Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Virtually screwed by eBay

When did eBay start to suck? It didn't used to. But epic levels of suckage ensued today as I tried to rid myself of an eight foot stack of books I'll never read.

Here's the backstory: eBay doesn't want to broker "virtual game items". They passed this dictum "due to the legal complexity associated with these types of items." And it is the root of my woes.

Here's the problem: eBay polices this policy by filtering the "title" of your item on such words as "gold," "coins," and "world." The filter doesn't care WHAT you are selling. It only cares that you have used a naughty word that might be associated with a "virtual game" and that's verboten. And you don't get to argue with the filter. You just get shown the door.

Here's my issue: So even though I am trying to sell a book entitled, "World Of Darkness - Core Rulebook" (See example at Amazon) the braintrust at eBay scans the title, blocks my auction from listing and tells me:
Attention Seller!
It appears you are offering virtual game items (gaming accounts, currency, leveling, etc).
These items are not permitted in the eBay Marketplace as a stand-alone product or as a bonus item.
Please revise your listing by removing the non-permitted items.
And that's it. I'm get stuck. Have to blindly edit the auction. Hope I appease the eBay gods. And try again. But fail again. Try again. Fail. Edit. Fail. Edit. Fail. Fail. Fail!


So here's my point(s):
  1. Um, it's a book. The system even recognized the ISBN number and automatically added specific information about the book to the auction. If the front end knows it is a book, why doesn't the back end figure it out?
  2. Which "non-permitted items" bother you? Something in the title? Something in the description? What exactly do I need to change? You didn't tell me what isn't permitted.
  3. It's a book, not a virtual anything.
  4. There's no way to get anybody on the phone and discuss this like civilized human beings. Instead I have, "Ron B" in the "eBay Live Help" chat room wasting my time and sending me to a URL that says I need to email "Listing & Posting" and expect a response sometime in the next 72 hours. Seventy. Two. Hours.
  5. B - O - O - K
  6. The amount of time I wasted on this adventure in futility is more expensive than the amount of money I may potentially make on the few books which I was able to post before I got tired of it and surrendered.
But I have no say, no voice, in this situation. I've been summarily Tried, Judged, and Sentenced by a microscopic piece of cold Boolean software. It is asymmetrical warfare. And the filter catches me. Over. And over. And over. Until I give up. It is very tiring.

Once I wade through all these books, I won't be re-visiting the site as a seller. I don't enjoy being virtually screwed by eBay.

UPDATE!!! See this post, but it seems eBay can (and will) easily fix this for their sellers, if asked. They fixed it for me within 48hrs of emailing them a nastygram about it. No problems since!

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