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How Ebay Customer Support Caused Pain June 27, 2009

Posted by James in : all, ebay help, reviews , trackback

I have had some success with ebay’s customer support, but no luck this week. As an ebay seller, you are required to sell the items that a buyer wins. If sellers refuse to, that would ruin the whole point of having auctions. As buyers we want to get a good deal. If sellers can shrug us off, then whenever we get a good deal, they will just say, “Sorry, but I want to keep the items to sell them for more!”

This is exactly what happened to be recently. I won 16 Braid of Fire cards (using Buy it Now), then the seller decided that I got a good deal. I figured these cards would get hard to get because I suspected that mana burn would be removed. It so happened that this was actually announced the day before I bought the cards, on June 10th. A day or two after I won the cards just about all the Braid of Fire cards on ebay were sold out.

Then the seller said he could only give me 4 of the 16 cards I won. I said I wanted all I could get. (The seller didn’t actually say they were out of stock.) I recently decided to check the seller’s website and there were 21 Braid of Fire cards there. This is clearly an outrage and a breach of contract.

I checked ebay’s policy and this kind of problem is not mentioned at all. In the past I was told by an ebay representative that this kind of breach of contract was a serious offense and that it should be reported. On Tuesday, June 23rd, I contacted ebay the best I could and told them that the seller refused to sell me the items. This is what the ebay representitive said:

We’re sorry to hear that you are having difficulties completing a transaction with your seller. If you’ve paid for an item but have not received it, please disregard this email and review eBay’s buyer protection programs at:
http://pages.ebay.com/help/buy/protection-programs.html

However, if you have not yet paid your seller, there are a couple things
you can do:

– Contact your seller –

If you have not been in contact with your seller, we recommend that you try calling your seller. There may be a good reason why your seller hasn’t contacted you yet and you might be able to clear this up with a phone call. To get the seller’s phone number:

1. Click the “Advanced Search” link at the top of most eBay pages.
2. Click the “Find contact information” link under the “Members” heading
on the left side of the page.
3. Enter the member’s user ID and the item number.
4. Click the “Search” button. You may be asked to sign in.

We’ll send you an email with the seller’s contact information, and we’ll also send the seller your contact information.

– Leave the appropriate Feedback and rate the seller –

If for whatever reason your seller is unwilling or unable to complete the sale, we encourage you to leave the appropriate Feedback and detailed seller ratings (DSRs) for them. As a buyer, you don’t have to worry about retaliatory Feedback from your seller since sellers can only leave positive Feedback for their buyers or not leave any at all. By contributing to the seller’s detailed seller ratings you help eBay evaluate the seller’s ability to continue listing on the eBay site. Sellers must have a minimum of 4.3 over the past 30 days in all four DSRs in order to list: item as described, communication, shipping time, and shipping and handling charges. It’s important for other members to know about your good and bad experiences with this seller — don’t be afraid to be honest.

To learn more about the Feedback process, visit:
http://pages.ebay.com/help/feedback/questions/leave.html

To learn more about how detailed seller ratings work, visit:
http://pages.ebay.com/help/feedback/detailed-seller-ratings.html

Leaving the appropriate Feedback and DSR for your seller is the best way to share your experience with the seller with us. Moreover, please note that action will only be taken based on the seller’s Feedback and detailed seller ratings, so we encourage you to follow through. If you need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to reply to this email and let us know.

Sincerely,

Flint
eBay PowerSeller
Trust & Safety

This clearly missed the point. They are willing to help me if the seller doesn’t send me the items after I pay, but there is nothing mentioned here about what to do when the seller refuses to take my money. I mentioned this fact to the representative and said, “The seller already contacted me and said that he wouldn’t be able to give me all the items I won. Are sellers able to refuse to sell items?” Then I got the following answer:

Dear James,

Thank you for writing eBay in regard to your report of the Non-Selling Seller violation.

I understand your concern and will help you resolve this issue as quickly as possible.

Please understand that leaving the appropriate Feedback and detailed seller ratings (DSRs) for your seller is the best advice we can give you for your situation. The appropriate action has already been taken based on the seller’s Feedback and detailed seller ratings. We again encourage you to follow through with rating and leaving Feedback for your seller if you haven’t done so already.

While we do appreciate your report, we will only review this matter further if you are able to provide us with new information.

I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience it might have caused you. We value your contributions to the eBay community . Please let me know if there is still any way we can help; I’d be happy to assist.

It is my pleasure to assist you. Thank you for choosing eBay.

Sincerely,

Arwen
eBay Trust & Safety

OK, I thought we might be getting somewhere. I was told, “While we do appreciate your report, we will only review this matter further if you are able to provide us with new information.” I decided to send them the seller’s email that told me that only 4 of the 16 items would be sent! However, this email is still very uninformative. What kind of new information do they want? How exactly can a seller get into trouble? After sending the representitive the seller’s email I got the following reply:

Dear James,

Thank you for writing eBay in regard to your Buying concerns.

We’re sorry to hear that you are having difficulties completing a transaction with your seller. If you’ve paid for an item but have not received it, please disregard this email and review eBay’s buyer protection programs at:
http://pages.ebay.com/help/buy/protection-programs.html

However, if you have not yet paid your seller, there are a couple things you can do:

– Contact your seller –

If you have not been in contact with your seller, we recommend that you try calling your seller. There may be a good reason why your seller hasn’t contacted you yet and you might be able to clear this up with a phone call. To get the seller’s phone number:

1. Click the “Advanced Search” link at the top of most eBay pages.
2. Click the “Find contact information” link under the “Members” heading
on the left side of the page.
3. Enter the member’s user ID and the item number.
4. Click the “Search” button. You may be asked to sign in.

We’ll send you an email with the seller’s contact information, and we’ll also send the seller your contact information.

– Leave the appropriate Feedback and rate the seller –

If for whatever reason your seller is unwilling or unable to complete the sale, we encourage you to leave the appropriate Feedback and detailed seller ratings (DSRs) for them. As a buyer, you don’t have to worry about retaliatory Feedback from your seller since sellers can only leave positive Feedback for their buyers or not leave any at all. By contributing to the seller’s detailed seller ratings you help eBay evaluate the seller’s ability to continue listing on the eBay site. Sellers must have a minimum of 4.3 over the past 30 days in all four DSRs in order to list: item as described, communication, shipping time, and shipping and handling charges. It’s important for other members to know about your good and bad experiences with this seller — don’t be afraid to be honest.

To learn more about the Feedback process, visit:
http://pages.ebay.com/help/feedback/questions/leave.html

To learn more about how detailed seller ratings work, visit:
http://pages.ebay.com/help/feedback/detailed-seller-ratings.html

Leaving the appropriate Feedback and DSR for your seller is the best way to share your experience with the seller with us. Moreover, please note that action will only be taken based on the seller’s Feedback and detailed seller ratings, so we encourage you to follow through.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Kenny
eBay Customer Support

Sorry, Kenny, but you didn’t read anything said in the series of emails. You didn’t try to help me at all. How could customer service get this bad?

It is now the end of Friday, June 26th, 3 days later, and no progress has been made. I decided to send the representative the information again and mention the fact that I got a canned answer that ignored my issue entirely. I also added the information about the fact that the seller’s website has 21 more Braid of Fire cards. We will see what happens next.

I also decided to email the seller about this issue, so they might be nicer now that I caught them red-handed.

Oh yeah, and I recently discovered one website uses robots for their live chat customer support. Not that this is related in any way.

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1. Recoculous.com: Magic the Gathering Articles » How Ebay Customer Support Caused Pain Part 2 - July 17, 2009

[…] Before reading this, you might want to see Part 1. […]