ebay can go to hell

I worry this blog is quickly turning into one big complaint file – me whinging about stuff that just pisses me off.  And by the title of this post, you may guess I am not happy with eBay.

They are insisting their sellers use paypal to receive payments as part of their “secure payment” policy.  Which is odd, because they used to tell us all was safe and good and trustworthy on eBay, but now we need security!  And it is a policy!  And that means that using paypal is the only safe and secure way to transact over eBay.

Now, I work in marketing, and this has all the fragrance of marketing and PR blitz.  Why? Well they are using highly consistent language.  They tend to never mention paypal directly, but keep referring to their “secure payment policy”.  And while they “sympathise” with the concern that sellers have, the new “secure payment system” will benefit us all.

A few years ago, I saw a great ad for eBay. It really summed up why their system worked.  The ad was all about honesty, and trust and how generally people are “pretty good folks”. They had images of people leaving money in a swear jar, dropping some cash in an honesty tin, jangly guitar music – you know, very feel good and sweet and down-home. I buy something from you and you believe in my promise to pay. You sell something to me and I trust that the goods will be as you list them.

So, this system has been running for a while now, and no doubt there are people who try and rip others off. And no doubt some people have been ripped off. I remember a friend paying $20 for a belt buckle with a  little screen that displayed any message you typed in.  It never turned up. If you ask me, that seller ripping him off did him a big favour!  But I’ve done a lot of transactions as a buyer and seller on eBay.  Apart from the odd person winning an item and then never paying up, it has been all good.  I have never lost a cent.  I get what I pay for.  People tend to pay for items on time.  Mostly everyone I’ve dealt with on eBay have indeed been “pretty good folks.”

Now, in a clear bid to make more cash, eBay is trying to scare us in believing there are some “very bad folks” on eBay, and we must be protected by their “secure payment policy” and therefore use paypal.  If you are running a business on eBay this is a pretty good idea as you are selling a lot of things to a lot of people.  For all the people like myself who may sell things on eBay a few times a year, this is bad.  Not only do you pay for a listing and a cut of your final sale (which is fair – they provide a good system) they now also expect us to give them another cut through using their payment system and force us to do it through paypal. All other methods of payment, like direct deposit and COD are “unauthorised”.  I would suggest if paypal was so great, then people would have adopted it, but there obviously hasn’t been the adoption that eBay wants – so they will now force people to use it.

I hate how they are using fear mongering to justify wanting to make more cash.  I hate any campaign based on fear – basically just making people scared of other people, removing trust and the idea that people can be and are honest.  Their old campaign celebrated the fact that people are good and that’s why the system works.  Now they’ve spun that on their head and said people are bad and we need to be protected from them.  

I instead will aim to be protected from eBay.  I’m going to check out other auction sites – I think Trading Post has set up a new one and they are rubbing their hands hoping for thousands of little sellers will come running to them.  I’m not sure how many people at the end of the day will leave eBay for good – it’s a big brand and it’s a good product. But I won’t be back cause it is rolling in the mud with all the other brands that pretend to be about “protecting us” from each other when all it really wants is to make a quick buck.

I promise that the next post will be about celebrating something good, or something that I like!

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3 Comments

Filed under marketing

3 responses to “ebay can go to hell

  1. CapitalD

    I totally agree. Although I am a relatively new eBay user, I’m no stranger to online auctions (www.trademe.co.nz) and I think -requiring- one type of payment is ridiculous when many others have been fine up ’til now. I’m all for increasing security, but not doing so in a way that facilitates more revenue gathering while removing other options.

    There is lots of talk about eBay starting to target, and reward their ‘PowerSellers’ more and more, and their policies are beginning to reflect this. Here’s some more food for thought: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/06/19/BU9K11C0KS.DTL

    I look forward to reading about your thoughts on alternative online auctions, should you take the plunge.

  2. kelpenhagen

    Thanks for that link. They really feel very “evil empire now”. I used to feel quite empowered and smart buying and selling on their site – now I feel like a little minnow with no control at all.
    I checked out trading post a few days ago to see what they had listed on their auction sites – a little disappointing but what the hell…someone has to take the plunge, and why not me with my random and unwanted clothing?…

    Will let you know how I go.

  3. Pingback: ebay puts the E into Evil Empire « kelpenhagen

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