My last ever great customer service experience on eBay

By Chris Dawson September 14, 2017 - 11:32 am

Yesterday I had what will possibly be my last ever fantastic customer service experience on eBay. I’m always astounded at the service many small businesses provide and the levels of service that they give but this is about to end as eBay dictate that sellers remove contact information from listings and ban them from including it in messages.

It’s hard enough running an online business without the deluge of customer queries that come in post sale that have to be dealt with and eBay sellers are second to none, partly just because the are great businesses run extraordinarily well but also because eBay sellers know that defects, poor feedback and sanctions are always just a couple of buyer clicks away. The best businesses don’t focus on feedback however, they just are amazing businesses and it’s one of those businesses I’ve just received world class service from.

Everyone knows that eBay generates more questions and contacts with sellers than selling on just about any other venue, but the key to managing these is to get a system in place that works for you. The seller in question knows that making it easy for buyers to contact them is key and they display their mobile telephone number in their listing descriptions. Sadly they’ll have to remove this next month which is why I doubt I’ll ever experience the same level of customer service again.

So, what happened? I purchased a product on eBay, it arrived via Parcelforce with the packaging intact but when opened it the product was damaged. Seeing the mobile number displayed on the listing it was way easier to ring the retailer than go through eBay messages. They answered the phone, asked for a picture of the damaged item which I sent by text message (we are after all living in a mobile age) and instantly got a reply:

“Hi Chris, Thanks for sending that [the picture] over. I will ensure a replacement is dispatched as soon as possible so please let me know once it is with you. Apologies again”

Now I know I’m breaking all the rules here. I didn’t open a resolution case so eBay won’t have a record that an item arrived damaged and there is zero possibility that the seller can get a defect. I also won’t be able to leave a detailed seller rating star for the fantastic service that the seller gave and I’m well aware that eBay won’t be able to support me if the replacement doesn’t arrive safely. Frankly I don’t care! I’m a customer, I received a damaged item. The seller is putting it right and all it took was one quick phone call and a text message photo. What’s not to like? The seller didn’t care either, they just want to make things right and didn’t even ask for my eBay User Name, all they wanted was my post code and they’ll locate the shipment and despatch a replacement from that information.

I love eBay sellers. They put up with so much and sometimes we forget just how much effort goes into getting items purchased, listed, sold and despatched in the first place let alone fixing issues when something goes wrong. eBay are just going to make it more tedious for both buyers and sellers in the future with their insistence that all contact details are eradicated from the site.

I shall remember this eBay purchase for a very long time. I’ll probably never again enjoy this level of customer service from an eBay seller and it won’t be because sellers aren’t fantastic. I’ll be because eBay is cutting off their ability to provide great customer service.

  • 4 years ago

    Love it. Ebay should rememeber that even in the digital age people buy from people. I was bought up literally living over the shop (in my case a hardware store remember them??) and I hope I still have the same ethos my Mum and Dad did to customers. Please ebay, dont become so Amazonic that we cannot tell the difference any more.

  • sam
    4 years ago

    Its frustrating how eBay have shut down communication.

    We had a customer want to know a compatibility code off the packaging of an item.

    The compatibility code is the same amount of digits as a phone number starting in 01.

    I simply don’t trust that eBay’s bots would take this as us sharing a phone number and ban us (As we have already had a ban for sending a phone number) – So simply, we have no option but to ignore the customer, I don’t know how else to share this information with them. I’m sure if I was banned, I could appeal and maybe eBya would see that we did nothing wrong, but at what cost, all your previous customers emailed to tell them that you are banned, all your listings removed? No thanks.
    So the customer doesn’t get an answer, we don’t get a sale, and eBay gets no FVF, what a great system.

    • Nick
      4 years ago

      I too will be ignoring potential buyers who’s messages contain anything that resembles a phone number, e-mail address, or keywords such as out, eBay,call me,direct, etc.

      I simply can’t risk it after what I read on here, where is eBay’s response??

  • Robert C
    4 years ago


  • SAM
    4 years ago

    “My last ever great customer service experience on eBay”, why are you going over to Amazon like everyone else in the UK.

    ebays biggest sellers tend to offer the worst experience but they are the people they push and promote, and they themselves offer a shocking level of service.
    Always makes me laugh when I offer 24 hour with my Premium badge and others on 2 day and 3day on premium are always ahead of you in the search. Unless you pay stealth fees to actually get some coverage.
    ebay blackmail tactics mean nothing, we offer the same level of service on whatever marketplace you are on, end of the day we want people off these places and their high fees and going direct.

  • JTC
    4 years ago

    Customers can use their mobile phone to contact sellers through ebay messages, just as easy as checking the listing for a phone number then sending a text.

    • 4 years ago

      You can’t speak to a person and have the whole query resolved in less than two minutes with eBay messages. Sometimes talking to a human being and agreeing an instant resolution is much faster.

      We resolved:
      1) Proof of damage (text image)
      2) Replacement to be sent (including the seller identifying the transaction to get address details and product ID etc)
      3) Disposal of damaged item

      Who wants to deal with decades old to and fro email questions when you don’t know how long a reply might take, when instead you can deal with everything on a quick phone call? Certainly not me! I love efficiency and a speedy resolution!

      Plus who really wants to ding a fantastic seller with a defect?

    • Rob
      4 years ago

      Simple solution is to put you contact details on an invoice in the packing so your customer does not have to go looking for them on ebay.

      The advantage of keeping messages on ebay is you have evidence of any complaint, quite often I will get a message saying something is damaged. My response is usually sorry for any inconvenience, can you send me a picture of the damage and open a return to have the item back. Quite often I then hear nothing back, no return, no picture.

      Could be a number of reasons for this, to busy to bother, no camera, nothing actually wrong with the item and trying to get a freebie.

      If something has gone wrong I will happily put it right, just show me the evidence if it has been damaged.

  • Chris Barton
    4 years ago

    Surely the seller supplied an invoice with his contact details on with the goods. Would it not have been quicker to look at this than go online, look at the listing and get the mobile number ?

    • 4 years ago

      You would be amazed at how many sellers do not put contact information on packing slips. It’s one of my pet peeves – the slip will state my name and address (I know who I am and where I live) and also the item in the parcel ( I can see what it is) but not who sent it and how to contact them.

  • Steven Elkins
    4 years ago

    ebay themselves have become the pinch point between buyers and sellers. they don’t sell anything, they don’t understand. But ebay do not want sellers who encourage buyers to buy from them again, its bad for business – in ebays’ view that is.

    Good service always brings it’s own rewards , except with ebay! a simple business card in the box with a talk to me now mobile number and a link to your website works wonders …

  • 4 years ago

    I just noted navigating in the seller hub
    Tasks: Remove contact info from listings 52
    I checked these listings there are no email, phone numbers or other contacts, what does this mean ? This is one of the items 372018818032
    Has anyone seen this warning in the seller hub ?

    • 4 years ago

      The only reason can be that if you go to your “ME” page you will see the hyper-link near the top right “Business Details” . . . which, of course, gives potential customers your business details.

      Seemingly eBay DO NOT want you to conform with EU Laws and thus give out your address and phone number . . . and it was eBay themselves who created this form of web-template on their own site!!!


    • james
      4 years ago

      that one’s probably a false-positive from your description, it looks (to a robot) like a phone number format:

      (555) 882 1685
      London (882) 1685
      approx 28cm (11 inch) high.
      Mattel, 2016

  • 4 years ago

    Two factual points:

    – Under the new system, the seller’s phone number will still be displayed within the “contact the seller” section of eBay messages – though not to all buyers.

    – While it is polite to try not to give the seller a defect, it is silly to use this as an excuse for not opening a case. Opening a returns case or MBG case will NOT result in a defect (unless the seller ignores the case or escalates it to eBay). There are many reasons for not opening cases, but it is scaremongering to suggest that defects are among them.

    • Joe B
      4 years ago

      No Bas, you can get a defect if a buyer just opens a case. It must be true because Dan Wilson said so on YouTube………

  • 4 years ago

    Sorry Chris, I have to disagree. it is good that you got great service but a phone number is not always needed in this day and age with easy communication via messaging.

    Your experience was good but I do not see that they have done any more than we have already done for customers without providing a phone number.

    Same scenario, but the customer sent us a message via the eBay order and included a photo, we responded as quick as we were able and sent a replacement out to them by 1st class post.

    Any business I have been involved in has prided itself on customer service and we still hold with the saying “The customer is always right”, even when they are not.

    We do not operate an office with staff taking calls and should the customer try and call whilst I am driving, having the afternoon in the pub or simply busy doing something else, I am probably not able to help them or take the call. Should they contact me via the eBay system and provide the info / photo as they have done, I can deal with it as soon as I am able, including at 2am (to the surprise of some customers).

    I have run a MO business with staff answering the phones 9-5 and do think it is a good thing, but not always for the smaller business person, as it can further frustrate the customer should they not get through to you for 2-3 days.

    Of course, should they decide to text you, send you a whatsapp etc, then that is little different from sending a message through ebay.

    If only customers were as co operative.

    Friday 8th Sept.

    Customer: Where is my item?
    Response: It was tried to be delivered by RM on the 6th Sept. The tracking no. is ******, the delivery office address is **** and phone number is *****. Please take proof of Id /Address & tracking number should you wish to collect the item.

    Mon 11th Sept.
    Customer: .. they haven’t left any card could you provide me with their customer
    service number and I can contact them to arrange delivery.
    Response: I did give you the details in the last message, that you have just replied to (which included my message as part of theirs), but here it is again.

    Friday 15th Sept.

    From me to them: ” Your item is still showing as – Item could not be delivered on 2017-09-06. It is being held at “Local” Enquiry Office pending instructions from addressee.

  • northumbrian
    4 years ago

    there is a great deal of sanctimonious self congratulating clap trap about customer service,
    were here for the money , customer service is a great tool for acquiring it

    • JD
      4 years ago

      And eBay seems to agree with you to the extent that (crap) customer service is a great tool for keeping it (the money).

    • northumbrian
      4 years ago

      and why not
      ebay are not a public service or a charity
      they owe no one anything
      they offer a service for payment

  • James
    4 years ago

    eBay have already come out and said that they have no problems with buyers and sellers sharing contact information as long as they have already completed a transaction between them.

    That being said what I don’t agree with is sellers being suspended because a buyer who has not purchased from them has asked for personal details even when the seller has responded with “I can’t answer that question”

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