eBay_Special Offer_200_thousand_items_20130420

ebaY had a big special promo for 200,000 free listings to run from April 20-29. That’s right, two-hundred thousand. Noted in tiny subdued font is the *by invitation only, do not forward… (signifying it was sent via email) followed by more details including this:

The seller’s first 200,000 Auction-style listings will not count toward the 50 free insertion fee listings per calendar month.”

As one might expect, their forums are lighting up with complaints regarding being charged for promotional free  listings as well as losing their 50 free listings. There are several discussions on multiple ebay help forums regarding the glitches.

Apparently the bug is recognized by ebaY customer service as a “site wide issue” or there may be a “billing system error occurring

Here’s a real humdinger for you! Read it carefully200K Free Auction Listings April 20-29 by Invitation_post_reply-r7_20130422.

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The following call lasted for ca. 40 minutes. 

Here is an excerpt:

CS: Hello, how can I help you?

Me: Hello, my problem is that I received a FREE listing promo, valid for 200,000 items, and listed items in batches of 100s, 50s and 35s today, altogether, 477 items. In each batch I have listed, the majority of items were free to list, but there were 1-5 items in each batch which got charged .30 insertion fee, when they should have been free. I am grateful for the FREE insertions, and it is only 3.60…but, since I intend to list many more items this weekend, I wanted to find out why some listings are FREE and others aren’t. I am not using any special features or extras, these are all Auction  / 7 days with BIN.

CS: Hmm. When did you do this?

Me: Just now completed it, but have been listing throughout the day.

CS Can you share with me one item number that you believe got charged insertion fee, when it shouldn’t have?

Me: XXXXXX item number. That is .30 cents, but a total of 12 listings were charged.

CS: Hmm. How long have you been on ebay?

Me: Excuse me?

CS: How long have you been doing ebay?

Me: On this ID, over a year; altogether, since 1998.

CS: Hmm. May I ask what makes you think that you can list for free?

Me? Excuse me? Are you asking why I think I received the Promo for 200,000 listings,staring May 20?

CS: Yes, where did you get the information for this Promo.

Me: From the email I received.

CS: May I put you on hold?

Me: Sure!

5 minutes later she came back and apologized for the waiting.

CS: I found out what the problem was.

Me: Really?

CS: The problem was that you more than likely got a spoof email (phishing) because the Promo was sent out via the ebay messaging system, and not via email.

Me: Huh?

CS: This was a fake email.

Me: How so? If you scroll down in my account, you can see the Promo there, above my 50 usual FREE listings, it says

 Edit display properties of this container |

Top of Form

Start Date

End Date



Get up to 200,000 Free Insertion Fees on Auction listings

Limit of 200,000 Auction-style listings. All existing selling limits apply. Learn More

04/20/13 00:00:00 PDT

04/29/13 23:59:59 PDT

Used: 427

Available: 199573

CS: Can you please tell me where do you see that?

Me: I am looking at my Selling page in My ebay

CS: Which page are you looking at?

Me: Like I just said, on my Selling page

CS: Let me check, I will be right with you again. Can I put you on hold?

Me: Sure thing.

After another 4-5 minutes, she returns.

CS: Hello, thank you for waiting!

Me: Sure thing.

CS: Let me ask for some more patience until I can look into this concern further.

Me: Can you please share the nature of your concern?

CS: What did you mean by this.

Me: Would you explain please what are you concerned about?

CS: Oh, I see. Well, I have already determined that you are correct, just wanted to see how I can address the problem (the listing fees that were not supposed to be charged for those 12 items).

Me: I see.

CS: Can I put you on hold?

Me: Absolutely.

CS: Thanks for your patience.

Ca. 4 minutes later, she returns.

CS Thank you for waiting.

Me: No problem. What did you find out?

CS: Well, I found out that the problem is at our end, it is an ebay glitch.

Me: Ouchie.

CS: I will refund your money, but please do not list again until 24 hours later.

Me: Oh…how so?

CS: Because this glitch needs to be fixed.

Me: O.K. Are you going to refund me right away, or will the refund also show up in 23 hours?

CS: (I hope you are sitting): No, I first have to COMPUTE the amount, but I will issue the refund today.

Me: 12 x .30 = $3.60

CS: Like I said, I have to compute this, and then I will issue refund.

Me: O.K., thanks

CS: Important that you know, no new listings for 23 hours, O.K.?

Me: O.K.

Isn’t it so very peculiar that this type of thing happens repeatedly, even predictably?  I’m sure by now people must be able to draw their own reasonable conclusions as to whatever may be the reasons for such incidents?

How many more home runs like this can ebaY hit before the field and stands are empty?

Update 04-23-2013

200K Free Auction Listings April 20-29 by Invitation_pinkreply_20130423

A pink surfaces on one forum thread to issue a statement:

Apr 23, 2013 03:18 PM

Thanks to everyone for flagging this issue. I heard from the Promotions team today that the issues with this promotion were solved yesterday evening and that we will have credits processed by the end of April for all invited sellers who were affected by the issue.

– Jeff

This does remind me of the last listing special glitch I blogged. Their were more victims complaining long after the pink statement that time.

I noticed this time the complaints stopped dead, like a switch being flipped. Also the unusual nature of the reports; only a very small amount of anyone’s listings seemed to be affected/charged.  Golly,  if a glitch can do that, I wonder what deliberate programming could do?

I wonder if it’s easy for a seller, or even a few thousand sellers, to miss a few false or improper overcharges?

When people receive their next invoice we may see more complaints. I’m guessing that only those who complain will receive a ‘credit’, (for a charge they should never have incurred).  I suppose that must be some ebaY book keeping thing, eh?