EBAY – a shoddy place to do business.

Ebay pulled a couple of my listings yesterday. Their grounds for doing so were mildly amusing insomuch as it is a transparent policy to increase their listing fees. Buried somewhere in Ebay T&Cs is the entertaining precept that the seller may not charge the buyer for PayPal’s extortionate transaction fees because in some way this undermines trust in the seller?

How does that work then? As a seller, I offer the buyer many options to pay for the item. One of those attracts costs which I have no intention of paying. If the buyer feels the same way, fine ā€œ send me a cheque, do a bank transfer, pay me in chickens, I care not. How can this in some way undermine trust in the seller? Beats me!

What’s even funnier (and it’s important not to take this terribly seriously) is Ebay’s stated resolution to the fees issue. They suggest that you include the fees in the initial cost of the item. It’s a BLOODY AUCTION, Paypal takes a percentage of the final bid so excuse me if I’m being mathematically special needs but how can I work this out at the start? Other than artificially inflating the price of the goods which is the very thing Ebay righteously tells us not to do!

I guess if I did just chuck a fiver in for Paypal, Ebay wins both ways ā€œ their listing fee is increased and they get even more for the transaction to Paypal (a company which they, of course, own). At best it’s just stupid, at worst it’s a mendacious attempt to increase their profits by claiming it boosts trust in the virtual marketplace. I must check how many Ebay Execs were previously politicians as it smacks of the soundbite rhetoric we’re bamboozled by every day.

And breathe. I’m not taking it seriously. Honest.

So what to do? Well I’m going retro, old school if you will. From now on, any buyers dealing with me must shun the nowness” of instant payments and relearn the art of transactions that take days not seconds. Yes, they’ll have to fill in a cheque and maybe it’ll mean I need to ride down to the bank but if that stiffs Ebay’s profits by only a quid, it’ll be a moral victory for the little man šŸ™‚

And you know, suddenly the call of the local free papers is strong. I mean there must be hundreds of potential buyers in Buckinghamshire desperate to own some pre-loved electronic components?

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