eBay UK staff cuts are hurting eBay sellers

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With the eBay/PayPal divorce on the cards, we knew there would be ramifications. And globally eBay Inc. has embarked upon a downsizing personnel cull that will see roughly 7% of eBay staff getting their cards. The sackings are well underway.

It was never clear as to who they were letting go and what that might mean for eBay sellers. But in the past few days we’ve heard from SME sellers who have been losing key contacts in eBay’s customer support team.

One British seller who has been in touch says the removal of service has been both sudden and uncommunicative:

“We’ve been on eBay for approx 10 years now and have 3 eBay stores totaling just under 500k feedback. We’ve been what eBay term an eBay Strategic Account for a few years now and had a very good relationship with them – we’ve visited them in Richmond a few times and our account manager has flown over from Ireland to visit us, along with his boss. We featured in their various Deals fairly regularly. For the last few weeks it was becoming harder to contact our account manager.”

But that relationship seems to be dead now because of the staff cuts. This is a quote from an eBay Customer support manager sent to us by the seller in question: “I would like to apologize for being out of touch as of late. As part of the publicly announced restructuring that eBay is currently undertaking, I have been affected and will be leaving the company shortly. I would have liked to advise you earlier, but my hands were tied due to legal guidelines. I have really enjoyed working with you and truly wish you all the best for your business and personal life.”

As a result this big eBay seller, who has currently been availed with help and support from eBay, has no such relationship now. Not only has the rep he dealt with been dismissed but the boss too. He has not been given a replacement contact. It speaks to eBay’s corporate priorities.

What a waste. I’ve always argued that eBay should do much, much more for SME sellers dealing in volume and provide top class customer service that will drive sales and loyalty. And here we see eBay doing the opposite to delight shareholders and investors.

There is no official indication as to how many eBay Customer Support staff are being laid off. So we’d be interested to hear from you. Have your eBay contacts have been let go too? And if so, how will that affect your business?

50 Responses

  1. This is sad to read. The folks that we’ve dealt with in both Richmond and Dublin have been fantastic and absolute life-savers at times when the law of unintended consequences arises from some rule-change or process alteration. I very much hope that this will be limited in scope and the great individuals who help sellers get sales will continue in their roles.

  2. During a recent contact with eBay I asked about how the upcoming cuts would impact buyers and sellers.
    I was told that customer facing staff would not be affected.

    The person who told me that no longer works for eBay. I am aware that some staff most recently at Richmond are no longer with the Company.

    Sadly it’s currently a ‘game’ of numbers. Nothing to do with quality or service.

  3. Our experience of an eBay account manager was irritating ,we soon discovered he was little more than a sales rep for eBay ,knowing little about our how our eBay business worked ,
    contact with him was time consuming and unproductive

  4. If there is a voluntary element to these staff reductions I have noted in the past that the staff who put themselves forward in such situations at other organisations can tend be the more able / ambitious, who have something else in mind. The reduction in the overall calibre of remaining staff can be greater that the 7% figure would suggest.

  5. I’m not a big seller but Customer Service staff cuts at the level of the “ordinary” seller have been noticeable also.

    Defects and feedback queries will only be dealt with by the automated system. CS staff will not discuss this at all.

    Waiting times on the phone and live chat, both Dublin and Manilla, are noticeably longer. Cut and paste answers by staff who obviously don’t know what they are talking about is on the increase showing that CS staff numbers and CS staff training has been an area badly hit by staff cuts.

    Costs may be cut in the short term but this is not a good policy for the long term success of the site in my view.

  6. We had two account managers who have both gone. We now have one guy as a replacement for the next four to six weeks. His remit is much smaller and is only really interested in Deals. We were also informed that the majority of all account management staff have now left ebay.

  7. We too have lost our account manager with no more than an email from the man himself:
    “I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know that this will be my last week at ebay. There will be further communication from the Merchant Development Leadership in due course. Until then, Merchant Support will be your point of contact for any issues or questions you may have related to your account”
    Of course we have yet to hear from the ‘leadership’.
    Given that our GMV on eBay is a six figure sum, to be communicated to in this way is appalling and smacks of a company with a monopoly position having little regard for its customers. Show us this isn’t true eBay?
    Over the years we have had many account managers some good some poor and some excellent. We have also had the invites to Richmond and have felt valued in the past. The best account manager really encouraged us and took the time to understand our market – I’m sure it isn’t an easy job to find staff as good as that but surely it would be possible to communicate the situation in a manner which doesn’t leave us feeling negative towards the company?

  8. I’ve been selling on ebay for 11 years, I’ve never had an account manager but since the cuts, contacting ebay is pointless.
    Used to get unfair defects removed with no issues over live chat, this is now impossible and really irritating.
    As mentioned above, waiting times have increased and the quality of help has reduced dramatically

  9. I’ve never had an account manager, and I’ve always received average customer service from eBay at best. It’s usually quite poor, but in the last month or so I can see it’s gone worse.

    There seems to have been some kind of memo to not remove bad feedback and/or defects as what was fairly easy to get removed is now proving impossible.

    I’ve also been given incorrect information by CS agents that was detrimental to my selling account more than once.

    It would also seem that some eBay users are getting an automated bot when using ‘Live Help’.

    So I’m not sure if it’s to do with staff cuts, but I’ve seen a marked decrease in what was already fairly poor customer service.

    It’s a fact that eBay don’t really treat their sellers like customers though, so I doubt customer service is high on their list of priorities.

  10. Sad to hear the situation, but it was expected.
    The service in general is poor and communication with ebay also extremely bad.
    I don’t sell but I buy and therefore my experience with ebay was good to start with now it is negative.

    I note the conditions in staff losing their jobs in the uk !!! is this a service that is likely to be transferred to another country , therefore. making any issue with ebay harder to resolve.

    I have reported a few issues and normally they are handled well.
    More recently ebay don’t read messages sent to them and when time has expired they bluntly blame the customer for errors that they ebay made. It was clearly their resolution centres fault but they did not act properly. I did threaten the seller with court action before resolving the issue myself.

    The quality, I feel, will be much less to their customers in the future .
    Sadly it is a service we all use from time to time but it seems to be a service that is becoming unreliable.


  11. We have had an ebay account manager for the past 6 years. All of a sudden I cannot get a reply from him. Tried calling, answer phone. Tried emailing, no reply. I have since contacted Merchant Support and they raised my case to “Merchant Development”. Its been just over 1 week and I haven’t heard from them either.

    It is a shame as we really valued our ebay account manager.

  12. They do not have any serious competition so they are not too bothered,rather take or leave option ,I think

  13. I have sold on eBay for years just gets worst and worst they dont a **** about sellers ,all about the buyrer there must be another way.

  14. I get the impression that as eBay is being sold soon it’s being Run into the ground like an old car. I hope someone decent buys it and does it up. It’s certainly getting worse before it’s getting better atm

  15. never had a manager, but do make some good sales on ebay, id say an average yearly wage worth.

    i have found CS to be hit and miss. sometimes you get a really good one, and they will even phone up to inquire if problem has been sorted.

    and i once written down the names of the “good” people and asked for them / mentioned them which helped the process along, but they have left a while ago.

    now if i have a problem, i will ring up and ask it a couple of times to make sure the advice is correct. having had a very bad experience with ebay giving me bad advice which i acted on but THEY held ME to account.
    a rogue CS agent told me i should do something but every other CS agent told me it was wrong, and only got it resolved by going to the CEO

  16. The overriding theme of this thread is that eBay customer support is not good and rather than help sellers support reps more often than not hinder sellers
    So eBay are doing the sensible thing in our opinion

  17. They’ve hit a new low and that’s for sure.

    I received a neg last week from a buyer who clearly misunderstood what he was buying. I asked ebay to remove it, twice. They said no, twice. It wasn’t in line with removing policy, but as I have had other negs removed in the past, it was always worth a shot.
    Last week I received threats of negative feedback from a buyer who wanted free p&p for additional items. She paid the full amount of p&p and then made threats when delivery arrived. I contacted her and explained my p&p charges, which she could see clearly before she paid. Silence until last night when she left me 3 negs. I opened up the latest reply from CS in my ebay messages and quickly sent off the details of this new request, just becuase I KNEW this was right department and just to get something off to them quickly as I was seriously hacked off. I then found the ebay policy page where it says it is against ebay policy to ask the seller to reduce the postage charge. Which is what this buyer was doing by asking for free p&p on additional items when that’s not how I operate.
    I opened 3 new cases for removal.
    This morning ebay have refused to remove her feedback becuase it’s NOT in breech or ebay policy. But they removed the feedback on my original complaint as it suddently WAS in breech of policy.
    Beat that!

  18. I thought these staff cuts were to do with separating from Paypal and staff in areas connected to Paypal on eBay side would be cut.

    Areas discussed above appear to have nothing to do with split from Paypal, so what is going on with eBay? Is sales revenue right down and in which areas? Are there any good growth prospects for eBay in the near future?

  19. Like many here, I have also been invited to Richmond a couple of times and have been selling on eBay for nearly 15 years. eBay used to be a great place to buy and sell, and they used to value their larger sellers.

    eBay back then is completely different to eBay now. Best match, 3rd party ads, continuous increase of fees, and all the other nonsense aimed at looking good for the shareholders is just beating a dead horse now.

    Yes, eBay still remains an obvious and worthwhile first stop for starting a business selling products online, thanks to the established brand name and relative lack of competition.

    However, I am certain that in the next 15 years we will see a rise in de-centralised and possibly p2p selling platforms with integrated escrow charging very little or no fees, with payments transmitted in bitcoin.

    OpenBazaar is an early example, and still in beta, but this model will be the future for online marketplaces. Total fees (including payment) of something like 1-2%, on an open market including escrow and feedback, will result in better priced goods than places like eBay where the dead-horse sellers are being whipped for total fees approaching 10%.

  20. considering the patronising and superior attitude we have received from ebay support staff in the past we find difficulty not feeling smug

  21. I think that eBay CS staff are encouraged by management to be obstructive or unhelpful, thereby convincing sellers that contacting them is a waste of time.

    This in turn reduces the amount of problems that CS have to deal with, and therefore CS staff are not needed because no-one bothers to call them.

    Management have then got a good reason to get rid of them as they’re not needed, this reduces costs, and makes eBay a bigger profit.


  22. Sellers who never contact customer support should not be subsidising those who constantly do. The more demanding sellers should pay higher fees and the less demanding sellers should have a fee reduction. No need to sack staff then as customer support would be revenue generating and not a cost. Alternatively a call charge of £1 a minute should do the trick.

  23. I feel sorry for the reps. They tried their best, but it was obvious they were being hindered from above.
    Now, many are out of a job despite their capability.
    eBay rep jobs will soon be a high turnover Mcjob with staff having low motivation.

    eBay, you did this to yourself

  24. we sell car parts etc on here and between myself and a few of my friends who are also in the same trade varying in size from a few hundred to a few thousand orders a month its clear we are heading over to amazon, its just so much simpler, i have become sick of ringing ebay all day everyday!

  25. The whole reason for the introduction of the seller defect rate is to take away any discount on the monthly seller fees. There is no other reason, it’s more money for eBay’s coffers Chinese sellers ship stuff to their ‘UK location’ declare low to non-existent customs value to avoid VAT and import tax and then we have to compete with their low prices. I can buy some of the products I sell cheaper from UK Chinese sellers than I can from my own supplier in China, why is that? Because I have to pay VAT and import tax!! The whole thing is a joke. Ebay’s customer service for sellers is just automated robot replies with that sickly sweet ‘I’m really sorry that you had a problem’ line followed by ‘basically it’s tough sh*t’. I would expect a little more for the £5000 a month I pay in fees, wouldn’t you? The old system of DSRs was in my opinion a good thing for sellers and buyers so why on earth is a 3 star rating now a defect? It’s madness! Next thing only 5 stars will be a good order and anything else will be a defect. Somebody back me up here?

  26. decrease in premium seller discount

    Ow the Ebayers who play the numbers game and undercut everyone else…. Bo hoo you not getting your discount.
    PMSL always nice to see big business players get burned

  27. These things have been happening for years to SME’s.
    Nothing new , Ebay are just giving less support higher up the chain.

    I assume now the big brand outlets are now getting all the support.(the more companies/individuals that feel the pain off the smaller seller the better in my opinion, far too many have there head in the sand)

    The bigger you are the harder you fall, ebay is an unstable selling platform. This is why we have not gone for expansion/growth over the last 5+ years on ebay.

    We much prefer expansion in other areas away from ebay.

  28. It seems none of us are getting the service we deserve, regardless of how much in fees we pay.
    I’m still getting the runaround by two ebay staff who are refusing to see a breach in policy abused.
    I’m disappointed tamebay removed the names of the ebay staff. I can see why the names were removed, but it would be handy to see if there is a pattern of consistantly non-helpful ebay staff giving sellers the runaround.
    Why let them get away with being obstructive?
    Maybe these are the staff being let go and they’re just passing time?
    Incredibly frustrating.

  29. eBay really need a kick up the back side in terms of seller support.

    £70k/year and what do I get? Nothing, Live Chat is tedious and slow. Phone support can be OK but I have no point of contact. I have to repeat problems every time I call.

    Amazon on the other hand are absolutely amazing.Replies within hours, technical minded articulate agents and you can speak to them on the phone too…and I only spend £7k/year with them on fee’s !

  30. I tell you what, I feel sorry for Babz. One of the top 5 sellers in the globe, yet not afforded the same benefits that Argos are…for example Argos get to have their feedback percentage on the listings hidden…no such deal for Babz, or at least there wasn’t last time I looked.

    I’d be kicking off big time, one rule for one, one rule for another – surely the first thing that should matter to any seller large or small, is that the rule book is equal for all.

  31. NOTHING will change until ALL sellers understand/realize we are all in the same boat.(large and small sellers) The I am alright jack attitude will be the final nail in the ebay coffin.

    mind you its looking more and more like ebay are only looking after the brand named outlets now.

  32. I do not for an instance believe that is a BABZ employee.
    They get same preference as argos etc especially being one of the top 5 worldwide sellers.

  33. I’m in no way a big seller, just a one person band, although over the last 5 years I seen a huge shift over to Amazon with eBay sales falling and Amazon increasing. This must be due to eBay pushing Sellers/Buyers away with their defect schemes and nonsensical search algorithms. Have they forgotten that Sellers are also Buyers? eBay customer service has become a joke, as has ‘seller protection’. You hang on the phone for hours being passed from agent to agent, that’s if you are lucky enough not to be disconnected. The site constantly has glitches with the shopping basket and other aspects not working correctly. On the rare occasions I’ve had to call Amazon the issue has been resolved within 24 hours, with the CS rep taking responsibility and calling me back.

    As a seller it is now a requirement to have your eggs in many baskets. I’ve started a business plan that doesn’t have eBay in it, so if it does all go **** up I’ve got a back up plan.

  34. I have run four shops on ebay over the last 10 years selling computer parts and I am saddened now by the poor attitude of CS staff who patronise me with their same old mantra.
    today I had a buyer contact me to apologise for accidently leaving me a low DSR hence causing a defect. I contacted CS and spent 30 mins being patronised and treated like a naughty child. I was told they could not remove the defect. So at the end of the day if we cannot a simple honest mistake (admitted by buyer on ebays own message system) sorted out then what chance do any of us have.
    I have decided to now wind down ebay operations and start to move over to amazon as I cannot run a business with the threat of sanction for things that I cannot control
    RIP ebay


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