I’ve been an eBay user since 2002. I won’t be for much longer. Besides the fact that few people use eBay anymore (everyone goes to Amazon these days), eBay’s policy on Final Value Fees and dispute resolution is woefully inadequate.
Here’s the story of my recent dispute with eBay and why I’m closing my account over 28 cents.
eBay scam: Foreign bidders can ruin your auction
If you list something for auction on eBay, you’re allowed to specify which countries you want to ship to. Many sellers like myself will only ship to the U.S., because calculating foreign shipping costs is just too much of a hassle.
But here’s the problem: Even if you set your auction to “U.S. only,” buyers from other countries can still make a bid and purchase the item. This is something eBay could easily prevent, but the company has no motivation to do so – because they’re profiting from it.
A buyer from Canada recently purchased one of my items. It was a CD and the final price was only a few bucks. eBay took 28 cents of the final selling price as its “cut.” That’s known as the Final Value Fee. Whenever you sell any item, eBay pockets a percentage of the final cost.
When I saw that the buyer was from Canada, I opened a case in eBay’s “Resolution Center.” I sent a message to the buyer indicating that I do not ship outside the U.S.
But as a seller, I don’t have the power to cancel the transaction. The only way the transaction would be canceled (and my Final Value Fee refunded) was if the buyer also agreed to cancel the transaction.
eBay scams its sellers when it refuses to refund Final Value Fees
Two days later I got a message indicating that the buyer refused to cancel the transaction and that my Final Value Fee would not be refunded. That’s right: Even if a buyer makes a bid that it completely inappropriate (because they live in a country the seller doesn’t ship to), the seller is still expected to ship the item. Talk about a scam! I’m still stuck with the Final Value Fee of 28 cents that will be deducted from my account.
Now, 28 cents is obviously not a lot of money. But when you’re selling old CDs for just a couple bucks each, 28 cents is a pretty big percentage of the total. Losing 28 cents on a $2 CD really cuts into the profit margin, especially when Paypal deducts another 40 cents on their end.
Another eBay scam: eBay doesn’t allow negative feedback anymore
I once had someone make a bid on an item and then refuse to pay. There was literally nothing I could do. eBay has no system in place to protect its sellers.
In an attempt to at least earn some level of satisfaction, I decided to leave the buyer negative feedback to warn other sellers to stay away from this guy. Much to my shock, I discovered that eBay no longer allows sellers to leave negative feedback for buyers. This was my first sign that something was seriously wrong with the “new” eBay.
What made eBay so great in the early ’00s was its system of feedback – users could leave each other positive and negative feedback to let other eBay users know who was trustworthy and who wasn’t. But now, since buyers have no chance whatsoever of receiving negative feedback, they can run wild and do whatever they want – which can include making all sorts of bids and refusing to pay.
eBay scam: Sellers can’t block users with zero feedback
Most often, it’s the buyers with zero feedback who cause problems. They are newbies and either have no idea what they’re doing or make a bid and then don’t follow through with paying. That was the case with my rogue Canadian buyer.
I seem to recall that there used to be a system in place where sellers could block all buyers with zero feedback from making bids. I could be wrong about that. But at any rate, no such system exists anymore. Anyone has the power to create a brand-new account, make dozens of fake bids on items, refuse to pay, and refuse to cancel the transactions.
In fact, I honestly wonder whether, as an underhanded method of making money, eBay hires people to create fake accounts, make fake bids, and refuse to cancel the purchases, thereby bringing loads of money to eBay via the Final Value Fees, which aren’t refunded.
eBay scam: So I’m closing my account over 28 cents
Yes, I’m closing my account because eBay refused to refund the Final Value Fee of 28 cents. But the truth is, I’ve been dissatisfied with eBay for a few years, and Final Value Fee-Gate was the final straw.
I could simply ship the CD to the buyer in Canada and be done with it. But I won’t. I object to the principle of the matter. eBay should not be forcing sellers to ship to countries they specifically indicated they did not want to ship to.
When I want to sell something from now on, I’ll be using Amazon. Their system is much easier and they get loads more traffic anyway. And I won’t have to deal with eBay Final Value Fee scam anymore.
eBay Scam: Sources