Customer Service, or, Reality vs. Virtual Reality

Oddly, as a consultant, I do NOT adhere to the policy that the
customer is always right. That said, you cut the customer a lot of
slack, and you don’t prevent customers doing something eminently
reasonable.

Enter ebay. It turns out that – reasonably enough, though they
don’t make it clear in advance – that they limit the number of big,
expensive, or particularly brand-conscious items that can be sold at
any time by a new seller. This limit varies depending on both whim and
the particular item being sold.

In practical terms, I can only list items like my older MacBook Pro that I’m
trying to sell once every 30 days, and I can only list one such item
at a time.

While it’s a bit wonky that I have to wait a month to re-list my
laptop if it doesn’t sell, that at least is somewhat reasonable. It’s
when you actually try to revise your listings that the real shock
comes.

You see, a revised entry is treated, temporarily, as if it is an
additional entry. If your item limit is one, you cannot revise your
entry. You cannot add pictures, you cannot edit the description, you
cannot do a single thing to change it. You start with one entry, you
end with one entry, for the same physical item that does not magically
duplicate itself no matter how ebay’s system sees it, but you cannot
revise it because they treat it as a new item.

If I remove it from sale, I can’t relist it for another month. if it
doesn’t sell because I wasn’t able to add more relevant information, I
can’t relist it for another month.

The kicker is that no one in their right mind considers revising an
existing item to be the same as adding a new item
.

So I’d like to follow ebay’s guidelines for professionalism. I’d
like to add pictures. I’d like to revise the description to be
more informative and accurate – and thus useful to buyers.

And because of a stupid decision in how to handle revisions to
existing objects that flies in the face of reality, I cannot.