It’s Annoying: Contracts & eBay

I am not a novice when it comes to eBay or contracts.  I have used both.  I had sold items on their site for years.  My business account has over 4100 positive feedbacks.

They have a great business model.  It provided for a triple WIN situation.  eBay gets fees for listing and selling (win), sellers were able to rotate inventory and make sales(win), and the buyer got a product at a great price (win).

eBay, however, has grown and changed.  In my opinion and everything I write is my own opinion, if you are still selling on eBay there might be a few things you didn’t read very carefully when they presented you with the “changes” to your agreement.  Contracts & eBayThat contract is the reason we don’t sell on eBay any longer, and I’ll get to them in a minute.

Am I the only one who believes you need to read and be able to agree to everything in every contract or agreement you sign.  If you don’t agree, you don’t move forward. You should never just think… well, that will never happen – and just sign (although a sales person may tell you so).  Or just sign because you don’t want to take the time to read the contact.  Please remember you are bound legally by what you sign/agree to, and when someone (anyone) presents you with a contract – the terms and conditions of the contract are in their best interest, not yours.

I have been called a shrewd negotiator because I alter contracts to be either neutral or in my favor when the terms are not what I believe they should be.  You cannot rely on the other person in that contract to do that for you. Hiring an attorney to read over the contract is a great idea – but only YOU know what you can and cannot accept in regards to an agreement with another person.

For example, an attorney might think it’s perfectly legal and acceptable for you to have to pay double rent when your lease runs out,  and you have to stay (hold over) for a month before you can move into your new place.  But do you? This is an example of something in your lease contract you usually can change.  You can ask for the ability to “hold over” for up to 3 months at the same monthly rent before that kicks the rent into double or more.  The landlord may have no problem with it – but if you sign agreeing to double, you better be prepared to pay it.

No one knows what will happen tomorrow, or how something benign in that contract can cause you much more trouble (and money) than you ever anticipated.  Why risk it? Read and understand before you sign.

Now back to eBay – there was “no choice” in agreeing with their latest changes.  You agree to their current rules and regulations, or your don’t participate.  And so….I have stopped selling on eBay since I could not agree to the last changes they put into effect (September 2010).

And here’s why … basically they used their “power” to force you to give them the right to access your paypal, bank account, and/or credit card account to “take back” any monies when a customer (someone to whom you sold goods) complained about the item.  This change required you to specifically agree to the changes.

They may have called it  the Ebay Buyer Protection Plan, but they aren’t the one actually protecting anyone.  As the seller you are the one doing the protecting.  And although you have no say in if, when and how they access your accounts to “protect” their buyers, you  have to agree to it in order to sell using their site.  Did you realize you gave them full access to your money and accounts to do that?

Folks, we all know that people complain – and some rightly so – but to allow a third party, eBay to access and charge your account to take monies for a cranky customer is crazy.  I don ‘t know how many times eBay or Paypal have intervened in your accounts, but I can tell you in my personal experience before this new contract,  the customer and the seller never got any of the monies returned.  I fought when this happened to me but the money (in my case) never went back to the seller (me) or the buyer  – it went into what I call Paypal/eBay limbo.  Granted the incidents I personally have experienced and about which I write,  aren’t recent ones, but they were annoying enough to see that once a dispute happened, eBay and/or Paypal were not seriously interested in being an arbitrator.

eBay owns Paypal.  Paypal operates like a bank.  Both are huge corporations. Does one person out there have any idea what going against a huge corporation costs in terms of time and money.  It’s prohibitive, especially if the amounts we are discussing are low — and most of them are.

So now the tables are turned, and it’s a triple LOSE situation for the seller who has an unhappy buyer (for whatever reason, justified or not).  The seller can lose the item (sometimes the buyers return an empty box),  sellers lose the postage used to send it to the buyer (sometimes more than the item), and sellers lose the listing fee and sale.  The triple loss however is for the SELLER.  The buyer got his money back and potentially the item as well (although that’s not how it’s supposed to work) and eBay got a listing fee.

Ok, that said, why in the world would you want to give them the right to access and take your money from your bank, credit card and/or paypal account? Do you think they are going to do it honestly and fairly?  It’s still prohibitive. They just can’t know the situation, and interpret the circumstances for every single complaint. They will err on the buyer side – giving them their money back – and taking it from you the seller, justified or not.

And just what would happen if they cleared your bank account… oops by mistake?  Charged your credit card for someone who had a similar credit card number, eBay name, account number or paypal name, again by mistake?  Maybe someone who even “stole” your eBay identity or hacked your eBay account (I personally experienced this) and was selling as if they were you?  These things happen.  How long do you think it would take you to try and fix that?  Do you think you can just “call” and straighten it out? You will be lucky to get through to anyone who even cares to help and has the authority to do so.  AND eBay can and will simply provide the document you agreed to — to let them have access, blatant, full access to your money.  You wouldn’t have a “leg to stand on” in court – because you allowed them that access. You know it might always be “in error” but it always will be in their favor, not yours!  How would you like to wake up and find every single one of your checks bounced because of an eBay error that emptied your account.  Ok you get my point – if you are still selling on eBay and letting them have access to your money, you are asking for Trouble (yes with a capital “T”).


4 thoughts on “It’s Annoying: Contracts & eBay”

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