Posts Tagged eBay
A few days ago I was ranting about eBay’s Customer Support. My problem in a nutshell: I tried to sign up for the eBay Partner Network, it wasn’t possible and all I received after contacting the customer support several times was auto-generated bullshit.
I’m certain that most of my dear regular readers are expecting a follow-up article with even more ranting at this point (see several articles about The PayPal Scam for reference…), however, I got some very good news in store for you: eBay really turned things around!
Kristina, who first commented on my blog post, got in touch with me via e-mail and was able to clear up the mess. It turned out that something during the registration process went wrong and once I tried a different e-mail address (I got a number of options…), I was able to finally sign up. I have no idea what will happen to the account I originally tried to sign up with, but I’ll leave it up to eBay to decide.
While the domains I submitted have been set to “invalid” (again), the first hits were tracked. So I’m rather hopeful and I might have already solved the issue by submitting the domains once more, but this time with “www” in front of them (I’m working with redirects via .htaccess to avoid duplicate content; that means if you’re trying to access “soulwarrior.net“, you’ll end up on “www.soulwarrior.net” instead). Maybe this is causing errors on eBay’s end, who knows…
Anyway, I want to thank eBay and more specifically Kristina for listening, taking the time to take a closer look and coming up with a solution for my problem. That’s certainly the way to go and will make me want to use eBay more again!
You should do so, too, so check out the advertisements on the right hand side of the page.
There’s this thing called the “eBay Partner Network”. It’s quite cool – you run some advertisements for eBay on your website and hope for people to click them. If they head over to eBay and purchase some stuff there, you’ll get paid as well.
This sounds extremely smart and I’m certain some of you might have stopped reading already, googling the Partner Network site and trying to sign up. Let me tell you that you might be on your way to quite some desperation, as I’m currently trying to accomplish the very same thing, however, it’s not meant to be.
As it turned out, eBay’s sign up process isn’t as streamlined as you think it would be. Yes, you can register on the site easily; in fact, you can even connect your account there to your regular eBay account with some possible benefits (don’t ask me about them). “All you need to do” is letting them know which domains you would like to use to run their ads, upload a text-file to the servers of the respective servers and have them check everything and give you a go. If you ever set up Google Analytics for a website, you’ll be very familiar with the process.
However, there’s a simple catch: eBay isn’t Google. eBay doesn’t know perfect automation. eBay doesn’t have helpful help sites. And more than anything else, eBay doesn’t have a fucking customer support.
The “domain activation site” of the eBay Partner Network told me that my sites are “invalid”. It doesn’t give me an explanation WHY they are considered to be “invalid”. There’s no section in their FAQs telling you when the status of a site will be considered “invalid”. So I did what every foolish webmaster in his right mind would have done: I sent them an e-mail. Or rather tried to. I used their contact form and all I got in response was this:
Alright, the site’s down for a short while. So I tried a few minutes later. Same message. I tried an hour later. Same message. I tried the next day. Still the same bullshit.
Great, so I decided to phone them. Unfortunately, you can’t phone the eBay Partner Network. You can only phone the normal eBay Customer Support. Alright, sounds like the next best thing and it’s the same company after all, so what could possibly go wrong?!
Turned out they can’t do shit over the phone (well, they can charge you money for calling them, but that’s not really what you were looking for, was it?). Their advice was to “send an e-mail”. I explained that it’s not possible in the respective section. I got redirected to the “normal eBay Customer Support forms”. I was told to let them know about a “technical problem” and that they could help me out once I sent an e-mail. Well, OK; I sent an e-mail. I waited. I waited another day. I waited a little longer. And after 5 quick days that passed in a hurry (in “internet time”, this can be considered a full year!), I finally received a reply, referring me back to the support of the eBay Partner Network. Well, thank you for this useful piece of advice…
I didn’t quite know what to reply… after a while, I figured it would be best to let them know _again_ that the support form of the Partner Network isn’t working for me and that I would appreciate if they could simply forward the e-mail to their colleagues. I now got told that I reported a technical issue that has something to do with a “third party contractor”. Unfortunately, eBay can’t help me out as the “respective third party contractor” needs to take care of the problem. I think it’s rather fitting to quote the Miz at this point: “REALLY? … REALLY???“
I honestly don’t know how to proceed. The possibilities seem endless; telling them to fucking read my e-mails, fuck themselves or fuck the “third party contractor” (which is simply another eBay company) all sound rather appealing to me at this point. Any suggestions?
Last weekend, I participated in a Yu-Gi-Oh! Sneak Peek event. A friend was about to visit me later, so I didn’t have much time. Therefore, I only played one round and was awarded the Bye for the 2nd round (at this point, I dropped out of the tournament and left a little later).
In a way, it was fun to play Yu-Gi-Oh! again, even if it were only for a few quick games. On the other hand, the limited environment of the game is – at least for me – a lot less enjoyable than a sealed or draft event with the World of Warcraft TCG (I played a Magic draft yesterday evening and had more fun than I had playing YGO, but it’s also less fun than WoW in my personal opinion).
Anyway, I still got something out of attending the Sneak: A brand new Loki, Lord of the Aesir. I’m selling it on eBay, so check out the auction!
There seems to be no end in sight for my problems with PayPal. Here’s a quick summary of what happened so far:
- First, I got told that some transactions were revoked – in case you don’t care to read the original post, here’s a very brief summary: You can make sure that a seller receives a notification from PayPal, telling him that he’s received a payment. However, no money will EVER leave your bank account, so in other words: PayPal makes it extremely easy to pull off a huge scam.
- Then, PayPal told me that 2 of the 3 transactions in question were actually fine (Blog Entry), so I at least got some of the money, that should have belonged to me in the first place, back.
- Or so I thought… just now, PayPal changed their mind once more and revoked ALL transactions from the 2 affected eBay buyers. Yes, that includes the 2 that were fine just one week ago (naturally, I have to prove again that I actually sent out the articles. Although I already did so just one week ago).
To put things in a better perspective: I received some of those payments 7 weeks ago! That means if you receive money via PayPal, you have to fear for 7 – 10 weeks that the buyer might pull the described stunt and you will ultimately not receive a cent.
Further, PayPal’s “seller protection” works this way: If this happens, the seller needs to pay PayPal the money that they “lost” (in fact, they didn’t lose ANY money – all they did was telling me that I received money, however, they just pulled that back, so it’s basically like I sent out the articles I sold on eBay for free). Additionally, PayPal freezes the account and asks the seller to send them all kinds of bullshit, e.g. a copy of my ID, as well as forces them to change it to a “business account”, so some more rules might apply and they will have an even easier time trying to rip me of my money.
I honestly don’t know what to do, but I consider looking for legal support. I don’t want to “bail out” PayPal for their inability to collect the money that they promised me. All I can do for you at the moment is recommending a Google search for “PayPal Scam” and read over some of those websites. I know it’s hard to believe, but as my example proves, almost all of it is the sad truth…
I can provide you with an update regarding the PayPal Scam: PayPal is done investigating some amounts and they returned the money that belonged to me in the first place. Well, thanks. I still think the company is on the same level with organized crime, but that’s still better than me chasing my money.
While searching for more background information regarding this topic, I came across several websites that deal with PayPal issues. Most notably, no-paypal.de [dash] a German website with quite a lot of useful information regarding PayPal. Some of their contents are rather eye-opening. You wouldn’t believe what an ex-eBay Manager went through to make sure he would be protected by PayPal’s seller protection. “Fast and easy” isn’t the slogan that would apply to the measures he’s taken.
Anyway, for the time being, I’m happy that I only have to chase 250,- € and not 750,- €. Let’s see how that’ll work out…
During the past days, I received several messages from eBay members, asking me about 2 of the buyers that acquired several of the Loot Cards I sold on eBay (I announced it right here). They told me that they had issues with those buyers as the PayPal transactions were revoked. Granted, I was also a little suspicious that one eBayer bought so many Loot Cards from me, but then again, if you’re into World of Warcraft and you got the money, why not?!
I received notification e-mails from PayPal today (by the way, those messages have no subject, making it more likely they’ll be marked as spam…), telling me that they need additional information as a case was opened. I logged into PayPal and was greeted with a message, telling me that my PayPal account was no longer in the positive. What a warm welcome!
Then I saw what I expected: The money that was sent to me has been pulled back by PayPal. This happened to me before, so let me explain it to you in case you’re thinking: “That doesn’t really make sense, now does it?!” Well, here’s how it works:
- You open a PayPal account
- You connect it to your bank account
- You now own a certified PayPal account
- You can now make payments when you don’t have sufficient funds on your PayPal account
- You buy something on eBay and pay with PayPal
- You quit your bank account / return the money that PayPal tries to withdraw from your bank account or find a different more or less creative way
You do more or less the same, this time with a credit card. It seems to work like a charm…
Voilá! You just made sure PayPal would tell the seller he has received a payment, although he’ll never actually get the money. Or to be more precise: He will receive the money, but PayPal will pull it back a little later.
That’s what PayPal probably means when they’re talking about “buyer protection”. You’re SO protected, you don’t even have to have the money to afford the article you bought…
“Wait a minute, are you saying that I don’t actually received money for sure when PayPal tells me I received money?”, you might ask. Well, yes, that’s basically it. It’s like your bank telling you “You have 500,- EUR on your bank account”, you withdraw it to spend it on something you like and then the bank will tell you a week later: “Oh, sorry, we made a mistake. We need the 500,- EUR back.” Although that’s also not quite like it, as PayPal never apologizes to you, as if it were standard business practice for them.
This whole thing feels like a huge scam. Another seller who is affected by this problem told me it would be best to simply not send the money back to PayPal as they’ll most likely not go after you, but send a few e-mails telling you to make the payment. I don’t think that’s the solution to the problem. I mean, it’s not that I would have a bad conscience afterwards; I feel scammed by PayPal, so why not make sure THEY have to sort it out and see how they can get their hands on the money instead of making me pay them for their failure to pull in the money?!
Best would be for PayPal to fucking change their policies. If they really think it is acceptable to treat their customers like this, I wouldn’t be surprised if they would pay people to buy stuff on eBay and then pull the above described stunt. It’s almost easier as printing your own money…
What are your experiences with PayPal? Have you been in a similar situation before and how did you get around it? It would be cool if more affected sellers could come together and try to get PayPal to actually do something for their customers and provide the service they’re advertising – fast and safe payments.