Wednesday, May 23, 2007

eBay vs. eBay

Recently I had two very different experiences with eBay, one good and one not so good. First off, I'm not an eBay newbie (in fact I've even sort of work for eBay at one point and know a lot of eBayers) and I generally have an excellent idea of what goes on on it's online marketplace. The two experiences, however, show that even a fairly knowledgeable person can have problems. The first auction was for a low priced item which I bought directly (no auction) and paid for quickly and easily through Paypal without thought, the item arrived in less than a week from Texas, perfect. The second auction was for a high priced item which I bid on, the bidding went smoothly enough except near the end someone placed a higher bid which they quickly retracted, interesting. After winning the auction, the seller promptly contacted me and ask that I send payment via a different method than originally advertised to a name and address that didn't look right. Needless to say I didn't feel comfortable doing this and after a number of emails with the seller and eBay I decided to not pay for the item and drop out. :(

eBay is based on trust, without it nothing would get sold since there is no fool proof method of online payments that is quick and easy to protect users. For small value items I'm willing to extend more trust to a seller (or buyer) and the transaction will likely get done , with higher priced options that level of trust doesn't always exist. eBay has done a great job creating trust (feedback, Paypal payments, etc) but there must be more that could be done, I can only imagine how many users have fallen into the same situation as me but are more trusting and less knowledgeable about what goes on online. I'd love to know what the stats are on auctions that never get finished because of scams or lack of trust? Based on what I know about online fraud I'm sure it's huge.

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