If you think I get overly torqued about spammers, poor web site from big entities and doofus customer service is right up there as well. I continually deal with some online banking and bill paying service that works marvelously, and yet fight others (hello CitiBank) that offer “service” that is browser dependent or completely dysfunctional.

I can be a little patient with sites that do not work, having generated plenty of my own systems that have (fixable) glitches, and GASP typos. But when I think of big entities with armies of programmers who still set up sites that are designed by apparently blind monkeys or ones that force me to use a specific kind of computer and browser… well that is not so good.

But the worst, worst, worst, are the “customer” service that yield more email chain flaff than the worst phone menu, or just do not listen or respond correctly. And these are ones where humans ought to be involved.

But trying to get eBay to actually respond to something has left me in an infinite loop of “help”, and I am spiraling down the 7 levels of email hell.

So here is my sordid tale….

I am likely one of a handful of people in the universe that do not use eBay. I think I looked for some old software there once. I cannot recall ever creating an account there, but eBay believes I have, and whatever eBay believes must be true.

This week, I have gotten a handful of eBay generated messages, sent to my address, offering thanks from some poor soul who apparently thinks they have purchased something from me:

This email was sent by an eBay member via eBay’s email forwarding system. If you reply to the email, your response will go directly to the member and not through eBay.

Message From eBay Member

Dear alan.levine@XXXXXX.maricopa.edu,

Hi sampath, Thanks for the e-mail. I have made payment through Paypal & I am sure that PayPal has notified you of this fact. Thankyou for your very efficient and intelligent service & for the beautifull goods that you had for sale. Regards, christine

Sorry Christene, I am not “sampath” sorry have you gotten any goods from me. I hope the Elvis ashtrays or whatever your order from ole Sam actually got to you.

So thinking I could swiftly clear this up, I clicked the eBay link that should let me get at some account settings…

To change your notification preferences, click here.

No wait, they want me to log in with an eBay id and since I have not created an account, I am lost. So next, there is the Forgot Your ID link that says it will send the eBay ID to me email address. This makes sense, a recovery scheme.

The only hitch was I filled out this form request 3 times in 8 hours, and even saw the response that says the info was emailed to me…. yet I never got any emails.

So next, digging through a multilayered web system for “Contacts”, I finally got to a screen where I could send a message to Customer Service.

I succinctly explained getting these emails, but unable to retried my eBay ID via their web site, and requesting that if they were unable to find that info, to just go and delete the account.

The long, auto-response message I got included this:

2. I’VE FORGOTTEN MY PASSWORD / USER ID. SHOULD I REGISTER AGAIN?

If you’ve forgotten your password or User ID, you don’t need to register a new eBay account to use our site. We can help you login again.

If you’ve forgotten your password, just follow the steps below:

a) Click on the “site map” link, located at the top of any eBay page
b) On the Site Map, scroll to the “Services” section
c) Locate “Registration” under that heading
d) Click on the “I forgot my password” link

Once on that page enter your User ID in the box provided and submit the form. You will be sent instructions on how to create a new password.

If you’ve forgotten your User ID, just click the link below:

http://cgi3.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?UserIdRecognizerShow

Basically suggesting doing what I had already trailed and failed at.

I replied to this message, and said, that I am unable to do this because their URL does not send me the eBay ID. Do you see the infinite loop yet? The only way to kill an ebay account is to log in, but I cannot log in because their system will not tell me my eBay ID.

It gets better, the response to my request above was:

Thank you for writing to eBay’s Customer Support. I understand you are willing to close the eBay account.

Thank you for taking the time to contact eBay with your request. For security reasons, a third party or anonymous source cannot make the request for account closure. If possible, please sign into eBay under the account you wish to have closed, and then contact us through the web form again with your request. Please sign in with the account names you wish closed.

To send us a request to close your account, please visit the link below:

http://pages.ebay.com/help/account/closing-account.html

Once there, click the link “Permanently closing your eBay account.” When asked to sign in, please sign into eBay under the account you wish to have closed. Once we hear back from you, we will be happy to assist you with your request.

What freakin’ third party is there? eBay says there is an account associated with my email address, but a message from my email address is a third party? Can you see the swirls of crack smoke?

Again, this bot is suggesting I log in with an eBay ID I do not have.

ARE THEY SMOKING GOOD CRACK THERE?

All I am asking is for someone to stick their freakin’ nose in the database and delete my account. I have asked nicely 3 times and gotten the same, stupid response every time. I want to hear from a human.

I think this is more humorous than anything, but if you are anyway involved with customer service, I hope you have at least some of these bad experiences from other sites so you can actually respond with more empathy and human understanding than eBay.

I can deal with things that do not work, but Stupid Responses that do not address my requests set me off. Emails to customer service that are answered only by automated responses are evil and drive this customer elsewhere.

So someone at eBay please pay a visit to customer service and take away their crack pipe. Or maybe they can sell their used pipes on eBay.

I surely won’t be shopping there.

The post "Is eBay Customer ‘Service’ Smokin’ Crack?" was originally yanked out of the teeth of a rabid chicken at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2004/12/is-ebay/) on December 3, 2004.

3 Comments

  • Tom Hoffman

    I think your experience might have been triggered by someone phishing for your eBay password. I think I’ve gotten similar emails but I simply deleted them under that assumption. There are also some extremely convincing and professional PayPal phishing emails going around.

  • I think Tom is probably right…there are a number of phishing schemes related to Ebay and PayPal floating around. This sounds like a new twist on an old scheme…forward the original email to spoof@ebay.com (really).

    I’ll be happy to help you with your Ebay problem, what’s that login again? (snort, gufaw, arrrgh!)

    P:)

  • Alan Levine

    Yes, that crossed my mind, except all links in the mail pointed to legit eBay sites. I always peek at the source with mail like this.

    I get tons of these from phishers posing as banks– peeking at the HTML source shows that the links always point to suspicious numerical IPs.

    Regardless, I find eBay’s lack of response bothersome.