Friday, October 17, 2008

My letter to the President of eBay: The Final Warning


The Office of the President of eBay is getting very tired of my constant nagging. Turns out John Donahoe doesn't want to hear directly from his customers when he's delivering substandard service. He's way to busy sewing the platinum thread on his golden parachute to bother with my little pesky emails. So he instructs Terri, (who is perhaps the only person at eBay who doesn't write in form letters) to threaten me with account suspension if I keep contacting him with my complaints:

From: Office of the President
To: alex
Sent: Friday, October 17, 2008 11:13:02 AM
Subject: Re: FW: FW: My experience using eBay Part 2 (KMM308321863V67177L0KM)

Dear Alexander **********,

Thank you for your response. Alexander, as explained in prior emails,
you can continue to build your selling reputation as the number of brand
named items affected by the restrictions is very small. You will be able
to list most non-luxury items without restriction.

Again, as I have stated multiple times, I am unable to give you
information regarding which brand names are affected, and how many items
you can list per brand. I would strongly encourage you to review our
prior correspondence for a longer explanation.

Alexander, the restrictions will not end until you grow a stronger
history as a seller. I recommend you list items within the limitations
of your account and appeal in 90 days, as your account will not be
reviewed before that time.

Also, as I explained in prior emails, attempting to list items and then
receiving a popup message that they cannot list, will not negatively
affect your account. I encourage you to list items to find the precise
limits of your account, and plan your listing activity accordingly.

I have respectfully asked that you discontinue contacting executives, at
this point continuing to do so may jeopardize your account standing. You
can contact me directly at: CSME@eBay.com if you have any new questions
that have not been answered in our prior correspondence.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Terri
Office of the President
I can't contact the president of eBay, but I can pay his salary. Really? I wonder how many times I'm allowed to contact the President of eBay. Let me guess..Sssshhhhhh, It's a secret... Terri wasn't going to hear the last of me, not yet at least:

From: alex
To: Office of the President
Cc: tips@consumerist.com
Sent: Friday, October 17, 2008 11:47:44 AM
Subject: Re: FW: FW: My experience using eBay Part 2 (KMM308321863V67177L0KM)

Good Morning Terri:
Your response is not acceptable on all counts.
On what basis do you claim that my account standing can be affected by communicating with eBay executives? Please see the search results from eBay's Rules page:
As I have already told you, it is not my job to reverse engineer eBay's secret restriction policy to figure out what the limits are. Furthermore, this restriction is a violation of the User Policy, because it takes away my ability to be responsible for the items I list. If you block me from listing an item, you're now the responsible party. If I am prevented from revising my listing, you are now responsible for the listing.
I have not been found guilty of violating any policy, and yet my account is restricted. What is the name of the policy by which you are restricting my account? Where can I read about it in the User Policy?
I am surprised to hear that Mr. Donahoe does not wish to know how his customers feel about the service he is providing. Can you clarify his position on receiving communications from his customers? At this time, I am considering contacting the Complaint Assistance Unit of the Division of Consumer Services of the California Department of Consumer Affairs.
Thank You,
Alex ********
eBay User ID: 69******



Many hours passed, but finally, before the day was through, Terri wrote back to "clarify":

From: Office of the President
To: alex
Sent: Friday, October 17, 2008 3:35:24 PM
Subject: Re: FW: FW: My experience using eBay Part 2 (KMM308335200V82877L0KM)

Dear Alex **********,

Thank you for writing for clarification regarding our concerns and with
your questions regarding eBay policy.

Please allow me to clarify our concerns with your repeated messages to
eBay executive staff as opposed to utilizing more acceptable methods of
communication. Your are correct in your email regarding a lack of policy specifically denying you access to our executive staff. We do though
have a link on our site which does explain the acceptable methods of
communication for eBay and this link is as follows:

http://pages.ebay.com/help/account/contact-customer-support.html

You have gone beyond the realm and scope of the options included in the
link above by contacting our executive staff on multiple occasions. Our
executive staff utilized the services of the Office of the President to
provide you with responses to your concerns, specifically addressing
your questions and your concerns on the highest level. At this point we
can see no reason to continue providing the same information to you on a
matter that has been more than sufficiently addressed. Repeated attempts
to gather differing responses to the same issue only serve to stress
resources on our end that could be used to assist other eBay members.

Because you have been asked politely to discontinue your contact with
our executive staff, we have little recourse going forward but to
consider other options should you continue to utilize this resource
instead of the options presented on our site as indicated in the link
above.

Please note that you are correct in the fact that it is not your job to
reverse engineer any aspect of eBay, and in fact we might find serious
issue with any attempt to do so. The suggestion offered to you recently
was only that, a suggestion, an option you can utilize if you truly
wanted to gather a better idea of how many of a specific item type you
could list on our site at any one time. In the end we recommend patience
and understanding when it comes to this policy, as that will serve you
best going forward. The understanding comes into play when you list
items that have a higher risk factor on our site and by understanding
that we must utilize a policy to help ensure authenticity in the listed
items. The patience factor comes into play when you see that if you are
patiently listing items, awaiting positive feedback for these items, and
growing as a seller in our luxury goods category, your limits will
slowly rise according to this growth.

Please note that this policy isn't based on a guilt based system. You
are not being penalized or punished for listing the types of items you
are listing. We hold a great number of our sellers to similar
restrictions. This is a difference between those who have established
themselves by selling a number of these types of items by gathering
positive feedback from buyers on these items, and those who are just
entering into this field and are hoping to perhaps take it by storm.
Regretfully we no longer allow members to leap into certain categories
or item types without causing them to yield in the beginning so that we
can gauge the seller and the items being listed.

I truly hope that you can see the wisdom of going slow in these areas,
and understand why they are in place on our site. I also hope that you
understand our desire that you discontinue the use of our executive
staff as your form of customer support on our site. We do want you to
thrive on our site going forward, but we must ask that you do so at our
speed and within the policies and guidelines we have established.
Sometimes these guidelines are expressed rather bluntly on our site in
simple "to the point" words, and sometimes it is expressed in more
vague, yet equally important text. One example of the latter is a
section of our User Agreement listed under the tile of Abusing eBay and
partially quoted for your assistance below. Please note the "letter and
spirit of our policies" section as pertinent here.

"Without limiting other remedies, we may limit, suspend or terminate our service and user accounts, prohibit access to our website, delay or remove hosted content, and take technical and legal steps to keep users off the sites if we think that they are creating problems, possible legal liabilities, or acting inconsistently with the letter or spirit of our policies. We also reserve the right to cancel unconfirmed accounts or accounts that have been inactive for a long time."

We will continue to review all of your correspondence to eBay, but we
will most likely not reply to you going forward if the subject and
material remain the same. I strongly urge you to utilize other forms of customer support on eBay going forward. Thank you again for writing.

Sincerely,

Terri
Office of the President
Let's recap:

1. eBay allows a fraudulent bidder to spoil my auction.
2. eBay blocks me from relisting the item spoiled.
3. After complaining, eBay allows me to relist the item.
4. eBay blocks me from listing other "branded" items.
5. After complaining again, eBay threatens to suspend my account, and tells me to wait and be patient.

Bottom Line:
eBay doesn't care about their customers.
eBay imposes secret restrictions on sellers with no evidence or accusation of wrongdoing.
eBay prohibits their customers from contacting their executives and intimidates customers who stand up and demand to be treated with respect and integrity.

Any questions?

8 comments:

banshee914 said...

the exact scenario with restricted items has just happened to me. i guess they want us to sell our best items elsewhere and just list the CRAP on ebay.

Alex said...

wow.
Just the place I need to vent.
E-bay does NOT give a flying F*** about ANY of their customers.
Have you tried their telephone (dis-)assistance ?
What a joke. Some girl in the Philippines picks up your call like you're a idiot from their country, 1st of all.
They have these prefabricated lines as they are not versed enough to communicate openly.
I was promised twice some help, the last time they put me on hold and NEVER picked it up again.
Some 14 (FOURTEEN) hours after my call originated they just hung up!!!
Service ? My A**

Diane said...

I have had great feedback on all my items and all of a sudden i get negative feedback from buyers with hardly any feedback. Why is it that a buyer can leave you negative feedback and LIE about issues that arent even there? Then when you contact ebay to tell them to remove the negative feedback because it was uncalled for they tell you tough luck! I received negative feedback from a buyer telling me that i lied about the shipping date and i was too slow to respond! I have proof of the shipping date and proof of the speediness of my reponse! I explained this to ebay and they STILL told me to basically shove it. So again i say WHY is ebay punishing their sellers when they make all their money off of us?!?! How is this fair?! Ebay needs to rethink their business practices. BUT yet they will punish their sellers for negative feedback when they REFUSE to help remove negative feedback that is UNJUSTIFIED! They tell you to send feedback revisions and then the buyer declines them and then you are still stuck with UNTRUE NEGATIVE FEEDBACK! Im getting really sick of this only caring about their BUYERS! Ebay needs to realize they are not the only online auction site and if they keep this SELLER ABUSE up they will loose all their business to these other online auctions! EBAY WATCH OUT!

filajoe said...

filajoe i too got suspended by ebay and they caint expian why and they wont reverce..the discion on this i can't buy or sell after beeing with ebay for over 10 years with no problems..i lost my account today..i am upset and mad because i was told i could never do any buying or selling on thier site..wow you think i may have killed someone..in the u.s.a. you are suposed to get a fair trial..but i guess ebay has its own type of justice ..i just want a second chance but they told me i was suspended indefantly..thats very harsh....for having a perfect feedback and all my feedback coments are nice ones and people asking me to sell outside of ebay and i wouldnt...i jusst dont think its fair and i wish that one of the executives would read this and help us people that have been with them since they started..and had no problems till now..thanks joe...

filajoe said...

i was just suspended today with listing violations this was my 3rd time they told me ok...i will except it but you dont indefently suspend someone ..in 10 year since they stared iv'e been with ebay...and for 10 year no problems..since november to now they told me i had 3 violations i only know of 2 ..they wont hear what you have to say nor do they have anthing they can do to help me ...the first time was a warning 2nd time they suspended me for 10 day and now suspended me forever..that just not right....suspencion should be for 30days or something not indefentlly..im sorry thats just wrong...i called a few times with no satifaction other than a you will have to find somewere else to sell your items...and buy your itrms....wow thats all i get after 10 year no we will reviue your case and help you but just a sorry...thats going to pay my bills...to much power for an employee to have when you are playing with people livellyhood..thier should be a better way if anyone can help let me know thanks...

Mr Lucky said...

Diane, I have had the same experience. eBay need to protect their sellers from dumb f's who think it is perfectly OK to leave a negative for next to no reason or based on a lie. eBay Trust and safety are worse than useless, I think they enjoy their power but use it negatively. They will not remove negs from my store that are totally unjustified despite my proof.

kbry18 said...

Wow, every time I have called ebay with either a seller or buyer problem I have gotten nothing but good people. Now while I agree that I can't always understand them well ( I make them slow down and pronounce better) and the do interrupt, I also ask them politely to let me finish, once having done those things, I have had great success with dealing with them . They have for the most part been caring. They have said they will make notes on my account, to which they have, as when I call back, they say " yes I am reading that note in your account". They have resolved all but one of my issues to my satisfaction. I really don't know the people you all are dealing with. Now I certainly agree you should be able to email eBay, bad policy on their part, you should be able to express your views to them , lower and higher ups in the company. As a public company these things should be a given. I do find it frustrating I cannot reach someone more in authority would be nice. I have been selling and buying on eBay since 2005

KS said...

Ebay is a joke. Lately the lunatic employees decide all cases against the Sellers. So why should we still sell there? Ebay does not care about the sellers, approve the buyers lies and cause loses to the sellers, while charging high fees for their survival. Ridiculous and abusive.
Ebay is like communism, no fair trial. They don't even follow implement or respect their own rules so that's why is a joke, like communism, they don't follow their rules, make up rules that are not announced, and make whatever decision without looking at any facts. Just lazy careless employees and of course management or President does not care either. Just a joke of a company.
Can't wait for a class action lawsuit against them.