eBay Sucks

Sorry, I had to say it.. a few years ago, I was a big pusher of eBay.. I’d tell my friends how you could find anything on eBay and that they made it safe and this and that.. I did a case study on eBay’s corporate culture and Meg Whitman.. I even thought about how cool it would be to work at eBay.. but that’s all slowing changing. Fact is, eBay is a monopoly in the online auction industry. Yahoo Auctions is useless by comparison and other comparable competitors are few and far between. So really, eBay could do whatever they want. You could say, “well then, I won’t use them”.. which is an acceptable solution. But the problem is, you have no substitutes. You can’t say you’ll stop using eBay and start using Auction X and be equally satisfied simply because Auction X doesn’t exist, much the same way “customer service” doesn’t exist at eBay. Anyway.. you’re probably wondering why I’m writing this.. so I’ll just get to the meat of the post..

Two problems:

    1. eBay’s automated billing system sucks
    2. eBay’s billing policy sucks

I work in Information Technology, Information Systems, Management Information Systems, whatever. I think I have a good grasp of “what can be done” and “what can’t be done”. From talking to the guy on the phone at eBay, it seems to me the problem with eBay’s automated billing is that it is simply out of control. At least that’s what he wanted me to believe. Here’s what happened. eBay bills me on December 1st 2004. I procrastinate, like I do with every bill. A couple of days ago, December 13th, I think, “hey, they haven’t charged my credit card, so I might as pay using Paypal.. after all, eBay does own Paypal.. it should be a quick and easy transaction with no danger of being billed twice”.. wrong.. two days later, eBay’s automated billing system charges my credit card. What Greg over at eBay told me was, basically, that once the ball starts rolling, there’s no way to stop it, not even a payment before eBay actually charges your credit card. Greg told me that the automated billing is done in batches. So even though they initiated a charge on my credit card on December 1st, my batch wasn’t actually processed until December 16th. If that’s true, seems to me eBay’s automated billing system may run into scalability issues if they pick up more customers/sellers. Additionally, they could probably save a few bucks by not charging a seller’s credit card (2-3% depending on the credit card issuer) if they didn’t have to. But the biggest reason of all, it would save me and Greg a lot of grief! Anyhow, I don’ t believe their billing system sucks THAT bad. If it does, they should start looking for new IT people or a better way to automate their billing. Ok, so if you sorted through all my BS, basically, I was double charged. I willfully paid once using Paypal. Then two days later, eBay’s automated billing charges me a second time for the same amount ($509.17 in case you were wondering), leaving a balance of -$117 something (remember this). Now.. on to my next point..

So I called Greg in hopes of getting the charge on my credit card reversed. Mistakenly, I was using my debit card as my eBay account credit card (coincidentally, I changed the credit card on my account on the 14th also, but I guess that didn’t bother their automated billing system). At this time of year, having an extra $509.17 comes in handy for the shopping. Greg told me that he was only able to refund the credit in my account (remember, the -$117?). I explained again, apparently in vain, that the charge to my credit card was 2 days after I had already paid my amount due using Paypal. He said he understood that, but that their policy was that they can only refund the amount of the credit in my account, regardless of the fact it was a double charge or billing mistake, basically. After pausing a few seconds to compose myself, I politely asked him why. He said, “well, that’s what the billing people say”. Ahh! The Billing People.. well, shit.. if I knew the billing people said it, I wouldn’t have asked such a stupid question (reminds me of when Samuel Jackson was talking to The Wolf in Pulp Fiction). Realizing I wasn’t going to get far with someone who takes orders from The Billing People. I emailed my Powerseller account rep. I don’t expect him to do much either. But I just had to tell someone at eBay how stupid I think they are. Here’s that email:

JP,

I re-read your email and noticed you had given the number for the 24/7 support hotline. I called and spoke to a CSR by the name of Greg. I explained to Greg the situation. After speaking to him, I realized I had no recourse. I have to tell you, I’m more than a little disappointed and I’ll tell you why:

1. Greg told me that automatic billing is initiated on the first of the month (so, in my case, December 1st). He told me accounts are charged in “batches”. Fair enough. However, he said that once an automatic charge is initiated from eBay, there is nothing that can “stop” it, not even a payment before my “batch” is actually processed. So, why would I EVER want to pay on my own? I will ALWAYS run the risk of being double charged. I might as well sit back and enjoy my 2.02% of Paypal interest and let eBay take a 2-3% hit charging my credit card. If this is true, I find this whole process to be ridiculous in this day and age of technology. But all ridiculousness aside, I could live with this if it wasn’t for #2.

2. Greg acknowledged I was charged twice. The first time, I willfully paid using my Paypal account. The second time, one day later, eBay’s automated billing charged my credit card leaving a current balance of about -$117. He explained that eBay would refund my credit of -$117, but they would not refund the $509.17 which was double charged. I asked him why that is and he told me something to the effect that, “that’s what the billing people say”. So it made me wonder. What is the point of eBay’s monthly billing cycle? After my Paypal payment of $509.17, I was left with a balance of $301.58. Given eBay’s monthly billing cycle, I would tend to believe that the $301.58 is, in essence, due January 1st, 2005. So, why is it that when eBay gets their paws on a double charge, which, yes, COULD be applied to my balance although NOT due yet, they won’t refund the double charge upon my request? To me, an analogy to this situation would be if I inadvertently paid my phone bill twice and the phone company telling me, “well, you WILL have a balance next month, so we’ll just hold onto your money until then.” If eBay’s monthly billing is not actually “monthly” in nature, then why doesn’t eBay just charge for every transaction that takes place as it takes place. Or make it daily billing, because that’s basically what eBay is implying by not refunding the full amount of the double charge with the assumption that I will have a balance due at the end of December. What then, does “Billing Cycle Date: Last day of each month”, which is printed on my invoice, actually mean?

3. Greg told me that if I wanted a refund on my credit balance, it could take up to thirty (30) days. I didn’t even want to ask why. It takes me about 30 seconds to refund someone’s money on a credit card machine or even Paypal. Why it could take thirty (30) days is beyond me. But it kind of highlights that whole “eBay getting their paws” on my money thing I alluded to above, doesn’t it?

In any case, I am no longer in need of your assistance as I previously stated in my first email. I’ve taken care of it myself. So please, do not refund any balance due or fix the double charge. eBay can hold onto my double charge. Besides, I don’t want to make the “billing people” mad.

So that’s it.. my story of why eBay sucks.. lots of people bitch about Paypal too.. but frankly, I haven’t had a problem with them yet (double fisted pound on wood)..

8 thoughts on “eBay Sucks

  1. We all must realize what Ebay and Paypal are all about. They are all about making money. They could careless about right or wrong. The people that makes them the most money is ALWAYS right, and those that don’t are ALWAYS wrong. They advertise fraud protection, but there isn’t any. How could they protect anyone without any sort of quality control? When you buy something off Ebay, cross your fingers and pray that you get what you paid for, or get anything at all for that matter. And when you use Paypal to “safely and quickly” pay for your stuff, good luck getting your money back from them after you hit the “Send” button. Yet, Ebay is still growing by leaps and bounds year over year. In the end, we only got ourselves to blame. We support them by using their services. We grow them into the beast they are by subverting to their haphazard rules. While the title of this blurp is “Ebay SUCKS!”, it is really about me looking into the mirror, slapping myself into the realization that even though I know what I was getting into, I did it anyway. That one bad experience with Ebay and Paypal finally happened to me, but I wonder if I would ever use their service again!

  2. I had problems with a purchased item that was terribly packaged and broke. Fortunately, the guy returned my money and some:lol:, but I worried, what would happen with those jerks who wouldn’t return the money:evil:? Anyhow, I wrote an article on another reason why ebay sucks, which you might be interested in at http://www.samanthaburns.com.

  3. I hate EBAY. Damned fu**ing scumbags! I have a dispute with BARGAINDEPOT04 over a one cent item. I bid on the item and made the mistake of not looking at the payment options. I can only pay with paypal. I won the item for a penny and noticed they only accept credit cards. I wrote the seller threre times apologizing for my mistake and yet, the moron filed an unpaid item thing and my account gets cancelled.

    What a bunch of crap. I have bought 12 items on EBAY in less than two weeks and paid for them all, usually on the same day. That doesn’t matter to the good Nazis at Ebay. Oh no! One complaint about not paying and they cancel my account? But the seller, oh, he’s got 276 complaints in less than a month. And over 2000 in three years. He’s ok. They don’t bother with his account. He makes them money. Me, I bid on a one penny item.

    You can see who EBAY sides with. The people who make them money. Therefore, their rules and policies are a load of dog s*** on a sharp stick!

    And, to try and be a good little member of the EBAY community, I spent several hours looking for bootleg and pirated items in the DVD and CD section. I turned in 300 people. I’m doing their damned job for them. Maybe that’s bad, but if you were the artist, you’d like someone in your corner. OH, they can kill an ad for a penis pump or a dog’s pickled bladdar, but when it comes to The Beatles Lost Recordings on Pear Records, they are blind, deaf, and totally dumb! People hate getting ripped off. Arlo Guthrie deserves his royalties. The Beatles deserve their royalties and have the right to release what they want to and when. It’s not up to some jack off in Germany. But does EBAY remember all that hard work? Do they even care? No, they’re a bunch of little snotty little hogs rooting around in the grass for lost spare change.

  4. I have a negative balance in my ebay account and I have been trying to get a refund from ebay for the past few months

    ebay keeps telling me to contact the credit card company and dispute the charge

    this is not a dispute over a charge, it is a negative balance in my ebay account – each month I get my ebay statement and it shows I have a negative balance in my account (aka ebay owes me money)

    ebay continues to tell me that there is nothing they can do about it and that I have to contact the credit card issuing bank and dispute the charge

    but how does a bank issue a refund to a credit card account that is closed and no longer active, and when this is not a dispute over a purchase charge – this is a refund for some screw up on ebays part and they owe me a refund!!!

  5. Ebay is a symbol of American Gross Capitalism in the automatic programmed 21 century. Their motto: Do the least neccesary to gain the maximum profit. Present a kind face to the naive American public. Hide your cynical greed behind a young smiling face. Dial most large companies and face the automatic phone recording and even when you talk to some rep they often act like they dont have a clue what is really going on. Yes, in many ways ebay is okay, sometimes even good, but couldnt they be far better if they really cared about people? Somebody hacked into my ebay account and posted 8 negative comments. I reported this to ebay and three days later ebay tells me that I posted the negative comments myself. I retorted with a detail explanation of why that was impossible. Her answer “sorry but you did it yourself” I realized that it was hopeless, nothing could change her conclusion. It felt like i was talking to a preprogrammed bio-bot, her book of rules told her I was wrong and that was it. Welcome to the modern world. Ebays such because Capitalism sucks.

  6. I just recently had a problem with eBay seller dressed2the9s after doing a BIN (Buy It Now) and paying immediately. I kept emailing them asking about my item (with no response back) and it took them 11 days just to tell me it wasn’t in stock. They offered a refund which I accepted but after another week of asking about the refund I finally got a response that the item had shipped.

    Perhaps now would be a good time to point out I needed these shoes for a wedding. In every email I sent them, I mentioned the date I when needed the shoes but they “never got that email”.

    I did everything I could. I paid on time (within an hour of doing a Buy It Now). I kept in contact with the seller (10 emails from me and one phone call which they never returned). And I still got slammed by eBay because the seller eventually did ship (25 days after I paid). I should have just filed a Non-Performing Seller and Item Not Received.

    Now I am stuck with a retaliatory negative feedback because I told the truth in my feedback to the seller. And a pair of shoes that are useless to be since they were finally delivered after the wedding. dressed2the9s is notorious for leaving retaliatory feedback (which all reads like it was written by a nasty gradeschool kiddy). They sell items they don’t even have in stock and then leave negative feedback claiming it is the buyers fault!

    And now they are harassing me about the webpage I created that contains all the emails that I sent and received from them. The truth hurts and I hope it hurts them tenfold!

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