Using ebay is no longer an enjoyable experience

Back in November Craig gave me a phone to sell on ebay, a week after that I tried placing it on the site only to find that the adding process would not complete even though all required and some non-required fields were filled in correctly. I put this down to a small bug that would be fixed and left it – granted Craig would have preferred I didn’t leave it as long – until two weeks ago. This time the item added fine and I was happy enough with the ebay fees of £5 or so for listing the item on the site as we expected it to go for a lot more money. I’ll just say I am sure neither ebay nor paypal used to take such a large share of the monies generated.

On the other side of the system, I have been after a version of adobe photoshop for the last couple of months but I am not interested in paying the near £600 that adobe expect me to pay for the software. I am also disinclined to take the student approach of torrenting the software because I now have the money to buy things legally. Therefore I have been scouring ebay and amazon marketplace looking for good deals on older versions of photoshop. After a couple of weeks I found a good deal, a seller with good feedback (would never spend over £50 on ebay with a seller with under 100 feedback and at least 99% positive), a good price and an unused copy of Photoshop CS2. I won the item for £87 and thought I was on the way to legal photoshop jolliness (assuming the seller hadn’t lied to me). Having paid though I have now received an email from ebay saying that the item has been removed, what is the point in removing an item from the system after the item has been completed and payment made? Worse still due to ‘privacy’ ebay refuse to let you know why the item was removed from the system. You are just told to contact the seller who may or may not talk to you/give you a refund. If he doesn’t then I have to go and bitch to paypal about getting my money back.

Seriously I understand that it might make sense to remove items from the system if the item is illegal etc but this was software that was unused from a seller with a good reputation. If there was a valid reason then that is another problem that plagues ebay entirely and one that I have faced two of the last times I bought items on the site. The first was a copy of the epic Orange Box by Valve which must be registered to a steam account for the pc version to function. It can only be registered to one steam account and it already had been so therefore I could not play the game and had to send the game back. The last item (pre-photoshop) that I bought on ebay was sent back as well, this time because the seller had sent me a rather obvious fake copy of GTA Chinatown wars on DS. I had heard that DS piracy was rife on the website but figured I’d try my luck and I failed. The cartridge was thicker than usual, the box images were lowish res and the manual contained text from a review website (I typed in a passage to google when I opened the manual knowing it was fake).

So piracy, high fees and unknown calculations have majorly knocked my confidence in the nets biggest auction company. At the moment I don’t really see a lot of reason to return for anything over about £20 any time soon. Meanwhile on the photoshop front, the guy has sent it to me anyway and we are both a little perplexed as to why ebay cancelled his listing after it had been completed… Now I just have to hope that the item was as he described it to me in the first place. As far as I am aware though ebay is still the best site on the net for purchasing things you can’t find anywhere else. For example I have bought four PS1 Formula One games a total of around £10 for me to review on http://www.f1gaming.com in the coming months. I would not have been able to find those items anywhere else and would probably have been charged more for them if I had, in the case of small little rare trinkets ebay is still king but for larger/more modern items I am finding it a bit of a pain in the backside.

  • So far I’ve only used eBay to buy one thing: a hard-to-find laptop hard disk. It was described as being new, but when I examined it it turns out to have actually been used (there’s a power-on timer in the SMART statistics). The seller had at least zeroed the drive, and it was in good condition so I just used it anyway.