Beware eBay

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by oldracer, Feb 2, 2017.

  1. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    A month of so ago I sold a couple of studio strobe grids and agreed to ship them to Mexico. Silly me. Total value about $60.

    The tracking shows that they got to Mexico City around Christmas time and then disappeared. Buyer filed a complaint. Too bad for him, I thought, as once my shipment has been accepted by the carrier it is no longer my problem.

    Yesterday I got a demand letter from eBay, even threatening collections (!), if I did not pony up the $60 that they decided to refund to the buyer. To add insult to injury, they are not even offering to refund the auction and PayPal fees that I paid on the original sale. So I am now responsible for the performance of the Mexican postal system?

    Anyone thinking about selling on eBay be very careful! Try selling here, try selling on CraigsList, try selling on Fred Miranda, try selling on Amazon. Even though eBay sellers pay the bills, it is eBay's policy to screw them whenever possible. From tight controls on how listings can be written to not allowing sellers to require that buyers pay credit card fees and, now, to outright theft ... grr .... Bad place.
     
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  2. I sold one item on the 'Bay with the same result. Foreign buyer, item missing, I'm on the hook. No thanks, too many other options out there.
     
  3. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    This is very bad. Can you not dispute eBay with the tracking information?

    Stories like this mean that I never ship internationally on my few eBay sales. Not worth the hassle. I have had poor experience with Postal Service tracking internationally (other than Canada) for other things as well, so if you want reliable tracking UPS/FedEx are the way to go.

    Also, I have a couple of friends who work at eBay. Mind if I forward this post to them? This is poor behavior towards sellers.
     
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  4. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    That sucks. You are under no obligation to sell outside of the US though. Assuming you used the global shipping program? Are you able to file a claim against the PO (either with the help of USPS or directly?). If it was priority mail, it comes with the $50 insurance...though I don't know the USPS will take responsibility if it was handed off the Mexico PO, but you could inquire.

    I have sold globally with success, but almost always wish suspicion and often I won't depending on the value of the item or the feedback score of the buyer. A few times I had offers from Brazil, but declined to sell to them, because they seemed suspicious and there are scams going in various foreign countries where people buy things and claim theft or defect, so they not only get a free item, but get cash back too. And yes ebay seems to screw sellers in that regard 100% from what I've read. There are plenty of things to Bitch about with ebay for sure, but It's still overall positive place for me to sell stuff. Yes, the alternatives are there as well, but don't have the same audience reach depending what you are selling. These situations happen, but they are infrequent IMO.
     
  5. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    No problem. Forward away. But understand that this type of behavior is eBay policy. I have been on eBay for almost 15 years, since they only had 30 employees, and I have watched it develop. One time I sold a Teaching Company dvd course, which is multi-disk, and the eBay software told me what my shipping charge had to be. It was of course about what it cost to ship a single dvd so I was forced to eat the extra cost. And for years now they have prohibited sellers from charging PayPal fees to the buyers. Stuff like this has been building and building for years. It's been an evolution. They are a natural monopoly and they know it.

    I think their game plan is to become exclusively the marketplace for Chinese companies selling cheap junk. It's a good place for that. But for honest sellers? No.
     
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  6. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    I'm guessing there is a way for you to attempt to recoup the loss, but it may be through the global shipping program and require different research from standard eBay policy. I find this rant to be a bit childish, though. Other sellers aren't all roses either: Amazon, for instance, requires you to let the customer return the product for no real reason for 30 days, which has happened to me twice. At least with eBay I can specify no returns except in the case of a defective product.

    No selling site or company is going to be perfect, and it may be worth your while to avoid selling internationally, since it is a new can of worms and all that.
     
  7. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    USA
    Sorry to hear about this. Was there any insurance on the package? Even if you didn't buy it, sometimes some amount is included automatically.
    the seller is generally responsible for delivering the product to the buyer. How it happens is not the buyer's responsibility. Would you be ok with not getting money back if product you paid for never showed up?
    This is why it's a good idea to insure shipment even if not specifically asked for by buyer. there may also be issues with damage in transit. it's always a risk/hassle, since collecting on insurance is no guarantee either.
    this kind of thing happens in all kinds of selling situations. ebay or no ebay, seller is generally expected to make things right. buyer can make a lot of trouble for the seller if not, like credit card/paypal chargeback, etc. if a lot of money/emotions are involved even claim fraud to police .
     
  8. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Yeah, eBay is a great place to be a buyer, but I have less than zero interest in using it a seller. The costs, risks, and hassles are just too high, especially as a Canadian seller. Local sales fetch higher prices and are more reliable. It's never that difficult to find a buyer for big-ticket items, and I don't have much interest in liquidating a bunch of little $10-50 items and paying fees and deal with shipping.
     
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  9. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    There's definitely truth there. They (chinese sellers) essentially get free shipping through the USPS while Americans pay more the double what we paid a few yrs ago for a small envelope (~$.99 to -$2.69). Now it costs more to ship a CD/DVD than what the actual DVD/CD costs used, but I can buy something for $.99 shipped from China. Amazon is going the same direction and I've read some horror stories there too. I don't know if that's ebay or the USPS fault.

    Another gripe is not being able to leave negative feedback as a seller and no incentive for buyers to leave + feedback. Oftentimes, buyers create new accounts every time they buy an item, rather than establishing a track record. I do miss the old ebay. It was the best site at one time.

    Just a few weeks ago I sold a lens on ebay. I shipped it same day and the guy got it the next day and two weeks later no feedback. Shipped a guitar yesterday and it was just delivered this am...probably get no love there either.
     
  10. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Selling locally is 10x as scary for me. People don't show up, I wonder if they are going to rob me if they do, and then 9/10 they haggle me down further after we already agreed on a price beforehand!

    So you had one bad deal in 15 years. Seems like pretty good odds.
     
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  11. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    Yes I hear that. I've been liquidating stuff for the past 6 months and craigslist is like 3 now shows or vanishing buyers for every successful sale. But it's free. Comes with the territory. Insulting lowball offers come with that too. Same thing on Offerup. I had to uninstall 5miles and other similar apps, because I was paranoid people were going to be trying to figure out where I lived and rob me. It's fishy when you join a site, list an item and within an hour people start "following" you, but haven't made an offer on your item. Don't like they want to try and register you with Fakebook either. Overall, they work if you just take precautions and have patience and thick skin.

    I do find I get more $ generally (even after fees) for selling on ebay than other places and locally and they do give decent shipping discounts on larger items.
     
  12. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    I dunno. I have none of those problems. I do qualify the buyers before agreeing to meet, though. I have been negotiating deals for many years and always have a strategy and a limit. If you're not willing to leave the table, you are not negotiating. You are begging.

    Here's a line that I use when setting up a meeting; maybe it will help you: "I'd just like to make sure that we are in agreement about price so I don't waste your time and you don't waste mine. The price is $xxx. If you don't like the item, you're of course welcome to leave without buying. But to buy, $xxx is the agreed price." This line works equally well in an email or verbally on the phone.

    Oh, lots of other deals but not a huge percentage. Returns, unhappy buyers, etc. from time to time. My feedback is 700+ and I can count the negatives on the fingers on one hand. But this is the first time eBay has actually stolen money from me.
     
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  13. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    I have been on eBay since 1999, so I know exactly what you mean about where they are headed. Having said that I have found that there is surprising amount of weight given to complaints that make it into internal channels. FWIW, According to a buddy who works in eBay fraud prevention, fraud is one of the biggest money losers for eBay and they do work really hard to reduce it.
     
  14. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    877
    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    Some years back, eBay did change up a lot of their rules mostly in the favor of buyers. Things such as no negative feedback from sellers allowed anymore. But also they have basically changed everything so that the buyer is always right and only in rare cases can a seller prove their side (and even when they can the buyer usually still gets their refund). It happened to me once with a lens. Despite me having photographic proof that the buyer himself had taken and sent to me, I still had to give them a full refund for a lens that was returned to me broken due to piss poor packing by the buyer when he returned it.

    Some local police stations have started to offer the public areas of their lobbies as a safe place to complete things like Craiglist deals. Always a deterrent to a would be thief or con artists when you say "Great. So let's meet in the lobby of the local police station to complete the deal.".

    As to the haggling thing, that is where you just have to be firm. Nope, we agreed on $xxx and that's the price. Although on the flip side I have found over the years that one person's "mint condition" or "clean" can sometime be bordering on delusional. If I was going to meet someone to buy something and found the condition less than I expected but was still interested, I would probably ask for a reduced price and walk away if I didn't get it. But not if the item is as described.
     
  15. Giiba

    Giiba Something to someone somewhere Subscribing Member

    505
    Aug 19, 2016
    Burnaby, BC
    As a Canadian I only ship to the US and Canada. I'd consider Great Britain as I think they've the best postal service going and have had great experiences with GB sellers. Anywhere else I refuse as there is too much stuff to go wrong and come back in your face.

    My biggest annoyance with ebay is their global shipping program. It makes any item from the US really expensive as they charge maximum possible duties up front and then offer no info what the actual costs were. They do this for all items regardless of whether duties would actually be applied; for private sales through USPS I get no duties added by the border agency, duties are only applied to add sales taxes on commercial sales. This behaviour is worse than UPS/FedEx who charge ludicrous 'brokerage fees' but at least tell you what the actual duties are. If you ship via the GSP be aware Canadians won't bid 90% of the time.
     
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  16. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    I haven't tried that program and won't be. But your statement doesn't surprise me in the least. eBay is all about greed, greed, and greed. Paying customers (sellers) are simply cows to be milked, geese to be plucked.
     
  17. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Between having more control over what returns I accept, and charging what I want to for shipping, both things which Amazon doesn't even give me control over, I find eBay to be a pretty decent place to sell.
     
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  18. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    877
    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    It is still a great place to sell completely random weird stuff that you mostly want to get rid of but wouldn't mind making a few bucks as well. There is always a buyer out there looking for that serving tray, bag of used nuts and bolts, rake head, sewing pattern, wall calendar from 2008, etc. Things that normally don't have a whole web site devoted to it like this one for mu43rds equipment.
     
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  19. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    That only really applies to shipping to places like Canada where they add tax/duties. The Positives about Global shipping is that you only pay to ship it to OH and then they ship it overseas or wherever. You can choose which countries to allow bidders to buy from.

    Are you saying you shipped directly to Mexico without using ebay's global shipping (to some big long PO box # in the US?). That almost certainly should have raised a red flag. Surely they could find a lighting kit locally for less.

    I once had a buyer from Netherlands or Sweden (some remote town wherever it was) buy a sorta rare live CD from me. He had no feedback and a weird username. I was going to cancel it, but emailed him to find out if he was legit and why he even knew who the Chris Robinson Brotherhood was living where he lived. We ended up having a nice back and forth discussion and realized he was legit. Other times, I just turned down the offers.
     
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  20. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    That is a problem. They treat the buyers as if they are the customers, when really it is the sellers that are the customers. The sellers pay all the fees and take all the risks.

    Still I don't know of a better way to reliably sell basically anything for fair market price in about a week.


    I know, I just don't have the time or motivation to do that when selling on ebay is so easy and lets me be my antisocial self! :)
     
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