Buying kit is one of life's guilty pleasures. There, I've said it. Doesn't matter how much I have, there's always room for more. Usually. Every 6 months or so, the pleasure wears off and the un-used stuff in the gear pile starts to talk about me behind my back.
So I'll make a wee pile of things that I'm willing to part with; kit that's been used once or never used at all. It's all good stuff too. In the unlikely event that I've bought a turkey, I'll bin it rather than fob it off on the unsuspecting. And the object of the exercise isn't to make a profit. That rarely happens. More often, I'll break even or sell at a slight loss. I don't mind either way because I like the idea that the gear is going to somebody who might actually use it. Spread the joy and all that.
For the last several years, I've used Ebay to facilitate these transactions and, just last weekend, listed several items that were ready to be passed forward.
Imagine my surprise when, after initially logging in to check how it's going and to answer the inevitable daft questions from interested parties, I'm greeted by a message from Ebay. I forget the exact wording but it was along the lines of "If you access Ebay from anywhere other than your "normal" computer, we may suspend your account and you will have to call us and verify your identity before we re-activate it. We're doing this for your own good. Have a nice day."
No more accessing Ebay from work then? Or from any of the other 3 PCs we have in the house? That's a bit pish.
It got better. Continuing on to My Ebay, I spotted an "alert" in amongst the daft questions. It seems that one of my listings contained an "inappropriate link" and had been removed. WTF? The link in question was to a review of the Vargo Triad Stove on backpackinglight.com and complied with Ebay's own listing policy. I have an option to edit the description and re-list the item but it'll cost me the normal listing fee. I may be eligible for a refund of my original fee but that's not a given. I think I'll pass, thanks.
Digging around, I found that, as well as no longer being able to leave negative feedback for crappy buyers, Ebay (presumably in cahoots with Paypal) can withold payments to you for up to 30 days or until you receive positive feedback. In fact, going by the fury and frustration on the user forums, it seems Ebay can do whatever they damn well please.
When a business forgets who it was that actually built the ivory tower they now sit atop, it's time for the builders to take their custom elsewhere.* I'll take my chances with the online classifieds from now on. It's highly unlikely, but maybe I'll even think twice about that next purchase.
Aye, right. :o)
*That wee Ebay link will be removed forthwith.