Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ebay--Who's Running the Asylum

It would seem that the In-mates are now running the Asylum that once was the on-line auction giant--can it be saved? My local news' headline on the late night news claimed that Ebay was lowering its listing fees, but the news missed what else Ebay was changing.

In the fall of 2006, I took the plunge and started selling on Ebay. At first it was just stuff I had on hand--then I found these little Disney Stitch Capsule Toys (well mostly cell phone charms --they are just so darn cute) I went a little wild buying them, but they also sold rather well (I got them for at the most 3.00 dollars a piece and have sold over 300.00 dollars worth and I'm not the most studious seller--so that was over a 4 month period). I kept saying I was going to open an Ebay store, but listing is a pain for me and slow tedious work--so I kept putting it off and then the slow season hit about April of 2007 and I had 10 listings and nothing sold. So I stopped till August when I had a major fiasco with selling a plastic toy to someone in Naples (you can't ship plastic toys to Italy). I got the customer his Stitch charm but it was a nail biter and ended up costing me 20 dollars (I paid for the second charm's postage, after all it was my mistake for not knowing I couldn't mail plastic toys to Italy) along with a small lie to Italian Customs---lets just say I mailed two paperback books and used a Stitch charm and some plastic jelly bean eggs as the packaging material for the books.

Of course sometime in all of this Ebay started to make changes to their feedback policies and other things. And now Ebay is planning on big changes to feedback to virtually leave the seller at the mercy of unscrupulous buyers. I have had no bad buyers. I baby mine and always pay for mistakes out of my own pocket and I package very well and tend to give free stuff. However, I don't sell a lot and the new changes coming seem aimed at driving the small sellers off of Ebay. I liked the idea of the Yard sale on line but sadly Ebay only seems to want the BIG POWER SELLERS and the little guy is left to drowned in all this new red tape---the stake in the heart is that in feedback the seller and buyer could rate the transaction with a positive, a neutral (which ebay used to see as not necessarily bad but now sees as a negative) and a negative--but in the new Ebay world a seller can only give a buyer a positive feedback---this is to make the buyers feel safer or so they claim.

here's a link to the changes:

and here's just a taste of some of them:

Safe Payments
To help ensure more buyers are protected, in some cases we'll require sellers to offer either PayPal or a merchant credit card to customers. PayPal buyer protection covers most qualified transactions up to $2000.00 USD.

Sellers will only be required to provide this safe payment option to customers in certain situations:

  • For listings in riskier categories, like computers and cell phones
  • If the seller has 5% or more dissatisfied customers
  • If the seller has less than 100 Feedback

In a small number of cases (fewer than 5% of all payments on eBay), PayPal will hold payment funds until either the buyer has left positive Feedback or 21 days have passed without a claim.

Feedback Changes
The eBay Feedback system was designed to provide a simple, honest, accurate record of member experiences. Focusing on customer service includes doing everything we can to grow customer confidence in our sellers.
  • Buyers will only be able to receive positive Feedback.
  • Positive repeat customer Feedback will count (up to 1 Feedback from the same buyer per week.)
  • Feedback more than 12-months old won't count towards your Feedback percentage.
  • When a buyer doesn't respond to the Unpaid Item (UPI) process the negative or neutral Feedback they have left for that transaction will be removed.
  • When a member is suspended, all their negative and neutral Feedback will be removed.
  • Buyers must wait 3 days before leaving negative or neutral Feedback for sellers with an established track record, to encourage communication.
  • All Feedback must be left within 60 days (compared to 90 days today) of listing end to encourage timely Feedback and discourage abuse.
  • Buyers will be held more accountable when sellers report an unpaid item or commit other policy violations.

I sure am going to have a lot of Stitch Charms with no place to sell them.

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