Ebay Morons Galore!

May 11, 2009

Ban sandrine-77

Ebay user sandrine-77 is a French couple who make selling on ebay an absolute nightmare.

These worthless shitstains, Jerome and Sandrine Fuchey, buy dozens of children’s toys a week, pay late if at all, then leave negative/neutral feedback for non-French sellers about 20% of the time. I know this because I had the misfortune of dealing with them a while back.

They negged me (three out of four in my Worst Week Ever (see previous update)) seemingly out of the blue. What happened? They bought a pair of Adidas shorts from me and instantly refused to pay. They said the shipping was too high. Well, all shipping costs are listed in three different places, and honestly, my shipping rates are more than fair. I’m not mootown, who charges $11 to mail a t-shirt.

I filed a dispute about 10 days after the item ended, and five days later, sandrine-77 responded. He (I’m going with “he” from herein, because Jerome is the one who paid) said he was sorry for the late payment and that it would be completed the next day. Fine. It sold for a good amount and I just wanted the money. Payment arrived, I shipped, and I didn’t hear anything for about a month, so I figured all was well.

Nope.  29 days after he paid, Jerome emailed me and demanded that he receive a full shipping refund or else he was going to neg me. He said the postage on the package did not match the exact amount he paid, so only a full shipping refund would do (of course). Now, I don’t give partial refunds for this reason, as I have a clear handling fee on all international items. God forbid I charge $1-2 more than the actual cost of postage. I linked him with the FAQ where this policy is completely outlined and a few minutes later I get negged, in French. Sweet.

To not give my account away here, I won’t repeat it verbatim, but essentially it said “no communication, dishonest seller, I don’t agree with his policies.”

Welp, this is a clear violation of ebay’s Feedback Extortion policy, so let’s give them an email. I hear back from them in a few days and they tell me no violation had occurred and nothing would be done. Oh right, I had forgotten that ebay/Paypal always takes the buyer’s side, no matter what.

We exchanged some pointless vulgar emails, because at that point, who cares. Here are some excerpts, his emails translated from French to English via Google’s language tools.

Thanks for the feedback, asshole. Please do all sellers a favor and leave ebay forever. YOU ARE WORTHLESS. This is why sellers refuse to ship overseas and charge handling fees. Go fuck yourself.

Enculer Fuck you, asshole and damage, I notify ebay of your dishonesty and good luck, you know the rules are not complied with poor nase ebay, you will learn and hello suspension of account, Tchao pignouf … … … … ..

Good luck with that. I haven’t done anything wrong and ebay will agree. WHY DID YOU BID IF YOU DIDN’T LIKE THE SHIPPING PRICE? How dumb are you?

Yeah me too but one day I wanted to play CON like you and I got it in the ass as you will, good courage … … … … … … …. L)

Uh, yeah… Good one…?

Anyway, at this point I checked the feedback he left other sellers and I was absolutely floored by what this guy is able to get away with. Just look for yourself (click me). Look at all those negs! Ignore all the feedback left for buyers and French sellers and check out all the red and grey!

These simply cannot all be bad transactions. Taking a closer look, almost all of the negs sandrine-77 leaves are for good sellers who don’t frequently get negged. Many of the negs involve petty non-issues a normal person would ignore. A lot of them are complaining about the shipping cost, but every single auction has the shipping cost listed. Why bid if you don’t like the listed price? I seriously do not understand this.

Many of his negs mention bad or no communication. I find it hard to believe that all of these sellers are ignoring his emails. Hell, he said that about me, and I responded to all one email he sent before negging me.

At this point, I had to email some of these sellers to hear their side of the story. I got some responses and here they are (names removed):

Hi, Thanks for your email. I too tried calling the 1-800 number for a resolution and they were of no help to me. This person purchased7 items, did not pay for them. filed a dispute and clsed it. After the closing of the dispute, they paid for it. The next day he/she filed a paypal dispute stating non-receipt. The seven strikes on their account were reversed by paypal and she was able to give me 7 negative feedbacks. I don’t understand how that’s fair. If you have any luck let me know. Thanks

***********************

Thanks a lot. I am reporting it and plan to make the case that he is tying to use feedback to extort money from people. My case was similar. He asked me how much shipping would be and then bid on my item. I charged him what I told him I would for shipping, and then he demanded a refund for a portion of the shipping he felt was unfair, although it was exactly what I quoted. I am hoping eBay will resolve this. I am writing it up and submitting it tomorrow. Thanks again for the message!

***********************

Hey,
Just an FYI, I went to eBay about sandrine77 and eBay said that he did not violate any policies.  So I guess eBay feels that feedback extortion is OK.  What a joke.  Hope it went better for you.

No, it didn’t, but we already knew that. I’m going to email some of the more recent sellers and see if I can get more stories. Maybe if enough good sellers report sandrine-77, we can boot his worthless ass off of ebay forever (yeah right). If you’re reading this and you sell, make sure you add them to your blocked bidder list. You never know.

If you are somehow reading this page, sandrine-77, abattre toi-même (but first leave some positives for all the sellers you’ve bought stuff from).

Advertisements

July 8, 2008

Some dude scams me, Paypal says “Yup, that’ll happen”

I don’t think I need to sell this point too hard, but ebay has been an absolute cesspool since their May 2008 changes.

This last month has been the worst for me in nearly 10 years of selling. People aren’t paying in record numbers because there’s no penalty, buyers are leaving retarded bad feedback in droves, ebay/Paypal raised fees making profit margins even slimmer, the economy is ass which means Americans aren’t buying the entertainment-related crap I’m selling, and so on and so on.

I don’t even feel like updating this blog anymore. It used to be entertaining when I’d get stupid emails from dumbasses. Now damn near every customer is an illiterate mongoloid and now it’s costing me time and money. What fun is that?

In the month and a half that these rules have been in effect, I’ve received about 4-5 completely unwarranted negs from stupid buyers and I’ve had to fill out 200% more unpaid item disputes. To be exact, 21 since mid-May. That’s more than I’ve had over the previous 18 months, when I began having a Paypal account as a buyer requirement. Now, as a buyer, you can do whatever you feel like and ebay will do nothing.

Just two weeks ago, a buyer scammed $60 from me. I originally wasn’t going to write about it, because, well, it makes me sick to think about shit like this in my free time, but I’ve already written out most of the story to friends over IM and on various message boards I post on, so it’s already written itself, I guess. God damn that was a long sentence.

The item was a box of 30 or so irregular basketball jerseys sold in late May. It was all junk I bought from my Reebok/Adidas hookup; literally worthless stuff you couldn’t sell for a dollar individually. Many of them had MAJOR factory defects, or had ink all over them from exploded cartridges. It went for $45 or so, and after shipping, it was around $60 total. Buyer had decent feedback, paid, and I shipped to his confirmed address using Paypal shipping, just like a normal transaction.

About two weeks after I mailed the item, I noticed the buyer filled out a Paypal claim saying the item never arrived and immediately escalated it to a full dispute. Because I used Paypal shipping, I didn’t have to respond, because the tracking information was already there. Up until this point, the buyer hadn’t emailed me or anything, just a dispute out of the blue.

I looked up the Delivery Confirmation number and saw that the most recent information posted was that it was processed at the post office near the buyer’s house. Usually this means that either the mailman forgot to scan the item at the point of delivery, or it’s at the post office waiting to be picked up. I sent the buyer an email asking what the deal was, and if he truly didn’t receive the item, he should go to the post office to see if it’s waiting to be picked up. I received a response, in writing similar to that of an autistic 9 year old. He unconditionally refused to go there or call them.

A day or so later, I get an email from Paypal, saying that I *lost* the dispute because the tracking information doesn’t show it was delivered, only processed. I figured I’d be okay since it arrived at the buyer’s zip code. Not so much. since I lost the dispute, I lost the item AND the money.

I immediately get on the phone with Paypal, and after the typical half hour wait, I told the phone rep what happened. Without much badgering, I got the phone rep to admit that anyone can win a Paypal dispute if there’s a postal error like that. She said that if there’s no delivery proof, the buyer will always win, no matter what.

My next question was obviously, “So if I ever notice that a package I receive wasn’t scanned, I can just do a chargeback and instantly win?”

She said, “we will investigate it, but yes.”

I was stunned, speechless. I didn’t know what to say next. Paypal just admitted exactly how easy it is nowadays for a buyer to get their money back with two mouse clicks. I really wish I had recorded that phone call.

Later, I called the post office the package was processed at, and they were no help. Big surprise. I’m still hoping it’ll be returned to me somehow, but I’m not counting on it. It’s a pretty big box, not something that should get easily “lost in the mail.”

That’s not all, either. Right after the guy won his dispute and got his full refund, he NEGGED me. Clearly, this was my fault. Was I supposed to fly 1500 miles so I could hand-deliver the item? I left him a positive saying “NEGATIVE FEEDBACK: BEWARE” etc and ebay REMOVED it because sellers aren’t allowed to do that. Ebay wouldn’t remove the neg he left me (not that I was expecting them to), even though he had the item AND my money.

I figured I’d try to at least get my fees back since I no longer had payment, but ebay put a stop to that immediately. They closed the dispute and I didn’t get any listing fee refund. I don’t understand that one. How is that different from a buyer returning an item, getting a refund, then I file a dispute where I get fees back?

Basically, if I didn’t already have selling down to a science, there’s no way I’d bother with ebay any more. I spend very little time and energy on it, and the money is still worth it overall. I don’t know why around 90% of the people selling on ebay bother. They’re not making money, and you can tell they put a lot of time and effort into it.

But if assholes keep scamming me and ebay/PP keep raising their fees, who knows.

June 12, 2008

Paypal is Shit

Any other sellers out there not receiving email notification of Paypal payments being sent to you? I’m not, and it’s been a problem since late May.

Hell, I didn’t even notice until my unpaid item stack grew to a ridiculous size. I was about to file like 20 Unpaid Item Disputes when I noticed that hey, some of these people DID pay! I searched my gmail up and down — nothing. Also, people started to complain. You know how some people get when they have to wait an extra a few days for their shitty vintage t-shirts and raggity jerseys.

The problem’s not on my end and for once, the customers are not to blame. My settings are correct and gmail’s spam filter has never let me down. The problem’s gotta be Paypal’s.

I noticed on May 30 that ebay actually admitted the problem was on their/Paypal’s end. They even made an official announcement about it. However, they clear out all system announcements at the end of the month, so you can no longer find it. It was posted for about a day and a half. Great job burying the admission of guilt, assholes.

For about 10 days or so, I noticed I was still not getting all of my payment notification emails, even though the ebay announcement said the problem was resolved, so I sent Paypal a complaint letter. Here it is (stupid formatting is them.. I don’t know what their input box does to text, but it’s pretty screwy):

customer subject: Why am I not receiving all Notification emails?
customer message: Starting on May 16, I have
received MANY (no fewer than 15) Paypal payments with *NO* email
Notification. My settings are correct and the buyers paid properly. This
is very important because I use those emails to ship. I didn’t realize
this problem until people started complaining about slow shipping weeks
later, and I’ve already received bad feedback about this. I noticed that
people on popular message boards have been having the same problem. What
is going on?? This is ridiculous.

After a few days, I finally get a response.

Dear (me),

Thanks for contacting PayPal.

In order to best assist you, we recommend that you contact us by
telephone for resolution/clarification. You may contact PayPal’s
Customer Service at 1-402-935-2050.

For future reference, this information is also located in the Help
Center, and is easily accessible by following these steps:
1. Visit https://www.paypal.com/.
2. Click the “Contact Us” link.
3. In the “Help by Phone” section click the “Customer Service
Center” link.

Thank you for using PayPal for your online payment needs.

Sincerely,
Doug
PayPal Resolution Services
PayPal, an eBay Company

What? I have to call them now? Just tell me what is going on. I’ve called Paypal before and it’s always a disaster. You’re on hold for at least half an hour, then you talk to a person who clearly shouldn’t be working there, then you get transfered to another person who you have to explain the entire situation to before they explain how they can’t help you and how you should call this other number. No, I won’t be doing that.

Is it that hard to tell me what is going on in writing? Is that it? Do they really not want an admission of error in written form? Why the hell do I have to call anyway? What are they going to do for me? Just fix the problem and people won’t complain.

The worst part is that this notification email problem is STILL going on. Just 20 minutes ago, I logged into my account and noticed I missed a payment from two days ago. Paypal’s service has been abysmal so far in 2008 and it doesn’t look like that’ll be changing soon.

April 25, 2008

Oops, I forgot to update

There’s about a two-week gap in my “Funny Ebay” section of my gmail. No, people haven’t instantly gotten smarter; I was just having ebay-related email issues.

I live on the East Coast and I used to be an Adelphia cable customer. I used their Powerlink internet service and used their email service for my registered ebay email address. In 2005, I moved, and around the same time, Adelphia went under and Time-Warner took over my local market. I set up my adelphia.net email to forward all mail to my now-permanent gmail account.

Even though Adelphia is long gone, the email forwarding still worked, until about a month ago. I didn’t notice right away, because Paypal has my correct email address, so I was receiving payment like usual. I just wasn’t receiving official ebay emails, like questions to sellers, generic ebay messages, and so on.

Eventually I noticed, so I went to the ebay “Change your Contact Info” page. No big deal, right? I entered in my gmail address, but I got an error message. A very stupid, incorrect error message.

wow

What? My user ID is *not* the same as my email address. It’s the first part of my email address, but not the whole thing. There’s no “@”s or “.”s in my user name. I’m not going to give away my ebay name here, but let’s say my ebay name is doggydiddler. I really can’t use doggydiddler@puppyfart.net as my registered ebay email address? What’s the point? What purpose does that serve? Argh, ebay is unfathomably stupid yet again.

I ended up having to create a brand new gmail account and set it up where it forwards all my mail to my current gmail address. What a waste of time. So now I have the equivalent of doggydiddler2 forwarding email to doggydiddler. Thanks, ebay.

Enough of retarded ebay administrative bullshit. Let’s read some emails. I got this first one on Easter morning. Even if you don’t celebrate the holiday, don’t you have better things to do early on a Sunday morning?

Good morning,

I just recieved an email from ebay that they think this deal did not get done. Would you let them know that it was completed.

Thanks for your help.

This guy gets bonus points for being polite, but unfortunately loses them all for being stupid. I can’t possibly imagine what this guy is talking about. How would I let “them” know anything? I don’t think ebay just sends out random emails like this, either. This guy didn’t send his name, item number or anything with his email, so I can’t even figure out what transaction he’s talking about. What a nutbar.

This next idiot is the kind of idiot I can really support. Dumb as shit, but always bids on my stuff, usually the stuff I post as a joke to see if anyone will bite. He has absolutely no writing or reading skills, but spends thousands of dollars a month on ebay trash. I get frequent emails like this:

is this authentic jersey and how much this jersey goes for email assp

He leaves well thought-out feedback like this:

he is asssome i hope to buy him again

he was great

hew was fine i am sorry i have to go out of town

I really need to add “asssome” to my vocabulary. Later, this same guy asked me:

what do you mean by “a 2″ repair on the front”?

Only a special needs person would be confused by this simple sentence. When a jersey has a two-inch repair on the front, I honestly don’t know how I can possibly dumb it down any more in the item description than what I wrote.

I require that all bidders have a registered Paypal account on file before they bid, mostly to keep out garbage like this:

You ass…your item wouldn’t let me bid on it b/c I didn’t have a paypal account. Matter fact I do, your lose. I wanted to buy the jersey.

So if he really wanted to buy the jersey, why didn’t he just click his mouse three times to add his supposedly existing Paypal account to his ebay account? It takes about 30 seconds to do, which is much quicker and easier than sending me this stupid email. This guy is either ridiculously lazy or a liar. Sounds like your average ebay buyer.

Oh, and he also has 93% feedback AS A BUYER with over 50 total feedback. That’s tough to do without being suspended.

This last person refused to pay at first, then after I filed a non-paying bidder dispute, they paid and sent this:

did u received ma payment already?????

Yesh ah did!!!!!!

February 1, 2008

Ebay to sellers: SCREW YOU … Analysis Part Three (Powerseller Program/Star Ratings)

For years, ebay’s Powerseller program was a joke. I was a member for the first few years of its existence, but I literally got nothing out of it, except for a pile of junk mail in my inbox. I got so sick of the junk mail that you couldn’t opt-out of, I actually quit being a Powerseller. Slightly more junkmail-free, I continued selling the way I always have until now.

I’m sure being a Powerseller is useful for novice sellers, because apparently they answer emails and solve problems quicker, but I never had any issues where I had to contact their support team, aside from minor reports of people stealing my photos, etc. However, with ebay’s 2008 policy changes, being a Powerseller is a must, assuming you qualify.

After reading and fully understanding the changes, I quickly emailed ebay support to re-instate my Powerseller account ASAP. Why?

Essentially, if you’re a Powerseller, you will get a discount on your Final Value Fees, which, remember, are the fees that will be going up. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. You also need to keep at least a 4.6 minimum average score on each category of the new-ish star-based “Detailed Seller Rating” (DSR) over the last 30 days. A 4.6 average will earn a 5% discount, while a 4.8 minimum average will earn a seller 15%. Got that? Notice all the qualifiers.

A discount on fees? Sign me up. However, I likely won’t qualify, since my star ratings dip as low as 4.3 in some categories. I won’t know how I’ve done in the last 30 days until ebay releases their new Seller Dashboard, which will have a far more detailed evaluation of everything you’ve done over the last 30 days. I like the idea of discounted fees for Powersellers, but basing it on the flawed DSR system is a mistake.

This blog didn’t exist when the DSR system was released in May 2007, but I was pissed and wrote about it elsewhere. In a nutshell, I found the entire system unnecessary. In the past, clueless buyers would leave an unwarranted neg, it’d hurt your average, but you’d move on. No big deal. Now, brain-dead trogolodytes will leave a neg AND give you one-stars across the board, hurting 5 averages instead of 1.

I’ve received a little under 1000 positives since May 2007, but only around 500 DSR reviews. If they’re going to have this system, leaving a star rating must be mandatory. When a buyer is pissed for whatever reason, he’s going to leave you a 1/5 rating for everything, no matter how fast the item was shipped or how well you communicated. It’s also going to make non-unhappy buyers think harder about the transaction. It used to be “Wow, the item came in the mail fast, great!” Now it looks like we’ll be seeing “Well, the item came fast and is as described, but the seller didn’t email me the morning of shipment, and overcharged me $1.09 on shipping. I’ve giving him three stars on everything!”

Some categories are useless, too, and don’t apply to most transactions, namely “Communication.” ~95% of my selling transactions go down without any communication at all. They pay, I ship within a day or two, they receive the item, everyone is happy. Do I get 5 stars for communication even though I didn’t say a word to the buyer?
Hell, I even have proof that the star ratings are BS. A friend of mine sells almost the exact same items, and charges $.50-$1 higher shipping across the board. We mail the items the same way at the same speed, and yet his “Shipping and handling charges” rating is .2 higher than mine.

What the hell is that? This isn’t a small sample size, either; this is ~500 DSR reviews. Normally I wouldn’t think twice about it, because, who cares, really? However, now there is money on the line and I want my ratings to be as high as possible so I can get the FVF discount.

There’s another major obstacle the DSRs present a Powerseller. Starting in July, if a seller has DSRs below 4.5 in any category over the last year, their Powerseller privileges will be revoked. That’s awesome ebay, thanks.

Another nice benefit of being a Powerseller is that beginning on Feb 20, sellers will finally have expanded protection from Paypal chargebacks, notably in international transactions. Well, that’s super, but shouldn’t that protection extend for ALL ebay/Paypal customers? The infrastructure will already be set up; it won’t cost billions to serve everyone the same.

Basically, ebay is lifting their collective middle finger to anyone who only sells casually. They have drawn a line in the sand and are now admitting that they don’t care about protecting that single mom who sells a few books a month, or an artist who sells one painting a week, or any new customer who wants to give selling on ebay a try. Ebay’s relationship with Paypal makes me sick sometimes.

If that doesn’t piss you off enough, how about ebay’s new iron curtain method of displaying search results? Here it is, straight from their website: “Search visibility will be tied to customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is reflected in a combination of DSRs, Feedback, and fewer complaints filed of an item being “significantly not as described” (SNAD) or “item not received” (INR). In March 2008, Best Match will become the default sort in search to give more buyers the results they want and will increase exposure for sellers with DSRs 4.6 and above and at least 95% customer satisfaction in the last 30 days; and decrease exposure for sellers with low customer satisfaction or Shipping & Handling DSRs.”

All right, if you want to make this a search method, fine, but why does it have to be ebay’s new default starting in March? Who the hell wants to search this way? It only makes sense to search for items that are ending soonest, have just begun, by price, and by location. Best Match? Best match of what? It’s going to be a jumbled mess of results that simply will not help the seller. Is a seller with a 4.7 rating in the Shipping & Handling category really better than one with a 4.6? Will a buyer spend more on an item in this case? I don’t think so and I see this becoming a disaster.

Even though I (and many other sellers across the country based on what I’ve read) don’t like most of these new changes, ebay is still trumpeting them as a good thing, as something “you’ve asked for.” However, one major, MAJOR change is buried; hidden in the last page of the 2008 Change Overview page, at the very end of the FAQ, questions 27 and on.

“In a small percentage of cases where it has been determined the risk of dissatisfied buyers is higher, PayPal may delay release of the payment funds to the seller until the buyer has left a positive feedback or 21 days have passed without a dispute, claim, chargeback or reversal filed on that transaction.

To determine if a transaction may have a higher risk of dissatisfied buyers, eBay reports to PayPal a number of factors, including but not limited to:

  • Seller’s % Positive Feedback in the last 30 days
  • Seller’s Detailed Seller Ratings in the last 30 days
  • Final price for the item
  • Shipping & handling fee
  • Seller’s eBay tenure as an eBay member
  • Seller’s total number of Feedback”

Yes, you read that right. In about 5% of transactions (or more if ebay tags you as a potentially bad seller), Paypal will hold the complete payment for 21 days, or less if the buyer leaves a positive feedback before then.

What happens if you need that money right away to pay for shipping, especially if it’s a heavy item, or something going overseas? This is another policy that’ll never affect me directly, but I’ve already heard from several people who don’t have a lot of money in their bank account to pre-pay for shipping.

This policy benefits no one, either. It obviously pisses the seller off, and the buyer experiences no greater security because they will still have to follow through with the chargeback process, which they’d have to do anyway, with the exact same results. There have been no reports that the chargeback process has been streamlined, so it’s the exact same method as before, just now ebay/Paypal gets to collect interest on your money for 21 additional days. What a scam. I’m wondering if this is even legal.

That’s enough writing for one day. Ebay, Paypal and the 2008 rules can eat me.

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.

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.

Blog at WordPress.com.