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

Pooja Vishant | Sep 10, 2020

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

About Author

Pooja Vishant

Pooja Vishant

After dwindling with her family business, into travel and hospitality, for more than 3 years, Pooja Vishant found her true love in writing. Happy-go-lucky and cheerful, she loves pink; so pink is the way to go if you want to get into her good books. The Associate Editor keeps track of even a leaf that has moved in the ecommerce world!

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