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February 06, 2006
Big eBay Seller Vanishes
Just a few months ago, Glacier Bay DVD was crowing about becoming one of eBay's very top sellers, with the highest positive customer feedback rating of any merchant on the marketplace. Today, despite having amassed some 268,199 feedback ratings from customers over more than six years on eBay, it's gone. Or as they say in eBay parlance, NARU'd--"No longer A Registered User"--which can mean everything from merchants simply quitting to eBay kicking them off for not paying bills or getting too many complaints. (Update: eBay says it can't comment on why Glacier Bay is now NARU, but a spokesperson says it was eBay that took the action.)
What happened? eBay's online forums are buzzing with mostly uninformed speculation, but maybe only owner Randy Smythe knows for sure. And he's not talking. The phone number on his domain registration for glacierbaydvd.com, which is now a blank page, is out of service, and he hasn't returned an email request for an interview. The auction news site Auctionbytes, which just reported the disappearance, apparently wasn't successful in reaching Smythe either.
But gleanings from the eBay community indicate that the merchant had been struggling for some time to contend with a glut of new entrants into media products. ...
Although sudden disappearances of large sellers from eBay appear fairly rare, they're not unknown as eBay grows and attracts more and more sellers. (Another top seller, electronics merchant BuyEssex, was NARU'd sometime last year.) Indeed, some observers believe that while the exit of large sellers can't be construed as a good thing, turnover generally is inevitable and even healthy for the marketplace: It may be an indication that new sellers, bringing more efficient techniques, are continuing to try eBay. "For every seller who goes out of business, there's 10 to fill the void," says Scot Wingo, CEO of ChannelAdvisor, whose selling services Smythe used. "Where there's demand, supply will find it."
Wingo wouldn't comment on Glacier Bay DVD specifically because of that relationship. But he said a number of large DVD sellers on eBay are now offering auctions that start at rock-bottom prices, then charging higher shipping to make up for the loss on those auctions. That, he says, has made it tough for merchants trying to sell the DVDs themselves at a reasonable profit. Smythe told me the same thing about seven months ago, vowing to move more of his business from eBay to his own Web site as a result.
Wingo believes that shipping problem may ease when eBay Express, a new method of selling on eBay that's more like traditional retail, debuts this spring with pricing that includes shipping automatically. But Wingo, and other eBay sellers, think the make-it-up-on-shipping practice has conditioned bidders to expect lower prices.
In any case, that's not the only problem Glacier Bay may have run into. Jay Senese of Jayandmarie, a CD and DVD merchant who is also one of eBay's largest, thinks that Glacier Bay contracted with media distributors such as Baker & Taylor, Ingram, and Super D to drop-ship DVDs and therefore didn't have complete control of inventory availability. Indeed, a review of Glacier Bay's eBay feedback page indicates an escalating number of negative ratings blamed on nondelivery of merchandise. Senese, who says his business is still doing well, says he stocks his own merchandise so he can guarantee he has a product in stock.
Does the disappearance of such a large seller portend troubles for eBay? Not by itself. Actually, the large sellers I've talked to recently seem a little more sanguine about eBay lately than they had been earlier last year, when fee hikes ticked off many of them. One recent fee hike was tempered by some fee drops in other areas. Sellers report communication lines seem to be more open these days. And some large sellers seem excited about eBay Express's potential.
Still, with a lot of balls in the air, such as the recent acquisition of Skype, eBay will have its hands full. With competition intensifying from the likes of Google, eBay can't afford to lose too many of its marquee merchants.
Full disclosure: The reason I noticed Glacier Bay DVD had disappeared is that I bought a CD from the company in early January. Despite a claim that it had shipped, I still have not received it. Nor have I received a response from the company asking what happened. Before realizing the merchant had stopped doing business on eBay, I also filed claims with both PayPal and buySAFE, mostly as an experiment to see what would happen. Those claims are pending.
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Tracked on September 28, 2006 05:56 PM
Most likely your claim will be granted. You'll get your money back. Something similar happened to me on a book I bought, although the seller obviously wasn't as large.
Posted by: Jon at February 6, 2006 08:26 PM
I had a similar problem with a big eBay merchant that apparently went out of business, and BuySafe was terrific. They took care of the problem, and ever since then, I never even think of buying online unless the seller is a BuySafe Bonded Seller. I hope your experience turns out to be as positive as mine. Good luck. - Wendy
Posted by: Wendy at February 7, 2006 10:15 PM
What is troubling about the closure of Glacier Bay is that listings had stopped in early January - and Ebay knew at that time there was a problem.
Ebay waited until early February to NARU the account, which resulted in a time lag for buyers before they realized that they would have problems receiving their product.
Therefore Ebay helped wind the clock down on claims that could be made against the Seller with buySAFE, Pay Pal and Ebay. End result will be less payout by Ebay and Pay Pal on a problem that they were already aware of.
Posted by: Another Ebayer at February 8, 2006 03:05 PM
Being new to Ebay I see many problems which go unanswered the only communication is email which in many cases results in form letters and when a "live email" arrives there is no link to respond back. When asking questions in chat other then how to post an ad etc. they refer to security which, in many cases go nowhere. Ebay chat seems to only have answers if the question will directly put cash in EBay's pockets.
Posted by: EBayer at February 9, 2006 02:00 AM
As a Ebay seller, and sometimes buyer, I have to say I have had my share of problems with Ebay as well. In the fact as mentioned, horrible communications and unfairness. I used to be able to post my website in my auctions, well, then I got an email stating it was against "policy" so I had to change them. Then there was a fee issue for using Paypal, then I got told I could not charge any extra fees. Ok, fine, so I just stopped doing both. The thing that gets me is, if I go to a car dealers auction, they have both! Extra fees and a website listed. So, what makes them better then me?
I have almost 300 POSITIVE feedback and am small compared to many on Ebay, but I am honest in what I do and just trying to make a few extra dollars to help pay bills.
About big sellers just "disappearing", you would think that there would be some sort of explination as to what happened, but I guess it falls into the fact it is between Ebay and the user.
I am new to this blog thing, so please be nice lol.
Posted by: Matt at February 9, 2006 09:03 PM
I hate EBAY.
Three or four years ago it was a good site to navigate and buy things. Now it has become just another internet site where people (Friends, maybe?) bid up auctions well over the typical price you would pay if you went to a store. Then to top it off, on some thing people want stupid shipping. Som e computer from private buyers charge $80 shipping with NO LOCAL PICKUP. Every time I've sold an item on Ebay I charge the sellers the exact shipping cost and have taken a loss once or twice when I miscalculated. My feedback rating reflects my honesty.
My last hurrah with Ebay was last month when I attempted to sell my replaced laptop computer. Both times it was purchased using Buy-It-Now, and BOTH times the user unregistered. Ebay refunded the % of sale fee but I will still on the hook for the $7 listing fee. I lost $14 when it was all said and done. I finally sold the computer locally and hope to never use Ebay again.
What's to keep people from BIN on items from small time sellers like me without any intention to follow through solely for an Ebay profit increase?
Posted by: Wes at February 10, 2006 02:54 PM
After many small and large purchases from EBay, I have come to the conclusion that EBay is what it is. It is a place to buy merchandise (most often) at a price lot lower than the market price. And you get exactly what you pay for. For example, when I bought a set of accessories for my cell phone, it cost $2.99 + SH on EBay, and the local retailer was offering the same set for $29.95. The stuff I got from EBay did the most of the work, but was flimsy, made out of cheapest raw material, and the CD never worked. I would be naive to expect the quality of goods bought this cheap with that sold for several times that price - simple economic theory. Same goes for the service and risk associated with that sale. Anything other than this is an exception, not the rule. Ebay is, in my opinion, world's largest flea market - not world's largest supermarket!
Posted by: Angus at February 11, 2006 08:16 AM
wow, that is very interesting. I wonder what action they could have taken since he was one of the top sellers with posetive feedback. I even bought a dvd from glacier bay.
Posted by: Mike at February 13, 2006 01:18 AM
This should be a wakeup call for all sellers to think twice about just using eBay as an only sales channel and business model.
Posted by: etronicsland at February 16, 2006 03:56 AM
Well here is the best I can say. If you need to move something fast there is really noplace else to go. Sure there are some up and coming sites but they do not have the traffic as I see it. The problem with the BIN feature is that eBay removes the auction before it is paid. We all have thoughts and you want to run eBay the way you want you need to start a new competitor to eBay or BUY it. I personally feel that if I wanted to buy something with a BIN I should hit the BIN button, and if the seller says paypal only on BIN I should be required to pay before the auction is removed, within 5 minutes. If the payment is not made it simply goes back to available. It may go into HOLD for the 5 minutes while awaiting payment. We have all gotten stuck in the past with eBay one way or another. We run a drop off store and run 200-400 auctions of completly different items each week. Do I have stories and I would love to name names.
At the end of the day eBay owns the ball, bat and ball field, you play their game or you don't. Last I checked I never read and article on how Meg held a gun to some ones head to list an item.
I am sure I upset someone here and others are saying he is right, THIS IS AMERICA and Baskin Robbins has 56 flavors. With the thanks of our military and Govt, (not alway the best) we have the right to choose what to sell and where to sell it.
Posted by: dan at February 18, 2006 03:08 PM
I'm glad to read these reviews. There are many questions that aren't addressed by E-Bay, and NO personal contact, leaving me no other choice than to remain on the sidelines.
Posted by: Robert at February 20, 2006 11:22 AM
I too have purchased from Glacier Bay in the past very sucessfully.
However, in December of 2005, I made my last purchase from them.
A full month later, I received notification that my items were sent.
I emailed them asking why it took a full 30 days to ship it since I paid with Paypal a month prior.
I recieved no response.
I assumed due to the holiday season, someone was on holiday already and he/she only shipped my order after returning to work.
Well, I live overseas in Asia so shipping can take up to a month for delivery.
When I realized my package was not coming I tried to notify eBay and Paypal but unfortunaltely, you only get 60 days from the date of purchase.
For us overseas customers, this is an unfair business practice of eBay and Paypal as I see it.
Also, I now have no recourse with Glacier Bay either.
They took my money and said not a word.
I have sent them a letter via land mail (pony express) since I have never received a letter from them via email.
Maybe a group suit against them is the only way for us to see any money back for goods paid for but not received?
Posted by: marti at March 30, 2006 05:53 PM
It brings even more evidence to the argument that you should always maintain more than one sale stream, relying on just one can be suicidal. Surely they must have had some fall back plan?
Posted by: Ebay Guru at May 14, 2006 08:43 AM
I have been active on eBay as both a buyer and a seller for the past 7 years and I have noticed that the larger sellers biggest problem that causes them to get negatives is their slow shipping process or items shipped poorly packaged. Even the largest drop-off seller, Auctiondrop started off with having problems with their items being poorly packaged but since they work so close with corportate eBay people they fixed that problem. I kept such track of eBay policies like mutual feedback removal when it first started and I am sure that AuctionDrop had alot to do with eBay unlimiting the amount of feedbacks that a seller can have mutually removed in a month which is now unlimited. Actually what I think happens to these large sellers disappearing is that they have alot of complaints that their customers are filing with Paypal and once their percentage of complaints gets to a certain number Paypal restricts their account so they can't use them anymore to accept payments and then Paypal corresponds with eBay telling them they are not doing business with that seller because they are a bad user and high risk of losing money that eBay just closes their eBay account and then they are no longer a registered user. From information I have gathered from other sellers that have been suspeneded indefinitely on eBay it seems that eBay just does whatever they want and since they are so big nobody ever fights them. Ebay is a wonderful place to make money don't get me wrong, it's just that the high volume sellers that are still on eBay either have a good system to keep up with shipping their items out quickly or they are having problems with that and it will only be a matter of time before they are NLARU...
Posted by: ebay seller... at May 18, 2006 09:46 PM
Unfortunately, the EBAY culture has placed everyone bidding or selling behind cyber walls. It has been customary in the "real world" that you enter an order, phone, fax or online. Then you get a confirmation, a notification of shipment and a tracking number. You actually, in most cases have a phone number and a name you can call, with a direct relationship to the merchant through your credit or debit card. Something goes awry, the seller will not make it right or respond, since it is a direct transaction over a credit or debit card you have a high likelyhood of getting your money back (leverage) through your credit card dispute process.
I am not at all an EBAY guru, but as far as I can tell, you are kept at arms length in the transaction and often, most often, do not know the seller's real name until the bid is closed. Maybe that is good? Opinions?
I think the Federal Trade Commission should step in and require EBAY to eject any person that will not divulge a residence or business address where the transaction will be consummated, a telephone number for contact and assistance in working out issues that may arise. Voluntarily, I am told, EBAY is doing some of this, but I do believe the gap between seller and buyer still exists and poses a serious stage for fraud and thievery.
I currently have an EBAY transaction in the 400-500 dollar range I paid for with Pay Pal immediately upon closing of the bid, literally within a couple of minutes after close.
I messaged the seller through the Ebay system reminding him the item was 1) Paid for already 2)Should be insured for that was included 3) Should be carefully packed to avoid damage and 4) Shipped promptly.
The way now I believe I know the item is in the process of shipping is I have an unidentified shipping receipt that has what appears to be an EBAY auction item number in the Notes field of the UPS shipper manifest.
This behavior, the seller literally stonewalling me and having zero communications, not through EBAY, not directly with me was unheard of prior to the advent of this EBAY and other auctions rage.
If the FTC does not step in and MAKE EBAY add and enforce rules to protect buyers, what is to prevent scams, fraud and other mischief?
I personally have been burned several times on EBAY and every time, I vow to leave them forever. But for some reason, I go back, looking for bargains.
Speaking of the power sellers, stores and businesses, I think any business that is licensed and has a shop or storefront should be BANNED from EBAY as we knew it in the past. Maybe EBAY needs a brand new site for only the large sellers so they can battle it out. Unfortunately as it is now by their sheer volume of listings they literally stomp the little guy into the ground.
When mostly individuals and home based sellers were on EBAY, it was fun and one could truly get a bargain.
Now there is so much junk and repeat after repeat of the same thing by the same people, who wants to go through 650 listings for computer power supplies???? Not me! I'll go down to my local computer store and buy it for RETAIL first!
I just think EBAY needs an extreme makeover, an overhaul and maybe we can see the excitement and fun of online bidding return!
Posted by: John Goodman at July 17, 2006 11:23 PM
Ebay Works & Works Well
It has paid my bills for over 6 years.
I have had only one bad check and no charge backs.
I have over 7500 positive feedbacks.
Ebay is the greatest job ever.
Posted by: Ebay Pays My Bills at July 29, 2006 03:03 AM
eBay definitely needs an overhaul, and the way to do that is to force it by allowing another strong competitor in the auction arena, into the picture.
Posted by: etronicsland at October 4, 2006 05:04 AM
i am a full time ebay powerseller. i was selling hoodia plants and seeds that i grow here in san diego California on ebay when on july 8th 2006 ebay removed all hoodia plant and seed auctions, which were and still are perfectly legal to sell in the united states, which i have been doing since 2001. i have been trying to get their reason for this removal ever since but they claim it is internal information and private and to contact their legal dept which i have written to 3 times with no response. i have many emails from ebay support with many different responses see links below. the fact that they stopped the sale of the plants but are still allowing the sale of the hoodia pills makes no sense as the hoodia pills are the largest danger to the hoodia plant which they claim they are helping by not allowing the plant sales?? heres ebay policy "Prohibited (banned items) Animals, plants, and wildlife Items containing parts of regulated, protected, or endangered species are not allowed" i have posted all emails on my web page hoodiasUSA.com My Quest for eBays Prohibition of the Hoodia SSP where i am also selling them. i have also filed complaints with the calif attorney general and the BBB. i believe that their removal is wrong and they are hiding something as you can tell from the many email responses. in fact the last email said they were done with me pestering them and wouldnt respond to any more of my emails pertaining to the hoodia. heres the latest response i received yesterday a response from my bbb claim which is..... my notes in blue
Hello James Irwin,
I received your recent message via the BBB, and am happy to respond to your eBay concerns.
As our Support groups have told you, we??e not going to change our policy on the Hoodia plants. It is considered endangered and is listed as such on the following website:
http://www.cites.org/eng/app/appendices.shtml (this website is outdated the hoodia gordonii is not endangered it is actually listed as NT not threatened)
Please keep in mind that eBay will abide by governmental policy, but also has the right to go above and beyond governmental policy, and implement eBay policy on our site. When this happens, sellers must abide by our policy.
Because this policy is valid I?? unable to return any fees. Continued attempts at selling a Hoodia plant will yield stricter and stricter consequences to your account which could ultimately terminate your membership with eBay. (ive been given 3 restrictions so far 1 for selling information on the hoodia and one for selling another type plant i call a hoodia first aid plant because it can be used to graft sick hoodia plants too)
If contact was made to eBay from a governmental, or other agency regarding the sale of Hoodia plants, this information is private and would not be available to you.
eBay Office of the President
what i dont understand about ebays policy is why they hide the facts behind their walls and wont give truthfull answers especialy when they allow the sale of the hoodia pills. i even asked them if i cut up my plants and dryed them if i could sell them as weight loss chips and was told that would be ok. now what kind of sense is that. they say they are protecting the plants by not allowing them to be sold but if i kill them then i can sell them. i find that very interesting. If you do a hoodia plants search on Google here's what eBay has to offer "Hoodia Plants www.eBay.com Whatever you're looking for you can get it on eBay". Why is ebay offering them if they have a policy forbidding their sale.This just shows how unreasonable and unfair their policy is. On one hand they tell you that they dont want you to sell the plant on their site, but on the other hand, they drive internet traffic to their site under false pretenses useing the Hoodia Plant.
well thats about it in a nutshell me vs ebay i still am a power seller selling cactus and succulents on ebay but the loss of my hoodia sales has brought a hardship to me and my wife both aged 60 and our only income is from ebay and my wifes disability check. it has taken me 4 years to amass the hoodia i have and was expecting good profits from ebay this years my sales are down $2000 dollars a month a 50% drop since july 8th.
Posted by: jim at November 3, 2006 07:35 AM
We ran a small business on ebay until last week. We were gold powersellers, selling more than $20,000 per month. We had a 99.9% positive feeback - over 6000positives 2 negatives. We had many loyal customers. We even received a certificate and gift from ebay in the mail - the very next day we went to log on and found we were de-registered. For what reason? We were associated with an account that was de-registered some 12 months prior - someone I flatted with - so we had the same address.
Ebay did not warn us, they did not give us a chance to save records so we could post items to buyers who had paid. We have literally hundreds of deposits in our bank account and we cannot match them up with anything. We cannot access any records at all - we just have to wait for ppl to email us and send us their mailing address and what they purchased etc.
How on earth can ebay ever say they are protecting the buyer? When sellers lose their registration status they cannot post items, they can do nothing. This is a serious problem for all buyers and sellers out there.
An unfair system that we are all helpless to do anything about.
Posted by: Jason at November 5, 2006 06:36 PM
Ebay offers immense opportunities for both buyers and sellers. Ebay has allowed a lot of entrepreneurs and businesses to start up or expand. Ebay has also given buyers a greater horizon to save a lot of money compared to local retail prices. Much praises to the Ebay concept.
Posted by: Revolution at November 16, 2006 11:53 PM
eBay responds only to those things which affect eBay. They have little concern for anything else, and even have a deliberate policy of not taking up complaints. My opinion is that eBay are short of some effective competition. I an sure their service and attitude would change dramatically if they had to compete harder. Here's to competition, the great consumer safeguard.
Posted by: Bill Halsall at December 12, 2006 07:02 AM
Hello, I used to sell on Ebay. I had a Great Score and all positive feedback, until, I left $3000 of my customers' money in my Paypal account. Paypal froze my account. I had to issue all of my customers refunds, although, weeks later only 3 out of my 20 customers have been refunded! When I examined my limited account, it states that most of the transactions are in review. First of all, both the buyers and I agree that at this point they need their money back prompto! I told Paypal that I work with wholesalers, where I list an item, when a customer wins my auction, I order the merchandise with my credit card. Whatever the wholesaler price was, and the price I increase the product to, I get the difference. Paypal simply stated that I need to buy the products with my money. I told them I could not afford to do that. That is where the refunds come in. I believe that Ebay is really only for the big wigs that have already established a career. If Paypal would have just released their funds, all of my customers would have gotten their merchandise before Christmas, but instead Paypal angered them and me with locking their money up!!
Paypal really wasn't open to my idea of dropshipping. I don't know why the company DOBA advertises for dropshipping on Ebay, when Ebay and Paypal are really against it.
Posted by: Lori Cichocki at January 3, 2007 01:19 AM
So many nice story's here.
I was Power Seller in Ebay since 1999, had many account there.I always respected the rules, paid the fees, etc.One day Ebay closed all my accounts for non-paying fees!!! No communication at all. Always automatic replied from non human been brain computer.Sended letter to the Office, no replied at all.Really piss off situation.Anyway maybe one day somebody open a real intelligent Web Site auction, whitout all stupid rules like Ebay.Ebay need to brake off after so many years of problems given at small seller and buyer too.
Ebay you never had one cent from me in futur.
Posted by: John Wilson at March 22, 2007 01:02 PM
Ebay is a HUGE money making machine FIASCO!! I
was on it as a SELLER for about two months and
then, OUT OF the BLUE, they did the NASTY NARU
on me!!!! Of course, they offered NO REASON or
ANSWER to my query as to why the NARU??? In my
book, they have an OLD time MONOPOLY going like
in the days of Teddy Roosevelt who was a TRUE
Trust Buster!! Somebody needs to get the TWO
GODS-(American IDOLS)Meg Whitman and her hench-
man, David Feil, and have some WITCH Craft re-
vived to nip the buds and scuttle their MIGHTY
boat making big BUCKS $$$$ as a MONOPOLY!!!***
Ebay is a *SCAM of its own creation and is an
impossible NIGHTMARE and HOLY STIGMA in our
society-someday, I hope folks wise up to their
scenario of a quagmire! Dr Earl L. Grossen
Posted by: Dr. Earl L. Grossen at April 2, 2007 12:58 PM
Ebay and Paypal business practices need to be really examined. They should be put out of business along with Paypal. Paypal routinely freezes customer's accounts for up to 180 days . Ebay puts on thousands of training Ebay classes at local colleges to entice average people to sell products on Ebay. Many companies sell products to these people to sell on Ebay. Many people quit their job, take out second mortgages out on their homes to finance the widget they want to sell on Ebay. Little do they know that they can have their account suspended in one hour, one day one month etc and their Ebay business is history. Ebay
buyers and sellers are mere pawns that are used to drive the price of Ebay's stock up. Has the hurricane Ebay hit your Virtual Store yet? If it
has not, it's just a matter of of time! When it does your business is history in an instant. Ebay destroys thousand of on-line Ebay business
monthly. The institutional investors really need to think twice before investing in any of Ebay's companies. Who will be the first to blow the lid
>on this unscrupulous company? They need to be stopped. Ebay is lying about the number of users so they can boost their stock price. It is all about the stock stupid! They never tell you how many people they have suspended in their annual reports. I recently got a stock tip about a company that claimed they were listing 12,000 cars a month on Ebay. Based on my experiance with Ebay their is no way they could keep their auction running without Ebay suspending them but then again these large sellers live by different rules than you an I. Ebay should be sued by the stockholder for all the lost revenue as a direct result of Ebay suspending their customers for nothing. I had a friend suspended for merely checking his email at a different location than his home. Ebay is one big stock scam and one day Ebay will piss off the wrong person and all I can say is they will deserve what they get! Visit these sites if you want to read about waht they are doing to people just like you and I, These bastards need to be put out of business!
Posted by: S McDonald at April 13, 2007 07:41 PM
I got so fed up with ebays fee hikes and just the mass confusion at. I'm starting to move all my stuff to another site. The site allows me to avoid all the ebay fees and put more of the profit in my pockets. Its worked out well, I invite you all
They offer $1000 of credit just for signing up. Come help build an Alternative To Ebay. Get away from all the high fees and confusion. Open your own online store.
Posted by: paul at April 15, 2007 10:12 PM