Thursday, May 20, 2004

Ebay's Lust for Money Strikes Again

I think I have finally reached my boiling point in dealing with Ebay. I'm extremely close to just closing my account altogether, and that is an account sitting at a little over 560 positive feedback. I don't think I'll close my account altogether, but I will close the Ebay Store account I just recently opened.

I've actually done most of my selling through Ebay's sister site, It was a really nice way to list my cds, dvds, and video games for free and then only be charged a flat commission fee after something sells. I ended up making a good amount of money back by selling cds and dvds that I had sitting around the house that I didn't listen to or watch anymore.

Ebay, in its infinite wisdom, decided that it no longer wanted to keep Half open, probably because it was becoming a moderately good sized competitor to Ebay itself, but I can't see it as being that big of a competitor considering the size of Ebay. Anyhow, in order to not piss off Half sellers too much, Ebay offered to set up Half sellers with a free Ebay store and migrate over all of their items for free. Sounded like a pretty sweet deal to me, so I opted to do it. Besides, if I didn't, all of my inventory would just disappear in the middle of June when becomes nothing more than a redirect to Ebay.

I signed up for an Ebay Store. It went pretty easily without too much hassle. I then let Ebay's automatic migration tool attempt to move all of my items over. This is where the first of my troubles with Ebay started. I had about 300 items in my Half inventory. When Ebay migrated them over, they only got about 130 of the items moved. The rest they said they "couldn't do" and they would have to be moved over manually. What? I have relist 170 items on Ebay myself? Whatever. What is also bad about that is when I relist all of those items, I'll have to pay listing fees, whereas the items Ebay migrated over itself had the listing fee waived. There is catch #1 to their supposedly "friendly" offer to help out Half sellers.

Catch #2 is the real kicker, however. In an email that was sent to me by Ebay after the creation of my store and the migration of my items, I was informed that... wait, I think it's better if I give you a direct quote. Here is what I was told from Ebay (emphasis mine):
The easiest way to accept payment on eBay is by using PayPal. Further, as part of the inventory transfer program we have set all your listings to accept only payments from PayPal. So having a functioning PayPal account is a must!
Unbelievable! I can only actually sell my stuff if I open a PayPal account. That's absurd! I know why Ebay did it that way, though--because they own PayPal. What better way to make sure that they get back any money they may potentially lose by offering Half sellers a storefront for free (for the first month) and free migration (of less than half your items). I refuse to use PayPal because most of the items I list only sell for around a dollar or two so after you figure in Ebay's listing fees, Ebay's final value assessment fee, Ebay's store fee, and Paypal's transaction fees you aren't making any money at all.

After receiving this "information" from Ebay, I shut down my store immediately. This was also a hassle since there is no direct way to find out how to close your store and the help page that details how to close your store refers to the old way in which Ebay's MyEbay portion of the site was set up. I had to dig around for about 20 minutes on my own to finally find the page for closing my store.

It's simply absurd how much money Ebay is getting on each item that is listed and sold. Because they get so much money on each item, I figured that their offer of a free month's subscription to an Ebay Store and free migration might have actually been out of the kindness of their hearts, but instead it was simply a ploy to gouge even more money out of people who are forced to use their service. I'm starting to hate Ebay almost as much as I hate Dynamic Forces......

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