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TAGnotes Sun 25 Aug 2002 Vol 4 Number 45 Issue 427

The Auction Guild Notes Sun 25 Aug 2002
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The ebaY PayPal buyout has been given early approval by the
Dept of Justice without restriction and rubber stamped by the
FTC. At this point, the deal will go ahead, but can be stopped by
legal action taken by State Attorneys General, or individuals
bringing an antitrust lawsuit. If you search for your state's
website. it should have a link to contact your State's Attorney
General. Try a Google search from - http://www.google.com/
It was action by State Attorneys General that pursued the tobacco
companies and Microsoft; maybe we all can get them on the
ebaY PayPal merger.   Don't forget to contact your Senators and
Congressional Representatives also. The more concern
expressed the more likely protections will be enforced as part of
the deal.

Find your State and Federal Representatives

To read TAG's objections to the buyout and for a sample letter
and addresses to mail a letter go to -
ebaY - On 19 Aug at 11:25:19 PT, users reported problems with
the ebaY spyware toolbar. The toolbar was showing the wrong
time, and not toggling between the local and ebaY official time
options.   At 12:45:37 PT users reported that the description
blocks on listings were not showing up after an item is listed.
The seller could not get access to revise the item and add the
description. At 13:55:14 PT users reported the free Andale
counters were not working. At 14:32:38 PT sellers again
reported that they were still not receiving their relist credits for
eligible auctions. This is the 19th day this problem has been
reported without any comment by ebaY on their announcement
board. TAG still holds that ebaY is committing fraud and directly
violating their user agreement by not letting sellers know about
this problem, and by forcing those sellers who do find the
problem to do all the work to request refunds.   At 15:54:31 PT
users reported that the Microsoft Passport function was not
working on ebaY.

On 20 Aug at 08:41 UK users reported that My ebaY was not
working properly and the watch feature was not showing all
items saved in this section. 14:04:37 PT a user reported
receiving an End of Auction notice 11 minutes before the auction
ended.   The site was stable throughout the day.

On 21 Aug at 17:42:53 PT sellers who were opted out of
Checkout started to receive Checkout emails from customers.
Other than reports about this problem, the site was stable
throughout the day.

On 22 Aug at 06:40:07 PT sellers again reported the problem of
receiving Checkout emails from their buyers, even though they
were opted out of Checkout. The changes made by ebaY to My
ebaY were the source of these problems. ebaY has now made it
possible for buyers to opt sellers in for Checkout even if the
seller does not want to use ebaY's Checkout system. ebaY has
also set the page up to trick buyers into thinking the seller offers
ebaY Billpoint payments, even if the seller does not. For more
details see information below on the My ebaY changes.   At
15:01 PT users reported not being able to access My ebaY
receiving blank pages and error messages.

On Fri 23 Aug ebaY took ebaY.Com and ebaY Billpoint Payments
down from approx 01:00 PT to 03:00 PT.   At 04:22:05 PT ebaY
posted that completed item listings were down from 03:38 PT to
04:22 PT. .   At 07:22 users reported ebaY stores were down. At
07:53:51 PT users posted that they were having problems with
the Watch page intermittently showing "this item no longer in
database" messages. At 13:40:38 PT ebaY posted that the
ability to make a payment using ebaY Billpoint Payments was
down from 13:00 PT to 13:26 PT. At 22:59:06 PT a buyer
reported receiving an email from ebaY for an auction they had
won, giving the buyer the ability to pay via ebaY Billpoint
payments, even though the seller did not use checkout or offer
Billpoint, and in fact did not even have a Billpoint account.

On 24 Aug ebaY posted at 00:26:51 PT that title search was
down from 00:05 PT to 00:22 PT.    At 05:08 users reported the
favorite search emails from ebaY were filled with item listings
that were 3 to 6 days old, with many auctions already ended.
When these emails are sent late, it destroys their usefulness to
buyers. At 14:37:16 PT ebaY reported that messages users
were sending to ebaY via the customer support web form were
bouncing back to the user. At 09:29:00 PT users who were
forced to use SYI2.0 in order to list free store listings, reported
receiving a survey from ebaY on SYI2.0. ebaY also sent out
surveys to those attending ebaY Live. This shows that ebaY is
targeting users with surveys and front end loading the results on
order to demonstrate how they are catering to their "community".   
At 10:52:44 PT users reported more confusion by buyers on
purchasing fixed price BIN items. The difficulty arises because
ebaY does not give the sellers the latitude to fix the buyers
errors, but must go through the entire deadbeat bidder process
to correct the problem. ebaY needs to fix this and allow sellers
to cancel these erroneous transactions.

TAG STRONGLY recommends that, if a seller feels that any of
the ebaY outages and glitches appears to have negatively
impacted the sale of any of their auctions or listings of any type,
request refunds. Don't pay for service if you don't receive it.

TO REQUEST REFUNDS from ebaY go to
Don't take NO for an answer, keep requesting until you get them.
If you don't get your refunds complain to the BBB Online at
And also file a complaint with the FTC

Pink Quote of the Day - In a thread about the buyer Checkout and
ebaY Billpoint (soon to be PayPal) options, being forced on
sellers who accept neither, on 22 Aug at 07:13 PT, Jerry@ebaY
said, "The "Send My Info" button seems to appear in the buyer's
"Next Steps/Status" MyeBay column under any conditions. This
particular button does not appear to reflect a seller's Checkout
Preferences or the selection of eBay Payments on the listing
page. As soon as I find out if this is a bug, or part of the product
design, I will let you know. Jerry eBay Community Development"
TAG is endlessly amazed by a company that does not know if
coding they have willfully put in place is a "product design" or "a

Board Post of the Day - In a conversation about the ongoing theft
by ebaY of relist fees, in direct violation of their user agreement,
marginally*marginal said on 22 Aug at 12:01:56 PT, "The more
complicated it is to get a refund, the less likely people are to deal
with it. If your time is worth $60.00 an hour, then if you spend 2
minutes chasing down web forms, you have *wasted* $2.00
going after a 30 cent refund.... Don't think for a moment that eBay
doesn't *KNOW* this."

ebaY has made some announced changes to the My ebaY
pages but with results unanticipated by sellers. On the buyer's
page, ebaY merged the ebaY Billpoint payments and the
Checkout columns into a single payments related column. It
has 'Pay Now', 'Request Total' or 'Send Info' buttons. Links are
supposed to inform the buyer of the action just completed, such
as 'Total Requested' or 'Paid'. These buttons appear even if the
seller has opted out of Checkout and does not offer Billpoint. It
also seems that the 'pay now' button does not go away even if
the buyer has already paid. The button only disappears if the
buyer uses ebaY Billpoint payments. You can see an example of
the buyers My ebaY page at -

In the sellers page there is an 'Items I’ve Sold' table with a
'Send Invoice' button. Links will inform the seller once an invoice has
been sent or if the buyer has requested the total amount to pay, showing
'Invoice Sent' and 'Total Requested' messages. A 'Paid' link will
appear if the buyer has paid through ebaY Billpoint or Summary' should
appear if the buyer has completed checkout
and plans to pay with another method.
Seller page -

For more info go to -
For a thread on the subject go to -

Did you need another reason to cancel your Billpoint account?
You might also start thinking about closing your PayPal account
and establishing alternative payment systems for your auctions.
To permanently close a Billpoint Account go to -
Fill out the form, saying that you want to cancel your account.
Billpoint will send an email asking for your ebaY ID, your Billpoint ID,
and your Billpoint security key. They will also ask why you are
canceling your account. After you reply to the email, it will take 7 to
10 days for the account to be canceled.

Sellers who pay their ebaY account using one time payment
methods can only run up a maximum debit balance of $25.00
before they have to pay their account. This is not necessarily a
problem, except that such a seller can no longer revise auctions
if they have reached the limit. Because ebaY actually charges
the listing fee and then credits it back whenever there is a
revision to an auction, the system will prevent a revision if the
seller is at the limit. Sellers running into this problem should
pay down their balance with a few dollars so they can do their

ebaY now requires travel sellers to buy a monthly verification
through ebaY partner Square Trade. As part of this program
there is now a new logo, a SquareTrade Travel Seal. ebaY will
automatically post the Travel Seal on all auctions by verified
sellers in certain ebaY travel categories. The seal will not appear
on listings within Luggage or Other Travel, even if the seller is
verified.   Insurance coverage will increase to $500.00 for the
included ebaY travel categories.

Sellers have been reporting to TAG that they are getting
automatically charged by ebaY's SquareTrade for monthly fees
even if Square Trade can't contact the seller to authorize
payment. This happens when a seller has changed their email
address and not specifically contacted Square Trade to cancel
their account. Square Trade holds that their fees are non
refundable. TAG advises sellers to contact their credit card
companies and charge back the fees, and file complaints
against Square Trade with the Better Business Bureau, FTC and
other fraud reporting organizations if they are getting charged
without prior approval.

ebaY is holding a chat about keyword spamming on Mon 26 Aug
from 13:00 PT to 15:00 PT.

For users who have suffered various ebaY breaches of contract
violations there is some recourse. If you have tried to get
satisfaction from ebaY on your complaint without success, you
can file a "Demand for Arbitration" complaint. You can download
the form at this link - http://snipurl.com/24t

From what TAG has heard, you can file this complaint with any
American Arbitration Association (AAA) office across the country
but ebaY requires the complaint be heard in San Jose. For
example, if you have not received your refunds automatically for
relisted items, ebaY is in breach of contract, because they agree
to provide these refunds automatically in the user agreement. If
ebaY tells you that the seller has to provide all the information in
order to receive the refunds, this is a violation of their user
agreement, and if you demand refunds and ebaY refuses, you
can then file for arbitration.

In the case of a suspension, you can appeal your suspension
following these instructions - http://snipurl.com/24d

According to ebaY, they are supposed to answer in 36 hours. If
you either do not get an answer or do not agree with the answer
you get, you can file for arbitration. In the case of ended auctions
or suspension, you would be entitled to losses suffered due to
the suspension, you can file for compensation, attorney's fees
and reimbursement of other expenses to fight your case.

Relisting fee refunds continue to be a problem. TAG has heard
from sellers using SYI2.0 that they too were not consistently
receiving refunds. All users of the old selling form did not
receive refunds. ebaY is required to provide relist refunds
automatically or they are in breach of their user agreement and
can be pursued as stated above. Sellers are NOT required to
compile the information ebaY is demanding to get their refunds.
TAG has heard from sellers who insisted ebaY provide them
with refunds without the seller jumping through hoops and
providing the information, and sellers HAVE RECEIVED
REFUNDS! Estimate what you think you should be getting and
demand a credit on your account for that amount. Don't take no
for an answer, be calm but firm in your demands and you should
get your credit.

Request refunds from the online form at -

Click on 'Billing' click on 'Credits/Refunds'
Click on 'I was expecting a credit but it's not on my account.
Where is it?'
Click the button that says 'Continue'.
Ignore what is on the page and scroll to the bottom and click on
the button on the lower right hand side 'Contact Support'.
Fill in the form, tell ebaY you have not received automatic relist
refunds since 1 August and in accordance with the user
agreement they are required to provide you with these refunds.
Tell them you estimate your refunds should be $xx.xx and you
expect to see that amount credited to your account immediately.
If ebaY says no or says you have to jump through hoops to get
your refund, write back once more, tell them you expect the
refund and refuse to do their work for them and your next
complaint will be to the Better Business Bureau. If they still say
no, file a complaint with the BBB from this link -

Keep your correspondence with ebaY friendly, calm but firm. If
they force you to take this to the BBB make sure you get a refund
sufficient to cover some of your time and inconvenience in
addition to the relisting fees they owe you. TAG figures ebaY
could be making upwards of $72,000 a day on this, that is about
1.8 mil to date of illicitly gained fees - so they can afford to take
care of this!

ebaY is holding a Fashion Sweepstakes until 29 Aug. To enter
and for rules and details go to -

ebaY insiders are cashing out stock at and ever increasing rate.
For the complete press release go to -

ebaY has implemented the changes in how the ending time of a
listing is displayed in Search and Listings results. Instead of the
ending time, "Ends PDT/PST", with the date and military time in
the Pacific Time Zone that the listing will end, ebaY will now
"Time Left", with the amount of time left in the listing displayed in
hours and minutes, rather than the specific hour of the day.

Users who prefer to view Search and Listings results by "Ends
PDT/PST" can change the setting from the "Show Only" box in the
left-hand navigation bar. Once the default is set to "Ends
PDT/PST", it will remain that way for the user. Users need to set
the default for Search and Listings results separately.

Ongoing Issues and Information
See the TAG website for miscellaneous ebaY info at -

Is Checkout interfering with your online business? Is the new
search slowing down your sales? You pay ebaY for services, so
file a complaint against ebaY with the Better Business Bureau,
the FTC and or The Consumer Trouble Shooter.
BBB Online - http://www.bbbsilicon.org
FTC - https://www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.htm
FBI's Internet Fraud Complaint Center at: http://www.ifccfbi.gov/

ebaY CONTACT for ebaY, ebaY UK, Billpoint, Half.Com,
information including analog mail and email addresses, phone
numbers, regular and toll free, refund info, close account info,
and insider trading info etc can be found at

* * * * *
Amazon Auctions, zShops and Marketplace - On 19 Aug at 19:03
PT Amazon posted that some payments transactions have been
taking longer than usual to complete processing. They said they
would fix it as soon as possible. Amazon warned that sellers
should not ship until the completed status appears in Seller
Account information, or until "Sold--Ship Now!" e-mails were
received. At 20:38 PT Amazon made their daily update post that,
"Marketplace and zShops Sold listing information (and related
feedback and relist links) prior to July 23rd remains unavailable via
Seller Account. Order Fulfillment Report information prior to July 8th
is also still unavailable."

On 21 Aug at 11:05 PT Amazon reported their same daily update

On 22 Aug at 15:26 PT Amazon posted that they had fixed the
payment transaction problem posted on 19 Aug at 19:03 PT.   At
15:26 PT Amazon again posted their daily update

On 24 Aug at 13:43 PT Amazon again posted their daily update,
without change.

On 24 Aug at 18:34 PT Amazon sellers posted a warning on the
Amazon chat board about a fraud situation. The post read, "An
article on the front page of the National Section of AntiqueWeek
for the week beginning August 26th (Monday) reports that
booksellers, mostly clients of ABE, have been hit with over
$100,000 in fraudulent credit card purchases. Many books were
high-ticket literary first editions with shipment to Ghana and
Belgrade. Some have been subsequently listed by the scam
buyer for sale on eBay. Stolen cards for "high government
officials with high credit ratings" were issued by USAA Bank (24
accounts since closed) and MBNA Bank (6 accounts since
closed) and authorization was received from the credit card
issuer but shipment was to a fraudulent address. Air shipment
was requested and notice of the fraud came too late for many
sellers." http://www.antiqueweek.com/
To read board thread go to -

Amazon live telephone customer service 16 hours a day
Toll-free in U.S. and Canada: (800)201-7575
Auction Pro phone number 1-877-251-0696
NEW! Amazon Contact Info Page on TAG website -

* * * * *
Yahoo Auction/Warehouse/Classifieds (YA) - Yahoo has a tool
called Yahoo! Seller's Manager that provides tools to track and
manage auctions offline from the seller's desktop. The tool will -
*Create auction listings, submit listings in one batch
*Monitor auctions from your desktop, synchronize the listings in
your Seller's Manager with your listings in My Auctions.
*Record "Notes" to yourself to track auctions and monitor to-do
*Use "Templates" to quickly create multiple, similar auctions.

System requirements: Requires Windows 95b, Windows 98,
Windows 98 SE, Millennium, Windows NT (service packs 5 or 6),
or Win 2000 (service pack 1). Requires IE 4.0 or above to be
installed. Total downloaded files 1.17MB.

Yahoo Auction Fees for those who have not looked in a while -

Yahoo auction counts as of 23 Aug-

Antiques & Art   19150
Automotive 3663
Books & Comics 13376
Clothing & Accessories 20284
Coins, Paper Money & Stamps 42608
Collectibles 17413
Computers 7436
Electronics & Cameras 4978
Food & Beverage 656
Home & Garden 10380
Jewelry & Watches 20129
Movies & TV 11061
Music 7750
Sports & Outdoors 3899
Sports Cards & Memorabilia 47731
Toys, Games & Hobbies 31093
Video Games 2586
Other 5682
Total 269,875

Auction counts brought to you by

As of 19Apr02 Yahoo Auctions had 329,060 (-40,688)
As of 7May02 Yahoo Auctions had 316,720 (-12,340)
As of 24May02 Yahoo Auctions had 314,105 (-2615)
As of 14Jun02 Yahoo Auctions had 309,097 (-5008)
As of 28Jun02 Yahoo Auctions had 291,421(-17676)
As of 6Aug02 Yahoo Auctions had 261,084 (-30337)
As of 23 Aug02 Yahoo Auctions had 269,875 (+8791)
Yahoo Auction counts brought to you by
Ongoing Issues -

Yahoo Contact Information

Yahoo Auctions Customer Support form

* * * * *
BidVille sellers are holding a Dollar Sale 1 through 14 Sep 02.
All items posted will have a $1 starting bid with no reserve price.
There will be special links posted on the site that direct buyers to
these items.

Any seller interested in placing items in the sale should visit the
Community Center at -

* * * * *
PayPal - has settled with the New York Attorney General Eliot
Spitzer on their Internet payment processor online gambling
case. Under the settlement, PayPal will not process payments
from New York residents to Internet casino sites beginning on 1
Sep, and will pay $200,000 to the state for its profits, the cost of
investigation and penalties. For article on subject go to -

There are two PayPal product updates that sound useful to
users.   Refunds can now be made up to 30 days after receipt,
without fees, and eligible users can get a second Debit Card for
another member of their family or organization.

TAG has viewed several reports of problems with sellers who do
not offer PayPal receiving PayPal payments from their buyers.
What appears to be happening is those buyers who have PayPal
accounts and have their account set to show their won auctions,
are seeing ALL their won auctions, even if the seller does not
offer PayPal as a payment option. The buyer assumes that
since the auction is on their PayPal list, that the seller will
accept PayPal. This is not true, and is violation the terms of the
auction and in fact violating their contract with the seller. Buyers
must check the seller's auction terms of service before they pay the
seller. Buyers can request a payment retraction from their
PayPal account.

PayPal has been the latest site used to try to scam personal
secure information from users. Users receive an email that
looks as if it comes from PayPal saying there has been a site
problem and the user needs to reenter all their confidential
information. This is a SCAM. Never use a link from an email to
update any secure site information, including User ID or
Password or anything else. Always go directly to the actual site
from your normal link (not an email link) and access your
account from there. If you receive one of these scam emails
send it to accessvi-@PayPal.com

PayPal will put their ebaY buyout to a stockholder vote on 3 Oct.
Investors who hold shares of PayPal stock on 28 Aug will be
eligible to vote on the deal. There are still several stockholder
lawsuits pending on this deal, and two class actions against
PayPal for service problems.

* * * * *
SnipURL - TAG has found a great tool! This site snips your way
too long URLs and takes them down to a manageable size. All
those long links on ebaY, Amazon, Yahoo etc can now be made
into a short clickable links. The SnipURL forwarding step is
almost transparent, even on a slow dial up. In addition the site
provides edit functions, secrecy functions, and several other very
nifty features. This is one of the best things we have come
across in a long time for simplicity, ease of use, and elegant
function. And it is free.


* * * * *
CBS Marketwatch posted that online sales have shown a gain of
26% to $6 billion, from last July, according to Internet market
researcher ComScore Networks Inc. "What we may be seeing
are very early signs of a shift towards stability and perhaps even
an increase in consumer confidence and willingness to spend
money," Dan Hess, a vice president, told the Washington Post.
He said computer hardware sales were strong, with a rise of 30
percent, while the number of visitors to sites selling jewelry
declined 26 percent during the month.   http://snipurl.com/1mk

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