This Buyer's Experience Pretty Much Sums Up What's Wrong With Ebay

Veteran Ebay buyer/seller Monty has just come off a triple play of misrepresented auctions, each from a different seller, and has had zero luck getting things straightened out with any of them.

It seems that eBay’s latest squeeze on sellers is just the tip of the iceberg. eBay’s pressure on their sellers is, if you ask me, having a “trickle down” effect on us eBay shoppers, too. I have over 500 feedbacks and have been with eBay since pretty much they began. Thanks to a string of about three or four really bad auction experiences, however, I am starting to see this trickle-down effect.
It all began with a pair of refurb’d Sony wireless headphones I bought. The seller shipped them to me, but the power supply was the wrong voltage for the headphones. With them being Sony, with everything they sell proprietary, I was pretty much hooped. I called around, and wow, Sony wants $70 for an adapter that’ll power the $56 9plus $20 shipping) headphones I bought! I wrote the shipper and he was dismissive and rude to me. In the end, I ended up filing an “Item Not As Described” filing with Paypal. Check this: 45 days later, eBay tells me I can ship the item back to the shipper, at my cost, for a refund of my purchase price. So… let me get this straight, eBay: I’m going to lose a total of $40 in shipping for my $56 item??
I recently bought a “Brand New, Sealed” laptop from eBay. The auction clearly stated that the item had Windows XP on it, which I wanted, after hearing about all the problems with Vista. It came with Vista, not XP, which promptly crashed. nearly $300 in “Geek Squad” rescue fees later, I had a working laptop, albeit with Vista on, which I didn’t want. The Geek Squad informed me that the laptop had been “used” before, and the manufacturer refused to honour the warranty since it was not a “hardware” issue. I asked the seller to split what I’d spent to get the laptop working– money I spent due to HIS error. Naturally, he refused. I filed with eBay, and it’s been 30 days, and no word.
Just the other day I received a wireless mouse I’d ordered, but it’s dead. The mouse arrived in a plain envelope, with no packaging, dead. Should I even bother? I’ve learned that eBay will leave me hanging and that sellers don’t fear eBay’s totally “nerfed” so-called consumer protection assurances. It’s a load of crap, and I’m going to start shopping elsewhere.


Edit Your Comment

  1. trinidon2k says:

    what elsewhere?

  2. greenpepper says:

    Cool, I’ve got all this junk to unload… too bad I’ve got a conscience

  3. mgy says:

    From a seller’s perspective, eBay is going down the tubes too. I have had 3 consecutive auctions (the same item) won by Nigerians who have hacked into legitimate accounts and placed bids. I get the confirmation that someone has won my item, and FIVE minutes later I get an email from eBay’s account trust team saying that the whole auction has been cancelled. I lose the text of the auction, all the watchers, bidders, and the ability to contact them about said items. eBay doesn’t even allow me to immediately relist the same item – because it doesn’t exist in their system anymore. I have to start from scratch, wait the “dead day” before my item starts showing up in search results and hope for the best.

    There’s no recourse for sellers. Nothing to make things easier. I just have to hope that I get my fees refunded. God knows if they’ll do that.

  4. MercuryPDX says:

    I’m can sympathize with Monty. I quit eBay after just one burn about 4 years ago.

    It’s a load of crap, and I’m going to start shopping elsewhere.

    An expensive lesson well learned. I hope Monty (and anyone else burned) will reach out to to report the scammers.

  5. jaydez says:

    I bought less than 5 things off ebay my entire life and sold 2 things. That is as far as I will go with ebay. That place sucks and I avoid it like the plague. Besides, it’s impossible to save any money on anything worthwile anymore.

    ebay sucks monkey balls.

  6. dry-roasted-peanuts says:

    The jerks who misrepresent/lie about their auctions really suck. I was actually looking for a copy of Xenosaga 3 (PS2 game) the other week, and found numerous people who had “sealed, new” copies of the game. However, you could look at the picture and they were clearly used copies re-sealed by a store heat sealer (as opposed to factory glue sealed). Luckily, I did find one person who was selling a legit new copy (and he even specified it was factory sealed) and it all worked out.

  7. 8210 says:

    I can’t believe I get to say it first: “CHARGE BACK” Always use a credit card with pay pal and don’t bother calling pay pal just call the CC company and charge it back. I a special amex card that I use on ebay.

    • khooray says:

      Yep, and you’re the buyer who screws over the sellers by avoiding the paypal protection the seller has by using your Amex card.

  8. Rando says:

    I sell my school books through ebay, and I must say, the power sellers are definite cry babies. I’ve found it easy and the fees are much better compared to Amazon.

    Also, I think you should have returned the laptop in the first place rather than trying to fix it yourself.

  9. bubsmith says:

    As a seller, the same thing can happen. Had a lady order a lamp in Canada, she abandons the package at customs and I get hit for almost $400. The days of eBay trust are GONE.

  10. socritic says:

    i’ve stoppedd using ebay since the stores grew too big and the little sellers slowly got swallowed. No more ebay. The whole point of ebay was to save me money by letting me buy used or direct, now i preffer brick and mortar for the ability to see my actual product and the satisfaction of getting it now. those two are worth the premium. so whats ebay good for anyway?

  11. dakotad555 says:

    I’ve been an Ebayer for over 8 years, and have 250+ feedback. In the last couple of years, and after being screwed by fraudulent sellers and buyers, I’ve pretty much resolved to never use Ebay again. In addition to getting scammed by a seller, it’s gotten almost impossible to save any money on Ebay, or make money either. Listing fees are a joke, and Ebay either doesn’t care enough about the fraud, because my experience is nearly identical to the articles author.

    As a side note, this guy NEVER should have taken his computer to Geek Squad. As soon as he saw that the computer came loaded with Vista, he should have filed for item not as described.

  12. humphrmi says:

    I too gave up on e-bay a long time ago. As a buyer and seller, I can say it’s not good for anyone. It’s great to get price points to compare to other (reputable) sellers, or at tax time when I want to figure out what my charitable contributions are worth. Otherwise, it’s its own world that includes so many scammers that I don’t even want to give it a chance anymore.

  13. HalOfBorg says:

    To think of all my wife and I do, selling good quality items, EXACTLY as described in detail, down to each item included.

    And packaging – we have never lost a single glassware item.

    We had one item arrive with a part bad – sealed halloween costume. Exchanged a couple emails trying to help them fix item, no good. We refunded all money and let them keep it.

    We COULD just sell crap like all these other people I guess…………

  14. MercuryPDX says:

    @HalOfBorg: You are a dying breed.

  15. tracygee says:

    I think things are about to get a lot worse at eBay.

    In Australia, they will be requiring folks to pay via Paypal only…or pick it up in person and pay cash.

    Of course, since eBay owns Paypal, aren’t they the lucky ones?


  16. emdy says:

    i’ve had a lot of problems with ebay: 1. my mom had me buy her wrinkle cream on ebay and the last time we got scammed. the seller’s account was shut down right after we bought it, but we were never notified, so i filed a ‘didn’t receive’ complaint. then we got it so i dropped the complaint.
    2- my mom found that the cream was fake, so i tried to file another complaint. problem: this was after the allotted time, and i can’t file a second claim on the person. would it have been so hard for ebay to refund our money after we bought from the banned seller?
    3-my ebay account was closed because it was linked to my brother’s account. he’s … not very bright. he bid on and won 2 auctions, then promptly decided he would buy it from a third person, completely forgetting about the other two auctions, ignoring the fact that it says if you win, you have to pay. then my account was shut down. and he still won’t pay for the items (we can’t afford it) so i’m stuck with being tied to an account which i have no control over, so no ebay or for me. oh well, it seems like other people have willingly given up on it so i guess i’ll deal.

  17. Islandkiwi says:

    I’ve purchased form Ebay a few times, but the shipping charges are often outrageous. I’ve turned instead to Craigslist for my occasional purchase, for the simple reason that I meet with the person face to face.

    Yes I know there are scammers on Craigslist as well.

  18. TexasScout says:

    Ebay has ruined the garage sale. Now stuff you could pick up for a song is going for $$$$$$. “I could get $$$ on ebay!” Well if you could, you would, you just don’t want to fool with all the BS.

    I have been a member for at least 7 years and have 261 feedback with 100% positive rating. I have never been outright burned, but I’m VERY carful.

  19. twstinkers says:

    Yeah, Ebay is a waste of time these days. I sold about seven items on there and bought about four, but I had this one experience that turned me off completely. I auctioned off a piece of high end stereo equipment to this guy, and he got a pretty good price. I accurately described the item, took superb photos, the whole nine. This prick gets the merchandise and starts complaining about minor cosmetic imperfections that should be expected to occur on used stuff. So I go back and forth with him via email and the hostility is escalating until he threatens to give me a bad seller rating if I don’t return $200 of the purchase price. I told him that he must be crazy and that he was obligated to observe his end of the agreement. The nerve of that guy trying to scam me. Needless to say, my Ebay days ended with that transaction.

  20. humphrmi says:

    A++++++++!!!! To all the posters here! You’re all great Consumerists!


  21. castlecraver says:

    Wow, the free market goes to hell without oversight and protection. Imagine that, Paultards.

  22. StevieD says:


    The OP bought from ebay because he was willing to take a risk on a product in exchange for a lower price.

    But OMG anybody that pays $20 shipping on a 2 lb package is an idiot.

  23. bohemian says:

    @dakotad555: Your comment pretty much sums up our experiences with ebay.

    I find better deals looking on Amazon with less risk of getting scammed.

  24. jumanji69 says:

    I can’t believe noone has mentioned the benefits of paying with a credit card yet!
    When paying with paypal, always make sure you pay with your credit card, that way you can file disputes directly with your credit card and skip the joke resolution system that paypal has.

    Your credit card company ALMOST always will side with you

  25. Echomatrix says:


  26. dlynch says:

    this is a tragic story and all, but this guy clearly stated that he a) took his equipment to the geek squad to repair and b) paid them $300. he is clearly a fucking moron, and fucking morons aren’t going to get what they think they’re getting from ebay…. pure and simple.

  27. ivealwaysgotmail10 says:

    You really have to respect a company that Pleads for the world to join their community, makes hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars, Then turns and stabs every one of their customers in the back by slowly INCREASING Final Value Fees, Listing fees, paypal fees etc, The most recent jump made Ebay’s Final Value Fee Equivelent to CA Sales Tax of 8.25%, + Paypals %, Plus listing fees, Its Absolutely insane.

    I for one will never sell anything on ebay again, 200+ feedback, and never again.

    I complained about this in the Live chat and they told me the decision was made to increase rates in order to “improve our website”……… Any web-developers want to put in a better bid than 4% of the cost of every ebay auction in existence?

  28. Rae12401 says:

    Two Words: Caveat Emptor

  29. Promethean says:

    Ebay recently cancelled one of my auctions without any notification to me. Nothing stuck in a spam filter, just no message. The worst part? They did it AFTER the auction had already been won and paid for via paypal, and since I received no notification, I shipped the item. I didn’t realize the problem until the buyer puts a claim on the payment and the funds are frozen. Luckily, the buyer was understanding, received the item, and released the funds, but either one of us could have gotten screwed over, and from the looks of it, many people have.

    On top of this, ebay, in owning paypal too, esentially charges you 3 times when you sell something and use paypal. If I sell a $40 videogame, I’m charge about $1.20 for the listing, about anoter $1.50 for the paypal transaction, and then about another $1.50 for a complete BS “final value” fee that ebay charges based on the sale value of the item. I understand the listing fee and the paypal transaction fee, but now Ebay gets a cut of the sale price too? WTF? Why does it cost me more than 10% of the sale value when all is said and done to sell an item?

    There is clearly room here for competition. Maybe craigslist will grow to fill the space, or some smaller more nimble company will.

  30. djanes1 says:

    Don’t buy it from ebay unless you are willing to write it off.

  31. Pink Puppet says:

    @djanes1: Unfortunately, that’s what it’s come down to. I’d never spend more than twenty dollars on anything on eBay and I work for a darn powerseller. We don’t screw anyone because we’re a legitimate small business, but it’s amazing how many people do.

  32. BuddyHinton says:


    Green, give it me. I’ll sell it. ; P.

  33. Hyperman says:

    I quit buying on eBay when I gave a Power seller neutral feedback after I won a auction. I sent 5 emails to the guy and never got a response and when I gave a neutral he posted a negative stating he demanded a positive. Plus everything is overpriced because a lot of people have there friends bid to bump up the prices

  34. differcult says:

    I blame the buyer on this one, I can promise you he was trying to go cheap on all of these and in the end he got what he paid for.

  35. ivanthemute says:

    @castlecraver: Bah, it’s not a free market, it’s a flea market, and the cops aren’t around. Only thing we needs are some crusty jugglers and we’d be in business!

  36. SpecialEd says:

    @dlynch: I have to agree. If you aren’t a computer geek you need to stay away from computer equipment on ebay. Only an idiot would take ANYTHING to the Geek Squad.

  37. r081984 says:

    When will people learn?

    Only use a credit card with paypal.

    If paypal/ebay refuses to help you then simply do a chargeback and get your money back.

    Only fools use debit and bank accounts for payment.

    Also, when you get paid take your money out as soon as you have it. Do not let it sit in your paypal account as paypal can take the money back at any time if someone wrongfully files a complaint.

  38. Jcakes says:

    Er…dude…you better wake up.

    Never buy electronics or jewelry on ebay unless you are a epsilon-d-minus-moron.


  39. Sanveann says:

    I’m happy to say I’ve had exactly one bad experience on eBay in nine years. In that case, I never received the item, and PayPal issued me a refund.

  40. MyPetFly says:

    I’ve been screwed plenty on eBay, but rarely if ever directly because of eBay. I believe they’re doing a fair amount to protect buyers and sellers, but probably not all they can do. PayPal, about the same in my experience.

    You just have to be really careful with eBay and check over a seller’s or buyer’s feedback very carefully.

    There are can be successes, but it’s caveat emptor, baby.

  41. newfenoix says:

    @Rae12401: It’s about time someone said it!!!!

  42. metaled says:

    I was with ebay for years, a power seller. I bought LARGE quantities and charged an average of $5-$10 over my wholesale cost (depending on the freight cost I needed to recover and make a couple bucks.) I always shipped free. I always replaced missing or broken items, no hassles. Everyone loved my items and my prices with tons of repeat buyers who would resell my items at local swapmeets etc. Then Ebay started raising prices, just 25 cents here and there, I had to raise my prices… then they went nuts and raised it a couple bucks and several percentages for everything…(I’m afraid to see what they charge now!) My monthly eBay fees tripled almost overnight! I struggled for months in the red and finally quit over 3 years ago and never went back. Ebay basically shut me down.
    They forced all the small mom-and-pop, honest people offline. There is no way you can buy wholesale, sell cheap on ebay and make the smallest amount of profit unless the items are stolen or you are running some sort of scam. It’s just not possible!
    Funny they still have me as a power seller even though I haven’t sold anything in 3+ years. I really miss the eBay that was, it was GREAT for buyers and sellers… There’s a real need here, Someone needs to step in and copy the original community, they would make millions and eBay would be gone! GoogleAuctions?!

  43. wesrubix says:

    @Rando: damn straight!

    I’ve had no trouble on ebay. I’m a modest buyer and seller with ~80 feedback. So I’ve been around the block, but don’t know the whole neighborhood.

    And why the hell did someone pay $40 in shipping? HELLO? USPS flatrate box?! FLAT RATE FLAT. Time to go enjoy friday night…

  44. @Promethean: Ebay did the same thing to me, only they cancelled my auction with a couple of hours left.

    I created an Ebay Motors account to sell my first motorcycle. Without notice or warning, after 6 days and 22 hours of the auction being posted, Ebay cancelled my auction because of ‘suspicious activity’ on my account.

    When I got in touch with someone over there, I asked them what ‘suspicious activity’ they noticed? Someone creating an account, and offering an item for sale that people might bid on?

    They told me it was the value of the auction, and the suspicious activity of multiple people bidding on the motorcycle. Oh, really? I paid for a highlighted listing, with all the fancy box outlines, pictures, and featured listing positioning, and it’s surprising that people were piling on bids in the final 60 minutes?

    Losers. Their policy was “yank the auction and delete all associated information first, and maybe ask questions later”. They told me I could re-list, but since they’d deleted the old auction, there was no way for me to re-contact the people who’d been communicating with me about the bike and explain to them why the auction disappeared under a cloud of suspicion.

    That’s my one and only eBay horror story. Never again.

  45. North of 49 says:

    I got hit with not one, but two NARU’d sellers recently. One of them, I had paid for the item and they went NARU a week after I paid. It was another two before the item showed up, but I was shitting bricks. Neither ebay nor paypal would help because the auction was cancelled even though it was cancelled a week after I had paid.
    The second one was a recent NARU and it happened between winning and paying for the item. Since I know someone who works for ebay personally, I asked what to do and spent three days telling the seller to effoff because there was no guarantee I’d get the items even if I did pay. The auctions were cancelled and there was no obligation on my part to finish the transaction.

  46. Concerned_Citizen says:

    Seems to be a buyer issue. Sounds like the buyer needs to make a second ebay and paypal account for buying than his seller accounts. That way any problems in buying can easily be settled with a credit card charge back without effecting his good seller rating or getting his paypal account robbed.

  47. helloitabot says:

    DON’T BUY USED ELECTRONICS ON EBAY. Ebay does seem to make money for some sellers. There is this one guy, who I swear just buy motorcycles, takes them apart and then lists the parts individually on ebay. He makes money on shipping

  48. Parting says:

    I’ll give you a suggestion how to de-scam this type of seller.

    ONE : pay through PayPal with a CREDIT CARD, so you can issue chargeback in case of PayPal’s failure to help you.

    TWO : If there is NO tracking on original package, declare item as NOT RECEIVED, instead of Not as described. (This is mainly for China’s unscrupulous sellers, where the return shipment, with tracking, costs more than item itself and who always pretend, that they ”didn’t receive” your return).

  49. Parting says:

    @dlynch: And you’re a ”genius”, now go back to high school, where you belong with this type of attitude.

  50. Milstar says:

    well i’ve used Ebay for almost 7 yrs and have over 250 feedbacks. In all that time I have only ever had 1 major problem with a seller not sending out the item. I luckily paid for the item with a CC through paypal and when the seller flaked had a full refund in 7 days.

    Just use your CC and you have the protection of your issueing company.

    But overall I love ebay. I canm= get so many slightly used games and dvds far cheaper than gamestop or any other store.

  51. TechnoDestructo says:

    “So… let me get this straight, eBay: I’m going to lose a total of $40 in shipping for my $56 item??”

    No, you’ll lose more like 30 dollars, because that 20 dollar shipping fee was inflated to pad the seller’s margin, outside of Ebay’s fee structure.

  52. yetiwisdom says:

    @r081984: That’s good advice – eB forced me to open a linked account years ago, so I opened a passbook savings account that I keep $20 so I can keep it for the rare occasions that I want to buy something off eBay.

    As with virtually all the other posters, I started on eB in the early days (’97?), have 100% positive feedback but now only go there for commoditized crap I can’t find anywhere else online or locally.

    It’s pretty sad, really. I can remember a time when eBay was a great place to shop with tons of cool stuff at reasonable prices. Now it’s overrun with scammers and junk.

  53. Parting says:

    @MyPetFly: Many eBay policies do not make sense, on the contrary, it gives dishonest sellers opportunity for fraud. Like in cases, where ”item not as described” : eBays REQUESTS that YOU ship it back with YOUR money, with a TRACKING number. Which could be reasonable for some stuff, when buying local. But to China, a package with tracking = 100-200$.

    It’s extremely unfair to buyers, especially when initially, the seller sent you stuff WITHOUT ANY TRACKING.

    The only thing which is left, is to game the system with idiotic rules and ”scam” the scammer.

    Also. eBay forbids method payments like GOOGLE CHECKOUT and Western Union (I’m sorry, but when you sell your laptop internationally, paypal DOES NOT PROTECT THE SELLER and instant money transfers for sellers with high positive feedback shoud be permitted!!)

    So I’m praying for the day, when GOOGLE will create it’s own AUCTION online.

  54. Parting says:

    @yetiwisdom: You can close the account, eBay won’t know, and you won’t get over drafted when they screw up.

  55. Smorgasbord says:

    I have never used an auction web page, but I saw that uBid at ([])

    only sells overstock items from businesses, and has a 100% Fraud Free Guarantee. If I ever buy from an auction sight, it will be one like this. I also remember one where the seller sends the item to them, and they check it over and rate the condition of it, but I don’t remember the name.

  56. madanthony says:

    I don’t get the “I lose $40 in shipping for a $56 item” complaint. In an SNAD claim, the buyer is liable for the cost of returning the item, but I seriously doubt that it would actually cost $20 to send the headphones back – clearly the seller padded the shipping. And upon receipt, the seller is supposed to refund the whole paypal payment, including shipping one way. So the buyer would be out the $7 or so it actually costs to send the item back, which is bad, but a far cry from $40.

  57. midwestkel says:

    I have no sympathy for this person here are my reasons why.

    With the first thing about the headphones. If it doesnt specify the voltage it is the buyer’s responsibility to ask question. If it did specify and you got the wrong voltage PayPal would not force you to pay for shipping and they would wait 45 days.

    The second one. As soon as you saw that there was the wrong OS then you dispute you dont take it into a tech repair place to get it fixed, especially Geek Squad (do you not read Consumerist?). That would have been resolved with PayPal right away to.

    Third one if it is DOA then again no problems disputing with PayPal.

    Now if you dispute all the time then PayPal is going to think you are crying wolf but if you have over 500 feedback then you should be fine.

  58. ninjatales says:

    i feel for you man.

  59. rdm says:

    I wish this were like 2000-2001 when there were still good competitors out there. Right now I have a load of stuff to sell and I refuse to use ebay anymore.

  60. midwestkel says:

    @midwestkel: In the first part I meant, they wouldnt make you wait 45 before they decided.

  61. ryaninc says:

    Speaking as a seller with nearly 500 feedbacks, it is always worth contacting the seller if something isn’t as described. I’ve made mistakes before (like forgetting to include the power supply in a laptop I recently sold). Once the buyer asked me about it, I was able to look and find that, sure enough, I still had it and I sent it to him at my expense.

    Not all of us sellers are crooks…though, unfortunately, there sure are a lot who are. :-(

  62. suzapalooza says:

    on ebay since ’98, 500+ transactions as seller/buyer, and they still jack with me. they’ve ended several of my legitimate listings without warning (happens A LOT to those who sell brand name items) so you have no idea what they got their panties in a wad about because the evidence it simply gone, along with your potential bidders. guess contacting the seller first is considered “bad business.”

    they’ve also debited an old bank account (closed for 4 years) for seller fees and it bounced back, so they charged me a “bad account” fee. funny – automatic billing was never set up – EVER. after 1 1/2 hours with customer service, got a refund for the fee and had the old info removed (again).

    after paying 10%+ in fees for each auction, it’s just not worth the time & effort to sell anymore. craigslist, while you have to deal in-person with strangers and tolerate the no-shows, is the better choice.

  63. nequam says:

    @midwestkel: I don’t think it is unreasonable to assume that a pair of powered headphones would come with the correct power adapter.

  64. coan_net says:

    eBay had pissed me off also – and between 1998 – 2003, I had gotten around 500 positive feedbacks. Between 2003-today, I’ve gotten about 25 more. In 2003, they started to tick me off a lot.

    One of the things I sold was used & expired collectible lottery tickets. (The scratch-off tickets – like some special Marily Monroe, Harley Davidson, and other special tickets.)

    eBay (correctly) has it forbidden to sell valid lottery tickets & other forms of “gambling” – so I did 2 things.

    1. I would sale them already scratch off, and non winers

    2. I would save them unscratched until they expired – so even if someone were to scratch off a $100,000 winner – it would be void.

    I put very good description, but every single time some pimple faced eBay employee would see “lottery ticket” and without reading anything else would cancel my auction.

    I would write them, and they would confirm that selling expired or already scratched losers were fine.

    Lists again – Poof, auction would be gone after a few days…… again and again.

    And of course I would have to redo the who text and everything over and over – losing the list of the people who had bid…. it got old fast, and that is what through me over the top for eBay.

    What we need is a new competator against eBay. Ever since Yahoo Auctions went under, eBay just got worse.

    OK Google, when are you going to start Google Auctions? We need choices which will force eBay to get better and not slowly go down the drain which they are 3/4 of the way down already

  65. WEGGLES90 says:

    I’ve ordered a few records and a T-Shirt from E-bay. I havent had any troubles with it, but this article makes me weary to log in and buy some more, other than from the guy I’ve bought from allready.

  66. NoStyle says:

    Most of the stuff on Ebay I got was misrepresented. I kept winding up with fake DVDs, sometimes just a DVD-RW with a label done in sharpie.

    They also suddenly claimed after months of activity that my bank account does not exist, kicked me off and charged me a ton of fees that went to collection despite months of me calling asking WTF without them responding.

    This is the same account I use (frequently) for PayPal, isn’t PayPal Ebay owned?

  67. SuperJdynamite says:

    @mgy: “I lose the text of the auction”

    Use eBay’s Turbo Lister. It holds the auction text as a template on your computer and you can re-post it with a few clicks.

  68. hills says:

    FYI – buyer is not out $40 in shipping for the first item – if paypal sides with buyer then ALL $ is refunded – original price & shipping. Only cost is shipping the item back.

    computer – buyer needed to complain before paying for geek squad – at that point he assumed ownership.

    of course, too bad it all happened in the first place:)

  69. espertus says:

    The original story is incomplete without knowing what the sellers’ feedback ratings were. It makes a big difference whether they had 100% positive feedback or < ~97%.

  70. Parting says:

    @Smorgasbord: Unfortunately, it’s only for USA buyers. It does not work even for neighboring Canada, so still stuck with eBay :(

    We need some international alternative. The one who gives most hope is Google Auctions, there are rumors flying around about it. Hopefully, it’s more than rumors.

  71. unklegwar says:

    Lucky for me, I don’t trust anyone, especially some faceless internet seller, so I’ve never even bid on ebay.

    And amazingly, no trouble!

  72. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    @r081984: Better read them there Paypal Terms of Service agreement before you start charging back, sparky. You agree to a $10 chargeback fee and also agree said fees can be collected any way they see fit.

    Paypal is the devil.

  73. unpolloloco says:

    In my Ebay experience, in comparison to typical online stores, sellers are more reliable and more apt to deal with issues (and less likely to have the product out of stock).

    -The headphone issue just sucks
    -The laptop should have been returned at the start when it had Vista on it instead of XP (and who in the world spends $300 on Geeksquad reinstalling Vista on a $500 computer???)
    -Did the poster even contact the buyer (stuff does get damaged in shipping – when I was selling, I offered a few refunds to customers that had their boxes completely squashed and shredded by USPS)

  74. KarmaChameleon says:

    I maintain that eBay went to shit the minute people started trying to make their living off it, and books on “how to make money on eBay” started being published and hawked on infomercials.

    I’m a longtime eBayer and about the only thing I get on there anymore is the occasional used game that I can’t find on Amazon, and bindis and bellydancing accessories that I can’t get locally. The fees have gotten outrageous, and it’s useless trying to get any kind of specialty stuff. I swear some of these “Make a Fortune on eBay” books must have tips to include as many useless and non-related keywords as possible to increase search hits.

  75. skategreen says:

    He says, “I have over 500 feedbacks and have been with eBay since pretty much they began.”

    *shakes head

    How’d he get that far with such dunderheaded transactions? I’d be embarassed to post my sorry little story on Consumerist, fully illustrating just how STUPID I really am.

    Since we’re sticking out our chests to show our feedback scores, mine is coming up on 400 – (over 500 if you count the full total) and I’ve had nothing but positive results from Ebay.

    ALL my feedback is as a BUYER. I get Groovy Crap off Ebay. Stuff I can’t find anywhere else.

    Ebay is GREAT for my kind of buying.
    Just last night I sniped a beautiful new (antique) teacup for my collection!

    CHeeeeeeeeeezy wide Grinnnnnnnnnnnn.

  76. skategreen says:

    WHO buys a computer off Ebay?


  77. bjarmson says:

    Everybody bad-mouths eBay and PayPal and I’m sure a lot of it is earned. This said, I buy hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars of items a year off of eBay and save lots of money in the process. I’ve been burned a few times, and swindled a couple, but with about 500 transactions since 2000 I really have little to complain about. I can now usually spot the scammers, con-artists, etc. I try to stay away from the Power-seller types. I communicate with sellers when I have a question. I decide in advance what I want to pay (usually after watching awhile to judge prices). I try not to impulse buy, and am mostly successful. I won’t buy items with inflated shipping/handling charges unless the low price of the item justifies it. I use PayPal (without a single problem) almost exclusively to pay. I’ve had a lot of great experiences, bought a lot of great things for some exceptional prices, and hope to continue. I have had more bad experiences with retailers, at their typically inflated prices, than I’ve had with eBay.

  78. ohiomensch says:

    I don’t have any great love of eBay either. I have sold and bought there for years, but finally had to give up my store because the fee structure is just not set up for the person trying to empty their garage. I did really well 3-4 years ago, but its really a losing battle when you have to compete against people who sell books for a penny and charge $15 for shipping.

    But the final thing that truly makes me hate Ebay is how they have just overtaken the auction/selling market, and there is no competition.

    I have season tickets to a baseball team. For the past couple of years, I have sold my excess tickets on the teams “marketplace” it was run by ticketmaster, but fairly idiot proof and I did rather well selling there. They charged 10% commission if the tix sold, and you could sell them up to 2 hours before game time because they had print on demand capability for the tickets.

    This year, MLB has signed a deal with Stubhub, owned by Ebay, to be the exclusive aftermarket ticketseller for season ticketholders. So now, instead of listing my tickets on a site where 100% of the people visiting were looking for tickets for my team, now my tickets are lost in a sea of concerts and other sporting events. On top of that, they charge 15% commission, and instead of print on demand tickets, I have to ship them, and only by Fedex, instead of selling up to 2 hours before game time, I now have to sell them 2 days before. Then if they sell, they do not process payment until 7 days AFTER the buyer confirms receipt, and they will mail no sooner than 7 days later. So they hold my money for a minimum of 16 days, even tho I have to guarantee my tickets with a credit card. They will process sooner if I accept payment through paypal, but then there is a fee for receiving the money on top of the commission.

    I really hate Ebay. there is no way to break even on these tickets because even to get my money back I have to charge $7 over the face value. Depending on how the season goes, I will probably give up my tickets.

  79. parnote says:

    Perhaps you can color me lucky, but I’ve had astounding success buying items from EBay. Lately, I’ve purchased two refurbished laptop computers (both around $250 each) and both run exceptionally well, despite being loaded with Windows XP when I got them. (I got the laptops to run PCLinuxOS 2007 on). Both laptops were exactly as advertised. Additionally, I’ve purchased a few accessories for these laptops, and all items have arrived, intact, and exactly as advertised.

    Like I said … maybe I’m just lucky … but so far I have NOT been burned.

  80. whooyaa says:

    What about Has it become just as bad as Ebay? I know they own it. I bought a couple of books via and had no problems. Craigslist seems to get worse each day. Keep reading more horror stories. I’ve been wondering if there has been an increase in ads in the erotic section after the Elliot Spitzer incident. The veterans will have to lower their rates with all the new comers trying to bypass American Idol to make it to the top.

  81. It came with Vista, not XP, which promptly crashed. nearly $300 in “Geek Squad” rescue fees later, I had a working laptop, albeit with Vista on, which I didn’t want.

    Shoulda bought a Mac and a copy of XP. He’d probably have come out ahead.

  82. Crrusher says:

    i quit ebay after their most recent “update” to their site, which basically turned it from shit into total shit.

  83. Keter says:

    “Who buys electronics off eBay?” I do, and have had great luck with it. But I check out the seller thoroughly before bidding. The one time I got a counterfeit item, the seller genuinely didn’t realize it was a counterfeit and refunded my money. CHECK OUT YOUR SELLER BEFORE BIDDING!!! Huge power sellers are trouble. Look for the guy with 70+ feedbacks with 100% positive, and look at the kinds of things he sells…if there’s a lot of crap in his listings, odds are you’re going to get crap. To test a seller’s responsiveness before bidding, ask a question about the item: no response = no bid.

  84. gqcarrick says:

    I sell on eBay all the time, you really have to watch who you are buying from. Powersellers aren’t necessarily the best sellers, they just sell A LOT. I have been burnt by a lot of buyers lately, people bidding and never paying, and I can’t even leave negative feedback because the geniuses at eBay took that away from sellers to warn others what this person has done.

  85. thalia says:

    Never buy ANYTHING off of eBay without checking a seller’s feedback first. If the seller has quite the history of doing poor business, then it’s really your own fault if you decide you want the item from them anyways. Also, I typically stay away from powersellers…these guys are usually making 100 sales a day, and yours is going to easily get lost in all of the other crap he/she is doing.

    But eBay’s new policy has made things pretty shit for sellers too. I was having a lot of fun doing eBay, but now I’m not sure if I’ll ever use the account again because they’re trying to rape sellers in the butt now.

  86. kenblakely says:

    Well, I’ve been selling and buying on eBay since 1998. I’ve got over 1500 feedbax, and I have to say that I’ve only been screwed 3 times, altho admittedly 2 of the 3 were in the last 6 months. The real culprit is PayPal, which does indeed suck eggs.

  87. othertim says:

    I miss the days when 95% of the sellers on eBay weren’t doing it as their primary source of income. It was much better when it was “here’s some crap I don’t want anymore, how much will someone give me for it?”

  88. rpt1700 says:

    I’ve been on ebay for a long time, since around ’99 or so. I’ve had a total of 27 transactions, even bought a car through the site back in ’03. Honestly I never really got burned or anything. I just don’t use it that much, and recently on the rare occasions that I do bid, I get frustrated with all the sniping bids at the end. I’ve always got that sneaking suspicion that someone is just bidding up the price.

    After reading this article and all the comments, I said heck with it and canceled my ebay account. I mean really is there any situation when either buying or selling an item where there isn’t a better alternative to ebay?

  89. BlackFlag55 says:

    I have stared in incredulous wonder as items that should be bid upon and sold as bargians get bid out of sight, way beyonf their actual retail price. I quit eBay because there’s no way for me save money shopping through them.

    And yeah, I’ve been burned on several puchased items as well, but I never bought anything I ought to see and touch before a purchase.

    And as to PayPal? It’s as secure as a screen door on the hull of a submarine. You’re a fool if you use PayPal.

  90. hejustlaughs says:

    @StevieD: I seriously agree. Do you expect top notch service from an eBay seller who’s trying work around 50 cents or so in eBay fees?

    People who buy items with outrageous shipping are basically gambling they’ll never need a refund.

  91. Lambasted says:

    I have shopped on eBay since its inception. In the early days, “attic” finds were everywhere. My place is full of fascinating items my guests inquire about.

    However, I really don’t shop on eBay anymore. Nothing but overpriced junk on there now.

    There are a handful of honest sellers remaining but you’ve got to pay close attention to their shipping rates. I don’t even bother looking at an item when the seller charges above what I think is reasonable. Thankfully, eBay lists shipping charges in the search results.

    Most small items can fit into a $8.95 Priority Mail Flat Rate box. A seller charging more than that, especially charging additional fees per item when they can drop them in the box for free, is price gouging. This is an indication of a dishonest seller who you need to avoid like the plague.

    Only one time I bought an item knowing full well I was being gouged (I really wanted the curtains and my boyfriend was willing buy them for me). The seller charged a $16.99 shipping fee PER PANEL. These were light sheer curtains too, not even remotely heavy. Just ones with a pattern that I couldn’t find anywhere else.

    The seller shipped both panels in one $8.95 Priority Mail Flat Rate box, thereby profiting $25.03 from shipping alone. Now I knew I was being gouged from the start but I didn’t think it was going to be that outrageous. eBay has (had?) a policy in which you can report sellers who overcharge shipping. You can request a refund between what you paid and the actual shipping charge. I reported them. Nothing happened and they are still selling to this day.

    Just like with TV shows, the days of peaceful innocence is over. Nothing but crudeness exists now. I am ever so thankful I grew up in the 80’s. I don’t know what the 2000 decade will be known for but it cannot be anything good.

  92. vermontwriter says:

    I think sellers are becoming more aggressive with these changes too. I bought three pairs of Aeropostale jeans for my Aeropostale-addicted daughter. Great price for them, but they never showed. After two weeks, I emailed the seller and got no response. Another week passed and I filed a complaint with Paypal. Suddenly the buyer was there saying she’d shipped them out, but turned out she’d shipped them to someone on the other side of the U.S. (I’m in VT and the seller is in MA – the person who received them was in UT).

    After another four weeks, I finally had the jeans in hand. A note from the other party was included saying she’d checked with both Ebay and Paypal and had ordered from this person, more than a year ago, so she was baffled as to why the seller pulled up her mailing address. There is a time limit on complaints filed with Paypal. The seller was outraged that I’d filed a claim. More upset that I left negative feedback and started repeatedly emailing me for a retraction. Not a chance and I really hope my comments steer others away from her.

  93. vermontwriter says:

    @Lambasted – when I did sell, I use the flat rate priority box for $8.95, but I charge $10. Not because I am gouging but because it’s the only way I can recover the fee Paypal takes out and the fees Ebay charges. I never put limits on my auctions, so people buying something for a matter of a dollar or two would end up costing me money if I didn’t increase the shipping. While a $20 profit is extreme, a few dollars usually is there to cover these fees.

  94. jamar0303 says:

    I think this is why at least a third of eBay’s Chinese listings include a physical storefront address; too much scamming means that people won’t bid unless they have physical proof that they won’t be screwed. No shipping charges either; buy from a seller in your local area and you get to pick up your purchase at the store after the auction ends. Lots easier on everyone involved.

  95. lemur says:

    @ohiomensch: but its really a losing battle when you have to compete against people who sell books for a penny and charge $15 for shipping.

    Buyers and sellers should complain about this. Several sites are able to tell you what your total cost with shipping is going to be so it is easy to compare total costs. I recently complained to about the very same problem and something like two days later, they implemented a beta search which allows to sort by total price. That beta search is still buggy but it’s getting there.

  96. lemur says:

    @BlackFlag55: I have stared in incredulous wonder as items that should be bid upon and sold as bargians get bid out of sight, way beyonf their actual retail price.

    I’ve bought about 3 items on ebay and saved money each time. But I see what you mean because I’ve seen it happen too. Bozos waltz in without any idea of what the going retail price is for the item in brand new condition and they bid over that price for a used item! Hello?! I’ve had to be patient when I bought stuff. The bozos cannot be everywhere all the time. Also, I think sniping helps to keep things under control. But sniping is a pain in the butt.

  97. Ebay is a flipping joke. I used to get a lot of good deals on music equipment from Ebay about five years ago. I stopped buying things, so I stopped using ebay. Recently I’ve been needing new music equipment, so off to ebay I went. For me, the buyer Ebay has two problems now:

    -Sellers. I’ve really only seen two types of sellers on ebay lately.

    The Average Joe. Selling the used item. The item always has zero bids, and then I look at the starting bid and it with in 80%-90% of the new price you could buy the item from a store. The auction has no good photographs of the item, and the description always mentions the price the item was purchased for new. The price is either made up, or whoever purchased it is an idiot.

    The Power Seller. Often the power seller only sells new items with “buy it now”. The same price one could buy the new item in a store.

    No customer service/bad merchandise. Buying off ebay is now a “risk” to me. Ebay is a gamble. You won’t always get what you pay for. This may have been okay years ago when I would win auctions at a good price. Getting an item for less then what it is worth is a good deal. The reward is a good deal. The risk is possibly being sent a broken item with no compensation, or customer service. Since there doesn’t seem to be a lot of good deals going off an ebay. I’d like to thank jack ass sellers. What is the point? If there is no reward, why take a risk?

    In closing I’d like to point out that most Ebay buyers are either looking for something rare and hard to find, or looking for a good deal. If ebay isn’t going to ensure the protection of the buyer, then it is really hurting the seller as well. WAKE UP PEOPLE!

  98. Pro-Pain says:

    Google Auctions FTW! I DESPISE Ebay. Let them follow Best Buy into non-existance.

  99. elangomatt says:

    I have been a pretty devoted ebay user for 9 years now I think, so I have been around for a long time. Like most other people, I have seen the days of the great deal on ebay thing go away. Back when the HD DVD format went bust, I was hoping to get some good HD DVDs for under $10 from people unloading theirs (my player still works just fine). Many of the disks were selling for $10 and over before shipping charges of $5 or more. Not a good deal for a dying format. I recently bought a 5-disc CD player for my sister for a late xmas present. The auction said that it had a few cosmetic blemishes, but works just like new! I knew I was taking a risk since I was being charged $25 for shipping or something, but I also knew that the CD player was fairly large and heavy so shipping wouldn’t be cheap. I also figured it didn’t look any worse than if she had it for a few weeks so I bought it. The CD trays don’t even eject all the way and the seller didn’t want to give me any kind of refund. I could have contested the sale with paypal or whatever, but I would have lost almost all of any refund by shipping it back. I ended up just keeping the CD player and my sister has to give a little tug on the CD trays to load CDs, I just hope the player itself keeps working for a while.

  100. bvita says:

    A couple of thoughts from a dealer – I am a pro audio dealer. Virtually every contract I have with a manufacturer outright forbids sales on auction sites. Those that don’t generally have a MAP policy (minimum advertised price – you can sell it for whatever you want – you just can advertise it below that price). If, as a dealer, I violate these policies they will immediately pull my dealer status and I will have to ship back the remaining inventory to them. Brand name manufacturers are aggressively enforcing this.

    Frequently manufactures will sell lots (bulk quantities) of B-stock product (out of box defectives-repaired, demo stock, returned stock, discontinued items, etc)to liquidators (or anyone willing to purchase large quantites “as-is”). This is often what shows up on Ebay.

    If you see a brand name electronic product advertised as “new” on Ebay at a price substantially lower than the prevailing street price, you should assume it to be B-stock or C-stock (B-stock with scratches or handling marks).

    Be also advised that with most electronics (professional and consumer) now being made in China, there’s a huge counterfit trade in look-alike product. Motorola just had a huge problem with their cell phone earpieces. Microphone manufactures are currently having problems as well as many other industries.

    Bottom line – if you’re looking for an out of production piece or a used piece, Ebay might be the way to go. If its something currently on the dealer’s shelves, its very likely that the Ebay piece is a scam.

  101. nikkomorocco says:

    @Pro-Pain: yeah, thats pretty wishful thinking dude. best buy and ebay are going nowhere at least for the foreseeable future.

  102. bvita says:

    A word about shipping

    When I sell on Ebay, I charge actual freight + $5 on most items. This is clearly spelled out in the shipping section of my posting.

    I charge the additional $5.00 to cover my cost of preparing the item to ship. The cost of the box, packing material, tape and labelling adds up. Obviously this doesn’t apply to the Bozo’s who throw the item in a beat-up used box with no packing material and seal the package with masking or gaffer’s tape. Further, if the customer wants USPS, the trip to the post office (both time and gas) also adds up.

    I don’t condone dealers who outrageously inflate shipping charges but I don’t think that a dealer should be expected to ship at a loss, particularly when its spelled out in the posting.

  103. ThunderRoad says:

    In the past couple of months, I’ve made about 10 purchases on ebay. Mostly small items like books or CDs and a couple items of inexpensive costume jewelry.

    Those that have arrived arrived fine with no problems. However, three of the books I attempted to purchase never arrived. All three sellers had ratings over 250 with 99% or better feedback. However, no books. As I’m watching, over a couple days, the feedback starts to plummet. Hundreds of other buyers with no books.

    You just know that these sellers pimped out their feedback, then put up a crapton of stuff to rake in some cash and have disappeared.

    In their defense, Paypal did eventually refund my money, primarily because the sellers never responded to the complain. But I make sure to always use my Amex on Paypal so I can do chargebacks if necessary.

  104. ghost77 says:

    Ebay was much better when it was younger and simpler. Over time, ebay has become more and more complicated… most of the “tools” and “features” added make it easier for users to sell bulk loads of crap. When it was simpler, it was much easier for an average joe to sell a few misc. items and work out the terms of payment between themselves. Not so much any more. Now, the interface favors people who sell bulk shit and is clunky and inconsistent to use. Using ebay is a pain in the ass, and that’s even before we start dealing with the people on Ebay!

  105. Softly-with-a-Big-Stick says:

    So, I’ve been on eBay for many years too, mostly as a buyer. I guess I really blew it. I have a store inventory I need to sell, became disabled and never able to open the store. All souvenir stuff, mostly in the $5-$25 retail range. Anyone have any suggestions? Thought about garage sale, but these same items would sell for pennies. Where’s the competition? I would think one of the big on-liners could swoop down right now with a good anti-eBay marketing campaign and do well—timing’s perfect. Everyone’s looking for an alternative. OTOH, as long as celebrities continue to use eBay for their work and advertise it—Jay Leno even has a weekly segment he does on “Stupid Things Found on eBay,” and though he’s poking fun at it it still gives an endorsement.

    Shipping? What a joke. Realizing the USPO has screwed things up with their new pricing structure hasn’t helped, but I buy pretty much the same items for my collection. I have seen shipping on this identical item from $4-$30! I honestly don’t mind paying a little extra for reasonable “handling” fees, but I appreciate honesty. If the seller doesn’t disclose the handling fee it sends a message—at least to me, that this seller is trying to hide something.

    As long as we’re all listing our complaints, can someone explain to me why if something goes wrong with the sale that is clearly the seller’s problem I should have to pay return postage to get a refund? I have several items I purchased that would have cost almost half of what I paid to ship it back. It should cost me NOTHING if they messed up. Just spending my time to ship it back is asking a lot, IMO. I doubt I would ever ship an item back—you risk not only losing your what you’ve paid, but now you don’t even have the merchandise (remember you’re already having issues with this seller). Forget the eBay/PayPal protection. Never had to use it, but read enough to know it’s a joke. I NEVER leave money in my PayPal account—that’s just asking for trouble. And—some seller’s refuse to refund the cost to ship the item TO you. Need to watch for that as you browse!

    Having said that, I’ve had reasonably good luck, but then I’m generally dealing with people who specialize in one area. Only time I had to “eat it” was a seller who sent defective merchandise and then whined to me that she had 3 kids, was sick, a single Mom, working 3 jobs, yada, yada, yada. So sorry, but you had time to list the auction and collect my money. This is a business deal and though I sympathize it really is NOT my problem. Downside—I didn’t leave feedback and neither did she. I couldn’t risk a negative, since I am trying to build feedback to sell my stuff. She’s probably still pulling the same crap, but there is no way to protect myself from her. She was very obviously mentally unstable and things got to a point where I was feeling threatened. She had my contact info and knew where I lived.

    What a disaster! Used to be fun, and is still pretty much the only place I can find the items for my collection at reasonable prices. Guess I’d better treasure what I have, looks like it won’t be the same again.

    Oh, and thanks for the info on using a credit card. I have my PayPal attached to my bank account—NOT TOO SMART! Been meaning to change that, but keep forgetting. OUCH!!! Chalk up one stupid for me today!

  106. mariospants says:

    Wow, the majority appear to be anti-ebay; I wonder how long she’s gonna last at this rate?

  107. solange305 says:

    FInally! I have been SO over Ebay. Everything I buy always has some sort of unexpected shipping delay. I’m starting to realize that lot of those sellers are a bunch of liars. Call me crazy, but when I buy something online I would like to get it faster than in two weeks. And it sucks because everyone is afraid to leave negative feedback, because it bites you in the a**. Why is it that if I pay the moment I win the auction, do everything by the book, but happen to get burned by a seller, they are allowed to mess up my feedback? I dont trust feedback anymore, nobody will leave negative feedback unless they absolutely have to.

  108. LUV2CattleCall says:

    I bought a housing for my cell phone off of ebay that was clearly a fake (Sony Ericsson being spelled Sony Ericcson was a giveaway..that and the poor quality). I left bad feedback, which resulted in me getting my only negative so far. The worst part? The asshat wrote “Asked for illegal underage porn, SICKO.” eBay won’t do anything unless I get a court order..nice.

  109. spoco says:

    Same song, different verse for me. I used to have a small, on the side ebay business, but scammers and ebay fees made it not worth my time.

    True story – I sold a laptop to a guy who filed a bogus not as described complaint (essentially, I left software on the hard drive that did not include the original disks) This was clearly stated in the auction, but after some back and forth, I said ship it back and I’ll refund you.

    The dude shipped me a box of rocks with a tracking number. Needless to say, with Paypal’s resolution process, they asked for a tracking number – which he was able to verify that he had shipped a 10 pound package to me – and they sided with him. Dude kept the laptop and I have some rocks from Illinois.

    I lost $1800 and have not sold anything on ebay since.

  110. kittenfoo says:

    @spoco: wow. i don’t blame you. i buy my vacuum cleaner bags from ebay, because there’s only 1 place in my town that *might* have them, and even with shipping, buying online is cheaper.

    i did sell one collectible item on ebay, and it worked out fine. but people i’ve talked to about their experiences, if they’re buying or selling computers, music equipment, amps and the like, they’ve pretty much all had bad stories to tell.

    i doubt i’ll be using ebay to sell stuff, unless it’s a one-time situation like i had before. too many scary stories.

  111. freebirdtim says:

    Just a warning about chargebacks with Paypal. If you bypass Paypal and deal directly with your credit card company, Paypal will close your account. They state that somewhere in their convoluted user agreement. And NEVER count on Paypal to get your money back. The only protection you have is with your credit card, not Paypal. Paypal encourages buyers to pay with their bank account or their Paypal balance to save Paypal credit card processing fees. How sleazy is that? They even refuse to let users set their credit card as the default payment method. You have to switch over to that payment method EVERY time you pay for something with Paypal. Unethical, to say the least.

  112. Bryan Price says:

    I’ve been on ebay for almost 10 years now. Because of a buy flurry, I’m now up to a whopping 10 feedbacks. 100% positive. I haven’t sold a thing (and I don’t plan to either).

    I’ve been looking for cars, but I’ve given that up for Craigslist. I don’t care to be making a bid and find out that the reserve still hasn’t been met, especially when that’s about what the car is worth to start with.

    I’ve made two glassware purchases (old Pyrex to replace a piece that I broke) recently which went fine. They’re in better shape than the one I broke…

    We bought a Persian rug for 99 cents. $124 in shipping. It got shipped FedEx, it was well packaged, and well worth the $125 getting it. Too bad it’s 4 inches too wide for where we wanted to put it. Luckily we have a workable plan B. :)

    The problem is, I’m looking for a now out of manufacture trackball that Microsoft used to make. It used to go for $50. It now goes for $100-$200. I’ll pay $60, but not that. Haven’t found any other place that sells it either, which is what I’d truly like to find.

  113. gomakemeasandwich says:

    I’ve actually never had a problem with ebay, but I don’t use it much anymore, mostly because the seller ratings are ridiculously inflated and there are really no deals left on the site. A site that used to be pretty much the world’s largest garage sale has turned in to scammer and ripoff central. Plus, since ebay all of a sudden turned in to a money hungry machine, all of the sellers have been inflating their shipping costs to avoid ebay’s bullshit fees and outright stealing of seller’s money. Honestly I don’t really have a problem wit seller’s charging crazy fees to ship a product, because they’re just really screwing over ebay, which it deserves.

    As for the comment that you shouldn’t buy any electronics on ebay, I have found that not to be true, but that is just my experience. For example, I had to get some RDRAM for a computer and managed to find a seller who had great RAM for a great price (at least half of what any other place would have charged me). So while I wouldn’t make a habit of buying stuff from ebay (especially since the deal factor is pretty much gone from ebay and you can find lower prices at other places), if you look carefully you can find a good deal. Just don’t expect to find them often.

    BTW, I’ve gone back to flea markets to get most of the stuff I would normally get on ebay. If I’m gong to buy junk, at least I can try it out first.

  114. whuffo says:

    It looks to me like ebay is caught between the need to produce continually increasing levels of profit (corporate imperative) and the buyers having a declining level of disposable income.

    So they’re responding with the only workable (bad, but workable) plan they have. Increase fees, cut expenses (eliminate customer service), and tweak the rating system to provide a greater level of “feel good” to try to entice a few more transactions. Requiring PayPal payments is just another way to prop up the profit level.

    The real problems are yet to come. If they’re grasping like this already, what will they do for an encore? They are still faced with the need for more profit every reporting period and all the easy ways have already been used. As they dig even deeper, they’ll drive more and more business away.

  115. amandakerik says:

    I’ve bought many things through ebay – mostly books and jewelry, and I’ve only had 3 issues. 2 were sellers that just ignored me after I paid and one was my own fault – seller didn’t accept paypal.
    In all of these situations, the situation was resolved within about a month, with no harm / foul to my ratings or any money lost (for me).

  116. HexiumVII says:

    Ebay is the worst place to buy most things unless you are looking for used cheap stuff or the company is directly selling refurbs. The absolute worst is cameras. Nearly every seller who is selling brand new cameras are selling aftermarket versions and try to scam you after the auction is over. I don’t know how they manage manipulate the feedback system, but they do so very efficiently. Maybe google will setup and setup Gbay?

  117. Mr. Gunn says:

    I didn’t see anyone pointing out the absolute insanity of paying $20 shipping for a pair of headphones. You got scammed before you even received the item. Then when you paid $300 to Geek Squad you got scammed again.

    I’m all about consumer protection, but come on, you gotta help from your end, too, by not being so easy to scam.

  118. tikuahote says:

    Easy solution: don’t buy expensive electronics from eBay! I looove eBay for things like cell phone chargers (you know, a penny for the product. $6 for shipping and they only pay $.85 postage, but STILL a great deal), vintage items, books, and kid clothes. I would never even consider buying a laptop from eBay. OP, ya made a mistake. Next time, go to Fry’s.

  119. Parting says:

    @freebirdtim: Just open a new one. There are ways to go around their stupid system.

  120. Parting says:

    @tikuahote: cell phone chargers are a bad idea, if your phone fries…

  121. limestone says:

    Get a grip and try a reality check while you’re at it chum.

  122. gomakemeasandwich says:

    @Mr. Gunn:

    The reason the shipping charges are so high is that ebay rapes their sellers from item posting to item payment with bullshit fees and percentage cuts. Ebay can’t take a cut of the shipping charges, so people inflate them to make money, and that is why you see $20 shipping on a $5 item.

  123. gomakemeasandwich says:


    Ebay had customer service?

  124. gomakemeasandwich says:


    The feedback system is really easy to manipulate. First sellers can start off selling small stuff to build a huge feedback rating. Then, they can move on to profitable stuff that people will bid on because of the reputation of the seller. Then, after the seller fucks buyers, the Buyers are afraid to give negative ratings to the sellers, because they see this giant seller with a ton of positive feedback and know that if they give the seller a negative rating it will do little to them while destroying their ebay reputation, as the seller will almost certainly give a negative rating to the buyer.

    If you look at certain ebay seller accounts you’ll see tons of “mutually withdrawn feedback” posts–that is the seller extorting the buyer in to reversing his/her negative feedback rating by threating to destroy the buyer’s ebay rep with an undeserved negative feedback. You can never trust a seller’s feedback rating–you must go through a lot of the posts to look for patterns of fraud or seller intimidation.

    Ebay sucks now.

  125. masterasia says:

    I’m always skeptical about the stuff I get from ebay.
    I got scammed for a PS2 once when they first came.
    Now I’m careful. I don’t make large purchases anymore,
    maybe just a used game now and then.
    If you want computer stuff, go to Newegg not ebay.

  126. khooray says:

    I’ve been reamed by buyers who bought my PSP, a laptop, and a desktop, then say it’s ‘not as described’, and eBay automatically gives the buyers a refund.
    There is no recourse for a seller if the buyer just picks ‘not as described’ when they open a case. eBay does NOT inquire about any specifics, it’s automatically won by the buyer.
    Electronics are the best selling items but also the biggest way to get scammed by buyers and sellers.
    People swap out parts for electronics bought on eBay, then file ‘not as described’ cases, ship it back to you, then get a full refund….you then have your product back with broken or missing parts and you still have to pay your ebay and paypal fees.
    Needless to say, I’ve given up selling on eBay for exactly these reasons.