The Perils of eBay: Part I / by 3.1

WARNING – Contains swears. Because I'm in that kind of mood. Sorry.

More often than not, despite my insistence on using the system to get rid of clutter and no longer needed stuff that I so often accumulate, eBay makes me incredulous with rage. I don't even know where to start – if it's not the people on eBay, it's the people that run it.

I despair.

The fees

Where do I even start with this? So eBay take a hefty wedge when a listing ends anyway, only for them to get you again with PayPal (which they own anyway). Look – I'm just a lowly individual trying to palm off some junk. Please – I don't own a bloody warehouse.

The bidders that want you to end a listing early / sellers that end a listing early

What part of "Ending in 5 days" don't you understand? Also – it's a bit selfish, don't you think? How many times have you been prepared to pay above the odds for something, only for the seller to pander to somebody asking to end the listing early and you go back to check your Watch List one evening and you find it's all over before it even started.

The bidders that obviously want free P&P, then mark you down because you don't offer it

I don't make a profit out of P&P like some other people on eBay do. I only ever offer two postal services (with obvious exceptions for high value items) – Royal Mail 1st Class Recorded for domestic items and Royal Mail International Signed For for everything else. I'm pretty honest about why I use this and how much I charge, and I always offer to combine postage if somebody gets more than one item off of me.

I always use a service that requires a signature, for the simple fact that I just don't trust people.

Anyway – let's take a bog standard parcel. I'll charge £4.30 for P&P, because I know that when I walk down to the Post Office and stick the thing on the scales, the lady there is going to tell me that it's going to cost £4.30. So already we discover that I have offered the packaging for free. If the postage charge ends up costing less, then when I get home, I log into PayPal and refund the difference*. If it ends up costing more; the buyer has that one on me. The buyer will always know how much I paid for postage because they print the cost of it on the fucking label at the Post Office! So having had the item lovingly packaged for free in non-shit quality packing materials, posted usually the same day or the following day, and having charged only for the cost of the postage, how the hell is that only worth one out of five stars? What the actual fuck?!

People that don't read the listing description

I put all of the above nicely into the listing, take lots of nice pictures of the actual item I'm getting rid of, and then I still get asked if I offer free P&P, or if the brand new item with tags, is brand new, with tags. Seriously. Every. Bloody. Time.

The sellers that overcharge on postage

Especially when you know yourself how much it costs to send stuff.

The sellers that insist that there isn't a problem, when there is, and then block you

Something turns up late, or doesn't turn up at all. You send a polite message asking about what to do and they get their knickers in a twist over it. For the love of Darwin – I just asked where the stuff I paid for is because you haven't sent me a tracking number or anything to indicate that you've actually sent the fucking thing and I've waited for weeks.

The bidders that never pay up straight away

You don't walk into a shop and tell the person at the checkout, "You know what – I'll just take all this stuff home now and I'll pay you in a week," do you? Same goes for buying a secondhand car. Or online shopping in general! Why on earth should eBay be any different?

The bidders that insist on paying in every other payment method apart from the ones that you specify

As much as I fucking hate PayPal to the death (especially as you're essentially forced to use it), at the end of the day it keeps both parties safe in that there is a record of transaction, &c. If I was happy with 'Cash on Collection', I'd put that in the listing, wouldn't I?

*Bonus rant category / anecdote: eBay never sticks up for the seller

I went to sell my Xbox 360 a while back. I offered some reimbursement on the postage because there was a delay, only in error I ended up refunding the entire amount; PayPal doesn't give you an option to click a dropdown menu and refund just postage – they leave a box to fill in, which is already pre-filled with the entire amount, and I had a trigger happy finger. I had managed to unmark the payment on eBay as being 'Sent' and tried to contact the bidder to pay again, minus the postage. He would say he was trying to pay again, but that it wasn't happening. eBay wouldn't even acknowledge me about the matter, and PayPal were about as fucking useful as a chocolate fireguard over the matter. I felt like going round to the bloke's house and calling him a c...

And then you can't leave the bastard negative feedback. How the actual fuck?


So. Yeah. More another time!

How about your hideous eBay experiences?