Is Ebay broken?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Chris Bardon, Sep 13, 2005.

  1. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Cinematographer

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    I was doing a couple of transactions on ebay this week, and I've noticed a few things that really seem to have broken the system. The proliferation of bootlegs and the misleading listings (scams involving ebooks/pyramid schemes) are some of them, but I think what really wrecked ebay is the feedback system.

    Ebay makes a big deal about their feedback system, and in theory it's a great idea. You can leave comments about a transaction, and other users can decide to deal with you based on your previous feedback. It's open, and you can say almost anything...as long as its not negative. I don't know if anyone else has noticed this, but leaving feedback on Ebay seems to be a game of chicken. Nobody wants to leave feedback first, since if the other person leaves a negative, you'll have no chance to counter with a negative of your own. A single negative comment (or even a neutral) is regarded by many in the Ebay "community" as a plague marker, no matter what the circumstances. Feedback also tends to be so ridiculously superlative ("A+++++++ buyer!!!!!") that it has lost almost all meaning. As far as I'm concerned, once a seller has received payment from a buyer, they have no excuse for not leaving feedback right away. As for buyers, they should do the same once their item is received.

    I have to say though, that I'm glad they finally added the option to limit searches to all of North America as well as just Canada. It seems to have cut the number of bootlegs in a given search down significantly.
     
  2. Chris Lockwood

    Chris Lockwood Producer

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    What scams are you seeing with ebooks?


    > Nobody wants to leave feedback first, since if the other person leaves a negative, you'll have no chance to counter with a negative of your own. ... As far as I'm concerned, once a seller has received payment from a buyer, they have no excuse for not leaving feedback right away.

    You just contradicted yourself. Why should I leave feedback for the buyer right away? What if he then responds with something negative? I had one biatch leave me negative feedback even after she got a full refund, including shipping, for a perfectly good item that didn't offer a guarantee.

    I used to leave feedback when paid, but found that led to most of the buyers not leaving feedback. So now I never enter it first.
     
  3. Nigel McN

    Nigel McN Supporting Actor

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    As a buyer I do expect my feedback around the same time that the sends off the items, I guess I can see why they wouldn't though. So I guess at the latest within a few days of me posting my feedback. On seller waited weeks after I posted mine, that annoyed me a bit.

    I hate the AAA+++++++++++++++ rubbish, completely meaningless and unhelpful. I will always try and leave a positive comment like 'Well Packaged, Fast to ship' kind of thing.
     
  4. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Feedback is a bit stupid IMO. For sellers, if the buyer has fulfilled their obligation, positive feedback should be left. If the buyer then posts a negative about something, the seller does have a rebutal available, but it still affects their rating, however, the buyer shouldn't necessarily get a negative in response if the item was misrepresented or was otherwise unsatisfactory.

    It does piss me off when as a buyer I make sure the transaction is completed quickly, and then I get no response, even after leaving positive feedback for the seller. That's just plain rude.

    The ratings are the least of the problems, it is the ebayers with fake feedback running scams that are the biggest problem. I see fake auctions constantly, which very often shys me away from the legitimate ones.
     
  5. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Cinematographer

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    I noticed three or four auctions while I was looking for a Nintendo DS where someone had put in a listing as a system, but in the text said that they were selling an "ebook telling you how to get a free Nintendo DS, Xbox, Ps2, ipod and more". Can't find any of those at the moment, but there are about a dozen "use points to get a free DS" listings in the category, which are almost as bad.

    Something else that bothers me a little is the professional ebay dealers, who are basically using ebay as an online storefront. On one hand, it means that more product is available, and often, but not always, it's at least somewhat discounted from what I can get elsewhere in stores or online. On the other hand, it makes it difficult for individuals to sell items that may get lost in the hundreds of other listings put in by dealers/stores. It seems a little like running a successful business out of your mom's basement. If you're large enough to have to charge sales tax, then you can probably make do without ebay.
     
  6. Ravi K

    Ravi K Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, there are a lot of counterfeit DVDs on eBay, DVD-Rs and pressed versions from Asia. I won a reasonably priced Au Hasard Balthazar from someone, and it turned out to be a DVD-R!
     
  7. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

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    On the whole feedback issue, I am primarily a seller on Ebay. I have close to a 1500 record with only 2 negatives, both from over 4 years ago, and both were retaliatory from non-paying bidders with little or no feedback.

    Long ago I shifted my selling policy to not leaving feedback until I receive it. In my opinion, a buyer is not entitled to positive feedback simply because he/she pays. It is the manner in which they conduct themselves during the entire life of the transaction that matters. If a buyer receives a damaged or incorrect item, and the seller quickly responds with a replacement, refund or some other remuneration acceptable to the buyer, that seller is still deserving of positive feedback, not negative or neutral. Sadly that is not always the case.

    Also, one negative feedback, whether deserved or not, can impact a seller's sales. Conversely, a negative feedback comment for a buyer doesn't really affect them that much. Sure, Ebay lets you block bids from buyers with less than zero feedback. But as a seller I have very few options on how to limit my buyers. It's for this reason that I have adopted an Immediate Payment Required/Paypal w/Confirmed Address only payment option, and I would encourage any other sellers to do likewise. I would say at best I have lost maybe 2-3% of my sales my changing to this policy.

    Most do not realize, but the Paypal service is setup largely to favor the buyer, especially in cases of dispute. If a seller cannot provide proof of delivery to a Confirmed address of the buyer, Paypal will force that seller to refund the payment. Simple as that. As a seller, you do not have the option of pleading your case.

    Because I only accept immediate payment, I feel that buying from me is not dissimilar from buying from a site like Amazon or any other e-tailer. You select the items you want, and you pay for them. You can't buy something from Amazon and then wait a week to pay them, so why should a seller accept this on Ebay? I don't expect some sort of positive feedback from DVDEmpire when my credit card is approved and charged.

    And no matter how much of a pain in the *** a buyer has been, I would never leave them negative feedback unless they left it for me first without good cause. The worst I have ever done is withhold feedback from those who have been unreasonbly demanding (i.e., wanting hourly updates on a $6 item).

    I feel feedback is still relevant, especially since as a buyer I never buy from anyone with a lower than 98% positive feedback percentage.

    End rant.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    I just started buying on ebay in December of 04 and have completed many transactions there, all have been positive experiences for both myself and the seller. I only buy, I don't do auctions, ever, I hate the aggravation when I lose.

    I always leave feedback immediately after recieving the item and inspecting it, I have always gotten a return and my record is spotless except for one neutral, but I think that guy was trying to rip me off and so I had to get "rough" with him via e-mail, I finally got the item. My biggest concern with the feedback system is whether or not the other person will be honest if I ever have to leave them a negative.

    If they recieve my payment without delay and have no problems, but I get the item and it's damaged, wrong or worse not at all and I leave negative for them, will the seller be honest and leave me positive because he got my payment? Probably not out of spite. Point is, how many of those feedbacks are lies? Thank goodness i've never had to leave a negative so far.

    I've ordered dvd's, but they have always been the real thing. I buy most of my large movie action figures from e-bay if I missed them in stores or are particularly hard to find. I only tap e-bay as a last resort, and when I do i'm careful, well, as careful as I can be anyway.

    Ebay's a great place if you deal with the right people, that's why I steer well clear of independant seller's, I only deal with people who have a legit ebay store and have 99+% approval rating, never below that.

    So, no auctions, and no independant seller's, those are my rules and they seem to be working out just fine. [​IMG]
     
  9. chris_everett

    chris_everett Second Unit

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    Overall, I have no complaints about feedback. I, as a buyer, always expect to leave feedback first. As Andrew points out, if someone negs me, I lose little except my pride, so I'm not to worried about retalitory feedback. I've bought about 50 things on e-bay. I've left a neg once (a fraud case that resulted in a criminal conviction) and a neutral once (a 40 day delay in shipping for no apparent reason, and poor communication).
    I am frustrated by e-bay not cracking down on borderline fraud like Chris (the other one) mentioned. I remember a bunch of fresnel lenses being sold as plasma TV's...
     
  10. Jeff_Standley

    Jeff_Standley Supporting Actor

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    There are too many people signing up daily to watch all of the false or fraudulant auctions that go on. You as a buyer have to be very thorough when you buy something. There are clever auctions to get your money all over the place. penny prices and $100 shiping charges, DVD-R's etc.
    The feedback side of it I get, people want to protect this as much as possible because its your reputation on ebay.
    I noticed the shift to waiting for the other guy to post before someone else does quite a while back. It drove me crazy at first but I understand it now. There are too many people using eBay now that dont know how to bid or even use eBay. My mom for example is the reason why I wait now. She jumped on eBay one day and bought a ring from a very reputable guy. When she recieved the ring it was not what she ordered (wrong color) and instead of contacting the guy, who had a return and exchange policy, she instantly left negative feedback for him. He then in return sent her a nasty email and she had no idea why.
    He had 15,000 100% positive feedback and she was the first to leave negative. I came into the picture after this and had to email the guy to straighten things out and resolve everything. He now has reversed feedback from my mom and she has the right ring. Needless to say this is exactly why the feedback is so guarded. Thats also not to say that there are notscammers and jerks who just want to leave negative feedback.
    My personal story on why I wait now is;
    I sold a paintball marker on eBay and the guy who bought it waited 3 weeks before sending payment. I was upset but not to bothered by it as he was getting things together to pay me.
    I sent the package the day I recieved payment. When he recieved the marker and everything that was in the auction he left me neutral feedback, claiming that the marker didnt come with a charer. The damn thing didnt have a charger with it and the auction did not state that it did.
    I was pissed. This guy had 0 feedback and most likely, just like my mom, had no idea how to use eBay. Lucky for me I had not left feedback for him yet and the neutral did not affect my rating.[​IMG]
     
  11. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    While I don't have issue with immediate payment (I pay as soon as I know the final shipped price), the shipping only to a confirmed address is a problem, since as a Canadian, PayPal will not confirm my US mailing addresses, even though they are linked to my credit card. After one guy, who did not specify that he would only ship to US bidders, acted like a dick after I'd won his auction, I now have to email every single seller I'm thinking of doing business with to ask whether they will take payment from a Canadian and ship to the US, which is a huge PITA, and many sellers won't even bother replying, which, again, is just rude.
     
  12. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    I buy LaserDiscs on eBay from time to time. I don't use online payment services, I just prefer not to; I like to pay by Postal Order, which has the added fillip of making malversation a Federal offence, and I always send it out within two business days of recieving the invoice, and keep the seller notified. I leave feedback when I've recieved the disc, watched it, and settled with the seller if there are any issues. It works for me, but I wouldn't want to use it for anything else.
     
  13. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    Ah yes, which brings me to my #1 pet peeve about ebay...non communicative sellers! [​IMG]

    Some of these people just don't seem to get that communication is paramount in these on-line transactions because we need to know what's happening! Has the item shipped? Have you recieved my payment okay? Are you screwing me two ways from Sunday?

    Now, I stated that most of my ebaying has gone smoothly, but I have had a few of these, and they cause me more aggravation than I really need.
     
  14. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

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    Jeff,

    I understand your frustration, and I would love to still sell to Canadian bidders if Paypal would sanction it.

    Personally, I have a giant notice on every one of my auctions that comes even before the description that says Confirmed addresses only and alternates listed in the note field will be ignored. It's in like 48 point font. People still list alternate addresses and wonder why their payment gets returned or the item goes to their billing address. This is most common with college kids who are away at school but the billing address is at home. It would be very easy for them to register their school address with their credit card so Paypal can confirm it.

    Also, I still get dozens of questions on things that are clearly stated in the auction listing. It's quite clear to me that many people do not read the listing, they just bid as soon as they see title and price. I'll never understand that.
     
  15. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Same here. I used to leave feedback immediately upon receipt of payment, but it was getting far too one-sided with the buyers seldom responding in kind with my feedback. So now I only post theirs after they post mine. I enclose a note in each shipment informing them of this policy.
     
  16. Paul D G

    Paul D G Screenwriter

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    1 -

    "Positive" feeback, no. As long as it's warrented. But they're entitled to feedback period.

    It's simple - when they buyer sends his money his end of the deal is done and the seller should leave feedback then. When the buyer receives the goods they should leave feedback for the seller.

    If there are issues with the transaction and the buyer becomes an ass the seller has the rebutal option to say so.

    I mostly buy and it does bug me when a seller doesnt leave feedback. My feedback rating would be twice what it is now if everyone left feedback.

    2 - I too leave realistic feedback "quick shipping, well packaged, item as described"

    3 - Storefront sellers are starting to bug me a little. I recently bought a book from a storefront seller who claimed to have 25 available. I couldnt find it anywhere else so I ordered one. A week later I get an email saying they no longer had the title, sorry. Yet the auction was still running.

    -paul
     
  17. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    I just got the Ocean's 12 DVD that was listed as "Like New" on half.com. Let's run down the list:

    - case looks like it was thrown away
    - no chapter insert
    - disc is heavily scratched (though still playable)
    - there's a movie rental sticker around the hole

    I tried emailing this "company" with over a thousand feedback but it's a bogus address, email bounced right back.

    So now it's either leave a neutral/negative and fear of getting one in return, or just let it go and say to myself, You get what you pay for. ugh
     
  18. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

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    Paul, we'll obviously agree to disagree here. I don't believe the buyer's end of the deal is done at payment. The rebuttal option does my percentage no good, and I've had buyers that were extremely unreasonable even though they got their item as described in a timely fashion, and I know for a fact it's only because they weren't "off the hook" on receiving feedback that they didn't leave an impulsive negative of their own. Also, my position comes from the fact that I require immediate payment. Now, if I accepted mailed payments, and 2 days after an auction, I receive a money order, I would definitely leave feedback for that, as the buyer is obviously proactive. But with my auctions, the buyer has no choice but to pay immediately if they want to end the auction. I just don't see how that entitles them to a positive feedback without first seeing how they conduct themselves during the life of the transaction. If I pay someone, they leave me positive feedback, then I harass them daily for the next 4 days, is that still a positive experience for the seller?

    Buyers in general (and not just on Ebay) can be extremely unreasonable with their demands in this day and age. Like people who go to Target and complain that their return should be accepted because it's only a few days outside the return window. Well, what is the point of a return window if every expects it to be bent for them? (Sorry, side pet peeve).

    Seriously though, I've had 500+ auctions running in one week, and one guy is mad that I didn't ship his $4 CD (which included free 1st Class shipping) the same day I received the payment, while others who have dropped $200 on multiple wins are barely heard from. The vast majority of people that buy from me get their items within 7 days of their payment. I receive loads of positive feedback for those, and I always return it. I don't think waiting a week or so for feedback is too much to ask of a buyer.
     
  19. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

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    Scott,

    That's absolutely unacceptable. I could see it not having an insert, as I don't recall for sure, but I think that movie did not come with one. But the rest of your issues immediately disqualify it from being Like New. Especially the fact that it came from a rental place. Unfortunately, I think the frequent previously viewed 3/$20 sales and such from places like Hollywood Video encourage people to buy bulk and then sell higher on Ebay. Sometimes those discs are Like New, as they've obviously never been spun (Men In Black II anyone?), but even then it is only right for the seller to list the disc's origin. That seller fully deserves the negative, and hopefully it will warn other people off of their auctions.
     
  20. Marvin

    Marvin Screenwriter

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    Scott, Have you tried emailing half.com directly? Ebay won't do anything for you but half.com might.
     

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