This isn’t the first time eBay Australia has let us down. As if the process of enduring a global pandemic isn’t already difficult enough, buyers and sellers have to deal with infuriating behavior from eBay Australia.
Sure, these are strange times and there isn’t a guidebook for how to survive during COVID-19, but there is good business, and bad business. Unfortunately, eBay Australia chose the latter.
From location abuse to profiteering sellers; eBay Australia let us down during Coronavirus, the most difficult time in modern history. Could eBay have stepped up to be there for its community? Absolutely, but so far, it has failed us in more ways than one.
Unfortunately, location abuse isn’t a new problem — for years eBay has had a massive issue with fake sellers from China acting as Australian stores. It’s never acceptable to misrepresent a store, especially when buyers think they're buying from Aussie-owned stores.
This is technically against eBay Australia’s rules, but the e-commerce giant has done little to correct the rampant issue.
Flocks of frustrated sellers have taken to discussion boards to vent their infuriation. Rightfully so, because it not only deprives Aussie sellers from selling their products, but it disrupts the national economy.
Here’s how location abuse is negatively impacting the country:
Chinese sellers say they are Australian with stock in fulfilment warehouses in the country
International sellers get a hefty discount on Australian post paying only cents for packages whereas Aussie sellers pay dollars
Millions of dollars leave Australia because there is no actual business pouring back into the economy
The sellers evade local taxes because they aren’t from the country
It’s one thing to ride the tidal wave of Chinese sellers on eBay, but Australia is already at a disadvantage for what is supposed to be an Australian platform.
Chinese sellers outnumber Australian sellers on an Australian platform. Just let that sink in. At a time like this where the national economy is threatened by the pandemic, this is simply unacceptable.
In addition, the fact that the pandemic started in China adds another layer of deception. When a buyer goes online to purchase goods from Australia (where we’ve maintained low numbers of virus cases compared to countries like the United States, France, and Italy), they are actually purchasing products from China - the birthplace of the virus.
This isn’t to suggest that all Chinese packages are blatantly unsafe, but it also doesn’t guarantee that they are safe. Is it worth the risk? At a time when most countries around the globe are sheltering in place, any exposure is a risk.
And that’s not the only issue buyers have experienced with eBay during the pandemic.
With all of China shut down, it’s natural that now, these sellers who advertise as having goods stored locally are taking months to deliver their products. Not surprising considering that they are, in fact, in China.
Australian buyers are wary to purchase products from China, and rightfully so. It’s natural for buyers to feel uncertain. It’s also natural for them to be angry when supposed local goods are delayed in shipping because they are coming from overseas.
Shipping delays have been a pain point for both buyers and sellers, but it’s the local sellers who are being penalised.
It makes sense for eBay Australia to suspend sellers enacting location abuse and deceptive practices. eBay is suspending sellers — but the wrong ones. This is a whole can of worms opened due to delays in shipping. All goods have incurred shipping delays whether they are international or local. You’d think that local goods would ship faster, which is why Aussie sellers are being penalised.
If an item is listed to ship within an expected time-frame, and that item is then delayed due to COVID, eBay penalizes the seller. The buyer receives a refund but the seller is billed.
This sounds great in theory, but it’s not helping Australian buyers who are already losing business to then be billed for shipping delays.
Although it’s not surprising, it’s still a blow that 40% of purchases on eBay Australia come from China. That amount of online purchasing from overseas amounts to over A$900 million, according to netohq.com.
Not only is China getting millions of Aussie dollars that could be poured into the economy, but sellers are price gouging buyers for essential goods. At a time when the Australian people need essential goods like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and gloves — eBay sellers have capitalized on buyer deprivation by skyrocketing prices.
Does A$100 for toilet paper sound ostentatious? That’s because it is, but unfortunately, that’s the current reality. It’s natural for a shortage of goods to cause an increase in price, but not quadruple the price!
Not surprisingly, eBay is getting slammed with criticism. You’d think that eBay would crackdown on location abuse, suspend shady sellers and do its part to neutralize price gouging for the good of humanity, right? Well, when it comes to eBay Australia, you won’t find much support.
eBay claims it’s doing its part to protect sellers during COVID-19, but the testimony from angry buyers and sellers proves otherwise. Coronavirus hysteria has created a shortage of essential goods. It exacerbates the issue when Aussies can’t even buy essential goods from eBay Australia because of seller profiteering.
During uncertain times, trust is the single most important feature a business can offer, eBay Australia let us down by breaking that trust time and time again. Location abuse remains rampant through a global virus, and buyers have no safeguard against buying Chinese products because they think they are buying locally.
Fortunately, we can all do our part to rectify the issue. We can’t leave the solution in the hands of eBay. Instead, we can work together to ensure that essential goods are accessible, here’s how:
Stop the hoarding hysteria which only depletes the supply of essential goods and causes price gouging
If you’re going to buy from eBay Australia, do your research on the seller to ensure they are in fact Australian-owned
Above all, buy Australian goods from Australian-owned businesses
It’s no wonder buyers and sellers are up in arms. Rather than taking a stance against deceptive sellers, eBay Australia sits idle enabling the problem to flourish. It’s not enough to release a statement assuring buyers that eBay is doing its part to protect them. Actions speak louder than words, and in the case of eBay Australia, words are all we have.
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