I’m selling pens in eBay this Sunday but I won’t be listing any more tomorrow. In fact, I have no idea when I’ll do so again – if ever.
I’ve had two weeks of catastrophic sales. Pens that would normally fetch £70.00, for instance, have been going for half that or less. This week’s sales are shaping up to be just as bad. I can’t carry on like that and I don’t intend to try!
Earlier in the week I was contacted by another high volume UK seller of restored pens in eBay. He had suffered the same sudden fall-off in sales returns and had begun to investigate. He found that most of his pens didn’t appear in the default listing in the US and Canada, despite his having paid a fee to ensure that they do. Instead, they appeared down the bottom of the listing in the “Items From International Sellers” section, which appears below various adverts and which nobody looks at anyway. Not only that: though he always accepts returns those which had been bumped down off the default lists were all marked “Returns Not Accepted”. This replicates what I have found, too. We contacted other high volume sellers; all were in the same boat. Basically, our pens are selling poorly because few people are seeing them. A proportion of those that do see the pens are misinformed that we won’t take them back under any circumstances, a good way of ensuring that the pens don’t sell.
Trying to get eBay to understand a problem is a torture that I’m sure Satan has copied for the deepest pits of Hell. They actually use bots for their Live Chat Support! The human beings they employ to answer the phones or emails are little better. That may sound like a very unpleasant thing to say but I speak as I find. If the concept has any complexity it’s just not going to be understood, and the support people start from the premise that nothing can be wrong with their system and the customer is always wrong. After an hour’s wearying conversation today, the support person I was talking to finally conceded that the problem was beyond her competence and agreed to “escalate” (awful word!) it to the technical staff. I asked to be transferred to the technical staff but no. The gods of eBay do not condescend to talk to those who put food on their tables and toilet paper in their loos.
I’m developing a seething, boiling hatred of supranational monopolies. Selling my pens on a retail website under my own control is looking very attractive right now.