eBay Deal Prices: Fiction/Mistake/Misleading?

We love a bargain on Tamebay. We’re also pretty fond of sitting out in the garden and it’s not the first time in the last few weeks I’ve written about comfy sun loungers on eBay deals. Being a Thursday I have had my normal browse around the new weekly deals that have just gone live and sadly all is not well.

Sun LoungerFirst up we have a fantastic Rocking Sun Lounger. Just my type of chair, lazy days in the garden here I come and eBay have not one but two of these products on this week’s deals.

One’s the star item daily deal and the price is great with the Rocking Sun Lounger at just £54.99 and 45% off the RRP. The other is on a weekly deal so has longer to run and this Rocking Sun Lounger is again £54.99 but this time it’s 56% off the RRP.

You will of course notice that these listings are from two different sellers, but they’re both using manufacturer product shots – different image but same deck so we’re pretty convinced it’s the identical product. The thing is check out the RRPs, on one eBay deal listing the RRP is £99.99 and on the other it’s £124.99 – that’s a difference of £25 but obviously a discount of 56% sounds more attractive than a discount of 45%.

Dream HammockHow could this be? The disparity in RRP of two identical products on eBay on the same day? Well we were only looking at one page of the eBay Daily Deals – the garden furniture deals and we spotted another great chair for the garden, this time hammock style with an umbrella shade.

We thought that the price on this was pretty impressive too, £149.95 for the dream hammock, a 40% discount from the £249.99 recommended retail price. In truth we preferred the competing listing for the same dream hammock priced at £129.00, although this time it was a mammoth 67% off the RRP of £399.99. Yes somehow the same product for sale on the same day on the same eBay deals page with a recommended retail price £150.00 higher.

Parasol BaseBy this time we couldn’t resist another glance up and down the deals page for garden furniture and found another gem, not an incorrect/misleading/totally made up/error in the RRP though. This time it’s a seller using a common but misguided ruse when stocks run out. Some sellers don’t want their listing to end in the mistaken belief that they’ll hold their position in eBay Best Match so they hike the price so that no one will purchase their last item.

This of course looks stupid to buyers at the best of times, but when you’re on the eBay Daily Deals you really shouldn’t be advertising a £270.99 price with an RRP of £24.99. When you’ve just sold a load at £16.99 hiking the price to £270.99 for the last item looks like a really bad deal.

Think about it – you want to hold your place in Best Match, so you have your product at a price no one will buy. You’re probably at the top of Best Match so your item gets a ton of page views. eBay measure your listing by the ratio of views to sales. By the time you get more stock in you’ve got zillions of views and no sales and your Best Match placement is shot to pieces.

If you let your listing end eBay remember your Best Match score on the relist but your listing isn’t weighed down with a zillion views that didn’t generate a single sale. If you’re expecting more stock within days let your listing end and relist. If you’re not expecting stock within days there’s no point holding the listing live anyway.

Quite frankly it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that this tactic counted as search and browse manipulation and could get you seller performance strikes, but at best it’s misguided. Of course if it’s an eBay deal it’s also highly visible.

So the result of our browsing, we wouldn’t buy a parasol base for £270.99 even if we wanted one. We quite fancy the £54.99 Rocking Sun Lounger but are not sure how much we’d really save and we definitely want the Dream Hammock but would much rather have 67% off £399.99 than pay 40% off £249.99.