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by Don

I just find Ebay difficult. Recently my kid bought an item on Ebay, a clear plastic phone case, and it was not what it was supposed to be. It just did not fit the phone, not even a little. We tried three times to contact the seller to request refund/return information. We heard exactly nothing!

What else can you do? We opened a dispute on Paypal and they eventually issued a refund for the item and we did return it. Of course they want you to return a $10 item in a fashion that allows it to be tracked … and of course it would cost about $8 to do that, so what’s the point really right? So we just returned it the old fashioned way, by mail.

Next, we get an unpaid item strike from Ebay because we didn’t pay for the item … even though Ebay clearly shows that the item was REFUNDED — hence it must have been paid for. Seems kind of silly.

They did remove the unpaid item strike, but they said this:

Thank you for contacting eBay concerning the Unpaid Item strike you received.

Our records indicate that this is the first Unpaid Item strike you have appealed. Based on your effort to contact us, and the information you have provided, we have removed the Strike from your file.

Of course you should remove the strike, it never occurred and if you paid attention to your own data, you would have known it.

I find dealing directly with sellers or buyers on craigs list to be ever so much more enjoyable to be honest and there seems to be a big trend to Craigs List and away from Ebay among my friends. At least there you don’t expect someone to be helpful to you. It’s too bad that ebay owns some of Craigs List (see very bottom – acquired 25% interest in 2004), because frankly, they might ruin Craigs List first chance they get.

Meanwhile if you are looking at an item by shoparound168 I hope you have better luck than I did.

10 Responses to “No Wonder Craigs List is Slowing Ebay”

  1. D Says:

    its not ebay’s fault. its the dodgy seller. get over it man 10 dollars ooh aah its surely going to make you rich isn’t it.

  2. lu Says:

    If you do not have e-bay’s phone number, please look at their site and get it. E-bay recently ridded themselves of many of the dodgy sellers who treated customers in the same fashion as you have described. You start with e-bay’s dispute resolution process that forces these bad sellers to respond and correct the issue to include paying for the return shipment of the purchased item. And D is wrong. In these economic times, teaching your children budgeting as well as budgeting your own dollars, ten dollars means a lot.

    There are a lot of online sales formats and each of the stores within them should have a return policy established. In our online stores, we remind people that they would return an item to Sears and then still continue shopping with Sears. Although, we have never had any items returned, we still have that as a part of our foundation.

    In addition, when you complete the stars section of the feedback, you can always alert other buyers to this person’s tactics. Your responses and leaving less than five stars on everything from “item as described” to “shipping time” is included within their star system. In return, those stars give a value to the seller which E-bay then uses to bring their items up in the search engine for buyers.

    Good luck with your future shopping online.

  3. Don Says:

    Thanks for the feedback.

    D, I understand it is only $10, it is not the end of the world. The money isn’t the point — the procedure is the point. Having to spend my time to straighten it out … I shouldn’t have to. The guy successfully got a “no pay strike” entered against me threatening my ebay reputation when I did nothing wrong. I must say I completely disagree with our assessment: It is Ebay’s fault. The system is flawed. When an item shows a refund from Paypal (a sister company) it should be impossible to do a no pay procedure.

    Lu, I appreciate what you say. I start with the presumption that this guy is a good seller and there is an honest mistake. In the end, I personally think him less than good — mainly because of his inability to respond and his entry of a strike after a refund. But the feedback link has disappeared so I cannot give feedback. Had the item been as described, it would be no problem, he shipped fast. But it wasn’t the right product or it was defective and his handling of a return … well bad.

    Traditionally one of the failures of the system was every time you entered bad feedback you were thanked with bad feedback in return, even in a case like this where we did everything we were supposed to. I still left bad feedback on the handful of cases where things went bad. This time I cannot.

    I also agree that $10 is $10. In tough times we try to teach our kids that money is important and in good times we try (or tried) to teach them to think ahead and not blow money carelessly. We didn’t always succeed.

    We have shopped at Land’s End for many years (not so much at Sears), but that is a great marriage and we like doing business with them. Why did we first do business with Land’s End — simple they always (AND I MEAN ALWAYS) make sure you are taken care of.

    Anyway, I appreciate both of you taking the time to share your thoughts.

  4. ricroe Says:

    Everyone is quick to point to the current economy when discussing recent declines in Internet Sales Volume, especially the dramatic decline at eBay.

    eBay however, has no excuse to hide behind the economy declining curtain, except for the fact the CEO is unwilling to admit he had led the marketplace down the wrong path.

    Draconian policies and failing infrastructure combined with search that returns irrelevant results, and the worlds worst customer service has been slowly bringing eBay down for years.

    Enter Mr Donahoe and his “new coke – green ketchup – disruptive innovation’ plan for eBay, and the skids of failure received a new layer of grease.

    Ebay has historically out performed the brick and mortar retail segment as well as the stock market during past recessions.

    When times got tough, buyers used to flock to eBay in search of incredible deals on unique items as well as scoop up second hand goods to help stretch their dollar.

    Then came John Donahoe, the killer of small sellers, the eBay suicide king, leader of the gang that could not shoot straight.

    Under Mr Donahoe’s leadership, eBay is being converted into a high priced shopping mall at the very time that retailers of new merchandise are filing for bankruptcy in numbers never seen before.

    Mr Donahoe’s choice to eviscerate the core of eBay by purging small sellers could not have come at a worse time.

    eBay’s quarterly reports are dismal and it’s stock price which has seen its value drop by 2/3 since Donahoe assumed control, sinks to a new low almost every week.

    This decline at eBay started to set in long before the economy displayed signs of recession, and runs completely contrary to eBay’s historical success during tough economic times.

    Ebay has always offered the worlds worst customer service, recent staffing cuts have served to exacerbate this problem.

    Ebay has alienated buyers with forced search methods that do not return what buyers want to see.

    The failed Best Match does not allow buyers to search, but instead shows buyers what eBay has determined they want buyers to see.

    Sellers that pay to place listings see those paid listings deliberately disadvantaged in placement in favor of a class of sellers that pay nothing to list items. These Diamond sellers flood the core and drown the small sellers that pay to list.

    eBay has further alienated sellers with a draconian DSR policy which is not the tool promised to sellers. Instead, it turns out that DSR’s are really a weapon pointed at sellers heads that only delivers suspensions not information to foster improvement.

    Sellers are frustrated by eBay’s failure to address the increasing frequency of non paying bidders. NPB activity has increased since implementation of the one way feedback policy. The issue continues to be ignored as eBay profits from re listing of unpaid merchandise.

    EBay further alienates both buyers and sellers with a crumbling IT infrastructure that is subject to rolling ‘glitches’ on an almost daily basis. Glitches that effect payments, shipping, searching, access to funds, correct payment information, delayed revenue transfers and others cause buyers and sellers alike to give up on the company that suddenly can’t get anything right anymore.

    As eBay continues to deteriorate, they have become less of a venue as they now want to dictate every facet of a sellers business from retail pricing and fixed shipping costs to what kind of feedback sellers are permitted to leave buyers. They cannot get anything right, yet they dictate what sellers must do. So much for the claim of being a venue.

    Mr Donahoe and the rest of his executive leadership team keep their heads buried firmly in the sand. They only pull them out for the occasional press release to parrot Donahoe’s claims that “all is well” and “everything is proceeding according to plan”, while ignoring the roof that is obviously falling in around them.

    Add the fact that as the marketplace crumbles, eBay continues to steadily increase fees and it is no wonder why so many sellers have opted to migrate to other marketplaces and open their own web sites.

    This company is failing on every level. Emperor Donahoe continues to fiddle as eBay burns.

    Will shareholders step in and call for the removal of eBay’s current leadership or is John Donahoe the next poster child for failed CEO’s?

    We have a ringside seat, so time will tell.

  5. Don Says:

    Wow, I find most people pay promptly and we have always paid promptly. I didn’t realize things are as bad as you assert … but to put your comments in perspective, do/did you work there, are you a seller, a buyer, or what? What is your connection to Ebay that gives you this insight?

  6. Henrietta Says:

    As an ex-eBay seller, (I left because their new policies 2008 were not acceptable,) I can sympathize with you 100%.

    No rational reasoning person can understand how a recorded refunded transaction could result in an unpaid item strike.

    This is not a one way traffic situation though, routinely sellers receive negative feedback for unpaid items. How can this be you say? How can a buyer express dissatisfaction with an item that has not been paid for, never shipped, and do it in a manner which directly affects the ability of the seller to continue to do business.

    Great question. eBay management in their wisdom ‘feels’ that for the buyer to change their mind and not pay for the item is not simple buyers remorse, or even having found the item for less elsewhere but a clear expression of unhappiness or dissatisfaction with the seller, the item, or both.

    The vast majority of sellers would prefer a no fault cancellation of the sale but eBay will not refund fees on an unpaid item (often up 24% of a low cost item).

    eBay is not a happy place. Feedback is pretty much meaningless these days, it is a haven for shill bidders and the fee structure means you will almost always get a better deal elsewhere.

    Search Google shopping for your desired item and see for yourself. My connection to eBay can be seen at my blog

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