Saturday, January 29, 2011


I've been selling some stuff on ebay.  It's been a mostly positive experience. I have been noticing that their policies are extremely slanted towards the buyers though. I understand the need for buyer protection, but isn't it just as scary to be in the seller's position?  People scam ebay all the time. It's real leap of on the seller's part to send something out in the mail without having the cash first.  The problem is that Paypal always sides with the buyer.  When you send an item out, a buyer send a payment to paypal, but paypal holds that payment for a short period of time before adding it to your account.  All the buyer has to do is say they never got it.  This seems like too big of a security flaw to ignore on paypal's part.  They need to figure out a new way to verify this.  Maybe work with UPS or Fedex to confirm delivery and the contents of a package?  Actually that would solve everything. Here's my proposal:

1. On your ebay sale demand that buyers must agree to "double verified shipping" for an additional cost to be paid to the shipping company.

2.  When someone buys your item on ebay, they send their money to paypal who holds the money.  Once paypal has the money, you can ship the item.

3.  Go to a shipping company store like Fedex or UPS.  Present them with ebay item number or even a barcode to scan off your phone.

4.  They enter this item number into a computer and then verify that the item you're shipping out is the item on the ebay auction (serial numbers will be important here if they're available.) 

5.  Once they click verify, the shipping labels automatically print out.  This ensures that the item will be shipped to the location the seller has indicated in the transaction.

6.  Once the item's tracking number is confirmed as being delivered, the seller gets the money.

Now, of course there are times when sellers send broken items or stuff that doesn't exactly match up with the descriptions.  When this happens the buyer must continue the double verification process and mail the item back to the seller.  When the package is confirmed as being delivered back to the seller, then (and only then) will the buyer get a refund.

That's one idea I have.  The next one, I'm borrowing from Steve Corn.

Sniping is a big problem on ebay if you ask me.  It hurts everybody. If you're at work or on plane when an auction is ending, you can pretty much forget it (unless you enter a million dollars as your bid.)  People wait until the last minute to start bidding in the hopes that no one else will bid.  I think the reason people put stuff on ebay auctions is to encourage bidding.  Sniping hurts sellers who are looking for an honest auction, and it hurts buyers who can't be there at the last 2 minutes of an auction.  Here's the idea to fix this:

All initial bids will be closed 1 hour before the auction ends. Only re-bidding (or adding a higher bid) will be allowed in that last hour.  This means that if something has been up for a week, and you want it, you have to put a bid on it right there and then. You can still wait until the last second to adjust your bid, but you will only be able to do this if you've already put a bid in prior to one hour before the auction ends.  That will effectively kill sniping and help sellers get a fair deal.

There you go.  2 ideas that will improve the ebay sellers experience

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