Monday, November 03, 2008

Looking for more Dolphin Stories!

I'm going to be traveling for the next several days, so I may not have a chance to post much, but I wanted to solicit information from you for a project I'm working on.

I believe the only way to force eBay management to change the course they are on is by reaching out to the Board of Directors and specifically Pierre Omidyar, with details on the carnage that their changes have caused, but single letters and individual stories do not carry much weight I will need 100's of real incidents to make my point.  I am asking for my readers to submit their stories, so I can put together a little package for the eBay Board of Directors. 

Here are the rules:
  • No anonymous submissions" If there is no way I can prove what you are saying I won't include your story. I also need to have as much history on your account as possible. If you choose I will keep your name and user ID out of the blog, but I will personally need to vouch for you. If the Board of Directors requests your account information, you give me permission to reveal that only to them.
  • Don't make stuff up.
  • Please provide me with information on PayPal, Suspension , Trust and Safety issues and personal stories of how eBay changes have affected your business and employees. If your business has been affected by the new Diamond Sellers let me know or perhaps you have had to layoff employees because you were a dolphin caught in the Trust and Safety net.
  • Provide me as much detail and data as possible.
  • Please don't be abusive and confrontational in your stories, I want just the facts.
  • Perhaps, you just decided eBay was no longer for you and you've moved on. These stories carry just as much weight because eBay is losing good sellers. 
The point of this exercise is to make the Board of Directors aware of the impact these changes are having on real people; their users. 

If I only receive a couple of stories, then this will be a fruitless exercise, but if I can present hundreds of verified stories, then the BOD will face a Public Relations issue. During the worst economy in 80 years eBay is putting people out of business. 

Help me put together the most comprehensive presentation possible. This is where the power of social networking is needed. Each of you may know 1 or 2 sellers who can tell their stories and they know 1 or 2 others and so on. 

Where are the dolphins? I need reams of information and I need you help.

Just my 15%

61 comments:

ms.pat said...

Here's the small seller's angle...and I feel its a valid one. I've been listing on Ebay successfully for over 10 years. I'm an artist and as such I make everything I sell and sometimes it simply takes time to make an item. I'm not an assemblyline worker and I don't buy wholesale in bulk! This past month my standing in the listings was lowered from "raised" to "standard". I have perfect feedback of over 3,000 total with never a negative in all that time. My DSR's are 5.0 across the board. I wrote Ebay and questioned why my standing was lowered. Their reasoning was because I did not make enough feedbacks during the past 30 days. So, in other words I could sell one item for 500.00 and have my standing lowered - or I could sell 20 items for 99 cents and enjoy a raised standing. Ebay has simply pounded the entire arts categories into the same hole as an iPod! There is absolutely NO thought on their part on what they are doing to whom! Everything si just done automatically whether the scenerio fits or not. So, since my listings are now buried by the highly competitive artists who have damaged reputations in the arts categories I simply had to stop listing on Ebay! Ebay made keeping a good reputation worthless. In effect, they've driven away a perfectly good, honest seller!

Brenda said...

Hi Randy-

I don't know that I count as a dolphin, because I stopped selling in January when the new changes came out, and I am very glad I did. I had just started my eBay career (sold three OOAK dolls), was accepting PayPal with no problems and was looking forward to a long and mutually profitable relationship. People who sell OOAK dolls very often use Featured Plus, so I was spending a fair amount of money.

There were a lot of reasons I decided to stay away, but the PayPal 21-day-hold and the DSRs were the real killesr for me, not to mention the way they suspend accounts with no appeal at the drop of a hat. I can't do business that way. I've been waiting to see if things will get better, but they aren't.

Like Ms.Pat, I make my inventory, and they take a long, LONG time to make. I might be able to crank out one a month. eBay's current policies make selling there impossible for me with that low volume. But it's been very obvious for a while now that they're not interested in my business, so I don't know if my dolphin story is of interest to you. My best friend is also an OOAK doll artist (much better than me-her dolls sell for enough that she hit Bronze PS for quite a while) and she hasn't sold since the changes either.

I'm wondering how many people there are out there like her and me, who simply stopped cold, rather than drawing down gradually. And I'm wondering how many members eBay thinks it can offend before it implodes. I used to buy supplies for my doll-making on eBay. Since the changes, I've gone to my same suppliers, all of whom are off-eBay and make a point of buying from them there.

Randy Smythe said...

Brenda, I'm looking for dolphin stories as well as personal stories like yours.

The BOD is made up of human beings and if they look at a book of stories that tell how eBay changes have affected their lives, they will have to take notice.

If I get enough stories I will put them together into an ebook. Called eBay's Dolphin Stories. But I need 100's of accurate honest stories to make that happen.

ms.pat said...

Randy - maybe you can put small seller stories in a special section. Afterall both Norrington and Leiberman said they are keeping collectibles - they love small sellers of collectibles. Far as we are concerned, that seems to be an outright lie. Most of the artists I know are no longer listing on Ebay either.

ExtremelyReliable said...

We have been selling books on eBay/half for five years with 4.9 DSR up until about 60 days ago. In last textbook season (fall’08), we increased our inventory on half.com almost 20 fold. Scammers started buying our items with fraud funds on half.com. We got hundreds of notifications from half.com asking us not to complete transaction and refund buyer. Sometimes, we got those notifications after 3-4 days of transaction. In few instances, half.com told us not to ship and then they reversed themselves in follow up email. We lost $8xxx.xx by shipping items to fraudulent buyers. We could not claim penny off from those sales as we got notification from half.com that we should not have shipped those items.

We stop shipping items to all buyers whose status was "Not a Registered user". First time buyers who have not verified their email can still complete transaction but their status would be "Not a Registered user". Half.com warned us that if we continue to ship items to fraudulent buyer and keep claiming, we are at a risk of being identified as a part of fraud schemes. Buyers who got refund from us instead of book had following profile.

1. At the time of transaction, they were on site for less than three days.
2. They were marked as "Not a Registered User"
3. They had zero feedback or some auto-generated feedback at a time of order.
4. They buy very high value items and requests expedite shipping.
5. They would not respond to email requesting further order verification.
6. Most of time, they would have some numbers in their user name making it look like auto-generated.

Per half.com, those are typical characteristics of fraud buyers. We got 10 negative feedback out of 430+ feedbacks in last 60 days. All the negative feedback we received follows exact same pattern described above. We chose to refund to about 5 % of customers instead of shipping item.

Please look at this decision from seller perspective as someone who has made significant loss fighting with frauds. We did not had enough information to separate good buyers from fraud buyers, Less than 10 % of buyer whose status were "Not a registered user" turned out to be genuine buyer after verification of their email. None of them lost money as we refunded them right away. Our current feedback rate is 97.3 % positive with DSR of 4.37 and higher.

Unfortunately, few genuine buyers also received bad service as we could not differentiate them based on available information. We had choice of either taking huge loss or ship item out to every customer or risk negative feedback. Financial losses were starting to be unbearable. eBay put us on restriction for 30 days and without any further explanation, they suspended us indefinitely.

I can corroborate any information stated above with evidence.

Randy Smythe said...

extremelyreliable,

Please email me directly with your information. rksmythe at yahoo

Everybody else, please send me your stories directly. I must have accurate information for this whole project to work.

They won't be able to dispute the facts.

David said...

I know a lot of sellers are hurting from the changes to featured plus.

Featured plus was the best value on eBay. Lots of sellers paid ebay their $15 or $20 to get that extra exposure. eBay made a lot of money and a lot of sellers made a lot of money.

Now they've killed that, which is hurting lots of sellers

ms.pat said...

Mine certainly can be proved. I can send a screenshot of my dashboard which has my DSR's almost to 5.0 (all in the 4.99/4.98 range) and my standing as "Standard"! What more proof do you need. My feedback reputation is a matter of record. All you really need is my ebay ID.

Anonymous said...

does our comments have to be bad? what about the sellers that are actually doing well and welcome the changes?

David said...

anonymous, why don't you post your userID and lets see how well you are doing

tula said...

Randy,
This is a great idea. I've been seeing dolphin stories scattered across various blogs and forums for months now. I think that putting them all together and verifying them (to eliminate the lousy sellers who just like to complain about not getting away with poor service) will give them much greater impact. If eBay can see some hard numbers and facts about the good sellers being hurt because of their automated T&S activities, it might just help.

David said...

Tula, according to my ebay my service is poor.

My shipping time DSR is a 4.8, my item as described DSR is a 4.8, yet my communication DSR is a 4.6

Am I supposed to hand deliver these items to the buyer, and call them on the phone to congratulate them for winning my auction.

I don't think it was intended to be this way but the system is designed to get rid of all the small sellers so somebody like buy.com can prosper.

Elle said...

I am a small one person powerseller of Mid Century items. We stopped listing over the summer due to two in a row NPBs on the same 1200. item. The first time I listed it as featured and it was never featured. I was ticked off that even though the item was purchased by 0 FB NPBs my insertion fees still cost me almost 50. to have it listed and we were still charged for the relist.

We have 4.9s and 4.8s and 100% I am about to lose my powerseller status (and the discount) because I didn't list for almost three months. While I am still a powerseller for now, my search standing is 'standard' because I haven't been listing enough. Not because I am a bad seller, but because I haven't been paying enough into the system.

We have stopped taking paypal period because I can't afford a single chargeback. We are fortunate enough to have a merchant account. A merchant account that will not be allowed come January.

This is how I was making a living. Was. We listed several items a few weeks ago and I don't know that we'll be listing more.
The DSRs are a good idea, but poorly thought out and the lack of two way feedback has left me feeling vulnerable to partial refunders and known problem customers. Known only to their silent victims.

Search is a mess. My husband who is not an ebayer recently tried to find a watch on ebay. He kept getting sent to pages that didn't have much to do with what he was looking for so he got bored and found it on Amazon.
After he told me he bought it on Amazon because ebay was 'messed up', I asked him to show me what the problem was. His computer was being kicked into the new search and since he didn't know this and the "opt out" was so small, he just assumed it was broken and did what most buyers would do. He looked and bought elsewhere.

Had he known why it was sending him to pages that had nothing to do with what he wanted, he would have used different keywords and found the item.

Randy Smythe said...

Anonymous, if you are doing well, please email me and let me know. I'm sure that some sellers are doing well, just not the majority.

Oren said...

Randy
I don't know if this is the kind of story that you want.
But here goes:

in the October 2 listings of me were yanked off.

Reason:
they state
"bulk quantities available
contact"
The contact was linking to my email.

eBay "trust and safety" said I was trying to "evade" fees.

Both listings had already sales. It placed me in a not good position of not being able to know to whom I need to send nor being able follow up on those sales.

The MOST annoying part was that my listings were vetted by eBay.

Few months ago I spend over an hour with a eBay rep to see how can I improve my listing and she didn't say a thing.

Any normal company give option for fixing the problem, before pulling the plug.

I don't want even to talk about the fact that you can't get any support from eBay ever.

Anonymous said...

To be fair to the consumer, we should think of the countless millions of ebay buyers who were dolphins, too.

Ripped off by fraud, deceitful ebay listings, cheap used DVDs that wouldn't track, etc/all, you name it...

How many countless buyers bought an obscure title from an ebay media seller (not you, Randy, I'm talking about sellers in the present), never got the item, and had to wait up to 3 months or more for nothing, got no response to their emails, and finally had to file a Paypal claim just to even get their money back on an item that was "in stock"...

This post is meant to simply say that ebay sellers are no angels either-especially in the virtual inventory world of media sellers, they aren't even ethical, decent business people. Read their feedback, people.

If ebay treats their customers like crap, we have to remember that far, far, too many ebay sellers also treat their customers like crap.

Lots of current ebay sellers need to take a good long look in the mirror, if they dare.

Randy Smythe said...

Anonymous,

eBay has every right to crack down on bad sellers but they do it through automated systems and therefore the dolphins get caught as well.

There are solutions to achieve their goals without catching the good sellers in the nets.

Anonymous said...

Bingo. Ebay treats manual reporting by humans as a background noise, suitable for falling asleep by. Meanwhile the bots patrol millions of listings, suspending some or all of them based on nothing more than keywords.

Seven day suspensions get doled out like Halloween candy.

DSRs allot enough time for a fraudster to do some real damage, but deny established, reputable sellers the ability to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and fix mistakes.

Other than that, everything's fine!

David said...

Here's one thing that people have to remember.

A lot of these "sloppy sellers" are sloppy because they work a real job and do this on the side. I'm not making excuses but my point is that a lot of these "sloppy sellers" are buyers.

Case in my point my feedback profile.

I got a bunch of negs in mid May when the feedback policy changed. I got several negs, and at the end of May when they launched Seller Dashboard my rating was "unacceptable".

Now my FB is 99.8% and almost all of those negs are gone because the buyers who left me those FB's have been suspended.

eBay is on such a rampage to get rid of the little guy that a bunch of negs are no longer on my profile.

My point is that a lot of these "small sellers" are also the buyers that eBay is catering to. If you eliminate the "small seller", you eliminate a good percentage of eBay buyers.

Marvin said...

I've been a member of eBay since 1997, and quit selling there in May. While I've personally never had a problem, I know enough people who have that I refuse to deal with them.

One example is a non-profit ham repeater group in So. Cal. had a mint condition CB radio donated to them, and a member said they could sell it on eBay. They did, the buyer filed a SNAD dispute, sent back a junker, and the club is out both the money and the radio.

With the fraud protection policies in place by both eBay and PayPal, selling on eBay is just not worth the aggravation and risks involved.

Anonymous said...

Randy, I'm curious to know why you think Pierre is going to care at all? He's been on the Board since day one and he hasn't ever stepped in or done anything at all about the nonsense that eBay has been doing for so many years now.

Maybe his stock interests might wake him up if he figures out that eBay really is going down the gurgler, but other than that, I can't imagine why he would care. His ivory tower is pretty high, and built with billions of dollars.

Randy Smythe said...

Anonymous,

I realize that, I was hoping that shame might work. If he lives by the principles he espouses then how can he stand by and watch this. If he is just blowing smoke with his philosophy then you are right on. He's taken his billions and said later.

Melissa said...

We sell books and media and eBay is a very good venue for us, but we have to be very careful to play by the rules.

Amazon was our first venue and by using a listing service, we upload to many different venues - eBay was one of our next choices after Amazon.

We learned the hard way that eBay means business about their rule against listing Teacher's Editions. We have thousands of listings - over 32,000 right now (although only about 1/2 to 1/3 are sent to eBay due to high fees!) and it is next to impossible to ensure that a Teacher's Edition is never listed on eBay, but we try our hardest. When a couple too many slipped through the cracks, our store was suspended for a few days and we were warned that if it continued to happen, the store would be suspended WITHOUT refunding our fees!

Several months later, it did happen again and again, the store was suspended for a few days. It's really a very horrible experience. Out of thousands of listings, if we accidentally miss a handful and they accidentally get listed (such a small, minute percentage of total listings), we get the boot, no questions asked.

Also, a listing that put our account status in the red immediately was an author who claimed that we couldn't sell a copy of their used book. They claimed that it was a copyright infringement. eBay is very serious about these sorts of accusations... What in the world can I do to prevent that from happening again?? The item looked just like one of thousands of others we carry! Yet this time, I was threatened that if it happened again, I would be removed from eBay completely.

The problem with eBay seems to be that there isn't an actual human behind these types of things. If you can get ahold of one, they have no idea what you're talking about. They can't fix things for you - you're a small player, so what do they care?

Randy Smythe said...

Melissa,

It is tough to stay on top of much of this and yes, automated systems do much of the work, but large sellers face some of these same issues as well and they have account managers to speak with.

It really comes down to: is eBay worth the effort and stress? Constantly being afraid that eBay will suspend you gets old.

ms.pat said...

"I realize that, I was hoping that shame might work. If he lives by the principles he espouses then how can he stand by and watch this. If he is just blowing smoke with his philosophy then you are right on. He's taken his billions and said later."

Randy - take it from an old hand, he's got his money and he did, indeed, say "later". None of these management people from Donahoe on down are stupid. Nor do they NOT see what they're doing. I know they read the blogs and articles. I've seen IP's coming in from Ebay to my own little blog so I'm sure they're all over yours. Then theres their ebayinkblog....a joke because if you ask sensitive questions and don't get an answer and ask again a little more forcefully....you're gone from there! They don't WANT to hear our NOISE. They're following their plan and we're just supposed to hang in there and pay our fees till they feel we're no longer needed! I know you feel this project is worthwhile but they know full well what they're doing to sellers....they just don't give a damn!

David said...

as bad as it is with an automated policy and bots patrolling the site it is a little bit more fair.

It used to be that high volume sellers would have to get pages and pages of negatives to get suspended and low volume sellers were being suspended over a single negative.

Now it seems that high volume sellers get suspended over one or two negs.

Mike said...

David:

Take a look at this high volume seller's negative feedbacks.

http://toolhaus.org/cgi-bin/negs?User=buy&Dirn=Received+by

The seller has a strong pattern of NON "excellent buying experiences"

Why are they not suspended?

roger said...

Randy: I thought you would have a lot more dissatisfied Ebay sellers. I have been looking at the amount of Ebay listings lately and they seem to be at a all time high. I have been a seller for 2 years and even though I hate the fee increases I have to say that my sales have started to go up even in this bad economy. I know a lot of people hate Ebay, but it still makes me money.

Randy Smythe said...

Roger,

I really don't have enough stories or info to put together something for the BOD.

I'm hearing some sellers are doing better but it is all just stories at this point.

Dervish said...

Here's a great site for ebayers to voice their opinion:

Search the internet for this title:

"Stockholders and Sellers Calling For Immediate Termination of John Donohoe CEO"

or go to

http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?jdonohoe

Pass the information on.

Dr. Pepsi said...

Randy is this a joke?

Ebay never has and never will care about their sellers.

Ebay realized that eventually they will be phased out, so they are squeezing the public for all its worth.

Cindy Brown said...

Hi Randy, I am glad to share my story. I started on eBay in 2001 after a car accident left me unable to work. My doctor actually suggested it since I would be able to put the amount of effort into it that I was able, and not have to work if I wasn't well.

What started out as a small way to make a little extra and keep my mind occupied turned into an obseesion almost immediately and during the last 7 years I honed my skills and customer service so that by March of this year I had 100% feedback and all 5's on my rolling DSR's. I was a power seller with over over 4500 feedback.

When the changes came I thought they were short sighted until I realized that eBay was really trying to change the face of its marketplace and that it didn't want the small seller of vintage items (I sell vintage jewelry). At first I played along, offering free shipping on everything, offering refunds for any reason, etc. Then I joined the boycott hoping they would change some of the new policies. I posted on the boards about my experiences as a successful seller--encouraging people that if they wanted to stay they were going to have to change and offer better customer service, free shipping, helping to educate future buyers about DSRs, etc.

I thought maybe management would read the boards so I also posted about meeting an anonymous buyer in an antique store and her telling me how she found out you get a coupon if you leave a negative so she was planning to do that on a great buy she had just made so she could get the freebie. How a customer of mine was in the habit of bidding sky high on rare items and then complaining after receiving it to get a discount--she had done this to dozens of sellers. That was my worst eBay experience.

I had a beautiful bakelite bracelet. She put in a very high bid and won it for over $400. As soon as she won she emailed me and told me that she had bid higher than what the bracelet was worth and would I discount it. I told her "no" that others were bidding that high as well. She insinuated that I had falsely raised the bid--which I had not, of course. Once she received the bracelet she claimed it was a fake and that she wanted money back. I told her to return the bracelet which she did and I refunded her. I took the bracelet to an expert who confirmed that it was indeed genuine and wonderful. I relisted the bracelet, this time several people emailed to let me know that they would not be bidding this time since it was so suspicious that the item was listed again so soon and told me that shill bidding was not allowed! I put a disclaimer in the listing explaining what happened--it didn't matter. This time the beautiful bracelet sold for under $200. A huge loss for me. Meanwhile the original buyer left a nasty false positive on my account. I researched and found the facts about her and all of the complaints. She had changed her name several times and done the same thing to so many others.

When eBay made those changes I was heart sick because I knew this would set up sellers for many more problems like this one with no way to warn other sellers when a buy is actually a scam artist.

I set up my store on Ruby Lane March 13 so I would not have all my eggs in one basket and continued to wait for eBay to rectify what it had done.

But a funny thing happened on my way to make eBay change---I became very successful in my new venue. My jewelry took off like a rocket and very soon I was making just as much as I ever had on eBay with so much less stress. Also, I had great and close relationships with all my customers. My eBay customers easily found me at my new store. After just two months, I completely stopped eBay. Now if I have leftover junk jewerly I sell it as a craft lot on eBay--its the only thing I continue to sell since I won't care if someone steals it from me.

I was cinsababe on eBay and still am on Ruby Lane. I finally lost my power seller status this month. I thought I couldn't live without eBay--boy was I wrong and I have helped 5 other sellers set up new stores on Ruby Lane.

I am not one of the sellers people were afraid of, I am not one of those bad ones that eBay said they wanted gone, I did not have poor customer service and low DSRs--I am just the baby, thrown out with the bath water.

Randy Smythe said...

Cindy,

Thanks for posting your story. I've been receiving a few via email as well as those posted here.

Please continue to post your stories here or send them to me directly at rksmythe at yahoo

I will need 100's of similar stories in order to make the points to eBay BOD or directly to Pierre. Please keep them coming.

Thanks

David said...

Here's a story about how the buyer is getting screwed.

I'm now offering free shipping on a lot of my items because of all the pressure eBay has placed on sellers about their S&H DSR.

My S&H DSR was a 4.7 when I was charging exact shipping costs.

Anyways now that S&H is included in the price (anybody who believes that there is such thing as free shipping & handling is a moron), people are actually paying a lot more for their merchandise because they don't get the combined shipping or flat rate shipping discount

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I sold antiques and collectibles on Ebay for 9+ years (email me for my name), At first when they started coming out with the changes I thought that maybe I was, out of touch with new business practices, but when they wouldn't let sellers leave honest feedback to buyers, kept raising fees, made the listing pages so complicated, started to rate me on the stars which are so subjective, etc. I gave up. After I had a customer try to blackmail me over feedback, that was the last straw and I decided that I could no longer sell with a company that was, "setting me up", with policies that just weren't fair and ethical.

I decided to start listing on other sites, even though I could probably be still be selling on Ebay, to try and pave the way for others that want to leave Ebay. I think the antique and collectible community is huge and needs a site like Ebay.

http:///us.ebid.net/stores/ABBYS-TREASURES
http://abbystreasures.ecrater.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5382705
http://www.gunbroker.com/auction/SellerAuctions.asp?User=1131370
My blog for those interested in Antiques & Collectibles:http://abbystreasures-antiques-collectibles.blogspot.com/

catpants said...

I have been suspended for 30 days.
My stars are 4.8, 4.5, 4.2 and 4.6...
Respectable overall, and yes, I do know I am sometimes late on shipping.
As far as I can tell, the 4.2 rather than 4.3 is my 1/10% undoing.
The last 3 negs were:
Oct. 19...late shipment
Oct. 5...non-paying-bidder
Aug. 30...non-paying-bidder
Aug. 24...one trademark violation (I believed the purse to be legit as it had the serial no. and I also offered polite return privileges if the buyer found any problem.)
I do my best, but I am not a perfect person. It seems the “new” eBay requires nothing less than perfection or there will be dire consequences.
Right now, I have no one mad at me, all packages have been shipped, and I have received nothing but positives for the last 3 weeks…YET, AS OF 11/7 MY DASHBOARD WENT FROM NEEDS WORK TO UNACCEPTIABLE!
Four weeks ago my rating was good!
In the last 16 years of doing eBay fulltime I have generated approx. ¾ of a million dollars. And this is how I am repaid…having to write emails to cyber-space. Having to take a sputtering fall over 2 npb and a lady mad because her ring was a little late.
I am 61 years old and have been in the antique trade fulltime for 4 decades. I am talented in what I do and generated multiple thousands of dollars for both myself and this company.
Right now I have 8 dollars and some change. I will not be able to make my car payment, house payment, medical bills. My utilities will begin being turned off next week. I have no one to borrow from.
I would never in a million years have dreamed eBay would become so punitive or ruthless.

catpants said...

Last night I was suspended for 30 days and a friend of mine was suspended the day before. Both of us were power sellers averaging 6000 per month each. Our combined sales cost approx. 15,000 per year in eBay/pay pal fees, maybe not a substantial amount to the “disruptive innovation” mind-set, but if you multiply us times tens of thousands it can’t be good for business.
I was suspended for the flimsiest of reasons: my shipping time was 4.2 (needed 4.3). A non paying bidder with 30 for feedback made complaining to eBay about me a personal hobby and a lady received a diamond ring a little over a week late. That’s it! For those transgressions my sole source of income was shut off like a faucet.
Since Donahue and his “sweeping” new policies there has been a barrage of seller unfriendly rules making what once was a good selling venue into a very hostile environment. High fees, Pay Pal holds on money, charge-backs, NPB, unfair feedback, scams, fraud, dictating shipping charges and payment venue…we all know the problems.
I thought, well, I’ll just sell less. Closed my large eBay store and listed about 1/3 of what I used to, thinking, less items would translate to less trouble. Wrong!

It will be very easy for eBay’s new management to blame the troubled larger economy for the fall of eBay stocks and sales. True, I do think a robust economy would help, but I think mismanagement also plays a huge part in the fall of eBay. I have been full time in the antiques and collectibles trade for 4 decades and the trade is holding it’s own. I expected the whole biz to tank, but strangely it hasn’t. Maybe, the lower rung mish-mash, but not the fine arts, good and unusual collectibles and metals. These items are doing well and I think it is because there is still a lot of money out there, and smart people know good antiques hold their own.
I was still making money, nearly 3000 per month with virtually nothing listed (and that is not because I had nothing to list…I wasn’t listing because of eBay’s impossible selling environment.) Ebay has been turned into some sort of a grade school pecking order with good stars, bad stars, no stars, color-coded convoluted mayhem. And heavily slanted toward the almighty buyer, (in my case who do you think brought more money into the eBay coffers…me or the npb with 30 for feedback?) This is not a good business model…this looney-tunes.
And at the very time that eBay desperately needs fair-minded customer service, management decides it needs to “streamline” meaning fire 1 out of every 10 employees. Of course, they blame the bad economy, but don’t mind spending nearly 900 million for another pay pal like payment system (this one even scarier because it is a credit lender.)
It is abundantly clear that eBay doesn’t care one wit if they strip away people’s sources of income, both sellers and employees of eBay, but you would think they would be cognizant of the loss of income to their company.
Does eBay think I am going to sit on my hands for a month waiting to grovel back into the fold? I like millions of others who have either left altogether or drastically cut back are not going to be in one great hurry to come back to an abusive situation. Ebay has been a unique monopoly for many years, but sellers are an innovative bunch, and we didn’t get into self-employment because we wanted a cubicle or a tyrant for a boss. Enough is truly enough!

Randy Smythe said...

Folks, unfortunately this little experiment is not going anywhere.

I have collected 10 dolphin stories that I have verified, but that won't even get me close to enough to prove my point.

For the media to care it has to either be high profile sellers who are getting suspended or lots and I mean lots of small sellers.

I'm not sure what number will cause the eBay BOD (Board of Directors) to

Please continue to submit stories if you like and if the number does become sufficient I will package them up and send them to San Jose.

Anonymous said...

Randy,

Very interesting compilation of these stories, I'm sure there any many more like them.

I'm interested to hear your take on an opposite situation, it appears that InflatableMadness is skating a dangerous line with feedback levels but is still active on the site. Current feedback on his three screen names for the past 30 days all show buyer dissatisfaction at or above 5%,

inflatablemadness (5608 positive, 97 neutral, 144 negative)
kevheadmedia (7285 positive, 141 neutral, 261 negative)
inflatablemadnessoutlet (1021 positive, 21 neutral, 53 negative)

It is unclear to me why this account is not restricted when many of us have faced restrictions for far lesser violations. I know that you are friendly with Kevin Harmon and I have read his blog entries that explain why his feedback fell off dramatically about a year ago, as well as the steps he took to improve it. While he was able to get back near 99% for a while, his ratings have again fallen into the restriction/suspension zone. With over 14,000 feedback between screen names in 30 days, he is a top five media seller on the site and is clearly creating a many bad buyer experiences.

What steps has he taken that have allowed him to avoid the fate of suspended and restricted sellers? Are these steps that other sellers can take to avoid being "caught in the net?"

Glen

Anonymous said...

There are lots of sellers out there that were smart enough to make the right contacts and establish the right connections with Ebay employers at different levels. Sellers with large % of Negatives and virtually non-existant customer service go unpunished while other Ebayer's accounts are suspended for a joke. I am not gonna post my story because Ebay will ruin my business immediately...is it the first time you have heard about Ebay methods of retaliation? I preffer to have less sales than no sales at all. Ebay is out of control, let them go down. History teaches us that at the ruins of a big Empire a new one raises up or something better (at least for a while) shows up. I would suggest Ebay sellers be reluctant to post their stories.... to not be used from smart guys. There is a whole bunch of smart guys out there that make money on our backs by selling us books, advice or services like letting Ebay know what is wrong..... Do really is there anyone who believes that Ebay doesnt know whats wrong. I will not make some ex-seller, present active blogger and writter of various - how to get rich - ebooks an important person for Ebay that represents somehow my interest.

Randy Smythe said...

I don't write Get Rich e-books. :)

Anonymous said...

Randy,

Is that an official no comment on InflatableMadness?

Glen

Randy Smythe said...

Glen,

Sure I have a comment. I'm not sure what happened in Kevin's case but I can talk about what happened with Glacier Bay and still happens with other large sellers.

Glacier Bay never had to deal with DSR's and 5% buyer dissatisfaction ratings, but we had VeRO claims and numerous other violations.

We just pleaded our case with eBay and went on our way. Today, even sellers like Kevin may stay on the site but they won't be raised in search, so they get penalized just like everybody else.

bruceclancy said...

I only know that I have lost almost all of my fixed price sales. That was over 50% of my business and my products always showed at the top of searches at the end of my 7 day listing. I have a raised status as a power seller and yet my products are never close to the top of listings.

Perhaps they should rotate listing position so all qualified sellers get an equal shot.

Anonymous said...

Randy,

I think you're idea is admirable and worth the effort.
Have you thought about letting Ina and David know about your project? Perhaps they can give it a mention in one of their stories?

Heather said...

I am a platnium powerseller paying ebay big money in fees every month. At the very least $5000.00 a month for the past 10 months. I have a feedback rating of 99.5
I have 470 feedback with 3 negative in the course of these 10 months. I had the 5%discount because my Dashboard Ratings were very good. I received a negative feedback (1 of the 3 I mention above) from a customer who never paid for their item. You heard it right. I actually filed for the unpaid item dispute, waited the 7 days like ebay makes you do and then they offer you your final value fee whici I received and a week laterl this same buyer left me a negative feedback..He never paid for his item..I wrote to ebay, complained did everything and they answered me with "we understand your frustration but there is nothing we can do feedback is not removable and gave me the typical link to their policy rules" I know these rules inside out at this point.Now this negative feedback brought my score down as to loose my 5% 2 days before I would have got my refund
I have had all positive feedback since then and I went to list my items yesterday...I lost my selling privledges for 30 days because they said I am in the lowest 1 percent. I know this is not possible Anyone can read my feedback. When us sellers are paying ebay the kind of money we pay in fees and they do not have the courtesy to allow us to defend ourselves before cutting our life line without a second thought. This is disgusting. This was also my only income with 2 little girls and the sole provider. They really hurt me 1 month before xmas. I received this link from one of my customers who is so angry they did this to me because they were bidding on many of my items. They send me this listing and said "Fight them Heather" so here I am Anything you need from me, my name, listings, proof of payemnts I made to them, anything. You got it.
Thank you for taking the time to put this together
Heather Haney
hngems1

Randy Smythe said...

Heather,

Please email me directly at rksmythe at yahoo

BTW, you should be able to get that feedback removed now with the feedback removals system they have in place.

Email me please.

Oren said...

Randy,

The negative removal only work for a feedback left in the last 30 days.

I think than in Heather case it may be too late.

Also it only works IF and Only IF the client is willing to cooperate.

Otherwise you are still stuck

simply_ron said...

I have been on Ebay for 7 years. I have a 99.6 Positive Feedback rating from 7550 Buyers and find myself unable to list items because my DSR on shipping dropped to 4.1. This was due to 3 hot headed buyers getting upset they had to wait 14 days for their items. I contacted them before hand and told them of some personal tragedies that had caused a delay in being able to ship. Did not matter and for the first time in 7 years I am suspended. It is stupid, bad business and I will be leaving Ebay. I guess they won't miss the $400.00 a month I pay in Fees.

Anonymous said...

i went to http://www.bonanzle.com/ alot more simpler and free too you can transfer your ebay feedback too alot of other cool seller tools too x powerseller over 7 years and through 3-5 ebay names too paypal is ebays weapon too get rid of the small seller too

Stevee said...

I've been selling consistently and successfully for years on E-bay. My overall favorable rating is 100% for over 740 transactions. My 12 month DSRs are all 4.5 or above. In the last 30 days my shipping charge DSR fell to 4.0 (based on 11 feedback postings), and so (heartlessly and with the utmost cruelty) I have been suspended from selling because (from the vantage point of most buyers) I have only provided satisfactory shipping charges over the last 30 days (instead of the exceptional rating for the prior 12 months). There is so much wrong with E-bay's new feedback policy that I don't know where to start. Ok, lets start with a new policy that suspends longtime excellent sellers for providing services that only rate 4 out of 5 stars (and most buyers believe they are helping you as a seller by leaving a 4 star shipping charge rating). I have never received a single neutral or negative feedback comment from a buyer, and until today (because I was just looking at my solid 12 month DSRs) had absolutely no clue there was any issues with my selling activity!! I'm shocked and disappointed to be expelled from a community where I had assumed I was a tremendous asset!! Randy, I'm willing to assist in any way I can with your blog. Please advise if you'd like more of the painful and sorry details....Steve

Randy Smythe said...

Steve,

Sorry to hear about your trouble. Please email me specifics directly. I'm hoping to have enough information to send to the BOD.

I'm not sure what it will accomplish but it is worth a try.

Thanks

Bill said...

Keep up the great work, eBay! I could hardly ask for more than what they offer.

(As the founder of the site that is enjoying the outflow of mistreated sellers :))

Bill Harding
Completely Unbiased Founder
Bonanzle

Delores said...

I started buying and selling at eBay in November, 1997. It was a great site at that point. My silly kindergarten stars are all in the 4.9 area and my "standing in search" is raised. I should be a happy camper, right? NOT! One or two disgruntled buyers could change that in a heartbeat, so I've moved my merchandise to more seller friendly sites:
OLA
Bonanzle
eCrater
INetFlea
Sales are slow at other sites, but instead of going in the red to pay eBay's costs of listing unsold items, I'm actually making a profit on sales I make elsewhere.
Laurie aka good.junque

a said...

I am a stay at home mom, selling (small time) for 10 years. 5-6 years ago I made money on eBay to help pay for our daughters adoption. Ebay was good.
Today I am suspended (on Cyber Monday in the height of the holiday buying season) I have spent all my available cash on my inventory to make Christmas money for my family. Now I am stuck with no real viable way to sell my goods before the holidays. This means no Christmas gifts for my three daughters. Trying to explain the ridiculous DSR policy to my kids is really a blast. I fell to a 4.0 on shipping and handling and I am out of business. In the buyers view a 4 is SATISFIED (according to eBay) so I am punished for having SATISFIED customers.
Shame on Ebay.Ebay is the Grinch that stole oour Christmas.

Anonymous said...

I love this line Randy!

"Empower sellers and get out of the way!"

Maybe we can. New but has potential. Found it today and I'm spreading the word.

http://attbe.com/other.html

Aremnant said...

I have been on Ebay since 1998, and have a 100% positive feedback rating...Most of my feedback was a result of 'sales' the first years on Ebay, but recently I did more buying than selling. In the past several months, I only had about 15 items listed and sold, with feedback for that amount...I had a problem with shipping time, and fell to 3.9 in that category...Like many others, I did not read the 'fine print' on the messages sent by Ebay (actually, I never read them at all), and much to my dismay, I was restricted from selling...I thought that the stars were simply for the buyer to analyze; My REAL dilemna lies in the fact that prior to the 15 sales, I hadn't listed anything since mid 2007! And to add insult to injury, I have no listings at the present time that could possibly raise my DSR on shipping or any other category..I called and tried to get an answer as to how long I would be suspended from selling, and I never really got a clear definition of 'when'....It appears that it could be up to a year, but I am not sure...The star rating that pushed me down below 4.1 was a very recent one, and I do not know that the star ratings were on the earlier ones, or even when they start to 'fall off'....Wouldn't it have been more reasonable to 'slap our hand' the first time to let us know how serious they were, and suspend us for, let's say, 10 days????? But to be this severe only tells me that their motive lies deeper that to just 'provide a more secure environment' for the buyer...I received nothing but double talk when I called... Oh, and by the way, I contacted the buyer who left low stars on shipping, and guess what???? He was MORE than willing to retract, but according to Ebay, you can not revise a feedback if the feedback was a positive one!!!! If you have 100% feedback, it says that you do not have any feedbacks that are available for revision....If a negative feedback is retracted, the stars are also retracted...but you can not retract a positive feedback in order to retract the negative star score! Now what's with that????? I could go on and on, but to what end??? Ebay needs to be shaken up a little....

Anonymous said...

I am an australian seller and i used to sell personalised dog collars on ebay. I started selling internationally and because of the low value of the goods $15-$20 each i could not justify paying the extra money for a tracking number. I had alot of customers purchasing items internationally and paying by paypal. They would simply receive the goods and then claim they never arrived and open a dispute and claim their money back. This can also be done domestically when you purchase goods, pay for regular post and pay by paypal.
My suggestion is PayPal should not offer paypal buyer protection on items that are sent by regular post. if the buyer wants to be covered by paypal buyer protection then they should have to pay the extra for registered mail.

iStarLive said...

Thats rediculous crap I sold 1200 worth of stuff in the last 30 days and now after paying an invoice amount of over $265 i cant list more items because of least 4.1 on each DSR to sell I got 25 positive feedbacks this month and no negatives I guess I am going to use http://www.multi-sale.com they are twitter enhanced and state each item I list uses the twitter api thing and is posted to my twitter page how cool.

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