eBay Item Specifics Glitch Has Used Book Sellers Pulling Their Hair Out

eBay’s good move to allow item specifics on book condition backfires causing lost sales and hours and hours of work for book sellers

Back In August eBay changed their item condition for media from New or Used to Brand New, Like New, Very Good, Good, Acceptable. This was thought to be a good move to help sellers. The problem is that when eBay threw the programming switch, every book already listed on eBay was rated "Acceptable," no matter what the condition actually was.  eBay sellers with books in Very Fine condition had that in their description but the eBay item specifics showed the book as Acceptable.  Books in Acceptable condition are very difficult to sell and of course when they do bring very low prices.

When eBay was contacted by a large book seller they first told him to use the bulk editing tool to correct the listings. Unfortunately that didn’t work.  The only choice eBay book sellers have is to revise their items one at a time.  Sellers with hundreds of listings are having to spend hours doing this. . It is obvious that eBay knows they have a problem but no one in their support organization knows about it and they are keeping quite.  I looked and I haven’t seen anything in the announcments. Here is some of what eBay told a seller who contacted me about the problem and what the actual results were

  • eBay said there were other criteria used in determining when they set the condition to Acceptable – they could not tell me what that criteria was

  • They have no way of undoing it or changing their error and here is why:

    • You cannot use Turbo Lister because you have to identify every item by item number

    • You cannot use their bulk editor because it will not let you change multiple items in bulk that have different conditions

    • You cannot use their bulk editor and change individual listings because it will only let you put in New or Used

    • eBay acknowledges all of the above as accurate – they have no time table for correcting their bulk editor

    The only option is to change all the listings one at a time.  To do that you have to look at every single listing even those you don’t want to change.  Huge issue for me.

    The only way sellers found out this was happening was when potential buyers emailed them and pointed out the discrepancy and asked what the actual condition was.  After sellers started getting a few of these emails they started noticing the problem.  Having to edit all the listings is not all of the problem. How many sales have been lost because buyers saw the discrepancy and just clicked away from the listing. the seller I spoke with said his used book sales were doing very well right up until the new system kicked in, in August.  This is now November. You would think that at the very least if eBay is struggling with a solution that they would have notified sellers.

    I haven’t heard form sellers of other media such as Music or DVDs, but if they had listed used items they are probably experiencing the same issue.

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