eBay Etiquette

A twitter friend Cameron Reilly at G?Day World on thePodcastNetwork asks A Question about eBay Etiquette.

In a nutshell he left neutral feedback for a seller even though he liked the service and the seller was helpful.

Jeez Cameron, the ebay feedback system is about your experience with the seller.

Did the seller ship the goods? Were the goods shipped quickly? Was the payment process easy? Was the item as described? If you were not happy with the item was there a exchange or refund process? If a refund, exchange or discount was offered, was it easy to get? The answer to everything seems to be yes, therefore your experience of the seller should be positive and you?d rate them as such.

So the product is a dud – contact the seller and tell the it?s not fit-for-purpose, if they don?t cooperate THEN give them a neutral or negative because the description implies fit-for-purpose.

This is what you?d do with a retailer – if a product was a dud you?d try to exchange or refund. You wouldn?t put signs up on the store saying they sold you a dud (unless they refused to fix it). A sellers reputation is all they have on eBay.

Neutral and negative feedback hurts all sellers – professional and amateur. If it isn?t the sellers fault why did you punish them? You?re holding an emerchant to a higher standard of service than the guy you bought your mac from.

Disclosure: I once ran a company that was top 3% of sellers on eBay globally. We had less than 0.2% negative feedback and less than 0.9% neutral. All were either Non Paying Bidders or from buyers who received a 100% no-questions-asked refund INCLUDING shipping. What more could we do?

Check out a sellers negative and neutral feedback using the feedback tool at Toolhaus. From nearly 3000 transactions and 1267 feedback scores for ziggys_warehouse we had the following:

ziggys_warehouse ( 1095)

Feedback Score: 1095
Positive Feedback: 99.8%
Members who left a positive: 1097
Members who left a negative: 2
All positive Feedback: 1254
Find out what these numbers mean
Ratings mutually withdrawn: 0
Feedback From / Price Date / Time
Detailed item information is not available for the following items because the Feedback is over 90 days old.
Negative feedback rating No contact Buyer:

Dec-12-04 17:50
  • Reply by ziggys_warehouse (Dec-12-04 20:01):

    didn?t complete the purchase nearly 3 months ago. Ignored every email.

? (#5923194458) ?
Neutral feedback rating I don?t think the ab swing is the same as the one on tv. Buyer:

Dec-07-04 03:22
  • Reply by ziggys_warehouse (Dec-07-04 15:54):

    customers have compared them side by side and they are the same.

? (#7114474316) ?
Neutral feedback rating seat was upside down – delivery and communication was good Buyer:

abpd65 ( 8 )
Nov-30-04 11:22
  • Reply by ziggys_warehouse (Nov-30-04 23:51):

    Contact us if you have any problems and we?d fix it

? (#7114918992) ?
Neutral feedback rating it?s working ok Buyer:

Nov-23-04 20:22
  • Reply by ziggys_warehouse (Nov-24-04 03:03):

    8 of 11 feedback left by this buyer is neutral even when happy = confused buyer

? (#7101045210) ?
Neutral feedback rating Missing parts, ripped rubber on the handle Buyer:

Nov-21-04 03:28
  • Reply by ziggys_warehouse (Nov-21-04 12:42):

    Contact us if you have any problems and we?d fix it

? (#7113138298) ?
Neutral feedback rating 1 bolt fallen out, almost unable to correct. Finally managed it. Rest good. Buyer:

Nov-19-04 03:21
  • Reply by ziggys_warehouse (Nov-21-04 12:41):

    Contact us if you have any problems and we?d fix it

? (#7112251394) ?
Negative feedback rating lost payment and slow delivery Buyer:

No longer a registered user

Nov-08-04 23:37
  • Reply by ziggys_warehouse (Nov-09-04 01:49):

    Didn?t read. PRE-SALE=dispatched on day promised. I didn?t lose her payment.

? (#7108305122) ?
Neutral feedback rating bit of a mix up with payment Buyer:

Nov-08-04 04:13
  • Reply by ziggys_warehouse (Nov-08-04 15:48):

    Didn?t check out despite numerous emails. Please read instructions in listing

? (#7107147909) ?
Neutral feedback rating Few Little mix ups but everyone was very helpful in resolving the issue Buyer:

Oct-06-04 16:07
  • Reply by ziggys_warehouse (Oct-07-04 01:10):

    eBay registered address is still wrong. Blames us for sending item to address

? (#5921757151) ?
Neutral feedback rating Easy proccess. Good work? Buyer:

azos93 ( 1 )
Sep-21-04 23:06
  • Reply by ziggys_warehouse (Sep-23-04 15:45):

    Why a neutral? Another new buyer who doesn?t know neutral vs positive

? (#7101047734) ?
Neutral feedback rating fast & Good delivery . thanks heap Buyer:

Sep-10-04 20:22
  • Reply by ziggys_warehouse (Sep-11-04 22:32):

    Why leave neutral? New ebayer who does know neutral vs positive.

    • Follow-up by minervavenus2000 (Sep-18-04 20:27):

      acttually I made mistake .. It its positive. .sorry about that :(

? (#3697885072) ?
Neutral feedback rating Excellent service, but the product is after market & not original as advertised! Buyer:

Sep-03-04 05:17
  • Reply by ziggys_warehouse (Sep-04-04 05:01):

    Please email or call if not satisfied & we?ll fix it. Not original in what way?

? (#3695200007) ?
Neutral feedback rating A+ process/delivery. Box water damaged Inside book pages stuck together. Rust Buyer:

Jul-01-04 02:55
  • Reply by ziggys_warehouse (Jul-02-04 02:02):

    I?ve offered a free replacement – accidently let a damaged item through

    • Follow-up by jamesy64 (Jul-02-04 07:29):

      Ziggys are professional and went out of their way as said. Very trustworthy A++

? (#3685112247) ?
2 Negative
11 Neutral
0 Withdrawn
13 Total

Huge eBay Phishing hack

There?s an interesting article over at eWeek about a Romanian phisher who may have access to eBay?s internal customer databases.

Updated: The auction behemoth is being skewered by Vladuz, the Romanian impaler, and the e-villagers are whispering that he?s sucking customer and service rep account lifeblood directly from eBay?s internal databases. Is he that spookily talented, or is he just another, albeit talented and lucky, phisher who also stumbled on an e-mail with internal accounts?

Vladuz illustrates the ?show me the money? motivation behind high-tech crime.

Phishing has gone from ?smash & grab? to a strategic threat. Criminals are leveraging the initial minor breaches into longer term value. By moving slowly the Vladuz hacker now has thousands of compromised accounts to use, and he is inserting his email address and payment details into many legitimate auction listings. That is fooling some users into sending him money out of eBay for goods they?ll never receive.

eWeek has eBay screenshots to support the claims of user id and auction hacking:

The multitalented hacker known as Vladuz is leaving a calling card behind with his or her name, spelled backwards, attached to malicious code injected in live auctions. He or she is taunting eBay by posting to its forums as a customer service rep. The name is associated with a company name that is in turn associated with eBay hacking tools being found for sale online. And whether or not Vladuz is responsible for writing a tool to automatically skim eBay customers accounts and thus cause sharp spikes in bogus listings being taken down and relisted multiple times a day, he or she has the mythic reputation at this point to be credited as the cause.

So far eBay seems to be doing it?s usual back-pedalling on the size and impact of this event.

There are three basic messages here:

  1. always use eBay?s web-based inbox to communicate with sellers
  2. if you think you?ve got a bargain that?s too good to be true, you?re probably right.
  3. beware of sending money transfers by Western Union. eBay?s been warning about that for years.

eBay?s vanishing Buy It Now annoyance

I just listed a cubby house on eBay for a client and the strangest thing happened. It?s a $0.99 listing with a Buy It Now of $1250.00. After launching I revised the listing to add another link to the Ask the seller a question section.

Ten minutes after listing I received a question from a potential buyer asking where the Buy It Now link was. When I checked, it had vanished and someone else had already bid on the item. I thought maybe in revising the listing I?d managed to delete the buy it now price.

It turns out eBay?s Buy It Now process is counter-intuitive. As soon as someone bids, the Buy It Now option vanishes. Instead of allowing the bidder to end the auction early, it only allows the first to bidder to stop the auction from starting.

What is the point of offering sellers the option of Auction or Buy It Now? An auction allows you to see what the market demand is for something. The Buy It Now should be for sellers and buyers to cut the process short, and bidders who don?t Buy It Now should know that the listing could end.

Am I just being thick?

eBay System maintenance

eBay is having system maintenance that may affect all systems

http://www2.ebay.com/aw/core/200510051441081.html

The eBay system will be undergoing general maintenance from approximately 23:00 PDT on Thursday, October 6th to 01:00 PDT on Friday, October 7th. During this maintenance period, certain eBay site features may be intermittently unavailable or slow.

That two hour window starts at
Friday, October 7, 2005 at 06:00:00 UTC or
Fri 4:00 PM Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane
Fri 3:30 PM Adelaide, Darwin
Fri 2:00 PM Perth

eBay Live 8 fiasco

The fiasco:

Live 8: Bob Gendolf and friends are presenting the G8 meeting in Scotland with a plan to end poverty in Africa and stop 30,000 children dying every single day. They are staging Live 8 10 concerts, 100 artists, a million spectators, 2 billion viewers to support that message;

People could win Live 8 tickets by SMS. 2 millions TXT messages were sent for the London event.

Bob Geldof condemned profiteering when winners offered those tickets for sale on eBay. eBay initially defended the listings with spokespeople from eBay?s various international subsidiaries singing a variation of “We are allowing the tickets because we live in a free market where people can make up their own minds about what they would like to buy and sell.” Actually most eBay terms and conditions list event tickets as saleable only if they have a right to transfer.

After eBay refused to pull the listings Bob Geldof called for a boycott of eBay and later called for fake listings and fake bids to sink the process. eBay gave in. Suddenly they claim to be listening to their customers.

Lastly eBay attacks customers and begins suspending users who bid on items.

The Lesson

  1. eBay was not responsive to Geldolf?s request to stop sales. When the most media savy celebrity in the world asks a favour, pay attention.
  2. Geldolf?s call to action got results and eBay was powerless to stop the damage to their business. eBay changed their tune but not their attitude, this is standard operating procedure for them.
  3. eBay punishes users for acting when eBay wouldn?t. They have to be seen to do something. It?s a shame they couldn?t admit they made a mistake and claim to learn from their mistakes.

PS I hate it when I store research material for later then don?t get around to commenting on it in a timely manner. This should have been published last week. Oh well?

Update 3 July 2005: Spelling of Bob Geldof?s name corrected. Despite knowing how to spell it my fingers typed Bob Gendolf ;)

eBay Watch

Welcome to the Online?Watch category. I?ll be posting observations on eBay and online marketplaces.

This category used to be called “eBay Watch”, but I’m expanding it beyond just eBay.