eBay Begins Plan To Recapture Reputation From Scam Central

from the we're-not-so-bad,-really dept

Over the last few years, it seems like stories about eBay related scams have become so common, that many insist that doing business on eBay is a risk not worth taking. It appears that the folks at eBay have finally realized that this perception was damaging their business. They claim that they're beginning a big program to crack down on scams of all kinds. Of course, many will argue it's too little, too late. It's good that the company recognizes there's a big problem out there (whether real or perceived), but this is the type of thing that people are going to really need to see results on before they buy it. It's easy to say you're going to crack down on fraud. Actually doing so is a lot more complex. While it sounds like the focus is (as it should be) on the big scams, they're even including much more subtle issues, such as people who charge ridiculously exorbitant shipping fees to make up for selling goods that appear cheap. While it's good that eBay clearly wants to tackle this problem, results are going to speak a lot louder than a press release.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Bumbling old fool, 18 Jan 2007 @ 10:22am

    And it's so hard to show results

    Its so hard to show results when your userbase already left.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2007 @ 10:57am

    eBay might be able to rebound. I would like them to even try to salvage PayPal's reputation....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Leroy, 18 Jan 2007 @ 10:58am

    ebay fraud

    I stopped using Ebay a couple years ago when it became flooded with scammers, get-rich-quick weirdos, and people trying to make it their financial way of life. I look there maybe twice a year just for laughs, but have halted all transasctions long ago. Probably the single biggest reason I stopped using ebay was the proliferation of paypal and ebay phishing emails made it obvious that the only way to protect oneself from fraud was to stop using it totally, which I did. I believe I am not alone.
    It's interesting to see how the 419 scammers now reply to my posted items for sale on other classifieds online every time I post there, everywhere I post things for sale, and they are so obvious, so pathetic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    todd, 18 Jan 2007 @ 11:04am

    abolish paypal

    Ebay controlling both the sales venue and then all but forceing customers to use ebay owned paypal creates a confilct of interest. Although many mojor retailers have their own store credit card, they don't resist from doing business with you because you want to pay with cash, or a Visa from your bank.

    If eBay sold paypal and allowed all companies to fairly compete for market share of ebay transacations then each transaction company (paypal, google checkout, etc..) would be motivated to have the best service available or loose business. This competition would then increase the safety of buying/selling on ebay because there would be motivation for all parties to ensure happy customers. Right now ebay/paypal are solely interested in closing as many transactions as possible.

    Anyone who has used ebay/paypal long enough has had some kind of dispute, and paypal doesn't care to resolve the issue fairly, but rather close it as quickly as possible since either way they choose to resovle it, they are still getting paid.

    Check out paypalsucks.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    William, 18 Jan 2007 @ 11:15am

    No fees on shipping

    I charge high shipping fees because there are no ebay fees on the shipping and it is a way avoid their fees. Of course it doesn't cost 5 bucks to ship an old ps2 game. I just end up paying half as much to Ebay.


    There fees not scams are what are out of control.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    comboman, 18 Jan 2007 @ 11:17am

    Who's scamming whom?

    The reason sellers charge high shipping rates is because eBay doesn't take a cut of the shipping. The seller makes more profit on a $1 item with $10 shipping than from a $10 item with $1 shipping (though the customer's cost is the same either way). Most sellers are upfront about clearly posting their shipping fees. They're not trying to 'scam' the customers, just trying to minimize the outrageous fees eBay charges them. The biggest scam at eBay is eBay itself; they're just trying to pass the buck to the sellers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    An Ex eBay User, 18 Jan 2007 @ 11:52am

    eBay's real motive

    Could it be erBay does not like sellers getting away with listing items at a low price and collecting lower fees subsidized by higher shipping? Hmmmm......

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chris, 18 Jan 2007 @ 11:55am

    Rip Offs

    There are a lot of problems with eBay. I got bit by it a couple of years ago when, thanks to their Affiliates program, I got scammed out of $3500. PayPal offers no protection to speak of, and since eBay owns PayPal, I blame them. If you feel like more details on my experience, you can read about it here: http://www.chrisdotson.com/?p=92

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jeff Grant, 18 Jan 2007 @ 12:07pm

    Not addressing the real problem.

    Sounds like more cat & mouse tactics, the real problem is the paradigm of sending money essentially a stranger without additional controls. Anyone agree?

    Real solution: Combine Escrow into every transaction and streamline the payment methods. Forces both sides to be honest, or do business somewhere else. “Simpson’s did it!” www.eBonza.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jeff Grant, 18 Jan 2007 @ 12:07pm

    Not addressing the real problem.

    Sounds like more cat & mouse tactics, the real problem is the paradigm of sending money essentially a stranger without additional controls. Anyone agree?

    Real solution: Combine Escrow into every transaction and streamline the payment methods. Forces both sides to be honest, or do business somewhere else. www.eBonza.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Howard Lee Harkness, 18 Jan 2007 @ 12:09pm

    eBay police

    I've been on ebay for more than two years, and at one time I actually qualified as a powerseller, but I declined the 'honor'. In the time I've been on eBay, I have noticed that the eBay 'police' are very quick to take down anything that looks like it might be competition for them, or even call attention to possible competition, and unconcerned with actually enforcing their TOS otherwise. They did manage to start taking down the folks that charged $10 for a violin with $60 non-refundable shipping, but only after a prolonged outcry on sites outside of eBay (they tolerate no criticism on their internal fora). And the only reason they took any real action even then was because the exorbitant shipping was costing eBay some fees.

    I suspect that the period of rigorous enforcement actually cost eBay some money, because they backed off after a few weeks (now, the scammers that were selling the $10 violins with $60 shipping -- actual cost of shipping & handling: about $18 -- are selling the same violins for $30 with $40 shipping -- big whoop).

    The primary function of the eBay 'police' appears to be to eradicate any mention of yahoo auctions, blujay.com, or wagglepop. Or even PowerSellersUnite.com. If you mention any of those (even with any variation in spelling, or even in a .GIF or .JPG to avoid auto-detection) in a listing, it will get taken down in minutes. OTOH, the obvious scams run to conclusion with no notice by the eBay 'police'.

    I have pretty much stopped selling on eBay, except for one or two listings at a time for small stuff, and that only to increase the hits on my own website. I no longer consider eBay a sales venue, but an advertising expense. That expense now runs about $3/month, compared with the $450/month I was spending before they decided to screw the folks that they suckered into opening an eBay 'store' last Spring.

    Any action they take against scams is likely to be more form than substance, because eBay makes a LOT of money from those scams, and cutting them out would put a noticeable dent in the bottom line. Even though it might help in the long run, eBay is focused solely on the end of the current quarter.
    --
    Violins and Accessories

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Howard Lee Harkness, 18 Jan 2007 @ 12:38pm

    0.01%???

    The referenced article quotes the claim that the fraudulent activity on eBay amounts to less than one-hundredth of one percent. That isn't even close to credible. Anybody who knows what to look for can spot 30 or 40 obvious frauds on eBay in less than 5 minutes. I would estimate the amount of outright fraud to be closer to 0.1%, and the amount of not-quite-honest listings closer to 15%. In some categories, such as laptop computers, the percentage is MUCH higher.
    --
    I no longer sell violins on eBay!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    haywood, 18 Jan 2007 @ 12:59pm

    "such as people who charge ridiculously exorbitant shipping fees to make up for selling goods that appear cheap."
    I agree with the other posters, this part isn't a scam, it is survival. Keep in mind you have some cost for obtaining the item, till you pay the listing fee, the final value fee, and the paypal fee, just how much do you have left from a $10 sale? Not enough to bother as far as I'm concerned, I just give stuff like that away now, rather than work for pennies per hour.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    me baby .....me, 18 Jan 2007 @ 1:37pm

    if paypal didn't suck and have the worst [foreign] customer service, then i'm sure people would feel more secure with their purchases. Soon, google checkout will take over paypal... until that day, I refuse ebay

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jane, 18 Jan 2007 @ 2:46pm

    Beyond Legalities

    MySpace should pay attention to the lessons of reputation that Ebay is learning. After all, both are is business to make money, and people tend to not spend money at venues which have questionable reputations, warranted or not.

    TechDirt Article: The Blame MySpace Movement Gathers Steam

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      dorpass, 18 Jan 2007 @ 4:39pm

      Re: Beyond Legalities

      Why myspace? How about any website that makes money? Or any company for that matter? Dell is a good example. Somewhere in this "new" economy people all of a sudden decided that reputation is something for Mom and Pop pizzeria, not a business serving millions of people.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2007 @ 7:51am

    ?.......

    Myspace & ebay are completely different... bad comparison

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    online auctions, 24 Jan 2007 @ 8:31pm

    Fees

    I don't understand why eBay keeps raising rates. I hope they don’t go too far.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    firemeg, 19 Feb 2007 @ 7:30pm

    eBay Not Having a Good Week

    Massive worldwide scams. Breaches in security. And now, the wave of hijacked accounts is sweeping the US site.

    http://firemeg.blogspot.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.