When things go wrong eBay’s there for you

David-BrackinDavid Brackin is an occasional guest writer on Tamebay and is a Director of Stuff U Sell, the UK’s leading eBay Trading Assistant. His business has sold over £6m of goods for clients – both private and business – and maintains Top Rated Seller status on eBay.

I’m sure this is the same for all Tamebay readers – we’re the first port of call whenever friends and family have questions about eBay. So it was no surprise when my father-in-law showed me an auction for some printer ink he was keen to win. The auction was poorly written, but no more so that one might often see from a private seller, and while he had modest feedback by professional standards (92%) – it was on just 11 annual transactions and the only black mark was a single item that didn’t arrive on 20th December. Lost post at Christmas? One sympathises. I did a quick Terapeak search on the seller and didn’t see any results there, and it was entirely consistent with a private seller punting a few items every now and again. I was happy that it wasn’t an obviously bad purchase so advised him to go ahead.

eBay FeedbackFast forward a fortnight and no ink had arrived and a few negs had started to appear on the seller’s profile. 82%. Alarm bells started ringing and I urged my father-in-law to open a case immediately. I nearly never get to see the process from the buyer side, and it was impressively simple. The click-flow is designed to route the buyer through the help centre before raising a case but was a simple step-by-step process which even a man of nearly eighty was able to navigate with ease.

Cases have to wait 8 days before escalation but still there’s still no response and no ink. The seller’s feedback is now a sea of red: I’ve rarely seen an account still registered at 21%. It’s time to escalate the case — but we can’t figure out how to do it. My father-in-law is bewildered and after confidently telling him it must be easy, I spend 15 minutes in the Resolution Centre and I couldn’t do it either. I don’t know if it is a glitch but there’s was no obvious button or link to escalate the case. So it’s time to email customer support.

I’m nervous now: I’m used to receiving great support from the Merchant Support Team in Dublin, but I know that’s not available to my father-in-law’s account. However, it’s refreshingly easy to find the contact page for eBay Customer Support (try doing this on Amazon) and I’m surprised to have the option to of a phone call – even late in the evening (it closes at 10pm). A quick call and we’re through to Michael in the Philippines who is extremely helpful. He’s happy to speak with me once he’s got permission from the account holder and he quickly tells us the secret to escalating the case (go into “add a message” and it’s an option in there). Moreover, when I point out the seller’s feedback, he is extremely reassuring: if it was bought on eBay and paid by Paypal, then there’s nothing to worry about. He’s bang-on message and brand: the marketplace will step in and solve problems for buyers. And true to their word the money was back in his account ten minutes later. He also confirmed that the seller’s account would be looked at for me: this isn’t the kind of person we want trading in our community.

Most people are good, and the marketplace needs to design and cater for the good people first and foremost. This is the first case of such poor selling that I’ve seen first-hand and it’s great to see that the process is so effective and smooth for making it right again when a bad seller rips off a buyer. My father-in-law has already been back onto eBay to buy again with confidence. I feel sure the ink will turn up this time but confident that he will protected even if it does not.