The market has passed eBay and sadly no one is going to attend the funeral.

I realize it isn’t something a lot of people worry about so for that I apologize but it bothers me so it makes my blog. I worry about the future of eBay. I use PayPal more outside of eBay now than ever before. But eBay I use less and less with the passing of time.

First because it is so much easier to use the Amazon trade in program. I don’t have people scamming me for discounts and fake refunds. (if you ask for a refund on eBay you have to return the item before the refund is issued. That is kind of business 101). I don’t have to worry about the shipping process, insurance or anything else. I just send it to Amazon, if they don’t want it they send it back.

Between 2002 and 2010 I amassed 300 positive feedback comments on eBay with 0 negative comments. Since 2010 I have amassed 32 more positive comments (still no negatives). But my rate of posting has decreased.

Part of this is because eBay is a buyers’ market now. Although we could argue that the vast percentage of people who aren’t ethical are buyers eBay has moved that direction. That has moved me away from eBay more and more. While you get less $$ from the Amazon trade in program you also get less hassles.

The other part is that eBay’s customer service is horrible. The number of times I have called them has increased in the past five years (in my first 10 years on eBay I called customer service twice and they fixed the problem both times). I have called them 6 times in the past five years a significant increase and frankly two of the issues were never resolved. As a small on-line business that sells technology components its frustrating to have cases open that in the end are never resolved.

Finally my kids are old enough now that sometimes I give them the gadgets rather than sell them. Personally I get more satisfaction from doing that anyway. There is a nice warm glow that comes from seeing your kids using something you used to use!

I guess for me the switch is done. I post less than 5 items a year on eBay and I suspect I may have posted my last item ever recently. I do not find the process the organization has adopted to be effective for me as a small business. I like the Amazon model more. It gives me credit in a store I use all the time. If they don’t like the item they clearly explain why and return it to me. If I am able to fix the problem they noted, I can ship it back to them and get the money.

What once was and sadly will not be again. I started out selling technology on the old AOL forums in 1986. I sold on AOL until the birth of the Yahoo auction system that was launched in 1999. I moved to eBay in 2002 and I guess in 2015 I have moved to using Amazon. It has been a long road but in the end it is so much easier to deal with Amazon than eBay. I posted my original lament on LinkedIn almost five months ago. You can find that post here. It in the end saddens me to see the community that was eBay decline. As the decline and fall of many other on-line services is sad.

Nothing lasts forever as the song tells us. eBay is allowing head off into the sunset and yes sometimes the sun does set on an empire. It is sad when it happens but in the end once your customer service declines below a point your organization is done.

Good night eBay, sleep well. I will leave you alone now. I have to go ship stuff to Amazon.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.