The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Things Your mama never Told You about Ebay (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

daffydoug
View Profile
Eternal Order
Look mom! I've got
14062 Posts

Profile of daffydoug
Found this enlightening article:eBay looks like another Internet company—see this musing on Google—that has taken its eyes off a core business by buying Skype to satisfy Wall Street’s demand for growth at all costs. My evidence? A tale of damaged expectations, misleading descriptions, manipulated bids, colluding sellers, meaningless “feedback ratings”, and financial shenanigans, all of which is part of a recent eBay experience.

It all started when I tried to buy a handbag for my wife’s birthday. She wanted a particular “Prada” one, but since the designer has no store in northern California, we took a look on eBay. I’ve since realized that even used handbags with this marque cost upwards of a thousand dollars, but I naively assumed that a $300 handbag (palpitations!) on eBay was pricey enough to be legitimate. When I saw several dozen “authentic” “guaranteed” “brand new” bags, festooned with glowing descriptions and lots of fancy sounding guarantees—stamped metal and lining logos, “controllata” card certificates of authenticity, etc.– all being auctioned by a bevy of “power sellers” and eBay members with hundreds of positive feedback ratings and their own online “stores”, I figured we had found a great source. After all, eBay, great brand name that it has promoted itself to become, wouldn’t let pirates and scamsters take over their service would they?

So we bid on a bag. As usual (as counseled by our daughter), nothing much happened until the very last half hour, when one bidder pushed up the bid price until it exceeded our “maximum” (the price we had shared with eBay as our limit.) We were disappointed, but philosophical. There were several others on offer after all. One would be ours.

The next morning I was surprised to find an official email from eBay informing me that although I had lost the auction, the winner had backed out and I now had a “Second Chance” to buy the bag for my bid “limit” amount. I was a bit nonplussed that what I had thought was a private amount was now being publicly revealed, and I wondered how the buyer could have decided to back out between Sunday night and Monday morning when the email was sent to me, but no matter. I went ahead and agreed to the “Second Chance” deal. After all, I had been willing to pay that much so what was the problem?

It wasn’t until the handbag arrived a week later that things started to come unraveled. While the bag was well made, and was of genuine leather, the handle was a mishmash , didn’t match the rest of the bag and signaled a high quality knock­off. My wife claimed that she knew all along that it was going to be a copy—I was reeling at the price for a fake and wasn’t so easily mollified—and that if the handle had matched she would have kept it. We returned it.

That was when I started to look a little more closely at the sales environment at eBay. Here’s my list of problems.

1. The Second Chance idea is simply a way for sellers to smoke out your maximum bid, then offer to sell you the item at your limit. An associate bids up the item until you drop out, signaling that your maximum has been reached. The next day the associate backs out, and eBay offers you the item for your limit price. This makes the idea that you’re actually able to get a “deal” for anything, a fiction—the best you’ll ever do is pay whatever limit you’ve set. And it is particularly ironic since eBay makes a big deal out of policing “bid shilling” (what it calls the practice of enlisting a fake bidder to up the price) and then offers an official way to do the same thing…
2. The profusion of resellers of fake luxury goods makes eBay more like a Chinese side street market than an American flea market. Worse, because you have no way to know that the picture of the item has anything to do with the thing you’ll eventually receive, it is actually worse. At least in a market you can handle the goods before buying them.You also have to read every word of the return policy carefully—many “power sellers” say that all sales are final. In this case if what you receive isn’t what you thought was described, there is very little recourse. While this is a tough issue, eBay needs to police itself somehow.
3. There is massive collusion among sellers. After I returned the original bag, I started looking carefully at other sellers. It was then that I realized that there was another “power seller” with the same picture, very similar description, same shipping charges, and similar price operating out of the same mid-sized Oregon town. This seemed too coincidental to be chance alone at work, especially since the two of them were the only sellers in the eBay world with this particular handbag. Was one of their associates also the bidder against me in the auction? Who knows…eBay should be able to figure it out if they put some of the brilliant guys who keep Skype alive on the issue.
4. The “feedback” ratings are meaningless. My daughter explained to me that if you try to say something negative about a seller, they simply threaten to post nasty comments about you in return, thus tarnishing your “rating” and ensuring that you’ll never get your money back. This is why there are so few negative comments. Essentially eBay pretends to be a buyer friendly place, but in actuality it is skewed to the sellers. This is probably good for business—since people who sell lots of things on the service generate the most profits—but it is ultimately going to be bad for eBay as more and more buyers give up on this unfriendly, unpoliced environment.
5. PayPal, while providing some assurance that a completely fraudulent transaction can be rescinded, is playing the “float” in a way that might be expected from an old-line bank, not from a new-generation Internet financial institution. Within minutes of my agreement to take the Second Chance offer, I noticed that the money was electronically sucked out of my bank account. However, the transaction was not officially completed (i.e. money credited to the seller as evidenced by an email) for two days, or 48 hours. PayPal charged me a fee, and used my money for 48 hours. Nothing illegal about this, just another example of a customer-last attitude that augurs danger for the future of eBay.

So, enough of this screed. Many of you are probably whispering "Caveat Emptor" under your breath. I agree. And I’ll be much more caveat in the future. The sad thing is that a great idea, which was well implemented at first, has degenerated into another den of human venality where the honest citizen has no chance against the sharpies and the scamsters.

But it didn’t have to be this way if eBay had kept focusing on its core product, instead of chasing the grail of growth at all costs. I won’t be shopping at eBay again.

For what it's worth....
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
Chris Miller
View Profile
Loyal user
Rochester, NY
243 Posts

Profile of Chris Miller
I've heard similar comments about the second chance bidding being a tool for shill bidding. I can see why you might not want to go back to eBay, but it really can be a nice place to shop. In order to avoid getting drawn into the shill bidding frenzy, I will only bid in the last 15 seconds of an auction if things look OK. (Yes, I'm the guy who swoops in and wins that item you thought you had won at the last second - its half the fun). This way, I can better decide if placing a bid makes sense. Also, on principle, I never would accept a second chance offer. Until ebay institutes the second-chance counter offer, I'll stick to my guns on that. Sorry you got burned.

Right on about the feedback thing, too. The feedback transactions are sort of like the stare-down before a gun-fight in the wild west. Each side is afraid to say something bad first, for fear the other side will inflict more damage. The feedback is good in the sense that negative feedback shows you someone to stay away from, but the positive feedback can be misleading.

Chris
sunnydolan
View Profile
Veteran user
Opelika, Alabama
342 Posts

Profile of sunnydolan
In case anybody didn't know, Caveat Emptor means "Buyer Beware"...
An amatuer practices untill he gets it right, a professinal practices untill he can't get it wrong.

Don't wait for oppurtunity to knock, throw open the door, grab it by the throat and drag it inside kicking and screaming.

Magically yours
Payne
View Profile
Inner circle
Seattle
4572 Posts

Profile of Payne
Quote:
On 2006-06-02 19:39, daffydoug wrote:

I won’t be shopping at eBay again.



Good, on less bidder to compete with.

Love E-Bay. I've never been burned and have had nothing but great experiences with it. But then I never spend more than I'm willing to lose and don't try to buy designer stuff cheap.
I've picked up some exquisite and unusual decks of cards for my collection. Items I would never have found otherwise.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
hkwiles
View Profile
Special user
Howard Wiles
797 Posts

Profile of hkwiles
I love eBay..especially when the xchange rate is good. Just got a pair of AKG K240 headphones for £51 including shipping from the States..they cost £75+ p&p over hear.
daffydoug
View Profile
Eternal Order
Look mom! I've got
14062 Posts

Profile of daffydoug
Quote:
On 2006-06-02 21:33, Magical_Mystifier wrote:
I've heard similar comments about the second chance bidding being a tool for shill bidding. I can see why you might not want to go back to eBay, but it really can be a nice place to shop. In order to avoid getting drawn into the shill bidding frenzy, I will only bid in the last 15 seconds of an auction if things look OK. (Yes, I'm the guy who swoops in and wins that item you thought you had won at the last second - its half the fun). This way, I can better decide if placing a bid makes sense. Also, on principle, I never would accept a second chance offer. Until ebay institutes the second-chance counter offer, I'll stick to my guns on that. Sorry you got burned.

Right on about the feedback thing, too. The feedback transactions are sort of like the stare-down before a gun-fight in the wild west. Each side is afraid to say something bad first, for fear the other side will inflict more damage. The feedback is good in the sense that negative feedback shows you someone to stay away from, but the positive feedback can be misleading.

Chris


No you misunderstand...i didn't WRITE the article,,as Isaid at the very begining of the post "I found this interesting article" The REST of the post from that point on is not me...exxcept for the last part that says:
"For what's it's worth."

PS, I'm a pretty good sniper myself.
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
Al Kazam the Magic Man
View Profile
Special user
Living in Perth Western Australia
997 Posts

Profile of Al Kazam the Magic Man
Hi Daffy,

I lived in Taiwan for over 16 years and have seen every kind of authentic fake stuff that's out there. We used to buy handbags by Italian manufactures for only $13US from the back of vans on the street at night markets. Couldn't tell the difference between the original and fakes. It's a dangerous thing with all the stuff from China and Taiwan floating around. I can also get you Polo sweaters/jackets with original tags, with a price tag of $125US for only $15US if anyone wants to buy them.

All the best, JoJo
Al Kazam --> Magic guy in Perth Australia
RandyStewart
View Profile
Inner circle
Texas (USA)
1989 Posts

Profile of RandyStewart
I've bought and sold a couple of hundred items on Ebay and not once had a negative experience. Was I lucky? Perhaps a little lucky here and there but for the most part approached the transactions with a fair and honest approach. All transactions were protected under Ebay/PayPal guarantees. All shipping, either way, was fairly charged, insured, and sent with tracking confirmation.

As a seller, I provided only ONE manufacturer's product photo and several photos of the actual item for sale and expected the same as a buyer.

Always offered to speak with the buyer and only did business with those willing to speak with me.

In a couple of instances, I had them relist their item under private auction with the agreed changes in terms and conditions to suit and protect me as the buyer.

Hey, whatever it takes for all parties to protect and treat each other fairly.

Perhaps I never got burned as I've never sold or bought 'reproductions' of anything.

I'll occasionally post within Ebay's 'I Want It Now' section which invites sellers to contact me with their auction or possible item for sale. If they have what I seek and we agree to an initial price then I call them by phone. The item is then listed by the seller (many legal and protecting reasons here) vs. bypassing Ebay's protection and just dealing directly with the seller. I request new and current photos of the item offered and they along with terms of sale go into the private auction that must go live before I commit to purchase. A good chunk of the sale policy on the item is written by me, e-mailed to seller, and inserted in the auction terms/conditions. There's no 'second chance' nonsense or shilling involved. Haven't had a problem since.

Now someone will jump in here and say "Well not everyone can afford the real thing". Well, I can't either when it comes to certain things so I've gone without. I've had my eye on a certain Rolex but just haven't had the expendible $19,000.00 to blow on the thing. Will I get a fake? Hell no!

Just remember, if its a fake, no matter how great the price, it's still just a fake.
magicdave777
View Profile
New user
54 Posts

Profile of magicdave777
Hasn't anyone heard of "If its too good to be true, then it is!" Of course you cannot buy a designer handbag that cheap. This comes down to knowing the market. Just because it is on ebay doesn't mean it is a good deal. You will ALWAYS get what you pay for.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Things Your mama never Told You about Ebay (0 Likes)
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2021 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.23 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL