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eBay & Paypal Horror Stories Do you have an eBay or Paypal horror story? This is the place to tell it!

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Old 06-13-2008
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Default HOE's Story

It all began back in late 1997. HOE had read a story about a woman back east that had gave up her brick and mortar to sell her antiques on some weird website called Ebay for 3 times her local prices. That did it. HOE was determined to find items to sell on that little rinky dink Ebay website. HOE read all about Pierre and how he started in his garage. That burned his fires of inspiration even hotter.

Fast forward to summer of 1998. Was pumping out lasers like crazy for $12 or so average each. Cost? $2. Yah, I can live with that. HOE opened up more selling accounts to keep products separated and not look like a mishmash seller.

Business was booming. I still have a digital photo saved from 1999 with about 1,400 checks scattered about in a pile all over my 4 foot kitchen table. The table was covered wall to wall in checks. Each averaging $17 or so.

Then came the summer of 2000 and razor scooters. From July 2000 to may 2001 it was way beyond insane. Almost like printing money.

Nov 2001 abtronics hit and until around June 2002 that was a monster of all monster waves. Money pouring in so fast most would not believe it.

The entire time I had one small account in the background quietly making it's small daily profits from 1500 or so specialty items. Day in day out, when the fads ended that account kept chugging away.

Fast forward to late 2007. That account was strong feedback and strong customer care. Everyone was happy, items shipped quickly, the whole enchilada. Over the years maybe once or twice a year some $8 an hour worker for a law firm would claim rights to one of my 1500 or so items. At first I would fight it knowing I was right but later gave up and for every one I lost I added 20 more. No big deal.

In late 2007 there seemed to be more of these "I own the rights to this" and you are "potentially infringing" type emails. No biggie. The single item would be pulled by ebay and my time is not worth the effort to fight over a $1.50 wholesale cost item.

In early 2008 a vero member that for the time being shall remain nameless hit my account at one time in one day in one email with 4 allegations of "potentially infringing " items out of the 1500 I have sold for the last 9 years. Ebay's bots went ballistic and about 15 minutes later that account went bellyup.

You know the normal stuff started. 30 day suspension, fax in your life story, your firstborn, and enough documents to get you a Top Secret clearance. For those 30 days I shut down all other selling accounts as I did not want to risk those going bellyup too.

After sending Ebay the documents that my items were legitimate and in fact purchased from the largest seller of them on Ebay they reinstated the account. Great! Back to business on all accounts.

About 3 months later one morning I come across an email from Ebay. My steady account from 1999 is now closed indefinitely for listing 8 "potentially infringing"' items. Yes, Ebay's bot's were hit with one email from a Vero member that had EIGHT potentially infringing items. Items that had in fact been listed since 1999 and were purchased from the largest seller of said items on Ebay. That one email with 8 "potentially infringing"' items on a user that just was off suspension a few months back blew the circuits.

Yup boys and girls, 9 years of blood, sweat and tears down the drain in 5 seconds over a few items that cost $1.50 wholesale and that are so dead in sales I think I sell 2 or 3 a year from the store.

9 years of packing, answering emails, risking my capital, driving to the PO, investing in business with 30K in inventory, taking personal calls from customers and chatting with them about their interests and collections. Basically shouldering 100% of the risk of putting food on the table for 9 solid years all wiped out in 5 seconds from some pimply faced $9 hour legal assistant that scours ebay like a vulture daily looking for rotting dead bodies to devour in order to stay alive. Legal assistant is paid $9 an hour x 4 and said labor is billed to client for 4 hours at $150 hour for "ebay vero research"

Yes Mr. Vero client, we closed down 4 sellers for good and gave 30 day suspensions to 3 others. No matter we did not need proof. Just an allegation. No matter those sellers have to feed families. No matter anything could be considered "potentially infringing"' if looked at in a certain way.

Everyone here knows Ebay and everyone here knows what eventually happens to a sellers other accounts if one is suspended. Either the seller is unlucky and ALL his accounts go down at the same time or only some of them go down but the seller knows it's only a matter of time for the rest.

Let me see. If I added up all the accounts and all the feedback from all the accounts HOE would have over 45,000 FB. I figured up what I gave Ebay since 1998 and it sickened me. There were some months in 2000, 2001 and 2002 that monthly payments to ebay were above 15-20K.

So HOE finds out last week that all this effort, all this struggle, all this risk, all this customer service, all the good things any honest seller tries to do is totally wiped out in 5 seconds. The time it takes to report several $1.50 wholesale cost items that are "potentially infringing". Great!

Welcome to the new Ebay. We think you might be selling something "potentially infringing" now or you MIGHT sell something "potentially infringing" in the future.

Lesson learned? Never ever again put all my eggs in one basket no matter how smooth the ride.


P.S. Thanks to the OPs and all the readers of aspkin.com that share their experiences on this site. I feel like a blind person that just now opened his eyes. I have never cried since 1986 when my father passed away but last week after it finally sunk in I did cry. I really, really don't know what is going on with those people. It used to be such fun to sell and list stuff for a penny and watch it go up to 1200 or 1300 hundred dollars.

I think I saw the writing on the wall when ebay introduced BIN. I coldn't believe it.

Remember Paypal? When they opened? They gave you $10 for each person you sent them.

Remember the Paypal slogan?


Yea right.....

Last edited by HairyOldEbayer; 06-13-2008 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 06-13-2008
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I am going to be trying the modee's game plan here soon, which is to set up ebay and paypal accounts by stealth and have those accounts owe large fees so that ebay only hurts itself by suspending you.

I think doing that might take some of the bad taste out of my mouth over Ebay.
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Old 06-13-2008
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They really don't care.....
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Old 06-13-2008
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We all go through this stuff-just gotta take alittle break away from it a couple days--
then come back--buy the Stealth Book from aspkin--read it over the weekend--get your pc straight/ ready for war-- then just start slow.. Good Luck
Always.. Be the BEST you can Be, at Whatever you do! Be Part of the Solution, rather than Part of the Problem.
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Old 07-14-2008
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It looks as if you know where to source your hot items. Thats a big advantage. My problem was I knew which items were hot but I couldn't get it wholesale or if I could the wholesalers charged me too much to make a decent profit.

I too learned to never put all your eggs in one basket. I suggest you look into starting a website with all your products.
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