For many years I was a power seller on eBay, that was prior to 2010. It seems 2010 is when eBay decided t0 stick it to their sellers. They offer No Seller Protection- although they claim to.
A few weeks ago during a decluttering mission, I decided to list some office equipment and supplies that we no longer used. Most of the items were brand new, the others very barely used. They were high-end items. I listed them and the first thing I noticed was the enormous percentage eBay takes as a final value fee, not only on the price of the product but on the shipping price. When you charge the customer actual shipping, which I did, I lost money. I believe they must have started doing this because many sellers were trying to circumvent eBay fees by selling the product for less and charging a huge shipping fee.
So the first thing that ticked me off was they were taking a fee of the shipping even though they clearly saw I charged actual shipping as I bought the label through them. Then after they take their percentages, their sister company Paypal takes some more. The worst part is they offer zero, zilch, nada in the way of seller protection. We all know about Buyer Beware, but with eBay it’s truly the reverse. Seller Beware is the caution for sellers on eBay.
Even if a seller says no returns, it means nothing. A buyer doesn’t need to supply any proof to prove items arrived damaged or not as described. When I asked eBay about this, a live representative told me that when they required proof of damaged or not as described items it was being abused on both ends. I could not get her to elaborate but she said that now the buyer just needs to state that the item was not as described or arrived damaged. After that, eBay will contact the seller and ask them to issue the buyer a prepaid label to return the item. They give the seller 5 days to do this and if they don’t make another arrangement with the buyer, eBay decides in the buyer’s favor. Then eBay takes the money from the seller’s Paypal account they already put on hold and return it to the buyer. Oh and the best part, the buyer at this point does not even need to return the product.
Ebay is now a playground for unscrupulous buyers who have used this “buyer’s protection” to play the game. They say a product was damaged, not as described or even stolen. Since the seller is completely ignored, the buyer can send back a similar item they had that was broken. For instance let’s say the buyer orders a video game that is the same as one they have that’s broken. When the new game arrives they file a claim that it was broken or does not work. Ebay jumps in and does what is stated above. Then the buyer has a new game they did not pay for and the seller either has nothing or a broken game. It doesn’t matter if the seller has 40,000 positive feedback and the buyer has no feedback, it’s still decided in their favor.
On the subject of feedback, sellers can only leave positive or no feedback for a buyer. They can’t leave neutral or negative feedback for any buyer. So a seller has very little chance of seeing the bad apples when they are bidding. Now a seller can check feedback that the buyer leaves for others which I did after being scammed by a buyer. Whey I checked I found this buyer had left the same feedback for several power sellers and eBay did not care. He left feedback that the seller was a bad seller selling damaged items and for buyers to beware. When this was brought to eBay’s attention they said nothing, not a word.
I sent them several emails during the 5 days this case was pending with substantial evidence this buyer was a con artist and not one email was responded to. 5 days later I received the email that the case had been decided in the buyers favor and that the item will not be returned but the buyers money will and so will their shipping. Okay, so I had been smart and purchased insurance at my expense, the buyer was not charged for it. I went and filed the claim with USPS who I thought I bought the insurance from. Well the claim was paid but for $50 when the item was way over that and I had purchased insurance for the full selling price on the item. When I called USPS, they were very helpful but told me that the $50 is standard that they offer on all shipments and that is when I found out the insurance I bought was not with USPS but another (you guessed it) eBay company. They do not pay a claim the way USPS does, fast and friendly. No, quite the contrary.
When I called to file the claim, I was told the buyer, yes the buyer, has to respond to an email and state the item he received was damaged. Well, didn’t he already do that? No, according to them, his email to me through eBay and one that eBay has do not count. He has to respond to another email and if he doesn’t the insurance claim will not be paid to the seller. They will wait 30 days for the buyers response and if there is none the seller can contact the eBay insurance company again and file an appeal.
If the insurance was through USPS I would have a check in my hand. Not so with eBay. To say I am disgusted with eBay is an understatement. The email that says they settled the dispute in the buyer’s favor said a seller can appeal. So I did, I was on hold for over 30 minutes and when I got through was told that I could not appeal. Yes, that was it.
So if you are selling on eBay please beware:
They take astronomical feels from the final sale price of your product
They take a fee from the shipping price of your product, so you can’t charge actual shipping because you will shortchange yourself. Must add handling fee, and don’t worry they will help themselves to some of that too!
Buying a label, if you buy it through eBay or Paypal and want insurance it will be through an eBay company that does not pay the claim unless the buyer does certain things. Do yourself a favor and buy the label from USPS direct and get the insurance through them too.
Even if you send a perfect product out that is exactly as described and packed well, the buyer can claim it was damaged or not as described. Buyer will not be required to show a shred of proof. His or her word is as good as gold with eBay. The choices eBay will give you are to pay for the customer to return the item or let them keep it and to refund the purchase and shipping price to the buyer. They will not respond to you in any way or look at any evidence to show the buyer is lying or committing fraud.
Finally the insurance with what a seller thinks is USPS is very covertly switched to an eBay company. A company that says they will have to wait until the buyer responds to a new email in order to pay the seller back the money they are out. Funny they don’t just look at the eBay messages to see what the buyer says when they have to pay out the money. The whole thing is to just find a loophole to not pay. Funny that sellers can’t put their funds on hold and just pay ourselves in 5 days.
Bottom line is eBay just does not care at all about sellers. They seem to forget without sellers there can be no eBay.
A quick Google search shows many power and reputable sellers stating the same thing. This is one seller who won’t sell on eBay again. If you want to read how many sellers have been wronged, check out this post in the eBay community, or this one, or 1,000 others saying the same thing…eBay screws sellers. Their new slogan should be: eBay taking buyers protection to a whole new low.