Is eBay completely loaded in the buyer's favour- sellers beware!

ebay new logoIt seems things only go from bad to worse for eBay sellers. On top of being emasculated in the feedback stakes some time ago, and being lumped with Final Value Fees on postage, it seems eBay’s Buyer and Seller Protection plans only work one way. You  guessed it, in favour of the (scurrilous) buyer.

Of course, there are naughty sellers out there as well as buyers, so some kind of protection is a good idea. But there are also people who know exactly how to game the system, and eBay seems to favour being rude to genuine sellers than chasing up mickey-taking buyers. And we all know what happened to that poor violin at the hands of (current) eBay business Paypal...

Take the case of Matthew Wright, whose sorry  tale in the Telegraph saw him out of pocket by £160 and had his account frozen (and threatened with killing off entirely) by eBay. His crime? He sent the item (a mobile phone) to an address other than that specified on the buyer’s Paypal account. Mr Wright thought he was being helpful, but instead, he was walking into a scam. Not that eBay isn't full of scams or anything...

The eBay buyer protection automatically pays out where the item is not received at the address (as in Mr Wright’s case, as he had sent it to an alternative address) or where the item is ‘not as described’. Clearly, this is quite a subjective criterion, but eBay sides with the dissatisfied buyer by default, paying out a refund, repayment of which is then demanded (with menaces) from the seller.

But what about the eBay Seller Protection scheme? This is supposed to protect sellers against non-paying bidders and to prevent negative feedback being left when the buyer has already had a refund. eBay itself claims it takes action to defend 30,000 sellers every month, and that’s only in Britain. Which is considerably less impressive than the Buyer Protecttion scheme, and not that it even helped Mr Wright who tried, repeatedly, to contact someone at eBay, meeting only with a ‘computer says no’ response.

“I won’t be using eBay again unless this is resolved. If they can’t sort this out properly, then I can’t trust them in the future. Amateur eBay sellers like me need to be on their guard,” he said, bitterly.

So rather than caveat emptor, when dealing on eBay, perhaps it’s the sellers who ought to beware the bias of the eBay market place. Do you still sell on eBay? Is it still worth it after all the hoops, costs and risks?

Note: Mr Wright was, apparently, relieved of his requirement to repay eBay after the Telegraph got involved. Not that little people don’t count until it becomes bad publicity or anything


  • Joe
    "Take the case of Matthew Wright, whose sorry tale in the Telegraph saw him out of pocket by £160 and had his account frozen (and threatened with killing off entirely) by eBay. His crime? He sent the item (a mobile phone) to an address other than that specified on the buyer’s Paypal account." Which is expressly against PayPal's terms for seller protection and therefore his fault.
  • tin
    Nope. I've been ripped off as a buyer several times in the last few months. Fortunately only small ticket items but Ebay immediately enters into it's computer says no mode every time. Ebay buyer protection? Only applies when Ebay want it to, it seems. I still use Ebay because there's no alternatives out there, safe in the knowledge that I absolutely will get ripped off again in the near future. To be fair, it's an impossible market - one person's word against the other every time. Who'd really want to arbitrate in that situation? Clamp down on the Sellers, ignore the buyers, take their money, until the market can't tolerate it any more. I have to think that's the only option they have. Ebay Ebay protection seems to be the only thing REALLY going on at Ebay.
  • Rob
    Is this 2002?? It always been like this.. Who's stupid enough to post to an address not showing on the payment details... Old story
  • Coran
    It's not clear why he sent it to an address other than the one on the paypal account. Did the buyer send a message requesting this? Did the buyer specify an alternative address as part of the order?? Where did the address come from?
  • Mike
    Its a ridiculous story. The buyer asked if he could send the mobile to a different address to the one registered on their PayPal account in Hungary! Thewlis just convenient leave the later point out of his article to make it sound worst than it is. Its the oldest trick in the book and this guy fell for it! They are making a story out of nothing. And poor journalism on this site for not linking the the original article and conveniently leaving out important details. Not coming back to read anything here again.
  • Jessie J.
    Bye Mike.
  • Goran
    EBAY wash hands contact seller and what he say no problem friend just remove a case and I will resent your item But Item don't came nothing NO MONEY BACK NO ITEM So what is use of this contact Read sellers lies I did not shop in web of china seller I SHOP ON EBAY WEB and I don't wont to talk with ChanChoChunChen any more and wait forever I didn't shop in his shop web I BUY and PAY in EBAY not in ChinChonChan BUT EBUY GIVE A SHIT ABUT ME AND MY PROBLEM And always same from EBAY contact seller , contact seller THIS IS WEARY WRONG I just wont MY MONEY BACK but no way,no way
  • James D.
    Good point well made Goran....
  • liveinspain
    I must agree the system is so unfairly loaded in the buyers favour it is ridiculous. I for one will not sell on ebay again
  • S
    Even if he sent it to the registered address, he still would have lost his money. I just sold an item as grey and the customer left a feedback saying it was 'nice item but grey not white' They wouldn't even remove the feedback because apparently the buyer may not have read the description which apparently makes it my fault eBay is a messed up machine. I've been slowly winding my business down for a year now and that'll be the end to this ridiculous charade

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