Rainy Days & eBay Always Gets me Down

Posted on June 23, 2008. Filed under: eBay, eBayInkBlog | Tags: , , , , , , |


It has been a really stormy (weather-wise) day here in my part of the world and I am thinking of all the storms a-brewing on eBay.  Today, I posted a comment on the eBay company blog and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I wanted to post it on my own blog as well so that I could revisit it again in the future.  I made a few minor changes to make it more understandable as a stand-alone post.  


Quote by Lorrie Norrington at eBay Live 2008:
“We’re sorry for the mistakes of the past, come join us for the future”.
eBay’s mistakes are not limited to the past.  eBay continues to make mistakes in the present and they are not apologizing for those and they are not “working their backside off” to do anything differently so that the mistakes will stop.  For example, in March eBay removed digitally delivered items and issued policy violations BEFORE the policy was even announced.  eBay has done something similiar this past weekend – they began REQUIRING all eBay.com sellers to accept Paypal if they want to offer their items to Australia / U.K. but there was no policy announcement and no Powerseller rep or Trust & Safety rep was aware of the new policy when it was implemented.  eBay continues to make the mistake, and even more so in 2008 than ever before, of creating and instituting new rules without informing the eBay community.  I don’t know how any serious eBay seller would consider “going into the future WITH eBay” if eBay continues to make the mistake of changing the rules without notification over and over again.  This is NOT a mistake of the past.  I could give numerous examples of all the RECENT mistakes made by eBay but Lorrie has not and will not acknowledge those so I’m assuming an apology will not be forthcoming.
Quote from Richard Brewer-Hay:
“Things were put on the record at this eBay Live! (”absolutely no PayPal-only in the USA;” “we’re going to address the Feedback system in time for the Holiday season;” “we realize that neutrals may need re-evaluation”)”
1. Absolutely no Paypal-only in the USA?  But if you are a new seller or a seller who sells in high risk categories (as defined by eBay) or a seller who wants to offer their items internationally, etc etc then you MUST take PayPal.  Just who is left on eBay that is given a CHOICE of accepting PayPal?  I guess as long as 1 or 2% of U.S. eBay sellers still have a choice, the site is not Paypal-only.
2. Going to address the feedback system in time for the holidays?  I have a real warm and fuzzy about that one (not).  eBay wants us to be all excited that they plan on fixing the feedback system they broke and since they provided no details and no real timeline and not even a hint that they have a plan to “address” the feedback system I have absolutely no confidence that anything concrete will be forthcoming. 
3. Realize that neutrals may need re-evaluation?  According to Brian Burke, buyers who left neutrals recently really intended them to be a negative and that is why buyers are leaving more negatives so I doubt neutrals will be “re-evaluated” for more than two minutes.  I counter that fewer neutrals are being left because buyers are more educated now about what effect neutrals have and thus they are not leaving neturals.  In the past, buyers would have left fewer neutrals if they had the same effect then as they do today but eBay “assumed” buyers made an incorrect choice in leaving neutrals previously and have thus “rescored” them.  I do believe more buyers are leaving negative feedback, both in an abusive manner (80+ in one day) as well as leaving deserved unfavorable feedback for poorly performing sellers who previously used retaliatory negative feedback and the mutual feedback withdrawal system to keep their negative ratings down.  Brian is mistaken when he says that buyers would have left negatives instead of neutrals in the past and his argument that more negatives and fewer neutrals are being left today does NOT in any way support his “theory”.
Nothing has been “put on the record”.  More empty promises from eBay… they promise the moon but deliver the cheese.
Now let me state emphatically that I certainly I hope I am wrong.  I hope that by this time next year I can look back at this blog post and saw “Wow” eBay really meant what they said.  But, just like eBay is asking buyers to judge eBay sellers based on their “history” and rewards / punishments are doled out based on history, I ‘judge’ eBay based on its history. 
If a seller has satisfied 99% of their buyers previously (in the past) then one could reasonably expect to have a good experience with that seller today.  If eBay has a history of making mistakes and they are making mistakes this year, this month, and this week, then do I think they will stop making mistakes “in the future”?  No I do not.  I would like nothing more than eBay to prove me wrong.  As just a FIRST step… Why not have somebody “work their backside off” to simply announce the new rules / changes in a timely manner to the community?  No, I don’t consider a policy rule change announcement that comes hours or days AFTER policy implementation to be timely.
Now I realize that it seems to be a waste of eBay company resources to keep the community informed of rule changes.  Hey, it’s eBay’s Playground — we either want to play or we don’t.  But whacking us over the head with a stick when we break a rule we don’t know exists will not motivate us any more to provide a good buyer experience.  And eBay changing the rules constantly without any notification makes them seem like they are in a chaotic reaction mode which does not instill confidence in the eBay system. 
We all get it… you didn’t make the necessary changes for 10+ years… you’re sorry about that… and now you are going to make up for lost time.  If you truly want us to “join you for the future” then how about telling us where you are going so we can adjust our navigation systems to go there with you?  Otherwise, if you keep changing your course direction (by changing the rules) without telling us then I have to assume you don’t really care if we come along with you for the bumpy ride you have set out on.


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