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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Annoyance with eBay

I know.  You’ve heard about the bitches pertaining to eBay.  I have, too.  But I was still doing business on there because it seemed to be other people’s problems, not mine.  Well, today it became my problem.  I use eBay to sell my items.  I use Turbo Lister to upload them.  I also upload them specifically only 1 day a week for 7 days.  I’ve been doing this for a couple of years.  I pay my fees religiously (and sometimes I pay early).  So, today I get home and log onto my e-mail account and find 99 items have been listed under my account that are not mine.  Well, panic sets in because these 99 items translate, with my other items’ insertion fees, into $127!! 

 

The first thing I do is try to find an e-mail address to report this to eBay.  Have you ever tried to find an actual eBay address to send something to them?  Good luck.  So, I used the links that I could find in the HELP section of eBay to report this error.  After I sent it I did get a reply.  As I read it I got the impression that the response was a canned one.  One that they send out based on the subject field.  I got the response and followed the instructions; I changed my password and I spent the next hour ending the auctions for the items that weren’t mine.  Again, per their instructions.  I didn’t want to have to expose myself to negative feedback because I couldn’t provide the items that were listed under my account.  Now, one of the interesting things about the reply from eBay is that they state that I shouldn’t reply to the e-mail because they won’t receive it.  Then how the hell am I suppose to get this issue resolved?!?!?  I guess it’s not eBay’s problem.  They just want their money.  Anything else is YOUR problem.  Just like the phishing e-mails that seem to be so prolific over the Internet.  I get an average of about 6 per day, which I then forward (with full headers) to spoof@ebay.com.  What a total waste of effort that is.  eBay’s answer to people is that the burden is on the user not on eBay.  The user has to do the detective work to determine if the e-mail is legitimate or not.  There are quite a few people out there that are impersonating eBay, yet eBay takes no responsibility to protect themselves??  How can I be sure of this?  Because those phishing e-mails have not lessened, they’ve increased. 

 

But back to my issue.  I have a response from eBay, a canned response, with instructions on what I should do next.  I follow these instructions, inconvenience myself, and I still don’t have a clear answer as to my eBay fees and when will I be credited.  Below is the response I received from eBay when I reported this issue –

 

“Thank you for contacting eBay about items being sold on your account that you did not list. As we investigate your report, we ask that you review the information provided in this message to resolve this matter as quickly as possible.

 

Please attempt to sign in to your eBay account by clicking on the "sign in" button located at the top of the eBay home page. If you are able to sign in to your account, take the steps outlined on the "Securing Your Account and Reporting Account Theft." To access this page, return to the eBay home page, click the "help" link at the top of the page, and select the following topics when the Help Center window appears:

 

Safe Trading > If Something Goes Wrong... > Account Theft > Securing Your Account and Reporting Account Theft

 

From the "Securing Your Account and Reporting Account Theft" page, follow the instructions provided to:

 

1. Change the password on your personal email account.

 

2. Request a new password for your eBay account.

 

3. Change the Secret Question and Answer on your eBay account.

 

4. Verify the contact information on your eBay account and make any necessary changes.

 

5. Search for and cancel any active bids or listings that may be unauthorized.

 

These steps will prevent an unauthorized party from accessing your account. After you have secured your account, we will investigate and we will contact you by email as soon as possible, usually within 72 hours.

 

*** IMPORTANT ***

 

If you are unable to sign in to your eBay account, please contact us using our Live Help feature. You can contact us through Live Help by accessing the "Securing Your Account and Reporting Account Theft" help page and clicking on the "Live Help" button located at the bottom of the page. After clicking the Live Help button, you will be prompted to enter your name and your eBay User ID. Once you have entered this information, the next available representative will assist you.

 

In the event that you are unable to locate the Live Help button or you are otherwise unable to contact eBay through Live Help, please note the

following:

 

- Live Help is only available from www.ebay.com. If you attempted to access Live Help from one of the international eBay sites, please copy and paste www.ebay.com into the address/location window or your web browser and repeat the instructions provided.

 

- You may need to update your web browser in order to access Live Help.

 

- Some firewalls will not allow the Live Help program to operate.

 

If you cannot access Live Help, please await our response by email. As your report is investigated, note that eBay may end listings and restrict access to your account. This will ensure that your account is not tampered with. If we restrict access temporarily, please be patient and await communication from us.

 

As a part of the investigation, eBay will review any fees charged to your account and credits will be issued, as it is appropriate. Please be aware that billing information, including credit card and bank account numbers, is stored on a secure server and cannot be obtained through access to your eBay account. If you are concerned that this information may have been obtained through other means, refer to the "Protecting Your Identity" page for information on additional steps you can take.

Clicking on the "Help" button located at the top of most eBay pages and selecting the following topics from the Help window can access the "Protecting Your Identity" page:

 

Safe Trading > If Something Goes Wrong... > Identity Theft  

 

We appreciate the time you took to write to us. 

 

*** Please do not respond to this email, as your reply will not be received.

 

Best regards,

 

eBay SafeHarbor Team”

 

The question I have pertaining to crediting my account is….when???  My fees are due in the next couple of days.  Does eBay REALLY think that they can grab the money and then, sometime in the future, give me credit?  I don’t think so.  Although, they do have the power and arrogance to suspend/cancel my account BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T GET THEIR MONEY (which I am NOT going to pay….BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE $127!!).  I am SO sick and tired of all of these institutions and big businesses just helping themselves to my money and then taking their time in returning it when I can show that they were in error.  If any other business is in dire need to being investigated in more detail, it’s eBay.  Why haven’t they been more proactive in protecting THEIR identity?  Why haven’t they instituted safeguards for the users?  Specifically, if I’ve been uploading my items for the last 2 years through a specific ISP, and I just got through uploading the last batch a few days ago, WHY would I upload items from the United Kingdom and in British Sterling???  What did I do, jump on the Concord and fly there?  I guess it may be reasonable with the money I’m making after paying eBay’s fees!  Now, one thing that was brought to my attention was that I received what seemed to be a canned response.  If eBay has a canned response to this issue, does this mean that the problem that they aren’t addressing properly is much more larger then they will admit?  Does this give them the ability to grab actual funds and then give credit against future listings?  What I mean is that they grab $127 in actual funds from me, of which say $80 is due to the false listings.  Now they grab my $127 and decide that I am right (after a few weeks, maybe).  Now they give me credit, not in any actual funds, but against my future listing fees.  My fees average about $20 per upload.  That means that I don’t have to pay any fees for 4 weeks.  Great!!!  But THEY have use of MY MONEY and I don’t for the next 4 weeks.  How’s that for getting an interest free loan?  Imagine doing that for 100 people?  That’s potentially $8000 a pop! 

 

Now what happens if I decide not to list weekly?  What happens if I decide to list every 2 weeks?  Then they have use of my money for 8 weeks??  Does anyone remember AOL and the scams they pulled before the Attorney Generals from quite a few states got together and investigate their business practices?   Do they need to do the same with eBay?  I don’t know, but I’m willing to contact my State’s Attorney General and let him know.  Maybe there’s a pattern here that I’m not aware of that maybe only that level of authority can investigate.  Maybe eBay’s business practices should be scrutinized in more detail.  If you’ve had any kind of experience with eBay where you feel you haven’t been dealt with fairly, then maybe you should contact YOUR State’s Attorney General’s Office and let them look into it. 

 

Lastly, one question that you may ask is….did I try to contact anyone directly?  Yes, I used Live Help and just got the runaround.  It was always that I need to get a hold of someone else.  Reminds me of the stories you hear about people calling a company to get an issue resolved and they keep getting passed to someone else.  Well, THAT’S EBAY!

 

eBay should be required to credit funds as quickly as they grab them and they should return them in the same form that they originally took them, or at least give the user the option of how they are returned.

 

  

 

 

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The True Meaning of "Freedom"

By: Daniel Friedman

We stand today in celebration of the 230th year of American Independence.
Jaded by the freedoms our Constitution provides us, we often take our
liberties for granted. Today, too many Americans are ready to throw away the
quilt of American freedom for an imaginary security blanket that is likely
to be as successful as the “Peanuts” character Linus's was. Blinded by
insecurity, America has been led like sheep to the slaughterhouse with
promises of security in exchange for freedom.

It's important to ask ourselves one question this 4th of July, and that is
"What is freedom?" "Freedom" has become commercialized these days; it is
used by almost anyone seeking to rationalize an unjust action, by citing
"freedom" as the force that necessitates it. Actions taken by a private
citizen or an elected official, whether they are immoral or illegal, if they
are taken in the name of freedom, we ought to question their true motives.
The term "Freedom" cannot be thrown around for the benefit of a sound bite,
or a bumper sticker punch line. That demeans the true meaning of the term,
and what we as a nation did to fight for it for 230 years.

True freedom, at its very core, is the essence of who we are as Americans.
It is a defining term, one whose true meaning and limitations should be
debated and decided in the highest Courts; but it is also something that all
Americans should fight and die for. There are those around the world, in
nations far and wide, who are fighting for that very freedom we enjoy today.
Studying their examples should be a task we all take on this 4th of July, so
that we can better understand what true freedom really is.

There was a time, in this very nation, when "Freedom" was spoken in hushed
tones, in awe and with reverence. Those times have passed, and as we have
grown accustomed to the gift of freedom, we do not understand what it means
to not enjoy those same liberties. We see today the desecration of our
freedom in the perpetuation of a war in its name that is fighting for
everything but freedom. We see it in the faces of those in other nations who
smile gleefully while holding a torch to our beloved flag. We see it today
in our own homeland, where untold hundreds track every phone call and e-mail
we make in our homes. The worst way we see it is when our own people are so
eager to give away their freedoms for the promise of a safety that cannot
possibly be achieved by others. In a sense, the greatest threat to freedom,
now and in the future, may be those who live in our own nation. Their
ignorance may be the cause of our own downfall.

This 4th of July, when you are enjoying the day off, barbecuing in your
backyard, and enjoying the food and drinks with family and friends, remember
those who came before us in their fight for true freedom. Remember those who
fight today to be free. And ask yourselves, "What is true freedom to me?"