I received this email this morning and support it, everyone should stay away from eBay for all of next week in protest, February 18th through February 25th. This new system is just ridiculous, it would be a good time for someone else to start a auction website.
I'm not sure if everyone is aware of this, but Ebay is making drastic changes for people who sell and buy on Ebay. If one looks at it from the surface, the changes don't seem too bad. But if you look a little deeper, they're really very scary.
Many sellers and buyers are going to be having a strike on February 18th through February 25 that includes no buying, no listing, no selling, no auctions on those days. If possible, if you are an Ebay buyer and seller, I would really appreciate it if you could honor those dates, for nothing else, then on MY behalf because the changes have the possibility to really hurt me as a seller.
Right now, the Ebay marketing machine is billing these changes as "fee reductions" and that is what the media initially reported because they way the changes were announced were quite deceptive. But, for those of you who aren't really super active on Ebay and are wondering what all the changes entail, a summary of them follows.
First, they are reducing the listing fee by 5 cents and making Gallery free. On the surface this looks great and this is how they are marketing the change - as a "fee reduction". However, if you read the fine print you'll find that they are slyly raising Final Value Fees (The fee the seller pays when the item sells at auction) by as much as 33% to 66% for some sellers. The percentage of increase differs by seller because all sellers sell items with different values and the Final Value Fee is based on the dollar amount of the item. So we save a nickel to list an item, but pay 33% more after the auction is over. This first part of the changes, while quite disgusting, IS bearable.
Second, they are removing the ability for sellers to leave feedback for buyers. Now, Ebay has always been successful on the basis of both buyer and seller being able to rate each other based on the success of a single transaction. They are removing this for sellers. This is very scary for the seller population because as sellers, we already are held hostage by what we call "Feedback Extortionist Buyers". These are the buyers that buy something in an auction and then send an email that says "You send me the item free or I will leave you a negative and ruin your Ebay reputation!". While people like this are quite few and far between, they do exist. I've got over 792 transactions and I've come across 4 difficult buyers who no matter what I couldn't please them. I managed to scrape by without a negative because they were booted from Ebay, but the point of the matter is that while most buyers are wonderful, these psycho types of buyers DO exist. Now with this new feedback system, ONE rogue buyer (and even my selling competition) could ruin my reputation very easily. Even if I provided a 100% perfect transaction and the item was received the very same day and all was perfect with the world, that one person could ruin me if they wanted to. All they would need to do is buy 5 or 10 items from me and leave five feedbacks separately - because each and every negative will count against the seller. This would mean the end of my store and my business on Ebay over one rogue buyer. Why? Read the next section.
Third, as if one and two weren't bad enough, if a seller has below a 95% satisfaction rating on Ebay, Ebay will not display your auctions in the search engine. For example, if I sell 20 items one month and 1 of them has a neutral or negative left for it by a buyer (deserved or not), I can no longer list auctions on Ebay and have them be seen in the search engine. Yes, thats right. I can list, Ebay will take my money, but all of my auctions will be on page 857 of the listing and never be seen by any buyers. So once I get one negative, it is virtually impossible to recover from that by selling additional items becuase non of my items will be seen to be purchased by another buyer later. Its a no win situation for a seller.
Fourth, as if all of this wasn't the most horrific thing you've ever heard, they're making changes to Pay Pal - which is the method most people use to accept payment over Ebay. From now on, if you have less than 100 feedback and you sell an item Pay Pal will not give you your money for 21 (TWENTY ONE DAYS!). Yes, you read that right. Say, Susie sells a 50 dollar item and the buyer pays through Pay Pal. Susie is then forced to ship the item FREE without any payment. After 21 days has passed, THEN Pay Pal will forward Susie her money. This folks is just horrible. Do you know anywhere else on the planet where you can demand that someone selling you an item give you the item FREE and ship it to you FREE while you hold on to your money for 21 entire days? I sure don't. On top of this "under 100 feedback" thing, again if I have less than a 95% rating or get one negative or get one neutral - again - Pay Pal will hold my money for 21 days. Imagine how must interest Pay Pal and Ebay will accumulate on billions of dollars being held in 21 day incriments - yet another disguesting way for them to squeeze MORE money out of the system.
Fifth, they instituted "Seller Rewards". Essentially, if you meet certain criteria as a seller you can earn 15% credit on your account. The catch is that you have to sell 1,000 dollars or more on your account every month and have to have a 4.8 rating on all your "stars". I feel that these guidelines are impossible to reach and that they were designed to be impossible to reach on purpose so that Ebay, yet again, would not have to actually pay out the discounts. To give you an example of how hard these are to reach, out of Ebay's top 500 Powersellers (These people are the creme of the crop on Ebay and make lilke $100,000 a month on Ebay)...anyway out of tje top 500 of them, only SEVEN qualify for the 15% discount. SEVEN.
And finally, when all these changes were announced, the Ebay sellers went ballistic. The response from Ebay management? We were told that our complaints and anger and frustration and tears were - and I quote - "NOISE!". Yes, we are nothing but "noise" to the Ebay management, yet they are making million dollar salaries off of us.
I know I am so mad, myself. I have 100% positive feedback and I've completed almost 800 transactions. I'm not a bad seller and I bend over backwards to make a buyer happy. I have a very good record. But ALL THAT HARD WORK and ONE rogue person could ruin it for me. Or even someone who competes against me can very easily get a new nick, by stuff from me, leave negs - and take my listings right out the search engine!!). It's not fair at all. Not to mention, if somehow I do screw up or get a rogue buyer, Pay Pal won't even let me have my money for 21 days. When you do this type of work full time, that is a terrifying thought.
So I'm here to beg you guys, if possible, and even if you don't understand all the ins and outs of Ebay and what a seller has to go through to sell on Ebay - PLEASE RESPECT THE STRIKE we are organizing. Please! Please don't buy or sell on Ebay from Feb 18th through Feb 25th. Please tell your friends and family members to do the same. We know that not everyone can respect it - some people make ends meet by selling on Ebay. But for those of you who can, us sellers would very much appreciate it if you could respect the strike on those days.
Also - if you are an Ebay seller - and you are angry like the rest of us, CNN and FORBES is quite interested in how we feel. Quite a few people, including myself have flocked to CNN MONEY to get their attention. So far, the comments and anger and speaking out are actually working - the media is starting to pay attention and Ebay has stepped up their marketing tactics. We feel that they're getting a little worried over all the outrage.
Here is a link to the CNN MONEY site where you can leave a comment along side other sellers if you wish: Leave a comment here!