Topics in this issue:
1. eBay News: The sale of mobile phones
2. Tip: UK Auction Help
3. Warning: Latest eBay spoof
4. Ask Molly: PowerSellers slow to leave feedback
Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of The eBay UK Bulletin.
Many thanks for all your e-mails over the last week; I promise to respond to every query. There have been several asking about the best time to start selling on eBay…the answer to that one is easy – NOW!
I’ve also received a warning of a new eBay spoof that is doing the rounds – read on to find out more. Please do keep me updated on news and information that you come across, so I can help spread the word.
This week, we introduce a new feature in the bulletin – showcasing some of the best eBay-related sites on the web. If you’ve visited a helpful source, don’t keep it a secret! Remember, a free copy of ‘The eBay Business Handbook’ is available for every reader’s letter that I publish.
[For details of this newsletter, please scroll down to the end.]
1. EBAY NEWS: THE SALE OF MOBILE PHONES
In an attempt to prevent stolen mobile phones being sold within the eBay marketplace, amendments have been made which now prohibit the sale of “blocked” or “barred” mobile phone handsets. In conjunction with the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit (a part of the Metropolitan Police Service), eBay have created a guide relating to the buying and selling of mobiles on the site. You can read the full guide here: eBay UK
The guide covers all aspects of buying and selling mobile phones safely – the most useful advice is for buyers to search for the words “barred” or “blocked” within the item description. As this can often be very long, press “ctrl” and “F” together and search for the words – this will prevent you bidding on a prohibited phone. If you do spot this type of infringement, report it to eBay Customer Services.
The collaboration between eBay and the police has already seen results, with 13 arrests and 45 mobiles recovered – just the tip of the iceberg.
2. TIP: UK AUCTION HELP
There are so many websites out there, all claiming to offer ‘the best’ advice for eBay traders – some are great, and some are not. In this section over the next few weeks, I’ll let you know about the ones that I think are worth a closer look. Follow the link and bookmark for future reference.
This week, a great site that has been around for quite some time and has a fantastic array of information for the eBayer; UK Auction Help. It offers visitors:
- HTML tutorials
- Auction Web Directory
- Large collection of hosted images (including logos, background images and sets of images for Christmas, Valentines Day, and Easter etc.)
Dave Grainger, who runs the site, told ‘The eBay UK Bulletin’: “UK Auction Help was started after I discovered the eBay forums and realised that many questions were being asked repeatedly. The site is not just useful for those using eBay, but other auction sites as well. In 2002, we started the ‘Fair Traders Scheme’, in response to a discussion on the eBay community boards. The Fair Traders Scheme promotes fairness in auction trading. Members are regularly checked to ensure they are complying with our rules, and the rules of the sites on which they trade. The scheme currently has a membership of 720 and is free to join.”
You can visit UK Auction Help at: www.ukauctionhelp.co.uk
If you know of a site that is full of hidden treasures and could make trading that much easier, please let me know and I’ll include it in a future edition. Remember, you can find all my favourite eBay-related websites in the ‘Useful Links’ section of www.ebaybulletin.co.uk
3. WARNING: LATEST EBAY SPOOF
Many thanks this week to Stephen for sending in a great example of a spoof designed to get you to log into a dummy website; thus giving fraudsters your real eBay ID and password.
The spoof arrives in the form of an e-mail with the title – “Message from eBay Member Regarding Item #270012346034″. The format is very similar to the ‘Contact eBay Member’ form and has the line “Response to Question about Item – Respond Now”. The item in question is an “OLYMPUS C-765 Digital Camera 4 MP Zoom C765 +Warranty” and the main message reads:
“Hello, I don’t think you understood me. I didn’t sell it to her, so only AFTER that did I list it on eBay. Not during the same time. I also don’t like being THREATENED. If you had any problem with me, you didn’t have to BID on the item. You decided to bid, so now you have to pay. You cannot THREATEN me to not take action. I will, because if you had any problems you didn’t have to bid and now that YOU chose to bid, you are choosing not to pay when it is too late for that. Thank you.”
This is quite an aggressive piece of writing and does tempt you into replying with something along the lines of: “Hey, it wasn’t me who bid on the camera, you have the wrong person…” You will have to look closely to see that the URL for the ‘Respond Now’ button is to a unibo.it domain, not eBay. Remember:
- ALL communications from eBay will be in your messages folder within your ‘My eBay’ section. If you think that you should respond, or are convinced that the e-mail is genuine, check here first.
- NEVER log in to eBay directly from an e-mail link.
4. ASK MOLLY: POWERSELLERS SLOW TO LEAVE FEEDBACK
This week, a question concerning the sensitive subject of feedback and when it should be left.
As a buyer and a seller, I have always held the philosophy that if someone pays immediately they are entitled to positive feedback – as their part of the transaction is complete and beyond criticism. However, I’m regularly noticing that most ‘high-volume’ sellers do not leave any feedback – until you’ve received the goods and said something nice about them! Some actually advertise that on their home-page, whilst others send emails saying: “…please leave positive feedback when you receive the goods and I’ll do the same for you” (even though I paid immediately!) The threat of unjustified retaliatory ‘negatives’ from power-sellers is a form of bullying that eBay is aware of, but are prepared to live with. I just wondered whether you had any advice?”
In principle I agree with you – once the buyer has paid, their input to the trade is over and the seller should leave them a positive feedback. However, I must temper that with a little caution on the side of the seller. If the trade is not 100% as the buyer expected, then emails are exchanged and the tone of these (from both sides) may well be worthy of a mention in feedback. I believe that many buyers feel that their only course of action if the trade is not good, is to leave negative feedback for the seller. Therefore, if the threat of a retaliatory negative prevents this, the seller may be viewed as wise to hold back. A small note in with the item giving details of what to do if the buyer is not happy might help.
I tend to leave my feedback all in one go when it builds up. I see this, rightly or wrongly, as a chore. High volume sellers may also take this approach, leaving feedback once a week or longer. The ‘Selling Manager Pro’ sales tool can be set to leave automatic feedback once the buyer has paid and left positive feedback, so many users of this tool no longer have any input as to when feedback is left. I suspect this accounts for many sellers appearing not to leave feedback for buyers. The feedback score for a seller is their most important sales tool; their reputation stands on this. I would be more than happy to have a smaller feedback total and fewer negatives, by not leaving feedback first. I am assuming here that some buyers will not leave feedback first either. When a seller reaches a certain score, it is the quality of the feedback rather than the quantity which counts – so a few may well be sacrificed.
My own view does vary, depending upon how many feedbacks I have to leave (I don’t use the automated tool). I do feel that the buyer has more to contribute than just payment. I feel that their involvement also includes post-sale communication and adopting an amicable course of action in case of problems, i.e. telling me, and giving me the opportunity to put things right. Many negatives are given because of late delivery – late posting is one thing and delivery may be down to a number of factors (particularly in busy periods). It’s a difficult one to sum up, with lots of emotion involved. If the seller does actually leave positive feedback when they receive one from the buyer, and given that the buyer is happy with the trade, does it really matter if the seller responds last? Sellers that don’t leave feedback at all, are a different matter altogether.
– END NOTE –
Just time for a quick reader’s e-mail:
I am receiving an increasing number of fake questions arising from my listings. They look authentic and if you respond, your personal details (possibly bank access) are passed on to what appears to be Russian origins. I cannot emphasise enough that your readers should only answer messages through ‘My eBay’ on the official eBay site.
Keep up the good work.
That’s all for this week. Please keep your e-mails coming – I’m currently offering FREE copies of ‘The eBay Business Handbook’, courtesy of Harriman House, for the best (or worst!) eBay stories. So, send in your entry today.
Best wishes and happy eBaying!
Author of the bestselling title, ‘The eBay Business Handbook’ -
available direct from the publishers at: www.harriman-house.com/ebaybusiness
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