Ebay Multi-Buy Promotions Fail to Work on Multiple Occasions, Resulting in Retail Fraud

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On 7th April 2020 I was alerted by a very helpful customer that when he had purchased four items, the discount for buying four had not been applied.  He wrote...

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Helpful Customer:  E-Bay has given a postage discount but hasn't given a quantity discount.  Listing shows UKL3.28 each for four off.
__________________


He is correct.  A UK buyer has seen an advertised price of £3.28, used all the ebay shopping cart systems correctly, got the postage 'discount,' and has still been charged £3.45 each.

 __________________

Henry:  Hello H.C.

I will look into this and give the telephone seller "support" line some bashing about this, as it amounts to retail fraud. Right now, all I can do is either cancel the order and refund, or send it. Or, I could cancel it and send you a paypal money request for the correct amount. Please let me know which you'd prefer and thanks for your note.

Henry Walmsley.
__________________

__________________

Henry:  Hello again,

So, the ebay seller "support" line can give no explanation for this, other than suggesting that I only put the multi-buy promotion on after the sale was made, which we know isn't the case. I've found another instance of this in today's sales. I suspect that they will blame it on a 'glitch,' when they call back tomorrow. I've made my displeasure clear and will publish the recording of the calls here:

https://www.interestingelectronics.com/old/henrys_interesting_electronics/customer_service/ebay/ebay_main_page.html

Meanwhile, please let me know if you want to cancel the order. It might work correctly if you re-order or I can send a request via paypal for the correct amount as suggested.

Thanks,

Henry.
___________________

___________________

Helpful Customer:  Thank you for your reply. Please send the items and forget about the few pence. I just wanted to let you know about what's going on on your listing.

Kind regards,
H.C.
___________________

What a helpful and nice customer, considering that he's just been the subject of (albeit unintentional) retail fraud!  I spotted another instance of this that happened around the same time.  Overseas buyers from UK sellers can't see the multi-buy discounts.  Why this should be in the 21st century I have no idea, when I've used multi-buy discounts as a UK buyer from some Chinese / HK sellers for years.  However, that is a question for another time.  For now, why are ebay multi-buy promotions from a UK seller to a UK buyer who has seen the advertised discount sometimes mysteriously failing?  Let's get on to the Ebay seller "support" telephone line for an unambiguous and clear answer, shall we?  You can click on the links below for the recordings.  The first one had Very extended hold times, which have been edited out for your sanity.  The full call time was about 45 minutes.

Ebay Seller Telephone Support Say That Multi-Buy Discount Promotions are Working Fine and Accuse Me of Lieing Despite the Facts In Front Of Their Own Eyes.

I despair at the delay tactics employed by the staff, and the denial of the obvious.  However, I will no longer accept "Oh, it was just a glitch" as an excuse for making me guilty of Retail Fraud.  Thankyou for repeating the information that I gave you in the first instance as an explanation of what has happened.  No.  Not good enough.

There was a call back the following day.  Thankyou again, ebay seller support, for repeating back to me the information that I gave you in the first instance as an explanation of what has happened.  I was a bit busy at that moment getting out an urgent parcel, so I didn't quite have the time to 'dig-down,' as they say.  Here's the call:

Ebay Telephone Seller Support Call Back and Repeat Back to Me The Same Lies About the Failure of Multi-Buy Promotions Which Made Me Guilty of Retail Fraud.

There has been no response since.  Well, I've not finished on this one. 

Rob Hattrell, UK VP Ebay.  I hope you're listening to the 'phone calls, Luv.

"Rob Hattrell leads the eBay UK business and is accountable for all operations in that market. He is passionate about consumer sellers, small businesses and the role technology and eBay play in powering entrepreneurship and creating opportunity. Rob has run the UK market since 2017." 

Rob Hattrell. VP eBay UK
        looking smug.

I've written to you before Rob, and I didn't get a response.  Fancy!  I look forward to your call about how your company makes me guilty of retail fraud.

17th April 2020:  Ermmm... What's Happening with Multi-Buy Here As Well?

I'm glad that Rob Hattrell is so, "...passionate about the role technology and eBay play in powering entrepreneurship and creating opportunity," because here's another eBay Multi-Buy failure that results in me committing retail fraud, and you can reproduce this one consistently.  You can click on the screenshot below for a bigger image of one of my listings.

Ebay Multi-Buy Failure on Variation Listings

So, this is a variation listing.  Variation listings include slightly different variations of the same thing, like different size T-shirts.  Some unscrupulous sellers will try to fiddle this system by having a list of different size T-shirts for £9.95, and then another variation for a stick-on badge for 99pee in an attempt to get to the top of a list of items listed by lowest price first.  Naughty!  This is forbidden by the rules.  However, it's explicitly allowed to have the XXXL T-shirt at a different price than the XS one.  Equally well, in this example we have a series of different capacitance values from the same range of capacitors.  The bigger ones are more expensive.  Fine.  That's all clean and above-board.  When you select the appropriate capacitance on the drop-down box, the prices change and you also see the correct prices on the Buy 1, Buy 2, and Buy 3 multi-buy buttons.  Hang on though, below that it says,  "4 or more for £3.75 each." 

"Oh that sounds like a bargain," says the customer, bungs four into their basket and hits checkout and pay.  Not realising that in fact, that particular part of multi-buy does not change price when you select your desired capacitance value, and continues to show you the price for four of a different variation.  Useless!  No, worse than useless.  Because that's a retail pricing offer that is subsequently changed without warning, it's fraud.  In this particular case the price for four looks unusually low and most customers will notice, and check the price in shopping cart.  But that need not be true in all cases. 

It's yet another ebay programming monkey failure which no-one cares about, because guess what?  If the customer is over-charged, that's more fees for Ebay in the very short term, while I have to deal with the annoyed customers and issue costly refunds.  I'll call this one in on the telephone next week to see if the reaction is anything greater than the usual slopey-shouldered shrug, and 45 minutes of pretending not to understand the problem.  I find it remarkable though.  Supermarkets have ended up in court with similar problems where the price marked on the shelf was different to that charged at the checkout.  The analogy is direct, so I hope that you've got your best suit and tie ready Rob Hattrell, VP eBay UK, because if I end up in the dock, you're going to be right there next to me.

Henry:  "What, Rob; You didn't know about it?"

But I've posted links to this page as comments on the ebay Facebook page, and I'll be on the telephone to eBay seller support about it next week. 
Don't worry, I'll mention your name in person for the tape, and say that it's an urgent legal issue about eBay trading practices.


Update 26-MAY-2020:

As if it were possible, it's even worse than that.  The much vaunted "Ebay Multi-Buy discounts" not only frequently fail to apply correctly, not only show misleading prices, but also sometimes apply when they should not!  Ebay claim that during the current virus issues, they can't find a way to employ call centre staff in such a way that they can work from home, which we know from previous experience that they can.  So instead we are forced to use the text chat system.  The level of deliberately obtuse misunderstanding in order to try to avoid addressing the point that I've experienced here is very annoying, but one must be dogged and carry on explaining the situation, as if to a child.  Here is a transcript which proves that multi-buy discount has been applied incorrectly to two completely separate transactions from the same person:


Multi-buy discount for applied incorrectly on a single purchase.
2020 - 05 - 16
08:55:22 UTC Raja
Welcome to eBay Live Help. My name is Raja. I would be happy to help you today. Please stay connected while I review your query.
08:55:54 UTC Raja
Hello Henry,
08:56:00 UTC vila_restor
Hi
08:56:31 UTC Raja
I can see that you are concern about a discount applied incorrectly, am I correct?
08:56:41 UTC vila_restor
Yes that's right.
08:57:16 UTC vila_restor
Order no. 21-05041-93702
08:57:58 UTC Raja
May I know it you want to alter the discount offer or is there anything else I could do for you with this?
08:58:31 UTC vila_restor
Can you see that order in paid and dispatched items?
08:58:57 UTC Raja
Ah! the item has been sold already, no worries, Please share the buyer id and I will assist you further :)
08:59:18 UTC vila_restor
johnny_#####
09:01:13 UTC Raja
Thank you for sharing this with me, i can see that the item is showing in sold section.
09:01:45 UTC vila_restor
Right. And how many were sold?
09:02:07 UTC vila_restor
on transaction id 21-05041-93702
09:03:36 UTC Raja
The item "Solder Lug Connection 16mm Log Potentiometer" has been sold for two times to - "johnny_#####"
09:04:02 UTC vila_restor
On tranasaction id 21-05041-93702 there is one item sold.
09:05:03 UTC Raja
Henry I would like to share that every transaction Id remain different for transaction on site.
09:05:40 UTC vila_restor
Well, on the single transaction that you can see are seperate sales there was one item sold then.
09:05:49 UTC Raja
ALso, May I know what exact resolution you are seeking for so that I can have a better understanding in order to resolve this quick and efficiently up to your satisfaction?
09:07:02 UTC vila_restor
Yes. There are two single transactions there.. The customer has bought one item on each. A discount has been applied incorrectly. £2.87 has been charged rather than £2.96. This is not a new problem.
09:11:32 UTC Raja
Thank you for sharing this with me Henry, please allow me a moment to check every detail with you so that I can clear this for you.
09:14:24 UTC Raja
Henry, as I have check this for you and found that there are two discounts, which are item price discount and postage discount as well, may I know which one of them you think applied incorrectly?
09:16:08 UTC vila_restor
No postage discount was applied. The item price has been discounted incorrectly . These are two separate transactions.
09:16:40 UTC vila_restor
The item price on each transaction should have been £2.96.
09:16:48 UTC Raja
Let me share what has happened here.
09:18:29 UTC Raja
I can see that you have created multi buy discount, as per which for two items the price would be £2.87 each. So now buyer has purchased two items for which the original price was £2.96 each however, as per the multi buy discount system applied £0.09 item discount and hence the final price is £2.87 each.
09:19:06 UTC vila_restor
No. Not on two separate transaction it should not.
09:19:42 UTC vila_restor
And you can clearly See with Your Eyes that there are two searate transactions, so why even say that?
09:20:45 UTC Raja
Yes, I can see that there are two separate transaction and I totally agree with you however, I will have to check this from the other end, which I am already up to and I will surely clear this as well for you :)
09:20:45 UTC vila_restor
It's happened before on a single transaction. Do you want me to drag that one up for you?
09:23:01 UTC Raja
Henry, I can see that you are absolutely correct as the discount should not be applicable to single transactions and hence I am escalating this to get a clarification. Please be assured as we will reach back to you within 24-73 hours via email with a clarification on this, will that be okay?
09:23:17 UTC vila_restor
Yes, thankyou.
09:24:01 UTC Raja
You're welcome Henry.
09:24:22 UTC vila_restor
Goodbye for now, then.
09:24:33 UTC Raja
I am sorry that you have to face this and please take care and stay safe :)
09:25:06 UTC Raja
It was my pleasure assisting you today. Thank you for contacting eBay. Have a wonderful time ahead!
09:25:13 UTC
Chat ended by vila_restor

Now, I can't offer discounts on separate transactions because of the once-per-transaction paypal fee, even if they do happen shortly after each other from the same user.  As also mentioned in the transcript, this has happened once before, on a single transaction for one item.  So what became of the promised response within three days?  The above conversation was ten days ago.  Nothing will happen, Rob Hattrell, VP of Ebay UK.  That's not an Ebay promise, that's a Henry Walmsley promise based on my everyday experience of eBay lies. 

27-MAY-2020:

Oh, I do apologise.  Oddly, the very next morning after the last post on this website I received an ebay site message.  Actually, no I didn't!  It was a Direct Email from customerhelp_uk@ebay.com .  It reads thus:

Follow up regarding Multi Buy Discount issue SR# 1-261391692697


Hello Henry,

 

 

This is a follow up from eBay customer support with regard to the credit for the unsold items.

We apologize for the long wait as we are still looking into this matter. Iím sorry for the inconvenience it has caused to you.

 

We are working closely with the relevant team to seek a resolution for your query. Please do not worry, we will be taking full ownership of your query until we can get a resolution and would monitor your account to ensure that you are not experiencing any other issues.

 We cannot state the stipulated time, however you would be contacted sooner as we get any update from our technical team.

 

Thank you and have a blessed day!

 

Kind Regards,

Raja S.

eBay Customer Support

[THREAD ID: 1-3C2XV4WR]

Once again we have to suffer the age old, long practiced ebay seller "support" technique of pretending to not understand the actual issue, and diverting attention away to something else which was not the original problem.  In this case, nothing whatsoever to do with me.  Fortunately, It won't work with me, because I'm not an idiot. "With regard to credit for unsold items," Raja S, (once again hiding behind a pseudonym.)  That's complete nonsense totally unrelated to the clearly stated original problem. 

Can I have a job, Robert Hattrell?  Vice President of eBay UK.  I have a functioning short and long term memory, I can read, hear and understand words spoken on a telephone, and I don't lie.  Which makes me completely unsuitable for your toy-town organization.


17-JUN-2020  Another Instance Of Multi-Buy Discount Being Applied to Separate Orders In Error, and the Ensuing Ebay Lies.

On 09-JUN-2020 I spotted another instance of multi-buy discount being applied incorrectly on two separate orders from the same person.  I wouldn't mind, but Paypal charges a 40pee flat fee for each individual transaction, and I can't absorb that *and* a discount.  It's also just wrong in terms of functional site operation, making me wonder what else is implemented in a shoddy fashion.  Everything?  So, onto the text chat seller "support" service I go:

09-JUN-2020 Text Chat with Hannah Regarding the Incorrect Application of eBay Multi-Buy Discounts on Separate Transactions


Summary:  Hannah accepts that there has been an error and then later sends back an obfuscating email, discussing something that we have already dealt with in the text chat.  Not acceptable.  I complain.  Roshni V. via email asks for screenshots and I provide them via email.  A deafening silence follows, which I take to be eBay ignoring an obvious eBay systems problem, rather than dealing with it. 

If you actually want an analysis, here it comes:  Ebay multi-buy discounts has been implemented by an Idiot who didn't understand how the existing systems work, and couldn't be arsed to find out.  If two separate purchases come in from one customer within the same minute timestamp, they get given a multi-buy discount and I lose money.  Paypal and eBay on the other hand, do very well out of this.  Considered globally, or even on eBay UK, that could probably pay for Rob Hattrell's Bonus all by itself.

Unless, of course, it was deliberate, and eBay was hoping that I wouldn't notice, eh Robbo?

"
He is passionate about consumer sellers, small businesses and the role technology and eBay play in powering entrepreneurship and creating opportunity. Rob has run the UK market since 2017."  But his website can't add up correctly, which strangely always results in the customers and sellers losing money, and eBay and the long associated company Paypal getting more.  Spooky!  :)

31-JUL-2020: Yet Another Critical Multi-Buy Failure Mode

On 23rd July I noticed yet another multi-buy problem.  Is it some trivia that I'm inventing to be awkward?  No.  It makes the whole thing almost completely useless.  In brief, you are supposed to be able to apply one multi-buy discount to, say, all items in the shop of 3,4, and 5% if the customer purchases 2,3, or 4 or more of any item.  That would be very helpful to encourage people to browse the shop and to add more items to the often disfunctional shopping cart, in order to get the badly applied and confusing postage discount.  You are also supposed to be able to apply bigger discounts to specific items, say 5,10, and 15% for purchases of 2,3, or 4 or more of those particular items.  The specific discount is supposed to take priority over the global discount for that item, or you are at least supposed to be able to select the priority.  That option is always greyed out on the relevant promotions page.  What actually happens?

What actually happens is the worst of all possible binary combinations of failure.  Ebay displays the lower global discount to the customer, say 5% for four light bulbs, then actually gives them the greater 15% discount when they actually pay.  Great!  I've sold something for £4 and ebay has charged the customer
£3 for it.  Actually, it could be worse.  It is probably possible to make the global discount higher than the specific one.  Then the customer would see a big discount and get a smaller one at checkout.  I'll try this to see if that is possible.  Of course, that would be ebay systems enabling retail fraud, which you might well do accidentally if you weren't reading this.

So, displaying one discount and giving a bigger one is a clear site failure, at least it is to me.  What do ebay seller support have to say about this?
Here's the telephone call - Yes, the 'phones are back.  Oh, joy unrestrained!  Click to listen:

23-JUL-2020 Ebay Seller Support Call where an Immediate Ebay Lie Causes an Argument About Recording 'Phone Calls, Followed by a Very Helpful Person Called Eric who Agrees That the eBay Multi-Buy Discount System as it Currently Stands is "Completely Useless."


Summary: 

1)  Well, ebay first line telephone support. I don't know what such a big successful corporation could be so afraid of, but if you are allowed to record telephone calls for 'training and quality purposes,' then I am also allowed to record telephone calls for 'training and quality purposes.'  It might, you never know, improve your quality one day.  The first line telephone operative finds a way around this ebay lie by carrying on the call while 'not giving me authorization to record it.'  Fine!

2)  I explain the problem to a very helpful man called Eric who I suspect is based in Ireland.  Basically, we both agree that the system should definitely never display one price and charge another, and is therefore, "completely useless."  His words and mine.  We also agree that a proper solution to this problem is unlikely to happen, ever.  He promises to have a look into it anyway to see if there is some way to work around it.  I thank him for his time.

So.  I deactivate the global multi-buy discount so that the smaller number of listing specific discounts show correctly.  Unfortunately this results in people who might like to buy multiple different items having to pay more, and I make fewer sales as a result.  Yet another much-vaunted ebay feature that is completely useless, much like Rob Hattrell, VP of ebay UK for example, who I have no doubt is aware of this issue, but who carries on regardless allowing new silly features to be added to the website, while failing to correct the existing critical functional failures.  Those much-vaunted failures which I pay to use in my monthly fees and shop subscription.

Thanks Rob,

Until the next time:)

25-AUG-2020:  Another Customer Loses Out on his Ebay Multi-Buy Promotional Discount and Makes Me Guilty of Retail Fraud - Again.

This problem was first reported to ebay by me way back on 7th April 2020, four months ago.  The response then was complete denial.  On the 23rd August I spotted another instance.  The listing was for items priced at £2.95 for one, and £2.83 for three:

Relays Listing with Multi-Buy Promotion Active

Just in case you thought that I might have recently edited the listing, here's the revision history:

Ebay Relay Listing Revision History


So the last edit was on 24th July.  We have to establish all these facts beforehand, or else the ebay telephone support liars will just use claims like "you have edited the listing" as their excuse during the call, as we have heard earlier.

Finally, a list of recent sales from that listing and the prices charged for the items.

Ebay Relay SDales List Showing Incorrect Charges to
              The Customer

We can see that on the 6th August, someone successfully buys four relays for the correct reduced price of £2.80, there are no subsequent edits to the listing, and on 23rd August a UK customer buys three and is charged the full price of £2.95.  The price per item should have been £2.83.  Showing one price and charging another is retail fraud.  So, I refund the customer his 36pee via paypal, paypal keep all their fees on the full price and ebay keep all their fees on the full price.  Over the entire ebay sales world, this must be inflating the bonuses of Rob Hattrell, VP of Ebay UK and several Californians by Millions Upon Millions Of Pounds.  Remember, it's been Four Months since I first reported this, and I've not inspected every single transaction.

To the Ebay seller support telephone line then, I think.  Click to hear the recording:

25-AUG-2020 Roger of Ebay Customer Support Admits That I Am Not The Only One Suffering Multi-Buy Promotion Failures Resulting in Retail Fraud and Says That, "It Will Never Happen Again!"

Summary:  Roger promises that this will never happen again then goes into what I'm going to describe from now on as covering up the truth while saying nothing, "Blabber Mode."  He then tells an ebay lie about this being "Top Priority."  We also establish that the much vaunted multi-buy promotion system does not function on most international sites.  There is also a post-script with the delightful Sharmaine about the upcoming new ebay managed payments system.  I look forward to that being implemented flawlessly.

Still not very good, Rob Hattrell, is it?  Did you actually finish your geography degree at Oxford?  Still, I look forward to you being being a co-defendant in the dock at my trial for retail fraud.  Actually, I won't be in the dock because I'm giving refunds where it occurs.  So it will just be... *You.*  After all, you are
"accountable for all operations in that market."

04-SEP-2020 Roger Was An Ebay Liar - Because it Did Happen Again More Ebay Multi-Buy Promotion Retail Fraud.

So, after I was assured on the 25th August that, "It will never happen again," another of my customers was defrauded by ebay systems and I have to pick up the pieces.
It's the usual story.  The customer chooses to buy three of the same item, in this case a stereo potentiometer.  Multi-Buy says £3.00 each, ebay checkout charges the full price, £3.45. 

Here's the order as it appears in my paid and dispatched list, noting that it is a UK buyer with a CF postcode:

stereo pot order with incorrect ebay
              discount

And here's the listing:

stereo pots listing with
              multi-buy promotion

And here's the part of the listing showing when it was last modified, just so that there can be no, "You must have modified the listing," confusion as was the first ebay excuse back in April:

stereo pots listing last modification 24th July 2020

OK, so there's no mistake on my part, and even ebay now admit that this is happening.  This is not good enough.  I first reported this six months ago on 7th April 2020.  It's retail fraud and should therefore be considered to be an emergency, not something to first deny and then to delay for six months.  So, it's onto the telephone again.  Warning, there's a full forty minutes worth of this.  You can click on the link to hear the call in its entirety.  I have spared you the hold music:

04-SEP-2020 Recording of Ebay Seller Support admitting Multi-Buy Promotions Fail Thus Charging Customers Too Much, And More.

Summary:

An ebay customer support person repeats back to me what I have already told her, tells me that it is nothing to worry about, and goes into "Ebay Excuse Blabber Mode."
An ebay customer support manager "Jim" repeats back to me what I have already told him.
I am assured that this problem first reported six months ago is being given top priority.
"Jim" gives me a magic reference number.
"Jim" refuses to contact Robert Hattrell VP of ebay UK directly in this emergency but will raise it with "higher management," through the usual channels.
I say it's not good enough, and inform "Jim" that I intend to raise this with UK Trading Standards as ongoing retail fraud.

There is another slight twist to this issue.  Twice today when I checked the listing, the multi-buy promotion had disappeared.  Here's a screenshot from today:

ebay multi-buy promotion has
              mysteriously disappeared

Spooky!  A few minutes later the promotion came back, using the same exact same browser, viewing from the browser that was accessing my ebay account.  Then it was gone once more, and a few minutes later it came back.  So maybe some customers are seeing this version and buying when the multi-buy promotion is mysteriously not showing.  But we know from the 7th April 2020 report from the customer that at least some people are buying expecting a lower price and not getting the discount that they have seen with their eyes.  What's going on?  Maybe the defrauded customer clicks on the discount, then pays a few seconds later when ebay has mysteriously deactivated the promotion.

16-SEP-2020:  More Multi-Buy Failure Updates and Some Interesting Information That Slips Out During an Ebay Seller Support Phone Call

So, the multi-buy promotion failures continue unabated with many similar instances to those shown above.  I'd say that they occur about 30% of the time, though I've not done a full count.  They do not always result in a retail fraud situation.  What is happening is that the multi-buy promotions are appearing and disappearing.  My guess is that when a customer actually complains, the promotion has disappeared in-between the customer hitting the 'Buy Four' button and the system registering the sale.  This remains under further investigation on my part.  The phone call on this day concerning a particularly obvious failure is linked below, and you can click on the link to listen to it.  I have sent a message to my customer asking if he could see the promotion, and if he made his purchase expecting a discount.  I should not have to bother my customers with such questions.  Some interesting events and comments fell out of this conversation.

16-SEP-2020 Call to ebay seller support about the six month long ongoing failure of multi-buy promotions.

Call Summary:

The call operative actually witnessed the promotion re-appearing having first said that there was no promotion active, and she confirms this.
Ebay admit that this has been occurring since at least April 2020.
The call operative states that the problem is occurring on ebay.uk and ebay.com.
The call operative states that the problem does not occur on all selling accounts.

How strange!  Why could that ever be?

17-SEP-2020 The Helpful Customer Responds The He Did Indeed Buy Via The Multi-Buy Promotion - And That Therefore He
Was Overcharged

ebay message exchange with H.C.:

_______

Hello H.C.,
Your ferrite bars are on the way. I have a question, if you don't mind taking the time to answer. Did you see any kind of "Multi-Buy Promotion" when you looked at my listing for those parts? A "Buy four four or more for £3.78," kind of thing?
Thanks,
Henry Walmsley.
____________
Hello Henry
Yes, i bought these items through the multi buy option given on the listing, different prices depending if you bought 1, 2 ,3 or 4 or more.
Regards
H.C.
___________
Hello H.C.,
I think that you've been over-charged. It's not so much, but it's a really important issue for me because it constitutes retail fraud. If you get any refunds or anything from ebay please don't worry about it. I may send you some money back manually. Thank you /very much/ for your response.
If you are really bored, you might look at my fight page on this issue:

https://www.interestingelectronics.com/old/henrys_interesting_electronics/customer_service/ebay/multi_buy_fail/multi_buy_fail.html

Sincerely,
Henry Walmsley
____________
Thanks Henry,
I had no idea I was being overcharged and just took the final amount to pay as being accurate. I really appreciate your response to this and it proves to me that amongst the few rogues on e-bay there are honest traders who look out for their customers and I would like to think that's the majority of traders.
Regards
H.C.
____________

And therein lies the problem, expressed by the customer exactly.  "I took the final amount to pay as being accurate."  That is why advertising one price and then charging another is retail fraud under UK law.  In the past, several supermarkets have been up in court for the exactly analogous error of showing one price on the shelf, and charging more at the checkout.  So, it's onto the Ebay seller support telephone line again.  You can click on the link below to hear the call in full.  Warning:  It's very long, very tedious, and descends into truly Pythonesque levels of ebay denial and lies.

17-SEP-2020: Ebay Seller Support Twist, Turn, Deny, and finally Give Me 26pee Back When I Refund The Customer the £2.68 That He Was Defrauded Out Of by an Ebay Systems Failure That Has Been Documented for Six Months

Call Summary:

* Preamble and we try to establish what was agreed yesterday.
* The call operative tries every foolish trick to deny the problem, even blaming it on the postage charge at one stage.  Goodness me!  I can add up.
* A manager or supervisor is unavailable.
* After being forced into explaining the situation as if to a child, using 'shop assistant and customer' role play, I issue a refund and get back 26pee in ebay fees.
* There is no time estimate for fixing the "bug" which causes multi-buy promotions to appear and disappear on some seller's accounts.  I point out that six months should be enough.

I've been on this problem for six months now.  After all that, even *I* was astounded by the level of deliberate obfuscation and denial on this call.  Can you hear all that typing in the background?  Those edited out on-hold periods can be quite long as well.  I wonder what coaching from above could be going on there? 

26pee?  10% of £2.68 is 27pee when correctly rounded.  OK, I'm not going back for the 1pee.  But I will next time, 'Robert Hattrell of eBay UK who is responsible for all ebay UK activities.'  I may also change my mind about the 1pee.  If all ebay fee refunds are incorrectly rounded down, that could be millions of pounds a year, when taken worldwide.  Large scale rounding fraud is actually quite a well-known method of theft.  "Watch this page," for that one!

I think I've got enough for BBC Radio Four's, "You and Yours" programme now.  Maybe even, "Watchdog" on BBC1 national television as well.  What fun!

There is a little more analysis to be done on this yet, and it concerns the frequent and mysterious appearance and disappearance of the multi-buy promotions on my listings. 
These were not instigated by me, as was witnessed by an ebay call operative on 16th September 2020.  This could be causing the incorrect pricing retail fraud problem documented here to be multiplied up, from an extremely rare event, to a regular event.   Bear with me for another couple of days, Winifred Robinson of Radio 4's You and Yours consumer affairs programme, while I conduct some small experiments.

21-SEP-2020:  Some Small Experiments and A Little More Analysis Have Been Done.

So, if I load one of my multi-buy promotion listings into a separate anonymous browser window as a guest ebay customer, the customer (sometimes) sees them active.  This is a static page, i.e. it does not automatically update when the listing changes behind the scenes.  If I go and turn off the promotion via my ebay account, naturally enough, the promotion is still there visible on the static page.  When, as the customer, I then enter a number of items to buy which should get a promotional discount, not surprisingly, I do not get the discount.  That is as expected: It has just been turned off. 

Now, that could cause a problem if I, the seller, were being careless.  If I deactivated all of my promotions at once during a busy time, I might expect some customers to see the promotion price, buy from the listing and not notice that the promotion has been removed and not applied to the sale.  That would be price misrepresentation and I, by law, would have to correct it and avoid it happening in the future.  That's not really the problem here.  I now know to look out for such instances, and not go removing promotions without checking purchases made around that time.  The problem occurs when ebay systems mysteriously remove the promotions from my listings without my knowledge and then puts them back, all ready to remove them again whenever they feel like it.  This happens all the time, and I have spotted two instances today.  This causes the price misrepresentation criminal act as documented, and it is beyond my control. 

I have seen another recent purchase today that should have had a discount applied, and I wait to hear back from the customer if he purchased it via a listing showing a promotion when the page was loaded.  Until ebay "fix the bug" causing some sellers' multi-buy promotions to appear and disappear, these price misrepresentation crimes will continue to occur.

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