Wednesday, June 11, 2008

eBay Strike or Split?

The boycott is well into its sixth week and sellers are falling like ninepins as eBay fails to follow through on their promises to remove feedback from Non Paying Bidders (NPB) and other malicious feedback practices. The ninepin analogy is particularly appropriate as troll buyers add seller after seller to the ranks of STRIKE!

Last week in the UK a NPB left 106 neutrals and negatives for sellers in a single day. I emailed one of those sellers who told me that although the feedback had been removed and the buyer NARUed he had not been credited for the fees. We are not talking small change here, he got hit on 40 items.

Tamebay had an article with 165 comments two weeks ago covering the initial effects of this policy in the UK. Well worth the read, down to the last comment (if you can bear to). This is a response from an eBay rep.

No.24 Richard (from eBay) on May 29th, 2008 11:58 am

Morning everyone,

The individual cases that are brought to the boards are, by definition, edge-cases (or ‘dolphins’, whichever phrase is most useful). If you only look at them, you might well conclude that the system is unfair (though there are a fair few on the boards that haven’t stood up to friendly scrutiny from other posters).

We are looking at the bigger picture - the vast majority of sellers being restricted by these new SNP rules richly deserve to be, and we’re removing more poor sellers from the site than ever before. The site overall will benefit from that, even it’s painful in the short term. There are also thousands of other sellers who are sharpening up their selling practices and customer service in response to avoid the risk of sanctions. This picture is largely invisible if you don’t have access to data from the entire site and the entire SNP programme, so I can understand the unease about individual seller cases.

All that said, we are learning from the ‘edge-cases’ and will evolve the system where it makes sense to.


No.66 isn’t possible to be suspended for a single negative. The new programme may be harsh, but it’s not that harsh.

In Australia the situation is deteriorating rapidly as eBay prepares to enforce the PayPal only rule. Forum threads are being pulled almost as fast as they are put up. I am now copying and pasting to read at leisure because if I do not the thread poufs halfway through!

This seller received a 30 day suspension for one negative and one neutral from the same buyer over $15 worth of vintage jewelry.

We received an email telling us we were restricted but nothing seems we are on a limit ( not sure what) due to the 1 neg we received from a non paying bidder. We are over the 5% dissatisfaction rate in 30 days allowed by Ebay.

Note the word seems. This seller is guessing at the reason for their restriction as there is no mention of it in their restriction letter nor does it tell them what the restriction is. Another seller;

1875 positive 100% until 2 mths ago, 1st neg as a buyer, then a few days ago 1st neg as a seller. Seller left neg 1 month after transaction without any communication just right out of the blue. I have no open disputes. My rating is now 99.6% & I am restricted from selling as I am now a under performing seller.
Today I tried to relist some items that ended but got a big red message telling me I have a selling restriction so can not list at this time....I rang eBay customer service yesterday & was told nobody knows what the restriction is. Their advise was to try & list & if it won't allow try again a couple of hours later & keep doing this until I am able to list again

A third seller:

They tell you to resolve outstanding disputes even though I have none, and to ensure any outstanding transactions are finalized in a positive manner. To to this both parties must leave feedback. I thought feedback was not compulsory??

On a personal note I am not reliant on eBay for my income; I was able to abandon the ship long before it started sinking. A question for my Australian readers, is this kind of trading behavior covered under the Trade Practices Act 1974? Isn't the Act designed to protect you in your dealings with business; prohibiting a business from using its superior bargaining power in an unconscionable way?

Y'all come back


Kevin_T said...

Richard from Ebay UK who you quoted as being an Ebay rep, is also identified in that thread, and on the Ebay boards, as being Richard Ambrose. Richard Ambrose was appointed the head of Ebay UK Trust and Safety in October last year....

He also posted this gem yesterday, when an auction was removed for not "preferring" PayPal.


Even though your wording was within the letter of the policy, it could easily have been interpreted as violating the spirit of it - and it could reasonably have been interpreted by a buyer as a request not to pay with PayPal.

So I think it's a fair cop.

End Quote

I had thought Richard was simply a loose cannon employee. I was not only wrong, but this means that the "it's only 30 days" attitude over loss of income to so-called "edge cases", and listing within the letter of policy is not good enough, are top down management attitudes from Ebay UK.

Sad and scary stuff, Kevin

Henrietta said...

WONDERFUL thread Kevin, watch it go POUF!

I wondered if that was Ambrose but without any direct provable evidence I would not, as a matter of principle, say it was.

The pompous tone and general air of insufferable arrogance is a dead giveaway isn't it?

I am positive, with the level of regulation existing in the UK today he might, just might have opened himself up to a regulatory action.