Sunday, April 30, 2006

eBay Buyers: Tips for Secure Buying from eBay PowerSellers

When we first started selling on eBay, an aquaintance who looked at our MittART Mart shop remarked:

"It's a wonder people are buying from you. You aren't a PowerSeller yet. I only buy from PowerSellers, that way I know I can trust them."

Fortunately our worries that people would not buy from us because we weren't PowerSellers at the time were relieved when we saw our sales shoot up around Christmas time, and within a short time, we were granted the coveted eBay PowerSeller status.

In order for an eBay seller to qualify for entry into the elite PowerSeller programme, and display a PowerSeller icon, the seller has to have a proven track record. As eBay puts it:

"They are exemplary members who are held to the highest standards of professionalism, having achieved and maintained a 98% positive feedback rating and an excellent sales performance record."

Which is why we received the shock of our life when we were almost scammed by a PowerSeller from whom we made a purchase many months ago.

We had won a wholesale lot of scissors from a particular seller and paid immediately, as we ALWAYS do.

The scissors did not arrive after a couple of weeks. We sent messages to the seller who did not reply. When we finally read the seller's feedback, we found that others had had the same experience as us. We wrote again to the seller, warning that we would cancel our order if we did not receive the scissors within a week, and pointed out the negative feedback he had received from others.

The seller finally replied that the item had been dispatched by DSL and was on its way. We waited another week but nothing arrived, so we gave him negative feedback and applied to paypal for a refund.

He never replied to the paypal dispute we opened, but the day before the deadline when we should have received the the refund the goods miraculously arrived, so we withdrew the paypal complaint.

Upon opening the package, we found that the handles of the scissors were damaged, the packaging was all stained, and the blades had rust marks, but since the price was good, and they were usable, and we figured we could sell some at car boot sales in the summer, so we did not complain or ask for a refund – also because we didn’t want to waste any more time dealing with bureaucracy and having to pay postage costs for a refund.

A week later the seller contacted us through the eBay messaging system, saying now that we had received our goods, would we please retract the negative feedback we had left for him.

We felt that the best course would be to ignore the request. A few days later, we received another request to retract the negative feedback, threatening that if we did not withdraw it, he would give us negative feedback! We replied that we had no intention of doing so, citing all the above reasons, and saying that other ebayers need to be warned about him. We told him to stop bullying and harassing us.

Within minutes we found that he had given us negative feedback as a buyer!

A) We don’t deserve negative feedback. We see ourselves as a model eBayers, both as a seller and a buyer. We always pay immediately for anything we purchase, and we always dispatch our products immediately in good condition and well wrapped – you can read feedback that has been left for us.

B) Although the seller had gained PowerSeller status, he was a bully. His feedback showed that others had given him negative feedback, and then retracted it after he requested them to do so.

This seller was a power seller – supposedly someone who can be trusted, but neither his goods nor his behaviour towards other eBayers was trustworthy. We know people are often afraid to give negative feedback for the exact reason that they will unjustly be treated to retaliatory behaviour, which is what has happened to us, but something had to be done about this seller.

Although we contacted eBay to request that the unfair and retaliatory negative feedback be removed from our profile, eBay informed us in an email that the negative feedback we received is "Part of the battle scars honest ebayers get along the way!"

Here is the text of the letter we received from eBay:

In fairness, eBay cannot prevent a user from leaving a retaliatory negative comment, whether or not it was deserved. Please remember that most users will look at a bidder's or seller's complete history when deciding if they want to conduct business with him or her. A user who is conscientious, helpful and honest will always have many more positive comments that will overshadow a few obvious retaliation feedback comments. Unfortunately, if good honest users do not leave negative feedback when warranted, out of fear of receiving a negative comment in return, they are essentially letting the bad guys win. Most eBay users understand that honest users will acquire a few "battle scars" in the fight to expose the less then honest users of the community.

We contacted eBay again, explaining that the seller needed to be stopped: Why should people who buy from us see there is a negative feedback? Some people don't bother scrolling through the pages to see why. It just turns them off immediately. And we wanted to know why this seller could continue being a power seller (supposedly trustworthy) while we had to suffer retaliatory negative feedback from a bully?

If ebay doesn't back up honest ebayers then the honest ones will continue being afraid to give honest negative feedback, and that is not how the system should work.

We never did get closure on the matter. Just a lot of "unfortunately's" from every eBay customer service represenative we complained to. So we finally gave up, and therefore, if you are planning on buying one of our recliners, and see 1 negative feedback in our profile, it is from a bully from whom we bought honestly, not something that we sold.

The point is:
  1. Even if you see a an eBay PowerSeller icon next to a seller's ID, check the seller's feedback before you buy!
  2. Read a seller's feedback BEFORE you bid or buy!
  3. Never let a seller bully you into retracting negative feedback when it is deserved!

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

PayPal Account Suspended Tips

Don’t ever panic if you receive an email from warning you that your has been , that your needs to be , or that your account has to be !
It’s probably a , from someone posing as PayPal, out on a
phishing expedition for your password! (The link for phishing takes you to the entry in the )

Don't be fooled by !
Rather than , follow these 5 rules to phoil the :

  1. NEVER EVER click on a LINK within an email from PayPal. Links within emails can lead to a website that looks exactly like the PayPal website.
    As soon as you login after following a link, the logs your password, and can now access your real account.
    If you want to check your account status, ONLY log in the usual way: by manually typing the full URL into the address bar. If there is really a problem with your account, a notice will appear right after you login.
  2. Look carefully at the GREETING: PayPal will NEVER greet you with "Dear PayPal User" or "Dear PayPal Member." Real PayPal emails will address you by your first and last name or the business name associated with your PayPal account.
  3. NEVER EVER ATTACHMENTS from a PayPal email. The Real PayPal will never send attachments or in an email.
  4. NEVER REPLY to a PayPal email, and certainly never send any login details by email. The only place to enter your personal information is once you have manually logged into your account!
  5. Report fake or spoof emails to

Everyday, our , The MittART Mart receives 2-3 emails from phishers warning us that our PayPal account has gone into arrears for one reason or other. Typical email subjects are:

  • Please Return Your Account To Regular Standing
  • Unauthorized access to your PayPal account
  • PayPal account suspicious activity
  • Update your information
  • Account compromised: billing information moved or changed

Follow the same tips to keep your account safe from too!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Leather Electric Riser Recliner Auction on eBay

The MittART Mart is auctioning a high quality leather electric riser recliner on eBay.

Bidding starts at: £165

Auction ends: 22-Apr-06 21:30:00 BST

Delivery to: England, Wales and Parts of Scotland: £75.
We can deliver to other UK locations for an additional charge.
Ring 0207 0960826 for details.

The MittART Mart is an eBay powerseller with 99.7% positive feedback!

We also carry an additional choice of electric recliners at buy-it-now prices in the furniture department of our eBay shop, where you can also see a video of one of our recliners in action.

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Electric Recliner Clearance at The MittART Mart on eBay

At The MittART Mart on eBay, where we try to sell surplus stock and similar things, you will note a small video of Tamara.

This in no way suggests she is on offer, just the
she is sitting on.

The pyjamas were bought in Old Navy, in Manhattan, a couple of years ago, as a valentine present. She has not taken them off since.

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Monday, March 20, 2006

The Late, Lamented Ticker

What’s a Ticker?

A ticker is not a teacher who marks school papers, nor a noisy clock, and not even a heart. It’s a clever device that runs across your browser or web page, keeping you up to date on current affairs, news, sports, or stuff like stocks and shares.

At least that’s what its supposed to be. Tamara organised a really nice one from the BBC - free, obtainable, as these things need to be, and usable on a commercial site, which ours is.

The trouble is that after it ticked away for a few days, it abruptly died. So now we are newsless! The door has been slammed shut on our little Ticker, and the daily if not hourly interest it added to our shop. Our customers are bereft of the motion and interest it was creating.

Tamara is usually absolutely magic with these things, but this time, though she sat at her laptop trying to restore it - nuttin from nuttin - dead in the water! No hope of resurrection, even as Easter approaches.

So what happened? A good question, and not without the inkling of an answer, from Tamara, who must have searched a dozen news groups, two million websites, and forty two good friends in the IT business. She even asked Marcus, who was asleep at the time. His response was actually not printable in the classy paragraphs of this erstwhile Blog.

(For More of Marcus’s reactions to Tamara’s late night ideas and symposiums see A Motion At Dawn, an earlier post in this blog)

Back to the bust Ticker - for that is what it remains - a lonely icon of failed IT on the front page of our main website. Certainly not our fault, but who to blame?

Tamara judiciously placed the blame on the fact that Ticker My Feed, the service which provided the php code for our ticker, had crashed. It suddenly flopped into oblivion over the weekend, leaving all who access it with the renowned error message: HTTP 404 - File not found. It may be in the process of being re-instated, or it might not. We have no contact information, no phone, no email… Well, their site is down so what can one expect.

Come on Ticker My Feed, bang some heads and get your nice little site up and running again. If not, we shall bury you in the sad mysterious sands of the desert of failed websites with the following epitaph:

Here lies Ticker My Feed,
Born of hope and desire.
Their little tickers fed our site,
with a brightly burning fire.

Rise again, Oh lonely site,

Unfairly represented,
Better to be slightly late,
Than totally lamented.

Marcus and Tamara

Monday, March 13, 2006

‘The Divination of Marcus’ or: It's not just Saints and Dysons that Hover.

We travelled abroad last Thursday, to Israel.Tamara comes from there, and every so often she needs a dose of sunshine and warmth. She had not left our house in England more or less since the beginning of the winter, well certainly from the moment the temperature had dropped below 10 centigrade. It seemed therefore, a good idea to expose her to the sun and family who still live in various parts of Israel.

She packed most of the office, files, laptops, hundreds of cables, virtual phone system, wireless modem, etc etc. Then we came to her clothes, and the gifts. These were all packed flat in an immaculate fashion and three hours later, the suitcases closed, only to be re-opened as Tamara remembered we had a posh function to attend and “she had nothing to wear”.

Of course Marcus’s clothes were packed as well - into a small corner of one of the suitcases.

We arrived and for the first few days it was bleak, cloudy, windy and cold.

‘Its colder here than bloody England, why did you drag me halfway round the world to sit indoors miserable as sin’ Marcus was complaining, which was probably more due to the fact Israeli television was not showing the Arsenal - Real Madrid game, than anything else.

He was a right moan, dolefully hanging around the flat, cursing under his breath.

‘If you do not stop, I shall have you thrown off the top of this balcony,’ Tamara was losing patience.

Marcus leaned over the balcony, it was 7 floors above the ground, and not something he wished to encourage.

‘I’m not sure that’s healthy,’ he said, ‘but I could float around for a while.’

Which he did; causing considerable consternation, and much anguish to his beloved wife, and most of the neighbours, although he did say at the time,
‘this could be a great advert’

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Table Seeks Dining Room

Have you recently broken up with, or dumped your long-term dining table? Perhaps you have never hooked up with a dining table before? Our matchmaker community has a database of single dining tables looking for partners.

At other online furniture stores you search between the lines of bland descriptions, seeking the hidden hints that will connect you to your perfect match. If you have you been searching for that perfect dining table without success, then Against The Grain can help you.

Showcase of Featured Members Profiles

  • Dead butlers seek new position in household.
  • Doctor of anatomy offers spare parts, for unsupported tables.
  • Experienced table seeks knives and forks for late night laying.
  • Hand carved legs make outstanding table.
  • New table, offers self delivery.
  • Old men looking for exciting position under table.
  • Retired footballers want to support current position at top of table.
  • Table legs take shape.
  • Table runs away from broken home.
  • Table seeks dining room, prepared to travel.
  • Table seeks happy home, needs walking twice a day.
  • Table seeks interesting position in open minded household.
  • Table seeks interesting position, can be flexible.
  • Table seeks tablecloth for intimate moments, check before replying.
  • Two gentlemen willing to make sizable contribution to keep table up.
  • Unemployed table with itchy legs seeks chairs to help scratch a living.
  • Unshaved table looking for similar, to share room and board.