eBay £10 compo for torpedoing businesses

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I heard from a naturally very distraught eBay seller this evening, who had just found out that eBay cancelled almost 100 of their listings due to an eBay screw up. However eBay will make sure they get at least a tenner in compensation for torpedoing their income.

On Friday we reported a glitch that wiped out item specifics, item condition, return policies and postage costs from many sellers listings. That’s bad enough but eBay having fixed the glitch decided it would be better for the sellers affected (without any consultation) to end all of their listings en masse, sending the following email:

eBay £10 apology email

We want to let you know that for a few hours on August 3rd, we had a technical issue that caused some information (including item specifics, item condition, return policies and delivery) to be dropped from some seller listings on the site.
The issue has been resolved; however, some of your listings were impacted. We apologise for the inconvenience this has caused.
Rather than have your items continue without all their original information, eBay has ended all of these listings. You can find your ended listings in your Unsold Item section of My eBay. Please review them to ensure that the item specifics, item condition, return policy and delivery information is as expected prior to relisting them using your usual listing tools.
We will credit your account for twice the insertion and features fees incurred on all the affected listings. You will receive at least £10 in total credits to offset any inconvenience caused by the need to relist your items. These credits can be viewed in the Account Summary section of My eBay within 7 days.
We will also be reaching out to the buyers who were bidding on any auction-style listings that ended early as a result of this issue. We will let them know that the listing ended early through no fault of yours and encourage them to check back to see if the item has been relisted.

Glitch impact on sellers

So sellers now have hundreds of listings to revise and relist which is bad enough, but it’s many times worse than that. The first job will be to do a full stock check to find out just how many of each product sellers have left.

If you’re exceptionally unlucky you’ll find that your multi-channel management software has already automatically relisted all of the ended items. Of course you can’t easily edit multi-variation listings so you’ll be busily recreating those listings from scratch. Add on the sales that you’ve just lost over the weekend while you were happily watching the Olympics and didn’t realise that your listings were cancelled and you’ve lost a pretty large sum.

Of course having incurred a mountain of work when you wake up on Monday to find that you’ve got no listings running on what’s always the busiest day of the week as you’ll have the weekend’s sales to post, you’ll then realise that you’ve probably lost your carefully built up Best Match scores as well as your sales history number from all of your Good til cancelled listings.

What eBay should have done

Don’t mess with people’s listings

I’ll say it again, don’t cancel listings, provide sellers with a list of item numbers which will need amending to add back in the missing information caused by the glitch. Whilst that’s a pain it’s a lot more paletable than no sales, having to edit the same number of listings anyway but having stock control and auto-relisting issues plus the loss of income while listings are down, coupled with the loss of Best Match position more or less ensuring the loss of future earnings.

One seller told me this evening that the £10 compensation is a joke, that’s less than 2 hours work at minimum wage! Who’s going to pay for the hours of work it’ll take to stock check, revise and relist 100 items?

11 Responses

  1. Typical inconsiderate behavior from eBay. We spend 100k a year with them producing a turnover of over 1m and they are indifferent to what our business means for them. Customer support is non existent. We are working towards a 2 year plan to move off eBay completey.

  2. This whole situation is terrible. I’ve seen quite a few subscribers listings that are affected. Those were ended by someone (either the seller or eBay but it says seller on the listings I looked at). I can’t quite tell if my app changing their price triggered the dropping of information because of the glitch or if the drop happened and then the revision occurred. I strongly suspect the former. I know it is eBay’s bug and not mine but it would be nice to know which it is in case it happens again in the future. If revisions cause the drop then I could mitigate the damage done to my subscribers by simply shutting down until eBay’s bug clears.

    I’m not sure just leaving the listings open is all that great either. The problem is every sale that happens on an affected listing is a potential bad buyer experience. I wouldn’t trust eBay to protect me from every single one. What I’d like to see instead is eBay implement a sort of “freeze” of a listing where they take impacted listings from glitches and hide them from search. Then they provide you the mechanism to see the listings and unfreeze them, revise them, or whatever you want to them. If you don’t want sales impacted you just unfreeze them all and then sort it out later. Finally give the seller 14 days or until the listing would have ended naturally and end the listing at that time if no corrective action was taken.

  3. I have checked my listings and it appears that none were affected. So I have sighed a great sign of relief.

    However I wonder if this is yet another case of somebody at ebay with little or no real experience of being a seller making a decision without any real idea of the problems that it will cause. Then to compound the fault offering compensation but again not realising the likely costs to the innocent party, in this case the sellers affected.

    We know(or suspect that we know) that senior officials from ebay read Tamebay. So perhaps we should suggest a suitable level of compensation should it happen again(and with ebays sloppy systems it almost certainly will).

    How should a suitable level of compensation be calculated? Obviously every seller and indeed every item affected will incur differant costs and problems to correct the entries. If it had affected me and my entries I would have suffered so much in lost income and costs and extra work. This would be differant to what you would in a similar situation. So it might be unreasonable to suggest that ebay compensate us each individually for our losses and trouble. After all if it had agffected thousands of items we might still be argueing about our costs and losses in a years time. What is needed is a quick and straightforward method of calculating compensation.

    However a compensation of so many times the listing fee might be a quick and easy way of compensation being calculated. By 2 times listing is obviously totally bonkers. Should it be 10 times or 50 times or even 100 times? Almost no matter what figure is decided on there will be some who have lost more than the level of compensation and some who have gained because their level of loss was lower.

    ebay should remember that the sellers affected are totally the innocent party in all this and at the end of the day have a right not to be the losers because of ebays problems. Also of course unless this was a genuine case of equipment fault the likely cause is almost certainly human error within ebay.

    So could I suggest that the level of compensation should be 50 times listing fees and leave it up to others to say if they agree or disagree. The one thing I think we will all agree is that twice listing is a sick joke.

  4. I really do think it ought to be a legal requirement for anyone who works at eBay to be an eBay seller for at least 30 days before starting work there… and they would have to use Turbo Lister too, I guarantee things would change then.

    I only give eBay a paultry £15,000 a year in fees, but I’m switching over to Bidstart soon as I can’t take much more of their corporate nonsense…

  5. I suppose I should think myself luck that eBay only ended 2 of my listings. But, when I re-listed the ended listings none of the areas mentioned were missing!
    I still had to check stock left and amend the quantity, as re-lists always reset to original quantity, and of course I have lost sales history on them and one ws a long-standing item with numerous sales and both had watchers.

    eBay just gets worse and worse!

  6. These things happen. Its good that ebay communicated the problem…what more do you expect them to do?? write out an apology in blood??

    Hussain Bandai – £1m is nothing to ebay and you are nothing to them…get over it and move on.

  7. I don’t know if anyone else has been affected but I have also had 27 scheduled auctions disappear.

    Unlike ended items, schedules listings can’t be recovered from the unsold items list. I have to re-do all 27 auctions from scratch at a time cost of approx 15 minutes per listing.

    Plus it’s taken me 3 hours to work out which scheduled auctions were cancelled as only around half of them were.

    Plus I won’t be compensated for this work or time spent , even at the listing fee rate because I hadn’t actually paid any fees yet.

  8. I really don’t understand why there’s been no announcement from eBay on this, a problem that’s affected at least eBay UK, eBay.com and eBay Germany.

    Nothing on eBay or US announcement boards and nothing on the eBay system announcements.

    Are they all on holiday or busy watching the Olympics?

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