www.amfor.net/eBay/ – A small single page on eBay, that gets allot in. Describes some of eBay’s secret policies, the bad way they treat buyers and sellers, fees on top of fees, the buyer protection racket, auto holds, feedback manipulation, selling limits and other things. Seems to be last updated in early 2012.
Source : www.amfor.net/eBay/
provided as a public service byAmericans For Open Records
BUYER BEWARE!! (of eBAY secret quotas and vague, subjective policies).
AmFOR is against “secret” reporting and “secret or arbitrary/subjective policies” in goverment AND in private sector business, especially on eBAY.
On February 1, 2013 the alleged “NEW” eBAY policy about Buyers who request refunds from Sellers who agree to the refund under eBAY’s Buyer Protection policy, or under the Seller’s own printed policy offering a refund for dissatisfaction “for any reason,” is still the OLD policy that penalizes the Buyer for accepting refunds — by alleging “excessive refunds” (which can be 2 mutually agreeable refunds in 90 days for a Buyer who is a low-income “small spender”).
With a depressed general economy, it’s not surprising that Ebay has employed new business practices that are both good and bad. But it’s Ebay’s vague andSECRET policies that are driving away both Buyers and Sellers.
FEES ON TOP OF FEES: In early 2012, as if folks weren’t having a tough enough time staying afloat in a sinking economy, Ebay began charging a new fee that is 9% of one’s COST for shipping — and hiding any mention of it on a hard-to-find sub-page of it’s “Seller Fees” page. Of course eBay did not respond to complaints asking how eBay can justify charging someone a percentage of their COST for shipping. And US Postal Service’s email response to me was that they didn’t find it a violation of Postal Service policy — including the policy about fair and equally applied fees. Hiding this secret policy until the puzzling fee shows up on one’s Ebay Seller’ monthly Invoice just compounds the shameful practice.
BUYER PROTECTION? BUYER BEWARE — OF EBAY BUYER PROTECTION POLICY: The final straw for me was when Ebay notified me, in a vaguely worded form-letter email, that I was “restricted from further Buying for 14 days” for a non-specified, alleged policy violation. Turns out that while Ebay proudly hypes its Buyer Protection Policy, and vigorously encourages Sellers to offer REFUNDS within a specified time and under specified conditions, the Buyer Protection Policy, which only cites fraud protection and Ebay’s ability to basically do whatever it wants, OMITS mention of a SECRET quota regarding refunds. No matter that both Buyer and Seller followed Ebay’s written rules for resolving matters such as Item Not As Described, or Item Not Received, if a Buyer receives an arbitrary number of “excessive” refunds in a 90-day period (which number or percentage is not disclosed in written policy), the Buyer is automaticaly restricted from Buying for 14 days. How stupid is that???
To completely halt Buying for any period of time for no good reason means no fees on sales, so no profits for Ebay either, during that Black Hole of no Buying activity. The Buyer has the right to Appeal any restriction, but in the end, no real review of the situation that prompted the refunds is undertaken, despite that Ebay can easily verify what occurred by checking Buyer-Seller email exchanges required prior to refunding. (which you’d think they’d want to know if Seller fraud is on the rise at Ebay) ..It’s not actually reviewed because it doesn’t matter. Allegedly “no one” at Ebay is authorized or able to reverse the action by the automated computer program that puts a restriction on the Buyer’s account….or so they say.
Then there’s the “punishment without a crime” aspect. WHY is the BUYERpenalized? What did the BUYER do wrong? NOTHING ! Most often it’s theSELLER’s listing error that is usually the cause for refunding the Buyer ‘s purchase price PLUS shipping charged, per Ebay Buyer Protection Policy —because the Buyer can’t SEE what s/he actually purchased until the purchased item arrives, and must pay return postage to return it for refund — sometimes a fair trade, but often not, depending on the amounts involved, which is why the parties are permitted some latitude in negotiating the settlment. Generally the Seller relists the returned item and resells it, so Ebay hasn’t lost fees.
What if WalMart banned a customer from shopping in its stores for legitimately returning an item for refund?? Two Ebay Customer Service Supervisors I spoke with agreed to bring up this bad policy matter at their next meeting. In the meantime, to bring the point home to Ebay, I’ve cancelled my account which has been in good standing for 7 years with 100% Positive Feedback from other Buyers and Sellers. I doubt losing one account out of millions will matter to Ebay., so hopefully bringing his page to Ebay’s attention might hasten reform.
In response to complaints that Ebay has been a haven for Seller’s of stolen goods and fake “designer” knock-offs, Ebay’s automated system randomly removes listings for “designer brand” items by even long-time Sellers with 100% positive feedback reputations while Ebay’s higher volume “Power Sellers” aren’t simply being rewarded with special advertising rates, they now enjoy a monopoly on selling the same items other members are prohibited from selling.
In 2009, eBay Sellers and Buyers are required to use only PayPal for their transactions. The PayPal monopoly, reacting to a class action lawsuit arising from complaints, now require Sellers to provide Tracking on all shipped merchandise; otherwise, a Buyer can claim an item purchased and received was “never received,” keep the item, and ALSO get a refund taken directly out of the Seller’s checking account….so the Seller is out Ebay and PayPal fees as well as the merchandise and shipping cost. Obviously the weekend “garage sale Seller” can no longer make a buck on an under-£6.4 ($10) item on Ebay, considering Ebay’s Listing & “enhancement” Fees, PLUS Ebay’s percentage of “Final Value” fees when the item is sold, PLUS USPS. increased shipping costs with Tracking, PLUS PayPal’s cut for collecting the Buyer’s payment. Consequently, Buyers are not finding Ebay to be the fun place to find “bargains” that it used to be.
eBay’s BUYER PROTECTION POLICY
In tough economic times, there’s always an increase in crime, particularly thefts and fraud. In its effort to quickly resolve disputes by Buyers against Sellers, eBay’s Buyer Protection scheme eliminates the past dispute process. It works because eBay and Paypal has their hand in its members’ checking accounts and charge accounts, so can easily reverse a sale. Under eBay’s Buyer Protection policy, all a Buyer has to do is claim that merchandise was not as advertised in order to receive a full refund, including shipping cost. It’s the new “guilty til proven innocent” policy without a means for the Seller to prove innocence. Until 2011, even Buyers who never paid after winning an item at auction or who agreed to purchase a Fixed Price item, could unjustly damage a Seller’s reputation by posting retaliatory Negative Feedback against a Seller; now, the Buyer must at least have paid. Still, with only an automated system calling the shots, selling on eBay can be treacherous.
EBAY PAYPAL PAYMENT OPTION MAKES TRADING RISKY
AUTOMATIC PAYMENT HOLDS
Among many policies which even EBay calls “unfair but necessary to assure a safe trading place” are policies that actually make EBay an unsafe place for Buying and Selling. Examples: PayPal’s “automatic HOLD” on payment option allows a Buyer to have PayPal hold back his payment for “up to 21 days” for some items purchased via EBay (i.e. Gift Cards). The hold was initiated by the Buyer who wanted to receive the Gift Card before paying and I wasn’t about to send the Gift Card (which is like cash) without first receiving payment. So the Buyer retaliated with Negative Feedback despite he never paid for it.
Another discriminatory policy is Ebay’s amended Feedback policy. Now, ONLY the Buyer can post Negative Feedback and, short of obscenities, can say almost anything untrue and libelous (such as calling the Seller a “scammer” despite that the Buyer never paid and the Seller did nothing wrong). But a Seller is no longer allowed to post Negative Feedback against a Buyer. Negative Feedback directly impacts one’s annual Feedback Rating Score by reducing it and can be viewed by the public upon initial browse of items listed. The overall Feedback score is calculated according to a formula that is based on VOLUME OF SALES. So an unscrupulous EBayer can easily elimiate competitors who sell similar merchandise by manipulating the other party’s Feedback Score by posting untrue Negative Feedback and can also avoid paying for an item bid at auction or under “Buy It Now” terms, regardless that a Seller replies to the Negative Feedback informing EBay that the Buyer never paid.
HERE’S A SAMPLE OF EBAY SELLERS’ COMPLAINTS ABOUT SOME OF EBAY’s SECRET POLICIES:
The subject of totally arbitrary Ebay Seller account restrictions in response to designer listings came up in a post on 9-23-08 at:blog.skipmcgrath.com/public/blog/213253
“Yes, everyone has a magical secret limit on designer goods. The list of exactly what constitutes a designer name is secret — but it does include ridiculous things like Gap, Ann Taylor etc. And every seller’s limit is different — and can change at a moment’s notice without Ebay letting you know. That is, until you try to list one of the secret items or revise an existing item.
Yes, if you revise an existing designer listing, Ebay counts that as a new listing. So say if your Gucci limit is one item and you already have one listed, if you go in and try to revise it, Ebay will no longer allow it to be listed. The reason people are seeing this more often is Ebay has recently dramatically decreased the number of designer items most sellers can sell — even when you have a proven track record of selling authentic goods. They have essentially put many long term sellers out of business. This is no doubt in response to the LVMH suit, but the great irony is that new sellers can pretty much list as many fakes as they want with abandon. Ebay is randomly targeting mass numbers of established sellers. SOMETIMES you can get the restriction listed, but it pretty much depends on who handles your request on any given day…”
Ebay’s Top Secret Blocking Policy Ebay Selling Limit
Hi I think Ebay’s seller limit and blocking policy stinks too! A class action suit for damages needs to be organized and filed against Ebay. I have excellent and a high number of long term feedback and I have selling limits and blocks on my account also. In addition to this I have done research on the blocking policy and have found major discrepancies regarding who is being allowed to sell different high dollar and popular items on Ebay. Also, Ebay is keeping the actual policy and its implementation TOP SECRET! EBay’s Trust and Safety Department and Customer Service will not provide a member with a copy of the policy document, what type of limits and blocks are being put on their account, and why their account has been targeted. I have emailed Ebay’s President Meg Whitman about this policy and even she would not provide me with a copy of the policy or any details about how and why my account has a selling limit and a selling block on it. In addition to this the following response sent by customer service to me is accusatory, slanderous, libelous, and is a personal attack on my character please read below:
In order to maintain a safe trading environment, selling limits are occasionally placed on accounts. A restriction was placed on your account to limit you from selling or revising certain items. The restriction will remain active at this time. Please keep in mind that you are not permitted to sell items on Ebay bearing the name or logo of a company if the product has not been made or authorized by that company. In addition, the sale of counterfeit items, unauthorized replicas and unauthorized copies is prohibited by law, and therefore cannot be listed on Ebay. It is the seller’s responsibility to ensure that the items you are listing are authorized for sale. This policy also helps protect buyers from purchasing counterfeit or fraudulent items and helps protect the intellectual property rights of third parties. This policy is not being used to protect buyers! It is being used to hurt Ebay members that are not Power Sellers and are being discriminated by Ebay! Ebay beware Ebay Stores are closing, Ebay’s stock value may be affected, and a class action suit is on the way! We just need to find an attorney that has the guts to fight Ebay in court and get all of the Ebay members that are being targeted organized to file a class action suit.
AND HERE’S AN ANGRY eBAY BUYER’S 7-21-08 excerpted post
Ebay representatives attribute their horrifying decline in profit margin and site activity “….on the bad economy.”….it is the standard quote they have all been instructed to tell sellers while they get ebay stuck further in the La Brea tarpits…..And of COURSE they tell you to hang on and not close listings, THEY WANT YOU TO KEEP PAYING THE LISTING FEES!!!! They refuse to believe that they have made the customer base so mad that we NEVER want to return, and they ABSOLUTELY REFUSE TO…. (A) WORK,( B) STAND BEHIND THEIR GOOD FAITH POLICIES THAT THEY STATE IN THEIR TERMS OF SERVICE CONTRACT, (C) ACT IN A TIMELY MANNER (regarding ANYTHING!) ……AND (D) THEY REFUSE TO TAKE ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANYTHING WHATSOEVER.
Perhaps in response to the wave of complaints to Ebay, Ebay is diverting Members’ attention to lobbying government in Ebay’s interests….
HERE’S EBAY’S 1-29-09 MESSAGE TO ITS MEMBERS
Protect your business–get involved in Ebay’sCitizen Action Network
2009 is shaping up to be a historic year in Washington, DC and state capitals around America. We face the most challenging economy in decades, a new President, and strong majorities in Congress looking to take bold action. Some of the biggest companies in America are lobbying Congress to make their interests known. And make no mistake, not all of their interests are aligned with those of Internet entrepreneurs like you.
Here are three issues you need to be aware of:
Remote sales taxes
Today, Ebay sellers are required to collect sales taxes only in states where they’re located, not all of the states (and thousands of local jurisdictions) where their customers live. A number of states and big retailers are pushing to impose remote sales taxes on small Internet sellers. Big retailers know increased sales tax burdens will hurt their smaller competitors.
“Stolen Goods” legislation
Representatives of some of the nation’s largest retailers recently claimed that many Ebay sellers are listing stolen goods, a baseless charge that hurts every honest seller. Big retailers are pushing legislation to prohibit some Ebay categories and require sellers to post their personal information and show receipts for the purchase of merchandise sold online.
A 2007 Supreme Court decision reversed the federal law that made price fixing an illegal anti-trust violation. Overturning this nearly 100-year-old precedent has empowered manufacturers and their large retail distributors to aggressively enforce minimum prices on the Internet, which hurts Ebay sellers and the Internet as a whole.
All of these threats and more face small entrepreneurial retailers using the Internet to compete and survive in this economic climate. The Ebay Government Relations team is working to protect eBay sellers from harmful legislation in both Congress and state capitals. But we need your help–and your voice–to make a major impact.
If you haven’t joined Main Street yet, please join 250,000 other Ebay users in protecting e-commerce. Together, we can make a big difference.
Vice President, Government Relations
Other Complaints About Ebay & PayPal
Comment on “Reverse Price Fixing” by Lori Carangelo, former Ebay Seller with 100% Positive Feedback rating in over 600 Ebay transactions:
Ebay’s SECRET policies, including arbitrary Seller restrictions on selling designer goods has the reverse effect of “Price Fixing” HIGHER prices (and therefore higher fees for Ebay) by allowing only their “Power Sellers” to sell such items at higher prices. I attempted to sell a “pre-owned” pair of Coach designer shoes for £9.6 ($15) that originally cost about £64.01 ($100) new. Ebay rem£9.6 ($15.)oved my listing with a message stating in vague terms that I exceeded a restricted quantity of an item in any of several categories…but would not specify WHAT POLICY (specifically) I was violating and WHAT CATEGORY and WHAT SPECIFIC QUOTA AMOUNT I was limited to, nor how ONE pair of shoes violates their policy or quota. Curious to learn what triggers such removals and messages, I then experimented with listing Titles and discovered that the name “Coach” always triggered the removal. When I listed the same pair of shoes by typing the name as “C-O-A-C-H” in the Title but spelling “Coach” normally within my listing, it was not removed. Because Buyers often search just the Titles, I probably lost some potential Buyers initially, but eventually sold the shoes for What was most aggravating was the accusatory messages telling me I was “suspended from selling for 90 days” for “violating a policy” that I wasn’t allowed to see.
There was a previous occasion when another Ebay SECRET policy and their automated system informed me I was “suspended from BIDDING for 30 days” for having retracted a bid due to gross mis-representation by the Seller in his listing of a vehicle “with clear title” which was actually a Salvage Title. I used Ebay’s Bid Retraction Form for the purpose, for good cause reason selected from the reasons allowed….but I was told that once their automated system temporarily suspends a member from bidding, no human can reverse it. Whether by design or by computer glitch, Ebay needlessly lost my business at that time for 30 days.
OTHER COMPLAINTS ABOUT EBAY POLICIES
(1/12/09) John of Eagle Heights wrote:
I do think it time someone, somewhere challenges the Ebay doctrine that they are not responsible for anything as they are simply a conduit. Ebay has spent years building up an image, worldwide, as the largest, safest auction site available on the internet. Indeed, Ebay itself claims over 90% of all auctions on its site are legitimate and without problem. There is some confusion over how much of the remaining 10% is categorized. Ebay chooses to hide under the desk in any problem, claiming they are simply a conduit between a buyer and seller thus have no responsibility for the outcome of any transaction that takes place on the gateway they provide. Over the years, to shore up the safety of Ebay, Ebay has created a rating system for buyers based on feedback to enable buyers to gauge the safety of sending money to someone online.
If fact, Ebay in recent years has taken this a step further by creating a status of Power Seller which by Ebays own design and description, represents the best, most worthy, most trusted, sellers Ebay gives a platform to. Most victims of Ebay fraud are not sophisticated as to the worthless extent of Ebay/PayPal buyer protection and fall victim to the image Ebay has so carefully and craftily created of protection and safety. Ebay further compounds their fraudulent actions in actually protecting the unscrupulous sellers by allowing them to use phony IDs which Ebay does not bother to verify, thus creating a perfect platform for fraud and criminal activity. Even the way Ebay hides its physical presence in Australia, not disclosing its physical addresses, hiding behind phone numbers that are either out-sourced or blocked by varying levels of voice mail choices and the disgusting use of boiler plate form letters in response to attempts to get help from Ebay Customer Service —all these actions are not that of a company that is credible and not afraid of its customer base. One has to ask, what does Ebay have to hide?
I have lost over £2,560.32 ($4,000) to a Power Seller who laughed when I tried to reason with him and had no fear of Ebay recrimination as he felt secure in his Power Seller status. And we all know, the reality, Ebay does nothing and really could care less as long as they get their cut of any transaction. All the rest is simply window dressing
(12/17/08) submitted by Jessica, former Ebay Seller (WPN reader)
I have been an Ebay member for almost 9 years now. I have not sold anything there in quite some time, though occasionally I will shop there because a few of my favorite merchants don’t have regular web-sites, only Ebay stores. As a web designer who has helped dozens of customers sell stuff on Ebay over the last decade, I am just about burned out on them. I still get customers who, once their site is complete, want to rush out and put up ads on Ebay, thinking they’ll make their fortune. The sad fact is, if they put up 1 auction or 30 auctions, they can never manage to sell anything anymore. There is too much competition from sellers that are just drop shipping stuff from China, etc. and with the economy being what it is, statistically, many, many people have to keep re-listing their items… and still find that they never get a bid. The best way to go is to get your own website and use free classifieds sites to promote your items to see if you can do better using those methods.