Readers’ Letters: As fee change deadline looms, eBay sellers ramp up complaints

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Steampunk show notice needed, appreciated; eBay is yesterday’s news

Just wanted to let you know much I appreciate Antique Trader magazine and how, I believe, you’re attempting to steer “younger” people towards collecting and antiques.

About a month ago, my wife Susan and I attended the Steampunk Exhibition in Oaks, Pa. It was not far from where we live in Norristown. Anyway, we wouldn’t have known about the show unless I read about it in AT first. It didn’t get much press here.
Sure it’s a niche market but I think the had a pretty good turnout regardless. There were some great exhibits. Very creative. Very eclectic. Some really cool old adding machines.

I would just like to voice my dissatisfaction with eBay and the sellers. It seems like there’s not much to bid on anymore.  It’s either “Buy it Now” or “Make and Offer” and if your more than .50 cents away for the posted price, you lose.  My wife has moved all of her interest and buying to Etsy.  I like to browse eBay but, to me, everything is over-priced or if you see something starting at .99 cents, it has a reserve price.

So long eBay. You’re yesterdays news!

Thanks for your time.
Keep up the good work!
Lindsay Leiper

EBay has taken the “community” out of the seller status.

I have been a seller since 1998. Through all the changes, up and down, it seems to me eBay makes things more difficult for the customers that have built eBay, which are the sellers like my self. We don’t have huge inventories or stores. We work hard to keep our buyers happy and it shows (or did) in our positive Feedback ratings. But now with the star ratings, its near impossible to make your 20 percent fee reduction on the percent measurement system eBay uses.

Why not change those unattainable (or at least sustainable) percentages to take everything into consideration… make earning 4.8 & 4.9 stars MEAN something like they used to? We that have lived eBay for so long KNOW they dangle these carrots for us to work hard so THEY make more money, not us, all to make better profits or share in success. It always costs us more and never makes us more.

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There is no honor or reward for a member that has maintained over 99 percent customer satisfaction for over 12 years and averaged 4.9 percent in their silly star system. They only tell us to work harder for customers that don’t care and don’t know how to fairly use those stars.

Could this be the reason Amazon and others are taking eBay business? At one time I was a 100% eBay seller, I even taught eBay classes. Over 30% of my business now goes to Amazon, about 10% to other online sales comp.

I do not charge handling, never have. My shipping always costs me money. Taking into account, insurance, packaging, time, delivery to a PO, etc., its very expensive. There is no quarter given to us independent sellers.

All it takes is someone checking 2 or 3 stars instead of 4 or 5 to kick us off top seller. Its happened to me twice and because I don’t sell huge volumes its critical when you receive one or two low ratings. And now, we risk that 20% reduction on the “whim” of a newbie that does not understand the real costs of shipping, or that does not know how important the positive ratings are. OR a customer like I had recently that never said there was a problem, never asked for a refund or money back just gave a low rating because 1 of 5 preset stations did not work on a near new radio.

I had no idea it ALL did not function perfectly. Twice in 2 months I have been knocked off Top Seller status, yet 99.8 percent of my customers rave about service or packing. Its that .2 percent that takes away the 20% or Top Seller rating.

Now, if I were selling all books or postcards or was a Wal-Mart then all is attainable. But it’s impossible to be a “normal” seller, the ones that BUILT eBay, and achieve their requirements … so I don’t even try anymore. I just do my job. I don’t send notes, and a thank you. I just put in a box and move it. EBay has taken the’ community’ out of the seller status.

The new system may sound good to some but it’s obvious they are helping the buyers once again…thus increasing sales and their profits from the selling fee commissions. Always PUSHING the sale (not he listing) to maximize THEIR profits … while making us strive for near impossible goals to get even a small break. This new one is a doozy…but not as bad as taking away our power of negative or neutral feedback to buyers that are pure criminal in how they treat sellers. They now mask this to new sellers and members while rewarding the industry giants that now use eBay like the Wal-Mart, Kmart, Goodwill, and the factory sellers.

Yup, the community is gone, and we small to medium sellers are pushed aside once again with veiled changes that “look good” but don’t work for us…not in a positive way.
S.O.S.
Patrick Bruce, via e-mail

‘Go eBay!’

I live near a small town in southern Colorado where the business is dominated by Antique Malls. Last week I went into one of the malls and asked the owner how business had been as it’s usually slow during the early Spring months. She brightened and said “It’s been great. Every time eBay changes the fees and rules and hurts more sellers my business picks up.”
She closed by saying “Go, Ebay!”

There has been an exodus of sellers who have good reputations and quality items. Many of the collectors I know feel that eBay has become a huge flea market full of fakes, forgeries, and just plain junk.  It’ so hard to find anything of any interest, many customers have gone back into the stores to pursue their passion instead of clicking through page after page of junk. 

As eBay scares off the legitimate seller, the dishonest seller will take over, and, in turn, the legitimate buyer will likewise go away. 
EBay has vilified ALL sellers. They don’t make an effort to eradicate the dishonest seller. 

As a seller, I’ve met my share of dishonest buyers. I have yet to see one rule directed against the dishonest buyer. Why hasn’t eBay addressed the issue of dishonest buyers.

EBay has lost its direction. It’s well on its way to losing a lot more of its legitimate business.
Consequently the antique and collectible market trend may just be going back to the Antique Store on Main Street USA. 
With the honest seller goes the buyer.
 “Go Ebay!”
Sarah Robison
605 Main Street
Florence, Colorado 81226

Sellers must still protect themselves

Like many occasional sellers, I have been an ebay seller for about 6 years, a buyer for almost 10. with over 500 transactions and a perfect record I was stunned when ebay/paypal helped a buyer rip me off for not only  my item, but the proceeds of the sale. Briefly, I sold the item to a california buyer, with shipping stated in a usps small flat rate box. when I went to ship it the paypal shipping page was not set up to insure the item in that format, so I went to the usps to get the job done, the insurance aspect was my idea, and expense. The item was mailed and a copy of the insurance receipt was emailed to the buyer. big mistake. I did not get delivery confirmation, I did not find out until much later that insured mail under $100.00 would be delivered with out a signature, signature delivery has been raised to $200.00.

The buyer complained that he did not receive his item, and Paypal put a hold on the transaction, It was then I found out that an insurance receipt number can-not be tracked, or traced by a sender, but I was able to get a trace showing  delivery had been made, while I was in the process of getting this information to paypal, they raided my account, and returned the money to the buyer.  I appealed, sent usps documents to paypal and got an email from agreeing I had proved delivery, and they had sent a n email to the buyer REQUESTING he return my funds.and then basically washed their hands of my problem stating that because I had not followed their policies for delivery confirmation they will not do anything to get my money returned.

What I have left is, I am out over $100.00 in actual money, plus my item. What have I learned for my $100.00 experience, get  confirmation on anything you send out no matter what the medium you use for shipping. and know the post office will not require a signature on an insured item wort less than $200.00 unless you pay extra for the confirmation.
I hope this experience will help others from getting ripped off as I was.
J.W. Logie, Jr.
Naples, Fla.


Greed + ignorance + Arrogance = Fall of the Mighty

I have been using ebay as a seller and buyer for many years and ebay has made many positive changes in my life. as a retired person, without private or state or government pension, ebay has allowed me to survive, paying the bills by selling  collectibles that i acquired for pleasure during my working years. on the negative side i am selling those things for much less than i paid originally, because ebay has made them widespread and accessible every day. collectibles have lost their rarity and mystery. you can find everything, anything, everyday. you just need the money. recently some of ebay tweaks have left me puzzled and sad. ebay seems to go out of its way to punish sellers when sellers are the reason for its existence. dropping shipping fees is a terrible thing for the antique /collectible seller. ebay should realize that often a seller loses money on what he is selling. having him/her pay for shipping is adding insult to injury. many buyers are not honest. they buy things, takes parts out, exchange them or decide they just don’t want them and  want their money back.  it’s similar to calling a store, buy a box of chocolates, have the store deliver, eat a few, decide to return the box and  get the money back.  the store is also supposed to send a carrier to pick up the box. ebay should use some of its sellers/buyers’ wisdom and ask about what policies they feel would be of benefit to both sides. i have the suspicion the people running this large corporation are ignorant of the psychology behind buying and selling, the give and take, the dynamism.  ebay is an enormous rudderless ship well on its way to self destruction . greed + ignorance + arrogance = fall of the mighty.

EBay sucks, latest change is fair

I’ve been with eBay since almost the beginning and remember how thrilled I was. eBay was the coolest site on the web and an exceptional opportunity for both buyers and sellers. As they grew there was a mutual trust via a fair feedback system. There was quality and an unprecedented selection of goods nobody could match. The fees were fair, many successful sellers quit their day jobs and millions of buyers got sweet deals on items they might never have found otherwise. It was was the biggest and best estate/garage/antique/department store sale on Earth 24/7. Meg and the other honchos at eBay are taking home yearly salaries larger than most any 10 people combined will make in a lifetime but that apparently isn’t enough. Feeling invincible they decide to turn up the greed. With no real competition they believe they can do anything they want without the risk of failure. It seems they forgot who made those salaries possible or just didn’t care because they mistakenly thought where else can the sellers go.

So here comes the tsunami of fees, over and over again, new fees for everything but breathing, fee increases with absolutely no justification. While they’re at it, they decide the buyer is always right, overlooking the fact that there are always people trying to get something for nothing, so now the sellers can no longer leave feedback. My personal favorite example of eBay’s “in your face we’re going to squeeze you till you bleed” attitude towards sellers was their purchase of PayPal and then forbidding any other form of payment.

 OK, it’s unanimous: eBay sucks, however, their most recent fee increase is actually fair. I notice many overseas auctions selling their item for $1 yet charging $60 shipping thus avoiding eBays prior fees. Now those duplicitous sellers will pay the same as the honest ones. I would go one step farther, instead of the cap at $100 I would have no cap. If you sell an item for $10,000 and I sell something for $1,000, why should you pay a lesser percentage than I do? The bottom line is that eBay’s greed has escalated from stink to toxic. The honchos must be so focused on counting their fat stacks they’ve failed to notice both sellers and buyers are jumping ship like rats trying to avoid the plague. Now half the quality goods have been replaced with thousands of listing for the same identical overseas plastic crap that looks like some dollar store salvage. Even if they all pulled their heads out right now, saw the error of their ways, noticed their greed and disrespect is shrinking their wallets and finally did the right thing (big fat as if) I still think it’s too late. You can’t keep kicking the dog until he runs away then decide to stop the abuse and honestly expect the dog to come back. I hope when eBay is in the sewer that their successor has learned from eBay’s mistakes.
Claudette Mills,
via e-mail

Looking for answers

I recently sold a $90 item to a customer in Mexico City who insisted on U.S. Express Mail because of the frailty of the Mexican mail system.
The buyer paid the $38.XX Express Mail fee.
Under the new plan does this mean eBay will charge me $38,xx in addition to my sales fee that I subtract from my $90 selling charge? Please explain this to me!!
 Ernie Kieckers, via e-mail

Thanks for your note, Ernie. We believe the additional monies you would owe eBay would be 9 percent of that $38.xx fee. The additional fees on shipping top out at $100. – Editor

Sure to be eBay mass exodus

Thank you for posting the letter about EBay and their antiseller policies in the Jan. 5, 2011. I have been a seller since 1999 and I can attest that everything she said was not only true, I could have added a couple pages of complaints to it as well. I’m sure there will be a mass exodus when there is an auction site that is as big, easy to use, favors the seller and CHEAPER.
Warm regards,
Kell Hashey
Bangor, Maine

Occasional sellers will be ?inclined to use other websites

As collectors of rare and not-so-rare “children’s architecture” (dollhouses) and children’s tea sets, we found eBay to be an enormous benefit in finding those really hard-to-find pieces to compete a particular collection. That’s when eBay was know as “the world’s largest yard sale.” EBay was a boon to us in selling off the many duplicates purchased as part of the odd-lot containing that one gem.

Then they started: raising rates, changing policies and making it altogether difficult for the small-time sellers like us to offer the few goods we had. They had visions of becoming “the world’s largest Wal-Mart,” offering great deals and incentives to the eBay “store owners” and bulk sellers, while foregoing the base that originally built them and made them what they are today. Alas, as with all good things, they must come to an end. Now if I want to list a single article on eBay (like a 1930s Strombecker 1-inch scale sofa – not so hard to find), I will likely be paying eBay to have it taken off my hands.

It is most unfortunate for us, that group of small-timers, with lots of odds and ends to offer that person looking for that one piece to finish a collection. Selling on eBay is a two-edged sword. They have the market share, their name is a household word, and people know that to find something – go to eBay. There is no other site like it with the same exposure for us “little guys.” If we ever need to disperse our collection, we might as well call in our local auctioneer – our take will be about the same.
Steve and Barb Woods,
a/k/a eBay stevenbarbrn

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