Open Letter to Mr Omidyar (Founder and Chairman of eBay)

Subject: Open Letter to Mr Omidyar (Founder and Chairman of eBay)
From: Frustrated eBay Sellers Across the Globe
Date: 24 Jun 2015

I am one of thousands of sellers using eBay, who is at the end of my tether about the lack of support that is being offered, with regards to buyers who are making fraudulent claims and demanding unjustified refunds.

I have done everything that I can to try to reduce the risk of an unhappy customer. I have read your “Sellers Protection” policy, I have followed your guidelines to the letter. I have been open and honest about the description of my product, listed every piece of information about my product and done everything within my power to play by the rules set out by eBay. However, on this particular occasion, the buyer did not read my advert correctly, demanded a refund and opened a case against me.

Despite supplying supporting evidence to eBay, which:

  1. confirmed that the item was as described, and
  2. provided email evidence proving that the buyer stated he had not read my advert correctly

I also reported the buyer for abuse (which followed after I advised I would not be issuing a refund as the product was described correctly). However, despite supplying this information eBay still found in favour of the buyer, on the grounds that the product was not as a described.

Had the eBay “customer service” team actually bothered to read my advert, read the full description and study the photographs I had uploaded, they would have seen that the product was exactly as described, yet this appears to count for nothing.

In addition to finding in the buyer's favour, eBay have done absolutely nothing to address the issue of being abused via eBay messaging, nor assisted with the removal of feedback left on my eBay sales page where I have been called a “vile human”. In fact, eBay seem to support and embrace this as acceptable behaviour, and are now rewarding the buyer by taking money from my Paypal account and issuing them a full refund and marking down my seller rating.

I called the eBay “help” line, to try to talk to someone to discuss the case, but they would not listen and would not help, so I then emailed Tanya Lawler (Vice President, UK) to see if she would kindly intervene on my behalf.

In keeping with the non-existent “help” line support, Ms Lawler couldn’t even give the common courtesy of responding to my mail, or even asking for one her team to respond.

Just a simple “thank you for your email, we shall look into this” would have sufficed. Instead, I have been ignored again.

eBay clearly have no inclination to support or lend assistance to sellers, as there are no email contact addresses, clearly displayed telephone numbers or email complaints addresses on your sites, only a snail mail address, which in this day and age is a prehistoric approach to customer services.

eBay hyperlinks to help topics or Q&A topics, are often cross-referenced and lead you down dead end paths, making it almost impossible to get in contact with anyone at all. If you are actually lucky enough to work out how to actually speak to someone, you end up being connected to a call centre where the staff follow a script – when challenged or asked to discuss topics “off script”, staff then resort to repeating paragraphs from said script, parrot fashioned, over and over again.

The whole process appears to have been specifically designed purely to frustrate or drive the seller insane in the hope that they will give up and go away.

I had naively hoped that this lack of customer service, was just a small blip in customer care, as I am aware that there have been some eBay policy changes of late – however, having trawled the eBay community forums and other internet forums, I was dismayed to see that this very same issue has gone unaddressed for at least the past 5 years.

Why are eBay ignoring their customers? Why do eBay staff not understand that sellers are the backbone support of the whole eBay empire and are helping to pay their wages? Why are eBay allowed to ignore/breach their own sellers policies/guidelines without recourse?

Sellers are integral to eBay’s success and they deserve better support, deserve to be listened to, and they deserve to have genuine issues addressed.

I realise that there are still rogue sellers that have used eBay and have conned buyers out of money, and I fully appreciate that they should be subject to scrutiny to protect buyers – but please do not tar all sellers with the same brush. Please also be aware that there are an equal amount of rogue buyers who are happily twisting and manipulating the eBay anti-seller stance to their advantage.

As I believe that you are now heavily involved in investigative journalism, perhaps this is a topic you would like to investigate and report upon, I’ve supplied a few links for you start you on your way.