Phone - 020 3581 4540 (London, UK)
I finally set up an account on eBay in January 2003. This is the only account I have had and the only account I ever expect to have. I have changed my username once from giorgio1am to giorgiopin, which is my name. I have learnt a lot in the time I have been an eBay user and hope I can offer some advice to others. eBay has a lot to offer and can provide endless hours of fun. There are, however, some negative aspects which many people are not aware of.
It is my opinion that eBay has peaked. From here on the service is going to deteriorate. I am already experiencing problems in transactions through no fault of my own. With all the hype that eBay has received, dishonest traders are going to appear in multitudes. What people are prepared to pass off as in 'mint' or 'excellent condition' is unbelievable. To make matters worse, eBay does nothing to prevent it. Their Customer Service is disgraceful in my opinion considering the amount of profits this company makes. The sad fact of the matter is that someone can rip someone off and then go and set up another account with no one any wiser. This should not be allowed to happen. One account is enough for anybody and would seriously reduce the amount of grief that occurs on eBay. People have lost thousands of pounds, tens of thousands. Who knows, more than likely, hundreds of thousands. Try to imagine the distress this has caused.
Statistically, we will all get ripped off at some point. I recently made a substantial purchase only to find the items not as described. I feel I have been lucky as I may still be able to recover what I have spent with an honest description. I personally would never attempt to recover losses by ripping someone else off. One cheat is bad enough, two is worse.
A note on eBay's Square Trade facility. I can't work that one out. I tried to file a complaint with regards to the auction mentioned above and found that I had to agree to allow Square Trade to access my account, even placing bids on my behalf. What does that mean? I would avoid that until Square Trade makes the necessary amendments to its phraseology.
There are a number of ways of reducing the likelihood of being caught out. Pay attention to feedback. Be wary of new users (sorry if you are genuine, but trust increases with positive feedback). As a rule, if someone has been a member for two weeks and is selling dozens of plasma tellies at rock bottom prices - come on - what do you expect? I will not make a purchase from anyone with under a 98% rating. I will not purchase from anyone who is not prepared to accept a cheque. If I pay with Paypal I will always fill out the eBay payment form as if paying by cheque and follow the link until the address appears. It is reassuring to have an address. Also, I am happier when someone's username resembles a genuine name and if their email address matches it even better. For example, my username is giorgiopin, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and my website is www.giorgiopin.com. If I come across, for example, a username of jack75647 and an email address of email@example.com, I will make a note and take other factors into account. If I ever use the eBay facility to request contact details, I expect to find a landline number. If the phone number provided is a mobile number, I take this into account as well. Collect and deliver your items if possible. Always collect and inspect when making expensive purchases (clarify that all this is acceptable to the seller). There are always other things to look out for and I hope to keep this page updated, although it could be a very long time before I do. Please bear in mind that, no doubt, the information I have provided will be used by a number of dishonest traders in an effort to outwit others.
If you ever have any questions or advice, please contact me. I will do my best to help. I wish you the best on eBay....Giorgio.
Below is a guide I have submitted on eBay about buying and selling football programmes, packaging and feedback:
Apologies if this guide appears to be a bit of a whinge but I would ask you to appreciate that I speak from personal experience. I would hope that some eBayers may learn something here, or find it useful or even agree with what I have to say.
Buying football programmes on eBay has its problems. Itís not all bad, but there are some aspects for buyers that are quite frightening as far as I am concerned. I have never had a problem myself as a seller. I would put this down to the fact that I maintain very high standards. I always send emails after the sale, unless payment or checkout is completed before I get the chance to. I will send an email when payment has been received and yet another when the programme(s) has been despatched. I consider this important on eBay. It is good customer service to keep people informed. Items are sent immediately.
I have never had a dissatisfied customer as I try to maintain 100% accuracy in my descriptions (*see footnote). I try to avoid any room for misunderstanding. Sometimes, descriptions can be lengthy but I would argue that the customer knows what he is getting and doesnít need to waste time writing emails. I never get emails asking about folds, writing, rusty staples or any other type of fault, including production defects (like a missing staple for instance) because I mention everything. The amount of programmes I have purchased on eBay described as mint and subsequently arrive not in mint is frightening. I do not understand how anyone can misinterpret this. On one occasion I purchased a mint programme with writing, pages missing and probably a bunch of other faults that I canít remember now. I now have to ask some Ďmintí descriptions for clarification owing to personal experience. I can accept a mint programme with the odd crease (I personally would not describe it as mint for the simple reason that it isnít) but when it arrives folded, written in or has something cut out, I get really upset. Under these circumstances, I have found that many sellers are not prepared to refund all postage costs etc even though they have been misleading in their description, albeit unintentionally.
I have also found that there are some sellers who will list all the good points of a programme but fail to mention the staining, or badly rubbed out pencil marks for instance (I still consider this writing). Also, just because a fold has been well flattened out or is hardly noticeable does not mean that it has not been folded. It can be very frustrating.
With regards to packaging, I personally do not consider a board backed envelope or jiffy bag good enough to guarantee damage free arrival. I have had too many programmes arrive with a corner crease or suchlike due to poor packaging. How on earth anyone considers a couple of sheets of cereal packet card sufficient is beyond me. I have also had experience of items not arriving at all (Royal Mail continues to deteriorate). Recorded delivery is only a few pennies. Why people do not use it, I do not understand. I would always advise to get valuable items sent by Special Delivery. I package my items to the highest of standards and have never had a problem yet. Yes, it takes a little longer than bunging it in a jiffy bag but, as stated, I have never had to deal with a complaint.
Feedback: In my opinion, a seller should always leave feedback the moment payment has been made, unless he has sent the item out before payment has cleared (some sellers do this with cheaper items). Too many sellers hold out, waiting for the buyer to leave feedback first. Well, Iím sorry, but this is not acceptable. When a buyer completes payment, he has fulfilled his part of the deal and the seller should respond. The seller has his money and now he expects the buyer to leave feedback as well. It is invariably sellers with higher feedback ratings that do this in my opinion. If there is a problem with the item, the buyer then has retaliatory feedback to consider. Imagine: he has bid on an item in good faith, paid for it and then it arrives, not as described or damaged due to the sellers limp attempt at packaging. The amount of sellers that blame damaged items on Royal Mail is unbelievable. Damage in post is virtually 100% avoidable.
Again, I apologise for the whinge, just needed to get it off my chest. I am mostly happy with my purchases. Ebay is great fun, there is no doubt. I would have to say that Ebay is not what it was, however. Or Paypal for that matter. But thatís another story.
Please vote on this guide. Itís good to know what people think, regardless of opinion. If you feel anything needs to be added or if you have any questions, please contact meÖÖ.Giorgio.
* I did recently receive my first negative feedback from a buyer who didnít pay. He subsequently contacted me five weeks later asking me to retract my feedback, which I didnít. He then left the negative out of spite which eBay removed because he didnít respond to the Unpaid Item Strike. I feel I am vindicated in this instance.
It has been a very long time since I last visited this page to make an update. Reading through the above again, I have to say I do find it a bit depressing as it is a bit of a whinge and may have upset a few people along the way too. However, I think I'll leave it as it is for now. What I would like to say, is that eBay is still going and going strong. It must surely be the greatest website there is. I mean, you can buy, sell, browse through possibly millions of pages and it all works fine. I am truly amazed by it all. Since my last post, buyers and sellers now have more protection which is obviously good. I am not happy with sellers no longer able to leave negative feedback but, all in all, I am very happy with eBay indeed. Long may it continue.
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