Tamebay comment: A bad week for eBay UK sellers. Worse for buyers.

Trouble comes in threes. So let us tot up eBay UK’s troubles this week:

A botched coupon promo that left loads of buyers wanting more.

A glitch meaning UK buyers were unable to buy from UK sellers for maybe up to a week.

And a serious several hour long outage on Thursday night that crippled eBay search.

From experience, when things go wrong with eBay, it’s best to blame cock-up before conspiracy. And whilst problems will occur, it’s how you deal with them that counts.

And with each of these problems, communication from eBay has been scant, apology half-hearted and recompense non-existent.

Imagine being an eBay buyer. “The 20% coupon didn’t work. I couldn’t buy something I liked when using the Shopping Basket. Oh, eBay search doesn’t work tonight.” As a buyer, you don’t need that crap.

eBay sellers are willing to put up with a ton of crap though (they’re used to it after all these years), if sales are strong and healthy and buyers are happy and spendy. They will be forgiving of an honest mistake.

But all the problems this week hit buyers really hard. eBay itself has dented its own reputation with buyers and Tamebay asks what it’s going to do to reforge confidence with those buyers that have been affected by glitches and dodgy offers. How many just went to Amazon when eBay couldn’t (quite literally) deliver the goods?

Don’t forget that eBay has been tough on sellers: making sure they meet growing buyer needs. And eBay isn’t behaving in the way it expects sellers to behave. If eBay raises expectations on sellers, as has been the case, then sellers can expect more from eBay. eBay will be 20 this year and yet it is still making schoolboy errors which were barely acceptable in the nascent years of the dot.com bubble.

It’s worth noting that Tamebay has never written a piece like this about a significant Amazon outage or the like.

eBay has emphasised the needs of happy buyers in the past two years and quite right too. Sellers have embraced eBay’s mantra and sucked up new rules, such as Defects, to ensure that buyers keep coming back. There isn’t an eBay seller that will argue with the idea that an army of returning, paying customers is a very good thing.

But now eBay must keep its side of the bargain and provide the sleek, flawless, growing and reliable marketplace the sellers pay for. Quid pro quo.

Every eBay seller, as a paying customer, has it in their power to call on eBay to raise its game. Do it. You should expect better. What will you ask for?

CC Devin Wenig, CEO Designate of eBay: @devinwenig