Ebay, Half.com and why I hate people
I (N.) don’t really hate people it’s just that sometimes I really don’t like dealing with them. We’ve blogged before about trying to downsize which means giving away or selling. While we generally give a ton of our stuff away we do need money and selling our “excess” is a decent semi-fast way to do it. We had virtually no success buying or selling on Craigslist so we went to the standard option of Ebay and in the process found half.com. Half isn’t an auction site instead it’s an online marketplace for used DVDs, CDs, video games, and books. Most of the stuff we have sold has been on their and I used to think it was worth it. You set a price based on the going rate (so you can undercut everyone and sell quickly, or stick with the average price and make a bigger profit). We usually opt to undercut everyone so we can get rid of the stuff.
You can list as many items as you want and in the past three months we have listed over 300 items. All you need is the UPC or ISBN and you rate the condition and write a small description. If you have DVD series or really expensive books or something you can make a decent profit. The lowest price you can list something for is 75 cents. At that price you make an 11 cent profit and Half gets 80 cents (talk about a racket!!). You also have to pay shipping up front and wait to get reimbursed on the 1st and 15th for the shipping costs and your profit. So you may get a check for $300 at the end of two weeks and you think it’s a lot because you don’t actually go through and subtract the shipping charges or the cost of envelopes and bubble wrap and gas (to take all these to the post office). Still with all that I figured it was still worth it to make a little money and still get rid of stuff- that was until people started complaining.
Now some complaints were justified and the people were very nice, some were not valid and the people were rude. And here is the kicker since Half is tied to Ebay your feedback is the same for both. Wouldn’t be bad except that as a seller I can no longer leave negative or neutral feedback for a buyer. Ebay apparently thinks buyers were scared to write what they really thought because the seller could “retaliate.” So the guy that called me a liar and blamed me for the fact that his uninsured DVD case and DVD were cracked can say anything he wants about me and I still have to leave him positive feedback- communist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (After I give him a full refund that he doesn’t qualify for because he didn’t opt for insurance)
In general I don’t pay attention to feedback because I do the right thing. As a seller I give accurate descriptions and ship quickly, as a buyer I pay quickly so why should I care about feedback. Well, because people are rude. For a 75 cent DVD that would cost $15-$20 new they will leave something like “optimistic description” or “ok.” Seriously? Does the DVD play without skips, does the CD play without skips. If it plays like a brand new product why would you say these things?
I’m sure there were some valid reasons for Ebay’s decision but I’m done. I went in and deleted anything we had listed for less then a dollar because it isn’t worth the hassle. Once we sell the rest I will never sell anything on Half and will seriously consider the options before purchasing on there. Now Ebay’s auction site I haven’t ever had any issues with. I’m not a seller there, just a buyer and I’ve always gotten items as described at a good price but I won’t sell there. They take too much of your profit and they don’t seemed geared towards sellers. I suppose I sound bitter and I am. I expect people to be “fair” and “nice” and I’m disappointed when they are rude and disrespectful. What I dislike even more is those people not being held accountable for their actions. Instead it seems to be encouraged…
If you are looking to get rid of stuff I vote you try Goodwill, The Salvation Army, your local church or charity or Freecycle. At least then your stuff is going to someone that will appreciate it and the proceeds will go to a worthier cause.