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Letters To Ebay Ceo Donahoe Protesting Emr Elimination

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Posted 06/02/2014   11:05 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add Bill Weiss to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Here are two letters I just sent to John Donahoe which are self explanatory. Comments welcome. This is a sad day for stamp collectors who shop on eBay. BUYER BEWARE!










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Posted 06/02/2014   12:29 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Rileysan to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Well stated, Bill. Can this be turned into a petition to be signed by active eBay members to be submitted by the former EMR team? I would like to have my voice heard as well!

Brian
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Posted 06/02/2014   1:28 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add smauggie to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
What you say is only too true. A reduction of overall trustworthiness of items offered on eBay does result in a natural buyer behavior of adding a discount to prices they are willing to pay to compensate for that. You are correct thst this is bad for business for eBay, which no doubt makes a sizable income from its stamp business.
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Posted 06/02/2014   3:36 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bill Weiss to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
"Well stated, Bill. Can this be turned into a petition to be signed by active eBay members to be submitted by the former EMR team? I would like to have my voice heard as well!

Brian";

Excellent suggestion Brian, except that I fear that unless we could get a few hundred different people (or more) to sign such a protest, I doubt it would do much good. That being said, I don't know how to set it up electronically so that readers could add their names to it. Maybe Don will read this and help us.

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Posted 06/02/2014   6:43 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add TheArtfulHinger to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Well stated. A nice touch is explaining how it affects HIM in your follow up letter.
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Posted 06/02/2014   7:48 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bill Weiss to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you! But I'm starting to think that I might have posted this thread in the wrong topic here since it has so few responses so far! I can't believe that anybody who shops on eBay wouldn't be alarmed and concerned with this state of affairs. eBay's elimination of the watchdog arm of their site (the EMR and Community Watch Programs) is a disgusting and serious act on their part. The entire stamp community ought to be up in arms about it. But apparently not............
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Posted 06/02/2014   7:57 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Mike33 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
WOW - that's ridiculous

here's a website for starting an online petition - http://www.change.org/petition
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Posted 06/02/2014   8:22 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add 3Dadeo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Bill, I think many are not aware of this yet. I was not until just now. Terrible decision on eBay's part.
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Posted 06/02/2014   9:57 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Unfortunately eBay puts risk management ahead of what is good for the buyers (and what is good for our hobby). They have more legal exposure if they only have 'semi-police' the listings; people can say they had the expectation that eBay was looking out for bad listings but they still got burned. By walking completely away from the table they can defend themselves by saying that it is free market at work; caveat emptor. In some ways we can blame the litigious nature of our world; or at least blame the lawyers!

Nonetheless Bill raises a what should be a great concern among us all. The level of misleading listings is bound to go up even more and with it the number of frustrated hobbyists. While I certainly would support any petition we might want to start the sad truth is that change.org is full of petitions vs. eBay. Longer-term we need better ways to educate buyers and hold sellers responsible. Surely some of the major philatelic organizations will see the threat this represents and step up with some assistance?
Don
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Posted 06/02/2014   11:50 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add guykickinit to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Wow! Well put, I had no idea anything was happening and I was just on eBay this morning. I've been a member on eBay since '03 and I'll sign a petition, or boycott. I am primarily a buyer myself, so this really gets my attention.
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Posted 06/03/2014   12:19 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bill Weiss to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
"Surely some of the major philatelic organizations will see the threat this represents and step up with some assistance?";

While that comment really seems to make good sense, I can tell readers some good news and some bad news. The good news is that the American Stamp Dealer's Association is going to discuss " eBay Fraud" at their next Board meeting. The bad news is that APS has no immediate plans to do anything - although it is possible that Editor Barb Boal may print the letters in the next American Philatelist. Executive Director Ken Martin maintains that since eBay has not demonstrated any interest in co-operating with APS in the recent past, that it would merely be a waste of time and effort for APS to protest to eBay, concluding that eBay would not "listen" anyway. I strongly feel that the effort should nevertheless be made since APS Charter is as an Educational society charged with protecting the best interests of it's membership. It would seem that this issue is worthwhile enough to make APS want to make the effort. Perhaps not.
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Posted 06/03/2014   02:26 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add HungaryForStamps to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I was under the impression, maybe falsely, that eBay had been ignoring reports from the EMR program for some time due to volume and other issues. That maybe hearsay I picked up somewhere. I'd be interested in hearing why this decision was made and the events that led up to it.

In any event it is bad news. Possibly this could drive stamp sales to other sites, though I won't hold my breath. Not sure what is a viable alternative.

Any chance there is a new initiative in the works at eBay? Maybe some pressure in the forms already mentioned might push them in that direction. Petition is a good start.
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Posted 06/03/2014   10:22 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add MikeQ to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
eBay is one of the world's largest virtual shopping malls. They are a MALL. As relates to stamps, buyers go there to shop. And stamp sellers set up their sales booths there. For the opportunity to sell their wares in this large mall sellers pay the landlord fees. eBay doesn't want to spend money (their potential profits) to become 'stamp experts' or perfume experts, and so on. They are a landlord. They don't want to hold trials for authenticity or feedback disputes. They want to be a landlord. And that's okay. In my opinion, this issue of stamp forgeries, mis ID'd stamps, and so on falls under the category of buyer beware. I have no doubt that the people who are paid to "expertize" stamps would like to see every stamp sold on eBay be expertized. What do you think that will do to the growth of the hobby? (Hint: it will become more expensive to buy and sell stamps) I have over 10,000 stamp sales transactions on eBay (and 100% positive feedback). With every sale I make comes an unconditional 14 day no-questions-asked return policy. I allow extra time for expertizing whenever that is requested. In 10,000 sales I have had one claim of a stamp I sold being a forgery. Mr. Sismondo said it was - and that was good enough for me. I refunded the buyer his full purchase price. I paid him all expertization related fees, and I allowed him to keep the stamp for his forgery reference collection. He did not ask for anything but his purchases price back. I felt bad that the stamp was a fake and I did what I thought was the "right thing". I like to think that other sellers are as honest as I am - but if they are not, buyers are still protected by the Buyer Protection Program. And if a buyer of anything that is a member of a category with a reputation for fakes, knock-offs, and so on considers buying one of those things they should beware. And in the case of stamps, if a seller won't allow time for expertization I would view that as a red flag. I probably have more experience selling stamps on eBay than most people reading this, and I also have bought many stamps on eBay. Personally, I have never viewed eBay as a risky place to buy stamps. But maybe I am naive. Maybe it would be good to hear from people who actually were victims of stamp FRAUD on eBay. By fraud I mean a case in which a seller INTENTIONALLY cheated you, and you were not able to recover your money. Before everyone runs off half-cocked on this "issue" maybe it would be good to see if there is REALLY a problem.
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Posted 06/03/2014   12:53 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bill Weiss to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Mike Q;

I am sure your post is well-intentioned and does refect the fact that you are obviously an honest seller who has fair return and extension policies. But unfortunately, you must not have read my letter to CEO Donohoe too carefully, or you would have noted that I have been involved with anti-fraud work FOR eBay since 2006 (8+ years) so I am positioned perfectly to observe if this problem of misidentified, altered or otherwise deceptive Stamp-Category listings is real, or big, or small, or somewhere in between. I hope you would respect my testimony. There is nothing in this or me except me having to dedicate MORE time to try to help those fellow stamp collectors who are not knowledgeable enough to protect themselves.

So TRUST ME, this is a BIG problem. There are a goodly number of ethically-challenged sellers in the Stamps Category on eBay. Just in the 30-50 different items I've reported in the last month that eBay failed to act on amount to probably $50,000./100,000. worth of fraudulent/deceptive sales (maybe more). Things like fake coils, regumming, reperfing, misidentified stamps, etc. There would not be enough hours in a day for one expert to sort through all the U.S.stamp listings to root out all the problematic items. Aside from the sellers that list problematic things knowingly are those who are genuinely so unknowledgeable that they are unaware of the deception/misidentified/misdescribed nature of their listing(s). So between the crooks and the uninformed, you have a serious problem.

And it is important to remember that eBay's Buyer Protection Plan is only useful when the buyer is knowledgeable enough to recognize that the item is deceptive/fake/altered, etc! Think about it. Lots of novice/inexperienced buyers simply "TRUST" the sellers, especially if the seller has amassed a lot of positive feedback! So they bid aggressively unaware of the nature of what they bought. So without some system which allows expert members to try to spot bad listings and get them removed, the site becomes literally a mine field where the uninformed buyers get raped and the ethically-challenged sellers have a field day!

Your view that this becomes a BUYER BEWARE issue is a widely-held one, which is correct to a certain extent, but to me, just because a buyer is unaware of a bad stamp should not mean he "deserves" to get screwed. If that kind of logic was applied to life in general, then anyone who contributes to their death by making bad choices DESERVES to DIE! I do not believe that any person deserves to die and I do not believe that anyone deserves to be defrauded. And eBay, to the extent that is reasonably possible, owes it to their members to try to provide (as their advertising always stresses) a happy and safe buying experience. If anti-fraud is a "bad idea" then someone please explain to me why they DID have several anti-fraud programs in place starting around the year 2005, maybe sooner. Does it take a decade to realize anti-fraud work is not good?
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Posted 06/03/2014   1:19 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add smauggie to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have sent many emails to sellers regarding incorrect listings. Few of them ever change their listings once they were "informed" of the inaccuracy of their listing. Some say, "Oh, but that is what collectors call them." I stopped reporting incorrect/fraudulent lots when no action ever seemed to be taken.
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Posted 06/03/2014   3:09 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Petert4522 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have sent emails like Smauggie, and I have seen mixed results. My area of expertise is very limited, just the Transportation Coil Series but it is amazing how much can go wrong with just 81 or so stamps!
Bill Weiss, I am behind you 100% and will sign a petition to eBay!

Peter
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