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Why I Dislike Selling On eBay
By Sean Ross
July 22, 2010

The first thing that drives me crazy about eBay is that they do not force the same rules on everybody. For example, you are not allowed to list electronic files, such as e-books which are often in PDF format, on eBay unless you list them in the section “Everything Else >> Information Products >> Other >> Classified Ad”. I did not know this until about 6-weeks after I listed a PDF file for sale. One day I received an e-mail saying that 4 of my eBay items had been delisted and I received a black mark on my record for breaking the rules. I typed PDF into the eBay search box and I received over 5,000 listings of e-books that people were selling on eBay. Amazingly, none of these items had been delisted and my item stayed up for sale for 6-weeks before they contacted me about it. This is purely discriminatory; they pick and choose who is going to get in trouble and who is not. If this is such a serious infraction they should have an automatic system which checks to see if PDF or e-book appears in the title of a listing, and if so, a warning message should appear explaining that these products can only be sold in a certain section. But of course they don’t do that because sellers have to pay a listing fee for their items, and when eBay cancels the listing the fees are not refunded.

I then tried to list my PDF file in the correct category and rather than charging me $0.20 to list my e-book, the fee was $9.95. How can they charge me $9.95 to list a PDF file which I am selling for $4.99?

The second thing I dislike is that they discriminate between Americans and Canadians. eBay sellers are allowed to sell an adult magazine in the “Everything Else >> Mature Audiences” section, but only Americans are allowed to accept PayPal as a payment option, not Canadians. I contacted PayPal and asked them if I, as a Canadian, was allowed to accept PayPal for the sale of adult magazines like Playboy and Penthouse, and they said yes. I then asked eBay why I could not set PayPal as a payment option and they said they are aware of the problem and they are looking into it. Interestingly enough, I have been asking them about this for one year now and they are still aware of the problem and they are still looking into it.

The third thing I dislike about eBay is that they don’t clearly explain their policies. For example, their policy is that you can sell Playboy and Penthouse magazines prior to 1980 in the core site (not in the Mature Audiences section which is closed to buyers under 18 years old). Okay, fine, I abide by their rules and post this issue of Playboy March 1972 for sale.
Cover Image of Playboy Magazine March 1972 About a month after listing it I get an e-mail saying that my listing has been removed and a black strike has been placed on my account. Okay, now I have two black strikes on my account (Three strikes and your account is suspended). The reason they give me for canceling this listing is that it shows nipples and a vagina which is against their policy, but nowhere is this mentioned when you list your item which clearly fits into the Playboy magazine pre-1980 rule. When I check the eBay search box I found several of these same magazines listed by other sellers. Others are allowed to sell the same item that I am not allowed to sell. You can check their search box right now and I can guarantee you that you will find this exact issue for sale by someone else. Is this not discriminatory?

The fourth thing I dislike about eBay is that they don’t care about their sellers. Whenever I have a problem I never feel as though the representative cares about my problem, and they rarely have the power to correct the situation. They always say they will look into it and that they are attentive to my needs but nothing ever gets corrected or changed.

I understand that eBay and PayPal are allowed to make any rules they want and sellers must abide by these rules if they want to sell on their Web site. The problem I have is when these rules become discriminatory.

I just thank God I have my own Web site to sell my products, because I could never make a living selling on eBay!

Why I Love Buying on eBay
I must admit that as a buyer eBay is fantastic. I buy tons of stuff on eBay and I always get great deals. Of course, if the buyer is getting a great deal, the chances are that the seller is getting screwed, and this happens a lot on eBay. The other day I bought a puzzle on eBay for $10, and the shipping fee was listed as $20. When I received the puzzle I looked at the stamp and the seller had purchased a $30 stamp which means after paying his eBay and PayPal fees he actually lost money. I am sure that a lot of the stuff on eBay is stolen merchandise because there are many prices on eBay that don't make sense, but us buyers don't care because we are getting awesome prices, and sometimes it is better not to ask too many questions.

I am a Power Seller on eBay so I have an advantage that many auction sellers do not have, which is the ability to sell an item at a Fixed Price until it sells, regardless of how long this takes. For example, if I want to sell a puzzle for $50, I will list it one time, and it will remain listed on eBay until it sells for $50. I don’t have to keep relisting the item every 7 days until it sells. Without this ability I would not sell on eBay because the auction format often yields low sales prices for merchandise that don't make it worthwhile to sell on eBay.

Extra Background information
eBay is a company that allows people to sell their own products on eBay’s Web site. eBay charges a fee to list each product and if the item sells eBay takes a percentage of the final sale. They also own a company called PayPal which is like an online bank. eBay sellers use PayPal to receive payments from buyers and PayPal takes a percentage of the sale.


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