back to article eBay promises to refund seller fees after latest MASSIVE OUTAGE

eBay is telling some of its sellers that their fees will be refunded, following Sunday's seven-hour-long outage - which was the latest in a series of technical blunders hitting the online tat bazaar. The company wrote to customers on Monday, informing them that they were "protected" by eBay, despite the latest service sitdown …

  1. Lostintranslation

    "Ebay would refund all fees for certain listings that ended between 11:15am BST and 8:45pm BST on Sunday 14 September."

    That's not the point is it?

    If you had a listing that ended during the outage it is quite possible that you received far less than you otherwise would have due to the inability of large numbers of people to bid. Some sellers might have lost hundreds of pounds.

    The only honourable thing to do would be to cancel those sales and re-run the auctions for free.

    As someone pointed out here on the day, not everyone was blocked from bidding. Mobile app users were still able to access the site and bid. They may have grabbed themselves a bargain, but a lot of sellers are going to be very unhappy with this latest outage.

    The internet urgently needs an alternative to Ebay.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      I would move like a shot

      For a site with

      1) Not so steep fees.

      2) Does not put fees on postage rates (I add 20% to cover these!)

      3) Does not down mark sellers for stupid buyers (had 5 in a couple of months could not read advert, title, nor the big imformation box in the middle)

      4) Has a better search.

      5) Does not make it unaffordable for the small seller of cheap items, (no profit on a 99p sale)

      6) If there is a feedback system allow you to leave negative feedback for buyers.

      I used to sell lots of crud on Ebay (old burger toys ect) for small amounts of money, now it is cheaper to charity bag the lot.

      I still do a service on Ebay but not sold one in a week or two despite good feedback, market saturated by big sellers.

      1. Graham Marsden

        @MJI Re: I would move like a shot

        You forgot "Doesn't force you to accept PayPal which, of course, they own, so they get two bites at the cherry as they take another chunk of your profit"!

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: @MJI I would move like a shot

          I up costs to cover paypal as well, but I prefer of all things a crispy tenner.

          But then I have managed to wangle a paypal business account with debit card.

          Ebay once decided it needed a card as well as paypal just in case paypal was empty. I set up Ebay to use my paypal card.

          Unfortunately I could not set up paypal to accept the paypal card!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I would move like a shot

        In all my time selling on ebay, I've had only a single stupid buyer and even they realised before they paid. The sellers that tend to get these seem to be not entirely honest (bending the truth or not mentioning stuff that a buyer will find out when they get it anyway), adding unreasonable terms, postage options etc. I've dealt with a number of these types of seller and they alway act hard done by when they get caught out.

        You can't get satisfaction by a technicality.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: I would move like a shot

          I genuinely had issues with idiot buyers. I was offering a repair service for an item, they buy the repair then leave neg feedback because I did not send an item and they demanded one.

          No morons read the advert "Repair Service" the picture "repair service" and the big warning in the advert

          5 in two months

    2. No, I will not fix your computer

      I tried to log in and bid on a couple of Macs, and a screen (last minute snipe) couldn't get in, eventually when I did, the auction was already finished and someone won a 23" Mac screen, a dual quad xeon Mac and an old powermac for £24 someone got a bargain.

    3. JeffyPoooh

      I have a suggestion

      Sellers could write-in another Terms & Condition as part of the boilerplate they already include.

      "In the event of an eBay service or significant Internet outage impacting access to this auction site during the auction period, then the seller reserves the right to cancel the sale even after conclusion."

      Some already have similar Ts&Cs, so this is not much different.

      Enforcible? One could argue that it should be a T&C already built into eBay.

  2. Ole Juul


    Boehm signed off his missive by saying that the company was "committed to maintaining your trust."

    Is there any to maintain?

  3. Rocket_Rabbit

    All in eBay take about 13% of what you sell for. Well, upto £750 and £75 is the maximum they take. This seems to have gone up from £40 in 2010 (so nearly doubled in 4 years).

    The problem is greed. I offer to work with people outside of ebay but mostly they aren't interested.

    So when I do win the auction, we both lose - I pay more, they get less.

    1. Ben Norris

      Refusing to go outside ebay is nothing to do with greed. Not only would they drastically reduce their protection against fraud, but if ebay catches them they will get banned and loose this stream of customers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Depends what you mean by "go outside ebay".

        You're obliged to offer PayPal as one of the means of payment, but you're perfectly entitled to accept payment by bank transfer or even cold hard cash on collection. What you're not allowed to do is refuse to accept a PayPal payment if the buyer prefers that option (and as a buyer the fraud protection can be useful).

  4. Archivist

    Difficult to compensate

    On most items I've ever bought or sold on ebay, the price usually doubles in the last few hours. So there will be some bargains had but some sore sellers. How can you compensate for that?

    1. JeffyPoooh

      Re: Difficult to compensate

      Bid Sniping is a common technique. Many people will bid in the last few seconds, so that others don't have time to review and bid again. It basically turns the public auction into a 'Sealed Bid' auction. That's the point of it. In these cases I will typically bid the price that would piss me off if anyone else got it for that amount or less. Others may bid "the maximum they're willing to pay", useful if you really really need the item.

      Here's some free advice: If around $150 is 'The Price', you don't bid $150. Because many other will bid the round value. You have to adjust up a bit. And you have to adjust up again because others will also adjust up. Number of iterations depends on number of bidders. $150 -> $154.89 for example. Of course you'll get it for one bid increment above the 2nd place bidder anyway.

      1. Anonymous Custard

        Re: Difficult to compensate

        And the useful trick is also never bid a round pound/dollar/euro (as appropriate) amount - always add a touch on. For example, if your bid would be £10, bid £10.12 or something like that. It seems that most people (sellers and buyers) like round figures, so they will tend to bid them. If you bid loose-change over that, then your bid will be larger than theirs and you win.

        I've won several auctions over the years by doing that, combined with using sniping rather than early bidding.

  5. JeffyPoooh

    eBay mysteries

    One thing that confuses me is the following: There are zillions of wee gadgets and parts available from vendors in China, items with a Buy-it-now price of about $1 with free S&H. And they seem very happy to package it up and mail it halfway around the world. The package arrives and, when they say FREE SHIPPING, they mean FREE. The postal meter label says Y000.00 as the cost of the postage. So here are the mysteries. How do they ship things so cheaply that they can make money? It would cost me $12 to send it back. Does the Central Committee provide free postage to some vendors simply to destabilize Western economies? How much does China Post pay when they dump off a container load of packages at the Western port, containing all these $1 sales?

    PS: eBay and PayPal do provide a somewhat-useful fraud protection for buyers. I've had to use it a couple of times. Forced a full refund from a seller of dodgy software. I find that everyone else I've dealt with to be perfectly honest and honourable.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: eBay mysteries

      What he said.

      I got myself a USB to 3.3V serial dongle for €1,50 with free postage. What the hell? That's less than a large pack of crisps! How can anybody make a profit on that?

      (dongle works perfectly, my PC can now talk to uboot)

      1. PK
        Black Helicopters

        Re: eBay mysteries

        ...and all your key presses are being logged by mothership china.

  6. StimuliC

    eBay should be a government, certainly politicians with the double talk. What they are saying is that people that pay hefty sums for their Anchor Store sites $200 a month are shit out of luck. If they have free listings remaining then chances are they are not going to recover those lost listings.

    They did the same with the earlier outage with the same wording and nobody, NOBODY! got those listings recovered unless they had paid for them as an actual fee and were over the 2500 listings.

    They also make a point of not including transactions where the seller had to sell to the item for way less than it would normally sell for because potential customers could not bid.

    In reality I don't think anyone is 'compensated' for the failure of eBay's site which happens far more often than they admit.

  7. PK

    Problem or opportunity?

    So is this time to start putting in £1 bids for every expensive item I can find? Sure, I'll get outbid as a matter of course but at some point, ebay is bound to go down an hour before one of them closes.

  8. Tsung

    To counter sniper bids, ebay should reset the countdown timer to 1 minute every time someone bids within that last minute. This ensure the seller gets the best price, and there are no benefits to sniper bidding.

    Ok the auction would end a bit later, but so what?

    1. Pookietoo

      Re: To counter sniper bids

      Why do you need to counter sniping? The highest bid wins, whether it's placed a second or a week before the listing ends. If a bidder is worried he'll get sniped he should just bid some more, so it's less likely that a snipe will beat his bid.

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