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Businesses The Almighty Buck The Internet

eBay Begins A Change 223

ctwxman writes "If I hadn't double checked the routing, I wouldn't have believed the email I just received from ebay was real. After all, who is 'spoofed' more than ebay? But it looks like they're making some major structural changes in the way they deal with their customers. This includes, "giving our CS reps the flexibility and tools they need to really take care of you. So, to start, within the next 90 days, we'll shut down most of our automated email responses. Our users will get a "real" e-mail response to their questions - you'll hear from a human being who will try to help you with your problem or question right off the bat. We will only use auto responses to acknowledge receipt of spam or policy violation reports." Wow. However, don't read everything at its simplistic face value. When they say, "We also think the time has come to expand phone support," it's only for sellers. Still, this seems to be movement in the right direction. Now all they have to do is take a little more responsibility with fraud protection." The message is online; granted, this isn't the most exciting news ever, but it will end affecting a lot of people.
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eBay Begins A Change

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  • Paypal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Isosonys ( 589846 ) on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:35AM (#11595715)
    We bitch more about PayPal then Ebay. How about you fix Paypal first.
    • Re:Paypal (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Monday February 07, 2005 @10:31AM (#11596071) Homepage Journal
      I wonder how much of a problem Paypal really is. Problems affecting only 0.1% of customers can be a real big deal on the Internet.
    • by cybrthng ( 22291 ) on Monday February 07, 2005 @10:46AM (#11596187) Journal
      I find it amazing that you can sell something according to the Terms of Service on EBay and a buyer can renig on such contracts through PayPal and get there money back.

      I will NEVER sell tickets on Ebay again due to being burned in such a fashion where the person purchased tickets for a specific date, got the tickets but didn't open them and sent them back and did a refund request on PayPal. PayPal asked for the shipping tracking and saw it was returned to sender so they reversed the charges and gave the money back to the buyer.

      For someone who did 15k in paypal billing that year to get ignored and to have no one able to answer my calls and emails was pretty upsetting to say the least. To have an "All sales are final" sale get reversed because of a cheating buyer was upsetting but to freeze my account and hold my money until I authorized an illigitimate refund was icing on the cake.

      Paypal purposely won't accept visa or mastercard payments on reversed charges because they know they couldn't win a disputed or cancelled charge with Visa/Mastercard - Remember that when you let them suck money out unprotected via an EFT/Bank draft.

      oh, and the insurance up to 500 only protects the buyer..

      Seller beware.. ebay and paypal aren't out to help you.
      • I'll second that. PayPal's fraud policy is bogus. Ship an empty box or envelope, and you've fulfilled your obligation as a seller, as far as they're concerned.

        And that's not just my interpretation - I finally got a human on the line who told me exactly that. System Modz / Console Corner LLC ripped me off that way, and by the accounts I've seen from other customers it's part of the guy's regular mode of business. Take a big order, only ship part of it, and ignore all further emails.
      • by NitroWolf ( 72977 ) on Monday February 07, 2005 @12:58PM (#11597634)
        Never let them take the funds from your bank account. I always Paypal from my American Express. If there's a problem... Call Amex, Amex drops the hammer on Paypal and it's done.

        Amex never questions me, and has always been helpful. There's a lot of things wrong with Amex, but customer protection from BS like this isn't one of them, and that's why I put up with a lot of thier inane crap.

        I especially love the little blurb Paypal puts up everytime I use my American Express as my funding source, something along the lines of: "Paypal offers buyer protection up to $1000. There's no need to use a credit card, blah blah blah. Are you sure you want to switch your funding source to American Express?"

        Haha, yeah, I've been on the receiving end of your "buyer protection." Paypal does exactly squat. Ship someone an empty box and you've fulfilled your obligation as far as Paypal is concerned. Buy protection my ass... thanks, I'll keep using American Express that offers REAL buyer protection.
        • I especially love the little blurb Paypal puts up everytime I use my American Express as my funding source, something along the lines of: "Paypal offers buyer protection up to $1000. There's no need to use a credit card, blah blah blah. Are you sure you want to switch your funding source to American Express?"

          I also chuckle because I get cashback on my credit card (it adds up!) and nothing of course if PayPal withdraws from the checking account. If PayPal charges my VISA _they_ pay a fee to VISA (probabl
    • PayPal alternatives (Score:3, Informative)

      by alexo ( 9335 )

      In Canada, there are several alternative money transfer methods that you could use instead of PayPal. They have their limitations but they work.

      Try:
      - INTERAC Email Money Transfer [certapay.com]
      - HyperWallet [hyperwallet.com]

      They may be others as well.
  • Walmart (Score:5, Informative)

    by RicJohnson ( 649243 ) * on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:36AM (#11595723) Homepage Journal
    The ONLY reason eBay is alive is because they the Walmart of auctions - they have the biggestest marketplace, so everyone else has go to them to sell.
    It is not because they have any clue about what customer service is.
    I have had quite a few friends loose money on ebay. When they filed a report - what did they get? A FORM LETTER saying "we can not help you...". Any yet ebay/paypal still collected THEIR fees.
    There are a few good aution helpers, where they list, sell, and package your goods for you [ebuysell.com] but they charge 40%!!!
    EBay will be around for a while, but this move is an attempt to keeping growing in a market that is starting to die. Auctions used to be fun, but until somebody can offer a guarantee to protect the little guy, more people will just as soon buy at Walmart. And that is not a good thing.
    • Re:Walmart (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gowen ( 141411 ) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:43AM (#11595781) Homepage Journal
      It is not because they have any clue about what customer service is.
      I think they're also helped by the fact that the vast majority of their customers never need the customer service. Feedback makes it relatively straightforward to identify reputable sellers, and if you're prepaid to pay a little more to deal exclusively with them, it usually just works. (Failings of the USPS notwithstanding.)

      Making listings of your own is relatively tricky (although still not actually terribly difficult), but the vast majority of ebay users never do that.
      • Re:Walmart (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 07, 2005 @10:16AM (#11595966)
        Uh, the level of fraud with the feedback system is enormous.

        Besides astroturfing, I've had several sellers leave negative feedback, and offer to retract the feedback if I rescind my fraud charges. Because of the enormous volume they do, the can take a hit on a few negative feeckbacks and still keep a relatively high percentage of positive feedback. Or simply open new accounts and have a few friends by things in order to establish credibility.

        Ebay has been unresponsive to this, and as Ebay collects revenue primarily from sellers; this isn't likely to change.
        • Re:Walmart (Score:3, Interesting)

          by drinkypoo ( 153816 )
          I'm currently dealing with a problem with an ebay seller, "rpd_us". They have 100% positive feedback. They posted a fraudulent listing, to which I responded; They said an item was new, and it came to me missing parts and with a scratch on it. The entry on their mailing sticker identifies them as RAPID DISTRIBUTION, and the credit card charge is from "MICKLOS DISTRIBUTION". I had to threaten them with the ebay fraud process to even get them to agree to refund my purchase price, which they said they did alrea
          • Re:Walmart (Score:4, Insightful)

            by HeghmoH ( 13204 ) on Monday February 07, 2005 @12:23PM (#11597215) Homepage Journal
            I used a debit card, and I've already checked my account information to see if there is a credit, which of course there is not. As it is, they are only agreeing to refund my purchase and original shipping, but not the cost of shipping this crap back to them. Naturally, I will be trying to go through the fraud process if this don't agree to pay that. It's already cost me more in time than I paid for the stupid item.

            What are you waiting for? They obviously ripped you off, and now they're stalling. Report them. If that doesn't go anywhere (and don't give it too much time), call your bank and tell them that somebody ripped you off. All purchases made through the credit card system, debit cards included, have 100% purchase protection for all transactions without a physical signature. Tell them what happened, and they'll take it from there.

            And in the future, make all of your online purchases with a real bona-fide credit card, not a debit card. While they both have the same protections in theory, the fact that the credit card doesn't get your money until after you're satisfied with the purchase puts you in a much more advantageous position.
            • I will be reporting them if their latest response to my email does not include an agreement that they will pay me the full amount I require plus the shipping fee. I'd rather they just make it good. We'll see what happens very soon now. It wasn't even long enough past the auction close date to report them until yesterday, because ebay apparently believes that it takes ten days to defraud someone. Oh yeah, and, I don't HAVE a real credit card, so I'm using the only thing I can use.
              • I guess you haven't been at it as long as I thought, so you aren't totally in "I'm screwed" territory yet. Do keep the credit-card fraud option in mind, though; they are very powerful and buyer-friendly.

                Oh yeah, and, I don't HAVE a real credit card, so I'm using the only thing I can use.

                I really suggest you get one, they aren't that hard to obtain, especially if you don't need a high credit limit. If you exercise self control and always pay the bill on time, they can be totally free, too.
        • Yes the fraud system is broken.

          I bought an XBOX from someone and it was fucked up -- some of the controllers didnt work, the thing was filled with smoke, and they didn't include some of the accessories they said they would.

          I left the fucker negative feedback and received this email:

          "Hello I wish you had try to contact me right after you had recieve this product before leaving negative feed back. I work with people all the time with them all the time if they cannot pay with in the timely mannor or if a

          • I had an experience once when I bought a cellphone which worked perfectly apart from the display. Having taken the cellphone to my local store they were kind enough to fix it free of charge, however I still left negative feedback for the seller and he responded with something like "it was fixed free in the end so I don't see the problem".
          • People make mistakes on occasion... big surprise. Leaving the seller negative feedback without even bothering to email first and give them a chance to make good on their mistake was lame as hell, just IMHO.
        • Re:Walmart (Score:4, Informative)

          by Wiseleo ( 15092 ) on Monday February 07, 2005 @02:57PM (#11599127) Homepage
          I am supporting an ebay store stores.ebay.com/daretowear

          I also have prior experience at handling collections. When a customer initiates a fraudulent transaction or refuses to pay, I go after them. I've found that using the SquareTrade service is not too difficult. While it does have its faults, is a reasonable way to get fraudulent negative feedback removed, provided that you are a reputable party to the transaction.

          I personally can't wait until SquareTrade implements binding arbitration. Binding arbitration takes ST from being a virtual counseling session to a virtual courtroom with legally binding decisions.

          Never rescind fraud accusations, and pursue the sellers. Small claims court is probably your best bet. I haven't had to resort to that measure yet, since we are pretty effective at getting paid, but that's always an option in the event of such abuse. Mentioning to the seller that they could be suspected as guilty of interstate mail and/or wire fraud, which is a very serious federal offense, may also enable you to get the matters resolved. After all, eBay will retract unjust feedback if told to do so by law enforcement.

          Good luck!
    • Re:Walmart (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ScentCone ( 795499 )
      but until somebody can offer a guarantee to protect the little guy

      I'll expect that of every eBay transaction when I can expect it of every flea market, newspaper classified-based transaction, etc. It's an information engine, not personal behavior regulator. Of course, that's what their (rather substantial) reputation database is all about. Like with phishing and everything else along these lines, it's the not-very-tuned-in people that tend to have the most trouble.
      • A+++++++++ Awesam comment! Great point! Asset to Slashdot!! A_++++ super!

        Fraudulent sellers spend a couple of weeks trading $0.25 recipies and baseball cards, leave comments like "A+++ great labtop!" wait a few months for the contents of those auctions to be removed by eBay, then ripoff unsuspecting users.
        • Ebay is funny. Every positive feedback comment must be AAAAA+++++++++, or you don't really mean it.

          And if you are selling something, and you want people to look at you stuff, you must add LOOK to the subject line. And if you really want people to look at your wares, you write LQQK or L@@K. LOOK, LQQK and L@@K are a guarentee of a quality product.
          • And if you are selling something, and you want people to look at you stuff, you must add LOOK to the subject line. And if you really want people to look at your wares, you write LQQK or L@@K. LOOK, LQQK and L@@K are a guarentee of a quality product.

            Another important phrase for the description is "RARE!" or "VERY RARE!". Doesn't matter that it's only a valve cover retaining clip for an aircooled VW Bug or a used distributor cap for an early 70's GM V8, it still counts as "RARE!"

            • it still counts as "RARE!"

              I know, it's wretched. But that sort of dumbed-down, breathless cheesy salesmanship is also found at swapmeets, bad antique shops, and community newspaper classifieds. eBay has given those same people more reach, unfortunately. I agree that their scripts should simply prohibit "+++++++" type stuff, and go with something more like the slashdot moderation method (choose from a list of qualifiers, etc).
        • A+++++++++ Awesam comment! Great point! Asset to Slashdot!! A_++++ super!

          Heh. I suppose I had that coming. But you get my drift, right? Meaning, people who can't see through the noise on eBay, or can't see blatant scams for what they are, are probably also victims of lots of other offline hucksterism and manipulation, too. Definately, though, eBay grade inflation is almost as bad as it is at Harvard.
          • I understand your point -- but eBay as deliberately created an environment where shady hucksters can thrive, because those scumbags are core to eBay's business.

            I've occasionally sold stuff on eBay. Back in 2000 I sold about $15,000 worth of suplussed equipment in one lot. I also sold a CD and a book. Because eBay hides sale details after 6 months or so, its really impossible to vet a sellers history.

            Poke around on eBay, especially "hot" items like laptops and iPods. You'll find alot of sellers who establi
    • Re:Walmart (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mbaciarello ( 800433 ) on Monday February 07, 2005 @10:01AM (#11595874)
      but until somebody can offer a guarantee to protect the little guy

      They did protect me though, and finely so. I filed for PayPal Buyer Protection as I had not received an item (worth ~$100) for a whole month after the successful bid.

      I filled all the required information, the seller did not reply to PayPal enquiries, and I had my money back in 8 days - 2 days sooner than what they specify in the FAQ.

      Actually, they were so efficient, and the seller so stupid, that a couple of weeks later I even received the package. I never knew if it was a second shipment, or a very late first shipment.

      I contacted the seller and paid him again, more out of fear that I might be considered a PayPal fraudster/exploiter than out of respect for him.
    • Re:Walmart (Score:5, Insightful)

      by magarity ( 164372 ) on Monday February 07, 2005 @10:11AM (#11595937)
      I have had quite a few friends loose money on ebay

      This is why the customer service phone support is only for sellers.

      News Flash: The sellers on eBay are the only customers of eBay.

      Buyers are customers of the SELLERS. People don't lose money to eBay, they lose it to someone who placed an ad on eBay. Wanting eBay to reimburse a bad sale is like wanting the newspaper to give your money back on something you bought via a classified ad. Do you think the newspapers give refunds to people who list bogus classified ads?
      • The problem here is that IIRC, eBay doesn't position themselves as being an intermediary. They position themselves as the medium. (I'm probably mangling the vocabulary here. I'll explain) GamesTradingZone essentially acted as an intermediary, much the same of as a newspaper's classified ads. All they're in the business for is presenting the ad. In contrast, eBay involves themselves in the tracking of the sellers and buyers and handles the transations (to the point of having bought up PayPal, the company whi
        • I've never had the impression that eBay was selling some used item and just using a random person somewhere in the world as a drop shipper. That would be the only case in which you should expect them to make amends for said random person somewhere cheating a buyer. Things like tracking shippers and sellers are tools for you to use in judging whether or not to bid $10million for the Faberge egg from newbie(0) or powerseller(54,321).
          • I'll have to reread their policy when I'm not somewhere that filters out any URL with "ebay" in it, but when I first signed up, they advertised themselves as being more of an intermediary. Yes, they made amends for cheated buyers because they'd in turn take legal action with the fraudulent seller. Because they hold that middle position, they can charge a percentage fee for the transaction rather than just charging to put up a listing. They're not a newspaper classifieds service. They're an auction house.
      • News Flash: The sellers on eBay are the only customers of eBay.

        Funny, if there were no buyers, then there would be no sellers.

        I refuse to do any business on eBay. I tried once about 5 years ago or so, and got ripped off by some guy in China. I don't trust eBay nor do I trust PayPal.

        The idea seems nice, but the whole thing seems so shady that I can't tell who to trust, so I just don't bother. All of the feedback can be rigged. Buyers can be scammed out of a purchase. Sellers can be scammed out of a
        • The idea seems nice, but the whole thing seems so shady that I can't tell who to trust...
          ...Personally, I would like to do business with a responsible company that provides a service like eBay


          OK, then what's your proposed solution? And from eBay's point of view trying to be fair to everyone, not from your point of view as someone who tried it once and got burned. Can you realistically expect eBay to say 'every buyer who complains will get refunded' or expect them to have thousands of private investigat
          • OK, then what's your proposed solution?

            Some kind of accountability on eBay's (or whoever's) part.

            An escrow service or something like it would be nice. For example, I buy something, lets say a used phonebook from somebody. I buy it for $300. I send $300 to eBay. eBay notifies the seller that they have received the cash, and that the seller should ship the item. I get my beautiful used phonebook and it looks OK, so I tell eBay to send the cash to the seller.

            If my phonebook is defective or not what I
            • That's exactly what escrow.com [escrow.com] does. They aren't owned by eBay, but they've been around almost as long.

              I mean what the hell are the fees for at eBay? A website and advertising all over the place? Everybody and their mother has a website

              Not one that gets forty gazillion hits per day. When you're paying eBay's fees, you're paying for buyer eyeballs... the same thing you pay for when you place a classified in your local newspaper. Nothing new under the sun.
    • Re:Walmart (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Durzel ( 137902 ) on Monday February 07, 2005 @10:23AM (#11596009) Homepage
      Hit the nail on the head.

      eBay is so pervasive in the auction sector, what with its continual name-dropping in feature films, music videos and so forth that it can pretty much charge what it likes and know it'll still be regarded as the de facto auction site.

      Recently they made a stand [ebay.co.uk] about sellers enforcing a percentage rise for whenever a buyer paid using Paypal. Justifable really, since the seller loses out to the tune of ~3% otherwise.

      Also, the concept of a Final Value Fee has no justification in my eyes. I can understand eBay charging a variable listing fee (depending on the item visibility & features), but to charge someone a variable percentage of whatever they sell their item for is absurd. Imagine selling a car via a local newspaper, and finding a representative at your door demanding a cut in addition to whatever they charged you to list the item in the first place!.. oh, and then finding your bank asking for their cut too for processing the money.

      It wouldn't be so bad if they were a shining light in the customer service stakes, but their track record is atrocious. Not only are they notoriously slow at answering dispute resolution correspondance, but invariably they wash their hands of all but the most legally threatening (to them) issues. Feedback arbitration is practically non-existant, with malicious negative feedback being effectively permanent (even from members no longer registered and/or banned!).

      As others have remarked - they will find some way to pass whatever costs they have to bear as a result of this CS initiative, whether it be to the buyer or seller (or both).
      • in UK, cc processors can claim the costs of CC use- in the US that's forbidden..

        why the difference? a newspaper ad is a FLAT listing with a FLAT price.. and it's fixed expenses. you want an online classified ad for a fixed fee? they exist in plenty..

        auction houses take more work than classifieds.. and auction houses take a CUT

        lastly, ebay charges a flat fee for automobiles.

      • Their surcharge policy is incredibly hypocritical. They allow a merchant to pass along credit card processing fees -- well, except when paypal processes the credit card. If they wanted to make that worthwhile, they should actually stand up and perform all those paypal services they advertise such as insuring the purchase.
      • Re:Walmart (Score:5, Insightful)

        by magarity ( 164372 ) on Monday February 07, 2005 @11:34AM (#11596640)
        Also, the concept of a Final Value Fee has no justification in my eyes

        Welcome to the world of auctions. This is not some new way to cheat you thought up by eBay; from an estate auction to a livestock auction to classical art at Christie's, all auctioneers charge a percentage cut as well as a base fee.
      • Also, the concept of a Final Value Fee has no justification in my eyes. I can understand eBay charging a variable listing fee (depending on the item visibility & features)

        I'm surprised you say that, and feel the opposite.

        A well-established online auction site's costs rise very close to zero when they post somebody's auction, a listing fee is ludicrous and they're garnishing money. Want to stop spam? Hire some fecking staff to kick out spammer accounts!

        Whilst eBay's final value fees are unsusprisin
    • ...attempt to keeping growing in a market that is starting to die.

      Where do you get this information? From everything I can tell the market is going gangbusters. Everybody is selling everything on Ebay. Eventually it may reach a saturation point where everyone has sold all of the crap out of their basement, but until then I see no end in sight.

      I have bought quite a few things on ebay - ranging across the spectrum. I have NEVER failed to recieve anything I purchased. Some things have taken longer t
    • Yeup. eBay's stranglehold on online auctions needs to be broken. Pretty tough job, though, Walmart doesn't seem to be going away any time soon. :-(

      However try to show your support for other, better auction sites, whose only problem is that they need more users. Here's one I like:

      eBid US [us.ebid.tv]
      eBid UK [uk.ebid.tv]

      Better customer service and, more importantly, no greedy-ass listing fees.
  • by bigtallmofo ( 695287 ) on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:36AM (#11595725)
    Before you get all excited about having EBay offering all this great customer service, realize that it comes at a cost. A cost that will be passed on to you - the people that use EBay, both buyers and sellers.
    • CNN reported today Ebay was lowering their prices for posting items.
    • by shadowkoder ( 707230 ) on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:42AM (#11595765)
      I don't have a link right off hand, but I read this story yesterday off Goggle News and part of the announcement is that they are removing whatever fee increase that happened recently. I beleive it had something to do with a seller fee that was actually causing some auctions to COST money. So while what you say might be true (they could easily distribute that cost elsewhere) that is at least one area I do not think they will touch for awhile.
      • Thats correct.

        First ebay send out a e-mail saying that ALL the fees were going up on Feb 19. Not just up, but DOUBLE the current rates.

        So I think about this for a few minutes, thinking crap, I'll just close the stupid account. But I put it off til later.

        Second, after a day or two, is this second email clarifying that the double fees ONLY apply to ebay 'stores'.

        Then the next day, is this email from the President, about sevice and other crap.

        That says to me that the fee hike isn't flying, and this pres
        • Here's the issue. ebay's P/E ratio is *insane*. Ebay is down from a high of about 120$ to currently around 78$ and their P/E is currently 66 (traditional wisdom says a P/E should be about 10, so a P/E of 66 means their revenues need to grow 6.6x to have a normal P/E). They *needed* [yahoo.com]those extra fees to bring their P/E down to justify their incredible stock price.

          However, ebay is bullshit and everyone knows it. Their fee's were *ALREADY* outrageous. The quality of their listings is rotten, I would only

    • You an offset higher costs in two ways - higher markups, or higher volumes.

      Higher volumes usually accompany better customer service, s they might not necessarily mark up prices right away.

      Then again, Ebay is a business, so you can't fault them if they do.
    • Before you get all excited about having EBay offering all this great customer service, realize that it comes at a cost. A cost that will be passed on to you - the people that use EBay, both buyers and sellers.

      Actually, they are reversing some earlier fee hikes [theregister.co.uk]. But I'm sure they will screw us over with Paypal.

    • Before you get all excited about having EBay offering all this great customer service, realize that it comes at a cost. A cost that will be passed on to you - the people that use EBay, both buyers and sellers.

      I'm not clear on what is the problem here. Improved service usually results in higher costs that often get passed on to customers.

  • About time? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:38AM (#11595738)
    The most god-awful thing about ebay is: there is no way to get in touch with a real person there. There is no way to find a 1-800 number to talk to flesh and blood to solve a problem. I have had issues come up a number of times that automated emails and "faq's" wouldn't solve.

    about time they are moving to a more "customer friendly" system...
    • Re:About time? (Score:3, Informative)

      by odano ( 735445 )
      Yeah, PayPal is infamous for this.

      Until of course <URL:http://www.paypalsucks.com> came about to show us the way to paypal customer service.
    • Re:About time? (Score:2, Interesting)

      Dude, look here [jhu.edu] (scroll down past the pictures of my cats). At one point I tracked down their phone number and put it on my website for the convenience of all. I also put Amazon's number there. There's an easy trick to finding any public company's phone number, which is to look at their SEC filings.
    • PayPal phone number: 1-888-221-1161
    • About time for what, exactly? eBay states that
      they will be making greater efforts to support
      their "sellers", not their "customers".

      Having been ripped off by eBay "sellers" enough
      times to just stay away, I can tell you that
      until eBay tightens up accountability from
      their "sellers", it will always be a viper pit.

      The relationship between eBay and their "sellers"
      is not unlike the relationship between the FDA
      and the pharacutical companies, or between
      politicians and their lobbyists -- incestuous
      and corrupt. Th
  • Spoofed emails (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Patik ( 584959 ) * <cpatikNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:42AM (#11595764) Homepage Journal
    After all, who is 'spoofed' more than ebay?
    Uh, how about PayPal?
  • About time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:43AM (#11595774)
    Perhaps this is in response to constant criticism that eBay has ignored complaints and refused to talk to users over serious problems? The UK consumer program Watchdog did a peice on eBay not long ago. Users had experienced fraudulant transactions and downright theft via. other eBay users but had been stonewalled when they tried to complain to eBay to get the problem resolved. Watchdog found it near impossible to contact and speak to a real human being at eBay. If a TV production crew couldn't speak to anyone, what hope do normal users have?

    So it's about time. Lets just hope the "real humans" at the other end of that email address arn't constricted into responding like a robot from a pre-written script..
    • Perhaps this is in response to constant criticism

      Duh! No wonder you posted AC. Of course this is in response to the constant criticism. They say so in their message, though not using those words. Basically, they flat out say that they are doing this in response to what their customers want. Customers who have criticized the old way. So guess what? They change.

      As far as a TV Show calling up and trying to talk to someone? Good for ebay for not talking to them. If I were a customer, and I saw that
    • The UK consumer program Watchdog did a peice on eBay not long ago. Users had experienced fraudulant transactions and downright theft via. other eBay users but had been stonewalled when they tried to complain to eBay to get the problem resolved. Watchdog found it near impossible to contact and speak to a real human being at eBay. If a TV production crew couldn't speak to anyone, what hope do normal users have?

      Was that the one where they had the head/boss/spokesman for ebay uk on the show discussing some of

  • Buy it now? (Score:4, Funny)

    by serith ( 658009 ) on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:43AM (#11595782) Homepage
    I'm surprised that they just haven't had auctions to talk to real live customer service reps ;) "But it now for $1/min!"
  • Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ricotest ( 807136 ) on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:50AM (#11595816)
    Automated replies are often useful. If the human customer reps are going to just dole out the same answers over and over, they're no more useful than automatic replies, but a whole lot more expensive.
  • by Ancient_Hacker ( 751168 ) on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:51AM (#11595823)
    As a long-time eBay seller, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, one suspects they'll just hire a bunch of David Spade "No" Guys... Many times I've reported obviously fake sellers. They write back that they won't do anything until 3 cases have been confirmed against the seller. I round up two other badly screwed buyers and submit the info... They reply that's still not good enough, case closed. --- On the plus side, I've received over 500 personal checks as payment from eBay buyers, and NOT ONE has bounced.
    • They write back that they won't do anything until 3 cases have been confirmed against the seller.

      "I'm sorry, we won't investigate until we have three confirmed cases of fraud against a seller. Three buyers complaining, with evidence, is insufficient confirmation. Confirmation requires an investigation."
    • On the one hand, one suspects they'll just hire a bunch of David Spade "No" Guys...

      Actually, given the cost, I suspect they'll hire Davi Singh "No. Thank you comeagain," guys and gals.

      "Hello, this is 'Johnny Smith' from...Texas. How may I help you? Really? Well, no. Thankyoucomeagain."
    • Yea, have you seen the guys who put up a piece of electronics, and then tell you you're bidding on a PHOTO (in small print) of said electronics that would be delivered via e-mail?. I like to make fake accounts and bid astronomical ammounts on these and never pay -- to jack up their final value fees.

  • To my mind, the more significant change is the 5 cent drop in listing fees. Given that I've listed over 100 items (most SF/F/H paperbacks) in one week, such a small change quickly begins to add up. Of course, that only partially offsets other eBay nickle-and-dime-to-death fee hikes in recent years, including a hike announced just last month for Buy It Now fees.

    But it still may not be sufficient. Sell-through rate in eBay has been steadily declining for the last 18 months. If I can't make money on eBay, I'

  • Woot! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Jinsaku ( 729938 )
    I've been buying and selling on ebay for almost 7 years, and this is a sigh of relief. Ebay has, in the past, had the worst customer support this side of Paypal and Comcast. Basically, if you had a problem, you're screwed. It's nice to see them going in a positive support direction (hopefully it's not just smoke and mirrors).
  • Ricardo (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mirko ( 198274 )
    I guess they lost too many customers to Ricardo [plc.com] as most people I know associate "selling" with ricardo and "scamming" with eBay.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 07, 2005 @10:06AM (#11595902)
    1. Froogle.com can search eBay and other auction sites as well as online stores. This is leading traditional eBay sellers to list on other online auctions sites such as Overstock, Amazon and Yahoo to avoid the hefty eBay selling fees, yet still be seen.

    2. Niche Sites - The rise of niche sites devoted to one type of merchandise: Astromart for telescopes, Timezone for watches, Amazon for books, AuctionArms for sporting goods ...

    3. Death of the collectibles market and commodization of PC parts - The bread and butter of eBay has been it's collectible market, which has taken a hit in recent years due to the economy. PC parts were another money maker until they became dirt cheap thanks to commoditization.

    Already eBay is starting to disappoint in earnings, a direct result of all these niche players.
    • Ebay had one good thing going - US auctions, and they have saturated and milked it for it all its worth. The only place they can go now is new markets and/or increased fees. Their new initiatives are getting mixed results - people have been burned by their terrible service for so long that many are put off by dealing with Ebay or PayPal in a new capacity. Their idea of raising fees is going over like a lead zeppelin.

      Analysts have become accustomed to Ebay blowing out quarterly numbers regularly, but after t

  • A corporation that's willing to spend money on customer service. Either eBay is worried about future competition, potential lost customers or is, god forbid, starting to care about it's consumers. Either way I think we all benefit.

    Peace

  • by Anonymous Coward
    First, there's a missing word in the news summary. Last sentence: "but it will end affecting a lot of people."

    It will end what?!

    ---------

    Second point: The complaints regarding customer service are rather exaggerated. Yeah, you get an auto-response when first submitting an inquiry/email. I had my account shut down for no apparent reason. I sent a email (not just a rant email, but a sensibly written email with my contact information, including phone #).

    Within 48 hrs i received A PHONE CALL. That's right.
  • T'is good to have... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zijus ( 754409 )
    ... the ability to talk to real human. Though I don't trust ebay/PayPal to solve my problems for me. That is why... I don't use PayPale.
    I have got just a few transactions, but some with rather big money + international shipment & payment. No way I go for that if I don't have individual bank account details. It does not solve the problem. But if something goes wrong I know where to start. Ebay is out of the loop. And the end seller (thieve) knows I'll be able to track things down.

    This is a hassely solut
  • by DestinyBWL ( 169332 ) on Monday February 07, 2005 @10:35AM (#11596106) Homepage
    ...how about they eliminate e-mail from the "ebay process" all together. I mean seriously, create a "Private Message System" that will allow both buyers and sellers to communicate, and allow ebay to communicate with its customers at the same time. Set it up so that you can choose to receive e-mail notification when you recieve a message so that you can still check your e-mail for new stuff, but keep the messages ON ebay itself. This way you can know when ebay messages are official or not. Obviously the primary exception to this would be password loss.
    • Uggggggh had to decide whether to mod you up, or reply to you. If any mods are reading this, poke some points at the parent.

      Excellent point, and this could also create a secure, ebay-accessable log of all of the chatter between buyer and seller for a specific item.

      This could be very useful in making sense of 'he said, she said' situations, and having something more solid to use in court (be it civil or criminal).
  • by AtariDatacenter ( 31657 ) on Monday February 07, 2005 @10:36AM (#11596114)
    When I report a powerseller [ebay.com] with a 99% feedback rating, will you listen?

    Even if this powerseller takes VHS quality fan tapes that have been very poorly burned to DVD-R and sells them for $25+? Even if it violates the over-the-air recording policy, dvd-r policy, and copyright policy?

    Even if I point out the many many feedbacks which agree with my point of view? Even if I include the email where he sells additional items outside of eBay?

    Will you be there eBay? Will you listen? Or will you continue to go after more petty things like arcade collectors selling real bootleg pac-man PCBs from the period?
    • I would hope they go after neither, and concentrate their efforts on fraudsters. Big companies don't need protection as much as consumers do.
  • I've only ever been an e-bay customer... I've never wanted to list anything for sale - and I've only ever bought stuff I couldn't get hold of elsewhere. For example I bought a Dell laptop 802.11g mini-PCI card (Not sold from dell.co.uk, and costs $50 in the USA - but they won't ship to the UK.) I paid 50 euros to get one shipped from Belgium. I was hesitant (concerned about the possibility of fraud) but considered it worth the risk. Recently I've bought a citizen watch from a US seller ($130) because wit
  • Imagine if this was in the 70-80's and you heard that in the future people would go "is this for real!?" when reading this:

    Our users will get a real e-mail response to their questions you'll hear from a human being who will try to help you with your problem or question right off the bat.


    I don't think you'd believe the 21st century would be as cool after hearing something like that back then. :-)

  • giving our CS reps the flexibility and tools they need to really take care of you

    eBay has Customer Service? I thought everything that I sent them regarding disputes and such were forwarded to a black hole...

  • I bet that all of those customer service reps on the phone and typing email are all based in India. Could ebay afford to do this without outsourcing it?
  • Between the process of becoming a 'vendor' on eBay and the borderline criminality of PayPal I really fail to see what is wonderful about eBay. Why even have PayPal for instance? We've been muddling along well enough with credit card purchases w/o introducing another intermediary that really does nothing except insert itself and take a fee. And if eBay's basic approach is Caveat Emptor then why bother to beef up customer support at all?

    I have to say that everything I've ever sold successfully was through a

  • First of all, I hear a lot of grumbling from eBay sellers that their fees have went up so much. People are exploring other auction sites like ePier.

    Secondly, eBay can't even keep the "Make Money Fast" or "Make free money taking surveys" auctions off their site. Assuming they want to. All in all, I get the impression that the volume of auctions have them overwhelmed already.
  • "We will only use auto responses to acknowledge receipt of spam or policy violation reports."

    Um....is it just me, or is the only real reason people WANT to talk to a real person occur when there has been a policy violation?

  • I agree with the concerns about the odds stacked against the buyer. And the seller. I've had a few bad deals on eBay, but they did get resolved. So why the effort?

    I'm not mainstream. The musicial instrument I play is hard to find, but there's a good selection on eBay over a typical month. I listen to albums not generally for sale in the U.S. or even via Amazon, and enjoy off-beat movies. I don't use eBay a lot, but it's very handy when I do. And while there have been some issues, the damage is large
  • The use of email to exchange non-public information is an extremely bad idea. The suits at eBay have either not listened to their IT people or not thought this through or both. The phishers and scam artists will definitely try to take advantage of this new policy and the risk to consumers will increase. The email system was designed for informal communications and thus includes no built-in mechanisms for encryption or authentication. This means that nobody should discuss anything that they wouldn't normally

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