Public Service Information Page
Ebay & Paypal lost the confidence of it's sellers.
As long time sellers on the Ebay site for many years, we had much invested working very hard to maintain a top rated account there. But after 10 years of loyalty to them and our customers, we came to realize that we were not wanted there anymore. We say this for many reasons not the least of which is that since new policy changes that gear the site more in the way of automation, the site began treating sellers with good standing records unfairly by placing them in with less than reputable ones thus jeopardizing their accounts. It has been known as the "Dolphins in the net" theory although we're sure that it is known by many titles.
Understanding that the reasons for our attitude towards Ebay may have lost their luster with variations in their policy changes, the fact remains that at the time this article was originally written, we felt that we were being treated unfairly. Many sellers' confidence was tarnished by Ebay's developing policies that set a double standard in many areas. One example of this was typical of the STAR ratings system that they had in place. In short, the system allowed buyers to rate sellers with from 1 to 5 stars in four categories of service. Those categories are Item Description; Communication; Shipping Time and Shipping Costs.
Ebay clearly told buyers at the time of leaving their rating that 4 stars was considered "Accurate"; "Satisfied"; "Quickly" and "Reasonable" with respect to each of the four categories shown above. However, they then mandated a policy that required a seller to maintain no less than 4.1 stars in ALL areas to prevent suspension from selling on the site! Whatever their reason(s) for doing this were completely irrelevant. We know as well as anyone else that reads this that such a policy made no sense! How is it possible that any one of the 4 star descriptions as explained above be grounds for dismissal from selling on the site?!
From all accounts, it would seem that Ebay's policy makers had resolved to the idea that a certain percentage, approxamately 4% of all sellers on their site were expendable. But when you consider that Ebay at the time, had a safe figure of no less than 1.5 million dedicated sellers on the site, you are talking about affecting a number of people well above 60,000!! We believe that the 4% would shift to a different series of sellers as well, making it safer to say that no less than 100,000 sellers would have been affected at some point by these restrictions and suspensions. And even if only 10% of THAT were the expendable "Dolphins," then you are talking about unfairly treating over no less than 10,000 honest hard working policy abiding sellers! That was an unacceptable statistic to us!
We did months of research in this area and came up with MANY reasons why Ebay was doing this, all of which are not good. It has been kind of like opening up a can of worms. There were so many cross linked factors involved in all of this that it just looks too very ominous. Rather than get into every aspect of what we found through doing our research, we thought we would just point you in the direction of the posted articles or websites that we felt BEST explained all these things in detail. Again, keep in mind that time moves on and policies change, but at the time of this posting, the links explained things as they were. God only knows what has happened since then and we do apologize if things happened to change in time for the better. You will see these links at the bottom of this article. I urge you to look at these posts as they are the best of the best in our opinion. What we will elaborate more about here on this site will focus on the star ratings issue that was in place at the time and how Ebay's automation was ruining good people's lives.
First, it would be important to understand that in order to maintain a record above the 4.1 star level, you would have needed to receive 5 stars as there was no in-between. If for whatever reason, your business could not cater to absolute perfection or if your buyers didn't believe in rating 5 stars in any of the four rated categories, you would get no more than 4 stars which was in Ebay's own terms as shown above, completely acceptable, but according to their policy, would of course get you banned.
Another issue that was related to this is that even if your rating fell below 4.3 stars in any area, Ebay treated you as a second class user by limiting the visibility of the items you sold on the site! You paid the same fees as everyone else, but were not treated the same way even though your ratings FAR exceeded what would be considered a good seller.
Our opinion here is that Ebay had abandoned the old way of doing things with their feedback to try and pioneer something that no one else had ever done thinking that this was going to make their jobs easier in the long run. They may have had good intentions at the start with a way to eliminate fraud and buyer complaints, but in many people's opinions had pulled the plan out of the oven half baked before clearly thinking the process through. And what they created was a policy structure in this area that was ruining people's lives by restricting or suspending users at a record pace that didn't keep up with numbers that for many people were simply unattainable. This by no means indicated that these people were bad sellers! These users had done well for Ebay the entire time that they stayed loyal and had built their lives around Ebay only to be abandoned in the long run.
A point that we would like to make here is that it had become quite widely known that Ebay had been trying to model there site after Amazon. But then if they wanted to do that, they should have paid closer attention in the area of the seller star ratings! Odly enough, Amazon was doing the same thing! They saw the advantage of Ebay's variety of products and knew that they were limited with the way they disallowed products without UPC labels. That is something for Amazon that is still a work in progress. But we've spoken with representatives at Amazon many times and everyone there were stunned at how Ebay was giving up on their sellers by allowing such contradicting policies. Amazon was smart in understanding that NO user is expendable if he or she is within reasonable limits. Amazon did not see the need to punish sellers as dramatically with such ridiculous restrictions and suspensions. Their feedback system is based on a 5 star rating system in general. Not one that focuses on specific service categories that sellers in many cases have no control over. And we were clearly told that unless you'd done something to deserve suspension from the Amazon site, a 4 star rating would NEVER get you restricted in any way, not alone banned. In fact, you could maintain an OVERALL star rating of as low as 3.7 and still not be in jeopardy of losing your account status in any way on Amazon.
We're not trying to compare Ebay to Amazon because they each have two different models. And we're not saying that Amazon's way of doing things always treats everyone fairly either as we know that how people are treated in many instances comes down to the employees that make the decisions. Mistakes are made and people suffer for that. All businesses are the same in that way. But to allow policies that by any standard are simply unfair, does not go beyond the ability for any business to correct without hesitation.
It had seemed to us that Ebay policy makers were acting out of desperation. They saw that their site was not doing as well as it had in the past and so they implemented policy moves in a hastily fashioned way without understanding the damage that it could inflict on it's sellers. This was damage that they might never recover from without years of rebuilding. Before implementing policies such as they had, they would need to repair those that already existed first! For example, you can't offer fairness to a seller by stating in your policy such as Ebay did that the buyer is REQUIRED to follow a seller's policy guidelines and then implement NEW policy that punishes a seller when the buyer complains about something that goes against those guidelines! Additionally, you shouldn't state in your policy to buyers that a star rating of 4 is good and then incorporate a NEW policy that suspends a seller for getting 4 stars in his ratings! These are only two examples of the product of overlapping policies that produced conflicting outcomes. Ebay was trying to build a new house on an old unstable foundation. Such a construction will eventually collapse!
One of the biggest problems we had with all this is that Ebay didn't consider the seller that they did this to at all! 5 or even 10 years of policy abiding dedicated service and excellent customer ratings and feedback on their site meant absolutely nothing to Ebay's policy makers. They had chosen what was quite obviously a generically automated way of handling the good sellers that fell below their contradicting policy thresholds and went with it.
The damage that we personally suffered due to all of this over a very long period of time was more than just financial, it was physical which is of course something else that could never be understood by those that worked at Ebay! It had gone on long enough!! That is why we made a conscious decision to act... We simply and systematically withdrew our product from Ebay. We expanded our seller venue base. And most importantly, we built a collectibles site second to none to cater directly to our customers.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
When a company such as Ebay or Amazon creates policies that are based on automation which damage people's livlihoods, that company will pay the price sooner or later. Assuming that sellers who use venues like this that have much of their lives invested in a business that they worked hard to achieve are going to lie down and fade away is a mistake. If you're truly serious about what you do, then you CAN make a difference for yourself.
1. Our first point of advice is to EXPAND your business to other venues so that it doesn't take as hard a hit if one venue unfairly decides to shut you down or limit your ability. You need to learn that there are many, many websites out there that allow you to offer your products and sevices and you can use all of that to your advantage.
2. By telling your story of how you were unfairly treated, you may just help to cause change for the better for everyone. However, you must be as objective and factual as you can. Unless you're absolutely sure of something, then keep it to yourself. Many people who were wronged don't have all the facts and emotion takes over which can only make things worse for yourself.
3. The most important thing of all for a serious business owner, no matter what it takes is that you need to create a presence for yourself on the Internet by building your OWN website. If you truly have something great to offer, then you owe it to yourself to do this. Whether you build it yourself or hire someone else to do it for you, once done, it is the most rewarding thing you can have going for yourself and what you offer. You're in charge and you make the rules. It will not be an easy task to get such an achievment to pay off, at least not right away. It takes a LOT of hard work, but without question, you'll be better off in the end for it.
But in summary, if you are one of the users on Ebay that was, is or had ever been affected by unfair policies and need a little extra charge to make you think seriously enough to want change, then we urge you to read the following articles and site links that we have uncovered below. Then if you feel compelled enough and are able, respond to any number of them by posting your own experiences. Whether it was Ebay, Amazon, Etsy, Bonanza or whoever, get involved in telling the World how you were treated. And for those companies that offer stock, go to links that gear towards stock market reports that allow users to make posts and alert the stock buying community to your experiences. But most importantly, promote yourself by building your OWN website and bring the business directly to you! Happy reading!!
Blogger News Network... Ebay/Paypal To Run The World. 5 Part Series
Part FIVE: Feedback & DSRs: Simple would be Much Better!
Part FOUR: Trust & Safety No Longer Exists
Part THREE: Still think Ebay Is Just A Venue?
Part TWO: Sellers Must Fight Back Against Unilateral Feedback
Part ONE: Australia, The Pawn For A One Sided Game Of Chess
The Brew News: Ebay Goes Too Far With Seller Requirements
PaypalSucks.com: Site Devoted to exposing the nightmares of using Paypal
Glassdoor.com: Employee insider view of Ebay's mismanagement
You Tube: Video & Posts exclaiming unfairness of DSRs system
iPetitions: Petition that you can sign if you suspect DSR Manipulation/Fraud
AlterNet: How Paypal Squeezes Merchants with Unfair and Likely Illegal Business Practices