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Was the disgruntled eBay customer a Telegraph editor?

By Dan Wilson February 20, 2015 - 10:23 am

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.

  • Bunchy
    2 years ago

    I wonder how the press and journalists get a bad name?

  • A+
    2 years ago

    It looks like Holly Watt has just quit the telegraph for the guardian! If she is the same Holly Watt, I hope she updates her address.

    http://order-order.com/2015/02/20/telegraph-whitehall-editor-quits-for-guardian/

    • 2 years ago

      Ha. Yes. We should remind her to change her work address.

  • 2 years ago

    That might explain why the comments were quickly disabled. I was going to comment when I first saw it yesterday. But comments were already closed. Not surprisingly almost everyone took the seller’s side. Nothing in the comments really warranted shutting them off.

  • 2 years ago

    Rumbled……..?

    This made me chuckle. The angriest 2 customers I have ever had have all been between 25-35, professional career women who simply could not understand that they could be wrong.

    Number 1 could not understand why the item she ordered did not arrive with her even though she provided the incorrect address on Amazon (a typo) and even though I provided screen prints to prove it she was having none of it.

    Number 2 said I ruined her very important dinner party as the digital food probe was not despatched in time. Turned out she paid with an e-check and it hadn’t cleared yet. She was literally screaming down the phone at me.

    I think this ‘allegedly’ could be another situation from the Bridget Jones envelope of buyers.

  • john
    2 years ago

    Good pro-active/original article from Dan…Keep them coming.

  • Robert C
    2 years ago

    For me, this appears to be an example of how modern journalism has evolved.

    As the main source of readership is going from the paper to online, they’re not restricted with the amount of content they produce, so they are able to stuff their websites with lazy, ill-informed opinion they can gather from the nearest source… in this case: the lady across the office.

    Lots of these types of articles, I feel, are littered with misinformation and the rhetoric seems to be angled to be as provocative and contrary as they can be. Maybe intended to rattle a section of that said industry, so it is debated online, so it is backlinked from a reputable industry forum/blog to the original article, so it starts to rank well on google, so they earn revenue for ad clicks/impressions? After all this story must’ve taken, what, 10mins to knock up?

  • Steve
    2 years ago

    My concern is the apparent underlying hatred for eBay and the use of a newspaper to publicise it.

    If so why buy there? Or maybe some people like to have an angry problem that they can make a meal of? IMO they are assholes who obviously have little to nothing in their life except anger which is probably their predominate emotion. Very sad really. TIP: Get a life!

    Long live The Revolution!! :)

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