Tag Archives: eBay

ebay – why does it have to suck so much?

I sold some things on ebay this week. It was easy. Take a snap, type in the details, list it and wait for the cash to roll in.  On Friday night we watched as each auction ended, and the price people paid got crazily high. One thing was $10 and in the last three minutes went up to $100.  It was quite fun.

So, now as I try and get my money (which at the very last minute had to be via paypal much to my annoyance) I am STRUGGLING to get my cash. Lots of screens, re-entering the same information, asking me the most ridiculous security questions where I actually have no one answer for – favourite film, favourite author, favourite restaurant (so for each my answers are the standard “I hate paypal”), and then finally getting to my cash, where I have to enter in my details and it will tkae them 4-5 days to transfer the money??!! Give me a break – it’s not 1956 anymore. 

Oh, and ebay took a $29 fee for the items I sold – fair enough, but then to take an extra $18 for the “privilege” of using paypay, which holds my money for an extra 4-5 days is LAUGHABLE!



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ebay puts the E into Evil Empire

lord vadar

Commenting on my post on ebay, CapitalD directed me to this article here.  Ebay will now be offering discounts to PowerSellers; trying to attract more of those who shift lots though their system; rather than the hoards of little fish like me who don’t.

I know, I know, eBay is a big business and it has to make money.  But sometimes big businesses really piss off the users who make them big in the first place, and although they stay big, they create so much bad will that it comes back to bite them on their big successful rounded arses.   

When I was in America in February Starbucks was freaking out as their growth has severely stalled.  A lot has to do with total saturation and cannibalisation – Starbucks pave the streets there. But they announced that one day all their stores would close for a training session and they’d be focusing on service and product.  This got a lot of press that day, and I’m not sure what the results were.  But it seemed like such a good thing to do.  Focusing on customers and service – how novel!  It may have just been a good PR stunt, but it sent you a message as a customer that you were a key focus for this big monolithic monster churning out frappucinos by the million and you mattered.  

eBay is sort of like Microsoft.   They are building a business that doesn’t have to deal with little people, just big players. But brands like Starbucks have to deal with punters daily so they have to focus on them – no neat and tidy medium Enterprise grande latte accounts for them. 

eBay has the potential to be as hated as microsoft if it keeps pissing off little fish like me.superfood and macchiato at Starbucks in downtown Chicago - breakfast of champions

 – And as “hated” as Starbucks may be, I have read some quite nice things about them of late. Kim Gordon said in an interview (after Sonic Youth launched their latest CD through them, so granted a bit of a vested interested – but Kim has cred) that Starbucks was actually a good company for employees as they have medical, good training and generally good working conditions. And while I NEVER buy Starbucks here – too much good coffee to warrant it – I have to admit in some some parts of some cities in the states good coffee is very hard to find and I have been “saved” on more than one occasion by a dopo soy macchiato and an Odwalla Superfood.


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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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