Why eBay?

Picture this scene. You are waiting expectantly in a busy auction room packed with interested bidders from all around the world. Your lot is presented and you watch on intently as your prized heirloom goes under the hammer. Bidding starts slowly, but soon picks up as a small group of interested parties get involved in a bidding war against each other.

The price rises steadily and you rub your hands in anticipation of a record sale. Then at the height of the auction frenzy, the auctioneer abruptly ends the auction, sells to the last bidder and goes for lunch.

This may sound ridiculous but it is the basic premise of eBay auctions. There is no concept of ending an auction only after all bids have been exhausted, the last bid received before an arbitrary end point is the winner. How does it benefit the seller to end their auction while bidding is still active?

Then there is the ridiculous feedback system. Aside from the various underhand methods to boost your own feedback rating, the scheme is fundamentally flawed as it does not empower buyers with the freedom to report bad or fraudulent transactions. The reason for this is that regardless of who was really at fault, the eBay feedback system permits a seller to leave unsubstantiated negative feedback and comments, thereby tarnishing your record.

If you do leave negative feedback for a seller, it is actually in their best interest to make reciprocal negative claims in order to force you into agreeing to a ‘mutual’ feedback withdrawal, which wipes out both sets of negative feedback scores. eBay does not get involved in disputes, they do not impose fines or suspend the accounts of rogue traders. The consequences of all this is that if you have a bad experience with a seller, it serves no purpose to leave them a negative response as all it will do is risk damaging your reputation. How can that be fair to the buyer?

eBay is unfair to both sellers and buyers, their market monopoly and ownership of PayPal makes transaction fees exhorbitant and impressive feedback scores are no guarantee of a trader’s integrity.

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