22 December 2008

Ebay - The End of an Era (Non House Related)

Back in 1997 when the internet was all new and fun I discovered eBay. What fun I had buying things and meeting new people--some bad, but most good. I slowly built up my feedback purchase by purchase--all positive, until that time I tried to be a seller. It only took one newbie jerk to ruin my 100% feedback rating. Of course, I negged them, too, and it wasn't long before they were gone for negative feedback.

Selling didn't work out for me. Out of 100 listings I only sold about 6 items--for about what I had paid for them initially--and the fees ate up all the profit. I didn't try it again, though I was "always going to". Now I never will.

Why, you ask? Well, I guess you haven't been buying recently. Or maybe you have and wondered why you can't find any auctions you can pay for with a check or a money order. Have you also noticed that you cannot contact any of the sellers directly anymore? There is no more personal contact. The great world marketplace is going paperless.* Sellers can no longer list any payment methods other than PayPal or ProPay, methods conveniently owned by eBay. If they do, they are kicked off eBay! I understand that if you contact a seller early in the auction, preferably through a non-eBay email method, you can arrange for a surreptitious check or money order payment, but I'm not sure how you can circumvent the Checkout procedure which requires you to use one of these methods.

My last purchase was for a local item and I drove to pick it up and paid for it with cash. Sadly, that will be my last purchase. No longer will I browse page after page of goodies I want to bid on and own because I refuse to knuckle under and have a PayPal account. I have resisted ever since their inception--hearing horror story after horror story about screwed up accounts, exhorbitant fees, and missing money. I just don't want to trust my money to a third party. I suppose this makes me a dinosaur in the eyes of some younger people who do all their transactions by card or electronically. Some of them probably have no clue about how to write a check or balance a checkbook with a bank statement. (Even my bank refuses to send me a statement any more. I have been forced to sign up for E-statements. The bank says they are going paperless. Ha! I still have to print it out at home, so where's the tree-saving? They have also put me on an allowance of 10 checks per month before they start charging me to process them.) I like the process of writing down every purchase and deposit. It keeps me aware of where my money is going and how much I have at any given time. If I miss recording a check, it is immediately apparent. I didn't even have a credit card until 1994 when I got married and needed to purchase some big ticket items for the house.

But back to eBay. Paypal, and it's parent, eBay, now has a double dip into every transaction on its site. They have also taken something that was fun and turned it into a chore. A friend of mine in Germany, who has sold on eBay forever, and has a PayPal account out of necessity for International transactions, is also upset with the change. In fact, it was he who drew my attention to the change in the first place. The fees associated with selling have gone up appreciably, as the market for collectibles of all kinds has dropped, making it not the money-maker it used to be.

Hopefully all the people who will leave eBay will go back to selling locally and we will see an upsurge in the collectibles economy, and more antique malls. Us dinosaurs still have spending power

*You may have to have an eBay account to read this article. It's pretty scary--full of YOU MUST this, and YOU MUST NOT that.


Laurel said...

I have to agree with you, eBay has gone downhill and I understand with listing charges, etc the sellers are forking over a huge percentage of their profits. I do not like using PayPal, but since I haven't given up on eBay, when I buy something I opt to have it charged on my credit card rather than cash transfer (through PayPal, of course). It at least makes me feel more in control.

Karen Anne said...


I am a little confused. I just bought something on ebay and paid by check. I just looked at a random listing and it said check okay.

I am angry at paypal myself. I hit their sending limit and they wanted access to my bank account to raise it. No thanks to that. (I have been using my credit card with them with no problems ad infinitum.)

So I had to get a paypal credit card to get the sending limit raised, although I never intend to charge a single thing on that card.

I did this because some sellers only accept paypal. However, in using it, I see that paypal makes their credit card the default and you have to paw thru a few pages to pay with your real card. They specifically do not allow you to set your own card as the default. Crumbs.

I expect to keep buying stuff on ebay unless it gets worse. I have found old and esoteric stuff I couldn't find anywhere else on the web, but I agree, this is teeth grinding.

Karen Anne said...

p.s. I do contact the sellers directly. I have to go thru the ebay contact form, but once you do that you can exchange email addresses and you're home free. At least so far.

Karen Anne said...

Another paypal annoyance. I was buying some sneakers from Zappo's web site a week or so ago, and was about to use paypal to pay for them, having trained my brain to be sure to avoid the paypal credit card when doing that, when I saw in the fine print on the paypal site something like by committing to this transaction, you authorize paypal to use its default payment method for future purchases from this merchant.

The default payment method being, of course, the paypal credit card.

So, of course, I backed out and used my credit card directly.

They really have gone into annoy the heck out of the customers mode.

Richard said...

Young Rose is my Grandmother. I have a rocking chair that belonged to Rose (Tanta) Hauser. I was hoping to post a picture but it seems I cannot attached photos to this comment space. I thought that you may be iterested in seeing it and I would be interested if you came across a photo with the chair in it.

Marilyn said...

Richard - Yes, send me the picture. Moggiesten at america on line dot com. Do you know Peter Biggen? He is a cousin of yours, and the source of the pictures. I believe I put a link to his website in the post on the pictures.

Anonymous said...

I never shop ebay anymore and here's why.

I always have paid with PayPal. The money goes to the seller immediately along with shipping information and any other special considerations I may have.

Of all the times buying (I've had an account with them since 1998), only about 1 out of 6 sellers leaves me feedback after receiving my IMMEDIATE payment. They wait for me to say something good about them, THEN they reply with positive feedback about my "prompt payment and great communicaton".

Whatever happened to customer satisfaction and the customer is always right? (even when they are not). If I pay right away, I expect positive feedback IMMEDIATELY, end of story.

I've had sellers send me emails asking why I have not left feedback and am I not satisfied and I reply, "oh, I'm satisfied with what I bought, but unsatisfied in that you still have not left positive feedback for my immediate payment" I leave it at that, and I usually never hear from them again. I figured that maybe someday they'll get it.

I am now 100% Craigs List, better deals, no fees, few hassles if any, all cash.