since.

Also, unfortunately, three days seems to be a magic number when morons start complaining about slow delivery. Just last month I got a neg that literally was (this is a direct quote) “shipping said one day it has been 3 days.” Yes, they thought my listed shipping time of one day was how long it would take an item to arrive. Keep in mind that overnight service was available, but was declined. This was not a new user, and the bad feedback is still on my record. Thanks, dick.

Another “feedback change” is “When a buyer doesn’t respond to the Unpaid Item (UPI) process the negative or neutral Feedback they have left for that transaction will be removed.” Wasn’t this the old policy? What’s new about this? Where’s the change?

The final change mentioned on ebay’s page is this extremely vague sentence: “Buyers will be held more accountable when sellers report an unpaid item or commit other policy violations.”

Could ebay be any more ambiguous here? They’re already spilling the beans on all their new policies for 2008. There’s no need to hold back if there’s going to be a new “two strikes and you’re out” policy for non-paying bidders. Could it be that ebay doesn’t really know what they’re going to do, or that there won’t be an set procedure; that every situation will be treated differently?

It’s really hard to judge some of these policy changes until they’re actually put into use for a short while. I am very interested to see if ebay’s going to stick to their guns and hold up their end of the bargain on all their proposed promises. I guess only time will tell.

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January 30, 2008

Ebay to sellers: SCREW YOU … Analysis Part One (Fees)

Filed under: ebay is the moron — Tags: , , , , , , — J @ 4:27 am

I’ve spent a very large majority of my night reading and posting on various message boards about the new ebay changes. In summary, almost everything they’re changing is for the worse, in some cases, mind-boggling so. Over the next few days, I will be posting my personal detailed analysis of the changes. I was going to put it all in one post, but it was getting extremely long. I don’t think anyone wants to read a 30-page bitch session on ebay in one sitting. Today I’m going to look at the new fee structure that will go into effect on February 20.

Again, here’s the link to the official 2008 Ebay Changes Overview page: http://pages.ebay.com/sell/update08/overview/index.html

Fees are going up considerably, no matter how ebay spins it.

Anyone who disagrees either sells one item a month, or cannot do math. Listing fees have been reduced by $.05 on items with a starting bid of $.01 – 24.99, $.20 for items $25 – 49.99, $.40 for items $50 – 199.99, $.60 for items $200 – 499.99, and $.80 for items $500 and up. However, the base rate of the final value fees (FVFs) have gone up from 5.25% to 8.75% of the first $25. The gallery upgrade is also free instead of $.35 per auction. Ebay says, “You asked, we listened. We’re reducing Insertion Fees and adjusting Final Value Fees to lower your up-front cost to sell on eBay.”

I’m fairly certain that when people complained about high fees, they meant TOTAL fees, not just insertion fees. Seriously, who cares if listing fees are reduced by a nickel if FVFs are increased by 3+%? The total amount of fees is all that matters. We asked for this? Piss off, no we didn’t. Yes, ebay, charge us more, I insist! It’s nice that gallery is free now, but it still doesn’t make up the difference. I’ve taken a look at some common scenarios I run into on a daily basis and here is the math:

Item starting at 9.99, ends at 17:

CURRENT FEES:

listing fee: .40
gallery: .35
FVF: .89

total: $1.64

FUTURE FEES:

listing fee: .35
gallery: free
FVF: 1.49

total: $1.84

Difference: $.20

Item starting at 24.99, ends at 32:

CURRENT FEES:

listing fee: .60
gallery: .35
FVF: 1.31 + .23 = 1.54

total: $2.49

FUTURE FEES:

listing fee: .55
gallery: free
FVF: 2.19 + .25 = 2.44

total: $2.99

Difference: $.50

Item starting at .01, ends at $80:

CURRENT FEES:

listing fee: .20
gallery: .35
FVF: 1.31 + 1.79 = 3.10

total: $3.65

FUTURE FEES:

listing fee: .15
gallery: free
FVF: 2.19 + 1.93 = 4.12

total: $4.27

Difference: $.62

For me, it seems my total fees will be going up around $.50-.60 per auction. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but multiply that by 50, or even 100, and that is a good chunk of change lost per month. I’m simply going to have to raise my shipping/handling fees by $.50 on Feb 20.

The only new fee scenario that doesn’t conclude with a net loss is this:

Item starting at .01, ends at $1:

CURRENT FEES:

listing fee: .20
gallery: .35
FVF: .05

total: $.60

FUTURE FEES:

listing fee: .15
gallery: free
FVF: .09

total: $.24

Difference: -$.36

So essentially, whenever you list an item for under a buck, and it sells for around that amount, it ends up being cheaper under the new system, mostly because gallery is free now. I don’t even know if you would have used gallery in the first place for a $1 item, so in that case, the difference is zero.

The free gallery also spells the end of the usefulness of the Value Pack (gallery, subtitle and the worthless listing designer for $.65). Ebay is still keeping it around, in a modified, insignificant form. It will stay with the subtitle and listing designer, but instead of gallery, it will come with gallery plus, which is somehow more unessential than listing designer. Subtitles are handy, but if I really need one, I’ll just pay the fifty cents.

I’ve never included a reserve price on any of my auctions, but ebay is really doing their best to get rid of these completely, because they’re doubling the reserve fee *again* to $2. Also, this fee is now non-refundable, while under the old system, if the item met the reserve price, you were refunded the reserve fee. Honestly, it’s hard to care about this one, because reserve prices are pretty damn useless.

I also don’t run an ebay store, but those fees are going up too. The base rate FVF is now 12%! That’s insane. They just raised the FVFs for store items to 10% about a year and a half ago. It’s simply not worth running a store over listing items manually, the “normal” way. Gallery for store listings will be free now, but they were only a penny to begin with, so big freakin’ deal.

Interestingly enough, when the changes go into effect, you won’t be able to set up a fixed-price or store listing for $.99 or less. Again, this is another new “feature” that doesn’t affect me personally, but what about people who rely on a steady stream of low-priced items, like sports card dealers? They’re screwed, simply put. This also hurts buyers who are looking for specific, individual, common cards. Who’s going to list that Neil Lomax rookie card now? These card dealers aren’t going to waste their time listing and re-listing thousands of relatively worthless cards every week. It was only worth the time and effort when you could post each card once per year and maybe sell one or two over that span.

Tomorrow I’ll look at the new feedback changes and what they mean for sellers. (Spoiler alert: it fucking sucks)

January 29, 2008

Ebay to sellers: SCREW YOU

Filed under: ebay is the moron — Tags: , , , , , — J @ 7:37 pm

Ebay just released major changes that will go into effect sometime in the next few months, most of them horrible for small-to-mid-range sellers, including higher fees and the inability to leave negative or neutral feedback to buyers. This is actually making headlines and it was one of the lead stories on cnn.com.

Everything can be found right here: http://pages.ebay.com/sell/update08/overview/index.html

I’ll write more about this later and in great detail. Fuck.

January 15, 2008

On second thought, maybe I should quit accepting mailed payments…

I’ve had a lot of problems with mailed payments recently. Normally I prefer them, since there’s no Paypal fees and no real threat of chargeback. I see a lot of sellers worried about bounced checks, but that’s never happened to me, and I’ve accepted hundreds of personal checks over the years. Obviously money orders are okay, since the money is guaranteed.

I’ve already shown you the woman who underpaid via money order (even though she included the total 3-4 times) a few posts back. I emailed her, she apologized and said she’d send the rest of the money. She never did, but I sent the item anyway because $2 isn’t going to make anyone richer or poorer.

Now I’m getting more and more people who just send money with no information whatsoever. I clearly say in my item description, shipping details, and automatic invoice that if you do not include exactly what you won with your full name and shipping address, I can’t possibly be expected to ship. I refuse to mail a package in a situation where I’m not 100% confident that the name/address is accurate and that it will arrive.

If I just get $30 cash in the mail with only a scribbled return address, this does me no good. Same with blank money orders for a common amount. $24.99 + $8 shipping for a total of $32.99 is a very common payment amount and doesn’t help me find what item you won. If the total is $43.81, I might be able to find who you are because that’s an unusual amount that stands out. You know what I mean. If a buyer includes their name, I can search my email because their name shows up in the ebay “Your Item Sold!” email. This obviously doesn’t work when they pay with a business check when the account is registered to a single person and vice versa.

Like every other kind of ebay nonsense, the holidays are the worst time for this. People just mail checks and are apparently too busy to say who they are and what they won. So I deposit the payment, write down whatever information is given, email the buyer if possible, and simply wait for the buyer to get back in touch with me. I had a nice stack of four payments a few weeks ago with literally no contact/ebay info to work from, which is a personal best for “on-hold” payments at a time.

This reached a new level of absurdity last week when a buyer opened an “Item Not Received” ebay dispute. I asked them in the Dispute Console for their name, shipping address, how/if they paid, and so on to see if they matched one of my “on-hold” payments. After a quick email search, it turns out I emailed this user 4-5 times to verify basic information, because the handwriting was beyond sloppy, they wanted the item shipped to a friend’s address but didn’t make it clear exactly which address belonged to the friend, and they didn’t say what item it was. They never responded, and in the Dispute Console, they said they never received any emails from me.

Essentially, I had a personal check from a person with a dead email address who wasn’t the buyer, didn’t say what they won, and didn’t make it clear where I should mail this mystery item. Clearly this is my fault.

They flipped out in the Dispute Console and finally, everything was sorted out and all the necessary information was given to me. Apparently this was a birthday gift, which might be a bit late, since the auction ended November 17.

It’s times like this I wish everyone just paid with Paypal.

January 4, 2008

New Year, Same Ol’ Nutjobs

Here’s some fun emails I’ve received over the last few weeks. I know the holidays make some people a little crazy, but this is too much. Morons in red, emailed replies in blue, ass-kicking commentary in black, MAGIC BONUS TEXT in purple.

I made an offer on this item, you accepted. then you never followed thru. that is terrible Ebay practice. I was hoping to give that jersey to my son for christmas. Thanks for nothing. I am going to report to ebay about your practices.

I read that email and I thought to myself, “Holy shit, did I forget to mail something?” I actually do try to get items mailed ASAP during December and my way of record-keeping makes forgotten shipments a thing of the past. I looked up their username and found that they never actually bought anything from me.

What happened was they wanted an item that didn’t sell, they made an offer, I said sure, “pay and I’ll ship tomorrow,” and that was the last I heard from them. Clearly this is my fault. Also this email was sent on Dec 18, which is still a full week before Christmas Day. I sent them another invoice and again, nothing.

Uh oh, I better watch out because they are going to report me to ebay for not shipping an item they didn’t win or pay for. I’m on the bad seller train, first stop: Suspension Town.

Let’s not forget that the item in question was a dirty Drew Brees Chargers jersey, who hasn’t played for that team in quite some time. What a shitty gift. I did that kid a favor.



Hi it has been 20 days since I have paid you for this jersey, where is it and why is your shipping so fucking slow???

I am going to basically leave you a negative now because the shipping is so damn slow, thanks anyhow.

What is the matter with you? I mailed the jersey the day after you paid via International Priority Mail, which is the fastest way to Canada, aside from EMS, which would have cost you $40. It’s the holiday season and the mail can take anywhere from a week to a month. I do not work for Canada Post and I am not your mailman, so what do you want me to tell you?

You know, as much as I hate receiving shipping status emails, I hate snarky, passive-aggressive bullshit like this even more. You’re “basically” going to leave me a neg? Just how would that work?

I love the “your shipping is slow” line too. People have to know that once a seller drops off an item at the post office, it’s physically and figuratively out of their hands, right? Right…? Oh god they don’t.



Hey Mario,

Any progress on closing the auction so I can pay you?

Thank, Tom

Who the hell is Mario and why should I thank Tom?



i not griping but why no confirmation

This email isn’t taken out of context. They bought an item, paid, and the next day I see that in my inbox out of nowhere. What?



Email Subject: just tracking down my order
if and when you send it out i want to no so i can leave feed back

“If” I send it out? Wow, I didn’t know that was an acceptable option. This makes sense, though, because I suppose if you’re the kind of person that can’t spell “know” and “feedback,” you’re used to losing money left and right.



The Quebec Rafales were NOT the ancien Nordiques. Check your infos before posting those errors. The Rafales were in the IHL.
– crj50

Where do I say that the Rafales are the Nordiques? Learn how to read an item description.

Let me just check my “infos” to make sure. Direct from my item description:

“Up for auction today is one Quebec Rafales #15 hockey jersey, size adult large. 100% heavy polyester. This jersey is brand new and has never been worn. The Rafales only existed for two seasons (1996-98, both in the IHL), so their jerseys are impossible to find today in new condition, especially in adult sizes!”

Oh, and there are also two huge photos of the jersey. How dare I deceive these innocent customers who think they’re bidding on an “ancien” Nordiques jersey!

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