Selling Technology on eBay

By NetCablesPlus
May 10, 2007
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  1. I am so annoyed, that I had to come to TS and start a new thread. I have been selling Ethernet and USB cables on eBay for about 2.5 years. I have taken great pains to ensure that I have a 100% Positive Feedback rating for all transactions. For those of you not familiar with eBay Feedbacks, it is a way for seller and buyers to rate each other after the auction transaction is completed. Let me just say that I have more than bent over backwards with illiterate, stupid, and downright dishonest buyers to keep my 100% rating. This month, eBay added a 'Star' system based upon a number of categories in order to 'enhance' the Feedback System. One of the new categories is 'Shipping and Handling' fees. Now, all sellers have to publish their shipping and handling fees in their auction listing, so the buyer knows upfront what the fees will be. For example, for a 14-foot Ethernet cable, I charge $2.99 for shipping and handling and it is published right on my auction so everyone knows what it is before they buy. So, guess what a few eBay dolts have done: they decided to buy my cable (given my published price and shipping fee) and then when it came time to leave feedback, they gave me a less than perfect rating on my shipping and handling fees! So, if they felt that my S&H fees were too high, why did they buy from me in the first place????? You can see my Feedbacks and understand what I am talking about at this link:

    I am so frustrated right now, that I am thinking of dropping all of my auctions on eBay. This is just a warning to those of you considering selling technology on eBay: while 95% of the buyers are fine, the other ignorant and stupid and dishonest 5% make the entire experience painful and frustrating. There, I feel better now. :)
  2. kitty500cat

    kitty500cat TS Evangelist Posts: 2,154   +6

    It does look like all the feedback is positive. Maybe eBay removed that system.
  3. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    He's got 4.6/5 on shipping/handling. I realize you are striving for 100%, but as a buyer if I saw anything 4 or higher I wouldn't question it - not on something like shipping and handling, esp when its listed upfront.

    Personally I'd like to see all 'stores' and 'power sellers' have their own section seperate from normal sellers. I look at ebay as a garage sale and the powersellers and stores are some dude that sets up a tent right next to the yard sale, just doesn't seem right to me.

    I get the feeling the big boys don't know much about the individual product I'm bidding on, its history, ect, and that they will occationally pass off something they know is damaged or won't work because what is 1 negative feedback if you have several hundred positives.
  4. NetCablesPlus

    NetCablesPlus TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 228

    Thanks for your comments kitty500cat, but sngx1275 is correct, I have less than a perfect score on the 'stars' rating which is new. sngx1275, you have an interesting comment on separating the Powersellers from 'normal' auction sellers and I would not be surprised that eBay ultimately goes that way. Their eBay Express (only new products from eBay Stores) is the first step in that direction. But I think that you also have to separate the 'big boys' that deal in used goods, and those of us that only sell new products on eBay. Yes, I do not have the 'personal touch' in my selling but all of my products are brand new tested and sealed at the factory and in the rare occasion that I sell a defective cable, I immediately replace it with no questions asked.

    I did find your perspective on one negative vs. a few hundred positive feedbacks very interesting. I honestly had not thought of it that way. In fact, I have killed myself to avoid even one negative feedback and have been rewarded for doing so. Background: my main purpose on eBay is that I have found quite a few corporate buyers who try me on eBay and then repeatedly come back to my website for bigger orders. Happens every month, in fact. So, for me, it is only a marketing channel to find my main target (large corporate buyers) and I put up with the nonsense from the 14-year-old gamers who buy one USB cable for $2.95 and expect me to troubleshoot their printer set up for them. But, I have had numerous occasions where corporate buyers have said that the reason they chose me over other cable vendors on eBay was specifically because of my perfect Feedback score.

    Anyway, I appreciate the input. I have calmed down quite a bit since this morning and will continue plugging away, of course. Thanks again.
  5. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Posts: 937

  6. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    as a buyer if a seller has a lot of feedback (and they're not a power seller) and it is at least 96.5% or better.... they generally are trustworthy. But I always read the negatives and neutrals to see if there is a pattern or the customer was just a pain in the *** and a whiner.
  7. NetCablesPlus

    NetCablesPlus TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 228

    Thanks for all of the input. Interesting comments on how buyers view sellers' feedback ratings. This new 'star' system is quite frustrating because there is no way to tell who left a less than perfect feedback. With the Positive/Neutral/Negative feedback, you can tell who left it and try to work things out with a less than satisfied buyer. With the 'stars' there does not seem to be such an option.

    Tedster, you seem to have differentiated the Power Sellers in yoru comments. What do you expect from them in terms of feedback ratings?
  8. RamenNoodles

    RamenNoodles TS Rookie Posts: 83

    I also sell items on ebay and do not like the whole 'star' based system of doing things. Its less personal and it doesnt allow you to diagnose the problem on a more personal level like feedback does. I use to sell ebooks (computer books that are downloaded) that are automatically sent when the buyer completes the payment. I cant tell you how many times I got emails saying, "I havent received my book yet. Is it in the mail, Here is my shipping address ____. I am going to leave negative feedback if i dont receive it." So i explain to them what an ebook is when it is already stated in the auction.

    I now sell name brand clothes which is pretty simple. But I offer USPS Priority Mail for all my auctions which is 2-3 days delivery time. I currently have a 4.8 start rating for shipping time which I dont understand one bit. I mean how fast do you expect something to arrive? Sorry to disappoint you but, when you order something online, its not gonna be at your doorstep 5 seconds later.
  9. NetCablesPlus

    NetCablesPlus TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 228

    Nice feedback score. I have been selling high tech hardware and software for over twenty years, but this has been my first real venture into the B2C side of things. Prior to this, all of my sales/marketing efforts have been with B2B companies. Selling to retail consumers has been an eye-opener for me. Instead of dealing with professional buyers and management at corporations, I have been absolutely horrified by the ignorance and illiteracy we deal with from about 5-7% of eBay buyers on a regular basis. The pettiness and unreasonableness doesn't help either.

    It is further interesting that since Amazon asked me to become a merchant for them I have had no problems whatsoever with their buyers. They buy my cables, are happy, and leave positive feedback. Have had no bad experiences with them whatsoever. Obviously a different clientele.

    But, give me an IT Manager in a big company any day. They are reasonable, spend a lot in one purchase, and rarely complain about anything. If they do complain, they are usually right.
  10. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    I bought an item from a "Power Seller" with 98.3% Positive Feedback on 1108 sales on May 15th. I paid through PayPal on May 15th as soon as I bought it - got it through Buy It Now.

    Now aside from the automated response sent from ebay and paypal after the purchase I have heard nothing from him. Today 1 week and 2 days later I go down to the secretaries office where I worked (which is where I had it shipped) to once again check if it has arrived yet. Its not here, so I check ebay and I see there is a tracking number now for my purchase (no email about this). I click that, only to see that the Post Office didn't get it until May 22nd.

    WTF is that? Completely unacceptable in my opinion, I don't care who you are you should be able to get something shipped out within 1-2 days of purchase and payment. This was a full 7 days later before it shipped.

    I get this feeling that Power Sellers think because they got that nifty little icon that they can get away with bs like this. I would much rather buy the same item for 10-20% more from someone with less than 30 feedback because I know that they don't have a lot of other orders going on taking time away from my purchase.

    Feedback is a joke anyway. Say I negative feedback this guy for no communication and taking a week to ship, he doesn't really get hurt from it, his feedback stays at 98.3% and meanwhile he gets extra time to think of something nasty to say about me. Then I get a negative feedback but only have 17 or 18 others that are positive to cancel it out, it hurts me far more than it does him.
  11. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Posts: 937

    I know it is opinion, but i don't think that 7 days is enough to leave negative feedback. The latest i have ever shipped an item out was 3 days later, but they may just have a weekly ups pickup, and you happened to purchase it right after the pickup. Is that an excuse? Not really..but i think you should talk to the seller first and threaten him with negative feedback, and he may refund your shipping fee.
  12. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    I look for patterns in feedback if the seller has less than perfect feedback.
    I generally don't buy from power sellers as they tend not to answer questions and customer service is poor (unless it is a low cost item.)

    I also generally don't buy from sellers with less than a 50 feedback score. (too little experience with ebay).

    1 week is NOT enough time for shipping. NEVER file a complaint before 2 weeks unless you paid for extra speedy service like overnight or 2/3 day service. The USPS can take a while.

    Ask the seller for the tracking #. Any decent seller on ebay will know they need delivery confirmation to protect themselves.
  13. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    He shipped it USPS. I've got a tracking number but its USPS, their tracking is only slightly better than knowing it shipped at all.

    I'm not going to leave negative feedback because it will hurt me more than it does him. I only posted because the original post was made because he was frustrated with something on ebay, and now so am I. I'm not upset it didn't get here within a week, I'm upset because it took him 7 days to get the product out the door. It was a keyboard and mouse, not like he had to build something, or arrange a freight delivery.

    I do think 1 week is sufficient time to expect a reason on why it didn't ship within 1-2 days of recieving my money. This isn't some late night tv infomercial where you can expect 6-8 weeks for shipping. This is a "power seller" on ebay either dicking around and not shipping or selling more than he is able to keep up with, whichever one it is it still sucks.
  14. NetCablesPlus

    NetCablesPlus TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 228

    I, too, think that one week is too long to wait to ship a product, though I also know that eBay has guidelines on paying and shipping that sellers and buyers should follow. I am not aware of what those guidelines are because I always ship within one business day of receiving payment, but I believe that the buyer has one week to make payment after winning an auction. It may be the same for shipping, but I am not sure. I do use USPS a lot for my smaller orders and their 'tracking' system is typical of government bureaucracy: it is designed to cause them the least effort and minimize contact with the public (basically, no info is provided until the package is delivered.) The only reason that I pay extra for this service is for when buyers incorrectly claim that they have not received the item (happens a lot) when it actually has been delivered to them.

    Regarding feedbacks and Powersellers. It sounds like SNGX's Powerseller is right on the edge of losing his Powerseller status. If you dip below 98%, you lose your Powerseller status.

    Tedster, it is interesting that you find Powerseller status to be a reason NOT to buy from the seller. I guess that my 100% rating might overcome that for any of my buyers that think like you do. I do know that I have received a few comments from buyers over the years saying that they were surprised to have their questions answered so quickly from a 'big guy' on eBay, so that type of comment must come from thinking like yours, as well.

    It has been very helpful for me to hear from the buying side on eBay on this thread as I had not considered some of the issues that buyers face. I guess that it is an imperfect system for both buyers and sellers.

    I also think that eBay is becoming aware of some serious dissatisfaction that its Powersellers (and others) are having with them for raising their fees, the new star system feedback and some other selling related issues. I got a call from one of their marketing experts this week who spent about 45 minutes on the phone with me trying to reduce my fees and increase my sales. He had some good ideas and I was kind of surprised by his attitude which seemed to really want to help me, not just make more money from me. Not the typical attitude that I have gotten from eBay before.

    But, there is still a good chance that I stop selling on eBay altogether in the next few months. I am really tired of the 7% or so of buyers who are unable to read, too stupid to ask questions, and have totally unreasonable expectations when they spend a grand total of $5.94 (including shipping) for a brand new 15-foot USB cable.
  15. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    Update: I sent the dude a message yesterday simply asking why it took 1 week before he shipped it. Today I got the response:
    Now this is all I wanted to hear, and now there is at least an explanation for the delay even if it doesn't quite make sense. Just having some information from the seller if there is a delay upfront would have prevented this situation.
  16. NetCablesPlus

    NetCablesPlus TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 228

    You know, it's funny. I have the system set up to send an automatic email thanking the buyer when an auction is won, another email to go out acknowledging when payment has been received from the buyer, and yet another email to go out when the item has been shipped. These things go out within two seconds of each event occurring. Should there be any issues (e.g., a mistake in shipping fees paid, not having the particular color cable that they would prefer, etc.) we immediately send them an email about the issue. Yet, I do not have a perfect five stars when it comes to communication.

    Now, some of this is from the *****s who use Yahoo for their eBay email address and never receive any of my emails due to Yahoo's absolutely horrible spam filtering. But others must expect me to give them a phone call or something for their $6 order.

    In your case, you would have gotten an email from us immediately upon any problem arising with shipping, though, in actuality, we would have just eaten the extra shipping cost as we would have felt that it was our error to not have updated our shipping prices to reflect the USPS changes. By the way, the USPS did not actually go up that much for domestic shipments, but went way up for international shipments on the 14th of this month.
  17. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    I got it yesterday. Here it is:
  18. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,481   +44

    oh god, apple
  19. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    Its nice :)
  20. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    I actually think that the Apple keyboards look kinda cool, but I'd prefer a totally white one.

    I'd have gotten an apple keyboard, but it'd end up to be the only thing that'll be white in my whole setup. Heck, I don't think there's anything that has the colour white on it...
  21. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Posts: 937

    Yeah the only thing white on my desktop is my 360.
  22. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    The keyboard weighs about as much as all my PC keyboards (3 or 4 of them I think) combined.
  23. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    wow... why is that so? o.O
  24. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    I don't have any idea. But interestingly enough, when I was younger and my dad had a couple Macintosh computers their keyboards were real heavy too, then we bought a UMAX (Mac clone) and its keyboard was really light, like a cheap PC kb. So it was interesting when I unpackaged this one and it was heavy too.
  25. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    I know my G15 weighs a ton....

    Maybe good keyboards just weight alot, just like power supplies :D:D:D

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