eBay's live chat - the new way to lose the will to live
Do a search on eBay for 'crocs' - those ghastly plastic shoes worn by holiday makers and imbeciles - and you'll find about 50,000 items. Many are the garish charms that are fixed to the footwear, but nevertheless there are still thousands of pairs of shoes on sale.
Which is why avid Bitterwallet reader Claire isn't sure why her listing for a pair of crocs was removed by eBay - even after spending two hours on eBay live chat with three of their customer service reps. Initially the listing was flagged up as fraudulent, but then it transpired there was another reason:
eBay: We had to remove you item because, SNB-REACT Netherlands, an intellectual property rights owner, sent us a signed legal statement telling us that your item infringed their copyright, trademark or other rights.
Claire: What does that mean? Are you not allowed to sell Crocs on Ebay any more?
eBay: The rights Owners had issue with you selling their item.
eBay: If you think your listing was wrongly removed (or if the rights owner doesn't have an About Me page), you can contact them directly at their email address. If you're able to resolve the issue with the rights owner, and they grant you permission to relist the item, then just ask them to write back to us and we will surely reinstate your item.
Claire: There are thousands of pairs of crocs on ebay - you're telling me that every one of those has emailed some bloke in the Netherlands and they've sent you the explicit permission??
eBay: They are the actual Rights Owners of the item that you are selling.
eBay: So, you need to contact them in order to sort this issue as they would be in a better position to make you understand the reason why your item breached their policy.
Claire: But my item hasn't breached any policy!
eBay: In that case you can surely contact the Rights Owners and discuss the issue with them. If your item is reported again and removed repeatedly then it might affect your account status.
Claire: So let me confirm... Some bloke says he doesn't like my listing, but won't say why. You end it, but won't tell me why either. I get threatened that my account status will be 'affected' if I ignore the non-warning, and I'm the one who has to mess around emailing people in Holland to try and work out what is going on? And then when I eventually sort it out, you guys get money for all my hard work?
eBay: I do understand your frustration in this matter. However, you need to contact the Rights owners to sort this issue.
We suspect after the first hour Claire was continuing the conversation purely for shits and giggles, but eventually the supervisor joined the conversation to answer Claire's questions:
Supervisor: The information about the About Me page was provided by the previous representative just to give you further details of the Rights Owner.
Claire: What 'about me' page?! There was no info provided!!
Supervisor: Also, at present, we're not in a position to provide you with the exact details of the breach.
Claire: Why? Because you don't know? Or because you can clearly see there wasn't one?
Supervisor: I'm looking for this Rights Owner's website.
Supervisor: We normally suggests members to check the About Me page of the Rights Owner.
Claire: Which is where?
Supervisor: There is no About me page for this Rights Owner.
The conversation continues for another hour, and only ends when the operator disconnects because Claire becomes suspicious of the staff's command of the English language, since they flatly refuse to answer any of her questions, the sort that any customer would think to ask in the same situation. Furthermore, Claire's account still has a black mark against it, until the 'breach' is resolved with the rights owners. There can't be many better ways to spend a Sunday evening, surely?