Wednesday, June 27, 2007

New Online Auction & Trading Industry Discussion Board

Join up to freely discuss the industry on our chat/discussion board at

ebaY Hypocrisy Reaches New High

In the aftermath of ebaY Live in Boston, ebaY has implemented a plan they feel will improve the "buyer experience" on ebaY. Whilst the general idea behind this plan may not be too faulty - though it IS in contradiction to ebaY's venue only policy in their user agreement - as always, ebaY's implementation is obscene.

What ebaY is doing is suspending some sellers who have complaints from buyers. ebaY is not looking at the complaints to see if they are legitimate, just giving the seller a 7 to 14 day suspension with the threat of permanent suspension if the seller does not go back and fix the problems, and refrain from having further problems. So, if the complaint is from a deadbeat buyer, who did not receive the item because they did not pay for it, this counts against the seller. If the complaint is from a thief who refuses to return the item but still wants a full refund, this counts against the seller. If the complaint is about a flaw in an item, even if the flaw was stated in the description, the complaint still counts against the seller. If the complaint is from a buyer, who tries to use the rating or complaint system to blackmail the seller into selling them something at a ridiculously low price, the complaint still counts against the seller. If the complaint is from a buyer, who wants the seller to do something illegal, such as falsify customs forms, the complaint counts against the seller. This is obscene, and should definitely be investigated as grounds for a class action lawsuit against ebaY, or at the least an investigation from State Attorney Generals.

ebaY says "eBay will consider the circumstances of an alleged policy violation and the user's trading record before taking action." and "If a complaint can't be proven with certainty, eBay may take no action." Both statements are lies, as ebaY does no investigating and ignores emails from sellers trying to explain the situation. ebaY also says, "Further, sellers are expected to perform in a manner that results in a consistently high level of buyer satisfaction. If a seller's interactions with the eBay Community create unacceptable levels of buyer dissatisfaction, that seller has violated this policy." As with many ebaY policies (written and unwritten) what is considered an acceptable level is kept a double super secret, because the knowledge might lead to seller abuse of the system (huh?). In truth the reason ebaY keeps such information secret is so that there is no one standard everyone has to follow, but ebaY can assign an arbitrary figure to suit their needs. As always, there is noone at ebaY the seller can contact to get such issues resolved. ebaY ignores emails, sends canned automated answers, and as usual, slams the door in the seller's face, even if ebaY is completely wrong in their action.

There are many many large sellers, whose accounts far exceed these arbitrary negative ratings, yet those accounts remain active and untouched by ebaY. The sellers we have been hearing from report that they are told they are in the "lowest 2% of buyer satisfaction" or have a 5% negative rating in the last X number of days (with X also varying to fit ebaY's needs).

Of course the ultimate hypocrisy lies in ebaY's satisfaction rating from their customers, the sellers. TAG wagers that ebaY's rating would be lucky to exceed 50% satisfaction, and definitely would not be close to 95% satisfactory. ebaY should shut itself down, based on its own standard, but then hypocrisy and lies are what ebaY, the company, is all about.