The so-called "Seller Protection", eBay style

dantzig

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#1
I don't know if this is the appropriate section to post this, so my apologies if it isn't.

Well then, I'll try to keep this as short as possible, but it's still going to be long, so bear with me :\

I sell stuff on ebay, mostly cards and stickers. I'm not one of those professional sellers, whose business life is based solely on selling. I began as a buyer only, then got myself with so many "extras" that I began to try to sell what I had to spare. Also some opportunities to resell stuff I found cheap. You know, home business lol.

It's been going about 4 years and even though I had my bad moments, I can't really complain, because the 99% (or so) of the transactions were smoothly gone by. And the money helped me save a lot when doing my collections. So with this, I thank eBay for providing me the worldwide space and of course, the buyers who trusted me when buying my items, some of them became regular :) And in return, I always try to provide an excellent service, be a single lousy sticker or some complete card set with binder. Never got a negative feedback and scores are no less than 4,9.

But, today I lost my faith on ebay. Like I wrote before, I had my bad moments and actually, ebay didn't help with that. The only moments they did was almost in a threatning mood I had to be in. One or another, I got a decent customer service helper, who really read and understood my messages. But today, what happened was something I never thought it would (or maybe I did, but refused to believe that would be even possible in such a company).

Let me tell you right away: this isn't about money. At least not entirely. It's about despicable attitudes, laziness and bad quality (and recurrent) service. Something that my "sense of justice" can't really accept, even though I see injustices every single minute. Anyway, sorry for the intro. Here we go.

One month ago, I sold some cards to a UK guy. Cards had their value, but nothing major. Also, buyer had a nice feedback, so I didn't see any reason to send signed-in. So, cards were sent by standard postage, as I usually do.

Two weeks after, buyer opened a case, claiming he didn't receive the cards. It usually takes about 1 week, even less, for UK buyers to receive it, so it's "normal" to be concerned after two weeks. Still, since we had Christmas and New Year's gone by recently, there still can be delays. So I asked the buyer to wait one more week.

After waiting that week, buyer told me he still didn't receive it (I must say, he was always very polite). I know pretty well how eBay works with these situations, so I asked the buyer if he wanted to be refunded or the same cards to be resent (luckily, I still had more). He still wanted the cards, so the next day, I sent them again, now signed-in (with tracking available). At my own expenses, of course. And after sending that, in the same day I provided the tracking number to both ebay and buyer, with the carrier's name.

Now comes the "wtf" part: after 5 days, instead of waiting to receive the cards, buyer escalated the case, meaning he wanted eBay to make a decision (yet, he still left a message for them that he still wanted the cards). When I saw this, I sent a message to the buyer, because I didn't understand why he did that, so I politely asked him why he didn't wait to receive the new cards. I even told him that, according to the tracking, the cards were already in UK, so he should receive them by Monday or Tuesday. So far, no answer from him.

But! Do you think this was the worst part? Naaaahhhh... eBay has quickly "reviewed" the case and decided in buyer's favour, claiming that "We've received insufficient tracking information from you. You must provide tracking information in the Resolution Centre before a case can be escalated". Am I dumb? I've provided the tracking number BEFORE buyer escalated the case, with the carrier's name, so even if you can't check the tracking within eBay (they have a bunch of carriers listed, but not the portuguese postal services), you can easily track the parcel on the carrier's page (even in the destination postal services page, which is Royal Mail in this case)... But maybe I'm just too naive to believe this is an easy task for everyone, specially those ebay analysts.

After a decision is made, you have 30 days to appeal a case. So after I saw this outrageous outcome, I immediately

tried to do it, but guess what? You can't! Following every step eBay tells you to do just leaves you in dead ends. Actually, I couldn't even send a simple message to them, after they've redesigned the customer centre to "triage" better the customer's needs... In my honest opinion, this is more like: "if we can't hear sellers complaints, then they don't exist".

In the end, I had to send a message to Paypal under the "Seller Protection" issue, but I'm not really expecting they do anything. I've provided also the tracking number in Paypal transaction (again, with the carrier's name included), but if they're like eBay, it'll be ignored.

I'll keep trying to solve this mess, but I saw so many complaints about how eBay just always decide in buyer's favour that I'm thinking this will be a meaningless "crusade". Like I wrote before, this is not about the money, even though I lost the money, a bunch of cards and the postage I had to pay (one tracked, so it wasn't cheap). This was a very huge alert that you, a seller, are not one bit protected. I also buy stuff on ebay and I had to complain whenever I didn't receive anything, not as described or in bad condition. I can easily access all the options, at least I always managed to do so. And if I remember correctly, every single purchase problem I reported was solved (not always for the best, but still acceptable). So I know how empowered the buyers are. What I didn't know was that, the fewest layers of protection that a seller have are just useless.

Ebay can claim whatever they want, send me mails of how protected I am and how that has avoided opening cases to soon to me or leaving bad scores (it seems I have some kind of knight in shining armor that have my back, though there's no shed of proof about what they claim, because they don't disclosure any detailed info about it), but in the end, when it really matters, they fail miserably. I had some issues in the past that confirm this, but this particular situation just proves it.

So, this can be also serve as a warning to all people who sell (or want to sell) on eBay. Of course, these situations are the exceptions and rarely happen, but when they do, the so called "seller protection" is just rubbish. Try to solve things by your own in their customer service centre and you'll be faced with countless of "walls" and "dead ends". And I bet they're so proud, probably believing they had such great tools to help sellers. Probably sellers complaints have drastically decreased, but if they think it was for their work... Well, I just laughed now ;)

Sorry for the long, long, too long post, but that's how I am, always cared to explain everything, to avoid misunderstandings... You know, as eBay clearly do... Oh, laughed again!
 

Pavle

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#2
I agree that their so called protection is only for buyers. I used to sell on eBay, but not anymore. They are a sinking boat anyway.
Fees, bad management and plenty of other stuff.

The thing is that they are still secure for buyers, because they give money back no matter the cost. Buyer is always right. While in some situations its great, in many cases sellers get ripped off by dishonest people.

My first encounter with eBay and their protection was when I sold an album worth around 150$ on eBay to a guy in Mexico. I had a perfectly traceable code which showed that the lazy ass was too lazy to get out of his couch and go pick up an item which waited for him at the post for 30 days. 30 fucking days he had too pick it up. And you know what he did? He opened a case saying he never received item, got money back of course. After 2 months my album returned and I had to pay double postage, just because of some lazy asshole who did not want to bother and go to the Post to pick it up.

So code means nothing to them. Trust me, its a boat that sinks, but its a still the best place to buy collectables. Lets hope some other alternatives will be available. I hope Amazon for instance can change things, or Chinese AliBaba.
 

dantzig

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#3
Thanks for replying, my friend... I wish I had your calmness, because I still can't let go every single thing, be small or big... But time doesn't expand and I'm already "vaccinated" that I need to forget many things... With this particular case, I'll try to set things right, but I'll not lose much more time with this... And I'm still curious about what the "polite" guy will do when he receives the cards... Once, I complained with a seller (actually, it was a store) that I didn't receive a PS3 game and after two weeks, I asked them about where it was (didn't know if they sent it by standard or signed-in postage)... The said it was sent by standard postage and so, refunded me right away... One week after, I've received the game... So, I sent again the money to them, explaining I received it afterwards... And a few years ago, a russian guy claimed he didn't receive something I sent, I refunded him and yet, one month after the refund, he sent me the money again, because it took about two months for him to receive... Do you know what I did? Not only I thanked him for his honesty, I also returned some of what he paid.

About your experience, it's easy to tell that the mexican guy regretted buying the album and then just do what he did, completely forget about it... Those people are just garbage, can't see more far than their own belly and don't care about others being affected... This is why I want to be in communities where you can feel right away the mutual aid between users... You don't need to give and receive something physical, such as cards or money, but share stories, tips or just information, so you have the feeling that you helped someone... At least, that's what I think a community should be, and in this case, not just a dump of articles or lists to swap.

Don't really like Amazon, for our hobby they're mostly useless.
 

Pavle

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#4
I fully understand you. And its not fair, it really is not. But one one hand it is Post Office to blame as well. If they had more reliable checking and systems, then it would be easier to determine the content of the package, where it is, who picked it up and when it will arrive, don't you agree?

Basically its what they "really" on in most of the cases, info provided by the Post. Its not just the hobby, whole online retail needs to be more secure for sellers. I do not see it being more secure to the buyers then it is now.
Actually the guy who bought an album from me was just lazy. I am unsure if he wanted it or not, but he kept sending me messages of "where is my item" and I kept replying "here is a tracking number, just go pick it up at your post". 30 days back and fort. Anyway the thing it that there are idiots, dishonest bastards and people who do not care for others. Its the world we live in. Most of the people watch their own interest, and does not care about others. Its what eBay does. Its what dishonest buyers do. Politicians do the same.

I had a couple of same situations most with cheap tech stuff I ordered from China, I always send money back if a seller refunded and then item arrived.

I understand that this is not about money, rather making things right. Have you tried to contact this guy? Ask him has he received it? You can forward me his address in the pm, I would gladly run him through blacklist and see if name seams familiar.
 

dantzig

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#5
Sure Pavle, postal services are the first ones to blame, but to me, many of the "lost mail" is just buyers who just want to get free stuff... I'm well aware that sending by standard postage is not secure, but so far, I didn't see any reason to send low value items always by registered shipping (and I'm sure I wouldn't get half the sales).

Now, about the buyer... He received the cards today, as I predicted, and left positive feedback... Didn't even answer the message I sent him to know why he did that.

Since I can't appeal (unless I call them, which I will never do), I've filed a complaint against him for abusing the protection programme to claim an item was not received:

Buyer opened case, I sent him again the cards, now by signed-in postage, which I shared with both him and ebay system.
A few days later, he escalated the case for ebay to make a decision and incomprehensibly, eBay decided in buyer's favour and refunded him. If you think this is justice, then you seriously need a dictionary.
Many thanks for letting me know that Seller Protection you're so proud of is just rubbish, because even with tracking number, promptly provided, you just sided, as always, with the buyer, without even checking the tracking number.
Anyway, buyer has left positive feedback, after receiving the cards I sent. Still, he kept the cards and the money, so I'm reporting him for abusing the programme.
Tracking number was added in ebay system, but I'll leave it again: RD369753737PT. You can check it in the official portuguese services website (which you should already have integrated in your system): http://www.ctt.pt/feapl_2/app/open/objectSearch/objectSearch.jspx?lang=01
You can also check in Royal Mail website, since it was sent to UK.
Now, will you make things right or do will you keep this charade?
Let's see if they even answer this... Paypal so far hasn't answered me, but I'm getting used to it, because whenever ebay is criticized for taking stupid decisions, they won't even answer... Paypal might be the same.

I will send you the username and buyer address, who knows what you might find ;)
 

Pavle

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#6
Unfortunately name does not appear in my "black list" and does not ring a bell at all. Sorry :(
I really hope you will get things right. Please let us know how it went with PayPal. Now when PayPal and eBay are separating as a separate companies, PayPal might be better, who knows.
 

dantzig

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#7
A new update:

eBay - As usual, nothing... Not that they would answer anything, as they specifically state that all actions taken by buyer reports are confidential, but I still have that "stain" in my seller dashboard for not solving the case on my own (or so they claim, even though I provided the tracking number when I was prompted to).

Paypal - Also no answer, but they did sent me a survey about the customer service interaction... You can probably guess how I rated them.


Like I said, this is a hopeless crusade... eBay will not acknowledge their mistake, buyer don't even care about paying again what he was refunded unfairly, so this will end as I saw on so many seller complaints: no justice whatsoever.
 

Pavle

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#8
Ah damn, try not to loose your nerves on things like this. Still eBay is a big opportunity for sellers. But it has to improve their treatment of sellers. Their primary customers are sellers. Sellers on eBay pay fees, not buyers. Of course if there was no buyers, there would be no sellers and fees :)
 

dantzig

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#9
Indeed, only sellers pay fees to both ebay and paypal (both expensive, even if you have an ebay store), but I get the whole picture how all parties are needed... Also I can understand why buyers are not charged with fees for paying something... I can even understand how a seller should be responsible when buyer claims not receiving anything sent by standard shipping... Sure, there are buyers who receive something and claim they didn't, but from my experience, fortunately those guys are rare.

But it's hard to understand when these situations happen... If I provide the tracking number and the carrier and even so, I'm not protected as a seller, then how can I be protected? I'm now afraid of every single transaction and it's sad to say that I trust more on buyers judgement than eBay judgement.

And then, I receive eBay mails like this one, a few hours ago:
Here's how we protected your selling account
Hello Carlos,

Thanks for consistently delivering exceptional service to your buyers. We're here to provide you a marketplace where you can sell with confidence. That's why we've taken the following steps during the past month to protect your account:

Removed 1 transaction defect(s) from your seller dashboard
Prevented 3 eBay Money Back Guarantee request(s) from being opened too early in the past 2 months
We've already updated your seller dashboard to reflect these changes, which are for transactions made during the past year. When we remove transaction defects, your transaction defect rate may not go down if you had transactions that received more than one defect.

We'll continue to improve our monitoring, detection systems and policies to protect sellers like you. To see these updates, go to your seller dashboard.
It's like they live in a happy bubble, in a place far, far away from reality... It's sad, really sad.
 

dantzig

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#10
Ok, here's the final update (or at least, I hope so):

I've contacted again Paypal, answering to their automatic email (probably I should have done it right when I receive it)... This time, they answered in less than 24 hours with the response I was expecting: they can't do anything about it, since it was a case opened on eBay.

But they did help me contacting eBay by email, to this particular subject:

In order to contact ebay customer support please follow these steps:

Go to www.ebay.com
Click ‘Customer Support’ located near the top of the page
Select ‘Contact eBay’ tab
Login to your eBay account (if you do not have an account, select ‘Continue')
Select an option that best matches your question.
I would always go through Resolution Center (as eBay suggests in their Help pages), so following these steps made me "facepalm" myself... Easy, right?

Anyway, I've finally sent a message with the appropriate subject (Appealing a case), explaining very, very well my case, providing also everything I thought it could be relevant (Case ID, Tracking number, Carrier and where they could check, such as Royal Mail track page)... And after one week, when I was already "at peace" with this, I've received a bunch of eBay mails regarding the case, where in 5 minutes, they reviewed again the case and refunded me the full amount... Also, they've deleted the bad record from my seller dashboard (for not solving the case on my own).

So, justice has finally arrived. Unfortunately, it's always the same for eBay... They do some kind of mistake, I complain and if I'm not really, really precise, they don't even care to understand... Anyway, patience is the key, but most of the times, it's not even worth to have such patience.
 

Pavle

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#11
“Wheels of justice gind slow but grind fine". Great to hear you got this resolved. Still its too much of a hassle. I feel it could have been resolved with a single email to them. Ah bureaucracy and eBay :)
 

Makhno

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#12
Great to know you've been refunded but sad and tired to note that it is harder and harder to be recognized in his rights.
 

dantzig

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#13
“Wheels of justice gind slow but grind fine". Great to hear you got this resolved. Still its too much of a hassle. I feel it could have been resolved with a single email to them. Ah bureaucracy and eBay :)
The more eBay tries to improve user experience, the harder it is to contact customer support.

Great to know you've been refunded but sad and tired to note that it is harder and harder to be recognized in his rights.
Indeed, I had to appeal a lot for what this case was really worth.

I wondered also if eBay refunded me with their own money, because the "refund of the refund" was sent by them... And from what I know from a friend's case, ebay prefers to refund from their own money instead of buyer money (which is still unfair, but that's what you get for doing a bad review of the case).
 

fenerbahCHE

Active Member
Contributor
#14
This is a bit off the subject but i have sth to say about the generalization of things in ebay, (buyers are always right etc..)

Once i complained about sth and i have mentioned that my address to receive the item was in Turkey. So there was the response , than at the end there was this somewhat ‘personal’ note about how nice it would be to be in turkey now and travel through capadocia and all that. I thought well the person who is answering just trying to be a bit nice. Maybe I give a few good points to that. So i answered about the item and at the end i said sth. like thanks for the comment and fortunately not more than that.

I received the next response and again the ‘comment’ on how great Istanbul is and all that but nothing to do with the previous comment or what i said. I realized that they have generic ‘nice’ comments according where you write from added at the end of the response. Many times their main responses are also generic so copy paste all the way. I guess this was another situation of what they like to say over there every other minute : only in america.
 
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