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More on eBay

eBay users are under no illusion that the system is heavily weighted in favour of the buyer which leaves it wide open to abuse.
Last month we raised the issue of the excess bias towards buyers shown on eBay. As you would expect we have had a lot of response and here we highlight a number of the issues raised by you, the sellers.

One reader told us the following:
“I have been with eBay 10 years, and done much business. Only last week we sold a steering lock with 2 keys, no alarm fobs, a lock and two keys that worked (checked fully before postage). The guy didn’t have a clue what he was doing, and complained that a “ cut key” set off the alarm - well it would without the correct fob, wouldn’t it. Anyway exactly as per your article, eBay impounded my money, told him to return the item. I am not at fault, but still have the cost of my out going post and packing. The item is returned, and he gets his money back.”

But this reader’s story doesn’t end here. All they got back was an empty box and no item. Naturally, they reported this to eBay but still lost the appeal. Aafter many, many emails and jumping through all the hoops, including recording the fraud to the online fraud unit, 4 weeks later they still have no money. eBay tell them they’re looking into it and that they should have the money in 5 to 7 days, They have received that message 3 times now. The reader has concluded that eBay’s plan is to mess you about, hoping that you will just give up.

This reader has been using eBay for 10 years so one would hope would be classed as a valued user. He has continuously explained to eBay, that without sellers, they have no buyers and asked why, as a seller he can’t leave fraudulent people like the one above negative feedback - this is a very common complaint. The seller can be hit with negative feedback but not the buyer - this is wide open to abuse.

He told us, “I believe the problem is that eBay does not have the quality of people with real life knowledge to run the site on an efficient basis. The problem is they do not seem to be able to differentiate, between a guy selling new CD’S in a box, and someone selling a second hand motor part that has been previously fitted and/or used”.

“As for cost, well, to keep items high in the search engine, your price has to be keen, postage has to be free, and VAT included. This is difficult when competing against people who have no licences or EA approval, do not have vast overheads, and are basically taking cars apart on their front lawn. It is an emotive subject, and I believe we need to bring pressure on E Bay, but how? As we know they are basically ghosts. Try finding the head office address or direct contact” - if anyone has a good contact let us know so we can get their reactions!
Another reader raised the following issue:
“I received an email from ebay (a slap on the wrists) when I advertised an item for sale and mis-keyed the sale price, I typed £125.00 instead of £215.00). Surprise, surprise the item sold overnight but I was not willing to sell the item at that price and I thought that ebay would back me up (I provided evidence that we have sold the same item for the £215.00 price in the past and it was a 100% mistake). I sent the buyer a cancellation request but of course the buyer refused this request! Then, when I refunded the buyer and re-listed the item at the correct sale price, eBay became heavy handed and sent me an email outlining that when you advertise an item for sale you are entering into a legally binding contract to sell it at that price, and if we do the same again we risk suspension from ebay! This supposedly ‘legally binding contract’ that we enter into is the same one that they buyer enters into when they click the ‘submit bid’ or ‘buy it now’ button yet there is no similar threat of suspension aimed at them when they do not complete the transaction.”

When this reader replied to eBay expressing his discontent at the one sided approach they take when transactions are not completed all all he had in return was a message from one of their customer services representatives highlighting the terms and conditions of trading one eBay, essentially saying if you don’t like it then leave! With a little more stringent control over the buying process eBay could level the playing field and instil confidence back into the sellers marketplace. The reader feels this would slow down the flow of sellers looking for outlets elsewhere on-line.

I would like to thank all of you who responded to the eBay article as it demonstrates how significant the issues are. We have only highlighted a couple of reader’s cases as between them they hit most of the spots. As for the point regarding unlicensed sites, well we can’t really blame eBay for the poor regulation systems in this country but they should be insisting that those commercially selling second hand parts demonstrate that they are coming from vehicles handled by licenced sites - your views always welcome.
Facebook page for eBay uk businesss sellers
Northamptonshire based dismantler, Rob Austin tells us he has started a facebook page for eBay uk businesss sellers. This should be a great forum where we can talk about our issues with eBay. Anyone who is interested can join the group here, then we can swop our sob stories!

April 2014

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