Monday, February 25, 2008

Way Cool Features in eBay Desktop

I've just started playing around with eBay Desktop, the new, well, desktop app from eBay. It's substantially improved the eBay browsing experience, I think.

Here are a couple of my favorite things so far:

- When you click an item from the search results list, now you can see the whole search list on the left side of the screen while you're viewing the actual item. This makes it a lot easier to navigate in and out of items on a search results list. Before, the whole list would disappear, and you'd have to root out the "Back to list of items" link to get back to the search results to keep browsing.

For example, here's a pair of boots I was looking at. You can see the list of results on the left still as you view the item.

<--  You can see the list still to the left of the item. (Yes, I know there are some men's boots in there).

(Click on the photo to enlarge it).

Another thing I really like is their search/watch feeds. You can add items to your watch list and the feed will continually update when items meeting those criteria are listed. For the collector who wants to keep a close eye on when anything new he or she is looking for is listed, or get a jump on a good Buy It Now before someone else does, say, this feature is a boon.

More on eBay Desktop (based on Adobe Air technology) as I continue to play with it.

A shout out to Alan Lewis at eBay who keeps me posted on eBay Desktop.

Page Watches Percentage Change in Auction Sites Usage

Here's a link a lot of eBay sellers have been checking frequently during the boycott week:

It shows the percentage change in the number of listings on different auction and selling sites at different points throughout the day. At the top you can also see a chart of the activity on eBay for each day of the boycott week.

Friday, February 15, 2008

eBay's Striking Sellers and Petitions, Feb. 18-25

I received the below letter the other day about the eBay strike. Some sellers are boycotting listing on eBay next week (Feb 18-25) to protest the new feedback and other policies (sellers can no longer leave negative feedback for buyers).

I'm not sure what's going to happen. I personally am not going to strike, though I am not thrilled about the new feedback policy. With the new fees, I suspect sellers will have to adjust their business plans accordingly so they can make enough money to make it worth their while. should be interesting to see what happens next week. eBay and others have seen talk of these things before, to not much difference. Will this one be different?

Below is the letter (I made some edits for clarity).


"The stock holders WILL FEEL THIS, maybe not today, but they will.


"E-commerce Giant Ebay faces largest protest to date, Ebay  Boycott Feb
18-25, due to implimentation of new policy and fee hike that will eliminate the
small sellers.


"Sellers stripped of the ability to rate transactions in the feedback
system,  while allowing buyers to continue (that's right buyers can rate sellers -- sellers unable to do the same).
Buyers can rate their transactions Pos -Net- or Neg plus grade seller in 4
categories of preformance.

Seller are NOT ALLOWED  to rate the buyers. ONLY POSITIVE feeback is
permitted for buyers!!


"Ebay's PayPal implementing new policy by which they can hold
payments made to a seller for up to 21 days-as they "DEEM" necessary! No details


"Below are 2 petitions that carry 30,000 member signature opposed to these


"Ebay and PayPal have turned a deaf hear to thousands of sellers on whose
backs Ebay became the giant it is.


"I have personally talked to 100's of sellers have already registered with
different auction sites.

We need this to [be] heard, we need this brought to public."






Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Yard Salers: Feb 13: 1st Flip of the Week Contest Results

Yard Salers: Feb 13: 1st Flip of the Week Contest Results


Subscribe at:

Hello, all!

The "Flip of the Week" contest seems to have struck a chord with you guys --
I got quite a few entries! They're great stuff, and I'll share them with you
here. As always, it's hard to choose a winner. But not to worry, there will be
other chances to win every week.

I hit a few good estate sales this past week and picked up some good high-end
clothing, including four St. John brand pieces and a pair of Ferragamo shoes in
the box. However, the bad news is I did not get out to the offline auction
house. A confluence of events, including our car having a myriad of problems and
being stuck in the shop all week, conspired. But not to worry..I vow to get
there as soon as I can and to bring back my experiences to you.

In other news, some eBay sellers are talking about boycotting the week of
Feb. 18-25. But I was just reading some of the Feedback board and some folks
were saying they didn't think it would make any difference. So, next week should
be interesting.

I forgot to mention that last week I was interviewed by Fortune Small
Business for the article "EBay fee hike sparks seller rebellion - EBay's new fee
structure has small stores fearful about their survival" -- if you want to see
the piece go here:

If you didn't get a chance to email me your recent good flip to or last week's contest, you can try again this week! Please
mention what the item is, what you paid for it, and what you sold it for. A
photo would be great too, if you can swing it. But not mandatory. I'll feature
one flip per week.

Now let's get to it!

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In This Issue:
Flip of the Week Contest Entries
2) Reader Mail


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1) Flip of the Week Contest Entries


Hi Julia,

I've been a long-time subscriber to your newsletter and always enjoy it.
Thanks. My latest good flip was a vintage/60's Jantzen bathing suit that I
snagged from a Goodwill salesgal's hand before she could hang it on the rack. It
looked like new and I knew I could make something on it at their $2 price. After
researching on ebay a bit I decided to not get greedy and try to turn it over
quickly. So I listed it in my store for $49.99. Well I guess maybe I priced it
too low because it sold within 2 days. Nice profit though, wish all could turn
out that way.

I'll start running more auctions I think after the fee rates changes. I'm not
too upset by them. Getting free gallery pix goes a long way. The negative
feedback ban is another story, I haven't had to use it much but the No Pay
Bidders are coming more frequently and I can't see how we are to warn other
sellers about them after it goes into effect.

The item number on that sale is 310018825932 sold Jan 31. My ebay ID is
Pandora99...Tricia's eTreasures is my store name.

Happy ebaying!


Hey Pat!

Thanks so much for the great entry!

What a great item and photo. I love the old fashioned style. I wonder if the
person who bought it collects Jantzens, or planned to wear it?

One of my first "grown up" bathing suits was a

Thanks again for sharing. I'd like to use your letter and the photo in the
next issue. I'll use your ebay id, store name and first name, but not last name
or other info.

Good luck in the contest! :)



My most recent fun flip was a crate of Fine Woodworking magazines that I
purchased for $16 at a FOL [Friends of Library] book sale. I lotted them in
consecutively dated groups of 8-14 and started them all at $9.99. Three of 10
lots failed to sell but the 7 that did sell sold for a total of around $120. I'm
sure the other three will sell for at least $10 each, bringing my total for my
$16 purchase to at least $150.

I do not have photos of the magazines. I'm sorry. This is the type of item
that doesn't need a photo if it is described well. People are buying it for the
content, not necessarily its appearance.



Hi Pamela,

A great find indeed! Fine Woodworking is a very in-demand periodical. Another
one that sells well is Architectural Digest. National Geographic can also be
sold in "runs" (sets of a year or more).

Don't worry about not having a're right, it's not always
necessary. In fact more and more now I am trying to get away without one and
posting "photo upon request" in my auctions.

The idea being, of course, that I can get more listed that way, and then when
someone is interested and wants a photo, I can always add one later.

Thanks again for sharing! Julia


I sold this last night.... ebay item #190194904828

[Note from Julia - it is a Fenton milk glass hobnail pitcher, and sold for

It came in a box lot full of glassware we paid 1.00 for at a local auction

I hope I did this right LOL....I love reading your newsletter. Thank you,


Hey Trish!

Thanks so much!

That is a really gorgeous pitcher..congrats! I'll put it in the entry bin. :)

If anyone out there wants to write a guest article about Fenton glass for
Yard Salers, please let me know.:)


Hi Julia,

Just wanted to share a recent sale that really surprised me! I bought a
textbook @ a local Friends of the Library sale on Sports Medicine. I don't
usually do textbooks & this is not my area of expertise, but it was newly
published (2007) & in brand new condition, so I thought I'd take a chance.

Well, it sold for $85.00!!! I don't use any of those book pricing things
(consider this cheating & amateurish), just relying on my gut (& a long
career of book buying/selling/reading), & it paid off!

So let your readers know that they don't need the fancy gadgetry...just trust
your instincts!



Hi Kathlyn,

Thanks for your great entry! Textbooks are some of my favorite kind of books
to sell. The key you found..finding new or almost new ones (with a few
exceptions like collectible ones).

I agree w/ you on scanners...I don't like using them and feel silly doing
so..not that I can say never would, but I seem to be doing fine w/o them.

Thanks again!



Hi! Just writing to share my modest success about 10 days ago. Normally, I
sell books, but from time to time I go trawling in different waters. I bought a
1940's Brazilian fishing scene, a framed tourist-type photo that was color
enhanced. My investment was 10 minutes digging in some Salvation Army discards
for this $1.99 find. Selling price was $26.00...sold to a Parisian buyer, no
less. Arrived there safely to a happy customer!


Hi Chrysanthe!

That is a very charming picture indeed! A nice find..congrats. I have been
looking at thrift shops for good art but not found anything I liked yet. This is
a reminder to keep looking. :)

Thanks again for entering and good luck in the contest!



Ok, those are all great flips. But this next one is so pretty and sold for
such a profit that I just had to name it...Flip of the Week. And the winner is..

You were asking for good "flips"; here is one we did awhile ago that we
particularly enjoyed.

Jugtown Ware Pitcher, Bowl & Platter - Marked

PITCHER: Stands 10 1/2 Inches Tall - Mouth Is 6 Inches; Base Is 4 1/2 Inches
In Diameter.

Color Is Brown, With Spatterings Of Orange And Varied Shades Of Orange. Great
Condition - No Chips Or Cracks.

BOWL: Stands 5 Inches Tall; Base Is 3 Inches In Diameter. Top Is 12 Inches In
Diameter. Same Color And Markings As Pitcher. Has Small Glaze Chip On Rim Of

PLATTER: Stands 1 1/2 Inches Tall, 14 1/2 Inches In Diameter. Good Condition.
One Glaze Chip On Base Of Rim - Not Visible When Sitting.

One Glaze Chip At Top Of Rim, That Is Darkened With Age. Worn Surface Of
Platter From Movement Of Bowl & Pitcher, I Would Presume.

All Have Jugtown Ware Mark Surrounding A Jug.

Shipping Wt. Approx. 12.5 Lbs. Including Box And Padding.

Bought for $2 and sold it at auction (on eBay) for $ 685. Photo is attached.

Good Collectible Hunting, and Good Reading,

Phil Keener of Keener Books & Keener Stuff

Visit us at:

Carrying all types of Used, Rare, and Out-of-Print Nonfiction, and

Specializing in Books relating to Food, Fine Dining and Entertainment



Congrats, Phil! Please email me your address so I can send you the signed

Everyone, keep those entries coming for next week!

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less than $10 a month, using the new feature called eBay Classified Ads. Very
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cut and paste: into your browser.



Our friend Bob B. wrote in again with a great tip for those of us looking at
reselling art. I'll let him say it. Thanks so much for the heads up on this
site, Bob!


Subject: Interactive site that explains Lithographs, Etching, Screen Print,
Woodcut with examples


Came across it accidentally. Don't know if you ever mentioned it in your

It really helped me understand the differences.

Bob B


I have read your newsletter for sometime now and enjoy it
immensely. There has been a lot of great info on buying and selling for both
yard sales and ebay.

I personally believe that the good old days of an auction style format for
ebay are over. I loved being able to list my antique and collectible items for
auction and then watch as it gained watchers, bids and then the sale. Some items
sold others didn't, some far exceeded my expectations and others tanked. It was
an Auction. I enjoyed receiving and sending personal emails to and from the
buyers about the goods I offered up for their pleasure.

eBay has become a big venue for nothing more than retail products, with
buyers that think they hold the winning deck in their hands. I sell from a web
site, going on 8 years now and I have far more problems with ebay sales and
shipping than my site. I even receive wonderful emails from people who have
visited my site and love to just look. Ebay on the other hand sends me screaming
out the door in an attempt to shake off the attitude that I as a seller am out
there to get them. It has become a negative game I no longer want to play.

The new feedback system is all wrong, it has been from the start. It has been
used as leverage for buyers to use and abuse you as a seller and ebay in
general. I was taught in business, the buyer is always right and I treat any
problem this way. Ebay has forgotten that the sellers on eBay are the customers
first, ebay's customers and we are right.

I truly think that my days of selling on ebay are over, I'm going back to
doing flea markets and trade shows.

Bonnie @

Hi Bonnie!

Thanks so much for your letter! I'd love to use it in my newsletter. If I use
your link, maybe it will get u a few more customers, too? Plus I think it will
be great encouragement to other sellers to start their own sites.

It is disheartening what eBay is doing..and I so agree..sellers *are* eBay's
customers! I am not ready to leave eBay yet, tho...I am hoping with enough
feedback they will change their feedback policy. We'll see how things shake out
in the weeks and months ahead.

Thanks again for writing, and I hope you keep reading Yard Salers in any



I just got this note about a new site called Hoobly, which I just glanced at
but haven't really monkeyed around seriously with yet. It sounds like a neat
idea tho..kind of a mashup between mapquest and craigslist. Check out this


I read your quote in Fortune Small Business and some of the reader comments
to the changes at eBay on your blog and thought maybe you and your readers would
be interested in learning more about some of the sites that are attempting to
capitalize on the company's obvious transition period with innovative platforms
of their own. is a relatively new offering that was founded in 2003. Hoobly
provides users with a site that combines the power of a free online marketplace
with dynamic local searches. The Hoobly "Radius Search" allows users to set
their home zip code and search listings geographically by �zooming in� and
�zooming out� by mileage to search intuitively. Unlike most sites, where users
have to contend with scattered listings posted by sellers located miles apart
from one another, Hoobly�s virtual marketplace allows consumers to conduct their
shopping just like they would anywhere else, by starting closest to home and
moving out as other search criteria (price and availability) comes into play.
More information on the Hoobly Radius Search follows in the press release below.
You can also check it out for yourself at

Right now the site does admittedly have a number of pet-related listings, but
category listings are expanding across the board.

Please let me know if you have any questions or are interested in any
additional information.

Best regards, April


*** end of Reader Mail **



Do you like this newsletter? Please forward it (in its entirety) to a friend!
Just go to and see the "Subscribe" box on top.

**Don't have five minutes to read the newsletter now? Print it out and read
[For more writing and photos throughout the month, check out Julia's
bidbits blog at]

New! Includes 100 easy-to-find books that
sell for $30 and up. $49.99 annually or $19.99 for individual issues.
here to

The eBay Seller's Guide to Finding
Profitable Hidden Bargains at Garage Sales
Find out

Would you like your own fully customisable
ebook website pulling in profits day after day, month after month, year after
year, complete with video tutorials showing you EXACTLY how to get set up and
running? Find out


That's it for this issue. Until next time! - Julia



Questions about My eBooks Ordering

You can certainly purchase from me directly, as can anyone. Most of my ebooks
are now available via the website's bookstore at
Any others you have questions about, all you have to do is email me and let me
know which ebook(s) you want, if you are a subscriber and thus eligible for the
discount, and then PayPal me to my PayPal id at I'll be
tweaking and updating the ebooks page on my web site soon.


Do you have a Flip of the Week? I'd love to hear about it! Email me at and let me know.

Nonfiction Books that
Sell for $50 - $250 on eBay:
Buy Now


I am always open to reader articles, so if you want to write about something
relating to yard sale-ing and eBaying, just flag me down! I will of course give
you credit, using your eBay ID, web site, or any other contact info.



eBooks by Julia L. Wilkinson:
[All my ebooks are offered at 1/2 price from
their regular prices to the subscribers of this newsletter. If interested in any
of them, please email me at]

- How to Spot Fakes: email me!

Blogs, Blogs, and More Blogs
Check out My Author Blog

Those of you who just can't get enough of my writing (are there any of you?)
will be happy to know I now have a new blog on has
created an "author blog" tool for authors to...well, blog. You'll see it if you
bring up either of my books on the amazon site, but for good measure, it's at: (Scroll down to "amazonConnect").


My TypePad Blog, "Bidbits"

You can also check out my typepad blog, "bidbits": bidbits


Do you have your copy of Julia's book, eBay Top 100 Simplified Tips &

It's available on and If you do want to order
the book, I'd appreciate if you'd support Yard Salers and eBayers by using my
affiliate link below.

ebay top


Copyright 2007 Julia L.


Thank you for subscribing to Yard Salers. Yard Salers email newsletter may be
freely distributed in its entirety, so please pass it on. You may reprint any of
the articles in this newsletter for any purpose as long as no portion of the
article is modified without permission, and this tagline is included:
Publisher, Julia Wilkinson, author of the
award-winning "eBay Price Guide." and "What Sells on eBay for What"

No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored in a retrieval
system, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy,
recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Yard Salers makes diligent efforts to obtain accurate and timely information.
However, Yard Salers disclaims any liability to any party for any loss or damage
caused by errors or omissions in Yard Salers, whether or not such errors or
omissions result from negligence, accident or any other cause.



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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Switching to the Star Feedback System: A Solution for eBay's Feedback Problem?

The complaints continue to flow in about eBay's decision to disable the ability for sellers to leave buyers negative feedback. A lot of people are unhappy, and there's even a seller boycott planned the week of Feb. 18.

I'm not happy about the change, but I've felt I should try to offer a solution or solutions if I can. To that end, I've been thinking about this:  what if eBay put back the ability for sellers to leave feedback too, but only the one-to-five star ratings, similar to the DSR's or "detailed seller ratings" that sellers have been getting in addition to the positive, negative or neutrals?

You could even think of doing away with positive, negatives, and neutrals completely, and just going to the star system. This would allow for  a more nuanced system of feedback that wasn't black and white, and most importantly, include a write-in field so *sellers and buyers would know what they were doing wrong and could improve on it*.  (That last point was made by one of the many astute readers of my Yard Salers newsletter, at

I'm not saying this is a perfect solution, but it may be better than what we have now. If you think about it, many businesses rely on this star system, including biggies like amazon, the hotel industry, and Zagat's restaurant guide.

(Personally I'd be sad to see the 100% positive feedback percentage I worked so hard to get go, but maybe the star system could be implemented in addition to it for sellers to give to buyers, as buyers of course already can leave it for sellers. Just give everyone the ability to do a write-in comment).

Probably we will not see any changes until the dust settles and eBay sees if sellers will take this latest change in stride. We'll see. I just wanted to offer up that thought.

What do you think of the idea? Or what do you think would be a better solution?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

A Buyer Unhappy with eBay's New Policy & Other Mail

I'm continuing to run mail from my readers at and this blog about the eBay feedback and new fees changes.  I am trying to be fair and objective and represent all opinions I get. Although opinion is running in the large majority against the change.

Here is one that's from a *buyer* who is not happy with the change. I think some excellent points are made here, including that good buyers will no longer stand out among the bad, and that the new policy may drive away the small Mom 'n' Pop operations, the very sellers a lot of buyers most like to buy from for their unique and special items and services:

"Buyers are not comprehending how this will severely effect us as well.
There are many indicators showing this will be disastrous for the
buying community. I have been buying weekly for over 7 years on eBay.
The clues are very clear. What negatively effects the good sellers will
also negatively effect the good buyers. eBay is in fact throwing the
baby out with the bathwater.

buyers will no longer stand out among the bad. This means every seller
will be leery of every buyer, going into every sale, and rightfully so.
The greens we have worked so hard for will mean absolutely nothing
since the greens will have to be given to anyone no matter how little
they deserved it. 

"*******Who is wearing a good guy dot?? As a
buyer, I will no longer be able to see the true indicators and decide
for myself who is telling the truth and who is just retaliating in
spite with no warrant. The new system will make it impossible to see
both sides of the story.  IT IS NOT HARD to read through both sides,
red & green, and come up with a clear view of the whole picture. In
7 years I have had very few truly bad experiences as a buyer but while
shopping and checking fb, I see retaliatory feedback from BUYERS daily
over things that give no reason to neg the seller. Just because a
seller leaved fb second does not mean it is in retaliation. A large
percentage of the time it means the seller was  negged first for
something they could not control or blamed for the buyer�s stupidity
and now there is reason to warn the rest of the eBay community. It
always was the only seller recourse. This whole system will make it
quite hard to see the truth. eBay is trying to say this will promote
honesty , it will produce anything but.  Buyers will not truly be able
to see who is in fact *bad.* Why????�..

"As a buyer, when I
go in to leave feedback and use eBay�s �Detailed Seller Rating
Stars=DSR�, which was implemented recently. Not only does that system
not tell the seller what they could have possibly done wrong, so they
can fix their behavior or show if there is merit to the claim, it
allows buyers to ding anyone they want no matter what. And now, if a
seller does not give a buyer their little green dot as fast as the
buyer wants it, whether they deserved it or not, there is no reason to
hold back by the buyer. Every buyer can easily neg a seller just for
that without seller recourse. This is not only unfair, the new ratings
eBay has sellers meet are totally unrealistic. Sellers are now
calculated on DSR, feedback, including neutrals and percentage of
sales. Sellers have to uphold a 95% satisfaction rate calculated over
30 days. WHAT business in the world succeeds at this??  Small, good
sellers, we want to buy from will now be very easy targets for scamming
buyers and we, the buyer lose out. When I click my choices out of 5
stars, if I give a seller ratings that equals = good communication, as
advertised, reasonable shipping / handling charges and quick shipping =
this equals 4 stars. This sounds to me like a very good seller.  This
should sound like a very good seller in any market. This seller
delivered everything as advertised, emailed great, did not scam me on
shipping, and packed my widget just fine, PERFECT��..not so according
to eBay�

**** The new ratings set good sellers up for failure.
eBay is telling buyers and sellers that a 4 star rating is very bad.
eBay is making sellers adhere to a 4.5 rating at the least or their
account can be flagged and power sellers will not qualify for discounts
on fees unless they keep 4.6 or 4.8 and higher. How is this at all
realistic? Any business model, having a 90% customer satisfaction rate
is actually quite good. But eBay has set sellers up to an unattainable
goal while being the target for buyer mood, which will give a totally
false view on the seller's intentions and performance making it very
difficult to truly find the good sellers. 

"***** Good Mom
& Pops will be gone taking their service and goods with them. Do
you like buying from mom & pops? Low volume sellers are an easy
target. A bad mood buyer can see one neg and use that against the
seller knowing two can possibly freeze the seller's account The new
rules have also set small time good sellers up to fail so severely many
good sellers we buy from will not be able to compete and stay, making
the discounts we currently rely on gone, which will effect our wallets
and quality of life. I frequently buy high quality goods on eBay at 65%
off or more for my family and friends. Those days can easily be
numbered and it will effect my entire family community. I find it
interesting that the majority of sellers people claim about most are
high volume power sellers, but there are exactly the type of sellers
who will be able to stay, pushing all the good, small sellers out
quickly. Yes, there are many high volume power sellers that will be
forced to leave�but along with them are the low volume, one of a kind
sellers we have grown to love.

"***** Prices will go up to cover
losses. Many sellers will also be forced to raise their prices to make
up for the fee increases. While high dollar figure sales many not be
effected much, this has crippled the $15 and under items which add up
to millions of sales each day. Millions of buyers come to eBay to find
that great deal or hard to find widget. These new rules will squeeze
those out.  Buyers will be forced to find their widgets in town or
other venues they are not familiar using.

"***** Hard to find
collectibles will be expensive and even more hard to find. With all the
above in place; hard to find widgets will go up in price. If many
sellers leave, that means the items are going with them, which means
there will be fewer to choose from, which means the prices to us will
increase. Start planning on paying $250 at an Antique Mall again for
that Bauer bowl you could buy for $40 on eBay over the past two years.
This will effect many collectible markets and buyer pockets.

Forget about ever selling. Are you buyers thinking of selling?  It will
be too expensive, too risky, to stressful to even consider selling for
buyers.  New sellers will automatically go into the new stricter rules,
with all sellers under 100 feedback automatically having to take Paypal
or CC merchant with your account on aware status. Paypal is also
raising their fees as well. You are automatically looked at as a fraud.
This has not only maybe put a damper on bad new sellers, this has put a
damper on all good low volume, new sellers as well.

"***** The
convenience of paying easily will be gone. Many good sellers who will
fear the arbitrary Paypal rules will go back to money orders only again
due to eBay's new  Paypal freezes and open season on fraud charge backs
which is very high in the credit card world. If a seller account is
flagged / Paypal account fund frozen, even for an undue reason, sellers
will be required to take Paypal or other cc venue, but then they are
open to more charge backs and more account freezing. This will be their
only way to accept pay. It is a no win situation. Sellers will have no
recourse for this. While big business can figure in loss, most of the
sellers I buy from are family run side things and they offer great
stuff.��. which means less easy buying for us buyers.

new systems put the BAD buyers at a very clear advantage over ALL OF
US, buyers included. This is a horrible system and if eBay does not
retract, I will take my business for my family of 6 elsewhere."