EBay Customer Assistance

by Marianne Richmond on August 20, 2005

Last Saturday when the power went out, on top of everything else, I was trying to sell 2 items on Ebay. One auction ended on Sunday and one would have ended on Tuesday. The auction wasn’t top of mind at first but  by Sunday when I finally got to Panera’s Wi-fi there was 1 bid on each item and a number of questions that were of course unanswered. I should have immediately cancelled both auctions but having never been in this situation before I really didn’t know what you could or couldn’t do and since there are no live people in EbayLand  in order to navigate their frequently no help answers you have to know the right questions and have lots and lots of time.

So…by Monday when one of the auctions had ended with my item selling for 1/2 of its value I finally was able to figure out how to cancel the other one in the brief moment of Internet access. Well, the one bidder immediately sent me an indignant email referring to my necklace as her necklace….as if her one low bid 2 days before the auction was scheduled to end entitled her to the necklace. In addition, I also immediately began to get email from those who had made inquiries about various things regarding the necklace. All of these people were polite and merely wondering if I was going to re-list the item and if I would be able to answer their questions. I emailed all of them back, including the indignant bidder, and politely explained about the power outage, lack of Internet access, and that my intent was to re-list.

Figuring the various ins and outs of Ebay is an exercise in frustration and of course you can’t just pick up the phone and ask a person…not that being able to ask a person is any guarantee. If anyone has ever talked to Linksys Customer Service you know what I mean…another bonus provided by the power outage from hell was of course having to get my wireless network back up and which required a conversation with the dreaded Links.

Anyway, most people emailed me back and thanked me for explaining the situation to them. Ms. Indignant thanked me for explaining in one email, lambasted me in another, and then another and finally threatened to report me to email. I have no idea for what. And as far as reporting me to Ebay…good luck communicating with Ebay!

I wrote Ebay at least 6 emails in the middle of the whole debacle and each one received an answer…gotta give them credit for that I guess. However, I wondered if any of my emails had been read by anyone that spoke the same language that they had been written in. Or, if they had been answered by some keyword prompted software program. Many of them began with something like this; you are the buyer or seller and may have inquired about or maybe not..but here is an answer to your buyer/seller question blah blah blah.

The truly best one was the one I wrote complaining about the harassing emails I was getting from Ms. Indignant. First of all, they have you attach the email you are complaining about which I did. Their answer made absolutely no sense at all and didn’t mention one time the harassing email situation which was what I was writing them about in the first place. They actually said, we see you cancelled your auction due to a severe ower outage and see that you want more information about the item  ..there is no further information about the item. I wanted more information about the item? I don ‘t think so! Then, they suggested I go to Live Chat for help….well, you can guess what happened here, right? "We are experiencing a high volume of requests so please be patient….." Natch!


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