Tamebay comment: eBay is shamed by its silence

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This is the saddest post I have ever written for Tamebay.

Things go wrong. In every business, in every walk of life, there are problems. In the inevitable situation of a problem, it’s not the problem that’s a problem, it’s how you deal with the problem that counts.

There is no doubt that some eBay UK customers have been having significant difficulties accessing and using the eBay site functionality since last Friday. In particular, it seems to be smaller sellers, trying to use My eBay and the messaging function to communicate with buyers, that have been affected. As you can read in the thread here.

At Tamebay we discern that there is a real problem from the volume of emails and comments we have received plus the notable peak in Tamebay traffic over the weekend and into this week, and the social media pings we’ve observed. They are all above the ordinary.

eBay has fastidiously avoided noting that there is any problem at all publicly since last Friday. There has been no announcement and there has been no acknowledgement on social media. The eBay silence is both shocking and shaming. And insulting to those who pay good money for the eBay service.

If there is something that affects eBay sellers, regardless of whether it’s eBay’s fault directly or not, doesn’t the eBay machine have a duty of care to ensure that its community of sellers is kept informed?

We’re talking about customers, very often paying tens of thousands of pounds annually, who deserve to be treated with rather more respect and decency than total radio silence.

If the fault lies with a 3rd party, say BT, then eBay must say that unambiguously. eBay has so far said nothing formally at all. Why?

Contempt? Fear? Incompetence? Ignorance? Inaction? Who knows? Over the past few days eBay has shown an unprecedented lack of concern for sellers for which I can think of no equivalent in my 16 years association with the company. Perhaps they don’t actually see that a problem exists at all?

But there is a problem. So will there be clemency for affected sellers from eBay? Functions regarding despatch and communicating with buyers (both of which eBay judges sellers on) have been impaired. We just don’t know if they will show deserved concern on such infractions. Clarification would be welcome.

I’m sorrowful writing this post. As Tuesday dawns, will eBay come clean and explain exactly what has been going on and promise that affected sellers will be treated fairly? I doubt it. I’m not entirely sure that anyone in Richmond or San Jose is actually cognisant of this problem at all. Sad to say.

In a statement in 2014 Tanya Lawler, who heads up the eBay UK business, said: “We regret every moment where we do not live up to our customers’ expectations. Nothing is more important than providing a platform you can trust to trade on successfully. We are committed to ensuring our infrastructure maintains that trust every day.”

We’d like to see her live up to that promise with regards to this seemingly ongoing situation.


eBay has sent us this comment:

“We understand that some of our customers experienced problems accessing parts of eBay.co.uk yesterday and over the weekend.

While the vast majority of customers were able to access the sites without issue, a series of separate problems with routing meant that some customers saw a timeout message when trying to perform certain actions. A separate issue with My eBay > Messages has also now been resolved.

We’d like to sincerely apologise to all eBay customers for any inconvenience they experienced.

We very much welcome feedback from customers affected by this and thank them for their patience over the weekend. If customers have any concerns related to this issue, please contact our customer service team.”

35 Responses

  1. Absolutely! I’m still strugging to use the site. I can’t seem to read my messages and it is very slow to bring up certain pages. Clearly something is wrong, it is absurd for ebay to attempt to deny it.

  2. It is very common for eBay to have glitches in their system around this time of year, as they prepare for the changes, which traditionally are announced in the Spring Seller in mid to late March.

    The frequency of the glitches recently are probably an indication of the amount of changes we can expect.

  3. Well said.

    I repeat what I posted a couple of years ago.

    To Ebay, sellers are sub-human.

  4. Whats new! better they say nothing than the patronising dribble they sometimes come up with,

  5. The point made at the top about sellers paying tens of thousands of pounds in fees is right on the money.

    There is only one group of paying “customers” who get treated as badly as Ebay sellers and that’s taxpayers.

    In both cases the rationale is the same.

    Govt knows you have to pay taxes and treats you with contempt, at least until an election is in the offing.

    Ebay believes (it still does!) that sellers have got to sell with them, so it can treat them as it likes.

    This flawed myopic view is what will ultimately bring Ebay down.

    The process is well under way.

  6. Excellent post Dan. Spot on.

    On Friday I contacted eBay via Twitter to be told I should contact my ISP as they had no issues and it must be the ISP that was having issues.

    We have two ISP’s – one via 4G and one via DSL. The only site that has issues when testing both those ISP’s was eBay.

    At which point I gave up. Because contacting ‘Support’ is clearly a waste of time.

    Incidentally we are still having defects applied for Royal Mail tracking when delivery is attempted but not successful. So don’t believe the nonsense that came via email about them not counting. They still do. Emailed Seller Support on Thursday about that. Still no reply.

  7. It’s about time they start taking responsibility not just for site issues but mistakes and bad decisions that the representatives make too.

    One bad decision can have a massive impact on a sellers account and the seller penalised one way or another. It should be the same for eBay.

  8. Nice piece Dan, you should send it to Devin Wenig, HE might wake Tanya up into action and admission.
    I did notice that the ebay.co.uk Community Manager, AL(gorithm)AN(droid) had posted the carefully scripted message on various threads on the Discussion Boards that “some users may be experiencing………..” and pointing the finger at BT as being at fault.
    Given that BT had denied this yesterday and had asked ebay’s Social media team to stop posting this misinformation how I would love BT to pursue the matter through the courts.
    Day 5 of ebay.co.uk suffering extreme site functionality issues.

  9. It has been shameful. We couldn’t operate our business properly for nearly 96 hours. With BT by the way, no problems with any other websites.

    The only bonus is by saying nothing we have avoided a barrage of patronizing eBay management spew “going forward” “we’re on a journey” “reach out”

    Bore off eBay.

  10. eBay appears to be working for me this morning, but it worked on and off over the weekend too. Whether or not it has been fixed though does not excuse eBay pitiful response to the problems its customers have been suffering.

    eBay had better extract a digit rapidly or it will find more and more sellers extracting themselves from eBays grasp.

    If eBay want an example of what happens when you take people for granted, I’d suggest they examine the performance of the Labour party in Scotland at last years election. Once reliable support can evaporate as fast as eBays own support when it is needed.

  11. I’ve been on a Sky Fibre connection over the weekend (which is powered by BT) and luckily haven’t experienced the despatch issues, but access to messages is intermittent to say the least and despite having a fibre connection the site its running painfully slow.

    We are also having difficulty processing file exchange requests – we haven’t even been able to get an active listings report let alone an awaiting shipment report. One generated on the 23rd failed with a message “e’re sorry, but we’re temporarily unable to process your request. Please try again” – but we received no alert to say that it had failed, and we have attempted it again yesterday and it is still showing as “In Progress”.

    Sales are well down on where they should be too. We all know that things go wrong sometimes, but silence from eBay is inexcusable, after all, we are expected to communicate with our customers if there’s a problem, and wouldn’t dream of not doing so.

    “Nothing is more important than providing a platform you can trust to trade on successfully. We are committed to ensuring our infrastructure maintains that trust every day.” Pity we can’t open an Item Not as Described Case against eBay….

  12. There’s nothing new under the sun! I can’t believe it’s took you 16 years to write a post like this Dan. When do ebay ever hold their hands up, at least during the issue and not some half-hearted pathetic apology once the dust settles for a while. The death of ebay has been slow and painful but it’s coming ever nearer.It only needs one of the big cheeses to cave in and call it “crap” and that will be it. I’m with Virgin so not experiencing these issues atm, however i was having the same problems approx 3 weeks ago. There is no trust in the site, no wonder sales are consistently down year on year.

  13. We haven’t been experiencing any problems with eBay over this period, but then we don’t use BT’s services either.

  14. I had several unsuccessful attempts at opening pages over the weekend but they cleared themselves by continuing to re-load the pages or, in one case, by signing out and then back in again.

    However I received notification to my email address this morning of a message my account has received asking about delivery of an item . . and though I can sign-in and use my account when I go to Messages the page says I don’t have any . . not one. Refreshing the page hasn’t worked either.

    BTW . . my ISP is EE.

  15. Ebay are treating their sellers with their normal contempt, but it is obvious why they are not admitting anything – sellers are paying Ebay to provide a platform for their sales, Ebay have failed to do so over this period so would have to refund sellers.
    It would be a lot better if they put their efforts into sorting this unreliability out, rather than thinking up more new ways to screw their sellers.
    Anyway, I’m doing something about it – I’ve opened an Etsy store and am moving my inventory over to them. Bye Bye Ebay!

  16. think of ebay like a childhood friend who grew up and left home for bigger things.
    Now they’re in the big world, with big money, big stakes, big corporate.

    If they have to step over dead bodies to climb up, they will.

    When something’s wrong they won’t call you…they’ll call the people who matter to them.

    It’s true that when we were young we had fun and everyday was exciting. But now they’ve forgotten about you…so MOVE ON.
    Find new friends because one thing is for sure…..when on your death bed eBay won’t be by your side to help!

  17. I’m wondering if they’ve been hacked again…

    Ebay knows it would be the death of them if it happened a second time…

  18. The emergence of ‘for sale and swap’ groups on Facebook must be beginning to hit eBay’s casual seller base hard. My wife has been selling lots of our old baby stuff through Facebook, dealing with local buyers in cash, face to face. So much cheaper and less hassle for people to sell certain unwanted items like this.

    So I think eBay would be wise to treat the SMB’s that are the core users of their platform with a bit more respect than this, because they are ready now to desert when a viable alternative arises, just like the casual sellers are starting to find alternatives now.

  19. No issues here on Talktalk. Been running absolutely fine (as fine as eBay can be). No time outs or errors.

  20. “eBay is shamed”?
    ebay dont know the meaning of shame.
    we all know this by now.

  21. Sorry if this has already been tried, but have you attempted to clear your browser (cache/browsing history and the like), as this seems to have cleared the issues that we were having?

  22. Though I am now a casual seller on the eBay platform, I concur with Paul above – many many ‘sales’ that were once eBay’s are now conducted for FREE via one of the many Facebook groups

  23. In eBay’s eyes they are perfect every problem is someone else’s fault usually their paying customers that they clearly don’t like and call the noise.

    Speak out on eBay’s own forums about eBay’s failures and poor service or complain about the massive increase in buyer theft what do they do they ban the user from the boards.

    eBay are just running scared they are too arrogant to see their own failings so act like bullies to their customers.

    Its only time before the whole pack of cards will come crashing down and eBay will be begging their customers to stay or come back but by this time it will be too late the management are fools who are running the platform into the ground for a quick buck.

  24. Most probably been hacked again just looked at some of ‘not registered user’s accounts that have been frozen hijacked compromised they even hijack the PayPal accounts with it

  25. Not to worry. I will be shutting shop this summer and retiring from online trading, I’m so fed up with everything. I’ll admit we’ve made a good bit of money out of ebay and enjoyed it while the party was on, but no more.

    2010-2013 were amazing but eBay has gone to the pits in the last few years. More hoops to jump through, a ridiculous returns system open to abuse, a ridiculous claims system where the buyer is always right, leaving us sellers right open to the most obvious scams even a fool could spot a mile away but ebay CS can’t.

    It’s a sad state of affairs when Amazon marketplace is now overtaking ebay for listings with even the most mundane generic products. ebay (amazon is becoming the same as well) is becoming a cheap Chinese tat market with 50% of products shipping from china or sold by Chinese sellers.

    I do not see a rosy future in ebay. My sales year by year are on the decline despite investing in more stock and variety of goods.

  26. The fact that eBay goes down as an almost daily occurrence says that the smart money would back it being an eBay problem. eBay NEVER admit to an issue and ALWAYS blame lies elsewhere, the company is a shambles and quite frankly it will soon become evident that this outfit has a huge question mark hanging over its long term viability. Not to mention the highly suspicious sales patterns many thousands of seasoned sellers have seen over the last two or so years, certainly adds credible weight to the thousands of voices who believe in ‘visibility Windows’. eBay is undoubtably on a slippery slope, of course, contempt and arrogance will prevent them seeing this till the 11th hour. I think we’re about 10.59 currently.

  27. .
    Ebay say SORRY……Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha…..NO CHANCE!!

    I could die Laughting. oh, and then the wait for that word , NO CHANCE this is Ebay, what do you want money back, NO CHANCE…!!

    Respect, Ebay do not know the meaniong of the word…!!

  28. eBay should apologise by putting their hand in their pockets for a change they are quick enough putting their fingers in their sellers pockets when they feel like it.

    £50 fee credit per day until its fixed for all sellers would be a start and it will also give their techs a kick up the butt to fix it quickly

  29. Amazon ALWAYS puts up outage info for sellers to read on their log in. Thats how things should be.

  30. As an eBay and Amazon seller, I believe there should be an online marketplace ombudsman body to regulate eBay, Amazon and all other platform’s daily practices. The percentage of Site outage/disruption over a period time should be fined! Rediculas trading rules and whatever metrics should be challenged and overruled by the ombudsman after investigation.

    Tamebay should start a petition on behave of all sellers!


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