Why eBay Should Crack Down on Sellers

Monday, 25 August 2008 at 5:00 am Pacific USA Time.

I know that a lot of sellers are bothered by so many eBay changes this year. I know that eBay hasn’t always made these changes smoothly or communicated as well as they could have, but I think the changes are needed.

I buy on eBay all the time, and nearly every time I buy, I buy from someone with great looking feedback who COMPLETELY disappoints me. Some of you may remember the story of my MP3 player. Short version: I read the policies completely. I buy the MP3 player. I make sure I use my PayPal Confirmed STREET address because the policies said no PO boxes. The seller sent me emails (that went to my spam filter) saying that if I didn’t give him my name, he will cancel my order. My confirmed address said "As Was." Why does he need my name so badly but doesn’t have it in his policies? No idea. Bad communication and bad shipping time since he sat on it for days for something I’m not sure he needed. It was coming from inside the country.

More recently, I had an exchange with a seller with a feedback rating over 31,000 with 99.1% positive. Good DSRs too. So I should expect something great, and he probably thinks he’s great, right? Well, I bought a USB TV tuner card for my laptop. Read the listing. Yes, I’m being that atypical buyer, and reading the whole listing.

Got the TV tuner card, and set it up. First, I found that when I ran it from the software that came with it, the volume would randomly crap out and not come back on. So I emailed him that it seemed to be faulty. I then tested it with my real TV software, SnapStream’s Beyond TV, which I’ve had for like a year. This software told me that this tuner was incompatible with their system because they require a TV tuner card that has built-in tuning.

This means that someone sold me a TV tuner card that doesn’t tune. Huh? I emailed him that it didn’t seem to work with my software, and maybe I should just return it since it has 2 strikes against it. I made it quite clear that I was NOT happy that this was a TV tuner card that evidently doesn’t tune, and nowhere in his listing did he say this was incompatible with my software or doesn’t tune.

This it the email I got back from the seller:

You don’t go to an Apple computer store to buy a software for MAC and try to
run it on Microsoft Windows. It will not work because Windows will tell you it
is NOT the correct software. But that doesn’t mean the software for MAC is not
a software.

If you wish to return the product for refund, you should just ask instead of
claiming the product is faulty or blame us for false advertising for NOT
advertise that it will not work with whatever software out there.

In one email, you claimed the device is defective, and in your last email
you sounded like you want to return for refund because you purchased to
wrong item. I am not sure what is it, please let me know how do you wish to
proceed. We can exchange it if it is faulty or we can issue refund if you wish
to return it.

Really. Is that the best way to handle this? Did that solve my situation? Let me know how you wish to proceed? My last email said it doesn’t work with my software, and I wanted to return it. So this email was NO help, and just insulting. This is what I wrote him back:

Communication DSR: 1

I have no idea why you think it’s a good idea to
bitch me out.

Both are true. I ran the product with the
software you provided, and the sound randomly stopped. I think it’s defective!

A SEPARATE issue is Item Not As Described. You
sold me a TV tuner that evidently doesn’t tune. That’s not my fault. That’s not
me running Mac apps on Windows.

If the sound were the only problem, I would want
to exchange it. But as it’s evidently incompatible with my software, and isn’t
a TV tuner after all, I would like to return it based on Item Not As Described.

I would like to return this and get my money
back because I bought a TV tuner, and it’s not a tuner. End of story. No need
to bitch me out and try to make it look like I’m an idiot. I’ve done nothing
wrong here. I can only suggest you go to the http://www.rocketplace.com
conference. They’re going to add the Customer Loyalty person from Zappos.com as
a speaker. Sounds like you could learn a few things about how to deal with

Well evidently, the only way to get a seller to be reasonable is to remind them that someone might actually want to leave them a less than perfect DSR. I got back an email apologising to me, and letting me know where to return the product.

I hope eBay continues making changes so that things can be better for shoppers and buyers. Without shoppers and buyers, eBay could certainly fail. And it’s sellers like these that help get us there. Meanwhile, these are BIG sellers who probably think they are really great. You’re not really great if you send emails like that. You’re not really great if you call something that’s not a TV tuner card a tuner. Funny enough, the box doesn’t call it a TV tuner card. It calls it a TV stick. Looks like our seller took too much artistic license, and then put the burden on me.

I will leave the DSRs and feedback that this guy deserves. He can then either pretend he’s still great and I’m just crazy, or he can learn from this and improve the way he’s doing things.

PS: The box this item came in says it’s a "TV Stick" and NOT a TV Tuner. :(

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Categories: Just An Observation

Comments Closed

4 Responses to “Why eBay Should Crack Down on Sellers”

  1. Dave Brochin says:

    On the other hand, as a seller with 100% positive feedback, I got slammed last Friday down to 98% by ONE client in OK who did not care for a ring I sold her. Despite using three detailed pics from three different angles compared to the usual one pic, and despite having a generous, clearly defined return policy, the first I heard of her dissatisfaction was viewing her ugly feedback, accusing me of ‘fraud’ and instructing buyers to ‘beware’. Follow-up emails to her politely wondering why she did not contact me or ask to return it resulted in her going off on an hysterical diatribe, accusing ‘you people’ (hmmm…) of having cheating in our blood, punctuated with multiple exclamation points and, of course, all caps.
    So, the onus, IMO isn’t always on the seller being the bad guy. Anybody with an axe to grind can seemingly kill all of an honest sellers hard earned work. Of course, Debbie, I understand your different situation listed above and feel for you. Take care, Dave

  2. Hey, Dave. Nice to hear from you.
    And I know. Not every seller is to blame for everything. Some buyers are unreasonable. Many newer buyers seem to think that feedback is for getting a seller’s attention, and they’ll just change it later.
    So I do agree. Not everything is the seller, but not everything is the buyer.
    But I bet if you met this seller, he’d say he’s perfect, and some crackpot wants to give him a 1 for communication DSR. :)

  3. Ryan says:

    Sorry, but after reading this story your second email to this seller was just wrong along with most of your complaint about packaging, etc. The seller’s analogy referring to Windows vs Mac software is perfectly legitimate here. I would have never written the second paragraph though.
    I sell TV Tuners myself and possibly (though most likely not) even the same one. You simply cannot expect your own third party software to work with these devices. It doesn’t matter what SnapStream says the problem is. They write general software that isn’t meant to work with every product that receives a TV signal. I can almost guarantee that you don’t know what you are talking about when you say it doesn’t tune or that it says “stick” on the box. I used to sell some that I called “sticks” because they are thin and long (like a stick). “Stick” doesn’t imply anything about it tuning capability. It sounds like you are an irate customer that ran into a overly defensive seller so you are digging at whatever you can to make this an even worse experience. I’ve had customers who claim that their system was too slow to use the device and then cite the 1.5GHz on the box (except that is for a completely different product that ships in the same box).
    In case I get accused of being the seller you are referring to, I’m not. But I have been down this same road many times with my customers on the same kind of products. I did handle my situations a little better but many customers seem to think that just because I’m a seller I don’t know anything about electronics or computers. But I do have a Masters degree in Computer Science and use the products that I sell.
    Your first complaint is perfectly valid and you should have asked for an exchange at that time or asked for help getting it working. It could still be an issue with your system and you really need to rule that out before telling the seller their product is defective.
    If you wouldn’t mind pointing me to a listing of this device I can probably tell you where you are wrong in stating that it isn’t a tuner. Anyway I’m hoping you’ll leave this posting up but I would completely understand if you removed it.

  4. You sure have balls to come in and defend the seller without knowing our full email exchange. Ballsy. Really.
    1) Beyond TV told me the stick was incompatible because it didn’t tune. I emailed that to the seller. He CONFIRMED that the card didn’t tune, and that I would have to use the software that came with the stick to get TV channels. So if you’d like to fight anybody on the stick not tuning, you can NOT throw that crap at me. BTV and the seller told me this. Please email SnapStream.
    2) The Windows and Mac analogy doesn’t work. If I bought a TV tuner for Mac, and tried to use it on a PC, that would work. I bought something that was sold to me as a TV Tuner, and then see #1 above. This is a simple Item Not As Described.
    3) I just bought a different TV tuner from eBay, and guess what. The seller said specifically in his listing that it was compatible with SnapStream BTV. So if he can say it is, it’s not SO insane to think that a seller might say it’s NOT compatible. The seller KNEW it was not compatible, and it SURE WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE if he had bothered to mention that in his listing. I can’t imagine KNOWING that my product is incompatible with a very popular piece of software and NOT mentioning that in my eBay listing.
    4) I don’t need a Masters in Computer Science, so please don’t wave your “degree” (ahem) around! I don’t need to have advanced university education to know that I was sold something masquerading as something else. If the stick had been what the guy promised, he could have just offered to exchange it because of my first complaint that it was defective. But he agreed via email that this was NEVER going to work with my software, and he agreed to take it back. My money has already been refunded.
    5) My problem was not that my seller didn’t know enough about electronics. And let’s be honest. There’s only so much ANYBODY needs to know about electronics or computers to sell a TV tuner card. I could buy a case of them and sell them, and I have a mere BA in Music from Tufts. Lack of computer knowledge was NOT the problem on either side here.
    Thanks for including what I assume is your real contact information when you posted your comment. I’ll make sure I don’t buy from you either.