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 This, is Useful Components. I am an electronics engineer who likes to locate difficult to find parts for your weird electronics project or repair job. I also like accurate item descriptions, good photographs, and on-time dispatch. I believe that this is reflected in my feedback ratings.

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Useful Components Main Contents Page Useful Components "The Trouble With (i)bay" Page

Updated 16 June 2019

General Ebay News

Multi-Buy Offers

I am currently trying out the much-vaunted ebay system of offering some discounts on multiple purchases, which has been implemented
recently on the UK site despite being available elsewhere for years.  This system has now been extended by the ebay programmers.  Unfortunately you must use shopping cart to get the discount advertised on the listing.  Entering the desired quantity of items and using the 'Buy it now' will not attract the advertised discount.  I imagine that this is a general problem and I'll be checking this out to make sure.  This makes me and other sellers look like retail fraudsters, and so while the recording cassette spools turn at my end(*2), the phone line to ebay customer support will be burning red hot tomorrow, to see what they have to say about it.  The same old denial of problem and promising to go away and look at it will be doled out.  I will probably have to deactivate those multi-buy discounts until someone in ebay grows a brain cell, because it verges on misrepresentation of pricing.  A cynical person might think that this makes ebay more money in the very short term at the medium and long term expense of themselves, their sellers, and retail customers using the service. 

Meanwhile, please use shopping cart if buying more than one of the same thing.

Listing Title Auto-Translation on Non English Speaking Sites

I've noticed recently that some 'people' in ebay upper and middle management have, in their infinite wisdom, decided to auto-translate most listing titles shown in search results on various non-English speaking sites, certainly France and Germany.  I can only apologise and assure valued overseas customers that responsible ebay sellers around the world are complaining bitterly about this stupid and useless new system.  I know that I certainly am, and I've recorded all the telephone calls for later publication.  It works particularly badly for many technical items and is likely to be responsible for a 50% drop in my overseas sales.   I swear, that if you have more than two brain cells and work in the ebay global management team, you'll shortly be sacked for being over-qualified.  Meanwhile, please click through the badly mis-translated titles in the search results, where you will probably find what you were actually looking for in the first instance.  Anyone can Google translate what you find there, but doing it automatically for listing titles via some translation company that you bought for a small fortune is for the management idiots who made a big mistake and are trying to cover it up.

As a last resort, you can always type into your browser and see the search results listed properly.

Hidden Restrictions and Listing Search Downgrades / Item Suddenly Unavailable

After careful statistical analysis of two and a half years of sales data across two ebay shops in my name, I'm fully aware of the system that frequently hides or downgrades listings, or causes unnaccountable payment failures followed by a message to the customer saying that, "This item is no longer available," despite my recently being fully VAT registered.  This is used to throttle sales below an invisible yearly limit.  That protects ebay from being held responsible for the unpaid VAT of unregistered sellers trading above £85K per annum in the UK, which they are according to UK law.  The fact that this illegal cap is still in place is no-doubt due to its clandestine nature, and ebay incompetence in general.  If you have tried to pay for an item or suddenly can't find it any more, be assured that it is still there and is available for sale.  This applies particularly to buyers from overseas who might find that the item is available only if they type into their browser. 

The telephone battle on this issue will continue until I send in a paper report and then finally publish the results online, and hopefully on the BBC.  Meanwhile, the Irish telephone support centre continue their denials, and ebay as a company continues to try very hard to become the Nokia Smartphones of the online marketplace. 

*1  If you have an infinite number of monkeys typing at at infinite number of computer terminals recompiling their code infinitely quickly, at some point you will end up with the ebay website.

*2  All calls to ebay customer support are recorded on cassette for evidence and then dubbed to .mp3 files for future publication.  Watch this space.

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