Ebay: Have They Lost the Selling Plot?

When a company have been trading for a number of years, in my experience, they tend to go either of two ways. The first way they can go is that they can fully appreciate that if it were not for their customers there would be no company.

The second way they can go is that they take on a kind of derisory attitude towards their customers, particularly if they are a successful company and have some kind of monopoly on the market in which they are trading in, and I fear this has happened with ebay.

Once the ‘go to’ auction site for sellers and buyers alike, now its reputation, especially for sellers, who, do not forget are ebay’s customers also, is fast becoming one for petty, incomprehensible rulings and extortionate pricing structures. I mean, when the whole premise of ebay rests on sellers being able to post items easily and with reasonable selling rates, to then make it as difficult as possible for them to maintain the most absurd highest standards is somewhat bizarre and contrary to the whole point of the auction site surely?


I am in the position where I can give you a prime example but this is by no means a one off case. An extremely professional ex business partner of mine set up an ebay shop and registered it as a business ten years ago. Since then she has acquired over 8000+ positive feedback, no mean feat I’m sure you will agree.

But recently ebay added the good ‘stars’ system whereby customers could now rate you by giving you 1 to 5 stars out of a maximum of 5 for postage, communication, item as described and despatch time. Now, because my good friend had 3 occasions where a few customers gave her a low score on the stars points system, not on the feedback by the way, she has now been told that she cannot list any more items in her shop and ebay have closed her down!

She was used to selling around 150 items in her ebay shop a month and this was her livelihood. Now ebay have shut her down, she has no business to run, and nowhere that she is able to make any money to pay the mortgage, buy food, pay bills etcAnd best of all ebay did not give her any notice. Now normally if your company is going to make you redundant, you get notice and usually a pay off.

My good friend was told in an email, a couple of months previous to this, that she was slightly under the preferred ‘good stars’ level and that she needed to make sure she kept up a good performance for the rest of the month, but when she called an ebay customer care person, as she was worried, they told her ‘Not to worry’.

So what does that say about a company that has clearly grown too large to be able to manage its customers (the sellers on ebay)? It seems that awhile ago there was a lot of furore about ebay selling counterfeit goods, from fake handbags to copies of tickets to gigs and football matches.

In my opinion, ebay took the view that every seller could potentially be selling counterfeit items and made selling extremely difficult from then on. For instance, now, as a new seller, you are restricted to only selling 10 items over 90 days until ebay have deemed that you have ‘proved’ yourself a worthy seller.

This is a new rule ebay have placed and it is in despite of the fact that there is a feedback system which clearly is meant to show what sort of a seller you are.


Talking about feedback, when I used to sell on a regular basis, a new feedback rule came into play in which sellers could not now give negative or neutral feedback to buyers.

This was supposedly to stop reciprocal negative feedback from a seller who had sold shoddy goods to a buyer, the buyer then gave a neg feedback score and the seller would also give a neg score. But the fact remains that sellers cannot now give negative feedback which is wrong.

The percentage of the final valuation fee that a seller now has to pay has also increased to 15% which is an enormous amount if you also include the listing fees and the fees you have to pay to Paypal, which ebay insist you use as a payment method, or else.

All in all, ebay are geared up for buyers, not sellers but do they not realise that if they annoy and upset all the sellers, no one will list on their site and there will be nothing left to buy on ebay? Just read the forums on their own website, sellers are not happy.

Ebay used to be a great place to sell off unwanted clothes and other items. Now it seems it is run by people who do not understand how the site needs its sellers in order to exist in the first place. For other auction sites please visit Etsy, Folksy and Ebid and support these rather than ebay. Ebay may then get the message.

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