Tamebay comment: eBay is shamed by its silence

This is the saddest post I have ever written for Tamebay.

Things go wrong. In every business, in every walk of life, there are problems. In the inevitable situation of a problem, it’s not the problem that’s a problem, it’s how you deal with the problem that counts.

There is no doubt that some eBay UK customers have been having significant difficulties accessing and using the eBay site functionality since last Friday. In particular, it seems to be smaller sellers, trying to use My eBay and the messaging function to communicate with buyers, that have been affected. As you can read in the thread here.

At Tamebay we discern that there is a real problem from the volume of emails and comments we have received plus the notable peak in Tamebay traffic over the weekend and into this week, and the social media pings we’ve observed. They are all above the ordinary.

eBay has fastidiously avoided noting that there is any problem at all publicly since last Friday. There has been no announcement and there has been no acknowledgement on social media. The eBay silence is both shocking and shaming. And insulting to those who pay good money for the eBay service.

If there is something that affects eBay sellers, regardless of whether it’s eBay’s fault directly or not, doesn’t the eBay machine have a duty of care to ensure that its community of sellers is kept informed?

We’re talking about customers, very often paying tens of thousands of pounds annually, who deserve to be treated with rather more respect and decency than total radio silence.

If the fault lies with a 3rd party, say BT, then eBay must say that unambiguously. eBay has so far said nothing formally at all. Why?

Contempt? Fear? Incompetence? Ignorance? Inaction? Who knows? Over the past few days eBay has shown an unprecedented lack of concern for sellers for which I can think of no equivalent in my 16 years association with the company. Perhaps they don’t actually see that a problem exists at all?

But there is a problem. So will there be clemency for affected sellers from eBay? Functions regarding despatch and communicating with buyers (both of which eBay judges sellers on) have been impaired. We just don’t know if they will show deserved concern on such infractions. Clarification would be welcome.

I’m sorrowful writing this post. As Tuesday dawns, will eBay come clean and explain exactly what has been going on and promise that affected sellers will be treated fairly? I doubt it. I’m not entirely sure that anyone in Richmond or San Jose is actually cognisant of this problem at all. Sad to say.

In a statement in 2014 Tanya Lawler, who heads up the eBay UK business, said: “We regret every moment where we do not live up to our customers’ expectations. Nothing is more important than providing a platform you can trust to trade on successfully. We are committed to ensuring our infrastructure maintains that trust every day.”

We’d like to see her live up to that promise with regards to this seemingly ongoing situation.


eBay has sent us this comment:

“We understand that some of our customers experienced problems accessing parts of eBay.co.uk yesterday and over the weekend.

While the vast majority of customers were able to access the sites without issue, a series of separate problems with routing meant that some customers saw a timeout message when trying to perform certain actions. A separate issue with My eBay > Messages has also now been resolved.

We’d like to sincerely apologise to all eBay customers for any inconvenience they experienced.

We very much welcome feedback from customers affected by this and thank them for their patience over the weekend. If customers have any concerns related to this issue, please contact our customer service team.”