eBay used to be a nice place to live. --Fifteen YEARS ago, that is.
Today it's a wasteland of fraudsters and fools, rip-off artists and the insane. I maintained an eBay account since almost from the day they set up shop. I care deeply about making GOOD and HONEST deals, so I was meticulously honest in my dealings with both sellers, and buyers of my junk. I bent over backwards, went the extra TWO miles, and did WHATEVER IT TOOK to please EVERY SINGLE MEMBER that I interacted with. And it paid off. In more than a decade I maintained at least a 99.8% positive feedback rating. Through thousands of auctions (I was involved in many businesses and we bought and sold countless items), my transactions went smoothly nearly every single time. If I had one unhappy customer in 100 auctions I was mortified and I did everything under the sun to fix it.
But as time went on, bidders and buyers became more and more impossible to please, more and more argumentative, and, bluntly, less and less intelligent. I couldn't figure this out at first, even though it was documentable fact. No matter what I tried or did in later years, my feedback rating slipped to 98%. I could see the writing on the wall -- there were now just too many buyers who would not be pleased NO MATTER WHAT. I finally dumped my eBay account and stayed away from eBay for many more years. I sold on Craigslist, or, more often, simply gave things away, rather than to immerse my psyche in the unwashed masses of online buying and selling. And I was happy.
Unfortunately, recently, I found myself with a huge cache of crap. I sold about half of it on Craigslist and, surprisingly, had pretty good people-luck. They came; they bought; they left happy. Simple. But there were still a few hundred items for which there was simply not enough local interest. These were mostly weird, odd things, that only a small handful of people in the country would be interested in. Craigslist couldn't sell them, so against the advice of ALL my friends, and against my own better judgement, I opened a new eBay account and started selling.
I expected the worst. It had been many years since I had dipped myself into this overflowing toilet of the insane, and I figured things had only gotten worse in my absence. Boy was I right. eBay was ten or twenty times as unpleasant as I remembered it, and the problems started almost immediately, ranging from non-paying buyers (deadbeat bidders) to attempts of fraud to successes at fraud to bitchy, insane bidders who asked twenty questions of a $20 item, none of which made any sense, to bidders who waited until they had won the item and were six days late on their payment before asking relevant questions about their purchase, then deciding they didn't want the item after all. Increasingly I found myself blocking more and more bidders, until it seemed there couldn't possibly be anyone left to bid on my stuff! But still, on they came, the brainless zombies, the fools, the idiots, the whack-jobs. I was running deadbeat bidders in about one of every six auctions, and many of the rest were made up of fraudsters, wanna-be fraudsters, and professional complainers. I'd worked in Federal law enforcement popping corrupt politicians -- this eBay crowd seemed to be of the very same ilk. My patience with them grew shorter and shorter until I had almost none left in reserve. I began to develop a sense of sniffing out the turds, as though I could smell them coming four blocks away, and when I did, I blocked them from bidding on my stuff or found other ways of getting rid of them.
The trouble was, in the old days, buyers had feedback files just like sellers do now. If you had a suspicious bidder you could look up their feedback file and see if they were a habitual problem case. That saved a LOT of trouble because you could block 'em and never have to be subjected to their nonsense. But these days you can't. Why? Because eBay, in its infinite stupidity (it is THE dumbest, most counter-productive company I have EVER come across) decided that buyers can do no wrong. Try it yourself -- sell something on eBay, then try to leave feedback for a problematic buyer. You can ONLY leave POSITIVE feedback. Was the buyer an absolute pain in the ass and tried seven ways from Sunday to try to defraud you? Who cares -- you can't record that and no one will ever know about it. Every buyer now has 100% pure-as-the-driven-snow feedback. You've been completely blinded by eBay and eBay is NOT intelligent enough to understand what this has done and is doing to their brand and their income. It's tough to sell on eBay now, because SO MANY SELLERS HAVE LEFT, that fewer and fewer buyers even bother checking eBay anymore.
I confess, I do NOT have much patience left with buyers. I can smell 'em coming. I swear, the first time I interact with them even innocently, I can tell you whether or not they're likely to be insane. For some reason I saw this one coming too. Enter, stage left, eBay "member", zachchild (Zach Child, of Salen, Oregon, he says).
Zach bid on a Radio Shack multimeter I wasn't using anymore. He was one of two hot and competing bidders, both of whom went the distance and Zach ultimately bid higher than the item retails for today. That should have set off the warning bells.
A whole slew of auctions ended at the same time as Zach's. All buyers, every one, paid within seconds, minutes, or within one hour. That's pretty standard these days. Buyers want sellers to ship quickly -- everyone's in a hurry. So sellers have adapted to shipping quickly. Many ship same day, which is what I try to do. I know "I" want "my" stuff as soon as I can get it, and almost all buyers feel the same way, so over the decades sellers have finally gotten onboard and are geared up to ship RIGHT NOW, provided that buyers also pay RIGHT NOW. I've even had buyers complain about not receiving their goods from me, when they HAVEN'T EVEN PAID FOR THEM. I swear, this kind of stupid crap will drive you to be almost as crazy as they are.
Conversely, I've won auctions in which the item showed up THE NEXT DAY. I'm always left speechless by this. I ain't that good, but I admire and respect sellers who are. I do, though, always try hard to ship within the first 24 hours. The trouble is, you can't ship until you've been paid. Almost all buyers grasp this concept and will pay immediately in hopes of getting their stuff quickly. But as I said, throughout this particular batch of auctions the fraudsters and deadbeats were almost outnumbering the legitimate buyers and my patience had simply run out. I've never waited more than a few hours to pay for any auction I won, and it's an alien concept to me why some bidders wait days or weeks. I was selling this batch of goods because I had a deadline to vacate a warehouse. I didn't have time for any more damned deadbeats. I needed to list, sell, get paid, ship, and move onward as quickly as possible.
We eventually started including clauses like these in our auctions:
We're sorry but payment really is expected from winning bidders.
We require payment within 48 hours of auction close.
If payment is not received the item will be relisted.
We will NOT ship out of the US (Alaska, Hawaii ok).
So zachchild bid on this lowly multimeter, and won, and then didn't pay.
eBay automatically sent him an invoice but he didn't pay that.
The next day I sent him a second invoice but he didn't pay that.
ALL the other auctions had been won, closed, paid, and shipped by then, but zachchild just couldn't seem to get it together to go with the flow like everyone else. I sensed I was in for yet another bout with yet another deadbeat bidder and I'd had a belly full of them over previous month.
That evening I sent zachchild a manually generated email asking him to please contact me if there was going to be a problem with payment. Very polite. But zachchild couldn't be bothered to respond to that either (he now claims he DID respond to that, but I didn't receive it, and I can find no record of it coming through eBay's servers either). I decided to let the matter go another day.
The next day there was still no payment from zachchild, and he still couldn't be bothered to respond to my polite inquiry about payment. That was enough. I made a Second Chance offer to the next bidder in line. He accepted, paid within 20 minutes, and the item shipped out 30 minutes later. Done deal. Thank you. The end.
But it wasn't quite the end. I'm going to simply append my email exchange with zachchild below. Suffice it to say that two complaints have been filed against him through eBay, and now one formal complaint of criminal Interstate electronic harassment has been filed with the FBI.
I said that I could smell this mentality five blocks away. I think these guys have lead academic lives, with no real-life experiences under their belts, and they think they can pull these kinds of stunts sort of anonymously -- never, EVER face to face or man to man -- but from the shadows, like dirty little snipers, as they're used to doing in the corporate or government workplace environment, where all the other people are gutless wonders too.
Here you go. Enjoy. This is titled: Why eBay Sellers are Leaving eBay:
We're sorry but we have given up. We asked you if there was a problem
making payment and received no reply. This item has been sold to the next
in line. If you pay for this item at a later date it will be immediately
refunded. You will not receive this item.
(We can't locate this email but he is questioning why we would go ahead and sell the item just because he won't answer our emails for two days)
When you won't even reply, then yes, we give up and move on. We run into deadbeat bidders nowadays in about one out of every six sales, so we have come to expect it and we don't have time for it.. Since you have now threatened us with an act that is essentially an act of fraud, you have earned yourself your own personal web page detailing all your emails. Give it one to two weeks and Google your name. We are nearly done with our round of eBaying, so we really don't care what you do. Next time try ANSWERING YOUR EMAIL. I have never once in my life gone more than a few hours without paying for an item. Never once. I would never dream of such a thing. It's funny that you wouldn't reply to us no matter what until we gave up and resold the item. Now you seem to have no problem finding your computer.
[Right here is the juncture at which zachchild could have taken the correct path. "I" would have replied and said, "Ok, I'm sorry I missed out on the deal. I think you were a little impatient but good luck to you. I consider this matter closed." ]
Instead, zachchild chose to show us his dirty bunghole. He chose to shows us all what he's really made of deep down at the center of his soul. I SWEAR, I can smell these people coming. If this deal hadn't blown up in this way, it would have blown up in some other way. zachchild might have found some absurd thing he didn't like about the meter or he might have bitched because the shipping wasn't fast enough or he thought it was a different model or he just didn't want it anymore or he didn't like the color or whatever else people can dream up in their dizzy little heads. And we'd be going through this same type of scenario right now, just for a different reason. We have no way of knowing how he has treated other sellers because eBay has erased any negative feedback he might have ever received because, of course, the buyer can do no wrong.]
So I am going to buy this product from you.... But since you have
been so impatient, I will make you wait 2 more days. If you dont send to
me you are a thief and you will be forced to refund my money and deal with
[Right here we can see we have an illogical, dirty little prick on our hands.]
What you are proposing to do here is called FRAUD. You have admitted that
you know the item has been sold, and you are stating clearly that you are
going to commit an act which will allow you to cause further trouble in
this case,. You can be prosecuted for this, and believe me, we are just the
people to make sure that happens if you pull this little tantrum. We say,
why not go for it? We're between causes -- yours will do nicely.
.....And as for your
putting together "your own personal web page detailing all your emails" -
Go for it buddy just remember you don't know me. Or what I am capable of.
And that is no threat, solely fact.
[Sounds like a threat to US and we're betting it'll sound like a threat to the judge]
I'm not going to read your nonsense. You've already committed your intent
to words. Explain it to the judge. We do not have time for you. If you
email one more time we will call the police. You've just earned yourself a
SECOND complaint to eBay. Cease and desist.
I know its immature but hey
send the cops. If they find
this half as incredulous as
I do we will all have a riot
laughing. I am Zach Child
503.443.80373 Salem OR
And I have notified ebay about
your practices, and it is YOU
my friend, who is in the wrong.
You got it. We are now filing a formal criminal complaint of Interstate electronic harassment. Once again, for the record, cease and desist contacting us. You don't seem to get this: We are FROM Federal law enforcement.
According to our spam bucket the emails continued. No one read them. Yet. We have now filed with the FBI.
As in all such cases, we hope and pray that people like zachchild "shows us what he is capable of." We're right up the road from him. Dealing with this imbecile will be convenient.
Here's a guy that really, really doesn't want his words to appear in publi -- so much so that he threatens us if we post them. Why, if he's so convinced he's right? He should welcome our disemination of his words and threats, right? Curious how little bullies want to act tough right up to the point they're called on it, and there's nothing we enjoy more than calling wanna-be bullies on their bullshit. This guy KNOWS he's right, so let him show the world how right he is! We'll even help him!
THIS is why so many sellers have abandon eBay. Conversely, this explains why it has become so much harder to sell your stuff on eBay -- because when the sellers leave, the buyers stop looking and go elsewhere. Next time you try to sell something on eBay and you get one eighth the bids that you used to, and you end up selling for one quarter the price you used to get, you can thank all the gutter-snipes like this who have driven the sellers to apoplexy and driven them to other means and modes of selling their wares.
Any and all future problems or interactions of any kind with this guy will be appended to this page.
Does he REALLY have nothing better to do than this?
So be it. We can't wait to see what he pulls next.
Zach Child received a warning from eBay threating to shut down his account.
We received NO warning or communication whatsoever from eBay.
Zach Child didn't fraudulently pay for the item as he threatened to do,
We're waiting for our harassment and threats complaint to work through the system.
We've finished our round of eBaying and will instruct eBay to close our account.
Life is too damned short to have to deal with people like this.
Is this the end?
We doubt it.