Was the disgruntled eBay customer a Telegraph editor?

Did you see the story?

An eBay buyer called Holly Watt was quoted in the Daily Telegraph grumbling that she couldn’t leave negative feedback for an eBay seller who sent her consignment to the address she provided.

Watt had moved recently and had not updated her shipping address, it seems. So the seller despatched her order swiftly and the parcel went to Watt’s specified (but old) address. Watt was desperate to leave negative feedback but couldn’t.

A Daily Telegraph article headlined “eBay: want to leave negative feedback? You can’t if it’s a ‘Power Seller‘” was clear the fault was with the seller.

As Telegraph journalist Sophie Christie notes: “But now it emerges that eBay works hard to protect some sellers – albeit a small minority – by making it difficult for unhappy customers to leave negative feedback.”

Let’s leave to one side that the article by Sophie Christie is raddled with inaccuracy. The 7-day cool off period isn’t a “power seller’ perk at all. It’s a useful time for both parties to sort a problem out.

And let us not dwell on the the fact a seller wouldn’t be covered by eBay and PayPal protection if they hadn’t shipped to the address supplied by Watt.

We shan’t even mention that the seller was entirely right to send the order to the address supplied by the buyer. It is hard to know exactly what else the seller should have done.

But eagle-eyed readers of Tamebay noted that the Daily Telegraph has a Whitehall Editor on the books called Holly Watt. And it is interesting to speculate whether that Holly Watt is the person mentioned in the article.

We don’t know. I asked the author of the story Sophie Christie this question on Wednesday. I know she read the tweet because she favourited it on Thursday afternoon and has subsequently replied. But she hasn’t commented on whether Holly Watt is her Telegraph colleague or not.

If the customer in question isn’t Holly Watt of the Telegraph, Christie and others could have said so and have not so far. It’s an easy denial to make. I’ve written to the Daily Telegraph to clarify that point.

If Holly Watt, Whitehall Editor of the Daily Telegraph, is the disappointed buyer in the article, one question remains. Why not mention it? It should be disclosed.

This week the Daily Telegraph has been under scrutiny for its editorial motives and it has fought back. And that piece makes a big shout out for being all for trust with readers and supporting small business.

It is impossible to trust those claims if Holly Watt works for the Telegraph and that hasn’t been dislcosed and they continue to claim that they stand up for SMEs.

If the Holly Watt in the article is a Telegraph editor, Christie’s article amounts to an unfair attack from a privileged position on an SME doing the right thing.

If a Telegraph editor has a problem with an eBay transaction they have the same rights as others to complain. But there is a massive problem if the Telegraph provides a vehicle to express that gripe but decides not to disclose the complainant as a Telegraph editor. If the story is solid, there is nothing to hide.

The question that needs answering; is the Holly Watt in the article a colleague of Sophie Christie? It would be good to clarify that soonest.

And for the record: Both Holly Watt and Sophie Christie can have entirely unedited right of reply here on Tamebay any time they want. Tell us your side of this story.