It is No Glitch: eBay’s Confusing Yellow RESPOND Button Disappears

Posted on October 9, 2008. Filed under: eBay | Tags: , , , , |


Recently I received an email from an eBay member inquiring about a current listing of mine.  The email was rather strange email because the return email address was odd and looked like this:

Note that I replaced all letters with “x” and all numbers with “1”.

The email was missing the Yellow Respond button that normally appears in emails:

My first inclination was that I had received a spoof email.  So, I checked the eBay messaging system and I was surprised to see the eBay message did appear.  However, the message lacked the yellow Respond Now button:

Frankly, I was at a loss.  I wasn’t sure how to respond to the potential buyer so I emailed my TSAM.  Once again, my TSAM answered me in only a matter of hours (more of this kind of treatment and he will be on my Christmas card list this year).

What I learned is that Australia recently changed their member-to-member communications:

Because this potential buyer was from Australia, his message to me appeared different from all other messages that I had received but now I know how to respond to him.

A seller on who receives a message from a potential customer from Australia can respond by:

1. Hitting the Email Reply button on the actual email and the response message will be routed through to the member.  The Australian member’s email address looks really strange but it is a pseudo-email address which will supposedly be delivered to the member’s real email address.  I have not yet been able to confirm this directly.

2. Through the eBay messaging system, the yellow Respond Now button is not available but there is a Grey button near the very top of the message that has the word “Respond” on it.  It is very easy to overlook if you do not know it is there.

Now, while I understand that change is necessary and nobody (including me) likes change…. my frustration is not with the eBay change itself but rather I am frustrated at the fact that I was not informed of the change.  As a result, I was not able to respond to this potential buyer in time (the listing ended) and I had to spend my time emailing my TSAM and further researching the change.  In addition, my TSAM had to spend his time inquiring and then responding to me.  I would claim that this is a waste of resources — a waste of my time and eBay’s time — and this unannounced change (not announced on may have caused an eBay buyer to be dissatisfied with me because I did not respond to the inquiry in a timely manner.

Note to eBay: When you make changes, we have a basic expectation that you will at least inform us.  Informing us doesn’t mean you are asking for our approval (since we most often disagree with your wacky changes) but informing us does allow us to operate more efficiently and to at least try to satisfy customers within the eBay system, a task that becomes more difficult each day.


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8 Responses to “It is No Glitch: eBay’s Confusing Yellow RESPOND Button Disappears”

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Meh. = eBay Australia. It was announced on the eBay Australia site. As long as I can reply from my e-mail client and the reply gets to the customers, I’m happy enough. Deliverability rate should go up since is able to get e-mails through as opposed to my own domain which has trouble with Yahoo and Hotmail. You have some good posts in your blog, but you come off as an eBay hater most of the time.

TekGems, my point is that I shouldn’t have to go read every eBay announcement board (as well as every eBay blog, Chatter, Community Boards, etc) in the world to keep informed about what is happening on

I wouldn’t know that the email response would get to the customer if I had not contacted my TSAM. As far as I assumed, it could be another – type email address which goes to nowhere.

I don’t hate eBay. I am, however, very frustrated with the eBay company because they fail to communicate with sellers (me) about even the most basic things. In addition, they make public announcements which are blatantly false and they fail to adhere to their own timelines and announcements.

I write about what I personally experience with eBay, Amazon, etc. and unfortunately my eBay experience is 90%+ negative so that is what appears on my blog. When I have positive experiences with eBay (rarely) I mention those as well.

TekGems, also you and I are likely to have different perspectives about eBay since Sept 08 because, as an electronics seller, you received a fee decrease whereas I received a fee increase on eBay.

For example, I sell in Clothing, Shoes, and Accessories (just one of many categories in which I sell). If I sell a $100 item, I pay $10.50 final value fee whereas you pay $6.25 . For the first tranche of pricing (up to $50), I pay 50% more than you do (12% versus your 8%) and for the second tranche I pay 100% more than you do (9% versus your 4.5%). If eBay were to lower my fees, instead of raising them, then I would probably be quite a bit more pleased with them as you are.

Brews, the new eBay Australia messaging system is driving us crazy here in Australia. TekGems, I’m not so sure that deliverability will improve – plenty of people use work-based email addresses and their employers servers block eBay emails, so buyers still won’t receive their messages unless they think to check their eBay account.
Brews, I’m so with you – completely ‘over’ all the changes eBay keeps making, or announcing but then not changing. I can’t keep up any more, and it’s finally starting to dawn on me that it’s a lot easier to just sell elsewhere and not bother much with eBay.

Now I know you don’t read my blog!

Henrietta, the really sad part is that I do read your blog and I did read the post where you mentionned the Australian email issue. Unfortunately, at the time I received the email from the potential buyer, your blog was not at the front of my mind (sorry to say). I didn’t put 2 and 2 together, if that makes sense. I answer hundreds of emails a day and when I saw this anomaly I tried to figure it out because I didn’t think for a minute it was done intentionally by eBay. Frankly, my first thought was that eBay was not allowing me to answer because they incorrectly assumed the potential buyer was asking me to conduct a transaction outside of eBay. I didn’t even think to consider the country of origin for the potential buyer and to evaluate whether that was the issue.

I do agree that should have informed us of anonymous e-mails from other sites (e.g. eBay Australia) or not used anonymous e-mail when eBay Australia member is communicating with someone outside of the testing site.

There is a lot of changes happening, so I see the pain of big changes occurring for many months to come.

> plenty of people use work-based email
> addresses and their employers servers
> block eBay emails

Employees should not be using a work e-mail address for personal purchasing. This is what Gmail or any other web based service is for. I understand your point, but employees are better off using a personal e-mail address any way for privacy reasons.

An instructive story (that I admit I just skimmed). I have a bunch of stuff from my old-radios and old-books-about radios collections that I would like to sell. Given the tangled gross mess that eBay has become these days, I will wait to list them until it straightens out.

Or, better yet, until another company comes along a creates a simple, decent site.

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