Advantages Very informative, useful for getting greater knowledge about ebay and paypal procedures
Disadvantages It can be a daunting place, older members have little empathy at times.
Perhaps one of the lesser used menus from the Ebay Home pages is that of the Community pages, which contain the Q&A message and Chat Boards. There are plenty of different boards, although some are probably more frequented than others.Many of the Chat side of the Boards are titled like a cosy pub where you can drop in and talk in about almost anything under the sun - within reason. Just like communities evolve on sites like dooyoo, regular ebaying enthusiasts also congregate for a natter, a gossip or even a full on debate.
The Chat side also contains more specialised Ebay sales - in particular cars. Until I started to read ebay boards, I had no idea of the EXTENT of the fraud that goes on with Ebay, other than what is picked up by the newspapers and watchdog type programs. However I would have always "googled" the item I was looking at along with the words "ebay and scam" to see if anything came up.Motors has a board to itself and it is pretty active. Despite all the warnings it is amazing that people fall for scams every single day and lose lots of money. They don't understand Ebay terms and conditions, they send money to complete strangers internationally using services that do not protect them, they reply to Ebay messages in their inbox, instead of checking that the message was actually in their Ebay messages box, and they don't even ask the question to themselves that if a car is going 70% below the book value- then there might be a con artist at large. Since reading the boards I have seen some incredible stories of naivety, stupidity and great financial loss. The regular Q&A board surfers can come down incredibly harshly on people, and I think if you want the best from the boards, then it is far better to listen to what people are saying to you, to protect yourself from future problems.
There is also a pretty active book community although one would assume there is less fraud with most books than there is with more valuable items. Books have always been a popular category on Ebay and you can discuss anything book related in here, including rare or first editions if that is your thing.I tend to spend my time over on the "Help" side of the boards and in two boards in particular which are Q&A board and the postage and Payments board. I only got into these boards a few months ago, having looked at them in the past but found the sheer volume of daily threads to be overwhelming. Now they can be quite addictive! I am not a huge ebayer, and only have a feedback of 30 at the present time, but I feel like I am much more knowledgeable about the finer workings of ebay merely because of the vast amount of information I have learned from reading the threads.
There are a few board related rules which are fairly standard rules including no advertising, no foul language etc but nothing out of the normal. If you are in a transaction and have a transaction related question, then you can post the ID of the auction in question to aide others answer your query.The Board regulars (and I do not classify myself as one, as I am a mere inexperienced newbie by comparison) can be extremely helpful but can also be extremely harsh. You can expect that if you post a message about a transaction where you might feel you are the wounded party, that someone will be all over your history in a flash to find out just how honest and how clued up an ebayer you are. Offsite tools, such as goofbay are frequently used to look at your bidding history, win history, auctions - EVERYTHING, and if you are flouting some rules, then you can expect to be told about it. Equally, if you have been the victim of a dishonest ebayer who needs to be stopped, then you can expect some support. This week, one innocent posting about a so called "power" seller who was adding a £5 a DAY penalty for late payment on a .99p pepper pot (along with £10 postage - FEE EVASION) resulted in a monumental thread which went truly global and highlighted lots of inconsistencies with this seller, and abysmal Ebay Management practices, including the complete removal of negative and neutral feedbacks - without trace, so this "Powerseller" feedback still sat t 99% with 3000 transactions. Finally Ebay removed the thread from the board and gave everyone a slap for breaching board policies - but the ebayer is STILL trading..it's a jungle out there! This seller was netting about £50K in sales a month and breaching every trading rule there is - although you have to wonder about the buyers that don't read the terms and conditions of what they are buying. There have been other scams of a wide scale that the Ebay community themselves have managed to put a stop to, using the intervention of the police on more than one occasion.
However, the community does not suffer fools gladly. It is unbelievable how many posts there are daily, where people are aggrieved because they felt they were done to the tune of 30p or so on postage, or they didn't get feedback on a transaction or something like that - very small in the scheme of things.Reading the boards has highlighted to me just how many sellers have no idea of their obligations when selling. This is incredible when some of them have a feedback of well over 1000 (compared to my paltry 30). A common seller mistake is to assume that their responsibility ends when posting the item. It doesn't - they are responsible for delivery and if they are to win a paypal claim for non receipt of goods, then they need to prove delivery via an online trackable means. Yet thousands of ebayers put insurance as an optional extra on postage - WRONG!! It is the seller that needs the insurance, not the buyer. I absolutely avoid such sellers now, as there is bound to be an issue if the transaction does go wrong.
One of the most commonly argued subjects is that of feedback, and it is quite staggering to read the sheer volume of ebayers who, even when they have been ripped off quite significantly, will not actually leave feedback in case they get a negative back as they want to protect their 100% positive feedback record. I can understand this to a degree, as I still have 100% too, but it does undermine the entire feedback system, especially where serious fraud is being committed and other people are being taken in too.The boards have made me a lot more savvy with the current and past scams that are doing the rounds - to the point that I would no longer consider buying certain items from ebay, that I might have done in the past. Tickets are a good example. A common scam here is to send an empty, signed for envelope. The seller can prove delivery, and the buyer cannot prove the envelope was empty. I just sold some show tickets to a buyer in Manchester, and so far he has not left me feedback, although he confirmed receipt. I asked my husband to send them Special Delivery as I knew I would need that - and although husband says the postage was £4.05 which suggests Special Delivery, the buyer left me a curt one line email saying he had got the tickets but what happened to Special Delivery..? I just hope the post office has got a signature, otherwise I am wide open for a chargeback - and they weren't even my tickets, I was selling them for my sister. Another thing I would completely avoid is buying from "stock photos". If it isn't a proper photo where to the best of my ability I think it is genuine, then I do not bid - and likewise I always take good clear shots when selling so I maximise my sales opportunities and don't deter others.
Paypal protection is a total minefield, and while I still do not profess to understand it completely, my knowledge has moved forward in leaps and bounds since reading the boards - and I would know where to go if I do have a problem. I have read enough about paypal to seriously want to never use it ever again and use bank transfer instead, which is both cheaper and safer for sellers, as there is no risk of unfair chargeback. People in the UK don't seem to realise this and I am constantly amazed when I see people churn out five star positive reviews of paypal on review sites, as they clearly do not have a clue about the operation and pitfalls.If you have fallen victim to a "known" scam, the first thing you might want to do is leave negative feedback (as I did when my phone was bought by a Nigerian Scammer). I was smart enough not to send it though..however, there are threads which are sticky and cover some of the more common problems such as getting your FVFees back, relisting and reporting etc, and it is worth calling in for advice.
Most regular ebayers use a separate "posting ID" on the boards. This is because they might want to protect their identity or to save them from auction wreckers, especially if they have given out advice which might be unfavourable to someone else i.e. Pointing out their terms of sale are questionable..! so if you do get advice from someone who looks like they have very low feedback, that is why. Regular board posters have even less tolerance to poor spelling and poor grammar that even the meanest of review writers on dooyoo, so if you do post, be coherent and to the point, or be criticised!I think the boards are an absolutely invaluable resource for any honest person who wants to wise up on ebay, has a problem with a transaction or needs some genuine advice. Personally I think it is better to read around a few threads first before asking your question, as the likelihood is that it has been answered thousands of times before. However if you do post or add to someone else's thread then make sure you have broad shoulders in case someone starts inspecting your auctions for signs of inappropriate practice, whether intentional or not.
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