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One Ebay story

So why do I keep warning everyone about the dangers of doing business with Ebay right now? Here’s one seller’s account, taken from a message board. You can believe it or not, but there’s literally thousands like this around the net.

Gementia13 wrote: “OK, I get my account restricted because of a disgruntled customer who threatened to neg me if I didn’t both refund her money and let her keep the item…when I refused, she created a new account just to neg me again, and had her friend do the same. Goodbye 99.8%, hello 98.4%. I’d written eBay repeatedly about these girls, & still they would not remove the negs or help me in any way. Then a call and email from eBay telling me I can’t sell for 30 days. Now get this:

“If your customer satisfaction ratings do not improve during that time, your account may be permanently suspended.” OK, all thinking people out there, how am I supposed to improve my customer satisfaction ratings if I’m not allowed to have any customers? I don’t have any recent sales, thanks to the lowered visibility due to these girls’ negs. So once again, my hands are tied & I can do -nothing- to improve my situation.

So, I write another email asking politely how I am supposed to improve my ratings without any customers. I get a nasty email back from Trust & Safety telling me to conclude my open sales satisfactorily – not an option since I have none – and adding insult to injury by finishing with this line:

“Remember, your account on eBay is at serious risk.”

Having no further need of my account on fleaBay, I respond:

“Yes, dear. I have already opened a shop elsewhere and am doing fine without eBay. So you can take your threats and stick ’em in the ‘One of Our Many Mistakes’ file. Sincerely, ==gem==”

Is it just me, or does logical thinking seem to be against eBay policy as well?

The only real reason to wonder if such stories are real or not is because they are so incredibly stupid on Ebay’s part. Could any major corporation really be this myopic? I don’t know. Could Enron?

These are the days that will be taught in business schools for decades to come, how a hugely successful corporation committed suicide by making every major mistake possible. It’s as amazing to watch as it is painful, for those of us who once preached the Ebay canon like devoted acolytes.


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  1. Hi Michelle, welcome. I agree with you completely on all counts. Indeed, the fall of Ebay is becoming a topic of conversation everywhere I go.

    I just got back from some physical therapy and the first thing the therapist said was: “My daughter agreed with you about Ebay, it’s become a horrible place.” I stopped off at the library on the way home and a lady I know who works there began with a horror story about Ebay and Paypal. Amazing. What a disaster.

    As I told them both, Ebay’s biggest problem is that their sellers were also their buyers.

  2. Michelle F. in Seattle, former eBay seller

    This is a very, very common story. Things like this are bound to happen when eBay demands a minimum of 4.3 out of 5 stars for customer satisfaction on every level. That’s 86 percent completely, totally satisfied. How many huge retailers can claim they consistently have 86 blissful, perfectly satisfied customers out of 100? And let’s put the question this way: How many people are perfectly, blissfully satisfied with ANYTHING? Two factors are destroying eBay as we speak, as evidenced by the CNN article, “Has eBay Hit Its Twilight?” One, their demands upon sellers for customer satisfaction are unrealistic. Two, their “new search experience” is completely ignoring the small-volume sellers, burying their items on page 72 of 75, while Target-type superstores like Blue Nile get listing after listing after listing on page 1. Blue Nile doesn’t need eBay. The small sellers do. They depend on their income from eBay, whereas Blue Nile would be fine if they sold nothing on eBay at all. It’s the small sellers that made eBay the worldwide flea market it used to be, where people could find unique items at bargain prices. Now they’re being forced out of business by John Donahoe’s insane changes. There are bound to be lawsuits for years to come, because people are losing their livelihood. And slowly but surely, eBay will crumble and fall. There’s even a petition circulating to force John Donahoe to resign as a result of the CNN article. Personally, I think he’s an idiot. Only a low-grade moron would mess with a winning formula, making change after ridiculous change, until a once-unique and once-ultra-successful site becomes a mere shadow of its former self.

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