Sunday, March 8, 2009

I Miss The Old eBay

I first used eBay in 1997. That's so strange to say now. It's certainly come a long way. Back then it was definitely something new and everyone was a little skeptical about selling things to other people via this web site. But a lot of us took the plunge and did it. Over time there developed some standard procedures that eBayers did out of respect for each other.

eBay has changed a lot in the past few years. I have no desire to buy or sell anything on it anymore because it seems to be way more hit or miss than it ever was. Things I dislike about eBay in its current form:
  • Buy It Now - This seems to cause a lot of listings to just appear and never go anywhere. Post on craigslist if you have a specific asking price.
  • Automatic Shipping Charge Calculation - eBay now automatically calculates shipping charges for you when you buy something. Not only does this suck for the seller, but it also forces you to use UPS. What if I don't want to use UPS? I always offered buyers the option of FedEx, UPS, or USPS. The automatic calculation does not take in to account the fact that sellers need to buy boxes and other packing materials to make sure your crap arrives intact. That was always added in to the shipping costs. Usually a couple of dollars.
  • Forced PayPal - PayPal is frustrating. I have an account and have had one since they first started. Early on it was ok, but now that eBay doesn't really offer sellers a choice, I like it even less. If someone buys something from me for $50, PayPal gets a portion of that. Sorry. And don't forget you also lose money on your shipping and handling charges. Hope you don't care about that either.
  • Stores Running Their Business Through Ebay - Get your own web site. Or, at least make decent looking eBay listings. All caps, centered, bold, italics, 32 point font is not easy to read.
  • No Money Orders - I always preferred money orders when I was buying or selling. Now it doesn't seem like you can do that anymore. Have to use PayPal. Money orders were insured, guaranteed, and cost little compared to PayPal.
So I'm giving up on searching for ham radio gear on eBay now. Maybe 10 years ago, but not today. It's just a waste of time for me now. I miss eBay when we sent money orders, feedback was genuine, and you were only dealing with people rather than eBay storefronts.


Drew Jackson said...

I couldn't agree more altho I have always had a love-hate relationship with eBay. Some of its "quirks", shortcomings, downright ridiculous rules and requirements (like you - PayPal is at top of my list in that area), etc have always frustrated me. I don't know how many times I've spent an hour - probably more like two - trying to figure out what the problem was with some listing where I was trying to sell an item for $10... When you figure, after eBay AND PayPal fees, I'm probably going to be lucky to see $6 on it - well, nothing against minimum wage, but as far as I'm concerned, time value of money - I would have been better off just throwing the damn thing away! And contacting eBay in these cases ALWAYS resulted in a near-tripling of my already-doubled blood pressure, as I'd waste ANOTHER hour to get nowhere!

And yes, those Online Stores from Power Sellers are so NOT what eBay is supposedly about -- it's supposed to be an online auction site for "normal people", not some place where you can mass produce an item to sell for a cheap "Buy It Now Price" - or worse yet, as was divulged on a "Dr. Phil" show (no, don't watch it - can't stand him, but heard about this one) - they had some chronic shoplifters on who led them on the show to their user-id's where they were selling away, getting positive feedback of course, for selling new merchandise for far below what you'd pay at a retail outlet -- OF COURSE, it's stolen! But doubt if eBay does anything about these situations unless forced -- they offer all kinds of concessions (lower fees and other privileges) to their Power Sellers b/c they make a ton of money off them; as for shoplifters, they have to know that in many instances when items are being sold brand new for far below retail, something's probably up, but hey they - eBay - still gets paid!

Of course, what has sucked for ALL THESE YEARS is the amazing lack of alternatives. Craigslist is indeed good for some types of items and of course I always use them when I can as my way of saying Screw eBay, PayPal and their fees, rules, etc. I also loved pointing out that an incredibly archaic(sp?) site like Craigslist had fewer "quirks" and problems than the mammoth eBay, which truly did amaze me. They would send out updates of issues that sounded ridiculously easy to fix, but are they so profit-minded that they only have one part-time employee - who's also an intern! - dealing with all these?! Admittedly, on average the typical eBay buyer was a "higher level" than the average Craigslister, which meant sorting more spams, bogus offers, etc.

Thanks so much for letting me rant!! But WORSE YET, we here in California are faced with the horrible possibility that our next governor might be original eBay CEO & Founder Meg Whitman?! Not only do have political views differ sharply from mine, but I could go on for hours re: the possible implications... She'd probably start by closing all banks, and insisting that all residents obtain a PayPal account for all financial transactions?!

But unfortunately, I doubt is we'll see anything with the massive "customer base" eBay offers any time soon, so we're probably just stuck here b*tching! :)

--Drew in West Hollywood...

Anonymous said...

I miss the retro ebay and their old static pages that were hot back in the day. But there are a lot on which I appreciate in the new ebay. One for example is their order fulfilment tracking panel for every user account.