Non-food/Japan related post, decided to add a rant section. Well, the cartoon character is Japan related, but that’s splitting hairs, since I never use the character’s name.
I have been a member of eBay since 2002 and have generally had good experiences. I’ve mostly been a buyer and have sold a few items here and there. However, it’s the few rotten experiences that make me want to rip my hair out.
I have a closet full of junk and decided to sell some of said junk at a low price to share it with whoever wanted to pay for it. It’s been a while since I’ve sold anything and the changes they’ve made to the system took some getting used to. Otherwise, it seemed to be smooth sailing.
After a couple of days, someone bid on almost all of my auctions for merchandise of a certain cartoon character. Well, I was excited I would get to do one shipment instead of multiples. But a couple of days later, I looked to see that all of that one person’s bids had disappeared from the auctions. Upon further examination, they had retracted all their bids with the claim of “Seller changed the description of the item”. Confused, I went to the community forums to research this. I found out it is a very easy process to retract a bid, all it takes is choosing one of 3 excuses:
It is ONLY OK to retract a bid if…,
- You accidentally entered the wrong bid amount due to a typographical error. For example, you bid $99.50 instead of $9.95. If this happens, you need to reenter the correct bid amount right away. Changing your mind does not qualify as accidentally entering a wrong bid amount.
- The item’s description changed significantly after you entered your last bid. For example, the seller updated details about the item’s features or condition.
- You can’t reach the seller by telephone or email.
Starting on eBay as a buyer, I took the bidding process seriously and always read over the descriptions carefully before placing a bid. I knew that retractions were possible, but it used to require a LOT more digging and having an irate seller. I took this list of three reasons seriously and never imagined gaming the system.
I know I had not changed the item description, so what gives? Apparently there are people that do bid retractions frequently and this has made eBay show how many retractions the person has done in the past 12 months. However, it is found under “Feedback as a Buyer” and you have to know what you’re looking for. This person had retracted bids over 150 times in the past year. Following the suggestions of the community members, I reported the person, blocked them and updated my selling restrictions to block anyone with multiple violation reports. I had to use the community forum to locate most of these links. eBay does not make them easy to find.
I thought my slightly annoying ordeal was over and went about my merry way. The day my auctions were to end, I discovered a message from the blocked user, “thanking” me for the block and helping them avoid unnecessary expenditures. Wait, they wanted to bid again?!? Confused, I sent a reply saying that if they were to retract their bids fraudulently, then that was the consequence. Then the user went on to ask me to stop bothering them, proceeded to claim that my auctions HAD changed, and admitted to “accidentally” choosing my listings.
I took the high ground and did not reply, my fingers itching to type out a scathing response that I wasn’t responsible for their inability to read an auction. But I was good, I avoided further conflict. Yay Me. ^_^
Continuing to read the community boards, I discovered an increasingly frustrated, unhappy and shrinking seller community that has been trapped by policies that do not properly punish violators of certain rules. Understandably, eBay has a preference to favor buyers over sellers to help avoid fraud. However, the system in place to help sellers avoid fraudulent buyers is severely lacking and full of loopholes favoring the buyer. I could go more in-depth about this, but you didn’t come here to read a five-page essay, so I’ll leave the details out for now.
This has greatly helped explain some of the increasingly paranoid addendums seen on many auctions lately. Some sellers have a whole paragraph about not bidding if you’re not serious, all non-paying bidders get reported, items are marked, etc ad nauseam. It made me avoid many sellers when I saw unwelcoming language in their auctions. Now I think I understand why the Chinese sellers seem to have taken over the site.
I do have one question about Chinese sellers now. How can they offer free shipping on a $1 dollar item they then have to ship internationally? eBay’s current seller fee is 9% and Paypal’s fee is between 2 and 4% plus a flat fee depending on their international merchant status. Using the normal US rate of 2.9% plus 30 cents (International is more), this equates to the seller receiving $0.58 and then they pay to mail it? Is the Chinese mail system that inexpensive?
Ahh, I feel all ranted out now.
Anyone else been frustrated by an online buying/selling system? Please feel free to comment below.