eBay buyers are more hard work than Amazon buyers

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The received wisdom, for some time, has been that eBay buyers need more coddling and make more complaints than Amazon buyers. And finally we have proof that backs up that widely held supposition.

Whether it’s Item Not As Described complaints, lost parcels or returns, one seller’s experience seems to unequivocally show hat eBay buyers really are much more hard work than Amazon buyers. An eBay and Amazon trader going by the name Bigian13 on the Webretailer forums has compiled the numbers for his trading in January 2013.

Here is the tally of total sales over the period in question:

Total sales:
eBay – 1511 (22.65%)
Amazon FBM – 1375 (20.61%)
Amazon FBA – 3415 (51.17%)
Other – 372 (5.57%)

And for those sales here are the activities required:

Number of messages received:
eBay – 732 (91.62%)
Amazon FBM – 64 (8.01%)
Amazon – FBA – N/A (0.00%)
Other – 3 (0.37%)

Item not received claims:
eBay – 124 (99.2%)
Amazon FBM – 1 (0.8%)
Amazon FBA – N/A (0.0%)
Other – 0 (0.0%)

eBay – 24 (92.3%)
Amazon FBM – 1 (3.85%)
Amazon FBA – 1 (3.85%)
Other – 0

Claims for Not As Described:
eBay – 47 (100%)
Amazon FBM – 0
Amazon FBA – 0
Other – 0

So what’s it all about? Are eBay buyers just generally more picky? It seems hard to explain that because I reckon that most eBay buyers are also Amazon buyers too.

Or is it, as I suspect, an aspect of the marketplaces themselves. What do you think? What makes for these striking differences of behaviour on eBay and Amazon?

28 Responses

  1. Whilst we don’t do the numbers above, I would completely agree with those stats. I think people trust Amazon more. We get a lot of messages just after ordering on Ebay as people are already looking for something to complain about or go wrong before it even happens maybe.

    It certainly will be interesting to see what others have to say on this, but one thing is for sure we need to make sure Ebay work hard to get the marketplace back on track to keep competing with Amazon as it would be very scary to only have one main marketplace that wants to rule the world.

  2. Darren is spot on.

    eBay positively encourage complaints, returns and fraud.

    Slightly controversially, Amazon marketplace buyers when they do contact us are also far more polite and can spell. A sociologist would put that better than I

  3. There are more scam buyers on ebay. Ebay are fully aware of them and do nothing.

    Amazon do delete users with too many a-z claims.

    We had a buyer last week that claimed INR. we contacted the last 5 sellers they bought from(using watchcount for purchase data). each one said inr was filed(buyer had private feedback). We resolved the inr by informing the buyer we had that info. this buyer closed the case straight away.

    most of those 5 sellers refunded. In my mind ebay is as guilty for the loss to the seller as the buyer.(we only checked the first 5 sellers)

  4. When a buyer purchases from Amazon they feel they are making a purchase from Amazon “the company” and when a buyer purchases from eBay , they feel they are making a purchase from an individual person or individual company.
    Amazon buyers also appear better educated and less inclined to “penny pinch”.

  5. Also a thought in regards to the messages…

    We get many “Can you answer…” emails from Amazon each day. If you wanted to count these as messages from buyers then the difference between eBay would be much lower.

  6. I completely agree with the stats. Ebay is hard work and the customers are very rude and demanding.
    Half the problem is that customers do not read what they are purchasing and make assumpsions to what they will get, and threaten negative feedback for INR for small items that are not tracked.
    I sell on Amazon and ebay, and I would prefer Amazon customers any day – It does appear to be a class difference.
    Ebay need to introduce a tracking system for sellers to report a buyer when an item has been claimed not received for, without getting a defect for it as many sellers will refund a customer as soon as the buyer reports via email that they have not got the item to avoid getting a negative or defect on the account. So i suspect that there is a much higher number of fraudulent claims than they know about. Ebay would then be able to track serial claimaints and block them – such a simple solution that would benefit us all – hopefully you’ll all agree 🙂

  7. I made this point in a post on this site a long time ago.

    We see only a small % of losses on other site compared with Ebay.

    Same products, same delivery service.

    Conclusion 1 : Ebay buyers are substantially more dishonest than others.

    Conclusion 2: Ebay encourages buyers to act in this way with their policies and bias against sellers.

    I’ve been in a queue and heard two women bragging how they got their Ebay items “for free” by claiming INR.

  8. its night-and-day difference.

    and its because Amazon actually sell prodcuts, where ebay dont have a clue.

    if you’re the kind of blatant scumbag rip-off merchant, Amazon will bar you, or at the very least, not take your side. ebay will give you a medal and ask you to do it again.

    ebay actively encourages fraud, i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again, because they do.

  9. As a seller on eBay of collectible items I can say that I have had a very small percentage of returns/non received claims.

    Now if I was selling second hand bras I imagine that would not be the case.

  10. Am a seller on eBay and Amazon and these stats are a perfect example of my “hassle” summary

  11. I cant compare ebay with Amazon, but can compare with website sales. A short time ago I compared returns, lost in the post, and damaged in the post claims for ebay and website. Same calendar period, and number of packages dispatched approximately equal for both. Website claims/returns 3, ebay claims/returns 39.
    Trying to get to some kind of reason for the difference I noticed that of the total sales for the period I looked at, only 5 customers had bought from the website and ebay. And one of the website returns was from a customer who also claimed for two purchases made through ebay.
    As the products are effectively the same, and all other factors the same; post service, packing, labelling etc I could only reach one conclusion.

  12. I appreciate I am going to be generalising.



    A hot new and much sought after gizmo has a High Street RRP of £15.

    However, it is much sought after and shops keep selling out. Shoppers can make many wasted trips, only to be let down as the item is out of stock.

    The ebay customer decides they want the item. They spend several fruitless weekends, driving around shops, paying for petrol and parking, only to be told ” Sorry, sold out “.

    They look at online prices and are outraged that an item with an RRP of £15 is being sold for £20 or even more.

    They are determined not to pay more than the RRP of £15. They sit at their computer on Saturday morning and spend the day bidding on auctions, giving up on each auction once the price hits £14.99. Their children want to go to the park, but the ebay buyers says that sorry, we cannot go, as they are involved in several auctions. Eventually, late in the evening, after spending 15 hours bidding on acutions, they ebay buyer finally wins an auction at £14.95. They are happy. They have their item, and they did not pay over RRP.

    The Amazon buyers looks online and sees the gizmo for £30. They realise that it is over priced from the RRP of £15. On Saturday morning, they do two hours overtime. They buy the item. They take their children to the park. The item arrives in the post on Monday morning.

  13. Ebay actively encourage theft and complaints with their ” we will give you your money back” adverts all over the website. People see that then look to see if its tracked – if its not then they claim INR. Its rampant on there. The seller gets a “defect” on their account.

    They give ridiculous delivery estimates that the seller has no control over and receive another “defect” if the buyer lies about delivery time. What load of crap. We have quit ebay as its no longer a place to run a professional business.

  14. I sell on both Amazon and eBay. The numbers are similar to mine, I got about 10 ebay messages to every one amazon message although I sold more on Amazon. Even if eBay is going through a quiet period I still get loaded with messages.

    Generally I find eBay buyers more irritating and have a bargain bin mentality, they will even try to haggle stuff that is already discounted and abuse the ridiculous returns process to get a free return and make up nonsense to get a free item. But they are more like flies buzzing around me. Annoying but not life threatening.

    On the other hand Amazon is no utopia. If you get a complaint or case of fraud on Amazon, the consequences are far more serious and can get the account suspended. Our worse scams and fraud has taken place on Amazon and got two of our accounts suspended permanently.

  15. INR cases on ebay , i leave a follow up feedback on buyers feedback saying ITEM NOT RECIEVED ROYAL MAIL CLAIM OPENED , just so other sellers are aware if they check the buyers feedback and to discourage buyers from opening too many cases , they can go private feedback but some buyers are unaware of this
    it could be a geunine INR CASE but i estimate 90% of ebay INR are false

  16. We trade on eBay and Amazon and there is no question at all, eBay customers report far more INR. To the extent we have started our own website as a fake tracking website, we stick on our parcels fake tracking details https://www.dropbox.com/s/rhkrht5a08wlo8g/RECORDEDMAIL_LABEL_NEW.jpg?dl=0 and this has cut down INR claims by about 70%. We have a back office system which records the IP address of anyone enquiring about their parcel, they don’t realise that they would only be checking their number (same number every time) on our website if they had not received their parcel, so we can see people have enquired then don’t claim, we have only had one instance in a couple of years of someone checking on the site then brave enough to put in a INR case, we simply emailed the customer with details of the time date IP address etc of the tracking number checked and they closed the case !

  17. I think the stats as they are given show a poor use of percentages. It still highlights the same issue, but to compare the four wouldn’t be more sensible to say:

    Total sales:
    eBay – 1511
    Amazon FBM – 1375
    Amazon FBA – 3415
    Other – 372

    Number of messages received:
    eBay – 732 (48.44%)
    Amazon FBM – 64 (4.65%)
    Amazon FBA – N/A
    Other – 3 (0.81%)

    Item not received claims:
    eBay – 124 (8.21%)
    Amazon FBM – 1 (0.07%)
    Amazon FBA – N/A
    Other – 0 (0%)

    eBay – 24 (1.59%)
    Amazon FBM – 1 (0.07%)
    Amazon FBA – 1 (0.03%)
    Other – 0 (0%)

    Claims for Not As Described:
    eBay – 47 (3.11%)
    Amazon FBM – 0 (0%)
    Amazon FBA – 0 (0%)
    Other – 0 (0%)

  18. Unlike ebay, Amazon don’t have a “we will give you your sellers money back” promo plastered all over Amazon. Basically ebay don’t care its not their money. Could you picture any other retail business other than ebay promoting this above all else? The valuable pixel space on ebay should be used help sell sellers stuff not promote free money!

  19. More messages are sent by ebay buyers because ebays systems are s**** and buyers don’t understand how things work to combine shipping, hold off on payment, locate the descriptions, and basically do things that are normal on any other marketplace and website. We sellers have to tolerate and accept this. In trying to be Amazon, ebay have actually moved a zillion miles away from Amazon! The Donahoe era turned ebay into a tangled web of poor logic. Is anyone actually surprised that buyers ask more questions on ebay than anywhere else? They are simple people after all!


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