Are eBay invoice changes Yellow Button 2.0?!

October 8, 2008

Back in 2006, eBay implemented the infamous Yellow Button debacle that I hate with such passion, I can’t discuss anymore and refer you here for details.  Now I’m hearing from sellers that eBay recently updated the way invoicing works and there is much concern this will become YB2.0.

Fortunately, ChannelAdvisor customers won’t be impacted because our system automates invoice and post-transaction communication off-eBay.  However, for those sellers that use MyeBay to send invoices, here’s the problem.
  1. A buyer wins/bin’s an item.
  2. Frequently the seller needs to send an invoice manually to the buyer to specify shipping or do combined shipping and what not.
  3. The buyer receives the invoice
  4. Frequently buyers will have a question and reply to the invoice
  5. The seller updates the invoice or answers Q and sends final invoice
  6. Transaction is consumated  when the buyer pays the final invoice.

That’s how it used to work. Now eBay has evidently changed the system so that at step 3 above, instead of the email that goes to the buyer coming from the seller’s email address, it has been replaced with: “ebay@ebay.com” as the reply-to address.

If your a buyer and are used to ‘replying to these’ (step 4 above), your email will go into the vapor.  The result?  Probably an increase in UPIs as the buyer will be cheesed off that you are ignoring their question with the invoice before they pay.
Bottom line: Upset buyer, upset seller.
I used to joke in the early days of Yellowbutton that it would be really interesting to get someone in IT at eBay to open up the ‘usetheyellowbutton’ mailbox at eBay and see just how many people thought there was a human there vs. a bit bucket.
Now I’m really curious.  What if someone opened up this ‘ebay@ebay.com’ mailbox (I’m sure it just dumps to /dev/null). Here’s what I bet you’d see:

“Hey, i’m really excited to get this item, but I’d like insurance, do you offer that?”
“I emailed 2 days ago about the item, I want to get it here quickly, but would like insurance.”
“HELLO, DO YOU OFFER INSURANCE”
“Please cancel my order your customer service stinks.”
“CANCEL ORDER”
“*C*A*N*C*E*L******”
(seller then files UPI, believing the buyer isn’t paying, buyer promptly leaves seller neg, all 1’s on DSR and orders the item somewhere else online because of frustration shopping on eBay.)

There are a bunch of other changes that eBay says are bugs they are fixing, but I’m particularly concerned about this email reply-to issue as I think eBay will add the seller info back to the invoice, but I worry the email is here to stay.