No complain, no gain

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We’ve used the line “eBay giveth and eBay taketh away” more than once on TameBay, but for one Powerseller this week, that’s exactly what happened. Helen from Express Eyelashes UK was one of the first to spot the glitch which stops Shops’ owners reducing the number of items for sale on a SIF listing. She spoke to PS Support, who told her that the only way around the problem would be to cancel the SIF listing, and relist her current stock on a new listing. Helen was reasured to be told that eBay would refund the extra SIF listing fees she’d have to pay, as the glitch was their fault.

I think it’s worth saying at this point that eBay’s Outage Policy, which is part of the User Agreement, does provide for the circumstances under which eBay will refund fees to sellers. SIF listing fees are not mentioned at all. Nevertheless, one might think, as Support staff obviously did at least some of the time, that this was a time for a courtesy credit.

Sadly, the good news didn’t last long: when trying to claim her credits, she was told that as the glitch had affected lots of people, she wouldn’t be getting a credit for it! She protested; Support then changed their mind again, and decided that the glitch didn’t exist at all. After an increasingly frustrating game of email tennis, Helen finally received a telephone call from Nathan from Powerseller Support, who reassured her that her credits were “being done”. But not minutes after a jubliant Helen had put the phone down, she received this email:

My name is Nathan and I’m just contacting you regarding our conversation earlier.

Following our phone conversation today, please be aware that, unfortunately, we will not be able to credit the fees back to you. Courtesy credits are granted to members who show a positive behaviour and are only approved under specific circumstances.

While I understand your frustration, the negative listings you have posted on eBay’s Forum has affected our final decision and, unfortunately, we have decided not to credit you for the costs related to this technical issue.

Following this decision, please be aware that the content you have posted on the eBay boards will be permanently removed. No further credit considerations will be replied to.

We appreciate your cooperation in this matter.

As Helen said, “you couldn’t make it up”. For the record, the now-pulled thread contained nothing defamatory or inflammatory; it was just another “how do I resolve this problem?” thread, like dozens of others all over eBay’s boards, threads which allow eBay members to help each other, and probably save eBay themselves thousands in support staff every year. To imply that sellers who complain about eBay problems on eBay message boards have put themselves beyond eBay’s assistance is, frankly, ridiculous.

And it seems that such an implication isn’t quite accurate. Jamie from eBay UK’s Powerseller team told me today, “Whilst we cannot comment on individual cases, we are sorry to hear of this member’s recent issue regarding the crediting of refunds. We have spoken in person with the seller and offered our full support in this matter. We’d like to reiterate that refunds and credits are treated on a case by case basis and that the best way to have any such issue addressed is to contact eBay through the most appropriate channel whether that be phone or email support.”

I’d say, avoid the email tennis and take advantage of eBay UK’s provision of telephone support for all Powersellers: at least that way, the issue’s probably dealt with in one go rather than consuming your entire week.

3 Responses

  1. O M G ! ! !

    Let’s face it, shoddy CS from large organisations is pretty much standard these days. As a Virgin Broadband user, I’m quite accustomed to waiting for a 20 minute minimum to get through to Support, prior to being told ‘hang on, I’ll fob you off on someone else’, then being put through to the wrong department & having to try all over again. Horses for courses in Chez Sam.

    But words simply cannot describe how utterly appalled I am by that email. Especially as he was far too cowardly to ring her back.

    How much are SIF listings – 6p? eBay aren’t making enough megabucks they’d rather treat a customer with utter comtempt than honour their promises?

  2. As a fellow powerseller I saw and read that thread, usual banter, and usual I can not believe this type of stuff. By penalising Helen et al, saying that they are unable to openly criticise eBay, it sends completely the wrong message to sellers. The yes we know there are problems but you are not allowed to talk about them, to get ideas help and solutions on the boards, is ludicrious. Thankfully I have the telephone number, but I certainly feel for non Power Sellers who now potentially have been silenced for fear of upsetting eBay, a stance I find confusing to say the least, after all, is eBay not just a venue?
    Kindest wishes always
    Suz x


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