Okay, so, to be clear, I hate Ebay.
I know I hate Ebay.
I’ve hated Ebay, intensely, for years – a decade now – because of bad experiences with the service.
So I don’t use it.
I am building my racing bike now and I’ve run into a serious problem with handlebars and shifters.
I really want to get hold of a Syntace Stratos handlebar – I had one ten years ago – but they’ve not been made for many years.
I Googled to see if any were available and hey – or rather, oh fuck – someone is selling one, new old stock, on Ebay.
I’ve just spent thirty fucking insane minutes of dribbling, wall-to-wall madness, trying to buy something on the Ebay site.
I failed of course. It was fucking insane of me to think I might succeed!
So, a listing on Ebay.
Listing says it ships to the UK.
I hit “buy now”.
I checkout as a guest, enter my shipping address and…
…run into the first fucking problem of the day.
“Seller has not specified any shipping information for the UK. We cannot ship to you. Try contacting the seller.”
So I go the seller page to send him a message.
This takes me to the “regsiter an account” page.
Register an account with Ebay?
Okay. I mean, “okay have my guts ripped out and hand them to Satan”, but okay.
I log into my email server, make a disposable email address, and go to register.
I enter the email address, and a password, and then hit submit.
Then I’m asking for an address and mobile phnne number.
Uh oh – if I give a mobile number, it’ll want to SMS me.
(I don’t actually keep *any* phone numbers. This is not permitted by Ebay.)
I try to enter an old US address of mine in NYC, but Ebay won’t recognize it.
I mean, I only lived there for a year, fine, whatever.
I pick some random address from the lists of addresses it suggested while I’ve half typed the address in – fine.
Turns out I can say I have only a land line. I do this, and I’m asked for a land line number.
I normally fake it with “111-222-3333” but Ebay won’t take it.
I go to the Ebay site to get *their* phone number.
Turns out their support site doesn’t work for me (go figure – upport not working – what a fucking surpise) so I can’t *get* the Ebay number.
I Google for “New York Circus phone number” and pick some random hotel in Las Vegas, which came up.
Okay so now I’ve registered and I can get to this guy to send him a message.
I go to his profile page, there’s some FAQ there from him, I look at shipping, doesn’t answer my questions, so I go to “contact seller”.
“This seller cannot take any questions.”
You FUCKING IDIOTS.
I can’t buy, and you just made my jump through hoops to register, and *then* you tell me I can’t message him.
So I go back to the purchase page.
You can send the seller a message there when you pay, something like that.
I enter my addresses again (five sets of addresses now entered, fucking fun, I just LOVE doing that) and enter the message THREE times in total (one originally, then two more times now because when you type *then* an “add” button comes up, which you have to click to keep the message – otherwise what you’ve typed it lost. Why not just keep it there, Ebay?)
So, finally – all addresses entered, message typed in, hit “commit to buy”.
This takes me to ANOTHER fucking page where I need to enter the message AGAIN.
I’m typing, fine. 500 character limit. Turns out when you hit the limit, the cursor jumps from where you were typing to the end of the message. Jesus fucking christ.
So I trim it down and hit submit.
“We’re sorry, but we can’t complete your request right now.”
I HATE EBAY!
I HATE EBAY!
I HATE EBAY!
I can’t contact Ebay, their support page for contacting them doesn’t work. I tried it earlier. (As an aside, you can also only get to that page if you’re registered. No support for people making guest purchases.)
So, I put it all down for a bit, take a step back.
I fire up a different browser and try the Ebay Support pages again – this time, I *can* get the number. Their site is browser sensitive, which is insane for something as simple as displaying a phone number. Lots of sites do that of course, but that’s why we all use Amazon – because the other web-sites all suck.
I phone Ebay.
I then spent 55 minutes on the phone with support.
I explain the problem.
First real response is this : we can’t contact the seller, because he has messages turned off, so best we can do is *help you find an alternative product*.
After I explain some more, I convey that it looks like Ebay is throwing an error when I try to buy and send a message.
In the course of the converation, I come to notice there is an error code on the error page – it’s in a small font, out of the way, in pale grey on a white background.
Fucking brain surgeons.
The error code is “80233”.
The very nice lady on support checks and says there is no information on that error.
During the conversation, the line goes a bit bad, so we decide to swap emails so we can stay in touch if we need to end the call. I ask her if there’s an email system built into Ebay, a messaging system. She says there is not, so she sends me an email, which arrives, so we can stay in touch after the call.
In fact, there *is* a messaging system built into EBay, it’s a fundmanetal part of the service. How on God’s clean Earth did she say no?
So anyways I reply to it – three times in total, twice from my normal email and once from Protonmail.
In all cases, the email arrives but she cannot open it.
In the end, she sends a message to the seller, explaining the situation.
I go to bed.
I missed the window of being tired, and I was worked up, annoyed and frustrated, and did *not* get to sleep. Stupid of me to tackle a problem like this late in the evening.
Next day, I Google some more on that error code.
From what people say, it’s an Ebay problem, to do with cross-country account use and cross-county purchasing, i.e. the Ebay system is fundamentally unable to work properly.
So I make an ebay.co.uk account (rather than ebay.com, same idiot routine with the address not working, and then some trouble getting it to allow a manually entered address – NOTHING is easy) and try to buy and send a message.
“This seller has set buyer requirements for this item and will only sell to buyers who meet those requirements.”
I HATE FUCKING EBAY!!!!!!!!!
Okay. Problem is I’m required to have a Paypal account linked to the EBay account.
I make a Paypal account (I hand my guts over to Satan, who decorates with them) and try again to buy and send a message – *and now it works*.
Seller and I then chat.
1. He received no message from Ebay
2. He is contacted by sellers about shipping information
We sort out shipping, and I paid today, with a burner virtual mastercard (who in their right mind would give Paypal any information) which will be deleted afterwards – more work and hassle, to deal with Paypal.
All in all, my original position about hating Ebay intensely is I believe supported and justified.
I would say they are Satan, but in my mind, Satan is quite competent and organized, and able to do things and be evil in an active and deliberate fashion. Ebay are just… 14,000 people who when put together are able to create the single most unpleasent web experience I have ever had.
If I could, I would exclude Ebay from all Google searches, so I never even *know* of what’s on the site.