What’s Your Greatest eBay Wish?

Author: ToddUncommon

First of all, it’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly a month since the last post on Wax Heaven, and longer since my first.  As one of my friends says, time flies when real life happens.  On the personal front, I’ve been in the midst of a job search since before Christmas.  There are positive signs that things will turn around soon.  Naturally, much of my absence from here has been in keeping the household together, managing finances, and networking for new employment.

Anyway, enough excuse making, and on to the post subject. I have been lucky enough to live about a 25-minute out-of-shape jog away from eBay headquarters for several years now.  I’ve been an eBay buyer and seller since 1998, and over that time, eBay has invited me, off and on, to come to their campus and have the privilege to participate in “usability studies”.  They bring in users and customers, and have them go through exercises and interviews to provide feedback and user insight.

Recently, eBay contacted me to offer an invitation to an expanded usability study that runs from this evening to tomorrow morning.  So far, I’ve met product managers and engineers from the pricing, search, security, and platform / architecture departments of eBay.  They’ve been very receptive and responsive to ideas and experiences with eBay that I and the other invited customers have discussed with them so far.

For my part, I mentioned some of the issues that I’ve both heard from the hobby community and experienced first-hand.  For example, I mentioned the community perception of a “double dip” between eBay insertion / final value fees and PayPal processing fees.  I also passed along concerns I’ve seen on message boards about the new pricing that eBay announced.  New or lower volume non-eBay store users have minimal insertion fees, but eBay stores will see the five cent insertion fee for inventory (Buy it Now) items going away, and being priced higher.  For card sellers on eBay, this can be a daunting shift to readjust dozens (to hundreds) of listings to find a way to sell low-price / low-demand cards, and still find a way to come out ahead.

eBay is, like it or not, the central marketplace for our hobby, whether you’re a dabbler or a retailer.  Nearly every card shop I know that still exists does significant business on eBay.  The most successful shops tell me they do nearly a third of their business on eBay, and it helps keep their physical store open (at least as long as rent doesn’t go up).  Here’s a prime shot to tell eBay what you really think needs to change or be improved, at least for our “Sports Mem, Cards and Fan Shop” category that’s been as staple of the site since it was conceived.

Although this is short notice, I return for additional sessions tomorrow morning here on the West Coast, and I am inviting you to comment on this post with the things that both bother and concern you the most about eBay, as well as any ideas you might have to suggest for improvement.  It’s one thing for me to interpret my experiences and what I’ve heard, and another to be able to go back tomorrow morning, point to Wax Heaven, and say “take a look”.

So, what would you tell eBay if you could?

14 thoughts on “What’s Your Greatest eBay Wish?

  1. My biggest beef is the cost. .15cents to list a .99cent card, then final value fee, and paypal fee. It does not add up.
    I thought small eBayers like me were going to get a break on the listing fees. However, I still pay .15cents for .99cent listings.

  2. This is an easy one – take a harder stand on all the scammers on ebay who are selling reprints and fake packs. Read through the PSA board or Net 54 and there are such obvious cases of fraud and ebay seems to do nothing even when confronted with the evidence.

  3. Lower insertion (if any at all) fees for BIN listings. A lower, flat-rate selling fee schedule for BIN listings. The auction fee schedule is moving in the right direction as of the end of March, but it should be expanded to all listings.

    And please try to make it more difficult for people to sell fake patch/auto cards. I know it’s impossible to get everyone, but if eBay took a harder stand against it and acted swiftly and strongly against sellers who are known to sell fakes, more people will be less likely to try to sell fakes and more honest people will feel comfortable buying and selling on eBay.

  4. After thinking about it for awhile, I’m not so upset about ebay’s change in pricing for storefronts. Do large sellers really have that much room to complain considering they are basically getting to “set up their table” at the largest card show in the world?

    You’re right, ebay is the center of selling in this hobby and provides the largest outlet for sellers.

  5. Interesting that you say that all of the successful shops you know of still sell heavy on ebay. The main shop I go to has basically pulled out of ebay, and of the other stores in the Twin Cities I am aware of, I don’t think any of them do ebay either. The fees just killed the profitability for them.

    I’ve heard the same thing in another industry that a friend of mine dabbles in–tractor parts. Apparently there are companies that sell tractor parts that used to do over half their business on ebay, but with the fees, they’ve pulled out as well.

    Personally, I think ebay is ripe for a competitor that goes back to the original model ebay used–an auction site that works well for people selling some random stuff they want to get rid of, rather than all stores trying to sell overstock stuff.

    Heck, Craigslist sounds like they going gangbusters right now–if they even just charged a small insertion fee, they’d probably make a ton.

    As for things that might be nice to see on ebay, how about eliminating sniping by making the end time extend by 5 minutes after the last bid, like a traditional option? I’d rather see the prices go up like that. Would help sellers make more, I would think…

  6. I don’t mind the fees so much – without the $0.15 insertion, I’d have no other way to get an unwanted card off my hands. eBay knows this, so their fee structure will probably never change. If you don’t like it, though, there are no truly viable alternatives.

    My biggest beef is that buyers are virtually untouchable. I can leave positive feedback… or nothing. It doesn’t seem fair. I’m a fan of increased liability for sellers, definitely, but come on now – protect me from shady buyers!

  7. If it were my choice to make one single change to the Sports category, it would be to remove ALL auto/gu cards from the “Game Used Memorabilia” sections. I understand the points of folks trying to cross promote and get more bids. Fact is, a large portion and maybe the majority of memorabilia collectors hate it.

    As a collector that has a mixed collection of cards and both “uncut” GU items the last thing I want to see is cards in a category specific place. One can certainly argue that there is still a tiny swatch of gu material in these cards but I find that gu cards are destruction of history and that is a whole other topic in itself for another time.

    Bottom line, if I’m looking for an actual complete Game used jersey of x team or player in the Game Used Jerseys section, I want to see only jerseys, not hundreds of gu cards. I’m NOT looking for a jersey card, if I wanted a jersey card I’d go the “Sports CARDS” section. At this time there’s approx. 150k baseball card listings(2 mill. if you include stores) and I don’t see any full jerseys or bats, cleats, etc in there.. but obviously I haven’t reviewed every listing. Even on the first page of baseball cards, there is no game used jerseys. Go look at “Jerseys” under the memorabilia and you see at least half or more are baseball cards, not jerseys.

    In the end, if it’s a trading card of any kind it should NOT be in the Game Used Memorabilia section for ANY sport.

  8. After well over a thousand successful transactions, I have not bought a single item on eBay since they went to that mandatory PayPal payment nonsense. I don’t even know what my password is anymore.

  9. Take action on shillers. Users do a lot of work to track these people and ebay lets it continue or so it seems.

  10. eBay doomed itself in the card collecting community when it took away store items for under a dollar. They suggested that I lower my shipping rates. I already have low shipping rates. Enough to cover postage, supplies and eBay fees. Sometimes just postage. Having multiple shipping prices confuses the consumer and the seller. It is good for no one.

    eBay is also pricing out all cards but the most expensive with their higher fees. I have covered eBay topics many times on my blog. This post was my response to the latest pricing changes. It doesn’t even pay to sell cheap items through auction anymore either.

  11. I understand that eBay is a business like any other and they want to make money, but it has become increasingly difficult to sell cheaper cards. Collectors still want those cards too. So I guess my biggest complaint is that it’s really not worth the time to sell cheaper cards.

    As a buyer, I don’t mind using Pay Pal. I’m confident in it as a buyer. It’s nice to keep it universal to all buyers and sellers.

  12. I would agree with jswaykos that the balance needs to be restored between sellers and buyers…it’s patently ridiculous that the only feedback sellers can leave for buyers is positive, whereas an unscrupulous buyer can seriously harm a seller’s business with an unwarranted or questionable negative feedback. I’ve been both buying and selling on Ebay for almost eleven years, and the only negative feedback I have ever received was from an unscrupulous buyer who bought a pack from me, opened it, replaced the good cards with bad ones, resealed it, and then tried to return it. He was allowed to leave me negative feedback even though Ebay/PayPal ruled in my favor in our dispute (I had a scan of the original pack), and it hurt my sales for several months afterwords.

    While there certainly are plenty of questionable sellers out there selling fake packs/patches/autos/cards, buyers do have a simple remedy…i.e. don’t bid on anything if it seems at all questionable. Sellers, on the other hand, have very few ways to avoid unscrupulpus buyers and in many cases a lot more to lose via the damage to their reputation from an unwarranted negative feedback.

    The bottom line is that instead of taking the easy way out and weighting all transactions in favor of the buyer, Ebay should take the time and effort to thoroughly investigate all negative feedbacks and remove those that are unwarranted.

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