Well it is safe to say that some of eBay’s decisions this year haven’t left all its users feeling warm and fuzzy inside. Earlier this year the company revised the way seller’s could leave feedback to buyers; the rationale being that buyers could be more honest if they didn’t have to worry about leaving negative or neutral feedbacks for bad transactions.
As someone who has always done more buying than selling (and I have 100 percent positive feedback thank you), I’ve always felt that too much power was in the hands of the sellers. I know that on the one hand there is always the argument that if you don’t like the rules that the sellers post, than don’t bid on their items.
That’s fine if it is books, CDs, DVDs and toys. But for collectibles and other one-of-a-kind items, you sometimes have to put up with some frustrations to get the good stuff. As a collector of antiquities I had to deal with some people that pushed my patience to the near limit.
But on the flip side, I know more than a few sellers who basically use eBay as a primary means of doing business. For these people, eBay is their small business and they express a similar level of frustration over impatient buyers and have explained to me that this is why the rules are necessary.
Well, I’m pleased to hear that eBay will soon move nearly all transactions to electronic payment methods. This has been my biggest beef with eBay sellers; those who refuse to take PayPal and offer no other means of electronic payment. I know that many don’t like the fees that PayPal charges, but in truth this is the cost of doing business. For sellers, it also ensures that they’re not waiting for checks to clear, or worse worry that the Postal Money Order could be a counterfeit!
Soon eBay will require payments be made by credit card, PayPal or other credit card processing services such as ProPay. That means no more cash, checks or money orders, which according to eBay actually account for less than 10 percent of transactions. The only exception is if the buyers and sellers meet in person.
Combined with the aforementioned revisions to the feedback system, this should also mean that sellers no longer have the option of waiting two weeks to send my item (even after I paid an extra $4.50 to send a money order—another extra $0.90—via Priority Mail). Am I impatient, yes of course I am! But if these businesses were brick and mortar stores, we’d expect that the customer is always right.
And whether the customer should always be right, at least eBay is finally giving a few more rights to the customer. Again, I’m sure many sellers will complain and threaten to boycott eBay because of these moves. I find that to be a silly tactic. No one is forcing them to use the auction site. And to sellers who say, “they lose” money because of the fees, I say, “Raise the starting price.”