Friday, April 11, 2008

Where Have all the Cod Bags Gone?

Thank God!

I was afraid maybe we had been too effective and had already rid the world of Cod-Bags. This week was rolling along relatively douche-free until Wednesday when we got an irate e-mail from some guy who had won an item and then asked for it to be shipped to an unconfirmed address. Now, a week later, he's pissed because we shipped it to him. (Mind you, we shipped it the day he paid for it.)

His e-mail:
"I have sent one message a few days ago informing that you sent this item to the wrong address - an address requested different from the buyers. I had to resend today at my expense of $11.44. I am requesting a refund of the $15. which was paid promptly to you at the end of auction. If this does not seem reasonable to you, and refund not posted within 2 days, I will discuss this situation with eBay."

Wah, Wah, Wah, I'm telling!
He sounds like my little sister did when I taped her Barbie doll to a bottle rocket and got it stuck on the roof.

First of all, Note to all Cod-Bags: Seriously, if your gonna buy someone a present, buy it from a retail store. If your too f#*king cheap to do that, then at least give yourself a couple weeks buffer. EBay is not Many sellers are doing this part-time from their homes. If you expect immediate shipping and all sorts of logistical contortions you're smoking grass (and not that good BC Hydroponic stuff either).

Second, if shit doesn't go your way don't bother threatening to tattle to eBay. I do $5-10K a month through eBay and they don't give a crap about me. Do you really think they are going to take your e-mail serious about a $14 item.

Anyway, I digress.

Our response was short, sweet, and to the point, albeit probably not what he was looking for.

"We will not be refunding your money. What you asked us to do violates EBay and Paypal policies which require items only be shipped to a buyer's confirmed address. This policy protects sellers from fraud. You are encouraged to read through eBay's community forum where you will find numerous accounts of rip-off scams where buyers request items be shipped to unconfirmed addresses. We are sorry if you feel slighted, but this is our final opinion on the matter. "

Congratulations to our CODBAG of the WEEK, your dirty diaper should arrive in the mail shortly.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

EBay Extortion

This is a peach.

Today I'm listing an enormous truck part on eBay and want to offer flat rate shipping. The thing is huge and will go oversize-3. Being that I am located in the absolute NW corner of the country I charge $79 because without fail, the buyer will end up being from New Jersey and it will cost me a fortune to ship it. I click the submit button and this pops up:

Attention Seller!

We noticed your shipping cost looks high compared to other listings in your category with similar shipping services. .

We've found that buyers are sensitive to shipping costs. Items with high shipping costs may be less likely to sell and may get less visibility in search results. Listings that violate the eBay Excessive Shipping Charges policy may be removed from the site.

Please review your shipping costs and make changes if necessary. For help, click the Research rates link in the shipping section.

Its like the eBay Nazis were watching the Sopranos when they wrote this little gem.

"We're not sayin' you're cheatin'. It just seems a little high is all... You ain't cheatin' are ya' Tony? Right. Good. 'Cause we'd hate to have to come back here if we found out you was cheatin'."

How the hell do they know what this thing will cost to ship? Better yet, do they send out a helpful notice when someone doesn't charge enough for shipping? "Uh, excuse us sir, but are you sure you only want to charge $25 to ship that car engine? You know it's probably gonna cost a lot more than that. We're just sayin..."

Hell No they don't.

This is just good old fashioned mob-style extortion. They want you to lower your freight charges so they can get a bigger piece of the final value.

Well eBay, guess what. I've seen some gangster movies too...

Sleep well.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sniper, No Sniping!

Snipers are an elite form of Cod-Bag.

I have a modest respect for these guys, though because at least they are legitimate buyers. They know what they are willing to pay for an item, plug it into their automated program and walk away. They win a lot of auctions at the expense of sellers and inexperienced buyers who would have been willing to pay more. Snipers take advantage of a primary weakness of eBay: It is not really an auction.

If you go to an auction and raise your paddle you are agreeing to price that is just above the next guy, true. But if you shout out a much higher number, the auctioneer doesn't round it down to just barely outbid the previous bidder. Your high number becomes the new price to beat and the auction continues until the guy up front is satisfied that no one else is willing to pay more.

There is a website out there that has an awesome technology that really captures the spirit of an auction. It is Bidz weakness is the narrow scope of products, but the technology is brilliant. Your screen refreshes constantly and there is this adrenalin-inducing countdown for each item. Once the end time gets below 10 seconds the clock will reset to ten seconds every time a bid is placed, allowing the other person to bid again. That ten seconds is just enough time to act, but not think. As you watch, you can see bidders playing psychological games with each other. One guy may wait until the very last instant, getting the other fellows hopes up, while another guy may rebut instantly as if to say, "I can go lots higher, you might as well give up now." Its easy to get caught up in the action. Even if you don't like jewelry, you can find yourself wanting to bid.

And there lies the beauty. Bidz is a seller's market. They are getting fair market value for their goods because they've taken out the sniper.