Round 14: eBay/Paypal vs COX

This is Round 14 in our Worst Company in America contest, eBay/Paypal vs COX cable.

eBay has become a hothive of international scams. Coupled with its faceless transaction processor Paypal, a number of our readers report having disputes unfairly judged against them, victims of scammers who know how to manipulate eBay/Paypal’s myriad policies.

We don’t receive many complaints about Cox but some of the people who nominated them took issue with paying $30 just to get 12 local channels, and another complained about his in-state long distance rate being doubled without explanation.

This is a post in our Worst Company In America 2008 series. The companies nominated for this honor were chosen by you, the readers. Keep track of all the goings on at

STILL OPEN FOR VOTING: Apple vs SallieMae, Diebold Vs Pfizer, MTV vs TransUnion
CompUSA vs DirecTV
Target vs Best Buy
Allstate vs Verizon,
DeBeers vs 1800 flowers, Starbucks vs United Airlines,
Exxon vs Crocs, Google Vs Sony, Ticketmaster vs Wachovia, Facebook vs The American Arbitration Association, Comcast vs Menu Foods


Edit Your Comment

  1. ivealwaysgotmail10 says:

    Ebay is Just EVIL, They grew and grew off of their community, bought paypal, and are now Raising their Rates to up to 10% of the value of your listing! INSANE! Their saying its to “improve their website”…. you need BILLIONS to improve your website? I WILL NEVER SHOP EBAY AGAIN after their recent fee changes, They stabbed every customer they had in the back

  2. TechnoDestructo says:

    Cox cable in San Angelo was the best internet service I’ve had in the US.

  3. linkura says:

    Cox is a pretty bad cable service, but it’s actually a lot better than Time Warner or Comcast as far as I can tell. Pretty much ALL cable services are terrible.

    eBay, on the other hand, has done so much wrong lately that they easily earned my vote.

  4. jefffromNY says:

    I got scammed for a car that arrived with $2000+ of damage off eBay. The auction stated just $400 of damage. Paypal told me I was wrong without asking for my side of the story, or any estimates for that sake. That’s enough for me.

    A list of the damages stated in the auction: Cracked windshield, broken control arm, minor ding.

    Actual (that I told PP about): Cracked camber, rims were scraped/spray painted, rear bumper was painted dark blue (the car was black), Cigarette holes in the back seat, larges holes on drivers side carpet, passenger side rearview mirror was missing, four flat tires.

    And they told me that they sided with the seller and not to contact them. When I did I was told that they get many scams on cars from fraudulant buyers.

    Boy wish I had the Consumerist back then

  5. Alex Chasick says:

    Cox randomly goes out in the middle of the night, preventing me from checking your emails. Boo to them.

  6. Willow01 says:

    I’ve been with Cox for over 15 years for both cable and phone about 5 years ago I picked up their HSI and love it, I’ve never had an issue with them in Phoenix.

  7. rmz says:

    I’ve never had a problem with Cox. To boot, they also have a locally-staffed call center (that serves only this city), and I can drive down to their main office and wait less than 10 minutes to speak with someone face-to-face whenever I have an issue.

  8. doormat says:

    Only recently have I had my first ongoing problem with Cox. Their Multistream Cablecard support is horrible. I have to reboot my TiVo HD every week to get back the digital channels it magically loses, and half the time that doesn’t work so I have to unpair/repair the cablecard. I’m sick of calling up but none of the CSRs seem to care that its an ongoing problem. Last month they gave me the excuse that a patch was coming out that would fix it, no such luck.

  9. amazon79 says:

    @doormat: Sucky CableCARD support isn’t necessarily a Cox issue…basically ALL cable operators’ CableCARD support sucks.

  10. heintzer says:

    I had Cox HSI for years in Phoenix, and I rarely had any issues — and when I did, their customer service was at worst passable and generally very good.

    Now that I have to deal with Comcast…

  11. eBay and Paypal FTW!!!

  12. FeedFaceCoffee says:

    $30 for local channels isn’t that bad. Comcast comes in close second since I have to pay $28 and change for local channels (plus HSN and TV Guide) primarily because I want internet service. That alternative is I pay MORE for local phone service. I already carry around two cell phones, one for work and the other is personal.

  13. homerjay says:

    Oh I would LOVE to see Ebay win this whole deal but there are SO MANY shitty companies!!
    Oh corporate America! I wish you ALL could win! I really really do.

  14. amoeba says:

    I had the pleasure to vote for ebay/paypal. And they deserve to win this round.

  15. lesbiansayswhat says:

    This match-up is probably the most lopsided..eBay is for sure going to make the final four. Both sellers and buyers hate them..that’s unique.

  16. sydcage says:

    Cox of Las Vegas was the best tv/internet service I had in the states.

  17. ldavis480 says:

    I live in the Phoenix area and use Cox for broadband Internet and local/long distance phone service. For the most part I have been really happy. Their Internet installation process was the fastest I’ve ever seen and was flawless.

    I’m moving to San Francisco soon and am disappointed that Comscat might be my only option there for cable Internet. I guess we’ll see.

  18. DanPVD says:

    @Alex Chasick: At least I know I’m not going crazy. I get the same problem all the time. Though I seem to be the only person in my social group to experience this – perhaps it is because I live in a more rural area.

  19. sporks says:

    I’m voting Cox on this one. Garrrarrrgh on internet issues I’ve had lately. And garrargh on them constantly increasing the prices on my cable since there’s no real competition around here other than satelite, which is a joke with the amount of trees and bad weather in my neighborhood.

  20. Camon says:

    I have Cox in Phoenix and I love it. I have lived out here for 4 years and have never had my Internet rates go up, only my TV services. In fact, my internet speeds have been the only thing to increase with Cox. eBay on the other hand…

  21. Ke says:

    I have had Cox for a while now and it’s been going pretty well. My cable works fine and the Internet is rarely down… and usually when it is down, I just have to restart the modem and such.

    I have heard about bad experiences with eBay though, so I voted for them.

  22. Buran says:

    ebay/paypal no contest. They sent me a letter telling me that they weren’t going to credit my account for a fraudulent failure-to-refund (mail fraud was involved) charge.

    The first paragraph of the letter said they weren’t refunding me.

    The second said that Paypal does not support or condone fraud.

    Hypocritical idiots, and I’m already working on closing my account (but paypal claims I need to wait for 4 months to pass since the last transaction before being able to close my account. I think that’s bullshit).

  23. Buran says:

    @Buran: BTW, I did finally get my money back from my bank. Suck it, paypal. (and I just tried again to close the account and it failed again, and the CSR who claimed he’d close it for me by phone the other day was apparently a liar)

  24. JayDeEm says:

    I have been using Cox for Cable/Phone/Internet for years now and they have always been good to me. My only complaint is the compression on the HD channels, though they don’t look as bad as the Comcast images from an earlier Consumerist post. I can only hope that this changes with time.

  25. Trai_Dep says:

    Cox is lucky that Comcast is getting my Evil Cabler vote. It’d be like arresting a kid grinding down a stairwell instead of going after the drunken granny that just mowed her SUV thru a crowd of photogenic children carrying baskets of puppies and kittens. Aim higher next year, Cox!

  26. LUV2CattleCall says:

    Our Cox internet kept “randomly” cutting out…. after 5 or 6 visits from them, I fininally noticed that this would only happend when it’s humid or cold outside. It took them 3 more visits to recreate the problem, but the nice part was that they made a huge exception and came after hours (once at 9 pm on a Saturday night).

    After they fixed it by running a new line, before I said anything, they said that if I had someone come out and put patches of pre-grown grass on the dug up areas, they’ll be glad to foot the bill.

    On top of that, they called me, un provoked, and said they were very sorry and would like the chance to compensate us. The rep asked me what a fair amount would be and I said how about a refund of 75% of our internet bills to date….

    She told me that she would rather give 125% – a full refund since they failed to deliver the service we were paying for, and an extra 25% for our troubles…..

    All eBay gave me was hell after some guy returned a different laptop than what I sold him and claimed I had screwed him….

  27. Lambasted says:

    In the early days, eBay used to be a flea market shopper’s paradise. I could find one-of-a-kind items sold by honest sellers cleaning out Grandma’s attic. Quality homespun niche businesses sold unique items not found in regular retail stores. Items were priced fairly and shipping rates weren’t outrageously inflated. Shopping on eBay was fun, additively so.

    In recent years, eBay has become an overpriced junk warehouse. Thirty sellers will auction the same “one-of-a-kind” item at a starting bid of $.01, with a bargain basement shipping rate of $24.99.

    If anything is left in Grandma’s attic, the heirs are selling it at double its value.

    Retail chains have an eBay store that only sell merchandise the foot traffic didn’t want.

    Unscrupulous sellers bait customers in with low prices only to kick them in their Paypal buttocks with sneaky fee-avoiding, high shipping rates.

    Paying is no longer your pal. The consumer protection process is so convoluted that by the time eBay gets around to denying your claim, the seller has already begun defrauding other unsuspecting buyers under a new identity anyway.

    I used to be an eBay addict. I simply had to browse everyday just in case I missed that special item I didn’t know I wanted. Now, it might be four times a year I find myself on eBay…and rarely do I leave having place a bid or purchased something.

    Nothing exciting, nothing unique, nothing cheap (unless you are referring to quality).

  28. mike says:

    I chose Cox because their customer service here in NoVA is just aweful. They’ve had a monopoly in my area until recently when FiOs was installed.

    I’m looking forward to some competition for my money.

    Ebay is evil. Just…not as evil as cox.

  29. mike1731 says:

    Speaking for my own 6 year history with Cox, I’ve found them to be far superior to other cable companies I’ve dealt with. Good service, fast internet, their phone service is ok although not the “bargain” it’s pitched as. I don’t know why it’d be included in this worst company sweepstakes.

  30. maxx22 says:

    EBay Hijacked Account Scams

    EBay is full of scams. In my opinion, one of the more insidious is the hijacked account scam.

    Phishers send out millions of emails – “Your eBay account will be suspended”; “There is a problem with your eBay
    item”, etc. Emails have a “click here to respond” button that asks you to log in.

    And that’s it. The scammers have a legitimate username and matching password! The account has been hijacked!

    Shortly thereafter, up to three dozen one-to-three day listings of very expensive, usually sold at list price electronic, athletic or similar equipment will appear as if for sale by the hijacked account holder. Listings always say: “Email me here (not the eBay contact address) for shipping or buy-it-now or other information”.

    Those who email are given a spectacular price . . . perhaps 1/3 of list including shipping. They are told that they will receive a payment invoice through eBay’s Trust and Safety or similar department and that the transaction is perfectly safe because it is approved by eBay. The seller asks only for name and shipping address.

    If the potential buyer asks about PayPal, he is told that the seller’s account is temporarily full; or there is a problem; or there is a divorce; or some other reason why he needs to deal directly through eBay.

    Shortly afterward, he receives an authentic looking “invoice” from eBay and perhaps a second eBay email stating that they have investigated the transaction and it is safe.

    The invoice asks the buyer to send the money by Western Union to somewhere in Europe. Once sent, the money is lost. Gone. Of course, the buyer never receives the purchased item because it never existed.

    Everything in this scam is forged: the phishing email; the eBay invoice; the eBay verification letter. Nothing appears in the buyer’s eBay inbox because nothing is sent from eBay’s own server.

    If eBay receives complaints about a listing, it will eventually remove it — perhaps in minutes, perhaps in hours. During that time, the scammer receives email for potential buyers, some of whom will end of sending money by Western Union because the deal is just too good to turn down. The scammers never expect these listings to stay valid for an extended period; just long enough to get some people interested.

    A few days latter, the same scammers return with new hijacked accounts and the same listings. Even the “email me here” addresses are the same.

    This is a HUGE business. We are talking about $1,000 – $2,000 or more per transaction. In cash.

    I believe eBay is part of the problem. They have no organized system to screen for obviously hijacked listings; they frequently leave the listings up even after complaints. More important, it is just too easy to list a sale on eBay. There is no secondary “sale only” password or other verification. Finally, even though these scams leave a mile long electronic trail (including having to show up at a Western Union office somewhere to pick up the money), eBay seems to make minimum, if any attempt, to shut them down.

    In my opinion, eBay needs to stop saying: “we are only a venue” and start protecting its customers.

  31. fishing-ace says:

    i dont see how ebay isnt winning this contest by at least 90/10

  32. JustaConsumer says:

    I cannot believe Paypal has lasted this long. They are a nightmare. Ebay and Paypal should be closed down.

  33. Mrs. Stephen Fry says:

    Cox sucks.

  34. Geekybiker says:

    Paypal freezes your money for no good reason. They regularly screw both buyer and sellers. They claim to have protections but the requirements are so convoluted its nearly impossible to get coverage even if you’re trying to follow the steps. They take a huge chunk of the sale price in fees for doing nearly none of the work or risk.

  35. provolone says:

    From what I can tell by reading these comments, Cox is not only the best cable company in America (not saying much), but may not even suck at all.

    Therefore, I’d like to write in my vote for Circuit City.

  36. tme2nsb says:

    I voted for cox because of their capping rules. 4GB a month? They cap you. Blech. eBay I don’t mind because I rarely mess with them

  37. Pro-Pain says:

    Are people really dumb enough to Western Union money for a transaction on ebay? Jesus Christ…

  38. maxx22 says:

    It isn’t a transaction “on eBay”. It is a scam that uses hijacked eBay accounts to make offers to people who send them emails. They try to make the buyer think that it is a legitimate transactionthat is approved and escrowed by eBay. Of course, eBay doesn’t send out invoices; doesn’t approve transactions; doesn’t collect or escrow money. But to get a $3,000 computer, audio or other product for only $1,000. Wow! Just send the money by Western Union! Ebay will hold that money until you receive your product!

    I understand that there are lots of scams and scammers; and lots of people looking for a bargain. But with very little effort, eBay could shut this whole thing down by responding instantly to reports; by making it harder to list sales (extra password?); and by using the law to go after the scammers.

  39. beth dean says:

    Cox is the worst cable company I’ve ever had the displeasure of dealing with. In Cleveland, almost all of their services cost more than Time Warner’s. You can’t get a DVR without their highest tier of digital cable (basically everything but movie channels) and they charge you more for this crappy box than a Tivo subscription.

    I’ve gone through three of the boxes, they continually crap out, decide not to allow you to access on demand, erase your shows, the sound decides to go out etc.

    My “high speed” internet access from them is intermittent at best, and goes out at least once per day which is unacceptable for a web professional who frequently works from home.

    When you call their tech support you can expect to be told to reboot your modem or cable box several times, and then when this doesn’t resolve the issue they tell you there’s nothing they can do.

  40. Brian says:

    May I suggest someone come back and tag this post with PayPal? I was looking for it with that tag but couldn’t find it, but their second tier round against Sallie Mae has the PayPal tag. :)