I realise this isn’t exactly news, but one more small voice can’t harm: eBay is dying. Slowly, messily, rotten with scammers and spammers and all the low-life scum who are the reason we can’t have nice things.
A year ago, I sold a MacBook on eBay. I had a couple of “Would you end it early?” offers, but nothing worse. The eventual buyer was happy, I was happy, and I rather enjoyed the experience.
This year, I sold an iPod and a broken Mac mini. Woah. One bid cancellation (a perfectly sane bid, which the guy left in place for 24 hours, not the “wrong amount” as he claimed), one request to ship to Cyprus (despite my clear terms stating no international shipping), complete with petulent retort when I pointed this out! One request for German postage, but this sounded more legit. Still refused. Two offers of cash to end the iPod early (for way below market value; I guess it’s worth a try, eh?). And that’s just what I can remember. I enjoyed it rather less.
A friend of mine sold his old iPhone today. Not only has he spent the last week politely telling people wanting to do dodgy deals and international shipping (probably to some distant relative in Nigeria) to fuck off, and not only did he have a fellow withdraw a bid because he “couldn’t contact the seller” (my arse) which eBay essentially ignored after having it reported – but when the iPhone finally ended it was to an American account. Registered the previous day. Which had no feedback. And had been bidding on high priced electronics.
Clearly a scumbag scammer. It happens. What shocked me was that his second place bidder was almost identically positioned – except that he’d been even more prolific, bidding on dozens of items in the last day.
One of the accounts was no longer registered within an hour of the auction’s end.
Fortunately, in this case the third place bidder seemed to be legitimate, and jumped on a second chance offer pretty quickly – with immediate payment. So, this time it ended… okay; but I can’t see my friend selling more on eBay soon.
Fraud on eBay.com is no secret, but eBay.co.uk had been holding out. No longer, it seems. eBay don’t care, because they just keep jacking up their fees to keep profits rising despite a fall in usage, but it’s so shortsighted. The worse it gets, the fewer real transactions take place, and you can only raise the prices so far before they’re an even bigger discouragement than the fraud. (At least you can avoid fraud, with due diligence.)
Eventually there won’t be anyone left but the scammers. And they’re not exactly the best customers.