Tamebay comment: A bad week for eBay UK sellers. Worse for buyers.

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Trouble comes in threes. So let us tot up eBay UK’s troubles this week:

A botched coupon promo that left loads of buyers wanting more.

A glitch meaning UK buyers were unable to buy from UK sellers for maybe up to a week.

And a serious several hour long outage on Thursday night that crippled eBay search.

From experience, when things go wrong with eBay, it’s best to blame cock-up before conspiracy. And whilst problems will occur, it’s how you deal with them that counts.

And with each of these problems, communication from eBay has been scant, apology half-hearted and recompense non-existent.

Imagine being an eBay buyer. “The 20% coupon didn’t work. I couldn’t buy something I liked when using the Shopping Basket. Oh, eBay search doesn’t work tonight.” As a buyer, you don’t need that crap.

eBay sellers are willing to put up with a ton of crap though (they’re used to it after all these years), if sales are strong and healthy and buyers are happy and spendy. They will be forgiving of an honest mistake.

But all the problems this week hit buyers really hard. eBay itself has dented its own reputation with buyers and Tamebay asks what it’s going to do to reforge confidence with those buyers that have been affected by glitches and dodgy offers. How many just went to Amazon when eBay couldn’t (quite literally) deliver the goods?

Don’t forget that eBay has been tough on sellers: making sure they meet growing buyer needs. And eBay isn’t behaving in the way it expects sellers to behave. If eBay raises expectations on sellers, as has been the case, then sellers can expect more from eBay. eBay will be 20 this year and yet it is still making schoolboy errors which were barely acceptable in the nascent years of the dot.com bubble.

It’s worth noting that Tamebay has never written a piece like this about a significant Amazon outage or the like.

eBay has emphasised the needs of happy buyers in the past two years and quite right too. Sellers have embraced eBay’s mantra and sucked up new rules, such as Defects, to ensure that buyers keep coming back. There isn’t an eBay seller that will argue with the idea that an army of returning, paying customers is a very good thing.

But now eBay must keep its side of the bargain and provide the sleek, flawless, growing and reliable marketplace the sellers pay for. Quid pro quo.

Every eBay seller, as a paying customer, has it in their power to call on eBay to raise its game. Do it. You should expect better. What will you ask for?

CC Devin Wenig, CEO Designate of eBay: @devinwenig

36 Responses

  1. A friend who works in website development says that Google is demoting Ebay results and actively promoting non-Ebay sales results above them.

    You can see why.

    Buyers and sellers are entitled to a safe, stable and reliable platform to trade on, or they can and will go elsewhere.

    We’ve all been let down so badly by Ebay for so long it’s difficult to see how it can survive long term.

    Trying hard to think of anything positive to suggest, but really can’t, as it seems completely pointless.

    Ebay does not listen and that has been the real problem for many years.

  2. Nice post Dan. That felt very personal, as though you had encapsulated everything that most sellers are thinking, well me anyway.
    These sorts of things are what makes me put my eggs into more than one basket.
    If one ship goes down, at least I have a few more with cargo on board.

  3. ~
    That’s a good piece Dan, a sad reflection of where we are.
    You could also add the significant number of sellers restricted from the Click & Collect offer to that list.

    Sadly the words efficient, straightforward and honest are anathema to eBay.
    They should and could be so much better than that.

  4. Absolutely right, Dan. Trouble is any contact we do get from them will just be so much corporate-speak.

    Fiddling whilst Rome burns?

  5. What we really need is a subscription based independent user group who has enough finance to sue ebay on behalf of their members for lost sales. Maybe then Ebay will sit up and take notice.

  6. We have spotted a minor glitch this morning that others may see. Ebay have emailed the months invoices and they have emailed us the invoice from 19th of June 2014 and then followed by the correct one for this year. Minor thing and spotted straight away.

  7. There are so many issues with eBay presently.

    Duplicate listings, duplicate listings over many accounts, picture graffiti, lack of visibility, sellers allowed to exact VAT fraud. Royal Mail fraud by some large sellers, sellers on best match not adhering to UK distance selling regs…………the list goes on.

    This is a situation where a once mighty marketplace is now looking like a 1960’s crumbling dingy shopping centre whilst Amazon is the shiny new out of town mega shopping mall. eBay have let bad sellers ruin the marketplace. They have allowed it as it is in their interest to get listing fees. What they do not understand is that we are now beyond a tipping point where buyers want to wade through millions of identical items.

    buyers want quality and not quantity of identical listings. eBay has a lot to do to rid itself of bad sellers and bad buyers. The business model is not working.

  8. I’ve never seen (Dan particularly) tamebay so done with ebay’s **** before. Wow.

  9. new ebay/paypal glitch this morning. Just received 7 yes Seven paypal ebay notification emails for 1 transaction! Checked paypal and i have correctly been credited the once so why 7 emails! Sales are also way down recently, closing my anchor shop end of this month i’ve had enough paying high sub fees for non-exposure). Is there not a solicitor out there willing to bring a class action on seller behalf against ebay for non-performance and not giving us wghat we pay for?

  10. Nice post Dan.

    I’ve also had the ‘7 emails for one payment’ glitch, missing/late PayPal emails, missing eBay item sold emails etc.

    I’ve been saying for years that eBay need to hold themselves to the same high standards they hold sellers to. I’m all for getting sellers to raise their game, but there always seems to be something wrong with eBay’s inner workings.

    eBay keeps blaming sellers for driving buyers away, but they really need to be looking inwards for reasons why buyers don’t come back.

  11. ~
    I have just returned to the office.
    In the time that I was away a buyer in France (happy with that!) bought 11 items and paid for them one-at-a-time.

    The value of the order was over my threshold for free postage and, as I always do, I have honoured that by refunding 11 postage payments of £1.75.

    Not only has this taken me a great deal of time, it has left me ‘out’ by 20p x 10 (to PayPal) and 17.5p x 11 to eBay in postage tax).

    eBay seem not to want sellers like me by allowing me to offer promotional postage and then not to facilitate it. They are very likely to soon get their wish.

  12. The problem EBAY have with their systems will be due to relentless changes they are making, coupled in with the need to make them in cheap staff countries where the build quality and due diligence doesn’t exist. It’s the beauty of public companies always having to increase their returns to investors and who do so by outsourcing to cheaper (and always worse) companies. The service in turn slowly degrades.
    It’s not just EBAY in this boat and I’m sure everybody will be able to name many FTSE100 companies who have non-existent services offered by offshore centres and flaky technical systems.
    False economy will find them out eventually but some of these giants will take time to fall.

  13. something now up with items sold in seller manager pro. Sold an item this morning, just had 2 sales this afternnoon yet they are showing as sold before this morning’s sale. What on earth is going on? Ebay defected.

  14. lets be honest; ebay is not fit for purpose. The sheer size of the business is keeping it afloat , but as more bits fail, the faults are becoming more obvious. ebay hide thier figures behind clever accounting – probably the same accounting that is keeping top management in cloud cuckoo land.

  15. Always is a very poor site at the best of times. Won’t change. Just happy to relentlessly blame sellers.

  16. Still having UK buyers blocked from buying in the UK. Another 2 today, 19th June, so it’s not fixed is it!!

  17. Hi there,

    Just been informed by ebay, for UK customers still having trouble buying from the UK, that if they try to buy the item again from you they’ll need to empty their basket and re-add the item. Otherwise they’ll have the same problem.

  18. There is definitely a lot of tinkering / messing around with the site , on Wednesday evening my Sold List all displayed the buyers postcode, I have never had that before, a couple of hours later it had gone, I haven’t seen it again since. Also on Wednesday night while doing a search for some bits and bobs my search results were displayed with a nice clear picture and the items condition / description next to it and there were NO adverts on the page BUT worryingly as a seller, it only displayed ONE page of results and there was a small box at the bottom asking if you would like to see all the results. It appears the displayed items in my search had all been specially selected by ebay… which usually means a lot of items I am interested in don’t get to appear… So if an item is not displayed in that initial list, then there is a good chance it won’t get seen at all.
    On a slightly different observation, I am noticing more and more of my friends are buying goods from Facebook .

  19. Excellent piece Dan, written with a passion for ebay.
    With regard to recording “glitches”, last Saturday 13 June from about 11.00am – 7.00pm the web address for ebay.co.uk was missing the green secure site padlock with the ebay.us pre-fix.
    It was simply the http pre-fix with a red cross.
    When I clicked to get more information regarding this status it reported that -“this site is protected by outdated encryption, that parts of the site were not secure or protected”.
    It reverted to the norm after about 8 hours.
    I checked ebay.ie, ebay.com, ebay.de and ebay.au and they were ALL protected with the green padlock evident in the web address.
    I really wish I had taken a screen shot.
    Since the block on UK buyers came to light and the recent outage on Thursday night the site seems to have reached a new low for activity in my experience as a seller.
    Messages, feedback left, page views, bids on auctions are virtually non-existent whilst downdetector continues to show the UK as a glowing hotspot for all things technically deficient in the ebay global network.
    I do wonder if the recent increase in technical problems on the site are due to the separation of ebay and Paypal as corporate bed-fellows who possibly had shared systems and data streams.

  20. Ebays lack of concern tells me that they are quite happy with the general state of their business, the money must be still rolling in ,
    if a few hundred even afew thousand sellers are inconvenienced so what!
    they will be even less bothered about a blog site comment that is seller focused

  21. “From experience, when things go wrong with eBay, it’s best to blame cock-up before conspiracy. And whilst problems will occur, it’s how you deal with them that counts.”

    Past doesn’t always explain the present. I’d say there is a fair chance it is not just incompetence, and contend that we have reached a point where it’s now no longer how we deal with them.

  22. I am getting quite tired at eBay increasing protection for buyers and reducing support for genuine businesses. In particular the app no longer lets you select UK only sellers, even if the buyer is in the UK. This means that a lot of UK sellers are competing harder with international sellers on mobile sales.


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