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Ebay the monster!!!

We have had an account with ebay since 1998 and have been in good standing with them since that time. We were power sellers until around a week ago, and due to the unbelievably ridiculous policies of ebay almost lost the right to sell on ebay completely.

When my son John came aboard Train City, Inc. he developed a side business on his own through ebay. Basically he sold watches and flasks through a company in China on ebay. He just wanted to do something on the side and he came up with this idea and worked hard at designing his own watches, marketing them on ebay, then when one sold he had it drop shipped from China.

John’s business flourished at times. At one point he had literally hundreds of designs and was selling enough watches that he probably could have quit his position with us and go on his own.

It’s a good thing he didn’t though because as ebay does constantly, they change the rules on John at one point making it more and more difficult for him to run his business. Finally a couple of months ago they changed another policy that more or less put John out of business.

So John more or less shut the business down. Once he had made sure that all his customers had received their final orders he more or less abandoned his ebay account not thinking much of it.

Well evidently Ebay doesn’t like it when someone just shuts down a business and abandons it. Part of the problem that John had been encountering with ebay’s change of rules was that because he had to charge quite a bit for shipping of his products one of the feedback items on ebay is shipping charges. He got a low grade in this feedback and actually it snowballed into his ebay rating going lower and lower.

But at the same time he was doing an excellent job with communication to his customers about how long it would take to receive their item from China. It’s just on ebay many people don’t read the important stuff that may affect their shipment and then when the shipment doesn’t come within a couple of days they start complaining.

Now the best thing you can do when you receive bad feedback is to sell more and more because that more or less will take care of a bad feedback or two that anyone on ebay can receive. The worse thing you can do is not sell anything which is what happened to John.

So last week John’s personal ebay account was suspended. But it doesn’t stop there.

Friday we received a notice from ebay that our traincity account was going to be limited because our account linked to John’s account. Our account is a business account which is owned by me, John’s account is a personal account owned by him. The only way the two accounts are linked is because we have the same last names and live in the same city.

When John first told me this had happened, I was dumbfounded. So we got on the phone to ebay and called trying to find someone to talk to and get this straightened out. John tried for a little while, then I took the phone only to talk with someone with an heavy Asian accent that I don’t think understood English very well.

I thought to my self this was fruitless after a while because it was apparent that this was going nowhere especially when the line went dead after I had asked to talk with a supervisor. Frustration at it’s best.

Later in the day after I had finished my normal work I called ebay again. This time I talked with someone who I thought was really going to help me. She seemed to listen to my problem but then it became obvious she couldn’t make the final decision and I would have to contest it in front of yet another person.

Turned out this person was Kevin in the Seller Vetting department of ebay.

He listened to me for a couple of minutes and then he said this.

“Charles, I understand your problem, and I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I am not going to suspend your account permanently and I am going to let you work this out and prove yourself to us for the next 90 days, and if you don’t screw up, then we will allow you to be a full fledged member of ebay again.”

It went downhill from there. I have a problem with threats and intimidation, and that’s exactly what he was doing. I talked with him passionately for the next half hour. I’m surprised he didn’t hang up on me, but other than one somewhat boisterous sentence I kept my cool with him as best as I could. The good thing was I could understand his English and he could understand mine which was at least a step in the right direction.

It ended with he was going to talk with his supervisor and see if he could get it reversed that way, but he was unwilling to help us further than that.

Here is where this gets extremely scary for us. Just a year prior John and myself had talked about possibly eliminating Truthfully we generally sell items for a little higher price on ebay, although their charges may negate that, but it is a great way to pick up new customers which has always been our primary reason for using ebay.

Had we gone ahead with that decision to axe, we would have been put into a horrible position with this partial suspension period of 90 days with ebay. And here we aren’t perfect but just a week ago we were power sellers on ebay. Power sellers of which our ebay sales account for only 15% of our overall sales. Our sales would have plummeted without And this would have been decided by ebay.

Since we didn’t make that decision to axe, we will hardly feel the affects of our punishment from ebay. We can still list, but the number of items we can list and the total volume we can sell is limited.

It is really a shame that ebay has become this monster, but then again I guess it was inevitable. Instead of looking at traincity’s thousands and thousands of positive feedbacks, they look at the fact that we are linked to a suspended account in which there is a reasonable explanation as to why it was suspended in the first place.

I welcome Kevin from Seller Vetting (ebay) to respond to this post and give his side of the story as there are always two sides. I’m sure he won’t so don’t hold your breath.

I guess the only thing left to say is, thanks so much ebay for allowing us to spend money with you. You are the boss, and I suppose that everyone should bow down and worship you and shake in their pants when you speak.

I refuse to do that!

Charles Siegel

Train City, Inc.

Re: Ebay the monster!!!

Exactly why I quit selling on Ebay. Confounded rules, nasty agreement with crooked buyers. hey Charlie, watch your paypal account too........


Re: Ebay the monster!!!

There's nothing wrong with eBAY, it's their website and their rules; just like this auction site has rules to follow. They made you money and they expect you to abide by their policies. They didn't get to become such a "monster" by losing sellers... for each one that decides to leave them, they gain many more in return.

Re: Ebay the monster!!!

I disagree Marauder..

traincity has always followed their rules. Actually my son John always followed their rules. He was extremely hands on with taking care of his customers. When a seller is punished for nothing that they did, that is a problem in my book. Ebay goes overboard with sellers who more or less have no rights.

As far as leaving ebay, no that isn't an option for us and would be an unwise choice because we do pick up new customers and are able to sell some unwanted inventory there. But until they get some stability and stop making new rules over and over, we will not commit to them with our full boat.

Charles Siegel

Re: Ebay the monster!!!

I stopped buying aand selling years ago, too many rule, too corporate.

Hang in there Charles, choo choo auctions is way better anyway.


Re: Ebay the monster!!!


I, too, VEHEMENTLY disagree with you! EBay has grown GREEDY. YES, they are in business to make a profit, BUT ... They squeeze the life out of sellers.

As for rules, YES, some rules are necessary, just like some governent regulation is necessary. BUT, eBay changes rules daily. Sure, they send out notices. Notices written by attorneys not comprehensible by ordinary people.

A few months ago, I heard that eBay started charging "Final Value Fees" on shipping charges INSTEAD of policing those vendors evading eBay commissions by overcharging for shipping. I don't know if this is true, but it is BELIEVABLE of eBay.

Finally, as a BUYER, I can tell you that neither eBay nor PayPal "buyer protection" is worth ANYTHING. In ONE of many instances, I bought a $25 DVD set from what turned out to be a fraudulent seller. Buyer Protection refunded around $2.00 to me, the balance of the seller's account! NOT A PENNY MORE!

I think the problem is simple ... EBay has NO real competition so they have a monopoly and can do whatever they please. Caveat emptor BOTH buyer and seller.

BTW, I used to sell CDs that I did not want through Their commission structure is such that the commission is HIGHER than the selling price of CDs under around $3.00. I quit selling. I cannot comprehend how some people sell for a penny and claim to make money!

Re: Ebay the monster!!!

i personally like bidding on choo-choo auctions because you grade a item one way and it always in much better condition then i expected. I WILL ALWAYS BID ON CHOO-CHOO AUCTIONS BECAUSE OF THE GREAT TRAINS I HAVE BOUGHT HERE. KEEP THE GOOD WORK. RICH GIANNINO

Re: Ebay the monster!!!

That is correct E Bay does charge a final value fee on shipping. Pay Pal also charges you a final value fee on your shipping.The only way to not be charge is to give free shipping, which is what e bay wants the sellers to do. So you would have to include the shipping cost in you starting bid or buy it now price. Pay pal is owned by e bay and this is doubble dipping on fees. The sellers on e bay need to contact their state Attorney General office and file a complaint.Also contact the Attorney General office in California and file a complaint.Their also is a Federal Attorney General office in Washington DC. where you should also file a complaint against ebay and pay pal. If sellers would get their head out of the sand and file these complaints ebay and or pay pal would be forced to give back these fees.

Re: Ebay the monster!!!

It is Ebay's sandbox. Deal with it or take your marbles elsewhere.

Yea...ask our government to fix it.




Re: Ebay the monster!!!

Hello Everyone:

Charles ebay gets a middle finger from myself anymore, it is ridiculous on how greedy they got.

Recently though ebay started something illegal.

They are charging sellers a percentage based on the shipping fee.

so if you charge $5.50 to mail an item, they are going to slam you for an extra $0.25 roughly for charging the buyer to ship the item.

Now this is theft plain and simple.

According to some laws , you have to offer a service in order to charge a fee.

What service is ebay providing to charge the shipping fee?.

I use USPS and UPS 90% of the time and I have to pay them to ship an item after the buyer pays for an item.

Ebay charges for the auction services, then you get screwed by the pay pal fees because ebay forces all of the sellers to accept that crappy payment system.

But how can they justify the charge for shipping fees?.

A lot of sellers on ebay are complaining about this new fee.

Ebay wants to force all of the sellers to offer free shipping, so to make the difference, the sellers have to raise the price of the item, but the shipping fee's aren't always going to be the same for all items.

Ebay is also forcing sellers to accept returns on any items no matter what.

My comment is this.

In the real world 95% of the auctions out there do not offer a return policy, so what makes ebay so special?.

I used to buy and sell on choo choo a lot, but when I got out of O scale due to space, haven't been here that often.

Choo choo really doesn't have a lot of HO scale items, so unfortunately I went to ebay.

I think the only outlet now that has any popularity for selling items is Bonanza, I don't care a whole lot for that place, but for a selling venue outside of ebay, it might be my only hope.

Ebay wants to screw the sellers, but yet they want to kiss the earth the buyers walk upon.

Where do they get such logic?.

The sellers is where their pay checks come from, the sellers help bring in the revenue, but everything on ebay is against the sellers anymore.

Look at the one sided feedback, before if a buyer didn't pay for an item, you can leave a negative, now it's the sellers who receive negatives.

I wish someone would come up with an auction site that puts ebay under, Google was going to do it, but ebay put an end to that.

also if you want to see some horror stories about pay pal, go to

I am going to have to look into other venues to sell my items, this is nuts.

take care

Re: Ebay the monster!!!

Charles, your post made me feel much better!! This is MY story with the crap hole named E-Bay. Back in 1995 E-Bay was just getting started. I signed up as a charter member. I liked e-bay, you reached people all around the world and you were able to sell items you could not sell after dragging them to show after show. It was a user friendly place where you had little rules and were open to doing business as YOU saw fit. Fees were nominal and quite affordable.

I was with E-Bay for 16 years. I was not a huge seller or a power seller. But I was proud of the fact that I always had 100% positive feedback. I got ripped off once from some jerk in NYC who claimed he didn't get his cheap gondola car and threatened me with a lawsuit. I refunded his $12 when I should have told him to waste hundreds or thousands going after my $12, like he actually would have, but I didn't.

I saw the rules constantly change. Higher fees, fees for everything imaginable from bold lettering, to photos, to BIN, to final value fees. Then came the restrictions as to what you could and could not sell, and what wording you could and could not use. Then gestapo rules on how you could get paid or pay, PayPal only! Then came the meddling with the feedback system where sellers were not allowed to give negative or neutral feedback to buyers, but the buyers could slam, libel, and lie away. Then came this abomination of a fee for shipping. Really? Shipping? How cheap and greedy can you be?

About the same time you were assaulted by this communist outfit, I was running into my own problems. Shipping in and of itself is a major issue. Sellers listing small items like Christmas ornaments or trinkets for $2 or $3 had to charge $4.95 to ship them. Buyers were not bidding if they had to pay more for shipping than the item was worth or more than what they paid for it, and I cannot blame them one bit. So sellers dropped off for lack of sales. So as you are quite aware, sellers were being slammed with low sales and the need to either not list smaller items, go out of the selling business on E-Bay, or bundle them in order to make sales. Then these morons at E-Bay decide to twist that knife and charge a fee based on shipping.

My problem was that I was always all over the place for what I asked for shipping. I tried to give an average fixed shipping amount based on weight size and cost to different areas of the country, and sometimes I was OK and sometimes I ate a few bucks or more to pay for the inaccurate shipping amount. I decided to list the items with $0 shipping and the first line of my listing always said DO NOT PAY UNTIL YOU RECEIVE YOUR INVOICE WITH ACTUAL SHIPPING BASED ON YOUR LOCATION! This worked fine because once you knew where the buyer was you could use the E-Bay shipping calculator and get the exact amount and plug it into the invoice. That was if you didn't cross paths with an anal orifice who didn't know how to read and follow directions.

I had listed a group of items. All with the $0 shipping and the big obnoxious note in the description. I had an anal orifice from Maryland buy a car from me and immediately paid the end of auction amount without waiting for the invoice with shipping. So I refunded his money and sent him an invoice with actual shipping. In return I get the most vile, ignorant, cuss word laden rant of a message accusing me of being a crook and a fraud amongst other things for adding additional shipping charges. I wrote back and informed him that the listing stated not to pay that no shipping was included in the listing that it was to be added later. Again I get the vile vitriol. I left it sit for a day hoping things would cool off. They did not. I received my first negative feedback and it was a slanderous one and I did not like it at all. I am an honest person to a fault and I took great offense at being called a liar and a fraud by someone who was obviously a liar and a fraud and an anal orifice.

Infuriated I called E-Bay and basically got the same treatment as Charles. I was told that they will not remove negative feedback except under three conditions, and falsely calling a seller a fraud and a cheat libeling them on a public platform was not one of them. Ok so I thought I'll just file a negative feedback in the positive line. Not, removed with a threat. Fine I decided to file a non-paying bidder complaint as the seller broke the contract and did not pay. Sorry, no can do. Because I had refunded the buyers original incorrect payment, this option was now disabled. My backside was quite sore from this abuse from both the crook buyer and the crook E-Bay and I was done with both.

I removed ALL correct information regarding my E-Bay account, replacing it with garbage info, and removed the link to PayPal and left it sit. Abandoned. Bye Bye.

This happened in late August and I have not been back since and good riddance. On the other hand now I was left without a means to sell my extras. I searched high and low, and as someone said, E-Bay is a monopoly. There used to be a lot of small internet auctions around like BidBay, EBid, Yahoo Auctions etc, and they are now either gone or languishing with no activity. I have posted on various chat boards and always get referred to the Buy/Sell boards, or Choo Choo auctions. Charles they love you man. In the end there are few options for those who have told E-Bay to go stuff and pound sand. Buy/Sell forum boards, Choo Choo Auctions, A Web Page (WEBS), Local and not so Local shows, ECrater, and Bonanza are about it. Bonanza seemed to have a bit of Lionel, American Flyer and Plasticville listed. I tried a booth and its a great place that reminded me of E-Bay when it was simple and first started. But sales were non-existant and I don't know why. I tried a web page too using WEBS, very difficult to get it right, and get picked up by the search engine crawlers and indexed. It literally takes years to get that part done, and without it, no one can find you.

So Charles, keep your auction site up, we all need it. Keep telling your story about e-bay and promoting the alternatives of Choo Choo Auctions, Bonanza, Local Shows etc. If the drum is beaten steady then eventually the people will learn, and the beast will hopefully fall. I feel your pain, I have been there.

Re: Ebay the monster!!!

E-bay is more than a monster...I was a power seller since the mid 90's and selling about 10k $ a year Had over 8k excellent feedbacks..If fact I sold a GMC van got a $500. deposit and when they backed out had to give back the deposit which was nonrefundable there sellers backup is like Hitler was a saint It AINT THERE......All of a sudden ebay decided I wasn't fit to sell on there sight...Suspended my account with no reason given to me...I call several times (Once for over 2 hour with there rep) to find out why...they said they couldn't tell me or give me a reason except they didn't want me selling anymore and thretenred that if I or any member of my family opened an account they would close it down also.I can't even buy on there sight hows that for freedom in these United States.I even sold $20,000. in G scale trains and bought $8,000. in o scale trains before this happened.....Over the years they have gotten GREEDY for power and money.. There rules suck. .And they get you through there high fees and then paypal fees which they also owne...I wish they would go away...Wish them all the bad luck in the world....%20void(0);

Re: Ebay the monster!!!

My biggest gripe with ebay is there for the buyer not the seller. The buyer can leave me a negative feedback but if a buyer decides he doesn't want to go thru with a sale he supposedly gets a strike and 2 is suppose to suspend him for like 3 months but you never know if this happens and unless you leave feedback befor you finally close the nonpaying bidder report you won't be able to and yet you still can't leave him/her any type of feedback other than a positive. I would love to get hold of there list of emails of sellers and have a 1 week no selling just for them to finally listed to the ones that actually make them money but you have to use them basically if you want the sales
sorry Charlie I did okay here but I must admit I do better there as the exposure it gets out to because they are so big. Even thou they frustrate me.

Re: Ebay the monster!!!

Wow... Talk about horror stories! I finally sat down and read the rest of the stories in this small thread. It is amazing how one monopoly can get so crazy stupid.

I know their reasoning for favoring the buyers though. They figure that if you get a strong buying base that the sellers will come. I'm sure they are correct. Very smart people. That's why they can treat sellers badly because they don't care.

Well if you want to help choochoo, please spread the word about us. We will be here for a while I hope.

BTW I believe that ebay took the limit off our traincity ebay account. Originally they told us we would have to call and request it be taken off around November 26th, but we didn't. They even restored our power selling status while we were still on limited selling.

I am still digusted with the way they do business. If I treated people the way they do, well lets face it this site wouldn't be here.

At any rate, it is a pleasure serving you here. All we ask is that you behave like ladies and gentlemen and have fun!

Take care,

Charles Siegel

Re: Ebay the monster!!!

I too had the ugly head of the e-pay monster rear up and bite me..i had over $900.00 auctions about to end like within 5 minutes of what happened i was reviewing bids my account vanished right before my eyes they deleted it..i got them on the phone and all they could say was were sorry...they then turned around and tried billing me for the very listings they screwed me out of..this has been on going for 4 yrs now hateful bill collectors calling me threatening me for e-pays money i finally talked to the county attorney where i live and he informed me e-pay hasn't a leg to stand on by ky law i tell em when they call when e-pay gives me my $900+ dollars i'll glad pay them and hang up what else can i do but since telling them about going to my county attorney the hate mail has at least stopped..guess my next move will be to record 1 of there calls to me and let em know there being recorded Thanks for letting me vent about them blood suckers

Re: Ebay the monster!!!

E-bay is a monster. A while back e-bay started charging final value fees on shipping . I as a bussiness practice as a seller on e-bay would charge only the exact shipping cost charged by the carrier to my customers. I sold 60 items in the last 60 days. At times beyond my control the shipping comes out more expensive than the item. At an average of $15.00 per item give or take a few dollars which is an aveerage of $900.00 @ 9 percent final value fee is $81.00 more taken out of my sales plus the final value fee that I paid on the items I sold. Believe it or not I still had a few buyers who were paying actual shipping fees charged by the carrier complain about shipping cost bringing down my seller's average of 45 across the board to 41 across the board. E-bay knows what the fee rates of various carriers and that I was not overcharging and let the feedback on shipping stand. They could have warned the sellers who were charging excessive shipping costs but instead found a way to increase revenue and offering the laime reasoning that the fee would prompt sellers to find economicle shipping. Yea right, All they did was create a double bladed ax. The sellers will figure out ways to pass the additional cost to the buyers , but e-bay continues to profit either way. One last thing buyers need to read the information fully on any auction site on e-bay and if he or she don't understand any of the information on the item, shipping or handling fees,they should always contact the seller to clarify any uncertain terms or description before bidding to avoid future problems. One more situating ,I had a customer who requested that I pack the item well so I sent the Lionel factory boxed frieght car in an outer corrigated box the same type Lionel would send one through the the mail . The item arrived in perfect condition. The customer feeback was for poor packaging. I contacted e- bay and told them that the box was a mailing box used by Lionel to ship trains through the mail. There answere is that the customer feels it should be in better packaging. The feedback wasn' removed and of course effected my scores. You see, if your scores go low or your feedback score goes dowwn a certain percentile you are charged higher fees a win , win situation for e-bay only.

Re: Ebay the monster!!!

David , I don't know your location , but have you tried Craig's list. It is on the web.

Re: Ebay the monster!!!


Re: Ebay the monster!!!

Wow, guess I am not alone. ebay has gone INSANE
I have been a buyer/seller since 2004 and until recently a power seller!

Their harsh and restrictive practices and policies toward sellers is unacceptable. Reminds me of the same bunch of thieves that ran Block buster Video into the ground!

After several crazy phone calls accept the fact that a multi Billion $$ platform will not change so I realize
I must change.

It is a public company and I guess they have the right to screw up a perfectly good business model due to greed and run their business into the ground! No company is to big to fail!

I will find a better way!!