If I felt like I could do THAT-- Why would I be writing this post?
Are these the WANING DAYS of “Classic eBay”?
I’ve bought a lot of stuff on eBay. I freely admit it. Lots of Hardcovers and Graphic Novels. A few toys, comics, comic-related statues, Winnie the Pooh plushies (for a friend who collects them) and cold cast Women of the DC Universe busts… Basically stuff you can’t find anywhere else… Or find cheaper anywhere else.
That’s why I was chuffed to learn eBay was instituting a new feature… Placing the spotlight on 4 Great Deals every day (plus a 5th deal you can access through email notification). Since I’ve only left ONE NEGATIVE in over 1,000 feedback situations, I thought this new promotion sounded like a great idea. Always ready for a bargain, I read eBay’s introductory email promoting the daily sales and loudly shouted “Let the deals begin!” (I tend to talk to myself a lot… The curse of being an actor and a writer. I “talk” everything out– including these posts… So I can make sense of it all.)
LET THE “FLEECING” BEGIN
Lots of sales. New deals every day. They even offer 4 deals (5 with email access) for $5 each every Friday.
P.T. Barnum said one of THESE is born every minute... And that was WAY BEFORE super fast T1 internet connections!
Usually it’s junk– stuff you won’t ever really need, no matter the emergency or desire. But buying stuff you need is not the principle behind eBay or any other retail enterprise. The site would have closed two weeks after it opened if we only purchased just what we needed– and not what we wanted.
It’s absolutely true that the whole Free World Economy would implode if people only bought the dry goods, food stuffs and medicines they needed to survive. Can you even find the pharmacy in most conglomerate owned “chain” Drug Stores”… the impure outlets that also sell you “life saving” candy, liquor & cigarettes? Think about it. If we weren’t addicted to buying shit– there would be no WalMart , Kmart or Target. Would that really be such a bad thing? ;-)
Shopping malls would be entirely different animals too– offering only necessities such as food and clothing. Without our buying all this shit, there would be no retail economy. In other words, you can thank things like your unexplainable, uncontrollable, never-ending Star Wars toy collection for eBay (and lots of other stores) surviving.
BACK TO THE ARTICLE’S SUBJECT
I’m sincerely disturbed how these eBay deals have overly excited me… Should I even mention that I’ve snagged “back-up” items for “back-up” items– even though the original objects show zero sign of ever failing? When I hit the “Buy It Now!” button, I always mentally jerk myself off by cooing, “Remember, sometimes you can’t afford to not buy something.” Of course, I never think that maybe I just can’t afford to buy the item. So buy I do.
The most hilarious moments from this addiction have come when I start to gift one of my many “eBay Treasures” to friends and family. I cheerfully exclaim, “It’s an automatic cheese grater gadget– so you don’t skin your knuckles on sharp metal graters when you grate cheese!” … Barely refusing to hear the person retort, “Dude, Thanks but I don’t eat dairy products. I’m lactose intolerant.“
This bank-account-killing-spree continued for a while– until I realized that a lot of the things I was receiving DID NOT WORK. “How can this be?” I asked myself. “I’ve hardly ever had a problem on eBay before. Why is this suddenly happening now?”
Then it hit me. The other 1,000+ times I used eBay, I carefully researched each seller– making certain to read hundreds of their feedbacks to ascertain if the person really deserved a their high customer rating and my business. You would be surprised how many times I have found a pattern of abuse hidden within eBay feedback pages. Supposedly wonderful sellers have no compunction being SUPER NASTY to customers who might dare to leave them a neutral or negative mark for shitty products or services.
“Item arrived broken. Attempted to contact seller to no avail. Out my money.” the buyer writes– seemingly reasonably– in the Seller Feedback section provided by eBay.
“IDIOT NEWBIE DOESN’T DESERVE TO BREATHE, LET ALONE BE HERE!” the seller SCREAMS back.
I’m glad eBay doesn’t stop retailers from writing this idiotic shit– because nasty seller feedback responses give me a window into the psyche of people I am about to spend my money with. And that’s really important for 2 reasons: 1) If you don’t like to waste money and 2) If you don’t have time to chase after someone to refund your money.
Preparation is 9/10th’s of the battle when deciding on what store to buy from online… Whether it’s eBay or some other independent website you’ve never heard of. Google the business, damn it! Anybody can slap a web site onto the internet. (Look at me!)
Do you need this? And where the hell is "Magic Jill"?
You must trust the fact that there will always be comments on virtually every web store out there– ripe for the reading. Complaintsboard.com is an excellent site to find out about negative internet store experiences from real people. It also covers businesses not primarily on the internet as well.
BACK TO THE ARTICLE’S SUBJECT Pt. 2
So I finally realized I was no longer researching the sellers, right? I was letting eBay “vouch” for the retailers by choosing them to sell in what was now the site’s most coveted sales gimmick. eBay certainly wouldn’t allow a shitty seller to sell goods in this sought-after sales spot would they?
The answer is, “Apparently, they would.”
Why do I think this way? Because I’ve had to fight through a morass of suspect business practices, crappy products and meaningless customer service ever since I started availing myself of eBay’s “Daily Deals”.
For example: I ordered 2 automatic soap dispensers for a handicapped friend. One worked, while the other did not. I immediately informed the seller. He replied about 24 hours later– seemingly apologetic for his crappy merchandise and informing me that he had already sent a refund to my PayPal account. Anyone familiar with PayPal (a wholly owned eBay subsidiary that processes internet credit card charges and bank payments for a percentage fee), knows that notifications of such refund transactions are instant. Yet I still have not received official PayPal notification of any refund being applied to my account– 5 days after the seller’s message to me. Since the seller apparently refuses to return any more of my email inquires… I’ve had to file a Paypal dispute claim to force a refund from the lying bastard.
God knows, all this agita is not over the money. $14.95 wouldn’t break anybody permanently. It’s about the irritation.
What legitimate businessperson sends a product that is DOA out of the box– then doesn’t truly follow through with an immediate refund when notified of the problem? Remember, I have a 100% positive eBay feedback rating. This asshole knows I’m not attempting to get something for nothing, If he did think something was “up”– he could offer to pay for return postage and inspect the unit himself… But he hasn’t done that because it is obviously not the cost-effective way to handle this complaint.
If you must do business on eBay or anywhere else on the wild, wild internet(s), I implore you to research the retailers. At the very least, make sure the business lists a street address and a direct telephone number where you can contact someone in the invent of a problem. Believe when I tell warn that “Email Contact” is too easily avoided.
As I type this post, I am suddenly experiencing problems with all kinds of eBay transactions. Is the economy causing this uptick in shady business? Or it is the obsession with the World Cup… or… shudder… the distraction caused by the final episodes of the misbegotten America’s Got Talent?
Tweet someone who gives a shit. I just want my money back.