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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Telephone Table - The Final Chapter

I’ve had a flood of emails and comments, supporting me and the loss of my ability to sell on eBay.  It’s been a tough time, trying to figure out my path without eBay. 

I went through the standard 5 steps of grief:
Denial – I couldn’t believe what had happened.  I went over it again and again in my mind.
Anger – It seemed so unfair, no justice at all.
Bargaining – If only I could go back and change what had happened, if only things could be different. 
Depression – I felt like my credibility and honor was lost, that somehow I was less than I was before. 
Acceptance – I now know I have been given a new path to life and new opportunities await me.  Necessity is the mother on invention and God will never abandon us.

You know I love to shop.  Read some of the earlier posts on My Dear Trash and I wrote about the thrill of the hunt, fashion lust and how much I love digging for the prize. 

So, how do I curb my appetite for all-things trash? 

I am filling my time with other things I love.
Spending more time with my family.
Buying furniture to re-sell at a consignment shop.
Painting furniture.
Working on my new young adult novel, yes, I said new!  And it’s coming so fast I can barely keep up with it.

And I realize sometimes a loss turns into a time to re-evaluate, re-discover and re-create.

I won’t pretend.  This fight definitely isn’t over.  It’s still something I’m going to try to fix in the future, when I’m not so attached to it.
So, what did I learn about eBay?

Now that this has happened, I can see there are ways to avoid such a disaster.
When my ability to sell on eBay was taken away, I called and talked with a customer service manager.  I explained to him my situation, pointing out the ankle jeans and the XL girl’s overalls, hoping he’d see how subjective my specific situation was.  He told me once a seller’s star ranking percentage goes under 98.5%; they are no longer able to sell on eBay.  They are kicked off and never allowed to sell again.  However, I was told every 4 months eBay gives you, the seller, a clean slate and starts your star rating percentage over.  So, if you receive an email from eBay stating you’re in trouble or on probation, I’d suggest you walk away from that account and sell under another account.  Do not link them up to the same bank account or the same paypal account.  Have them entirely separate from each other so you can work for 4 months until your other account is wiped clean from your poor ratings. 

Is there a way to avoid probation all together?

Yes, I think so.  I think it involves sincere communication with your buyers.  Be sure you have in your item description your desire to be the best eBay seller possible.  Ask your customers to contact you before they leave any negative feedback or low star scores.  Offer refunds immediately, do not delay.  Yes, it isn’t fair, but it’s worth losing out on the $9.99 instead of being shut down.  I always did refund money anyway, but sometimes I waited a day or two before I got around to it. 
My personality is very casual.  I react to the stress of life by making chocolate chip cookies or taking a bike ride and I don’t always move on things as fast as I should. 
When I started selling on eBay, it was a casual experience, fun and full of opportunities.  There was and still is no better place to sell on-line, but the rules have changed. 
I asked the customer service manager if I could appeal my case.  I was told no, that eBay doesn’t have an appeals process.  They do not have the man power to listen to every case like mine.
Remember, the customer service manager told me thousands of sellers were being shut down every day.  Ouch!
Realizing the inevitable. . . 

I did a Google search, hoping to find stories from other sellers who’d been kicked off eBay.  This was a waste of a day, because it’s a very negative experience.  I found clips on you tube with Axed-eBayer’s ranting and raving, spitting on the very spirit of eBay.  Profanity, boycotts, even threats to eBay itself.  I also read some very sad, sincere stories on the eBay discussion forum of others who’d been shut down.  An eBay seller back east was unable to ship the products she sold on eBay because her town had some of the heaviest snow falls on record and her post office was shut down for 5 days.  She received poor ratings on her shipping time and eBay shut her down.  eBay was her only source of income and she wasn’t sure she’d be able to make her house payment.

eBay is a billion dollar company and their needs to be a human element involved in this process, but who knows if or when that will happen.   

I can’t believe my telephone table is finally done.  
The first thing I did was drive it over to Kelly’s house, (who has been so completely supportive through this whole experience) thrilled I’d completed it and that’s when her neighbor saw it.

“Whatever it is, I want that,” the neighbor said and we agreed on a price.  I dropped it off at her house and she’s making a seat cushion for it. 
There’s nothing more fulfilling they doing your best, working hard and seeing the rewards.  I still look forward to walking this path.

And what about My Dear Trash

Interestingly, My Dear Trash was never about eBay, it was never about vintage furniture or garage sale finds, but finding value where others may not see it, especially in yourself.  It's a philosophy I claim as my life's mission.

Sexually abused as a teenage girl, I spent much of my life feeling like trash.  I moved through my twenties, many days feeling worthless. This trap left me vulnerable to more pain and more abuse, but through God’s help, I was able to pick myself up.  God carried my burdens when I was unable to carry them myself.  Then He gave me a gift I never dreamed of – my husband.  A kind, good and loving man who over the last 12 years of marriage has cherished me.  The counselor has taught me more about love then I ever thought possible.  He is my hero.  He has helped me see the value in myself when I saw nothing good at all.  When I was strong enough, I used the gift of his love to push through my past and I can say I am whole. 

Read through the 5 steps of grief again, and you'll realize they have very little to do with being kicked off eBay, but overcoming obstacles as a whole.
The bigger picture is My Dear Trash will continue to be a place where I write about discovering beauty, reaching goals and finding value where others may not see it; in trash, yes, at the thrift store, most definitely, but most especially in yourself.      
Linking up to:
Jenny Matlock


  1. Hi, Laura. I sell a few things on Ebay myself, but this just sounds awful! With the way Ebay has positioned itself, only for the buyer, and not the seller, it would seem they are leaving themselves open for one of two things: either a class action lawsuit or another auction site that will be more seller friendly. I really hate the way they have set up the feedback - only buyers can give real feedback. If you sell things over 20 years old, or handmade, or things that can be used to make other things - you can sell on Etsy. There are other auction sites out there, too. But it sounds like you can just start again in 4 months. Can you use the same seller name or do you have to use a different one? You have a beautiful family. That is definitely the most important thing! God bless, Ronda

    1. I was booted off ebay today. I was given no warning. I have sold over 3200 items in the last 18 months. I have a 99.3 satisfaction record.
      I believe a online competitor had 6 friends buy from me and then give me low product description ratings. No debate, no argument banned for life. Ebay sucks. I will never buy recommend them ever. Looking for a alternative home to sell

  2. Laura - Thank you for sharing your story...not just the ebay portion but how you have overcome adversity. It will be hard to look at Goodwill and not see a $40 profit, but as you said...God has plans for you and there is a reason for this. Good luck!! Megan

  3. Dear Laura, your post brought tears to my eyes. It was so touching especially because it hit very close to home. My daughter is 37 and struggled with her abuse for many years. Thankfully she is doing better.

    As for eBay, you hit the nail on the head when you said eBay used to be a casual experience, fun and full of opportunities, but the rules have changed. I have also read the horror stories of other sellers banned from eBay and now see the writing on the wall. Those of us who have been on Ebay for a long time have to change how we run our business. Thanks for sharing so much!

  4. Laura,
    I thank you also for your personal post. It was just what I needed to read today. Thank you

  5. Thanks Laura. I wish you the very best in whatever your next adventure is.

  6. Laura, Don't let ebay get you down. Start a new account in another name(your sisters perhaps) and keep selling. Lots of people do that and keep moving on.

  7. The thing is, eBay probably has a way to check your IP address, so they will know if it's your computer, even if you do it under a different name. :/ I hate to be a downer, but I also don't want you to get in any further trouble.

    Laura, you're such a dear. Thank you for frankly sharing some of what has made you the woman you are now, and I know that you will channel this for good in your life and find a way to "make it work", because that's just the kind of person you are!

  8. I have been having fun on eBay but will never let this be something i HAVE to have...I learned that from your story (and others on eBays boards). Thank you for sharing your story and giving tips on how those of us, still selling, can try to avoid the same fate. I bought something from a seller a few weeks came to me filthy, did not work (seller said in discription that it DOES work and instisted in emails, after I got the item, that I was wrong, it works...???!!!???) People like this can sell? It does not make sense.
    Enjoy your time with your babies....the time with them is more fun, I am sure, than shopping for eBay.

  9. After a year or more selling on Ebay suddenly people were telling me they never rec'd their item. I had no choice but to issue a refund. I know this is more than coincidence. How could people all over the US suddenly not rec'v their items? I figured out that it's a way for the dishonest customer to get an item and get money too.
    Have you tried selling on ETSY?
    Love your blog and admire your faith.

  10. Hi Laura!

    You mentioned to me once at Goodwill that you wanted to write about why you called this site my dear trash after your dream. It's strange, because at the time, I immediately wondered if perhaps sexual abuse was part of your story. I'm so glad that you have such love in your life!!!

    Thanks for sharing this. Isn't it wonderful that your past doesn't define you? It is part of my story/history, too, and it was so freeing when I realized this. We make our lives, with God's help.


  11. This makes me ABSOLUTELY sick to my stomach to think about because I mostly use ebay as a buyer and I had NO IDEA that the star rating affected sellers businesses like this. No idea.

    For example, in my head I hate to give everyone 5 stars so I'll just pick one avenue and give it 3 stars. Obviously this will change how seriously I take that rating system. I wonder too how many other buyers out there are still under the assumptage that feedback is everything. I had no itea it has changed.

    I'd say find another auction site (there are others), and try going that route? This makes me want to stop selling on ebay , what little I have done anyway. I hope you can find peace and new direction with your business.

  12. Beautiful way to sum up your experience, Laura. It was a very heart-felt post and you continue to be a source of inspiration to me.

    I'm very happy to read that My Dear Trash will continue to be! Best of lucks in all your endeavors, I'm looking forward to reading about them.

    Big hugs to you from Canada.

  13. Whats to stop your husband setting up an ebay business and employing you to source stock, upload the info. Its his business but he pays you 90% commission on profits.

    Best of luck whatever you do.


  14. Great ‘E’ post - best of luck with all your future plans.



  15. I have been eBaying since the 90's and it's changed so much. I'm sorry for your experience, but it looks like it was meant to be. You have renewed yourself in ways that You must have needed. Healing is a lifelong process, I've found. God bless.

  16. Excellent thoughts in this "E" post.
    Blessings in your new ventures!

  17. Sorry for what you've been through. Thank you for sharing your story.

  18. I've been on eBay for years, but sometimes go for a couple of weeks without even looking at it anymore. It was fun ten years + ago, but now postage has gotten so high and I don't buy as often. I've sold a few times, but not in the last couple of years. I had no idea how that star system worked. It's a shame. I know other auction sites have tried, but no one seems to be able to compete with eBay. They're so big they can do whatever they want. I've often wished another site would catch on, but I don't think it's going to happen. Good luck!

  19. I've been selling a lot of books on e-bay lately. I rarely do this. I can't imagine operating without e-bay as a marketplace. Craigs list just does not have the exposure.

    I'm sorry this happened to you. It's a good warning, though, for so many that make part of their living from it.

    Are there other auction sites?

    I always love what you find! That telephone table is really nifty.

    Thanks for linking.


  20. Hi Laura
    Just found your blog this evening and have spent a good two hours just reading your post.

    My heart goes out to ya for being ousted from Ebay but I can already see you are very resourceful and good things will come your way because of your beautiful and loving spirit.

    Have you discovered the selling site called Bonanza yet? It is free to set up a store, they only charge a small percent of your total sales and you can have tons of pictures and you can fill your store full to overflowing.
    Bonanza is not as big as ebay, and it may take a while to sell something but then again it might be a selling source you want to check out.

    I sell very little on ebay, started about five years ago and just now thinking about
    starting back up again, but I hate the new rules and all the fee hikes.
    I have been out of work for a good two years with no luck finding any work so ebay would be my only source of income, but I am terrified but willing to give it a shot again just to be able to pull in some form of income.

    May the good Lord bless you richly, I know he has truly blessed your heart and soul.

    I look forward to reading more post on your blog and will add you to my blogroll over at my blog

  21. Man. I can't believe that happened to you, but so glad you know the Lord and His plans for you, to prosper and not to harm...but still. I have been selling for 8 years, and to think they can just shut me down is eye opening. Admittedly I have received their warning emails, but I blow them off because like you, ebay is secondary and family comes first. I will consider your suggestions, thank you for writing this post...I'm sure this was not easy. Take care,

  22. Ebay lost touch ad respect for sellers, ebay regulators forgot that sellers made ebay become what it is today, the business is going down the hill, ebay is not what it used to be, you do not find good stuff anymore because it is not worth for sellers to risk it. Even browsing ebay is not as fun as it used to be!

  23. Ebay tracks your Ip address.User account/credit card number. cookies and web beacons on your computer...........easy to defeat.........use a clean computer account..use your mobile phone as a hotspot so it has a different ip address....fake name etc..prepaid credit card.....prepaid mobile number for paypal verification.........never use the same images ........see.......very easy to bypass them.......

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