Hello all! I've been reading threads about your experiences with counterfeit scents and bad sellers, and was thinking about how my overall love affair with ebay has soured over the years. I used to LOVE ebay, and shopped compulsively on it for everything... until I had a few negative experiences getting scammed and ripped off. Now I don't use it unless I really need something that is impossible for me to find elsewhere.
My biggest beef with ebay has to be the ridiculous feedback system. It is totally prejudiced against buyers! Like someone mentioned in one of the threads about sellers of counterfeit fragrances, a regular ebayer is like a scrawny little kid in a playground full of overgrown bullies with all these Power Sellers - these sellers easily rack up thousands of feedback ratings within months, so your negative is like a drop in a bucket. Meanwhile, one retaliatory negative can knock huge percentages off your rating that you've spent years building. Most regular ebayers can't afford more than a couple of negatives, so the risk of getting retaliatory feedback is so great that no one wants to pipe up.
And if the seller accumulates enough bad feedback before getting enough good feedback, they just reincarnate under a new name, and voila, a clean slate!
I know that I've given a few positives that weren't deserved. When I realized that other innocent buyers were relying on my ratings, I decided to suck it up and start giving out those neutrals and negatives. Some sellers, seeing that you haven't left good feedback, just won't leave you anything - even if you did EVERYTHING right - and that's pretty much the best you can hope for!
I left this one person a neutral, because you don't pay for 2-3 day shipping only to have the seller let the package sit there for a week before schlepping their lazy ass to the post office (I checked the postmark, and had paid immediately upon winning the item through Paypal, so I know it wasn't a question of waiting for the payment to clear). Next thing I know, I have a nice red NEGATIVE sitting in my feedback box - my first and only one after years of being a good ebayer. The only saving grace is that this seller's English is nearly incomprehensible so she sounds like a stark raving idiot.
If I could say a few things to the people in charge of ebay, I'd tell them that ebay is a boon for thieves and scam artists, and shame on them for looking the other way. It should be MUCH more difficult to become a seller on ebay, there has to be some mechanism preventing one person from setting up hundreds of accounts so that they can rip of thousands of people and disappear with nothing to lose. And that's just it... sellers have so little to lose, and buyers have so much! A seller doesn't have to part with anything until they've gotten everything they want from the buyer (your hard earned money), then the buyer is just left hanging with nothing but their good faith that the seller made them an honest deal.
That is precisely what makes the feedback system so unfair. There is such a huge power imbalance favoring the sellers, and the fact that it's so much easier for sellers to abuse the system (and so little that a buyer can do to recoup their losses). Have you noticed that the difference between an honest seller's feedback and a scammer's is usually only a couple of percentage points? It's perfect proof that the system is completely flawed. I had to learn that the hard way after getting burned despite never buying from anyone with feedback less than 97%, and now I won't buy from anyone who has less than 99% - anything less than that from a Power Seller usually indicates that there's something shady going on. I'll elaborate on that if anybody wishes.
What changes would I like to see? Feedback should be weighted accordingly to reflect this power imbalance. Or alternatively, make it so that the seller will only have 36 hours after the payment clears to leave feedback, so that they don't get to wait and see what the buyer leaves for them*. As far as I'm concerned, if I gave prompt payment for the item my obligation is complete - and that's all the seller is entitled to. By allowing sellers to post feedback after buyers do, ebay is allowing the sellers to extort buyers for *more* than they're entitled. That's simply reprehensible.
*(Obviously with this method, the buyer would have to pay through Paypal so that ebay could ascertain the payment date - I don't see how it would work with other methods of payment, but those other methods are unsafe anyway)
It's a damn shame, because there are some sellers on ebay who are just wonderful and I'd hate to see them getting wound up in red tape, but as with all things, a few bad apples spoil the bunch... and this bunch has been long overdue for some tougher rules. But then again, ebay's management probably already know all this and don't want to change a thing because they're filthy stinking rich from the piles of commission they make off all the thieves and scam artists.
What are your beefs with ebay? Are you an avid user? What changes would you like to see? Sellers, what is your point of view? I'm curious to see if anyone shares my thoughts, and if not, I'd like to see it from your perspective!