Thanks for your purchase, here’s a unpaid item dispute

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eBay has rolled out its automated unpaid item dispute process – and for experienced sellers it will probably come as no shock to hear that it doesn’t work properly. Sellers are reporting various problems, but most consistently that buyers are getting a UID reminder immediately after purchase.

Fortunately this is one feature that sellers do still have the facility to turn off, so if you haven’t yet, I suggest you do so immediately. Where sellers have contacted CS, they’ve been told that a fix is coming, though there has been no official announcement of any problem.

But there’s a bigger issue. Just like last week’s problem with dispatch emails not being sent out until long after goods were delivered, this is a problem of eBay’s making. And it’s a problem that is going to directly impact sellers. Buyers don’t – by and large, unless they’re sellers themselves too – distinguish between eBay and the seller: “I bought it on eBay”, not “I bought it from Biddy’s Bead Shop.” So telling them that these stupid communications are eBay’s doing isn’t going to make a difference – and why should it? It isn’t their problem. All a buyer is going to know is that they were sent stupid email last week, and offensive email this week. eBay lets them score them transaction on communication – and they’re surely not going to give 5/5 for this cock-up.

If eBay is going to score and punish sellers for things like communication, we must all be certain that eBay itself is doing nothing to influence that score. Clearly, that’s not the case: eBay is – well, if I write what eBay is doing to communication DSRs, I’ll have to pinkslap myself for Using Naughty Words. Suffice it to say, the effect of these glitches on communication DSRs can only be downward.

Some people have called for the communication star to be suspended until these glitches are fixed. That’s not a solution. As we’ve seen before, suspending one score has unintended consequences further down the line, and can lead to sanctions being levelled against sellers who would not have had those punishments if the score had never been suspended – just because of the crazy maths involved in this system.

All this mess does, in fact, is to highlight just how ridiculous eBay’s feedback system now is. If you can lose your place in eBay’s marketplace because eBay itself can’t get its programming right, how much of your business do you want to rely on that marketplace?

10 Responses

  1. After a while you start to wonder whether these “glitches” are happening accidentally on purpose.

  2. Glitch after glitch – heres one more – The new “new etc” in items specifics – Broken – Have reported and even took a few screen shots – then spent 45 mins talking to ebays “tech I dont know whats wrong support team” and still none the wiser how to fix it, I give up now we have to edit one by one all 4000 + listings and get the “new” back in as it effects the search and bulk edit is broken and wont do it, I even asked ebay to sort all our listings out for us as we had “new” on everything b4 they put this stange system of theres in operation and bang all the “new” removed from all listings – Guess what they said, a big fat NO yes thats right even though its there fault in the first place – they wont even put it right and expect us to spend time and money sorting out there mistakes and faults…..

    I give up – What is the point – Ebay when will u listen – prob when ebay is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

  3. What I just said on the other thread!

    The more that changes, the more it (eBay) stays the same …..

  4. Aside from the impact on ‘Goodwill’ and buyers’ discouragement – we see yet another entry in the list of eBay generated negativity that is vented upon sellers.

    Just a couple of them:
    1. DSRs
    (a) Introduced for sellers to monitor performance
    (b) Do not instruct buyers on how the metric is scored
    (c) Penalise sellers for poor DSRs

    2. Communication
    (a) Limit communication to eBay messaging
    (b) Allow service to be slow/unreliable
    (c) Buyers AND sellers impacted by apparently uncommunicative respondant and take action appropriately.
    (d) Action is actually inappropriate and problems arise.
    (e) Seller penalised (Neg FB and DSRs) for communication breakdown – EVEN IF THE BUYER IS AWARE EBAY CAUSED IT. (I actually read this in a seller’s feedback!)

    3. Dispute Limits
    (a) Set limit on number of disputes before sellers are penalised
    (b) Advise buyers to raise disputes as a FIRST STEP in resolving problems

    … and we could continue with more examples – PLUS – all the other less visible impacts on sellers’ ability to trade – such as ‘Best match’ and rolling blackouts.

    EBAY COULD NOT BE DOING MORE to drive sellers off the site via underhanded means – Just set up a way to set a standard and then change the playing field, but claim innocence.

    As an illustration – in the eBay run High-Jump, once the bar has been set and good sellers are able to clear it OK – they then dig out the run-up by a couple of feet. Sellers start failing and eBay says “They must be norti, because we haven’t raised the bar.”

    I have joked about the ‘disruptive innovation’ touted by Donahoe by cheekily (and deliberately) misquoting it as ‘innovative disruption’.

    I think I may have been closer to the truth than I realised.

  5. I reported this “glitch” on May 7. 2010 after a buyer received an Unpaid Item Dispute notice 5 hours after a purchase. The buyer received the UID notice before he received confirmation that I had accepted his offer on my listing.

    I sent info to the eBay exec who posted in the “Update on the new Unpaid Item process” thread on the U.S. “Special Discussion Board” concerning the Unpaid Item Dispute Assistant . He is no longer on the “UPI Team” but he forwarded the info to them.

    I never heard back from the UPI team.

    They seem to have ignored my May 7 report and the problem itself.

  6. Still doesn’t resolve the feedback issue. So many deadbeat buyers on eBay, that when you are lucky enough to make sales, you pray you actually get paid.


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