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Ebay: Am I Wrong or Was I Wronged?

Discussion in 'Ebay' started by oatmeal, Mar 13, 2016.

  1. oatmeal

    oatmeal Regular Member

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    So here's my situation. I've had this account since 2007, with over 400 transactions at 100% positive rating.
    I'm not a retailer or big-time seller. Just your average joe who bought some stuff over the years and sold some stuff.
    I had an idea that I thought would work fine on ebay. It has to do with trying to get more referrals to an affiliate site I
    am a member of that rewards you for converting new members by offering a coupon code buyers can use to save money.

    I decided to post it on sale on ebay for 99 cents since you can't sell anything cheaper than that. Basically, I would post
    the "products" of that affiliate site on ebay with pictures and description, and price it at 99 cents with free shipping. But
    I wrote CLEARLY in giant bold red writing in the description that I don't have the item, nor would I ship it to them. But
    that I would give them an email with a link that provides them info on how to get the product for free or at a huge discounted
    price. All of this is true. It's not a scam. The question was only if the buyer was willing to check out my link and join the site
    and make their first purchase using my code. If they didn't like it, I would offer a refund no questions asked. It's only 99 cents.
    I didn't think it would be a big deal.

    Turns out that 50% of the people who bought my 99 cent deals all assumed that I was going to ship out the actual product to
    them for 99 cents free shipping! Wow, they didn't even bother to read the description which clearly said that I don't have the item
    or that it would be shipped to them. They didn't read that the purchase was for an email. Of the nearly 60 sales I made in the past month
    doing this, 30 of them kept writing back to me 20-30 days later, "Where is my item?" or "Item didn't arrive" etc. And I had to explain
    to them that it was a misunderstanding they didn't read the description and that I sent them the emails to them on the day they purchased it.
    I offered them refunds and most of them were refunded.

    But sadly, in the last 2 days, I suddenly got 2 negatives. Even after communicating with the buyers to let them know A) it was clearly written
    in the description, B) I fulfilled my promise by sending them the email, and C) if they didn't like it, I would refund them no questions asked. But two people accused me of being a scammer and left negative, despite my explaining everything to them.

    Now in retrospect, I found out that ebay TOS doesn't allow for selling of links or outside/3rd party sites. So I have removed all the 99 cent deals and stopped doing it. At that point I was still at 100% feedback. But the problem is since these sales take 30 days or so to culminate, most of the people writing back are just starting to pour in now. I can't believe that ebay buyers don't even read what they are purchasing. Do they just look at the picture and the price and then press "buy it now"? Is there no such thing as buyer responsibility or buyer risk when they click on something to purchase? Should buyers also not be bound to the terms of agreement once making a purchase? These buyers just bought my stuff without reading the description even when I put it in the TITLE to "PLEASE READ DESCRIPTION BEFORE BUYING" and they still don't and write me back 30 days later saying "where is my item?". Since the new ebay feedback system doesn't allow sellers to leave any negative, the buyers have FULL POWER. They can leave feedback based on performance of the seller or simply how they feel and ebay can't do anything about it. I asked ebay several times to help me out because these couple buyers left negative feedback based on feelings and not seller performance. I technically fulfilled and did everything a seller should do. I clearly wrote it out, I delivered it to them, and even offered a refund if they were unhappy. But since the buyers didn't read, and didn't realize what they paid 99 cents for was simply the email link with info, instead of the actual item, they are free to blame it on me for their mistake of not reading and knowing what they were purchasing.

    In any case, I've stopped selling that 99 cent idea. It's too confusing and I didn't expect that so many buyers actually don't READ the sale item. That's what surprised me. If they read it, they would know that it was for an EMAIL with info. Then they could decide whether or not
    to try it or just not buy it. So if they buy it, that' the risk they take. But since it's only 99 cents, it's not a great risk at all since the email/link actually is legit and guarantees they will make more than the 99 cent back in savings if they use it. It's like going to the corner store to buy a lotto scratch ticket for $3. The buyer knowingly takes the small risk ($3) to buy a scratch ticket in hopes to win $10,000. So after the buyer pays for the scratch ticket, scratches it out, and sees the ticket is non-winner, they can't go back to the store and demand a refund or complain and say it was a scam, and misleading sale, right? They fully know that they are taking the chance (buyer risk), but since it's such a small price (in my case 99 cents), it's not much of a risk at all.

    So am I going too far out on a limb here expecting that buyers should have read my sale posts and have responsibility for what they purchased or did I deserve to get the negative feedback (even though my logic says there was no way I was deserving of that since I really did truthfully post and deliver what I promised I would! It's just the buyer didn't read and assumed).

    So anyways, I don't make many sales anyways, so these couple negatives has killed my rating down to 90% and I don't know if I can make up for it since I'm not a power seller and 500 positives in a month vs 2 negatives would easily overshadow it. But for me, 2 negatives is like a killer for my account and now I don't know if anyone would dare buy from me now (no more 99 cent deals....I now sell the actual item and ship it out to them).

    Also, ebay only bases your rating on the past 12 months so even though I have a 370 positives versus 2 negatives, my percentage is 90% because I only got 18 positive feedback this year even though I sold a lot more but people don't always leave me any feedback (they forgot?). So 18 out of 20 is 90% which is an awful percentage. 370 wins 2 losses is a much more appealing way to represent my account than 90%. It sucks that they do that because it's not like even the greatest companies like Apple or Microsoft or Samsung don't get thousands of negative feedback all the time. But when you go their stores, you don't see a percentage or rating beside their brand name. If my seller rating appeared as 370+ and 2-, that is so much more accurate and truthful than to show my rating at 90% which in ebay world basically is a shit rating and means that seller is either a scammer or very bad and nobody should buy from me.
     
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  2. Reaver

    Reaver Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    While I fully sympathize with the idiotic way that companies give customers all the power (They are not always right!) and the fact that people should have read the description before purchasing the item, I do not feel sorry for you. You should have read the TOS before you executed your idea.

    Chalk it up to a lesson learned.

    I do find it ironic that you didn't read the TOS before you got started, and you're complaining about customers not reading the description of your item before purchasing it.
     
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  3. goodperson

    goodperson Elite Member

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    I know your feeling. For eBay Buyers are number one, Sellers are nothing.
     
  4. toml3030

    toml3030 Elite Member

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    So let me get this straight. You didn't read the eBay TOS before listing stuff that's not allowed on eBay and you're upset because your buyers didn't read your listings?
     
  5. Typlo

    Typlo Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Many people, unfortunately, are idiots. They will buy something, without reading any details, then complain afterwards and expect their own stupidity to be fixed for them.

    With it being against ebay's ToS though, might be best to refund all of them.
     
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  6. Galleta

    Galleta Regular Member

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    My opinion:
    It is allowed to sell Ebooks on ebay, is it not? So you can just put the link in a ebook.

    and secondly, imho, you did not scam them, you stated clearly in the title, though I think you should had actually put the product into the title directly, in this case "link to..." or "ebook".
    Anyway you can always report feedbacks! It is clearly not true the feedbacks you were given, about being a scammer etc! In my experience ebay will remove them if they are not true! In my country it is even against the law / a crime to state untrue facts about someone that destroy his business and/or image!

    Probably it depends in about which ebay we are talking about, as every countries eba has different ToS and has to comply with local laws in the end. But I think even in USA it won't be allowed to leave feedback based on untrue statements / assumptions.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2016
  7. EOC91

    EOC91 Registered Member

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    Refund your customers. Ask them very nicely to review the feedback they left you and if they concur tell them you will give them a $10-25 gift card to Starbucks or something similar. Chances are they will change it to a neutral, or positive if you are lucky, and you will be back at 100%. You may spend $20-50 doing this (and postage)..it is worth it for the 100% feedback though.

    BTW, don't you have power seller status?
     
  8. Sythix

    Sythix Senior Member

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    You cannot sell digital items period. If you do, you must send it on a floppy or CD via snail mail with a tracking code. No way around it. If you are going to sell digital products there are better market places for that. Amazon, jvzoo, click bank for instance..
     
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  9. intrepid

    intrepid Regular Member

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    I can see why some people would be confused by your offer since Ebay mainly sells physical products and some digital products (ebooks) but a link is something else. I read descriptions but I almost paid for a membership and not the image shown in the listing and description but I doublechecked the reviews and others said it was a membership being sold -- I think this amounts to false advertising on the seller's part. The title should clearly state what people are buying if it's not a physical product.
     
  10. oatmeal

    oatmeal Regular Member

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    I really appreciate all your responses. I do admit that selling of digital products or something like an email link was something I wasn't aware of wasn't allowed and it is stated in the TOS. But at the same time, I didn't scam anyone . I said what it was, and did what I said I'd do upon purchase and I did. But I didn't expect so many people to not read the description which is very short compared to the TOS. It's easier to overlook something in a TOS that is 1,000+ words long but my ebay sale is very short and concise and I just couldn't believe people would miss it somehow. I think that some buyers mentioned they purchased it on their mobile phones and said they didn't see it. I'm not sure if it appears differently on mobile phones than on a desktop computer.

    In any case, I did try to report the feedback and for the most part so far, ebay has done nothing for me except repeat the copy and paste automated reply of contacting the buyer and trying to sort it with them to request a feedback revision. I told ebay that I already communicated them and they were stubborn/adamant at leaving me negative accusing me of being a scammer despite me openly communicating everything to them and even offering a refund. The point is, I was trying to tell ebay that this buyer left the negative feedback based on their feelings more so than my actual performance as a seller which I fulfilled my duty. It's awful that buyers have full power and can leave feedback based on feelings even though they received what I said I would give, and offered refund too. And lastly, it's 99 cents. Why would anyone think I was trying to scam them for 99 cents? It's very unreasonable that I would build a 9 year account with 100% feedback just so that I could try and scam someone for 99 cents.

    So my next step now is what do I do? Due to my low feedback rating now of 90%, I don't think anyone will buy anything anymore unless they are buyers who do not read LOL, and hopefully don't read my feedback rating and just purchase lol. But the reality is, as a small seller who only makes 1 sale per day on average, I can't recover from a single negative feedback fast enough. It could take me a year or more just to get enough positive feedbacks to get my rating back up over 98 or 99%.

    I was thinking of trying to start a new ebay account, but I think it gets linked to my same paypal and ebay knows its still me so I have selling limits.

    Could anyone give me some advice on what I can do next to try and get back on my feet? Someone mentioned that you can sell digital items on Amazon? Is that true? So then I could sell an ebook, pdf file, a link/email or things like that there?
     
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  11. archon10

    archon10 BANNED BANNED

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    lol oh come on. You tried to bait and switch. You should have known ebay wouldn't like this.
     
  12. mackay22

    mackay22 Regular Member

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    big problem is people are dumb and making purchases on ebay app on their phone.

    When they find product through search and see the photo on the app listing, not all customers click the "detailed description" button before making the purchase.

    Stupid, yes. unfortunately though, its human nature for many humans, impatiently ordering something that appears to be 99p instead of the full normal price, greed factor kicks in!!

    Maybe make clear within the title that the auction is NOT for the item itself?
     
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  13. oatmeal

    oatmeal Regular Member

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    Aha, I didn't know that about the mobile phone users. I actually don't use a smartphone still. I'm just on a flip phone still. So I think what happened was most of these people just saw that on their phones and bought it without reading the description. I actually wrote in title, **PLEASE READ DESCRIPTION BEFORE BUY** that's all I could fit in the title without using all the characters so that I can input the actual product name in there too.

    Anyways, I stopped posting the 99 cent idea many days ago because trying to refer people that way was not working due to ebay's poor feedback system. I don't like how ebay uses % as your score. The reason is because they only count the past 12 months and so if you've only made 10 sales in a year, and you get 1 neg. that's a feedback score of 90% beside your name which is an awful rating in ebay standards. I don't know why ebay uses % because anything under 98 or 97% is considered bad. Most power sellers will have no problem maintaining over 97% because with so many sales, a few negatives here and there won't impact the overall rating much at all. But for small sellers, we can't afford 2 negatives. That literally makes our account look like a fraud now. Doesn't ebay realize this? Shouldn't there be a different set of rules or ratings for small time sellers? It's completely unfair. My real feedback score should appear as 370+ 2- 1 neutral. Now that's a very score that people could trust. But instead, ebay only shows that I'm 90% rating. I tried to explain this to them, but I don't think CSRs in ebay give a damn because they arent the ones who have the power to change policies. They just absorb all the talkers like me and shoo the words away to shield the upper management from having to deal with it. So, it seems there's no way to really suggest or express concerns about the feedback rating system and how buyers have been given 100% full power and control and sellers are pretty much at their mercy. I just don't get it. It was fine long time ago when both sellers and buyers had nukes. It deters each other from leaving negative feedback because you knew that the other guy could leave neg. back for leaving neg. on his. Why is that bad? It actually forces both parties to not leave any neg. and work out the situation together so that it benefits us both. Of course, if sellers abused the power and left neg. for a buyer who legitimately had the right to leave a neg. then that case should simply be opened/reported to ebay and they can see the evidence and remove the unwarranted/revenge feedback by the seller. What's the big problem with that? Instead, they strip sellers of nukes, and give the nukes into the hands of buyers who can use it at freewill if they want and sellers can't do jack about it. I explained this whole thing to them and the CSR only replied back that the reason why ebay switched the feedback system to this was because in the past sellers had abused the feedback system as a way to get revenge on buyers who left them neg. Yes, I fully understand that it can be abused like that, but how does it make it any different now that it's the other way? Buyers can abuse the feedback sytem and leave neg. unjustly. It's worse this way because SELLERS are the one who worked years and years to build up their accounts and reputation, why would Sellers be more likely to committ petty feedback scams and ruin or put at risk their account that has years of membership on it with 50k or 100k feedbacks? It's more likely that a buyer who has only 50 feedbacks, joined just 1 or 2 years ago, and ONLY uses the account buy and not sell, it is more likely that the buyer would risk abusing the feedback system because their account is worth nothing. It makes me scratch my head why ebay wouldn't favor or trust the side that has more to lose (ie, the sellers/power sellers)? It's more likely that sellers would ensure the integrity of the system because their accounts and reputation depends on it, whereas buyers risk nothing as their accounts have no years and no reputation other than to buy some stuff.
     
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  14. mackay22

    mackay22 Regular Member

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    sorry mate but that crazy huge block of text there is a bit hard to read through properly!

    In a nutshell mate, I see some people seem to use ebay for leadgen but it looks awkward to me, and I dont think I would use ebay for that purpose myself these days other than physicaly re-mailing previous customers.

    Some people seem to do it though, so I'm not saying it wouldnt work, just maybe the way you tried so far isnt the best I guess.
     
  15. MrJoe

    MrJoe Newbie

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    I just got two negs, and now my sales have slowed a lot.
    I sold a mixed lot of fashion jewelry. I put in BOLD LETTERS LIKE THIS DON'T ASSUME IT'S GOLD.
    The buyer filed a dispute two of them before she got the items.
    Post office did not scan the package. I went to
    the post office, found out they had mis scanned the prepaid package.
    Sent the buyer 6 emails stating what happened.
    She never read the emails, or ignored them, and opened a case before the items arrived.
    Then when she got the stuff, she filed 2 negatives saying that I was a fraud and a liar, which she also wrote in the feedback.
    Ebay won't remove the feedback. Ebay ruled in my favor on the shipping mistake, which was not my fault, but said they can't remove the nasty feedback because it is a different situation than the mailing issue.
    Ebay also ruled in my favor and told me not to refund the buyer, they said my description clearly stated that the items were not gold, and that I had not tested them. I have a jeweler I use, but the cost of testing jewelry that I'm selling for scrap does not make sense. Pay $5 to sell $10 of gold would be nuts.
    Sorry to rant, but this experience really irritated me, and I really can relate to your experience.
     
  16. MrJoe

    MrJoe Newbie

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    A lot of people buying on Ebay are not reading the descriptions.
     
  17. zionbar

    zionbar Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    I don't understand why you guys go to these gray areas in e-bay when you know that e-bay is basically a shitty website that will NEVER EVER favorite the seller.

    Use that information and play the game smart.

    If I know that sharks are aggressive I wouldn't swim by them, smile and wave to them and then bitch about "I just smiled to a shark and the asshole bite my arm off !! wtf is this bullshit !! " lol you get the point ?

    Ebay favors BUYERS, period. now use that info in your favor.

    About the ebooks, someone here said the'yre allowed, nope.
    Ebooks, Audio-books, whatever digital goods, are NOT ALLOWED ON EBAY, UNLESS, you send a hard-copy as well to the buyer..
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2016
  18. Duffers5000

    Duffers5000 Elite Member

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    If you're eBay descriptions were anything like the wall of shite you have posted above then you definitely deserved what you got.
     
  19. oatmeal

    oatmeal Regular Member

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    So if ebay is a site that favors buyers, where would you recommend to sell? Unfortunately, ebay seems to be one of the largest most widely used site in the world. Is Amazon similar? I've never used it before to buy or sell. I've always heard about it but if Amazon is just as good or even better than ebay, I might try it out.

    Any other sites you can recommend?

    Yes, I actually figured out using ebay for leadgens a long time ago. A few years back I actually sold 99 cent "samples" (of the item) and sold a lot. Then I would collect all the emails and build my email list and contact them outside of ebay to buy the "full" package. Since they had already purchased from me on ebay, they trusted me to simply pay for the full package directly via paypal. I actually made about 450 dollars doing this in just a few months. It was my first tinkering around the idea of trying to just collect emails and it actually worked well.

    Now it's not so easy. The other major problem I encountered was that people's paypal emails are really outdated. Many of them are still hotmail or yahoo or some old email providers that I'm pretty sure they never check or use anymore, but I wondered how then can they pay me with those emails via paypal? Back then, almost 100% of emails I collected from paypal payments were emails they used daily. Today, maybe just 10-25% of them actually still use their paypal emails for their regular email. Most of them I think don't and use it only for payments.
     
  20. oatmeal

    oatmeal Regular Member

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    Oh, and good news, despite my 2 negs and 90% rating now, I still made another sale yesterday and today (not the 99 cent ones...i now sell real items that are shipped). But most of my buyers now are coming from countries where english might not be the first language. It seems that buyers from those countries might not read or care about my ratings and just buy something if the price is good.

    As I said, problems would be solved if sellers could also leave negative. It's the whole nuclear deterrent principle. When both have it, they cancel each other out and nobody ends up using it. Buyers in the past were always hesitant to leave neg. because they knew they could get one back in return, so it made them either communicate and resolve the matter or just leave no feedback at all. Today, they don't even bother to communicate and try to resolve it. Some of them just leave a neg. without a warning. Why Ebay doesn't understand this is beyond me. I don't mind getting a negative IF I knew I could also return the favor. If you take my ship down, then at least I could take you with me.