[Seller Speak] eBay was a good starting point for online retail, not anymore!


Despite having an early mover advantage in the Indian ecommerce industry, eBay India isn’t the top-notch marketplace in sellers’ minds. (Read: eBay seller wait over 60 seconds to resolve grievances!)

It is often argued that Amazon India has the backing of its global parent, Amazon, because of which it may never have to resort to the so-called unfair practices of our homegrown online marketplaces. eBay too has a global parent; why then hasn’t it risen in popularity compared to the others and why are we hearing of disgruntled sellers and nothing else?

When online seller Akheel MD wrote to us, “I am facing issue with eBay India,” it did not surprise us. In this article, he tells us more about his experience with the ecommerce player and how it’s been a downhill ride from 2014.

“Compared to my offline store, I have to put in 500% extra work for my online sales channels, which is rewarded with nothing but huge losses,” says Akheel.

No seller support on eBay

I sell mobile phones, mobile phone and tablet accessories, wallets, toys, wallets etc. I have been selling on eBay for five years, but now I’m continuing for namesake.

eBay today has the worst seller support. Buyers are given all kinds of support, help and freebies. They blindly close claims in buyers’ favour. Even when a fraud buyer takes advantage of the weak policies, we sellers fall into trouble.

When we buy from a wholesaler, say 1000 pieces, we don’t get any warranty. We check each product before stocking on our showroom shelf. Even if we find faulty items, there is no question of a refund or a replacement. Similarly, even in online business, we check each and every product before packing. But buyers make false claims and when we get the return of the products, they are in such bad shape that there’s nothing else we can do with them.

Complete bias towards buyer

Fraud buyers take advantage of sellers on eBay in many ways:

  • Blackmail sellers by asking for features not mentioned in listing
  • Buyers’ feedback are not verified by anyone, making it easy for them to ruin your feedback score. Whereas, sellers can either leave positive feedback or nothing for a buyer; sellers cannot leave negative feedback for a fraudulent buyer.

To get a clearer view on this, here is an important policy on feedback as specified by eBay India. As a seller, your rating hardly goes higher with 10 positive feedback. But if negative feedback is given, your rating would go down by a huge extent. Isn’t this a clear indication that eBay is against sellers?

 eBay closes claims in buyers’ favour at any cost. They can purchase any item, be it a general one or Chinese, with or without warranty, and wear it, damage it and still can return it without any hassle.

Response to queries

If you email them, responses to your queries can come in a week, two weeks and even 45 days (I have faced it)! How does this make sense? Issues, which need to be taken care of in hours, are addressed after weeks, and without any resolution then too.

Recently I contacted eBay India customer care because my Account Manager was not responding. On the call they said that they have escalated the issue, but there was no response even after a week. I attempted to contact again but this time through phone, chat and email. Nothing worked, including connecting with supervisors. Even emails to eBay India Grievance department have gone unanswered.

A few times, I got very irritated and warned them that I would report this to eBay USA and report to media. The eBay agent on call daringly responded telling me to do whatever I wanted.

Other marketplaces & eBay

I sell on other marketplaces too like Amazon, Shopclues etc, which are also not good for sellers. Shopclues is known to be a problematic site with technical issues. It is actually the worst when it comes to seller support. They even cheat sellers by charging high charges for courier.

When no other sites were available, eBay was good and it was so till 2014. But since then, the staff there seems to have zero sense of responsibility as no one checks or responds to open tickets.

Faulty fee collection

 In addition to payment gateway fees, they also charge “Final Value Fee”. If buyer clicks on the “Buy Now” button but leaves without paying, eBay still charges seller for this despite the absence of an actual sale. If it’s due to a bug in the system, aren’t they turning a blind eye to it?

You can claim for a refund after which money is credited to you in 4 days. But in my earlier days I did not know that due to which I ended up paying a large amount of money to eBay already.

Everyone selling on eBay, please check on this “Final Value Fee” and see that you are not paying what you needn’t be paying.

Advice to sellers

  • List a few items only, maybe 5-10, that are not priced too high.

  • Do not invest more money than required.

  • If you have more than 30 listings, opt for eBay Powership and uncheck option to ship outside it.

Initially, I had asked eBay India agents for the option to deactivate orders outside Powership but they said there is no such option. But I found out about it after a year from a seller forum. So the agents themselves are not aware of the options available to sellers.

Once we sent a normal phone worth Rs.1799 to West Bengal (outside eBay powership). After receiving item, unethical buyer sent photos of one old phone without any IMEI number, battery or identification. And said he got that phone. Even after struggling a lot, we did not get justice. And eBay closed the claim in Buyer favor instead of trusting us, the seller who’s been doing business with them for years and who’s sold thousands of items through the platform.

I don’t say other websites like Flipkart, Amazon, Paytm Or Snapdeal are good websites. They are earning money from sellers and harassing sellers itself. Tread the online route carefully and ensure you are aware of what you are getting into.

Currently, there is no regulatory body to protect online sellers and marketplaces are well taking advantage of this situation.

Disclaimer: Views/opinions expressed in this article are solely of the online seller.

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  1. Ankur Reply

    I totally agree with you. Your comment on Ebay’s feedback rating/score is bang on. I have been selling on Ebay for many years and have not yet understood how they calculate feedback score. which is clearly biased.

    Shopclues is exactly what they advertise, Its a Flee Market. They have the worst/buggy seller panel and seller support is pathetic to say the least with. Now we don’t even list our new products on Shoplues, its just not worth the effort.

    While no market place is perfect, I feel Flipkart and Amazon is still much better in terms of seller support and transparency.

  2. I am totally agree with you Akheel. all the multi vendor platform are same when ist comes to seller support,
    Let me tell you one case when i was active on amazon,

    I shipped one item from amazon fullfillment service.and item got lost, amazon refused me to compensate and they obviously refunded to buyer and above it all they refused to take down the negative feedback buyer sent me.I was new seller at that time so it effected my rating to a/c banned

    from that day i stopped selling on amazon. but i am lucky i have always had a good and fair treatment from ebay.what i why we are selling on ebay from last 5 years happily (may be as we have niche customer group that’s why )

    • Malik Reply

      Fully agree with you Akheel and the rest. We are a Leather goods brand – ADAMIS selling on a number of Marketplaces including Flipkart, Amazon, Ebay, Snapdeal, Jabong & Myntra.

      Out of all these, the most fair and just from the sellers point of view are Flipkart, Jabong and Myntra.

      At Amazon, we have had an inventory of Rs. 79,000 that is missing from their FBA warehouse. We have put up a claim for the missing inventory with all the proofs, to date we have received only Rs. 10,000 as reimbursement and the remaining amount claim is under “consideration” for the last 90 days since March 2016.

      Recently we are having a terrible time with Snapdeal, wherein the customers are ordering our high value leather products and the returns being sent back to us are cheap, used old products of different brands other than ADAMIS. Snapdeal seller help is not responsive to our complaints, they are refunding the payment to the customer, deducting the payment for the return from our account and to top it, they are also deducting a high Wrong / Faulty product fee from our account. This is completely unfair as we are not getting our original product back, having payment deducted and also being made to pay penalty charges for no fault of ours eventhough we have sent the perfect product to the customer always. The websites are completely favouring the customers, to the extent that they are turning a blind eye to the fraud / cheating customers and always deducting all kinds of payments and high penalty charges only from the sellers. We have had 3 cases on Ebay too, wherein the customer has called for our leather product and sent fake photos of used, old product of theirs saying that they have received it instead of our original product. Ebay has given them the refund without consulting us or giving us a chance to put our case. This to a seller who enjoys a 100% positive feedback score with them and selling with them for the last 4 years.

      In this whole ecommerce eco system, all the policies and systems are loaded completely against the sellers. This needs to change to make things fair for all. Currently it seems as if the marketplaces have a prejudice and pre conceived notion that all the faults and defects are the responsibility of the sellers. One very unfair rule at Snapdeal is in the return of the product. The customer is allowed 7 days to return the product if they do not want. The seller has to wait for a period of 60 days to receive the product from Snapdeal, before which he can not raise a dispute. The time durations are completely unfavourable to sellers. We have to stay without our own product and payment for 60 days after the customer has returned the product. Why so?
      At Snapdeal there is a major nexus at their delivery centre wherein we believe genuine products are being exchanged and either faulty , cheap products are being sent to the customer or sent to the sellers. Upon raising a dispute / query with their Seller help, the resolution is very erratic / random depending on the Seller help executive handling the case. Inspite of giving them all the documentary proof with photographs of the wrong product returns received by the seller, they are not willing to listen to the seller. They are deducting the full payment for the product as well as charging a penalty fee to the seller.

      In the present scenario, there is no relief for the seller, at the end of the day, sellers are only going to lose money after putting in all the efforts. With the high rate of returns, loss of products during returns and high penalty charges, there is hardly any profits to be made by sellers on online marketplaces.

  3. lucky Reply

    As you mentioned above
    “Initially, I had asked eBay India agents for the option to deactivate orders outside Powership but they said there is no such option. But I found out about it after a year from a seller forum.”

    Please tell me where to uncheck to deactivate orderds outside powership.


  4. Ark Reply

    Dear Sellers,

    Please read this before you shift to Powership Global on Ebay: I have sent them three emails in the past 5 days, and NOT ONE response. Seems like a big scam:

    3 messages
    xxxxxxxxxxx> 22 August 2016 at 17:01
    To: “Pai, Sainath” , “Chalissary, Carol(AWF)” , “Pal, Rajendra(AWF)” , “Mallya, Ramesh(AWF)”

    Dear All,

    I would request you to see the attached screenshot. I have atleast a dozen more from various Buyers, whose concerns are identical.

    None of them are satisfied with the services provided by PSG, and courier services. The common thread is, shipment to Australia being sent to US, inexplicable charges, unreal customs / import taxes, unreal delays that do not comply with existing laws, and extortion by the courier companies. They do not hesitate to use words such as ‘theft”.

    As a seller, we have serious concerns. Not once have they ( the courier companies) been able to explain why delivery charges exceed 55% to 90% of the invoice value at times.

    I would request you all to please see the attached mail screenshot, and advise how I should respond to the Buyer (fabrichi ) Item ID: 291213659162. This is not the only Buyer we have who prefers the slower, but much more efficient India Post.

    Yours faithfully,

    Ebay seller

    fabrichi mail screenshot.jpg
    XXXXXXXX 24 August 2016 at 23:22
    To: “Pai, Sainath” , “Chalissary, Carol(AWF)” , “Pal, Rajendra(AWF)” , “Mallya, Ramesh(AWF)”

    Gentle reminder.

    [Quoted text hidden]
    XXXXXXXXXX 26 August 2016 at 18:26
    To: “Pai, Sainath” , “Chalissary, Carol(AWF)” , “Pal, Rajendra(AWF)” , “Mallya, Ramesh(AWF)”


    May I have the courtesy of ONE response from Power Ship Global ?????????????

    Meanwhile, I have one more message from the Consignee:

    New message from: fabrichi (901Purple Star)

    As I wrote before, FedEx contacted to me to give them the agreement to pay for 30 euros for the customs procedures plus taxes. I answered that I wanted to complete the customs procedures by myself but that they had to provide me with the “cargo manifest number” to be able to do that. They answered that for that number/information I had to pay for 25 euros for “document sharing” or something like that. I’ve considered this as a blackmail, as they want to force me to accept their customs services. The message that I have from FedEX Spain is in Spanish. I copy-paste below between the lines:

    Buenos días,

    Tal y cómo hemos hablado por teléfono vamos a necesitar que nos facilite los datos Nombre completo y DNI del importador en factura. Deberá indicar si acepta los gastos por despacho 30€ más el IGIC, si finalmente decide hacer autodespacho deberá también pagar gastos por cesión de documentos de 25€.

    Muchas gracias y un saludo,

    Departamento de Aduanas
    Federal Express Corporation Suc España
    e-mail: aduanas at fedex.com

    Tel: 902 100 871

    web: http://www.fedex.com.es

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