Ebay Morons Galore!

January 23, 2011

What the hell is wrong with the Canadian post office?

Seriously. I need to know. Almost everything I’ve sent there over the last few months has arrived either damaged, massively late, or most importantly, not at all. It’s moved beyond a coincidental fluke to something substantially wrong with the system.

About 15% of my ebay business goes overseas. Anyone who’s read my posts here knows I think it’s good for business to sell anywhere, anytime. However, I am seriously considering outright banning Canada for a while. I had a perfect holiday season everywhere else in the world (even Italy and Mexico!), but about 7-8 packages just never arrived to Canada, leading to constant refunds and several negative feedbacks, even though I did all I could to help the buyers. I’ve been shipping from three different post office locations, so it’s not like someone in “the back” is stealing my Canadian packages, which is a pretty paranoid way of thinking anyway.

This week alone, I received two negs from western Canada for non-receipt. I first asked for patience, that mail to Canada has been slow recently (especially during the holidays), and they act like I called their sisters a bunch of sloppy whores. God forbid you insult the infallible Canada Post! Both buyers actually refused refunds and apologies for the inconveniences because I said the fault lies with their countries’ mail delivery service. They’d rather neg and get nothing (if you think a refund offer is still on the table after a neg, you’re nuts).

An email: “Do NOT say it takes long because it’s international. I’ve sent and received stuff to/from US – it NEVER takes a month – it arrives within a week if not 2. Even items from Asia don’t take a month. It wasn’t even holiday season back when I purchased it.

Ignoring the fact he considers the second week of December to not be part of the holiday season, it’s a dumb email. Even the packages that do make it into the buyer’s hands take no less than 10-14 days. This is not just my experience; other sellers I know experience the same results. Three to four weeks is in no way unusual, but according to this buyer, it’s never happened in the history of Canada. Thanks anyway, guy with 60 feedback!

Later, his neg: “Item NEVER received. Blames on the postal service. Irresponsible. Do NOT trust.

Really now, what more can I possibly do once I drop the package off at the PO? Of course I’m blaming the Canadian post office. The address is written 100% legibly and the customs form is always on the front or top and is filled out correctly. If there’s no item 30-35 days after the mailing date, I’ll send a refund. Wow, that’s pretty irresponsible. (I realize I’m being snarky now, but my emails are actually professional to the buyers until the transaction has officially been ruined, so don’t think my ‘tude is causing the bad feedback)

So, I have three choices right now (aside from doing nothing and hoping it’s all a giant, expensive fluke):

1) Continue to ship to Canada, jack up shipping ~30%, and give a refund at the earliest possible moment to any Canadian who complains, even if it’s hours later. I will not speak ill of Canada Post because Canada Post is perfect and asking for patience will only make the buyer angry, and I won’t like him when he’s angry.

2) Continue to ship to Canada, jack up shipping to Priority/Express Mail costs. This is a HUGE price increase, since I mostly sell items that are under a pound, meaning the shipping price will likely more than double. Unless it fits in a Flat Rate envelope/box (less than half do, since I sell a lot of 5950 hats which go in a custom box), this’ll cost, bare minimum (no handling fees), $21. Not appealing when most items I sell go for about $10-20. I’ll have a tracking number, which is good, but Priority items to Canada have gone missing before.

3) Ban Canada outright from future sales. Will definitely hurt business, but will have a nice catharsis effect. Will probably lead to a giant flashing text box in all listings taunting Canada while thanking them for all the negs, which will probably hurt business more.

I’m leaning towards #1, but 2 or 3 might happen too. A colleague mentioned a variation of #2, in which anyone outside of the province of Ontario MUST pay for Priority shipping, since that’s where a majority of the non-receipt problems come from. Not a bad idea, but there’s no way to officially discriminate against Canadian provinces in your ebay listing, and packages still go missing to Ontario.

Comments, suggestions, similar horror stories to share?

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December 30, 2009

Repete777 Sucks

I was reviewing a seller’s feedback while browsing ebay recently when I noticed he received an awfully stupid neutral feedback. The feedback said “Seller does not leave feedback. Paid Paypal 30 days ago. Product as stated.” What the hell is that? Who cares that much about feedback that they leave a neutral over it? Apparently, this lunatic (repete777).

I checked the feedback repete777 leaves for all sellers and it turns out he does this for everyone who doesn’t leave him a positive feedback. Repete777 thinks the seller should leave feedback first, unprompted, every time, and if not, repete777 will ruin that seller’s feedback. That is, as the Pope once said, really fucking retarded.

Ebay’s official stance on leaving positive feedback is very simple. It is not compulsory for any user to leave the other party feedback of any kind. That is all. They encourage honest feedback, but it is up to the user in the end whether or not they wish to participate in the feedback process.

As of today, December 30, 2009, 12 of the last 22 feedback ratings repete777 has left for sellers has been neutral for the exact same reason. This is a higher ratio of bad feedback left than even sandrine-77 (I think if you have two or more sevens in your username, you’re a tool). How is this allowed to continue? Why isn’t repete777 suspended? Users are allowed 60 days to leave feedback, not 30. Repete777’s 30-day limit is an arbitrary figure made up by a crazy person. What if I left bad feedback for people who didn’t ship within 7 hours and 32 minutes? Would ebay let me get away with that?

Repete777 uses the same cut-and-paste neutral feedback for almost all sellers, but once in a while, he changes it up. When this happens, it just proves exactly how dumb he is, as words are misspelled and logical thinking is nowhere to be found.

He asks, “What more does a buyur need to do?” Well, you can start by spelling buyer correctly. He called one seller’s performance “Totally unexceptable” which is one of the greatest misspellings I’ve ever seen. Earlier in the year he said he “Paid Palpay on sale,” which is odd, since I’ve never heard of PalPay. He also repeatedly misspells basic words like “sellar” and “does’nt” on non-consecutive occasions, so you know that’s how he thinks those words are spelled. We all make spelling errors, but people who never spell anything properly are probably, as Ghandi once said, dumb as all fuck.

Irrelevant to everything, but still amusing, are his buying habits. He buys some of the worst garbage you can find on ebay. Just the other day he bought the Jack Frost DVD. Not the classic cartoon, the shitfest everyone hates starring Michael Keaton as a recently dead guy brought back to life as a snowman. This is totally unexceptable.

You’ll notice I typed repete777’s name a whole lot instead of pronouns here. That’s because if anyone searches google or whatever for repete777, I want them to see this page. If you’ve ever dealt with repete777 and want the world to hear more about how stupid he is, post here or drop me a line elsewhere. If I get good responses (or he gets suspended), I’ll post an update. If you’re just a seller, I’d add repete777 to your blocked bidder list. If you’re repete777 himself, eat a dick and stop leaving stupid feedback for good sellers.

June 21, 2009

Happy father’s day, asshole

I really need to stop checking my ebay email account when I should be working or doing something more productive. Had I not checked my email this past Friday around lunchtime, I wouldn’t have seen this doozy, included as a note with a Paypal payment for a stupid t-shirt.

Note to seller
Hi- I need this by tomorrow. It’s for Fathers Day. Please drop in mail today. Paying for next day shipping. Thanks, -Tara

I’ll let my response tell the story:

You know, that is an awfully presumptuous request. You have time to try to negotiate the price, but then you expect me to mail the item within a six-hour window, same day, during business hours when people work. I am on a break at my job right now, and I *should* be able to get home before the post office closes to mail your shirt, but honestly, I can’t make a 100% guarantee, depending if I have to stay late, traffic, etc. Like 90%+ of sellers, ebay is NOT my full-time job.

I have the ebay-minimum handling time of one day, meaning that the buyer pays one day, I ship the next. I accepted your offer before noon yesterday and it took you a little less than 24 hours to pay. It is funny it took you that long to pay, but you expect me to have the item out the door in one-third of that time. Had you paid before I left for work this morning (8am), there would be no problem.

If I am successful in mailing your item today, it will be before 5pm and you will get an email with tracking. If not, it will go out tomorrow morning as I have off. I hope you understand where I’m coming from with this email and the audacious request you’ve made.

Not to repeat myself, but I REALLY hate it when buyers assume stuff like this. I clearly state in all of my auctions that I’ll gladly overnight anything, but you have to let me know a little in advance so I can make it happen.

Strange as it may seem, ebay is not my life; it’s not even close to my main source of income. It’s essentially a money-making hobby. Yes, I check my ebay email fanatically, but that doesn’t mean I’m a walking warehouse. She says it so casually: just drop it in the mail today. If I have a long day at work or I’m out of town for the day, more often than not, I’m simply not going to be able to overnight stuff if you don’t let me know and pay mid-day.

The worst part is when they try haggling with Best Offers to save a few bucks, then pay late, then expect me to drop everything to get their item out within a scant few hours. Basically everything this woman did.

Luckily for this woman and her dad, I managed to get home and mail her item before the post office closed. It was 4:57pm. Another five minutes in traffic and they would have been out of luck.

I never got a response to my email, nor did I receive feedback of any kind. They got the item, so they have nothing to be unhappy about. Except that she paid $45 total for a $4 t-shirt.

November 13, 2008

BEST WEEK EVER!!!! (part one)

And of course by “best” I mean “complete disaster.” Except that “complete disaster week ever” doesn’t make any sense, but you get my drift. This week, I achieved something I had never done before in the modern era of selling (post-VCD for me) — three negs and a neutral feedback, absolutely none of them my fault. And on top of that, the neutral feedback guy stole ~$450 worth of stuff/money from me. Awesome.

Actually, it wasn’t even a week. They all came in the same three-and-a-half day span. It was like I got six months’ worth of morons out of the way all at once.

Yeah, obviously I’ve gotten bad feedback before, plenty of them, but never this many in a row and never completely out of the blue like this. Here’s the breakdown:

Neutral feedback: Item never arrived but paypal got my money back…$30 shipping for that?

The item was an expensive hockey jersey and it was going to the Vancouver area. I shipped it two days after they paid via Priority Mail. Barely ten days after he paid for the item (seven business days), the buyer starts going nuts. Here’s the first exchange:

Hey,

I paid $30 for shipping so where is the jersey? I would expect it to arrive pretty damn fast at that rate!

It was mailed soon after you paid via International Priority Mail. Keep in mind that it can still take up to 2 weeks for items to arrive sent via that method.

At this point, he opens a Paypal dispute and immediately escalates it. I know I’m fucked, because there is no tracking number with Priority Mail, only EMI/Global Express, which I didn’t use because it would have cost $45-60 for such a heavy item. I can’t win the dispute; I need to have him close it himself. The package had to arrive within the next 10 days or he’s getting all of his money back, S&H included.

Keep in mind I live on the east coast (American side), so even with Priority shipping, it can still take a while. I make Priority mandatory for all expensive items to eliminate the chance of the item being lost and to keep the crybaby Canadians quiet. Until this point, I had never lost a package shipped via Priority, domestic or international.

I tried reasoning with him, telling him to be patient and that it would be there soon. I even scanned in the dated customs form, proving that I had mailed it when I said I did. It wasn’t a timely item. It wasn’t like he was going to a game or was meeting a player for autographs or something. He’s one of those guys who buys cheap jerseys to resell in their own store. Here’s another stupid email from him:

Listen,

USPS express priority (which costs about $20 for a jersey) takes about 3 days to get to Canada. I have a feeling you didn’t spend anywhere near $30 on shipping which is why it is taking so long. I’ll cancel the claim when and if it arrives, I’m not into defrauding people but I will damn well hold you accountable for that kind of shipping fee.

“Express priority” is not a real service USPS provides. There is EMI (Express Mail International) and Priority. Not both. You can only use one or the other. Also, it does NOT take three days for ANY package to get to Canada, aside from Global Express Guaranteed, which, according to the usps.gov postage calculator, would have cost $69.75. It even says on the website that International Priority can take 6-10 days, sometimes more depending on exactly where it’s going. This is a seller spewing all this nonsense, not some hick who gets one or two packages a year.

He makes a big deal out of the $30 shipping charge. First of all, the shipping price is listed in three places in my item description. I’ll never understand why people bid but don’t agree to the auction terms. Second, I clearly state that there is a handling fee on all transactions, especially international ones since the fees are so high. Again, don’t like it, don’t bid. I say it in bright red text. Third, I was pretty close with the shipping cost. The actual postage was twenty-some dollars, which I proved to him when I scanned in the customs form one email later.

Yes, he’s going to hold me accountable for doing everything I said I would do. That, or steal my money.

I don’t think I need to tell you that I ended up losing the chargeback. I really did hold back on the emails. I tried to be as nice and professional as humanly possible because I wanted him to close the dispute. I know this is a website about snarky responses to stupid retards, but there weren’t any at this point. After I read the email stating I lost the dispute, I checked my feedback to see there was a happy little neutral waiting for me. How nice.

At this point, I don’t give a shit, because the dispute is over and feedback was left. I seriously want him to know just how dumb he is and that his actions were not acceptable on any level, so I went into overly dramatic mode this time. Here goes:

I see you have decided to steal my money with help from Paypal. Right now, you have caused me to lose a $350 jersey AND $95 cash. You, (NAME), are a thief. There is no other way to put it. You deserve to be locked up and held accountable for your actions. How do you sleep at night and look people in the eye when you know you’ve stolen ~$450 worth of goods and money from an honest stranger?

People like you make me sick. I proved that I mailed the jersey promptly via the listed method and you still proceeded with the chargeback. A chargeback that was opened at an absurdly early time. Impatient, idiotic buyers like you, (NAME), are the reason that ebay is a cesspool. You are the reason that most US sellers don’t ship to Canada or overseas. You want the convenience and low prices of buying internationally, but you are unwilling to accept the minor risk that the item won’t arrive or will arrive late. Yes, it’s the seller’s fault that Canada Post is wildly unpredictable with customs and delivery time. Keep telling yourself that.

Please, for the good of your country, leave ebay forever and buy your crappy hockey jerseys and N64s in your own hometown. Sellers don’t want customers like you. We’d rather make a little less money and deal with someone civil.

On top of all that, you decided to leave me bad feedback. Please, tell me exactly what I, as a seller, did wrong. Unless you wanted me to fly 2000 miles and hand-deliver the item personally, what more would you like me to do? You even made note of the shipping price in the feedback. How dare you make a comment like that when that $30 was part of the $95 you stole from me.

Seriously, you are the worst buyer I’ve ever dealt with in 10 years of selling and this is a new record of financial loss. You are very lucky that you have the veil of the internet and its complete lack of standards and rules to hide behind. Kindly fuck off.

We went back and forth a few times, his responses containing more and more idiotic nonsense that I eventually stopped caring. He did say he’d let me know if it arrived, so maybe me ripping him knocked some sense into his brain, but I doubt it. I don’t care about the neutral, but a $95 chargeback that I couldn’t fight was a new personal record for me.

I received the next bad feedback one day after the neutral and it’s about as baffling as possible.

Negative feedback: BUYERS REVIEW SELLERS NEG FEEDBACK…

It was one of those WTF moments where I literally said aloud, “What the fuck.” The item was an NFL hooded sweatshirt and I didn’t immediately recognize the buyer’s username. I looked up the transaction and I found that I shipped the item within 24 hours of receiving payment and she received the item two days later.

I searched my email to see if any emails were sent and there was one seemingly innocuous exchange. You tell me if this is worthy of receiving a negative feedback:

What color was this supposed to be and do you plan on leaving feedback for the purchase I made on this? Thanks.

Not sure what you mean. It’s exactly as pictured, with a throwback-style faded brown color.

Well obviously from the pic I can’t make out the color.

That’s IT. Nothing else was said. She didn’t say there was a problem with anything. Yes, I forgot to answer her feedback question, but that didn’t come up in her last email. I really don’t know how she couldn’t tell what color the item was, because my photos are huge and numerous. It wasn’t even a stock photo either, it was of the exact item because I only had one. Clearly, this one was 100% my fault and I am a horrible monster for promptly shipping the exact item she bought.

I reported the negative feedback to ebay, and they didn’t even give me a response. Fuckers.

OK, that’s a big enough wall of text for one post. I’ll finish this up in the next day or so.

July 25, 2008

A package from Texas (Ebay Morons Hall of Fame Idiot #2)

When I checked my mail earlier today, I noticed there was one of those “We Missed You” notes from the post office, telling you they have a package for you that needs a signature. I found it strange, because I’m not expecting anything, let alone anything important enough to be signed for.

I walked over, picked the package up, and once I saw who it was from, I immediately started laughing. I didn’t even need to open it as I knew exactly what was inside. It was an ebay item back from May, whose return was not authorized by me. Let’s start at the beginning.

In late May, this guy bought an authentic Team USA Soccer jersey made by Nike from me. He paid and insisted I use Signature Confirmation. No big deal, kind of a strange request, but whatever. I shipped within 48 hours and after two days or so he started sending me crazy daily emails like this:

I sent you $40 by paypal per our agreement for the White nike
>> USA soccer jersey size Large. Today is May 28th, and as of yesterday, I have
>> STILL not seen it in my PO BOX. Have you sent it yet? Maybe you forgot. I
>> don’t know. If so, PLEASE send it by SIGNATURE CONFIRMATION priority mail.
>> This way we both know I got it. NOBODY but ME signs for mt stuff at my PO
>> BOX just so you know. Please update me on the situation and give mt the
>> tracking number on the signature confirmation. Also, can you get me a
>> Germany white #7 Schweinsteiger jersey in ome white size Large also?
>> Thanks, (HIS NAME)

and:

Hi,
STILL WAITING for my jersey, did you send it yet? Let me know, and give me the postal tracking number for the signature confirmation please so I can look at expected delivery date. Also, what can you sell me a white home Germany soccer with #7 Schweinsteiger name kit and the Euro 2008 patch on the shoulder in size LARGE? Please advise.

I had already shipped his jersey with the SigCon so I looked up the tracking number. Turns out he’s one of those idiots who complains about slow shipping, when the item is sitting at his post office, waiting to be picked up. I sent him:

I looked up the tracking number and saw this:

“Label/Receipt Number: 9121 XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Status: Notice Left

We attempted to deliver your item at 11:01 AM on June 6, 2008 in SPRING, TX 77393 and a notice was left. It can be redelivered or picked up at the Post Office. If the item is unclaimed, it will be returned to the sender. Information, if available, is updated every evening. Please check again later.”

So it looks like you have your item after all. You just need to pick it up. Also, you were sent an automatic email from Paypal with full shipping/tracking information when I shipped, so I don’t know why you’re still asking for a number. Thanks.

I noticed he finally picked up the jersey two days later, so I figured all was well. Not so much. Almost two weeks later I got this:

Hi,
The jersey arrived and picked it up yesterday. Unfortunately, it looks like NIKE has “downsized” their jerseys a bit. Though it says same exact measurements as my Manchester United jersey (which fits me perfectly). However, the shoulders are too tight, the torso seems a bit small, and the sleeves are way too short. So I need that same jersey in Size Extra Large please (XL) instead. I put the USA jersey on top of my Man U. jersey, and saw it could practically “fit” into my MAn U. jersey. I know the XL in USA white will fit, so please set one aside for me and I’ll send it back to you, then you send me the right size. The jersey is really nice. Too bad Nike can’t keep their sizing correctly. Notr your fault. Oh well, that’s the way the ball bounces, huh? Have a great day, and please advise me that you HAVE set aside an Extra Large in this USA jersey for me. Thanks.
Cheers, (HIS NAME)

Note how he says he picked the jersey up “yesterday” when he actually did like 12 days previous. Did it take him two full weeks to send this email? Disregarding that, I don’t know what more I could have done for this guy. The item was accurately listed and I provided measurements. I didn’t even have any more size XLs at this point, so I just had a laugh at yet another worthless soccer fan and moved on.

Fast forward to today, about six weeks later. I opened up the package and enclosed was a letter. Here it is, with personal info edited (click me).

Seriously, what the hell? Why does he think I have size XL of this? Who just sends an item back like that, with no authorization? He used Priority Mail with SigCon, too, which cost him $7+. I’ve sold tens upon tens of thousands of items over the years and this has never happened. I’ve never even heard of it happening. This situation is so profoundly idiotic, I’m not even sure I’m doing it justice. Why does he keep asking for a Schweinsteiger Germany jersey IN EVERY EMAIL? I sold two or three USA Soccer jerseys in a month and now I’m his go-to guy for all soccer apparel? I don’t even know who Schweinsteiger is. Fuck.

I’ve dealt with three people from The Woodlands, TX over the last few years and all three have been functionally retarded in some way. What is going on in that part of Texas? Is the government secretly running tests there to create some sort of Super-Idiot-Manchild that cannot be stopped? If so, it is definitely working.

June 17, 2008

Stupid Email of the Day

Dear (me),

would this fit a woman? or is it pretty large?

– shuzkelly

Good thing women only come in one size or else this would be a really stupid question. The item in question was a men’s size small basketball jersey and I’ve never heard someone describe a size small as “pretty large.”

June 11, 2008

Stupid Email of the Day

Hi,

Can I please cancel this order? Sorry, I wanted something else. Thanks.

Danny

I got this a full day after they won the auction and paid. By this point, I had already shipped and they received the notification email. Who the hell decides they want another item after they win AND pay? I never responded, the DC number shows the package was delivered, and so far, everything seems ok.

February 13, 2008

Surely these people are joking

Sometimes I get questions that are so unbelievably stupid, I actually need to consider whether the potential buyer is just messing with me. Very rarely, they are. Sometimes I check to see if the buyer is foreign and is confused by my English in the item description. Hell, most international buyers speak better English than the high school dropout fecal matter I deal with on a daily basis.

Here are some Q’s and emails where I had to step back to consider if I was the target of a serious mindfuck. They’re in red, official replies by me are in blue, and commentary is in black.

This first one is about a youth basketball jersey I had up. Smallish skinny women will occasionally buy a youth jersey as a belly-revealing tank top, but this is not a proper look for the man who sent these emails:

hey i was jus wondering how long the jersey is i mean i’m 5’9 do you think it’s too small?

You’re 5’9 and you’re wondering if a youth large jersey is going to be too small for you?

Yea, do you think it is? I checked yesterday i’m like 5’10.

Unless you weigh like 80 pounds, it’s going to be skin-tight.

Good lord. Normally I just say “yes” whenever someone asks if they think they’ll fit in whatever size item I have listed, but this is just ridiculous. These jerseys are designed for middle schoolers, not 5’10 dudes. I also enjoyed how he measured himself just for this auction.

This next one is from a seemingly experienced Canadian user. He has a strong understanding of the internet and how ebay works, and by that I mean he’s a brain-dead troglodyte. How he managed to get 120+ feedback is beyond me.

Hi there. Are you on-line now? I want to ask you a question about 2 shirts you have for sale. Thanks.

What? Just ask the question. What does it matter if I’m not sitting at my computer with my gmail window open? I didn’t have any auctions ending for a few days, so it wasn’t like time was of any concern.

Here is a person who is confused with tricky, impossible-to-decipher sizes like “XL.”

Hi what is XL 48 mean? My nephew really wants one of these and is tall and thin. These kind of sizes are not what I am used to looking for so they make no sense. I only know what +2 is. I bid on it and will pay for it if I win even if it is the wrong size, I could always relist it…

She knows what +2 means, but not XL or 48? Jesus…

Here’s another person unable to understand simple concepts:

You have this is not a bootleg item was wondering what a bootleg item is. Thank you. -genasintegrity

Bootleg means fake or not officially licensed.

I can’t believe I was able to give a non-sarcastic answer and play as third-grade vocabulary teacher. Genasintegrity, you are pathetic.

One more. Please tell me this person is just messing with me. No one can be this stupid. I know I say that a lot, but I really mean it here. How can you possibly misinterpret the Best Offer system this way? This is from another SELLER, too.

At time of bidding, your ad read the price OR best offer, and at that time there weren’t any other bids. Maybe you shouldn’t waste time with false advertising. If there weren’t any other offers $10 WAS the best offer.If you don’t want to take the best offer, don’t advertise it that way.

I don’t think you understand the Best Offer system at all. Just because you make an offer on an item with no other offers doesn’t mean you win. It’s up to the seller’s discretion as to what offers are accepted. Typically, offers that reduce the bid price by 5-20% are considered. Anything else is laughed at.

You have no idea how hard it was to come up with a reply that wasn’t I HATE YOU over and over again.

February 12, 2008

Billions and billions of page hits

Filed under: meta — Tags: , , , , — J @ 11:02 pm

Well, maybe not billions, but I’ve been getting more and more page hits, especially since I posted my feelings on the new ebay changes two weeks ago. Thanks to everyone who has referred other people here, or has added me as a link on their blogroll.

More page-hits mean more exposure to search engines, so I’ve noticed I appear higher on search result pages. Also, WordPress has a great feature that lets you see what search string brought people to this site. Most strings are some derivative of “ebay screws sellers over 2008” or “i hate ebay,” but some are funny and/or ridiculous.

Yesterday, two completely different people arrived here via “stupid polock.” A few days ago someone was looking for “canadian sportscard dealer boxes” and somehow arrived here. I repeated that same search and yes, I have used those terms over the last three months, but never together. On one magical day, I got “handling postal clerk stupidity,” “sporting goods + stupid,” “paypal will screw you,” and “ultimate stupidity blog what happened.”

Now that I have a steady stream of page hits, get ready for lots and lots of banner ads, pop-ups, pop-unders, Google Adsense links and Paypal donation gifs.

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.

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