April 11 of this year I was shopping for bed linens on the internet. I found some sheets on eBay that seemed to be wonderful items at reasonable prices. One of them I liked was described as “Court of Versailles Queen Fitted Sage Sheet”. My bedroom is done in sage colors. Nothing could have seemed more perfect. The picture of the sheet was quite effective – it was just what I wanted. I couldn’t find out what the thread count was from the seller, as they weren’t quite sure, but I made a bid on the item anyway.
The seller was Ty Trading Company and my winning bid was a measly $23.21. The shipping charge was a whopping $13.46. Well, a total of $36.67 didn’t seem like too much to pay. I would have spent at least $10.00 on gas going to Macy’s or Bed Bath & Beyond. .
In case you don’t know how eBay works, you have the option to either bid on an item or “Buy it Now”, depending on how it’s listed. This was a bid only item. I was so excited to have actually been the highest bidder in an eBay auction. I paid for the sheet with my PayPal account.
Something strange happened. A few hours later I received an email from Ty Trading Company. It said that they could not honor my bid because I didn’t have a PayPal account. Well, of course I had a PayPal account – I had just used it to pay them for the sheet.
I called Ty Trading Company and was told that they were sorry, but I was out of luck. I surmised that perhaps they had gotten a higher bid at the last moment and had disregarded mine…..of course I’ll never know what really happened. They refunded my PayPal account and I forgot all about it.
Meanwhile, later on in the month I wrote an ebook about how to cure acid reflux by natural means. I had been a victim of this condition for years. I had been taking prescription drugs, namely Nexium, and after a while the drugs didn’t work anymore. I desperately looked for an alternative cure. After much research and experimentation, I did heal myself of this wretched condition and decided to share it with others like myself. I started selling my ebook on my website, http://www.refluxgoneforever.com, and at the urging of a friend, I listed my eBook on Ebay.
I was amazed – the eBook started selling at a brisk pace. I was getting great feed back from my eBay buyers. I was making a little money and helping others at the same time. Everything was going along fine, until I finally gave in to Ebays constant nagging to rate all the buyers and sellers that I had dealt with. I had been putting this off, but it was a rainy Friday morning and I had some free time. I thought I would finally get this much requested chore out of the way.
This is how it works. When you buy or sell an item, you are asked to rate the buyer or seller. You have three choices; negative, neutral or positive. You are then asked to type in some feedback remarks.
I gave positive rave reviews to everyone, with the exception of Ty Trading Company. After all, what they had done to me was not very nice. I couldn’t be honest and give them rave reviews, could I? I simply remarked that they had not honored my winning bid and had charged me anyway.
To my surprise, later in the day I received an email from eBay notifying me that I had been accused of non payment of an item. Guess who made that accusation? Of course, you guessed right – it was Ty Trading Company. They were getting even with me.
eBay should have known that a long time savvy trader like this company would not have waited more than a month to collect on an item that had shipped. In fact, without payment, the item wouldn’t have been shipped anyway. I wonder if eBay is completely operated by mindless computers…..are there any human beings there at all?
The eBay message said that I had seven days in which to respond to and dispute the accusation. Boy, those seven days went by in the flash of an eye. Less than an hour later eBay had awarded me a “Strike”. A strike is the worst thing that can happen to anyone using Ebay. It can ruin your rating in a heartbeat. Mine went down from 100% to 91% instantly. It’s like having your hand slapped by a mean old school teacher who mistakenly thinks you are the one who threw that paper airplane in class. Except this is a bit more serious, it can effect your livelihood.
eBay certainly did not review the responses I had made to these charges. I had irrevocable proof of the payment and the refund concerning item # 4453528876, listed by Ty Trading Company. I had emailed that proof to eBay when I first responded to the false accusation. I was right in front of my computer when that notification came through. I was writing a news release about saving the American Bald Eagle on the Upper Delaware River from the NYRI power lines. I had a deadline and had not left my keyboard all day.
It would seem that the eBay system is loaded in favor of their big sellers. Had they checked the item number in question before setting me down, they would have seen the payment and refund of the item and there would have been no case against me. Maybe computers can’t grasp that kind of logic?
You see, each buyer and seller on eBay has a rating at the top of their listing to sell, or next to their name when they buy. It is their policy that negative ratings are never removed from anyone’s profile. I suppose that this is done to warn potential buyers and sellers of the bad guys, however it apparently does not allow for mistakes or erroneous remarks. It certainly does not allow for lies, due to vicious vindictive behavior. I don’t think that this is a very good system.
I will certainly think twice about ever buying anything on eBay again, unless it is a digital item which can be downloaded immediately after payment. Of course I am just saying this because I still have my ebook for sale on Ebay. I don’t want to discourage anyone from buying it. But who knows, if the computers read this article they may just kick me out. Maybe they have a rule forbidding account holders from writing critical articles about them.
When you have a rating of less than 100%, some prospective buyers will shy away. The big company I offended obviously didn’t like a little guy like me bringing down their rating, even just a little – so they got even. eBay allowed them to do so – it’s their policy. I was told by an eBay spokesman, “Unfortunately, we can’t remove Feedback just because it’s unfair or untrue.” Well, of course they could if they wanted to. They can do anything they like; after all it’s their game – their company. They make the rules. I take it by that remark that they support unethical behavior?
I suspect that my ebook sales will diminish considerably because of this. I have sent a letter of protest to Ebay’s dispute center in Utah, in an effort to have the negative remarks removed. However, I doubt that a company which you can’t even get on the phone will do any thing to correct this error. It’s an unfair and injudicious system at best. It certainly does not engender good relations with the very people on which eBay depends.
So watch yourself when buying or selling on the world’s largest auction machine. You could get stung and your hopes for success dashed by an insensitive computer driven website and a dishonest merchant.
© 2006 Wind Publishing