BAM eBay Buyer Blog

Posts for eBay buyers about buying on eBay

How Do You Think a Marketplace Fairness Act Would Impact You as a Buyer?

How Do You Think a Marketplace Fairness Act Would Impact You as a Buyer?

EBay recently hosted a roundtable with sellers including the owners of eWastedirect and sunrisegolfshop. Among the items discussed with U.S. Rep Eric Swalwell were the Marketplace Fairness Act, which these sellers said would force them to "seriously curtail" their business or close them entirely.

I hadn't heard about the Marketplace Fairness Act in a while, which aims to make certain sellers, such as those making $1,000,000 gross sales, collect sales tax in all states which require a sales tax, regardless of whether the seller has a "nexus" or "physical presence" in that state or not. 

One million dollars may sound like a lot, but when you consider that is gross sales, and is before taking out a seller's costs, you could be talking about quite a few sellers who don't necessarily have a high profit margin.

Obviously online sellers will for the most part be against this, as it may bog them down in a quagmire of paperwork regarding the sales taxes, and collecting it. 

But how do you feel as a buyer having to also pay a sales tax to a place where you previously did not have to? Would that impact your purchase choice, or would you take it all in stride? 

According to this entry at the TaxJar blog, sellers would likely struggle trying to figure out which of the 10,000 sales tax destinations their customer was in.  And, suggests the blog, the seller may even decide to stop selling into certain states. Now, that this might mean for you as a buyer is you no longer have access to purchase that item online, at least from that certain seller.

The Marketplace Fairness Act certainly does seem a quagmire from my perspective. And one wonders how the large online selling sites would handle it, and whether the costs to figure that out and implement it would also ultimately get handed down to the consumer. 

How do you feel about the Marketplace Fairness Act as a buyer? Is it the idea of paying some amount more money in tax that bothers you, or the whole concept, or are you for the tax?  Post a comment here! 

Could the Blocked Bidder List Become a Thing of the Past?

Could the Blocked Bidder List Become a Thing of the Past?

Recently Tamebay wrote wondering about if eBay had removed the Blocked Bidder list.  Apparently, for eBay UK people, "It appears that if you click a link to go to your Blocked Bidder list you’re being redirected to a lovely new eBay Seller Centre page which talks about how to manage your sales. That’s not what you wanted."  (In the UK, eBay has recently launched a new UK "Seller Centre" page).

While I do see a link to Blocked Bidder lists from my own US-based Seller Hub ("Block Bidders, near the bottom"); at least some UK people apparently see otherwise. Some people talked about saving their blocked bidder lists; it is never a bad idea to have a backup version of something.

Meantime, here are some of the comments people had about the eBay Blocked Bidder lists:

- "Blocked a problematic buyer which left me negative feedback because I never met his demands. Two months later he’s back leaving me negative feedback for the same reasons, despite me adding him to my blocked list, having gone to investigate my blocked bidder list, I see that the list is totally blank!"

- "eBay of course took no responsibility for the matter and had no explanation for the matter."

- "(Checked) my blocked buyer list and it has been altered by ebay with many blocked buyers no longer listed or with user ids that I don’t recognise."

"(B)ad enough the link error, though the shiney (sic) super wonderful seller hub fails to mention anything about blocking specific individual bidders."

The Tamebay post included a link to the existing blocked bidder list on eBay UK, so it is still there. It is not clear why a seller's blocked bidder list would have some blocked bidders no longer listed; however, this could be another reason for people to go to their blocked bidder list and check it out, just in case they see it has any housekeeping changes that need to be made.

When I checked my own blocked bidder list, it only had one eBay user on it. But despite being on eBay over 16 years, I had only added one bidder to the list. The "BBL" is not something I use much, as you can tell.

The reason the Tamebay post caught my eye is because eBay often tests things out in the UK before bringing them to the US. However, in this case, there is no reason I can see to think eBay will get rid of Blocked Bidder lists; this sounds more like a snafu on the UK site.

What do you think about blocked bidder lists, and are they very important to you? Have you ever been put on a blocked bidder list, to your knowledge, and did you think it was fair? Post a comment here!

Will Image Search Become a Thing on eBay with Its Acquisition of Corrigon?

Will Image Search Become a Thing on eBay with Its Acquisition of Corrigon?

There has always been a ton of stuff to search for on eBay.  Now it looks like there will be coming a new way to search, by image. Image searching is something people have been doing via Google's search for a while now when they have an item that they can't find by searching on words describing it.  If you have a "whatzit," as the Kovels used to call it, or a thing that you don't know what it is, you could plop the image into the Google search and select "images."

In the announcement of the acquisition, eBay said, "eBay has signed an agreement to acquire Corrigon Ltd., a pioneer of visual search technologies. Corrigon helps identify objects within an image, matching both visual and textual elements to ensure that the image is recognized, correctly classified and best-matched to its corresponding product. With more than one billion live listings on eBay’s platform, Corrigon's expertise and technology will help match the best images to their products so that shoppers can be confident that what they buy is exactly what they see."

And, "As we continue to evolve the eBay shopping experience, Corrigon's technology and expertise will help buyers find the best results when shopping on eBay through experiences that were not possible a year ago, before our investments in structured data,” said Amit Menipaz, Vice President and General Manager of Structured Data at eBay. “Corrigon represents eBay’s third acquisition in the structured data space this year, further underscoring our commitment to powering deeper inventory insights for our sellers and compelling new user experiences for our buyers.”

Sometimes words alone cannot describe a thing adequately, and that's where image search comes in. There also may be some subtle differences between, say, one type of antique sword and another, and that's where the image search technology could come in to help someone find just the item they are looking for,

I have sometimes advised friends to do an image search on Google if they are not sure what that item they picked up at an estate sale is.  What do you think the acquisition of Corrigon and its move into visual search will mean for you as a shopper? Or even as a seller? Is it something you anticipate using?  Post a comment here! 

What EBay's New Seller Hub Means for You

What EBay's New Seller Hub Means for You

What does eBay's recently-announced Seller Hub mean for you as a buyer, or as a seller?

Today we take a look at the new Seller Hub and see how it might tweak interactions between buyers and sellers, and help either or both.

One thing the Seller Hub does is lay out all on one screen all the tasks a seller needs to complete. This means, if you have asked a question about an item, it will show up right there in the upper left of the screen under "Answer Product Questions." Hopefully this means you have a better chance of having your question answered than you would have normally, though sellers should of course answer questions as soon as possible.

Beneath that, there's a prompt to respond to any open offers from buyers. Once again, this is another reminder for a seller that you may have an offer in, as sellers sometimes get distracted and don't always notice an offer in their email stack.

Then, of course, there is a field reminding sellers how many orders they need to process and ship.

Under Orders, they can also see all orders needing fulfillment, as well as any open returns or replacements. For example, I have an open return I am awaiting to come back to me right now, so it is good to see this reminder so I may contact the buyer and see if they need any help with the return.

Feedback: one thing I particularly like about the Seller Hub is the reminder under Orders of items that have been shipped and are awaiting to give feedback. As a busy seller, I don't always take the time to give feedback to buyers, although of course as a seller I welcome feedback.

So as a buyer, the hub gives you more chances to see feedback from sellers, if that's something you do not see for every item transaction now.

Most of the other features are seller-related with a chart of sales in the past 90 days, and an area that shows all kinds of information about Listings, including how many are active, and again how many have questions or open offers from buyers,

It also shows how many listings are ending today, and unsold ended listings.

In general, I think the new Seller Hub can only be a good thing in prompting more communication between buyers and sellers, and encouraging sellers to list more, which means more choice for buyers.

What do you think about the new seller hub, and what might you change about it if you could?

Would You Buy or Sell on Facebook Marketplace?

Would You Buy or Sell on Facebook Marketplace?

EBay, Craigslist and the other online marketplaces have some new competition...Facebook Marketplace, just announced by Facebook. In the announcement, Facebook noted people have already been using Facebook as a place to buy and sell, mostly using the Groups feature, so this is making the online buying and selling official and one more way to access items by fellow Facebookers.

"Facebook is where people connect, and in recent years more people have been using Facebook to connect in another way, buying and selling with each other," said the announcement: "This activity started in Facebook Groups and has grown substantially. More than 450 million people visit buy and sell groups each month — from families in a local neighborhood to collectors around the world."

They further said, "today we’re introducing Marketplace, a convenient destination to discover, buy and sell items with people in your community. Marketplace makes it easy to find new things you’ll love, and find a new home for the things you’re ready to part with. We’ll continue to build new options and features to make this the best experience for people."

To use the feature, it said, just  "tap on the shop icon at the bottom of the Facebook app and start exploring." The items will be local to you, from users in your community, so some have compared it to more of a Craigslist than an eBay, as there will most likely be local pickup.

What do you think of the idea of buying and selling via Facebook? Do you do it now? Do you use the Groups feature or do it another way? Is this something you think you will use? Post a comment here!