What’s Going On, Ebay?

Over the last month or so I’ve noticed something rather strange and disturbing happening in eBay.  Quite often, I will buy several pens from the same seller.  Naturally enough, I expect them to combine postage and I contact them to request that they do so.  That has never been a problem until recently.  What is increasingly happening now is that when I go through the procedure to request a reduced total to allow for combined postage, the dialogue ends with “This seller does not offer combined postage.  Proceed to payment.”  And this is despite the seller stating clearly in his listing that he is happy to provide combined postage for multiple sales.

Of course, I don’t leave it there.  One way or another, I manage to contact the seller directly and in each case the seller has been surprised by what eBay is doing and has willingly combined postage.

If this just happened once I would be prepared to accept that it might be a teething problem in the software but last night was the third time this has happened.  I would contact eBay to raise this question with them but they make contact so deliberately difficult that I lose the will to live trying to get through all the barriers they put in one’s way.

I have a vague recollection that some time ago eBay started to take a percentage of postage as well as selling price.  I could be wrong there but I don’t think I am.  Taking that together with this strange software behaviour, do you think I would be entitled to suspect eBay’s motives?

8 thoughts on “What’s Going On, Ebay?

  1. Deb,
    My immediate answer would be YES!

    Am sure your don’t remember me, and that doesn’t really matter. I just wanted to offer up a number to Customer Service on Ebay, that is good in the USA.
    Don’t know if that would help you or not. The number is 1-866-540-3229.

    Not sure where you buy all your pens from, but my guess would be some probably come from the US.

    Just a thought.

    Linda Goodwin

    1. Yes, I remember you, Linda!

      Actually, I don’t buy pens from the US any more as between the very high postage and the import duties it’s just not worth it now. Great pity, because I enjoy American pens (being a Pennsylvanian myself) but it no longer makes economic sense.

  2. Deb –

    Many (shall we say less that completely scrupulous) eBay sellers have taken to offering items at low sales prices and high shipping prices. Initially, this worked to their advantage, as they were paying eBay less. No fools at eBay, however, and yes, they do now take a cut of shipping costs to eliminate this practice. I applaud eBay’s reasoning, but, like lots they do, the devil seems to be in the details. Surely, there has to be a better way of keeping things both aboveboard and fair. Of course, there’s no money in that, so eBay probably can’t be bothered spending its resources on it.

      1. Deb –

        I think the eBay product folks would called it maximizing a profit opportunity!

        Texas is damn cold this week, unhappily, but May is just over the horizon.


      2. If the seller says that he is happy to combine postage and then eBay untruthfully denies that so that it can take a share of the increased postage value, that’s downright dishonest.

        It’s still cold here but a gradual improvement is detectable. I hope to get my first early potatoes started in a barrel in about three weeks.

  3. Deb,
    eBay? Money grubbing? Dishonest? Practices that are not entirely above board and transparent?

    Surely, you jest. Whatever could possibly cause you to suspect such a thing?

    Next you will be telling me they don’t follow through on promises to properly list overseas sellers in U.S. search results.

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist when I saw this post. Some things never change.

    Thought I’d say hello and tell you that down here were are planting spring flowers and watching the Canadian refugee siskins and goldfinches fatten up on my bird seed. 24 degrees C out there right now.

    1. Heh! EBay never fails to disappoint!

      No siskins here, but I have eight pairs of goldfinches feeding daily. They get through a lot of sunflower hearts and niger seeds for such wee birds!

      No planting or sowing yet but I hope to get my first early potatoes started in a barrel in a couple of weeks.

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