Glitches, oversold inventory, and missing feedback

February 1st, 2009

On December 7th, BUY had one of its photo frames selected for the Daily DealBUY already had four other listings for the same “NEW Philips 7 Inch Metal Digital Picture Frame” running.  Each of the four listings had either 2398 or 2400 quantity available but the daily deal had only 2298.  That listing sold all 2298 of its items.  According to Randy Smythe’s original posting (story has since been removed) eBay had a glitch causing BUY to oversell.  To make matters worse, BUY created another listing the next day consisting of another 2398 at a higher price.

My educated guess is that BUY had around 2400 photo frames in their inventory, created multiple listings with the assumption that only 3 – 4% would sell, got selected for the daily deal, and got caught off guard when they sold all their posted inventory.  Note that 2298 is approximately 4% less than 2398 and this is close to BUY‘s historical sell through rate on eBay.  We’ll probably never know what really happened, but what we do know is that once the negatives started rolling in eBay began removing them.

Some notable feedbacks include:

Seller runs ad when item was not in stock, refuse to sell and tried to fault me

Seller canceled purchase stating that I returned item. I never received it. F-

Wld’nt sell itm aftr Buy it now-then thrtn’d me w/non pymnt-itm is avbl @ more $

Buy.com oversold item, won’t accept my payment, and won’t cancel my transaction.

Seller Never Had Enough Stock To Sell – Raised Price and Sold to Later Buyers

Seller offered item but retracted yet sold item to others after me for more $$$$

Many sellers, including myself, are guilty of having oversold the occasional item.  I will state that when this was the case I never faulted the buyer, reported them as a non-paying bidder, or raised my prices in other listings.  I’ve always made it right with the buyer usually by offering free upgrades or immediately refunding them and giving them another seller to buy from.  I’ve heard of other sellers using BUY‘s tactics but I’d hope that this practice has mostly ended as a result of last year’s changes.

eBay also seems to have overstepped its bounds in removing the following neutral feedbacks that had nothing to do with overselling their product:

Item had dead pixel, BUY offered a refund, but didn’t have a replacement

Paid for expedited shipping but was delayed. They DID credit the shipping so A+

I spoke with the buyer that had the defective photo frame and he had this to say:

I didn’t remove any feedback I left. I see that it is gone, but this was not up to me. I left neutral and meant it. What’s the deal?

Thank you. Buy or buy.com will not be recieving my business in the future. How were you able to notice this? I am very impressed that someone is paying attention and has the ability to do a bit of research.

More Feedback Removed

Since my last update another feedback comment was removed for no apparent reason:

you never gave me my code for B@K on live marketplace. Never returend emails.

The title itself was “Banjo – Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts with BONUS! (includes Download Code for original Banjo-Kazooie)” so this is a legitimate complaint regarding the item.  I was also able to verify that the buyer did pay for the item.

Who Cares?

I contacted eBay’s Griff about six weeks ago regarding this but have received no acknowledgement.  I can only assume even he could not blame these on policy violations as he has done in the past.  TameBay’s Chris Dawson also avoided comment when I pressed the issue with him and how it conflicts with his belief on how eBay should treat its buyers.  Instead I was given an answer to another question basically saying not to worry about the “odd negative” I may receive as a seller.

When I posed this question in the feedback forums on eBay they seemed to overwhelming believe BUY should not have their feedback removed.

Conclusion

As stated in a previous entry if none of this feedback had been removed BUY‘s feedback rating would have remained the same 99.6%.  Instead of helping BUY, eBay has silenced its buyers who did nothing wrong, lost BUY future business, lost buyer confidence, and made eBay a more hostile trading environment.

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