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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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 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.

June 3, 2008

Stupid Email of the day

Dear (me),

Hi, although I don’t have paypal account, I will bid for this item. I will create my paypal account tomorrow morning so don’t worry if I win. Thanks 🙂

– a_sixt

I think the simple concept of “Paypal Required” is lost here. Tomorrow morning is a bit too late to create your account because the item ended a few hours ago. Oops.

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.

November 28, 2007

Stupid shit people have included with their Paypal payment

Paypal sucks and we all know that already, but they do make a pretty good job of making things easy for buyers. Once your account is set up, all it takes is a few mouse clicks to pay for an ebay item. They’ve even fixed the combined shipping problem which used to be a hassle for years. However, dumb people still screw things up and people put some really stupid crap in the “Note to Seller” section. Their text is in red; I am in black.

Note to seller:
If possible please use as return address: Ultimate Sports Enterprises P.O. Box XXXXX YYYYY, OH 44ZZZ

What? Why would I want to give someone else credit? The jersey came from me, not some crappy company from Ohio. Let’s look them up.

Wonderful. It’s a second-rate Yahoo sporting goods store. Anyone up for KC Royals Tailgating Merchandise? Do people tailgate for baseball games to begin with?

I also did a whois search on their domain, and the name registered didn’t match the name that bought the jersey, even though the Paypal email was an admin account from the domain. What does it all mean? Hell if I know.

Literally minutes later, I receive another payment with this stupid note attached:

Note to seller:
DO NOT OPEN GATE..RING BELL ON GATE

I guess I’m delivering this one myself. Who’s up for a road trip to Liverpool, NY?

Here’s another one that reminds me of the return address loser above:

Note to seller:
If possible, include a gift card saying:  Happy Belated Birthday, enjoy!.  Love, T,M,Z&G.

There is absolutely no way that is happening. I’m an ebay seller, not the museum gift shop. I really hope Derek enjoyed his unlicensed Trinidad 2006 World Cup jersey, even though it was late. It’s a shitty gift made worse, because it took four people to come up with it. If four of my friends or family members came together to get me cheap bootleg garbage, I’d be pissed.

The last one for today happened a while ago, but it’s still hilarious and the ultimate standard of Note to Seller stupidity:

Note to seller:
Hi! Sorry about the delay! Here is payment for the above, plus some suggestions for preparation and packaging: If necesary to fold, PLEASE do so in manner so as NOT to crease screenprinted lettering/logos; then CAREFULLY envelop in tissue or wrap (NO TAPE) to ensure against dust, fingerprints, staining, snags, stretching, or tears to garment; and finally, place between TWO appropriate sized backing boards to keep sturdy, flat, and again to avoid ANY markings, pinholes, pilling, discoloration, deformation or rips. If any tags, keep INTACT and ATTACHED, preventing these from folds or edge fraying as well. I appreciate the throughness and added precautions, as I do like my collectibles to arrive in PRISTINE condition. A heavy duty reinforced mailer, or box with bubble wrap for cushioning, and to keep jostling/shifting minimal would be great to. Let me know funds received and order being readied at jpXXXXX@yahoo.com or ebay. Hope you are well and enjoying the Summer! JP

Are you kidding me? He won some old dirty Toronto Blue Jays jersey and he wants it wrapped in tissue paper and sandwiched by cardboard? Yeah, I’d hate to get fingerprints on your jersey. Eat a bag of dicks. Who has time for that? You didn’t win an autographed Ben Franklin 8×10, you won something a fat guy sweat in and probably spilled mustard on. I folded it and threw it in a brown 9×12 envelope like I do for all other transactions and I later received a positive feedback. I guess he was joking.

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