For several years now, I’ve been using eBay (ebay.co.uk), to buy things I needed and which were too expensive or didn’t even exist in Greece. I also had sold a few things I no longer needed on eBay. My experience has been good, I was paying the proper attention, of course. Like check seller’s reputation etc.
Lately however, my experience with eBay has shown that the famous on-line market place has started deteriorating. Let me explain to you what I mean:
1. You order something you will need in say twenty days. So, you make sure you order it from a UK seller, counting that air mail from UK to Greece never takes more than one week, so you think you will have your item before you need it. Well, not so fast! UK sellers have started using some strange shipping methods. For example, one I used shipped the item via PostNL (what’s wrong with Royal Mail, guys?). Now, I expect PostNL to be used when I buy something from Netherlands, but from UK? Well, that item took more than a month to arrive. Here goes my plan to use that item when I needed it.
2. You buy something from eBay (UK again) and you are given an estimated delivery date. The time passes and the item is not delivered. You contact the seller and ask what the hell is wrong and the options you get are to either ask for a refund or have the seller resend you the item. That’s good except that you do not have the item you wanted!!! And the seller doesn’t get punished for that, so other folks have no idea that either he didn’t bother sending you the item you ordered or that he shipped it in a different manner. Again, the only one affected is the buyer. I had an item bought, never delivered, asked for a refund and it was issued the same day. So what do you make out of it? Who issues a refund immediately, unless he knows that he never shipped the item?!?!
What I want to say, with all the above is that eBay’s protection towards the buyer, ends up with a refund. That’s it folks. It doesn’t matter that you planned some work counting on the item you ordered, get your money back and be happy. Well, thank you very much, but that doesn’t help me much, does it? First, the seller had my money in his bank account, from the day I ordered until I complained and got a refund (if you collect several such orders, the interest on the money you got can be significant) and second I can no longer count on eBay sellers for time-critical things.
In the past, it was Chinese sellers that you should avoid, if you needed your item by a specific date. Never reliable on that, because of the way their post service works. We all knew about this problem, that’s why I avoided Chinese sellers, if I wanted my item to arrive quickly. But lately, it’s UK sellers who are unreliable and I do not see eBay doing anything about it.