Worst Company In America 2008 "Sweet 16": eBay/Paypal VS Capital One

Here’s your fourth “Sweet 16” match-up: #20 Ebay/PayPal VS #36 Capital One.

Here’s what some of you had to say about these two companies:

“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.”

“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.”

Capital One:
“I’m tired of them wanting to know what’s in my wallet.”

“Even though I ALWAYS paid my bill on time every month, for some reason (at least 3-4 times a year) I would incur their $25 late fees. I believe this is because they have a special “processing facility” (in atlanta I think) that’s sole purpose is to delay mailed payments before sending them off to the final payment processing place.”

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 consumerist.com/tag/worst-company-in-america.


Edit Your Comment

  1. harvey_birdman_attorney_at_law says:

    Capital one is just a neolithic, uncaring bank. I can deal with that. Ebay/pay pal seems to go out of their way to screw with me and every other buyer/seller on the site. I just want to sell my old DVD’s and buy some camping equipment – why do they have to make it even harder than it should be?

  2. james says:

    I don’t use either, but went with Capital One because all credit cards are evil. These seem like lightweights next to Comcast and DeBeers.

  3. AintEephus says:

    Just wanted to share my C1 story – and how they earned my vote. About six months ago, C1 gave me an unsolicited increase in my credit limit by $1k. Last month, mid-month and without warning reduced my credit limit by $500. I noticed this when I checked my account online and called them. Someone speaking broken English explained that C1 had “noticed I wasn’t using the last $500 of the credit limit they had given me” (I wasn’t using the first extra $500 either because I don’t like to get my cards that close to maxed out – but anyway…). Sure enough, a letter arrived informing me of the decrease a week AFTER it went into effect. I’m just glad I don’t carry 90% plus balances on my cards or I probably would have been looking at some major over-the-limit fees.

  4. Invalid_User_Name says:

    Also — Capital One won’t close your account when you ask. I sent certified mail to Capital One, and my credit report shows that it was closed 2 MONTHS AFTER they received my certified letter. They are hoping that other automatic charges come in and they can keep your account open. (Because if they do, their terms say that you agree to keep your card open.) CAPITAL ONE IS EVIL

  5. alyssariffic says:

    I hate ebay / paypal with a passion. Tried to sell something there for 600 dollars, got paid on Paypal, and had someone email me the next day asking who I was and why they were paying me money. Turns out it was a scammer on their account and luckily the person who owned the account was easier to deal with than Paypal’s customer service. Not to mention horrible fees (though you do agree to them when you use the service).

    Capital One on the other hand is awesome. I’ve had a card with them for 2+ years. Their agreement stated 0% interest until a missed payment. I’m 2 years in, have a relatively low balance, and have never paid a dime in interest. They’ve been surprisingly easy to deal with.

  6. Hoboman725 says:

    paypal/ebay has always been fine for me.

    I’ve bought tons of stuff using both and usually never have any hiccups.

    Even two years ago when I bought an MP3 player off ebay for $250 and the seller disappeared, I reported it to paypal and had my money back in a little under 2 weeks.

  7. spoco says:

    This is going to be a tough decesion. I may have to take the weekend to think about it. I have had major problems with both – but here’s my eBay story.

    Sold a laptop on eBay for around $1800. Sold it to a guy in Illinois who upon receiving it, demanded a refund for a technicality (even though the auction stated AS IS.) The computer was in immaculate condition, he wanted Microsoft Works and I included MS Office Professional.

    I offered to send an OEM version of MS Works to the guy and he had just decided he wanted a refund and filed a claim with PayPal. PayPal took back my $1800 and in an effort to at least get my laptop back, I agreed through PayPal’s system to accept a return.

    He returned it alright – three days later I received a 12 lb. box from UPS – full of rocks. It had a tracking number, so Paypal released the funds to the joker and decided that I had received my return. A few followup e-mails (with pictures) did no good, nor did a police report. I simply lost $1800.

  8. AceKicker says:

    Vote’s are literally 50/50!

    I went for Capital One, mostly because I view Ebay as a victim of it’s own success, being a popular target for outside exploitation. Capital One pulls all it’s crap knowingly and willingly, and doesn’t need outside influence to do it.

  9. Angryrider says:

    CapitalOne. I just hate credit card companies.
    eBay I’m okay… I only buy small items, not exceeding $40. So it’s fine. Besides, I am VERY uncomfortable buying something expensive off the internet, and it’s better if I go B&M anyway.

  10. rmz says:

    @spoco: Sounds like a job for vigilante justice.

  11. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    CapitalOne. They nickel-and-dime their accountholders with fees and charges, then ruin their credit ratings with their predatory, fraudulent practices.

    With Ebay, at least it’s not company policy to screw their customers.

  12. bleh says:

    According to Paypal normal citizens are terrorists and Nigerian scammers are legitimate businessmen.

    Paypal wins.

  13. buyer5 says:

    @spoco: And now if your a seller you can’t even leave negative feedback. Boils my blood. I tell you what, if the amount I was screwed out of was 1800 I might just show up at their house if the police didn’t do anything.

  14. Snarkysnake says:

    Better vote for Ebay this year,’cuz they cannot survive in the form that we know today for the long term.

    Ebay has completely changed it’s business concept and model from its earlier development. The company has essentially tried to run off the individual seller that just wants to clean out the attic in favor of the Power Sellers and big spending types that use it as another selling channel. Longer term,this will turn Ebay into just another website with a bunch of distressed merchandise. In other words,no bargains,no “treasure hunt” appeal…Just another e-store.

    Also,Ebay’s constant,arrogant fee increases and ever changing (and restricted) TOS means that the medium sized sellers will be the next group to look for alternatives.Ebay takes such a large slice of the selling price now that many sellers have resorted to gimmicks and tricks to keep their gross margins acceptable (Outrageous shipping and handling,increasingly selling knock off and counterfeit goods etc…). Not a long term model for customer retention.

    But with all the above,probably the biggest long term threat to Ebay is fraud.It is already known as a scammers paradise and the company’s policy of “hear no evil,speak no evil” (as long as the fees are paid) will destroy them eventually. No one dares buy a high end electronic item or in demand computer,car or electronic gizmo (Iphone,Xbox) on Ebay-the risk is just too great.There are steps that they could take to combat fraud,but until the stock falls out of bed,they won’t do it.

    Ebay- Worst Company EVER

  15. johnva says:

    @speedwell: They’ve never nickel-and-dimed me. In fact, I’ve never paid them a fee or interest. And they actually have a better deal than most other credit card companies for international transactions (main reason I keep that card around, besides it being my oldest credit account).

    And if you’re referring to the thing where they didn’t report credit limits, they stopped doing that a while ago.

  16. dugn says:

    Gotta vote for eBay. They’re the evil monopoly of the online trading world. I can avoid Capital One far easier than eBay.

  17. SkittleKicks says:

    eBay by far. I’ve had CapitalOne for going on 10 years and never had an issue with them. They’ve always handled all my requests quickly and without an issue.

    eBay, however – not so much.

  18. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @johnva: I worked as a part-time secretary for a bankruptcy lawyer for a month for extra money. Most of what I did was sort out files. I could tell you individual stories about how CapitalOne abuses their customers if I wasn’t bound by a written confidentiality agreement… but I assure you that CapitalOne was the worst abuser by far than all of the other creditors combined (measured in violations of the Fair Credit Act per customer).

  19. AtariJedi says:

    I have just made my last purchase with paypal a few days ago, and I am still waiting for it to go through.

  20. TheNerd says:

    I noticed that the votes are only 3 people different at this point. I think that’s because many people, like me, don’t really hate either of them.

  21. sam1am says:

    wow – they’re both at 1094 votes as of my vote. I tied it up!

  22. jennieblue22 says:

    WOW… after my vote, eBay/PayPal is only one vote away from tying with CapitalOne

  23. jennieblue22 says:

    1095 – eBay/PayPal
    1096 – CapitalOne

  24. Bix says:

    eBay is now asking for sellers to provide receipts to prove that the CDs they are selling are legit and not bootlegs: [forum.videohelp.com]

    Other fun in that topic includes cancelling an auction for a Sega Dreamcast console because it could play bootlegs, but it wasn’t modified: Most Dreamcasts could play pirated games out of the box without modification due to an exploit in how it played audio CDs.

  25. Dave on bass says:

    This one’s tough, I haven’t voted yet…. I’m leaning toward eBay, but Cap One *is* a credit card company…

    True to the shifty dealings of credit cards, I offer:
    “What’s in YOUR anus?”

  26. spoco says:


    UPS store address – not that I would do that, but I was looking for a phone number and that’s what I got out of it.

  27. no.no.notorious says:

    wow this is close! I’m at the edge of my seat kids!

  28. Trai_Dep says:

    eBay, PayPal, for taking what was, and could still be a huge engine of growth for our economy, then throwing it in the toilet.
    Capital One is yet another sleazy CC company, and not the worst (BofA wins that contest). It just has the most annoying commercials.

  29. Kishi says:

    Given how many times I’ve heard about someone (foolishly) trying to collect money for charity through PayPal, and then PayPal freezing the account, they get my vote.

  30. eBay/Paypal FTW!!!!

  31. TechnoDestructo says:

    Ebay, because Capital One is no different from Chase, Bank of America, Washington Mutual, and probably a dozen other banks.

    Ebay is pioneering, without help or leadership from others, entirely new ways to suck.

  32. Zabella says:

    If there is any question that Ebay deserves your vote, you should look at the situation it has itself in in Australia at the moment. Sellers are no longer able to leave feedback for byers, and at the momnet the ACCC (Austalian competion and consumer commission) are trying to stop Ebay from enforcing a paypal only policy that means all byers and sellers can only use paypal increasing their revenue and creating a monopoly on the Australian Ebay. America, you could be next!

  33. shadowboxer524 says:

    I do not like eBay/PayPal, and I did vote for them in this poll. However, I must give them credit where it’s due.

    Back in fall 2006, I entered my eBay information into a phishing website (stupid, I know), because one day I received numerous “Congratulations! You won…” e-mails informing me of my wins on about 8 TV on DVD auctions. I quickly informed eBay of the matter, and I believe it was a day later, two at the most, that eBay took care of the matter completely. I was not held responsible for the payment of any of those auctions that “I” won nor did I receive any negative feedback from the sellers of those auctions. I was astonished at how generous and forgiving eBay was about the whole thing, and I’m not a PowerSeller or anything. I have 100% positive feedback, but my feedback score was probably only around 60 at this time.

    Would eBay do this today? I’m not sure, but I am fortunate they handled the situation the way they did.

  34. cst says:

    VOTE: eBay/PayPal

    I would just ignore CapitalOne. Why in the world use credit card companies at all: there are plenty of alternatives in the market! Your bank offers you credit cards. Open one with no annual fee, and pay your monthly balance in full.

    On the other side, eBay – we kinda need it to sell our old stuff, and it’s more convenient than garage sale. So they better sort themselves out!

  35. BlackFlag55 says:

    Never had a problem with Capitol One, and never gave them reason. But PayPal …. lordy, lordy. There aren’t enough adjectives even in Chinese curses for Paypal.

  36. Trai_Dep says:

    eBay lost by 200 votes?
    Who knew so many Consumerist voters lived in Niger? Who knew?!

  37. miburo says:

    ebay should lose by far… They are every reason why i have monopolies

  38. miburo says:

    hate … hateeee

  39. sleze69 says:

    @miburo: Monopoly? We’re not talking about the only grocery store in town. We’re talking about buying kitch and crappy used items on the internet. There’s always craigslist from which you can get things for free.

    Capital One has a history of trying to harass people to pay for the bad credit of others with the same name and has horrible customer service.

    Capital One FTW.

  40. TechnoDestructo says:


    The market for, say, vintage Teddy Ruxpin accessories in any given city is going to be small, as will be the supply.

    Ebay when it began, and still, when it works, was the first (and best) means to connect those small markets into one larger market.

    Craigslist does not do that. Craigslist attempts to specifically discourage that. For products that are attractive for scammers, and those where the local market is usually going to be sufficiently large that it needs no consolidation, that makes sense. For obscure collectibles, it does not.

    With the exception of some specialized sites, and some product types, Ebay is now essentially the only game in town. And due to network effects (the idea that the more popular a service becomes, the more useful it is) it is hard for anyone else to break Ebay’s stranglehold. This probably has something to do with why Ebay does nothing about the fact that they suck. As long as it remains possible to make ANY profit…or hell, to even just not lose too much money…selling on Ebay, they don’t have to, because no one can challenge them.

    I still think the way to fix Ebay is to have a death squad travelling the world (mostly Nigeria) killing scammers. Maybe make an exception to the “no human parts” rule just for them.

  41. I can’t believe an incompetent monopoly who scams hundreds a day is losing out of a garden-variety credit card company.

  42. SigmundTheSeaMonster says:

    This is a tough decision.

    Capital One is a bank and created to rip off the consumer and their money. Their fees, reporting and customer service deserve FAILED Consumer award.

    eBay took over PayPal (mainly because CreditCard companies lacked the vision of internet purchasing) and is now monopolizing eBay accounts requiring PayPal. Scams, phishing and fraud are still accounting for eBay/PayPal dissatisfaction. Fees out the wazoo (listing, type of listing, images, gallery, …) and that PayPal has limits unless you open a bank account up. This recent penalize the seller without proper feedback for bad buyers is asking for it.

    Good luck using a CapitalOne card to buy/setup eBay/PayPal!

    Can I vote for BOTH? There is no lesser evil here!

  43. Cap'n Jack says:

    Paypal for their shitty buyer dispute policies.

  44. AlphaTeam says:

    PayPal and eBay hasn’t given me problems; sure I hate the new rating system where sellers can’t give negative rates; problem is, sellers will require obnoxiously high requirements for buyers; pretty soon their will a lot old members and no new members.

    Capitol One is just annoying; they spam my mailbox; G_d I wish they had a spam filter for my mail; I get like 5 credit card applications in a day; if someone stole my application and my identity, hell I’d never know!