Monday, February 06, 2006

Dear eBay, I've found the most incredible way to stop scammers. Here's how...

Over the years, FYT has brought you several stories on eBay. Recently, I discussed my personal experience with an eBay Dropoff in my area.

Personally, I don't have the problem found below ... in my 9+ years on eBay I have only had ONE seller not ship me what was promised (at all). Not true for Yahoo auctions.

I think I have found a way for eBay Dropoff Stores to find a closer connection to eBay and be more useful for the protection of eBay users.

What about making dropoffs escrow clearing houses?

What do I mean?

The buyer (not the seller) can make a choice for an item to be shipped to a nearby eBay dropoff location. Said eBay dropoff store, gets item in, checks it against the auction description, calls the buyer, buyer comes to pick it up free of charge ... pays Paypal, postal money order, or cash - the end amount. At the same time, buyer leaves positive feedback AT THE DROPOFF store.

What's in it for each party?

First and foremost ... this solution almost completely eliminates the scamming seller in areas that there are dropoff stores.

Two ... it gives buyers and sellers more interaction with dropoffs - gives eBay more exposure ... makes eBay look like it cares for it's community

Three ... the buyer gets peace of mind, with slight inconvieniance ... but probably worth the gas and time for larger items.

Four ... the eBay dropoff locations get free exposure and ...

I think that eBay dropoff locations should get listing credit for each transaction that they process ... maybe 1.5% of each transaction they assist in this escrow with. These savings could then be passed along to their customers and help increase revenue.

Five ... both parties get feedback. The buyer is asked by the dropoff to post before leaving. The seller can authorize the dropoff to post feedback for the buyer, or the buyer can leave feedback once he or she ships the item.

Note: an eBay transaction is OVER FOR THE SELLER once the buyer has paid and the item has shipped and the item is received without complaint. The transaction is over for the buyer within 24 hours of receipt and no complaint. Both parties are obligated as "eBay citizens" to leave feedback ... personally ... I think eBay should REQUIRE feedback for all transactions within 30 days or else NOT let you continue to list or buy.

One of my pet peeves as a seller is my feedback ratio ... I have sold over 8000 items on eBay in 9+ years. I have as of now on an ID I have had for 7+ years, 2500 positive feedbacks. Most eBay buyers are one shots looking for something unique and don't return to eBay for months, years, or ever. A lot of buyers forget to post feedback. This process, as described, would also assist in feedback.

Good idea?

From an email:

What about the shipping costs? Shouldn't the buyer have to front the money for shipping?

Yes, I agree. Escrow should provide the seller with reasonable shipping and handling fees before shipping.

This topic almost merits another article though.

I personally don't think eBay/Paypal should deduct fees from the shipping amounts sent ... just the auction end price.

Anyways, this reader's concern is a valid one. I just think eBay needs to get a tighter reign on shipping charges.

For instance, if it's a CD, you should not be able to charge more than a certain amount for shipping & handling. eBay should be granting insurance anyway. (And they actually do --- up to $200)

A LOT of auctions circumvent fees by charging outrageous shipping.

Most cell phone accessories sold on eBay are done this way. Item ends for $1.95 Buy It Now --- but it costs $6.95 for shipping and handling. The actual cost to ship with processing, fees, and materials is usually under $2.00 - netting the seller an additional $4.95!


Middle-agedman said...

There's a fine line between eBay setting up rules to quell scammers and eBay over-regulating the process. One of the cool things about eBay is that they don't over-regulate the auctions at this point. That can lead to people taking advantage of others, but its kind of like democracy and our justice system. Under our justice system, the tenet of being innocent until found guilty lets a lot of criminals through the cracks, but is the best justice system in the world because it protects people's freedoms. People that don't want to pay high shipping rates shouldn't buy from people that charge them.

One thing that I would like for eBay to change in their feedback system is allowing people that have little or no experience with eBay to leave negative feedback. Someone should have to have a certain number of transactions under their belt before they have the "right" to leave negative feedback. They can leave negative comments in a positive feedback and that should be enough. People on eBay that are new often have wrong expectations and a lack of respect for the system as it stands. One idiot can ruin the 100% positive of someone with hundreds of items sold because they got annoyed and oftentimes these idiots end up leaving eBay anyway. I had this experience on my wife's account. She had 30+ positives on the small amount of selling she had done and some bonehead that couldn't read a description left her a negative and then left eBay, so she has had to live with a 94% rating for nearly a year.

I'm not sure that requiring people to leave feedback is the way to go, but I do think that eBay should at least prompt people to do so because I remember as a newbie that it was hard to remember to leave feedback and hard for me to figure out how to do.

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