Are eBay’s My Messages working for you?

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James is a fairly large seller on eBay. He likes to communicate and give great customer service but he’s finding it increasingly difficult. Are eBay’s My Messages working for buyers and sellers, or have they become too inflexibly for the very purpose they were created?

My Messages FeatJust a little (big) whinge, and want to know if others are experiencing the same thing. I work for quite a large independent furniture company, my job is managing the eBay store, so I’m on eBay 5 days a week 9 hours a day (plus my own shopping at home), and I’m finding eBay gets more difficult, glitchy, or just downright impossible on a daily basis.

My latest bugbear is the eBay messages system. which was never very good to begin with, but now seems unfit for purpose.

We work on eBay’s website that primarily (if they had their way, exclusively) accepts payment through email addresses. They then prevent you from sending or receiving email addresses from customers.

I know there are some sellers who circumvent eBay, there’s a banner at the top of almost every message to remind us that they do, and that its against policy. this is not us, but we’re being punished for the misdeeds of a small minority; I understand some people also use their hands to steal things, in eBay world the solution would be to cut off everyone’s hands.

The VAST majority of customers we get asking to buy outside of eBay actually call rather than contact us through eBay’s own messaging system, and strangely they don’t prevent us displaying our phone number (I actually tell these people to order online first, then call back to make payment – the hassle trying to locate a non-eBay order if something goes wrong really isn’t worth the little extra margin for me)

I’ve found myself having to write in code, (a) (at) at -at- all don’t work. when I’m trying to explain to a customer that the email address we sent their refund to may be different from the one they talk to their grandkids on. They already don’t understand these concepts very well, and I cant even write the thing down, it doesnt reflect well on anyone. In fact I imagine the impression it gives a customer is verging on horrific – “You can’t be trusted to write down the email address you paid us with“.

Add PhotosWe also require images now and again. we can now receive a paltry 5 through eBay messaging. which pop up in a stupid flash box rather than in a normal useful manner. For some reason I cannot possibly comprehend they are also now protected. I cannot copy or download images that were sent to me. This is not copyright infringement, the images are not eBay’s IP, they have specifically been sent to me, why the hell are eBay guarding them? I cant put a claim into the manufacturers because they need me to forward the images to them. I’m having to download software for stealing images, in order to get the images which were sent to me.

The common sense thing to do would be to tell them to email the images directly, but we cant…. I have to provide customers with clues to where they might find our email address written, not massively professional.

I’m sure you’re already aware of the other limitations of eBay messaging, so I’ll stop my rant here, but I really hope they do something about it soon. whoever is in charge of these things is causing a degree of frustration I can foresee resulting in an exodus.

15 Responses

  1. I use to solve the email address in messages issue which also annoys me.

    Overall, my biggest annoyance with eBay’s messaging system is that a one line reply goes to the customer as several pages of guff with a more or less meaningless title.

    Not the professional impression I want to make.

  2. They are OK, not fine, not good just OK but only when they do not throw general “im sorry we couldn’t send your message” type errors, long and short of it is this: It causes a lot more problems than it solves.

  3. I agree completely, my ebay manager is off for a couple of days and the messaging system is useless !!!!

    Needs to be so much more improved.

  4. In all honesty I find customers fairly obtuse and ebay have striven to improve the service.

  5. EBay messaging is dire: we want to have great communication with our buyers, solve problems and get stuff delivered. We can do without a censored, overly restrictive, randomly glitchy, controlling and paranoid messaging system standing between us and doing more business.

    I understand the marketplace’s desire to control everything that everyone does and prevent disintermediation, but preventing good people from doing good things in order to prevent a very small number of people doing bad things goes against the founders ethos: most people are good. Furthermore disintermediation (that’s selling off-eBay) is less likely if the venue provides distinctive value, rather than being a massive pain.

    Messaging is only part of that pain, but why try to invent email again when there’s a good enough version in existence, and resources would be better spent fixing search.

  6. Just tried to invoice a couple of customers combining post & packing. ebay is throwing up an Unknown Error message. Has their systems broken yet again?

  7. The odd thing about eBay messaging and the email addresses issue is why block them on messaging but not on resolution centre? Surely the resolution cases are where eBay require a record of the conversation should the issue be escalated to dispute by customer?

  8. yesterday we had a customer wanting to buy 350 of a single furniture item, for a chain of hotels.
    they asked for some higher res images which they could download and use to show to the rest of the group, which i was only too happy to provide.
    they have come back today to say they have spent over 4hours trying to extract the images i sent through eBay messaging, and been unsuccesful.
    I imagine my (potential) customer is already rather frustrated at this point.
    i explained eBays genius new policies, and told her to email us and we can send back images she can download, except i cant even send her my email address.
    I have now sent her off on a hunt for our email address, armed with the best instruction and direction i can provide, and i can only hope she manages to find it before giving up and buying from amazon.
    this is not the way things should be.

  9. As a third party developer I often have subscribers open a support request through my website or Zendesk but it sometimes become apparent they either aren’t checking their email or never received my response. As a last resort I reach out to them via eBay MyMessages. Unfortunately these blocks prevent me from pointing them to their support ticket because they contain an email address.


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