Posts tagged “glitch”.

What is Yours is Mine Says PayPal

An article “Did Your PayPal-Funded eBay Purchase Disappear Into Thin Air?” and a Letter to the Editor at EcommerceBytes (formerly Auctionbytes) today, plus accompanying reader comments and advice tell me it is time to write about users legal rights when dealing with PayPal. Not just sellers, buyers have rights too!

The article details a known issue with PayPal eBay checkout, transactions vanish. eBay knows about it and has posted the issue to their developers board but does not consider it to be an issue buyers or sellers need to know about. I have made a screenshot, these things tend to disappear on eBay. Click image to enlarge.

The letter, from a seller, describes the normal customer service runaround when PayPal has a glitch. The overseas buyer had been refunded an amount unrelated to the transaction, by PayPal. PayPal’s solution was that the seller should

“[I was] told that #1 to contact the shipping service I used to have them track and stop the package and #2 to contact the buyer and ask here (sic) to pay back the money.”

Telephone complaints do not preserve your legal rights!Apart from the impossibility of recalling an international package from the US Mail there is nothing incredible (def.# 2) about the PayPal representative’s ’solution’. These customer service representatives are often very low paid workers in the Philippine Islands, Costa Rica or India who work from a script. Go off script at your own risk.

Some points to ponder:

  • When you as a seller refund a transaction it is not instant.
  • PayPal can take up to ten days to release the funds to a buyer
  • the money is sitting in their PayPal account, with a hold.
  • the buyer has to request the money be transferred back to their bank.


  • Telephone complaints do not preserve your legal rights!
  • Every single PayPal user gets large volumes of phishing email purporting to be from PayPal every day
  • Most of us ignore them

The squeaky wheel gets the grease

A step by step guide to making a complaint and preserving your legal rights. Links will open in a new tab or window.

  1. Download the relevant eBay invoices, put them on a CD so they are safe. You can print hard copy to enclose with your written complaints as needed.
  2. Go through the eBay or PayPal email complaint process. Print hard copy of every communication you send or receive. Keep it in a file, you will need it. You will find it helpful to make a dated index for your file, it is going to get full.
  3. If you decide to use the telephone ask the rep for identification, their name, location, employee number if they will give it to you. Note the number you called, date and time, takes notes of the conversation. Put it in your file.
  4. Complain in writing to eBay. You will need to send the complaint by certified mail to eBay Inc. 2145 Hamilton Ave., San Jose, CA 95125, with a return receipt. Keep your correspondence short, polite and to the point. Enclose copies of everything you have done so far. Make a copy of your letter for your file.
  5. Send a copy of your complaint to Complaint Assistance Unit, Division of Consumer Services,  California Department of Consumer Affairs, 400 R Street, Sacramento, CA 95814. They have a toll free telephone number (800) 952-5210.
  6. If you are really on a roll go to the California Attorney General’s website and fill out their complaint form.
  7. Notify the National Fraud Information Center
  8. On eBay check to see exactly how PayPal is licensed in your state, if your state even requires licensing. Print a copy. Next, send a copy of your complaint to the department in your State which regulates Money Transmitters. Here is a handy list of links by State, and another one from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network a Government institution which may or may not be of assistance.
  9. I would send a copy to your State Attorney General and the Consumer Protection department or Ombudsman if you have one. Give them PayPal’s license number.
  10. Finally, and this is important, the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC does not resolve individual consumer complaints. The FTC collects complaints about companies and business practices. The FTC enters all complaints it receives into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database that is used by thousands of civil and criminal law enforcement authorities worldwide. These collected complaints can help detect patterns of wrong-doing, and lead to investigations and prosecutions.

You can do the Better Business Bureau complaint process if you really want. It is pretty much useless although it does get the complaint on record and eBay has to respond. Quite often the response is completely different from what you received through your initial email complaints. Expect this process to take a month or longer. Add copies of your complaint and responses to your file.

If you have followed all ten steps you will have poked a very large stick into an anthill. You may or may not get satisfaction on your complaint but you should get some satisfaction from knowing you have roiled (def.# 2,3) up a lot of ants.

Y’all come back!

eBay PayPal Code Monkey High Jinks

Have Fun in Europe

Click thumbnail to enlarge.
Just imagine.

You are a Belgian seller routinely paying your eBay fees, but it gets paid to PayPal in Austria instead of Belgium.

Rough translation of the announcement:

“We inform our users, we identified engineering problems with the single payment of the expenses eBay carried out via PayPal: the system redirects automatically towards Austrian the PayPal site instead of the Belgian site. We became aware of this concern and our technicians are currently doing their utmost to solve the problem as soon as possible. Please excuse us in advance for the caused embarrassment.”

The problem has been fixed.

Y’all come back!

Tools Which Affect Your Livelihood - Updated

AuctionBytes Ina Steiner noted an eBay announcement in her newsflash  eBay Launches New DSR Reports for Sellers and wrote a blog post asking “Will More DSR Feedback Data Help eBay Sellers?”

“When eBay added DSR ratings to its feedback system, it allowed buyers to leave them anonymously so sellers could not leave retaliatory feedback in return for low ratings. Despite the fact that sellers are now unable to leave negative ratings for buyers, the anonymity of DSRs remains.”


eBay’s Detailed Seller Ratings have been a contentious subject with sellers since their inception in May 2007 but it was not until early 2008 that eBay revealed the master plan. Unfortunately as is increasingly common in the Donohoe Era of disruptive innovation (DEdi) on eBay the master plan has fatal flaws both in the concept and in it’s implementation.

If you don’t understand exactly why the DSR system is so flawed you can read about it here, each article will open in a new window or tab.

Bayspeak runs rampant

The eBay help page explaining DSRs is disingenuous at it’s most charitable interpretation (bolding is mine).

“The detailed seller rating system is based on a one- to five-star scale. Five stars is the highest rating, and one star is the lowest. Detailed seller ratings do not impact the overall Feedback Score.

eBay’s stated reasons for implementing DSRs was to enable buyers to differentiate between outstanding sellers and the merely good sellers. Additional benefits would be to ‘route the bad sellers off the site’ and as a byproduct enable all sellers to see where their performance could improve.

The moral and ethical justifications for using anonymous ratings with skewed guidelines which affect not only the visibility of a paid listing but the ability of a seller to use the site at all are questionable. I use the term skewed guidelines because eBay has labeled the stars from one star to five as follows (using shipping and handling charges as an example). It should be noted that shipping and handling charges are disclosed on the listing and (a reasonable person would think) should be used by the buyer as part of the purchase decision making process:

  1. very unreasonable
  2. unreasonable
  3. neither unreasonable or reasonable (average)
  4. reasonable (good)
  5. very reasonable (very good)

The value of any conclusions buyers or sellers can draw from the process is dubious when a “good” rating results in seller suspension. eBay gets value because discount percentages are based on DSR’s. eBay’s insistence on total anonymity leaves sellers vulnerable and powerless to isolate the factor which is generating low ratings. If a seller has one DSR drop below 4.1 they are restricted from listing until that DSR rises over 4.1, since you can only get DSR ratings by selling (and selling requires listing) restriction equals an indefinite term suspension, generally a minimum of 30 days. Add to that the well known eBay propensity to glitches which are of direct financial benefit to eBay and the credibility factor drops to zero.

DSRs and Discounts

eBay gives PowerSellers discounts on Final Value Fees based on their DSRs, the eBay help or explanation page is here. The dollar difference between a 5% discount and a 20% discount even at the lowest level Bronze PowerSeller is considerable. Multiply that by thousands and obviously there is a major financial inducement for eBay to deny or reduce discounts.

Anomalies or Glitches
I have been contacted by two sellers who report that there is an anomaly in the relationship between their 12 month aggregated DSRs and their 30 day DSRs as shown on the DSR report tool. One sent me screenshots (which I have edited to remove personal information,) with this message

“While thirty day DSR’s can suddenly dip, I don’t understand how 12 month DSR’s can suddenly jump up by a corresponding amount, and that struck me as suspect.

Last time I checked my 12 month DSR’s were all about 4.85 (postage charges) to 4.89, and my 30 day ones were 4.89 for (postage charges) with the others at 4.90 to 4.92 or so. All of my 30 day results were above my 12 month results.

At this minute my 12 month DSR’s are 4.88 for postage charges, 2 at 4.90 and a 4.91.
My 30 days are all red because they are below my 12 month average, and are 4.85% for postage charges, 4.87 and 2 at 4.89.”

Updated: All four screen shots or captures were made within a four minute period.
Each screenshot is a thumbnail, click the shot to enlarge.Click AGAIN to ZOOM!.

The next two screenshots are interesting, both essentially ask the same question “what is the difference in DSRs left between domestic (Australian) buyers and international buyers.” Why are the results so different?

At first glance it looks like the tool is flawed. This is appalling in a tool which purports to analyze something which literally affects a sellers livelihood.

The real question would be is the tool flawed or are there flaws in the data the tool is analyzing?

I am going to forward this post to a couple of people who’s math expertise is greater than mine, meanwhile anyone with theories or answers please share in the comments.

Y’all come back!


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