LumpenDoodle2

Our Beloved Friend Ebay

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Finally did it, I left ebay selling yesterday.   Well, it could be better described as constructive dismissal by ebay (with a little goading from me).

i've been selling my leather items on ebay, for about 1 1/2-2 years now (doesn't time fly), and I also have a webshop.   Of course, because ebay just potters away, and sales were regular, I've never really pushed my shop regarding sales.   It's been busy, but  more by luck, than by my effort.

A couple of days ago, ebay pulled 6 of my listings.   Apparently,  I was breaking some ebay policy.   So, a few phone calls to ebay, and agreement from all that ebay policy did not make sense, I relisted them.   They were pulled another 3 times, with the final ebay policy infringement from me being.......   firearms......

Some of my listings include pictures of holsters containing children's toy guns.    These toys were bought from ebay, for the express purpose of displaying in the holsters.

So, I can look at a picture of a child's toy gun on ebay,  I can purchase a toy gun on ebay, but I cannot display a toy gun in a holster on ebay.    

Work that one out Ted.

I contacted the ebay ceo UK, who is as much use as a chocolate fireguard.     I then contacted ebay ceo US, after waiting without reply, or even aknowledgement from UK ceo, after sending him three emails.

I decided,  'buggrit!!', I've had enough.   Time to leave ebay, and concentrate on my own shop, so I relisted everything again, with no changes but one.  I took a leaf out of grannie Weatherwax's book, "If you're going to break the rules, break them good and hard!".    I added the statement that ebay policy was just silly, and hidebound, and that they were basically forcing me to leave ebay as I refuse to jump through their silly hoops.   Hoops which took them almost 2 years to apply.   Oh, and I added my shop web address (right little rebel that I am).

Of course, they pulled the listings (12 this time), citing firearms and other policy violations, and finally, the ebay UK ceo rep got in touch, to tell me they were restricting my account for 7 days.

I then had the pleasure of telling them "too late, I've pulled ALL my listings, and I will not sell on ebay again".    

Shame, I've been a loyal little soldier selling stuff since 2005, with only 1 negative feedback in that time, and that was from a weirdy person, who made no sense.

Last night, I started contacting my customers about the situation, to assure them their orders through ebay were safe, and have received 1/2 dozen replies so far, with nothing but support, and encouragement from them (bless their little cotton socks).

just to add, infringing on ebay policy didn't stop ebay from taking this months hefty amount of fees from my account, just before trying to restrict my account.  Wazzacks!!!!!

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I buy on Ebay on occasion, but not that often. Only when I bid what I think a Vintage Model Rocket is worth to me and if no one out bids me, good for me. I have no fees to pay.

But as for you, it is a GD shame they did that to you. They make way too much money off of people anyways!

You might want to look into an Amazon Account, though I know nothing about Amazon or their fee system.

I do wish all the best in your business.

As a side note: It is against Ebay policy to sell pyrotechnics of any kind, including Black Powder model rocket engines. AND, you have to have a license to ship them...legally.

But more and more I see these offered on Ebay, and they sell, and people are getting away with it.

Honestly, I would like to see what would happen if just before a holiday, EVERYONE would pull all their listings on Ebay for 3 days in contention of the outrageous fees they charge.

But that's just me. The White Collars at Ebay probably would be warring Brown Under Panties by the 3rd Day!

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Come the revolution.........first up against the wall.

And my wall gets longer every day.:asoapbox:

I am having a little wander around Amazon just now.   I think I signed up for an Amazon account ages ago, but never did anything with it.

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Mark842   

Amazon is much better in my opinion. I sell on both venues but they are two different animals. People shopping on ebay think they are shopping at a yard sale and expect discount pricing. People shopping on Amazon expect new product from a professional business.

eBay drives me nuts with there constant rule and policy changes. They can't leave shit alone for 2 days without me having to go in and update a couple hundred listings. Just happened again today with new security protocol crap...

Amazon has very strict rules also. they don't give warnings like ebay. You violate them and your account is shut down until you can convince them your ready to make changes. Make sure you understand their policies on what is a new product or an existing product in their catalog. This screws most new sellers right off when they are coming from eBay. If your looking to sell Holsters that you are making and you search their catalog, find holsters and click on "sell similar" and proceed you will be screwing up. You will be listing your holster under the UPC or EAC code of whatever Holster you selected. Obvioulsy you are not part of that company so that code can not possibly be yours. The system will allow you to do this. Then the original seller that owns that product will report and your short and illustrious Amazon career will be done. Long story short...if your making your own products you have to have your own UPC's for every product you list.

Where do you get them? Go back to your favorite venue, eBay. you can buy 1000 of them for about $2.

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Upc - unique product code?   

So much to learn, so little time.

Many thanks, I shall google.

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480volt   
2 hours ago, LumpenDoodle2 said:

And my wall gets longer every day.:asoapbox:

Arya has a little list....

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mikesc   

The UPC s that you can buy on ebay ( and elsewhere ) for a couple of dollars for a few hundred are those that were issued to others ( and not yet used ) and are surplus to them so they sell them, some people/businesses pay for a block ( smallest block is about 200,000 ) and then sell them off in smaller lots ( like wholesale to retail )..you can think of these lots as "generic", they will not have been issued specifically to you or your company.
If you are selling an item in red and blue and yellow etc, you need one code per colour and the same for each size of item..But one code covers a size 38 in red of any specific widget, you don't need a separate code for every size 38 red widget type #123456 that you sell.
If you buy a block ( smallest block that you can buy is 200,000 codes, and depending on which issuing authority you purchase from you may have to buy a larger number in each block, AFAICR )..Buying a block means that anyone reading the code can see that it was issued to you or your company, can help fight fake goods a little, depends if you need that kind of protection, last time I bought blocks ( a couple of years or so ago now ) I think I paid around €250.00 ( inc VAT ) per 200,000..prices have probably risen since then.
More about them, EAN/UPC here
https://www.gs1.org/barcodes/ean-upc

Bear in mind with Amazon that depending on how successful what you sell is, upon seeing your success ( they control the shopping cart ) Amazon frequently then either contact your suppliers ( if you are selling 3rd party goods and appear to be doing volume and making loads of money ) and make them an offer to buy the same direct, thus cutting you out of the loop..Tends to happen more with the stuff that , sellers "warehouse" with Amazon, and is then sent from Amazon directly to the end customer.

Much less of a problem with "bespoke" small production runs from "craft workers", but, Amazon are not above making enquiries in Asia with short run manufacturers about making things directly for them that they see sellers doing very well with.I know some leather OEM goods manufacturers in Asia who also work for Amazon, they were contacted with "how much to make "this" item in runs of 500 ?" type approaches..Not all stuff that is sold as coming direct from Amazon bears an Amazon label, and you'd be hard pressed to compete with a company that can source "widgets" in Asia and that also knows how many "widgets" you sell per day, and exactly when you sell them and what the buyers have looked at before hand and where their mouse hovered and for how long on each page..

Advice would be to only put a few items onto Amazon ( or any platform ) just enough to get some lookers ( with maybe a few orders) , but use it to drive "pre-qualified" ( interested in what you are selling ) visitors to your site(s). The "driving" must be done with subtlety , so as not to fall foul of Amazon's TOS.

Where Amazon is ( ATM ) particularly useful, is that along with pinterest, Google has been in love with them both for a few years now ( although in the light of Google's tie-up with Walmart in the USA, and Bing's tie-up with Amazon this may change )..Google "boost" Amazon and pinterest in their results ( they say they don't, but "if it walks like a duck..." etc ), an attractive listing on Amazon, or an attractive page on pinterest gets you high placings in Google SERPs..and you don't have to be paying into their adwords scam ( what else does one call a system where 80% of all clicks are by bots ) to be visible on page one.

Edited by mikesc

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What is with the spool of cable??? I'm confused....

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I believe it is steel towing type cable.   

As to confusion, that is my default position nowadays.:(

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Mark842   
9 hours ago, mikesc said:

Advice would be to only put a few items onto Amazon ( or any platform ) just enough to get some lookers ( with maybe a few orders) , but use it to drive "pre-qualified" ( interested in what you are selling ) visitors to your site(s). The "driving" must be done with subtlety , so as not to fall foul of Amazon's TOS.

9 hours ago, mikesc said:

 

Good luck with that since it is against policy to have anything mentioning your website name or email address anywhere in your listings or correspondence using their messages. A simple look in the seller help forums at all the people that are crying daily about having their account blocked for doing so. About the only thing you can do towards this is I put a business card in every package I ship from eBay and Amazon sales after someone has made a purchase. I have found that 90 % of my repeat customers will then shop directly from us and they also recommend us by website to their friends.

Also if LumdenDoodle2 is manufacturing her own stuff she doesn't have to worry about Amazon trying to pull and end around run to her supplier.

I do extremely well on Amazon. Far better than I do on eBay and frankly Amazon is easier to deal with as far as listing.  A leather craftsman can do well on there, just follow the rules!

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mikesc   




About the only thing you can do towards this is I put a business card in every package I ship from eBay and Amazon sales after someone has made a purchase. I have found that 90 % of my repeat customers will then shop directly from us and they also recommend us by website to their friends.






That is precisely the sort of thing I was hinting at..Amazon cannot "come after" sellers who include invoices with their business details in the customers order, especially as in most jurisdictions the seller is legally obliged to supply an invoice ( with their address and contact details , business number, phone number and website etc ) with the goods when they send them out.

In France, and all of the EU as far as I know, it is illegal not to send those detailed invoices with any goods despatched by the seller, whether they are selling from Amazon or directly from their own website or B & M. All items that I have purchased via Amazon over the years have always included invoices giving full details of the sellers, insisting that sellers here do not follow French national and EU law
would result in Amazon being prosecuted by the consumer protection agencies.

Amazon obviously cannot "pull end runs" around someone who makes their own stuff, but what they can, and have done, is, in some cases , when they spot an item selling very well, send details of it to an OEM manufacturer to be made for them, thus competing with the original item.

Yes, one can be successful with Amazon, especially as G apply ( for the moment ) the Amazon and pinterest "boost".

What can work equally well ( if not better ) is to run one's own pinterest pages with watermarked images of ones items, that give the name of ones own website.

Also identifying where ones potential customers hang out on the web ( for example leatherworkers hang out here :) and buying CPM banner ad space in those venues..The can be served from ones own site, ( easy to track the stats and ROI ) or hosted on the displaying site ( harder to track the stats and ROI, but possible with co-operative site owners ) ..specialist sites are not overun with "click bots" in the same way that google SERPs or facebook are, ads on either G SERPs ( adwords ) or their "display network" <= adsense are wide open to "click bots", and will burn through your ad budget very fast, same applies to ads on facebook, running your own pages on facebook can get you paying customers, but if you want "reach" on facebook you have to spend either a great deal of time on it, or pay for reach via ads there, which again are vulnerable to "click bots"..click fraud costs advertisers ( not the ad agencies , but the advertisers ) tens of billions per year, cutting out the middle men and approaching site owners ( who have the sort of visitor traffic that you can sell to ) to buy banner ad space on their sites is worth doing, as long as you are paying for ads viewed and not pages viewed ( pages can be viewed by browsers running ad blockers ), a few tens of dollars can get you a lot of pre-qualified interested eyeballs.

Edited by mikesc

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mikesc   

Added separately as multiple edits here play havoc with the quote boxen.
I agree with you concerning ebay versus Amazon, ebay is in 99% of peoples minds the "online tat bazaar" where customers go to find the lowest price they can, they are not searching for quality goods, they are searching for "bargains" in both the auctions and the "buy it now", ebay is the "poundland" of the internet, and has a Kafkaesque system.

Amazon is more straightforward, and tends to attract those with slightly more purchasing power, and who are not shopping based wholly upon price.

I notice that you ( Mark842 ) are in the USA...Lumpendoodle2 and I are both in the EU ( well she is for now at least ) in Scotland and France respectively, Amazon and ebay do not run the same TOS ( with regard to both sellers and buyers ) respectively here in the EU ( and in other countries ) as they do in the USA. They both ( as do any companies or individual businesses operating in the EU member countries ) have to operate in accordance with EU and local national laws that govern sale of goods, guarantees, contract laws, consumer protection etc, they cannot legally, ( nor can any business entity operating here ) include in any contract with any seller, any clause that requires the seller to break the laws, especially the laws concerning consumer protection , such as those which require all goods to be shipped with an invoice that has full contact details of the business ( seller ) and / or the manufacturer.

Edited by mikesc

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Mikesc, if we behave, and promise to be good, can Scotland stay?   

We would miss you all dreadfully if we left........

Good advice about business cards and invoices.   A very good way to divert future sales to your website.   I've been going through Paypal, and emailing everyone I've sold to, but I will follow that up with a postal drop as well.   A number of my customers are the more 'mature' gentlemen, who like the fact that I don't mind if they call me up for a chat about the orogress of their rig.  

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fredk   

To add my 2p worth.

Some Ebay 'rules' do not match UK laws.

Me and #1 son got banned from selling on Ebay 3 years ago.

In short we were returning buyers money per UK distance selling law, which wasn't the same as Ebays rules

Ebay owns Paypal and between them they were getting about 14% of our sales. By cutting us off they were no longer getting £5,500 plus per year from our sales

Tried talking with them but the people only had one script

I joined an on-line auction site called ebid : https://www.ebid.net/uk/

Its still growing and as yet I've not sold anything thru it, but there again I haven't really tried. I took a punt on it and signed up for the lifetime jobbie at £49.99. No fees at all with that deal, just a couple [at pence rate] if you want 'gallery' pictures, that sort of thing. And at the lifetime membership you can link to your ebay feedback and to payment via paypal.

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Mark842   
5 hours ago, fredk said:

Tried talking with them but the people only had one script

God, ain't that the truth! I've been dealing with eBay since 98..lol.  The few times I actually called them to talk about an issue it was like talking to a voice recorded message. All they say is the same written scripted answer..no common sense.

 

12 hours ago, mikesc said:

Added separately as multiple edits here play havoc with the quote boxen.
I agree with you concerning ebay versus Amazon, ebay is in 99% of peoples minds the "online tat bazaar" where customers go to find the lowest price they can, they are not searching for quality goods, they are searching for "bargains" in both the auctions and the "buy it now", ebay is the "poundland" of the internet, and has a Kafkaesque system.

Amazon is more straightforward, and tends to attract those with slightly more purchasing power, and who are not shopping based wholly upon price.

Yep! Everything I have on eBay is listed as a Buy It Now item and I don't use the "Best offer". My selling price is the price, take it or leave it. I have the same pricing on eBay and  Amazon. I will get 2-3 messages daily on eBay asking if I will take a reduced price. I have never, not once in 2 years on Amazon received a message asking if would take a lower price.

I actually started on Amazon as an experiment because eBay was pissing me off. The 1st year was terrible. Was making maybe 10% of what I make on eBay. This summer was second on Amazon. I started with 20 products on Amazon. I have 105 established products on eBay. By June of this year Amazon was selling 300% more than eBay with only roughly 20% of my product on it. Needless to say I've been adding a lot more product to Amazon...

And yes, I hate the fee's for both of them but I add them into my price and when my customers receive their orders with my biz card they go to my website and find my prices are 10% cheaper which helps even more with directing traffic there. That being said, my website is self built through wix and while it gets decent traffic I'm thinking its time to buck up and hire someone to build me a good one!

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What about selling on Etsy?

The guy selling the leather stamps from Bulgaria is selling there, no difference compared to ordering directly from him.

I just started looking at Etsy, so I really don't know anything about it.

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Hit another problem with ebay.  

Because ebay, in retaliation, restricted my account for 7 days, getting in touch with, or checking the details, of customers has been difficult.   This has resulted in a panicking Italian customer going through ebay resolution centre to find out what's going on.   Even tjough I have sent messages 3 times through paypal to him.

They have upgraded the reason for the 'suspension' as consistantly referring/doing business outside of ebay.   I only did that on my last listings,  As I knew I was leaving, and up to then have followed their policy for years.   But why get upset,  they don't care.

I've got a few weeks work of orders, then any quiet period, I'll treat as an excuse to make some of my own projects.

 

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I would assume Ebay would get a stick up the backside for doing business outside of Ebay if you are using them as a kind of advertising device.

The big wigs there are some pretty greedy Ba$tard$, and have no human compassion at all, unless they are getting paid to Give a $hit.

The fact that they are allowing people to sell black powder model rocket engines, which is against their policy (and law to ship without the proper license), is fact money talks.

I've complained on every listing of BP engines I've seen, and they never get pulled. Lately, Even AP Engines, cases, reloads and single use (which you need the proper certification to legally buy) are even being sold.

I'm sure it won't take long before some idiot will get one off Ebay that requires legal certification to buy the engine and seriously hurt themselves. And when it comes out they bought it off Ebay...

Ebay will get their butts sued off, which I would love to see.

Not that it would a good thing for us that follow the rules use common sense, because it would probably force the Feds to impose more stricter regulations on us. With Ebay's $$$, I'm sure they have pull in politics. Especially in CA.

 

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That's the thing, I did my ebay business through ebay, but if someone wanted something extra, I increased the item price by using the 'reply with offer'.   This meant that in August alone, Ebay got their cut of aproaching £1,000.    I don't have time to try to sell outside ebay, once I add my own shop, and ebay sales together.

The only time ebay cares about what you sell, is if their policy enforcement team wake up.   Then they are at you like a dog with a bone.

I now have 3 customers panicking and going through the resolution centre, because ebay wont let the customer contact me, or me contact them direct, and ebay can't be ar**d.

And here was me thinking that life was getting a bit boring lately.

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brmax   

The great write up here is really beneficial, just wanted to say thanks for the tips.

A real eye opener in so many ways.

Good day there

Floyd

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Matt T   
On 9/1/2017 at 10:20 AM, mikesc said:

Bear in mind with Amazon that depending on how successful what you sell is, upon seeing your success ( they control the shopping cart ) Amazon frequently then either contact your suppliers ( if you are selling 3rd party goods and appear to be doing volume and making loads of money ) and make them an offer to buy the same direct, thus cutting you out of the loop..Tends to happen more with the stuff that , sellers "warehouse" with Amazon, and is then sent from Amazon directly to the end customer.

Much less of a problem with "bespoke" small production runs from "craft workers", but, Amazon are not above making enquiries in Asia with short run manufacturers about making things directly for them that they see sellers doing very well with.I know some leather OEM goods manufacturers in Asia who also work for Amazon, they were contacted with "how much to make "this" item in runs of 500 ?" type approaches..Not all stuff that is sold as coming direct from Amazon bears an Amazon label, and you'd be hard pressed to compete with a company that can source "widgets" in Asia and that also knows how many "widgets" you sell per day, and exactly when you sell them and what the buyers have looked at before hand and where their mouse hovered and for how long on each page..

Good information.  I know they do this with their "Amazon Basics" brand, but do you know if they are selling directly outside of that brand also?

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