Opinion: eBay RIP

I have been buying and selling through eBay since 1998. You might say I was an early adopter. However, over the past few years I have seen a lot of changes among both the buyers and the sellers; changes that have left me feeling like I am mourning the loss of an old friend. There has been a change in culture at eBay. The "world's biggest garage sale" has grown up… or blown up. I'm still not sure which.

As a seller I am encountering too many buyers who are "jokers" – deadbeat bidders who bid on an item and then try to get out of their obligation to buy it. Others are problem buyers, who do not understand how eBay works.

As a buyer I am encountering fewer ordinary people and more "big boyz". Who are they? Here are some of the identifying traits.

  • They are usually bulk sellers who have many listings at any given time.
  • New shop-quality commodities at just below shop prices.
  • Second-hand "UNTESTED-AS-IS-NO-WARRANTY-NO-RETURN" items (also a hallmark of a dumpster-diver).
  • Lack of flexibility ("no local pick-up, no combined shipping")
  • Loads of "small print" on every listing.
  • Automated and cumbersome non-standard check-out procedure.
  • A business name that includes one or more of the following: Bargain, Clearance, Warehouse, Clearout, Selloff, Clearinghouse, Liquidation
  • Feedback hostage ("we will post feedback on you when you post feedback on us")
  • Tiny Bid amounts, exorbitant "Shipping" (while this is a good way to minimize eBay fees, $0.01 for the goods and $15 for shipping is about as clear a case of fee evasion as you can get).

I go to eBay to do business with people; eBay used to be a place where I could buy something I needed from someone else who was not using that item and had it just lying around. Now when I go looking for those items I have fight my way through dozens of "big boyz" clogging up the works.

Perhaps I'm just getting old, but dealing with some of them is like dealing with a corporation – poor service, slow communication and lots of rules & regulations. If I wanted that I would do business directly with a corporation!

It is clear that eBay has abandoned its roots, and has embraced megalithic corporate culture – the little guys are slowly being squeezed out by fee hikes that make it prohibitively expensive to sell household items there.

I'm not quitting eBay, but I will be cutting back on what I sell. I am sure other small sellers will do the same.

One day, there will be an alternative to eBay – and when it arrives, eBay will fall – and fall hard. Until then, here is my guide to eBay – Enjoy!

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: