eBay Restricts My Account Because They Owe Me Too Much Money, Sort Of

LW sells on eBay a lot, and has a neat trick to save on listing fees. He sets up listings in a third-party program, then waits until the site is running a free listings promotion. Then, bam! All four hundred listings go up at once! The plan is flawed, though, because eBay doesn’t want to give LW those sweet, sweet fee discounts. He has to call to get them. Over and over.

I have about 400 items ready to list on eBay at any given time. I don’t have a lot of time, so I keep the listings ready on Vendio and, when a seller special is advertised, send them to eBay.

eBay advertises these specials regularly. Free listings from one date to another, in one form or another (auctions, fixed-price, buy it now). The problem is that I only actually get credit for these promotions about half the time. The other half of the time I have to call in after I get my monthly bill and have someone remove them. I cannot stress how important it is for sellers to review their monthly invoices, because there is no way that this is only happening to me.

Three weeks ago, I discovered that I hadn’t received credit for hundreds of listings (at $.50/each,) that should have been free in the months of November and December. I had already paid November, but didn’t feel like paying them four times what I owed on the assumption that they would get it sorted out. So I decided to wait to pay December until they could provide me with an accurate invoice.

I called to let them know about the error. It took forever to verify that I had indeed been invited to the promotion, but the rep did so with relative cheer. She assured me that I would be credited for the listings in 48-72 hours. I wasn’t. Instead, I got an email indicating that I had asked why sellers were charged fees and happily informing me that I owed them the original amount. I fired back a response and called again. I was told that the credits were requested and would appear in 48-72 hours. Again, the credits never materialized. I called again. Again, the same. At some point I did get an email verifying that the credits had been approved, but informing me that they wouldn’t show up while my invoice was being generated. Call after call, promise after promise and the credits are still not on my invoice.

While this was happening, my bill was becoming due. I repeatedly told eBay that they needed to get this fixed so that I could pay the small amount I legitimately owed. Instead, my invoice repeatedly just vanished—I couldn’t even access it to pay anything! When it reappeared, it still had the same total: four times what I legitimately owed.

Eventually, the January invoice was issued (I still haven’t checked that one for accuracy,) and the December bill became past due. This put a restriction on my account that, among other things, caused me to become unable to place bids or use eBay checkout to pay sellers. When my invoice reappeared, I decided at this point that it was best to just pay the uncorrected December bill, even though it was significantly more than I genuinely owed for December and January combined (and likely more than I ever will owe, because I’m done with this nonsense). This did not lift the restriction from my account. Thankfully, sellers were helpful in providing me with an email address to pay for purchases I had already made directly through PayPal, so I didn’t wind up with any unpaid item strikes. But I could have, very easily.

When I called to ask that the restriction be lifted since, you know, they actually owed ME money at this point, I was stonewalled until I demanded to speak with a supervisor. Things got pretty testy before the guy put me on hold for about half an hour and then assured me that a supervisor would call me back within an hour. She called me back nearly 3 hours later—at 9:47 PM. That’s PST. Had I been on the East Coast, that would have been 12:47 PM, and nobody asked where I was.

The supervisor then assured me that 1. I would be getting the credits (after this person once again verified that they were indeed due, which had gotten old two weeks prior). 2. That I’d hear back about that in 48-72 hours. (It’s been five days now and I haven’t heard anything.) 3. That no one on planet Earth could lift this restriction, even though it was eBay who now owed me money, and 4. That the restriction was not actually causing me to be unable to use eBay checkout.

I cannot even begin to describe how obstinate and insulting the woman was on that last issue. When I read her the error codes from the restriction page, she insisted that one had to do with mobile use (I wasn’t on mobile at the time,) and the other indicated that I had hit my PayPal sending limit and that it was PayPal that was causing this problem. I read to her from my PayPal account that clearly stated that I had no sending limit and informed her that I had sent hundreds of dollars to sellers after this issue arose by doing so directly through PayPal–I’d even sent hundreds to eBay! Her response (instead of, say, “I’ll have to look into this further,”) was, “Well, we have no way of verifying that.” Yeah. That’s right. eBay customer service supervisors would rather call you a liar than try to solve your problem, even after going to great lengths to verify that everything you have told them so far is true and even when presented with clear evidence that you are in the right.

That was five days ago. My invoice still isn’t corrected. My account is still restricted. eBay still owes me money. Their efforts to “correct” this problem so far have consisted of going out of its way to waste hours upon hours of my time, calling me a liar and basically showing complete and total disregard for me as a customer and as a person. At this point, I’m starting to wonder if just taking them to small claims would be easier than continuing to work with them. It’s such a small amount of money, but it really feels like they’re just steamrolling over the little guy here, and if they’re doing this to me, they’re doing it to other people, too.

What’s surprising about this is that, when you think abou tit, it’s sellers who are eBay’s customers: they’re the ones actually paying the fees. (Unless they’re listing during a fee-free week.) At this rate, going to small claims court might actually be less time-consuming than dealing with eBay on the phone.

Oh, and check your invoices, eBay sellers.

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