eBay is Broken

by Michael Alderete on 5/9/2008 · 2 comments

While I’m sure it’s still possible to buy and sell certain kinds of things on eBay, I’ve been thinking for a while that eBay has reached the point where they simply cannot police the volume of activity taking place on the site. If you become a victim of fraud (I’ve been burned twice), it’s virtually impossible to get eBay to pay attention, and you have basically no recourse. You pays your money, you takes your chances.

A great illustration of just how bad eBay has become is related at The Consumerist: It’s Now Completely Impossible To Sell A Laptop On Ebay

What used to be a [great] ‘virtual yard-sale’ has now turned into a hybrid mass of scammers and shady garage-retailers, clumped together with a straggling, dying breed of people who used to be excited about eBay, but who are now wishing it would return to what it used to be.

It’s an instructive read, and mirrors my own attempts to report receiving counterfeit goods (plastic “Laguiole” steak knives). My experiences indicate, at least to me, that the problem is not limited to expensive electronics (though that’s certainly the most broken part of eBay).

Fundamentally, the problem is one of scale. There’s just too many auctions, too many people, too much fraud for eBay to be able to cost-effectively deal with every issue, or even a sizable percentage. So, as the article illustrates, about all you can hope for is a form letter. The same form letter. No matter what your problem is.

Crow September 16, 2008 at 7:21 am

Forget the details, EBAY IS BROKEN. Right now I get error 503, service unavailable for two days on looking at members other items, today the summary page is changed unrecognisably and the 503 error extends to ALL SEARCHES! Without a working search, EBAY IS DEAD. I gave up selling weeks ago. Now it seems I must also give up buying too.

They should sack their web developers and LEAVE WELL ALONE, but they won’t. They’ll accelerate the already vast exodus to other sites, and by the time they fix it, if ever, many of us will have no reason or wisg to return. eBay’s stranglehold monopoly is certainly dead, even if they can recover from this debacle.

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