Monday, 30 August 2010

The life and times of an honest ebay account

The account was born mid may of 2010 after a discussion from its owner about the problems sellers were having to go through to sell their goods on ebay and as always its moto was not to screw anyone and try not to get screwed.

Now the discussion was one of those that thousands of sellers have had since ebay pushed the self destruct button, as they wondered how long an account would survive from a normal person that does not do all the things all sellers know they have to do to stay on ebay?

So in a realistic world, which is not ebay, the seller comes along and opens one account to sell their items. They are just used items and they know almost all there is to know about them, so it should be a simple job adding them to the auction format and letting the buyers decide what they want to pay for them, while assuring they have giving enough information and enough quality photographs to show what the items are.

So the first ten listings go up and the buyers buy all but two items, and the normal I missed the item, as I was at work sellers contact about the other two, which are relisted with another thirteen items. A few of them leave feedback after getting their goods so everyone is happy.

A couple of NPBs, one that claimed they made a mistake and another that did not respond other than to say sorry but I forgot about this item and I bought another.

Still in the first month and suddenly there is a red feedback glaring out at the poor seller who is just puzzled, as they assumed all was well, as the buyer had made no contact. They contact the buyer asking what was wrong and suggesting it is normal practice to contact the seller before leaving feedback, as if there is a problem with the item they do have the option to return it.

The buyer apologises and accepts to remove the feedback, and then decides oddly to keep the item.

So the sales continue but the sellers friends are saying you will see, as he gloats over fixing a problem.

The account has over thirty good feedback as they move through the second month, and the account is still only listing around seven to ten items and the account has to deal with its next oddball buyer that leaves a positive feedback but complains that the shipping was too expensive. The buyer is again puzzled over this one as the shipping was shown and the charge was only ten pence over the stamp price. When contacting the buyer, they claim that the fact the seller had charged for and used tracked postage on such a low cost item was what they did not like.

So their goes the clean DSRs of the account as they now have a one or a two for shipping charges.

Now the account begins to add a few more items with each listing and it is now at eight to fifteen every four days and things are looking up as the good feedback keeps rolling in and the buyers do seem to like what the account is offering, as they keep bidding on it.

It is almost the end of the second month when within a week of each other there are two people wanting to return goods, and both items had ended quite well. The seller just assumed buyer remorse, as the reasons for the returns were a little silly, as both reasons were shown in the listing. The seller however tells them to return the items for the refund.

It is a matter of days when the direct to ebay comes in with the reason being that they had changed their mind. The seller tells them that they could return the item and it is customary to contact the seller before going to ebay. They claim they are new to ebay, even though their account had started the beginning of 09. The next day the first of the requests that the seller had accepted had gone to ebay and put a return request in. when asked why, when the seller had already agreed to accept the item back? they do not respond.

The next day the second of the first two items does the same thing and goes to ebay and there is another direct to ebay return by a person with almost the exact name as the first one but for the fact they had added a letter to their name. This time they had made an error and had not looked at the measurements of the item. Again send the item back is told to them, while pointing out that it is customary to contact sellers before going to ebay

Looking at all those that had gone to ebay, all of them were on different address' but a simple search through google maps show the seller that they all live with in an hour of each other, as did the person that leaves a red feedback the next day claiming the item was not what it was. When the seller contacts them and suggests they are wrong but they can return it, and it is customary before leaving negative feedback to contact a seller. Another new to ebay that had been on for over a year suggests that their daughter loved the item so they had no intention of sending the item back and would have it checked. There response to the sellers response in the feedback is that they were wrong and they retract their statement. But then go on to ignore the request to remove the red feedback request and the emails sent to them, even though their account is still active buying mailing supplies and hair extensions.

Exactly a month after the second direct to ebay claim the buyer leaves a red feedback with more nonsense, as it was apparently being abusive telling them it is customary to go to the seller before going to ebay.

The account is suffering as its DSRs are being hit and the negative feedback is forcing the seller to sell more than they wanted to. They begin to list more, listing five days a week around seventeen items a day. Which is the only way to clean up the idiots feedback as if you get enough green then the reds are nothing.

Ebay makes a change and there is a glitch where all the accounts used goods are suddenly marked as new with tags, and as you can't make changes after bids are on the items then most of the items can't be changed.

Another black feedback claiming slow delivery for an item that the person took two weeks to pay for.

The fourth month of the account when paypal start demanding info such as photo ID, suppliers details and such. This comes in over the August bank holiday weekend and before the weekend is in its third day the ebay and paypal accounts are dead in the water with paypal holding the funds in the account for one hundred and eighty days.

The account has lasted four month, which is not good for those sellers that are fighting to stay on ebay, as you have to sell large amounts to stay on ebay and defeat the system, but if you sell too much then paypal will want to know who, what and why, and if you are not willing to hand over that info or would struggle if you buy all goods from many sources, who rarely give invoices, if ever. Then you will have to switch to having several accounts open at the same time, I suspect four or five would be the minimum. Each time the account gets attacked you move on to the next leaving the used account to heal itself over time.

Or if you have any sense then give up on ebay, take the hint and move on to, as ebay has become too much hard work, that will be taking years off your life. Stress can kill, ask any doctor, and the stress of being an ebay seller is just one of those things that should be stamped with warnings like cigarettes or alcohol.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Return, Return, Return seems to be the new competitive attack

Been talking to several sellers in the highly competitive unique goods/collectible  markets that still stupidly sell on ebay and they all seem to confirm the current form of attack from their competitors seems to be the return hit. Also the obvious DSR attack
Even though they are still getting the occasional irrational negative feedback, and all the other rubbish ebay have set up for the scum but now the increase of direct to ebay return requests seems to have risen to the extreme for most, if not all of them. These could be down to a change in customer but it does seem to correlate to a drop in the older attack methods and they all seem to go along the same lines, as if a format were being used.

What I have been told is that these hits seem more preferred due to the long term damage, as even if the account of the attacker gets closed down the damage of the return request is still effective and often greater than a negative feedback. Also unlike with negative feedback, there is no stain on the account, so you can use it to attack more sellers.
Now the way this system is supposed to work is that it is supposed to be the last port of call for the buyer that feels the seller is taking liberties. But as always with ebay there is nothing to stop the buyer going direct to the return request without contacting the buyer. Too many of these and the odd negative feedback and the smaller accounts will be limited and then eventually closed down with continued attack.for none performance.

The return demand can also be used instead of the NPB when you are selling the same item and the sellers is obviously going to get more money than you, as they are better than you. Instantly hike up the bid with two accounts, removing the got to have it buyers that tend to start bidding at a lower price.

These returns also have the added benefit of hiding your own feedback cleaning and over bids on your shills, as they also have to relist it after a sale and are often too afraid to mention what the problems were with the sale. So relisted goods become common place on ebay and make it easier for you to hide your own activities.

If they are stupid enough to mention your involvement in the previous sale, then use the other "ebay tool" (I'm not talking about Donahoe) and say to ebay that the item is counterfeit. It does not matter that it is real ebay will remove it without looking.


There is also a clever little scam using, "seller=bad", "buyer=good" ebay idiot mentality, the ebay return what you like system and the ebay combined purchase system.
Where the buyer buys more than one item, then goes direct to ebay to demand return, and no matter what the seller has in their terms of sale you can use any reason you want for return. I don't assume ebay would mind if you wrote "competitive attack on another seller" but more likely you will say "changed my mind." But what you do here is put the claim in for both items.

The buyer will have no choice but to refund you and will more often than not use the combined payment as the return on paypal for both items. Now this will clear one of the items but not the second. So once you have been  paid the full amount for both items you demand payment for the second item.
The seller will refuse, and try to explain to ebay that they have paid due to the combined payment for both items, which the ebay employee will obviously have no understanding of what the seller is talking about, using the ebay ethos "seller always bad", "buyer always good" and will hit the pay button for the second item. So ebay  pay back the buyer for the second item and then demand that money from the seller. This demand, as always is final so you keep the money and the seller looses their money, which most buyers on ebay seem happy about, obviously if ebay is aiding the theft of the money, why wouldn't they. This is not some small company, this is the "massive ebay" that look after them, so this must be the right thing to do.

The defense, other than moving your sales to and saving yourself the stress of selling on ebay, is to pay back the items individually as partial refunds. There is no defense against the return I am afraid other than sell more, so that it does not damage you.

This really should show you how little you are thought of by ebay, as this is not a complex thing to see happening, or to fix but I assume they really do think that a buyer can't be bad. But you could also be correct in thinking what do they care, as it is not their money they are giving away and even a bad buyer that is only out to scam the seller is better than none at all. They will definitely tell all their friends about it who will also come to use the ebay system. Isn't that great?????

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

So you wake up that morning to find Mote is dead

Were you surprised?
I was watching it on the news when it happened, and just knew what the wife would say "agh its sad."
I don't know this man came out of prison and went to win back his girlfriend, not with a bunch of flowers but with a shotgun. Now that is sad.
I suppose what is also sad is that so many people will be relieved, even if they say it is sad, they will be so relieved this is over.
The Police for one and their accountant, as they try to sort out the cost of this manhunt, as they go back to try and balance the books.
The people of Rothbury that can now get back to normality.
Even his ex girlfriend will now be able to get on with her life without fear of his return and that freedom has to bring some relief.

I would say it would be a relief to Chris Browns parents that someone remembered that he was involved and killed trying to defend his girlfriend.

The fact there are so many people like Raoul Mote around, either pushed to the limits with steroids or pushed to the edge with life. Not all of them will go this far though. But is that due to conscience or having no access to firearms? 

And now the story goes on and it looks like the Police fired a Tazer or two at him while he was holding a shotgun to his head. Seems a bright thing to do, or maybe I'm the only one that thinks sending 50,000 volts through someones body will make them squeeze a trigger.

But this whole thing is puzzling, as the questions seem to either have no answers or the wrong answers, which either do not make sense or should not make sense.

Raoul Mote comes out of prison making threats, which are handed on to the police. The police either choose to ignore them, due to hearing it all before or have no power to do anything until he actually does something.
The problem with that is how could you change that and how could you know the difference between some numpty mouthing it off, to someone that is over the edge and really is a threat? Their past crimes, Mote was not really a Mr Big by any standards, but if the reports of the reason he had been in prison were true and that he had been imprisoned for beating his child then maybe that should have been an indicator, unless there are circumstances in that case, which make it sound worse than it is.

Then there is the point he is cornered and sitting with a shotgun to his head with a number of G36 Assault Rifles pointed at his head and the police for what ever reason use a Tazer on him. As I say above that does not make a lot of sense.
Firstly he was out in the daytime, meaning he was likely in need of something, and in his circumstances, he had to be pretty desperate.
He was totally outgunned and no place to go once he was cornered and the people were being kept at a safe distance.
The rain that night poured, as if the heavens had opened so here was this man trapped, demoralized and soaked to the skin totally cut off from his own world. So what reason would the Police have to fire anything at him? Maybe his mood changed and he became aggressive? But that would have been heard, as was the shouting from the police after the Tazers were fired. Also if he turned the gun on the police they would have cut him down with bullet fire.
Maybe his state of mind had shifted to the point of actually pulling the trigger on himself and this was a last ditch attempt to save his life? That is possible but even if the police say it is so, who will believe them?

Hopefully it was not due to pressure from above for the police, as I said above this manhunt must have cost a lot of money and there was probably some bean counter clocking up the meter every minute this went on. But hopefully that was not an issue, as the state he was in and the rain just adding that extra kick in the teeth, in all likely hood he would have given up before the sun set, one way or another. His option was prison or death and he had just got out of prison and it looks as if he did not handle it well. So who knows what fear a twenty to life stretch would have had for him?

And now we have the public and press bandwagons picking sides of Hero, Villain or Victim which I can only say is stupid on all parts, as most sensible people know that if the right buttons are pushed through a persons life or the right situation arises and a person can become any of the three in the blink of an eye.

This is a sad event for the Hero's, Villains, and Victims and it would take a better person than me to work out which was which. Then again, maybe it no longer matters, as there is only two people left with the excuse that they will not be able to learn from any mistakes  made. So as long as all those involved can do that then those two lives and all the pain of the others involved directly or otherwise will not have been in vain.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

eBay seller fined in court for bidding against himself to rig online auctions

A CROOKED eBay seller who rigged his own auctions has been fined £3500 and given 250 hours community service.
Paul Barrett is the first person in Britain to land in court for putting goods on eBay then bidding on them himself to drive up their prices. He was also hit with a costs bill of nearly £1500.
Judge Peter Benson told the fraudster: "It is an obviously dishonest practice, whichever way one looks at it."
He added that Barrett's lack of a record for dishonesty had saved him from going to jail.
Married dad-of-one Barrett, 39, used eBay to sell lots including two Mercedes vehicles, a Land Rover, a pie and pasty warmer, three mobile phones and a digital camera.
Bradford Crown Court heard he had two eBay user names - "paulthebusman" and "shanconpaul". He would set up auctions using one name and bid in them using the other. If he ended up making the winning bid, he would leave feedback on the site praising himself. Harvey Murray, prosecuting, told the court that the pie and pasty warmer had been set to sell on eBay for £74. But Barrett placed five bids himself just before the sale closed and it eventually sold for £127.
Trading Standards began investigating Barrett after an eBay customer complained he had been sold a "clocked" minibus. The bus had been advertised with a mileage of 55,000 but had actually done 132,000.
Officers looked into Barrett's eBay deals and discovered the "shill" bidding. Both his user names were traced to the same computer.

The full story here

My Opinion
I just love this story, as you can see ebay has no involvement in catching the offender, who was ripping off those poor customers. The customers concerned did not even know that they had been ripped off, as ebay had done so much to hide the fact, possibly because it would interfere with what equates to a protection racket, where sellers have to buy their own goods using alias accounts to clean up their feedback as they struggle to live up to the unrealistic expectations of ebays feedback system. Which all means more money for ebay.

The ebay response
An eBay spokeswoman said the site used the latest technology to track down "shill" bidders. She added: "We are extremely pleased with Paul Barrett's sentence."
So no mention of why they did not catch this one then?and he was not using any of the things that others have said you need to get past ebays "brilliant security" LOL.

Shill bidding is a common part of ebay, along with other dubious practices  like attacking anyone that dares to compete or to use alias accounts to clean up the feedback. All ebay have ever done to stop it was to make it easier and to offer more encouragement to those sellers that are willing to pay the extra fees.

Take some advice and no matter if you are buyer or seller move to and tell those that you buy from or sell to to do the same. Eventually ebay will get the message and go away to the tax collector in the sky.

Always wanting to end on a happy note. I know of several sellers that are using aliases to clean up their accounts attack other sellers and more than likely shill bid their customers and before there was nothing you could do about it, as we all know ebay did nothing about it when you did. But now you can hand that information over to Trading Standards and let them deal with it.

I know you may feel you don't care about this, as you have moved on from ebay but you are wrong, as this is going to damage all online auction sales where ever you go, as looking at some of the responses on forums and other places over this matter, then people seemed to accept it as the norm, as if it were something we all knew was happening and accepted it. What happens to online sales if that spills outside of ebay and the buyers feel that is the norm?

One last point I thought was funny is that auctions on ebay were based on the same system as auctions in the UK with the buyer beware system, so that if you bought it then it was yours with no returns. Ebay removed that system and destroyed their auction business in doing so and now added the "buyer beware" term to the general use  of ebay. Beware of those sellers second accounts.

Monday, 28 June 2010

World Cup 2010 england slaughtered england humiliated england beaten

And I use the lower case e on purpose, as that is all they deserved.

What a diabolical travesty of a game that was and even though some players worked their behinds off, the fact that some members of the team should not have been on the pitch just made it all the more sad, as they just could not do what was called for to defend against the Germans.

I said the other day that the fact fabio capello could not work out the problems they were having worried me and he showed those worries were well founded, as he had to have seen the problems the team were having in their defense. Upson should not have been on that field, as he was out of his depth, and I suppose when it reached the second half and he was still there is the point I gave up and knew we were doomed, along with the manager and the team.
The Manager made some changes that were pointless and were never going to solve the problems and now I hear he is saying I may just sit it out and collect the money from the contract. Even though he knows he has to hold his hands up and take the blame. If the team do not perform then it means you picked the wrong players in the first place.

But that is what happens when you build your team around one player and you suddenly find that player is off their game. Gerard got so tired of passing the ball to Rooney to see it wasted that he tried shooting for goal himself but that went to nothing, as he was trying from the position he was forced into.

And the goal that was but was not. I suppose the Germans will say just deserts for the one of sixty six, but I still feel that in this day and age that in such a major championship that it is making a mockery of the competition, when so many decisions are so blatantly wrong, especially the offside decisions that seem to be so hit and miss.

I don't know I suppose we now have to sit around for another four years and see what the hell they do to mess up the next one. But what annoys the fans so much is that we know they are better than their performance and if it is pressure or tiredness that is making them play so bad then maybe it is time to start moving away from the premiership for the England team, as at least they will enjoy the game and you never know the heart to play factor can turn mice into lions. They can't do any worse than the current selection.

And yes I know I said england would win against Germany in my last post but that was just me being a fan and thinking happy thoughts, and hoping beyond hope that capello knew what he was doing. OK I was wrong, as it seems he does not know his arse from his elbow.