EBAY ALLIANCE WATCH, an Ebay watchdog group based in New York, has been very effective in legally solving disputes that fall outside of Ebay’s sphere of influence. In the past, Ebay has turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to complaints about sellers and buyers once the transaction was clear of their website. This policy led to a lot of fraud and ill will between sellers and buyers.
Since EBAY ALLIANCE WATCH has been handling these complaints, they have succeeded in having over 32,000 Ebay sellers effectively removed from Ebay, and unless the bad guys move their base of operations and buy a new computer. Even using a “front” for selling whatever it is they are selling, is not effective. Their IP location and server ID’s are already known. The “Alliance” estimates that 67% of the sellers who have been banned, remain banned for at least one year.
“Most of the sellers who have been removed from Ebay dealed in squeaky-clean but sneaky ways that escaped notice by Ebay,” said Maree Nazzare who runs the organization with a large team of lawyers, paralegals and expert Ebay buyers and sellers all of whom work as volunteers.
“Ebay puts on a good show about about being on top of fraud and scams, but for the most part most of the really bad behavior flies under the radar and goes unnoticed by Ebay. The Ebay sellers targeted by Ebay Alliance Watch are those who target sellers privately — after the sale has moved off of the Ebay page — and in that group, about 90% are sellers who seek to intimidate or threaten buyers with the dreaded “bad feedback” in spite of the fact that if the deal had stayed on Ebay, the feedback would have been almost always negative. These sellers have to know that it is not only against the rules of Ebay, it’s against the law in several states to email letters wherein abusive language or intimidation is aimed at the buyer. Some buyers are plain bad news too, but in our experience, it’s almost aways the sellers who cause the trouble.
“That’s why we have organizations like the Better Business Bureau and various Consumer Advocacy Groups. Ebay once thought the feedback feature would suffice, and if a buyer ran up against a sleazy sales gimmick they could always get back at a bad seller. That feedback gimmick doesn’t seem to work now, and when we get a letter of complaint we pursue it if we feel that the complaint is legitimate. The old days of buyers having to needlessly worry about negative feedback are over.”
Ms. Nazzarre started her organization in 2009 and in that time she has seen 32,000 sellers get booted from Ebay because of EAW’s influence. Over 6,000 sellers have been tossed as well,but the Ebay system maks it pretty easy for a bad buyer to ruin his or her own credibility and future on Ebay. The buyers are almost always the victims and now Ebay is starting to take submitted claims from outside advocacy groups seriously.
“Sometimes the seller is not only up to no good or selling something that is less than what it appears to be on the Ebay website. Other times the buyer is harrassed by the seller with emails and sometimes even phone calls. This happens because the seller was caught off guard and an item sold for less than they really wanted. You would not believe the things that pass my desk.
“Last week I had a seller tell a buyer — who was quite justified to complain about a bait and switch tactic involving NutriSystem gift cards — that ‘she was glad the buyer was fat and she hoped she would stay fat because she was a whining bitch.’ Can you imagine that? Ebay has that one on the desk right now because that was the lowest blow I ever saw on this job. We have the legal power to pursue cancellation of that person’s Ebay account. Mostly it doesn’t come down to such extremes, but we take every issue with merit seriously, and when one of our advocates makes a decision, we pursue it to a conclusion. I didn’t like the NutriSystem gift card thing at all. The whole thing turned my stomach and I pushed that one at Ebay. They’ll take their time about it, but the seller will eventually get the boot. ”
EBAY ALLIANCE WATCH can be rached at EbayAllianceWatch@Yahoo.com.