It’s Been Another Interesting Week Trying to Sell on eBay

Posted on October 17, 2009. Filed under: eBay, Paypal | Tags: , , , , , |

 What a week I have had!  My non-eBay sales have been amazing and we’ve been working overtime to try and keep up.  In all fairness to eBay, though, I haven’t listed much recently on eBay.  My eBay store has mostly been a “holding place” where we keep quantity of inventory listed and end the eBay listing when we need to put items back in stock on Amazon or when we sell too much on our website. 

We were waiting to list new items on eBay until eBay finished rolling out the new automated UPI process.  We planned to test the new UPI process for a few days and then add information to our listing descriptions to let buyers know what to expect if they don’t pay within a few days.  However, the roll out of this new automated UPI process keeps getting delayed (today the customer service representative told me that eBay was in the testing phase now and I should expect it to be rolled out to everybody April 2010) so we decided to spend today listing new product on eBay without the new wording about the automated UPI process.  However, we ran into problems listing on eBay.  I titled this blog post “It’s Been Another Interesting Week Trying to Sell on eBay” because that is exactly how I feel…. I really do try to sell things on ebay.  Really I do.  I like making money.  Really I do.  I succeed in selling my items elsewhere because I try really hard but my effort of “trying to sell on eBay” seems to get me nowhere quite often. 

There is a glitch affecting only certain eBay categories, I am told, which prevents the seller from choosing the Item Condition in the SYI form Item Specifics section.  No matter what item condition a seller chooses, when the listing is submitted there is no item condition included in the listing.  Instead, just some dashes appear.



When I called eBay customer service today, they told me that the problem was initially reported a few days ago and that she was only aware of the problem affecting a few media categories.  However, my category is not media and so she forwarded my listing on to eBay tech support.

I made sure to mention to the eBay customer service rep that I thought the problem had something to do with the Item Specifics Item Condition section having more than one choice for the same condition.  For example, there is

New with Tags


New: with Tags

as choices for a seller.  I tried choosing each of these item conditions and neither time was I able to get the item specifics to show.






From my experience, this glitch is only affecting new listings.  I’m  not sure if it is also affecting GTC listings that roll over or not.  So, the eBay representative suggested that I just put the “New with Tags” information directly in the items I planned on listing today.  However, as I pointed out to her, this would not “solve” my problem.  The eBay Best Match search criteria uses the Item Condition in the Item Specifics to return results to potential buyers and since my newly listed items do not include any condition then I would not be found easily in search.  At that point, her only other suggestion was to not list anything new right now. 

So, my choices are (a) don’t list new items on eBay which would then mean I don’t sell anything if I don’t have anything listed or (b) list new items without the possibility of being found in the “Best Match” search which would mean I don’t sell anything if nobody can find me.  Decisions, decisions. 

Well, on the bright side…. if I don’t sell anything then I don’t have to worry about my anonymous DSR ratings dropping because PayPal is “dropping the ball.”  I just found out that Paypal has a glitch where they are not sending out emails to sellers notifying them when echecks have cleared.  PayPal clearly states that they will notify sellers when echecks clear and although that has occurred in the past, the Paypal system is not doing so now.  Oh, and the really fun part is… PayPal is sending the email to the BUYER notifying them that the echeck has cleared but the seller is not being sent that email.  I realized this a few days ago when I noticed an eBay order showing in My eBay page as needing to be shipped and then checked my PayPal records and say that the echeck actually cleared days earlier.

According to Paypal, this is a “known issue” and they don’t have a timeline for when it might be fixed since it is not a high priority problem.  The PayPal forum mentions other sellers who have discovered this problem (in a post titled PayPal Notifications Not Being Received ) but, as usual, there is no formal notification or announcement being posted by eBay to alert buyers and sellers of this “known issue”.  Instead, I’m sure there are plenty of sellers out there who are not realizing that echecks are clearing without notifications being sent so that the sellers are not shipping items in a timely manner.  I expect to see the eBay 30-Day DSR average for all sellers go down this month for the “Shipping Time” DSR.

eBay just Launched a New Announcements Page and although it much more appealing to the eye than the previous announcements page, there was no substantive change.  eBay is not giving sellers more or better information, they are just making the page look prettier.  I think that really just sums things up, in my opinion.  Instead of getting to the root of the problems on eBay and actually fixing the very issues that affect sellers and keep us from reaching our full potential on eBay, the plan of the day is to simply make things “prettier” on eBay.  Again, eBay is putting lipstick on a pig. 

I’m not sure if eBay doesn’t know what the problems are, doesn’t know how to fix them, or simply doesn’t care.  But, for me as  a seller it really doesn’t matter.   eBay continues to make it difficult or impossible for me to list new items and to be found (eBay Item Condition glitch) and continues to punish me for things out of my control (PayPal glitch of not sending notification of cleared echecks) and for which buyers rate me anonymously.  The strategy of giving new announcement pages a facelift and hiring someone to tell stories in the media about the good eBay seller experience might impress eBay stockholders but those things don’t make a bit of difference to me.  

I’ll borrow a quote from Randy Smythe’s My Blog Utopia and say that eBay should “Empower Sellers and Get Out of the Way!”  Stop creating so many rules that are not even enforced, stop putting up walls to prevent the smooth flow of the transaction, stop creating divisions between sellers, stop with the fear tactics to motivate sellers, stop with the encouragement of hositility between buyers and sellers, and stop putting stumbling blocks in front of sellers who actually want to try and selling something on eBay.  eBay needs to stop all these unproductive things if they actually want to start growing their marketplace so that it can reach its full potential.  Ecommerce merchants are entrepreneurs, not children.  Empower us and then get out of our way.

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2 Responses to “It’s Been Another Interesting Week Trying to Sell on eBay”

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One of your best posts yet Brews.
I had over 1 million in sales in my final year on ebay ( early 2008 ) – before the changes of John Donahoe.
eBay literally made it impossible to carry on with all the changes.
I tried and tried with no luck.
Policy Changes etc are hard to adhere to when it does not work with the way YOU work with your suppliers or banks.
Like, 21 day payment holds and then a 5 – 7 day transfer time to my Canadian Bank Account. Doesn’t work with 30 day terms.
Sorry – just had to rant a bit as the wound in still sore.
Keep up the blogging and remember to take time for family.

I must have just dodged the bullet last month, by a couple of days, with my 14- month old GTC store listings: because they all closed yesterday and did not auto-relist. They need to be updated with the new details that are now required, and re-uploaded I guess. I never fixed them in time.

Should I even bother? A rhetorical question, yes, but one that others are asking themselves today as they consider their own sales objectives, choice of venues, and budgets.

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