Spanish eBayers in open revolt

International agitators join mass protest

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Pity if you will poor old eBay, which has of late been taking some heavy flack about various aspects of its lucrative operation, not least the small matter of buyers being fleeced by dodgy vendors.

And it gets worse. Since 11 November, Spanish eBay users have been fomenting a strike aimed at attracting the company's attention. As lead agitator Vicente Font put it on an eBay Spain forum:

I invite you to participate in a general strike on eBay Spain in protest against all of the company's current inadequacies that they do nothing to resolve and that we are sick and tired of reading about in forums.

For my part I have not put anything up for sale (nor have I bought anything, naturally) and I'm going to continue until the 31 December (if they don't shut my account down) at which time I'll resume - if we manage between us to force a 180 degree turn on the part of the unspeakable powers that be at eBay Spain so that they really offer things like "customer service" and stop winding us up with their "pituforrobotines"* and other irritations.

I ask that if you have stuff to sell you sell it somewhere other than on eBay Spain. We have to get them thinking. They pay no attention to the forums or to our complaints. A strike will surely grab their attention.

I hope to get your support for the good of all of us.

Well, it certainly did get eBay's attention, because on 12 November the "eBay team" wrote:

Dear users,

We'd like to thank you for your comments and suggestions which we read with interest.

Because of these, we have contacted some of you to try and identify more clearly what exactly provoked this. We understand that the matters which worry you most are:

  • Customer services
  • Searches in categories such as Stamps and Coins, Art and Antiques or Music
  • Security, especially slow-paying buyers....

And so it goes on, with a few tips for punters as to how to improve their eBay experience. Sorted? Nope:

It seems you have NOT taken this on board. This is ONLY three points which, while important, are not the most important.

First up, you should sort out a more secure registration system since EBay Spain is AWASH with fraud and piracy.

By late on the 12 November, the wave of dissatisfaction had spread to Italy and France, with the latter offering a fraternal "SOLIDARITY!" By the 13th, Blighty and Belgium had joined the cause - quickly followed by a representative of aggrieved US users:

I wish you the best in your strike.

In the US customers are also unhappy and many US Power Sellers are moving their business to their own web sites or moving to other auction sites because of all the problems and eBay's complete lack of response to them.

US sellers, and sellers in many other countries have suffered through 9 months of billing problems with many sellers being overbilled by eBay, having their bank accounts overdrawn, etc. eBay is the only large corporation that does not provide a telephone number for sellers to call when they have problems, and eBay has ignored the emails of many who complained when they were overcharged. eBay has also suspended sellers who complained when they were overcharged. In July US sellers filed a Class Action lawsuit against eBay due to these billing problems.

The US site is also full of software bugs which eBay is unable to fix. There are some software bugs with the US eBay stores which have existed for over a year and have not been fixed.

eBay also does little to stop all of the fraud and fake merchandise that is sold on its US site.

eBay's US customer service is also horrible and there are many complaints

Australia manned the barricades on the 14th, as did Germany and then... well, by this time it was all starting to look a little like a full-scale insurrection as the International Brigades flooded into the forum.

eBay's last comment came on the 22 November, offering:

We at eBay are listening to your suggestions and, as part of our ongoing efforts to improve the platform, want to speak to you to let you know about the improvements we're working on and discuss openly all of your suggested improvements

We do not believe that a forum is the best way to conduct this dialogue and formulate proposals in a democratic and serious manner, and for that reason we have invited two of you to our offices.

We ask that you respect the suggested solution and assure you that, once the meeting has taken place, we will reopen the debate to include ideas to improve eBay, without getting into non-constructive criticisms.

The response to this olive branch was predictable: "WHY DON'T YOU KICK OFF BY TELLING US HERE WHAT THESE 'IMPROVEMENTS' YOU'RE WORKING ON ARE?" huffed another disgruntled user. And so the agitation continues - currently 800+ posts over 57 pages. God alone knows how this will end, but one thing is certain - the eBayers of Spain are revolting and it may take more than a friendly head-to-head at the company HQ to quell the uprising. ®

*We have no idea what "pituforrobotines" means, although our Spanish readers have offered the following: "Pitufo" = Smurf; "robotines" = robots. Therefore, we now have "robot Smurfs" or thereabouts, leading us to:

Relative your doubt about the translation of "pituforrobotines" I can tell you that this is an expression invented by one of the eBay users in Spain.

It comes from "Pitufo" and "robotines" "Pitufos" are the small blue TV personages called "the smurfs" in English "robotines" mean "little robots"

So "pituforrobotines" refers to those "small blue robots" which are living inside eBay computers & servers and are controlling everything what is happening inside eBay then sending non sense automated messages to the users, canceling accounts, etc.

The reason of double "r" is due to Spanish grammatical rules.


Albert Nick

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