A cautionary tale of eBay

Yeah, yeah, I know . . . I was warned. People told me I’d be ripped off, that I’d get crappy merchandise, yadda yadda yadda. But–

That’s not what happened. I haven’t ever gotten anything that wasn’t pretty much as represented (although I have misunderstood what I was looking at in photos, and that was my own fault.) I’ve had pretty good luck with eBay *sellers*.

It’s eBay itself that decided last night around midnight that my money wasn’t green enough and that they didn’t want me shopping there any more. I had logged on around 11:45 and had paid for an auction item through PayPal and was returning to my eBay page when I got the “alert” that I had an Unpaid Item Strike. Now, I had not gotten any kind of preliminary email or reminder, so this surprised me. I looked at the list, and there was one item (a few jewelry findings that I wanted so I could make more charm necklaces–but that’s another entry that I can’t make until later) where the seller had entered a complaint. How long had this sat around unpaid? Two days.

But anyway, I clicked to PayPal that one and then went to the Dispute Console to enter the info about how I had paid and to politely suggest that they send an email warning people that they would get a strike if they didn’t pay soon–rather than just entering a strike. I thought that was their policy.

As soon as I exited that console, I got a page telling me that my information was temporarily unavailable and to try again later. I decided to go on to bed and finish paying for the other three things in the morning.

But this morning when I tried to log on, I couldn’t. I got a page telling me that my account had been suspended and that I would heretofore be blocked from any transactions. The “explanation” page told me I would have to pay all my seller’s fees before I could be reinstated. Well, because I have never sold anything, I was dubious. Yet I clicked over to that page, and it told me I didn’t have fees but should clear up all complaints.

I clicked on the live chat help button and got a representative who was mystified. She sent me to a billing rep, who said I didn’t have any fees but that my account was blocked. He sent me back to a regular rep who sent me to another ebay page that let me send email to customer service. However, you have to log in to do any emailing on that system, and here’s what I get when I go to ANY ebay page now:

Your account has been suspended
[ID]’s account is now blocked.
You have been indefinitely suspended from eBay because our records indicate your account was involved in activities that violate our policy governing eBay use by temporarily or indefinitely suspended members. Learn more about this offense.

“Offense”? Good grief. I clicked around and it finally told me that my account was “linked to another suspended account.” The only way that could have happened is that I must’ve bought something from someone whose account is now suspended.

I went back into live chat and they sent me to a page where I could finally email customer service. I described the problem and said that I needed to pay the other auctions or else my account really WOULD be in violation. The page says that they take 24-48 hours to answer. No answers yet.

At this point I don’t WANT to buy anything more from eBay, but I did want the jewelry findings and the little fish charm that I had already won. However, I can’t get to the checkout page or go to PayPal with those auctions because I’m locked out. I tried to contact the sellers to tell them why I hadn’t paid, but the system said my account isn’t authorized even for that.

To hell with ebay anyway–Dallas is a shopping mecca, the stores are practically giving junk away (except for groceries and gas, which have both gone up!), and there are tons of flea markets where I could probably find this stuff just as cheaply. I don’t HAVE to have jewelry findings anyhow. I was just makin’ these charm necklaces because I had a ton of charms that I thought would be cool on necklaces. I have a few of the findings I need, anyway, so I could do a necklace without the stuff. But still . . . it seems like a random targeting for whatever reason. Makes me angry.

Here’s the ironic part. Since I sent out all this “help me” mail, I have gotten a bunch of email messages telling me that I have unpaid item strikes for everything I was trying to pay for (and remember, these auctions JUST ended or ended a day or two ago, so they are NOT seven days old!) This means that my account is now eligible for suspension . . . BECAUSE they made it impossible to pay for the stuff by suspending it for no reason. I had to roll my eyes.

Anyhow, I had heard that eBay had gone way downhill and that it had started being really strange, and now I know what was meant by that. They target you for some minor thing (that they SAY is not going to be a problem in their policy) and then it snowballs.

So that solves my problem of buying things I don’t need, anyhow. The Universe took action! And although it does seem strange that a company would want to zap someone who had been a good customer and had spent a few hundred dollars there over the past few months, hey, whatever–they’re free to refuse service to anybody. They just lost MY business.

What great customer service, eh?

I was gonna do a post today about how to make a charm necklace and show you the one I made, but now I’ve got to go do some other stuff. Will take some photos later and do that post, just in case you might like to make one. They are kind of neat. I never wear bracelets ’cause they bang against the keyboard or the piano or the desk . . . you know the drill. But necklaces–yes!

Just don’t bother to buy the stuff on eBay. Do a search and you’ll find plenty of great shops that do business on their own websites. Be sure to comparison-shop, as the split rings and spring rings that I used can vary widely in price from site to site.

Sheesh . . . ebay. *grumble*

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Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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