Monday, January 20, 2014

Come on, eBay


Over the past decade or so, I’ve had a lot of dealings with eBay. I’ve bought a lot of items and have sold a lot on the Internet’s largest auction site and have managed to compile a 100 percent user rating after 289 completed transactions.

My experience with eBay has largely been pleasant. I’ve bought a lot of items that just aren’t much sold around here (mainly vintage video games) and have sold quite a few items I had lying around that turned out to be worth a buck or two. In short, I’ve been a fan of eBay for years and love the notion that the site caters to those of us who might collect things that are out of the ordinary and hard to find locally.

Over the past couple of months, however, my eBay experiences have been less than pleasant. Perhaps I’m snakebit and unlucky at times, but things seem to be going wrong over there.

Let me explain. Back at the first of December, my son kept hinting that he’d love to have the Xbox 360 that’s been in our living room since 2009 back in his room. I figured that request was reasonable, so I decided to pick up an Xbox 360 Elite for the living room and give him the faithful, old 360 that’s entertained us for a few years. So, I used the “buy it now” feature on eBay and picked up one for a good price.

The seller said he didn’t have it anymore, cancelled the transaction and refunded my money. Fine. I bought another 360 Elite and the same thing happened – the seller didn’t have the item anymore so he cancelled the transaction and refunded my money. The third time proved to be a charm and I was able to finally get someone to take my cash and send me a 360 Elite.

Two weeks ago, I bought a Sega Genesis game for a few dollars and that transaction was cancelled, too. Why? Of course, the seller no longer had the item. Around the same time, I sold the Samsung Galaxy S4 on eBay for $420 and the buyer didn’t pay me. I contacted the buyer and agreed to give him another week to pay. I opened a “non-paying buyer” ticket on eBay last night since I’ve not gotten my money.

Here’s the main problem I’ve had with all of these cancelled transactions – they were all with people who had high user ratings on eBay. It would seem the site’s attempts to self-police its users has fallen short. It’s irritating to buy items and find out later they are no longer available and it’s infuriating to see an auction go a week, end and then have to deal with a buyer that doesn’t have the cash to complete the deal.

One of the things that has made eBay so effective over the years is that transactions tend to go smoothly. Buyers and sellers close transactions with little trouble. Should the day arrive when that is no longer the case, then what use is eBay?

My situation may be unusual, but I hope the folks at eBay are doing what they can to make sure that buyers and sellers both will hold up their ends of transactions.

No comments: