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eBay Pushes Sellers to New Heights of Customer Service




When you think of eBay, you probably don’t think about stellar customer service, but the online (don’t call it) auction site, wants to change that. They may have begun life as the world’s biggest garage sale, but they have their mind set on becoming the world’s biggest river.

To get there, eBay is instituting some changes that all revolve around quality listings and better customer service.

Of benefit to all is the addition of up to 12 free photos for all listings. Previously, you had to pay to add more than one photo which discouraged many sellers from showing all angle views. Views that are especially needed to assess the condition of used items.

Since we know how much people love pictures (*waves to Pinterest), eBay will be requiring all listings to have at least one photo. They also state that there will quality standards for photos.

You Want it When?

Shipping has always been a big issue for eBay buyers. Early in the run, eBay was fueled mostly by individuals selling their junk in their spare time. Because of this, timely shipping was an oxymoron. As more people learned they could run a business from the site, shipping has improved. Now, eBay is taking it a step further by rewarding sellers who ship quickly and penalizing those who don’t track.

The reward is a 20% discount on the final sales value fee, but the rules are stiff. 1-day or Same Day shipping and at least a 14-day money back guarantee. To keep sellers honest, they must upload package tracking on 90% of all items sold in order to keep their Top Seller ranking. Not a problem for the discounter selling surplus electronics, but not so nice for those dealing in small items like stamps, books and CDs. The post office charges for tracking and there are extra steps. But surprise, surprise, if you use Paypal (an eBay sister company) to print your postage, it’s all taken care of easy as pie. Which is a dumb phrase because pies are hard to make.

Though some of the changes mean extra work for sellers, the new eBay policies should benefit all. If buyers can learn to depend on eBay sellers for fast shipping and quality service, more people will buy things there that they used to buy elsewhere.

My only hope is that eBay doesn’t ever cut ties with the one-off, collectible and garage sale sellers that made them what they are today.

Do you sell your products on eBay? What do you think of the new rules?

  • Chris

    As far as saving/buying on eBay in general goes:

    If you send the seller a question about an item, find another of their listings, and send the question from that item page, rather than from the one that you actually want. This will add a little bit of work for the seller, if they want to add the question/answer to the item description page that you are actually interested in.

    If you see an item that you want listed in auction format, send the seller a message asking if they will accept $x to end the auction early and sell the item to you. May be telling them that they would not have to wait as long to get their money (they would probably know that, but it still might help). If that does not work, use a sniping service such as Bidball.com to bid for you. It’ll bid in the last few seconds, helping you to save money and avoid shill bidding.

    Use a site like Ebuyersedge.com to set up saved searches. You’d get an e-mail whenever a match is listed. Especially good for “Buy It Now”s priced right.

    If the item that you are looking for is difficult to spell, try a misspelling search site like Typojoe.com to hopefully find some deals with items that have main keywords misspelled in the title. Other interested buyers might never see them. Then, if the item is listed an auction format, after a few days of no bids (hopefully anyway) send the seller and offer to end the auction early and sell the item to you. They may worry that no one is interested, and take whatever they can get.

  • Bob

    Why not just try a service that doesn’t treat it’s sellers like crap.

    Ebid.net is much better than ebay.

    Their fees are so much lower. It’s impossible to make a profit on ebay because of the high fees.

    The only ones who make money on ebay, are ebay and paypal.

    EBID.NET it’s better.

  • Greg

    Ebay is also holding PayPal funds until product is shipped and delivered. Again the gets the seller to ship faster.

  • ALEXA

    Ebay just keeps forcing it’s sellers into a corner & it’s THEIR WAY or the HIGHWAY! As a long-time seller (14 years) I can say their demands get worse every year. Does anyone else remember “PAYPAL ALWAYS FREE” loge they first used? Anyhow this new ONE DAY shipping REQUIREMENT or NO 20% DISCOUNT (which we have been getting & appreciating) is the last straw for me! Let’s say I save $100 a month off my eBay with the 20% discount..now eBay wants us to be forced to ship in one day. That means probably at today’s gas prices my $100 discount is spent on gas running back & forth to our shippers. We no longer use the PO because of lines, time constraints. Doesn’t matter what we use to ship the point is my TIME is far more valuable than their measly 20% discount. I have NO intentions of running to ship every day. We go extra special packing, I write personal thank you notes etc. Our customers have been happy! Ebay this AIN’T AMAZON..get over it! Yes & we have literally thousands of books, records & cds that I can post on Amazon with less hassle. Thanks for letting me rant!

  • Barry

    > But surprise, surprise, if you use Paypal (an eBay sister company) to print your postage

    Surprise indeed, when the item that would require a 42c stamp costs $1.75.

  • Philip Cohen

    Frankly, I’m at a loss to understand why the banks/Visa/MasterCard (or Amex) aren’t beating a path to eBay’s door to form an alliance with this most creative of all payments processors, eBay’s PayPal, who “is driving mobile commerce innovation, partnering with carriers and merchants to build a new retail ecosystem that drives growth by delivering anytime, anywhere value and rich multichannel shopping experiences for consumers.” Or at least so says eBay’s delusional chief headless turkey, “Not For Commerce” John Donahoe …

    “When Do We Start Calling eBay A Payments Company?”
    A tale of two clunky, unscrupulous, unprofessional commercial entities: eBay and PayPal

    http://bit.ly/wpl5DT

    eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

    • Ian

      eBay sellers sure are a loud and whiny bunch, aren’t they? I sell on eBay and whenever I try to find some information about eBay’s changes or trying to find advice on a technical side of it, all I find is sellers moaning about changes. I’ve looked at message boards from 6 years ago and it was the same complaints back then.

      So many people seem to forget that eBay is a business, just like every seller complaining. If they can get some way to get more money, they’re going to do it. Isn’t that what these eBay sellers are trying to do too? The fact that the majority of eBay sellers don’t try to do anything to change either their habits or to change eBay’s thinking about policies. They complain on message boards and do nothing. They keep selling on eBay. Does that make sense to anyone? If it’s so bad, stop selling there. Simple. That’s the best way to show eBay something.

      Donahoe isn’t going to read some boondocks message board. Why would he? Not to mention that so many of these complaints have a lot of simple misinformation in them. I’ve also seen complains simply be ads for other auction sites trying to get people to sign up on that. Earlier this week, I read a comment from someone who said these new changes got their account shut down and now they’re on eBid. The funny part? The update doesn’t happen until May. It was either a blatant lie or a scammer got to them first.

      If anyone wants some actual change on eBay, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT INSTEAD OF BEING IN YOUR LITTLE ECHO CHAMBER OF HATE AND ANGER. Spend time yourself advertising for the other eCommerce and auction sites that you’re on. Mail out fliers. Do some word of mouth stuff on message boards without the bile coming out of every word. So many sellers seem to be watching and waiting when they could be doing something positive for their business instead.

      • Bob

        I left the comment on EBID.net.

        And everything you just said is a lie.

        All I said was EBAY Treats it’s sellers like Crap. Period.

        You made all the rest up.

        It’s so stupid that a company their size has to resort to this type of advertising and pretend that it is an individual who is Blogging abotu something.

        Do you really think anyone is stupid enough not to realize that this is an ad for EBAY.

      • rstvk

        Yes, Ebay treats its sellers like crap. I was a powerseller, top rated seller with 100% feedback rating. Last month ebay limited my account and I have no way to sell anything. My crime? I listed more than 400 free auction style listing when ebay gave 50,000 free listing.

        50,000 listing is a hoax and I heard from other sellers who listed more than 100 free listing had the same fate. Their accounts were limited or suspended.

        I sure believe that sellers should unite and find some alternative sites like ebid.com, http://jcbid.com etc.

      • slade

        ebay treats sellers like shit .i get chargebacks unfair negs and just plain being pissed on all the time with no recourse your a fucking tool

  • mike morris

    ebay simply hates the sellers

  • Zack

    Don’t use ebay, so many of the buyers are scandalous jerks, as is ebay and they will screw you one way or another. Stick to Craigslist and/or your local news paper when selling your stuff!

  • Rich Vernadeau

    Ebay’s flawed DSR system is eliminating small sellers. And thousands of sellers are leaving ebay- an ebay exodus- because of bad ebay policies that adversely impact small sellers. Ebay is squeezing out the little guy, doing away with the mom and pops, and embracing high volume sellers and big box retailers.

  • Joe

    I left ebay for one reason. As a sellor they could care less is a buyer fails to pay, any yet they want same day shipping…. Craigs list is free and 80% of the time folks can pick it up and save shipping charges…

  • Widford

    Ebay hates the small seller. I will not buy from them any more in protest. They are cold jerks!!!

  • fee bay

    Fee bay does nothing to protect sellers.
    Fee bay charges you a fee on your shipping as well as your final vaule fees.
    If your trying to make money on fee bay good luck.theres to many fees.
    Stick to playing your states lottery . Your chances are better
    An always check your invoice from fee bay
    They are famous for over charging you

  • Mchater

    Fuck Ebay, they don’t care about sellers or buyers. Another bullshit corporation goes totally apeshit greedy.

  • Julie Yung

    I’ll tell you what I think as a seller. Ebay screws us over and over again, and their new rules are no different, and even when a seller does everything required to get that discount, they will find a way to stop having to give the seller that discount, and refuse to tell the seller why, basically stating it is their policy and they do not owe you an explanation. Their buyer protection program allows for many more scam artists to get away with screwing us sellers, and Ebay ALWAYS finds in favor of the buyer, even when it is a clear scam, and with their new buyer protections, we sellers are not even allowed to leave a negative rating to these scam artist buyers, in order to warn any other sellers away from doing business with them, while they can leave any total lie and a negative rating they want on the sellers dashboard, even when we as sellers follow every Ebay rule, and do everything to keep these scam artists happy. If Ebay keeps this up, they will end up in the trash bin of history, as thousands of sellers like me have had enough and are fleeing to other on-line auction sites.