Saturday, April 9, 2011

Seriously, eBay. WTF?

All right, those who know me know that I have a love-hate relationship with eBay. When eBay is working correctly (i.e. I list an item, buyer buys item, buyer pays for item, I ship item) then I'm pleased. But when a problem arises, eBay becomes as much an enemy as the problem to which it relates. One time a buyer won an item and did not pay for thirteen days. Despite my auction listing clearly stating I allow 48 HOURS for payment and an email I sent to the buyer after seven days stating that they had not yet paid so I was relisting the item and it was no longer available to that buyer, the buyer tried paying on the fourteenth day (with about an hour left in the unpaid item dispute). I refunded this buyer and explained again that the item was relisted because the buyer did not pay and so it was not available anymore. The buyer chose to flip out and leave me negative ONLY negative feedback ever. Anyway, I tried to appeal with eBay considering that the buyer broke my personal selling rule, but eBay just said "sorry, we only remove feedback when it is inappropriate (like containing libel or personal insults). Well I would say that the negative itself was libelous because the buyer breached the rules. Sadly, eBureaucracy doesn't make exceptions to their rules.
It's been a year and that negative feedback no longer effects my rating. But sadly, a new issue has come about.

I sold a rather expensive item (nearly $800) on eBay the better part of a month ago. When the buyer made the purchase, I immediately sent an invoice which included shipping (almost $70 to ship because the item is so large). When payment was received, I discovered that the invoice said that shipping was free when the buyer paid. After contacting eBay I learned that this was a glitch in eBay's system. eBay sent the buyer an email stating the problem and that the buyer was still responsible for the shipping cost. I sent a PayPal invoice for the remainder owed. After about a week and a half, there was still no response or payment from the buyer whatsoever. I contacted eBay again, at which point they were only helpful in providing me the contact information for this buyer (address, phone number, etc.). So basically eBay told me I can try calling (long distance, mind you) the buyer to explain this clusterfuck. Why should I have to pay out-of-pocket for a long distance call when this was eBay's error?

So I called eBay again today. My request was simple. Either eBay can CALL the buyer to explain the snafu or eBay can refund me the final value fee of my item (about $50) and I would use that money as well as covering the remaining shipping amount to just ship to the buyer. After all, as far as the buyer is concerned, shipping was free. The buyer paid for the item and that was that. eBay messed up and eBay *should* be the one held responsible. Sadly, eBay's solution was for me to refund the buyer the amount they paid and then bill the buyer directly through PayPal for the total including shipping.
WTF??? Seriously what the fuck??? What the hell good is that solution? The buyer doesn't check email so the buyer would not know he received a refund! Also, this would be perfect opportunity for the buyer to change his mind about such a large frivolous purchase. That, of course, would mean that I'M the one who stands to lose out.
I fought with the representative at eBay for a short while. Then the representative said he was writing a note on my account expressing my desire to have eBay contact the buyer on my behalf. He thought he was so smooth, I'm sure. "I'll write this on his account and he'll then leave me alone...little does he know that having a note on his account is meaningless unless his account is accessed and that would only happen when he calls in. Genius!" However, I'm not stupid. I told him that the information would not serve any purpose on my account. The representative then hummed and hawed for several minutes and fed me some cock-and-bull story about how he was going to forward it to a different department and someone there would call the buyer. I'll say it straight up. I don't believe that representative at all. I think he just said that to get me off his back and intends to do nothing. I did get his name and said I will be calling back tomorrow if I do not hear from the buyer because eBay contacted the buyer. I then hung up.

For the outrageous fee of $70, plus a listing fee, you'd think eBay would actually give a damn about ensuring their customers are happy. Unfortunately, eBay is just another useless bureaucracy that can't make any decisions when something doesn't go by the book. I won't be giving up. Usually the harder you push, the more a bureaucratic system flexes. Employees usually tend to just get fed up with a strong customer and give in. We'll see what happens here. But I'm certainly not going to be the one paying for eBay's mistake. That's completely unfair.

I understand that it is strange that the buyer has not been wondering where his item is though. It is very expensive and was quoted a five business day delivery time. It's been well past that now. Maybe it's something seedy and fraudulent. Or maybe the buyer just doesn't check email. Maybe it's a gift for someone else. Maybe the buyer's on vacation. I don't know and cannot cast a judgement. The buyer paid up and in my books is perfectly in his rights if he has not responded. eBay is the guilty party here, and it's time that eBay owns up to that fact.

I'll update you all when there's something to update. Ciao!

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