Promotions Fail to Work on Multiple Occasions, Resulting
in Retail Fraud
I update this page fairly regularly. If
you've been here before, please hit function key F5 to
refresh, and scroll down for the latest news from
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.
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: 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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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."
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
2020: Ermmm...What's Happening
with Multi-Buy Here
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.
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
yet another ebay
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
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
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.
I can see that you are concern about
a discount applied incorrectly, am I correct?
Yes that's right.
Order no. 21-05041-93702
May I know it you want to alter the
discount offer or is there anything else I could do for you with
Can you see that order in paid and
Ah! the item has been sold already,
no worries, Please share the buyer id and I will assist you
Thank you for sharing this with me, i
can see that the item is showing in sold section.
Right. And how many were sold?
on transaction id 21-05041-93702
The item "Solder Lug Connection 16mm
Log Potentiometer" has been sold for two times to -
On tranasaction id 21-05041-93702
there is one item sold.
Henry I would like to share that
every transaction Id remain different for transaction on site.
Well, on the single transaction that
you can see are seperate sales there was one item sold then.
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?
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.
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.
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?
No postage discount was applied. The
item price has been discounted incorrectly . These are two
The item price on each transaction
should have been £2.96.
Let me share what has happened here.
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.
No. Not on two separate transaction
it should not.
And you can clearly See with Your
Eyes that there are two searate transactions, so why even say
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 :)
It's happened before on a single
transaction. Do you want me to drag that one up for you?
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?
You're welcome Henry.
Goodbye for now, then.
I am sorry that you have to face this
and please take care and stay safe :)
It was my pleasure assisting you
today. Thank you for contacting eBay. Have a wonderful time
Chat ended by
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
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
email@example.com . It reads thus:
Follow up regarding Multi Buy
Discount issue SR# 1-261391692697
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. I’m
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.'
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.
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:
Just in case you thought that I might have recently edited
the listing, here's the 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.
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:
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
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:
And here's the listing:
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:
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:
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
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:
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.
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
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
ebay message exchange with 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
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.
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
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.
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.
* Preamble and we try to establish what was agreed
* 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
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
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.
05-OCT-2020: Another Multi-Buy Promotion Failure
Results in Confirmed Retail Fraud
On 1st October 2020 a customer ordered two neon
indicators. It's the same story again. The
customer sees a price of "Buy 2 for £2.51" and is charged
the full price of £2.95 for both. There has been no
revision of this listing since 19th August 2020. For
completeness of the documentation I will continue to provide
screenshots for now.
Listing for Red Neons Item Number 114166030939 Showing
The Multi-Buy Promotion
Order Details Page Showing Incorrect Non-Application
Of Mult-Buy Discount for Item Number 114166030939 and
the Subsequent Refund Instigated By Me
Ebay site message exchange with my customer
New message to: *Helpful Customer* Sent: 02-Oct-20 14:37
Hello *Helpful Customer*,
Sorry to bother you. When you bought these two neons did you
see any promotion on the page like "buy 2 for £2.51?" If you
did, you may have been overcharged by an ebay failure. If
you could let me know it would be most helpful.
New message from: *Helpful Customer* Sent: 02-Oct-20 17:16
There was indeed a "buy 2 for £2.51" box on the page. I
never thought to check that that had been applied. Don't
worry if it's difficult to sort out, it's only pennies in
the scheme of things.
This response from the customer indicates again why this
kind of problem is considered to be straightforward retail
fraud under UK law. Because it is. So, it's onto
the Batphone once more to see what ebay Seller "Support"
have to say about this latest example. You can click
on the link below to hear the conversation in full.
1) Oddly, this call operative can add up numbers, and
doesn't try every silly deception in the book to deny
the problem. Weird! What's going on?
2) I do the refund and get a very vague promise that I
will get the fees back on the 88p.
3) I make it clear that Robert Hattrell VP of Ebay UK
will be with me in the dock if I end up in court in front of
Tradings Standards, so he ought to be told about this
4) I point out that this was first reported by me on
7th April 2020.
5) All the usual lies about it being a priority which
we've come to expect by now, etc. etc.
Not so much of a priority to stop the ebay programming
children spending time messing about with the website fonts,
cosmetic layout, and busily adding on other sub-standard
features to the badly understood and creaking underlying
infrastructure which cause even more failures and
inconvenience, though. You can read about some of
those on my other pages.
15-OCT-2020 The Same Ebay Multi-Buy Promotion Price
Misrepresentation Retail Fraud Problem Occurs
Again, and I Get The Same Nil Response
From Seller Support
Same story again.
You can see that I *did* modify that listing at 14:53 that
day, but only to reduce the amount of stock visible on the
recently purchased C1M variant, as I was running out.
Check with the customer:
Your pots are on the way. I have a question if you have the
time to answer. When you looked at the ebay page to buy
these, did you see any discount boxes like "Buy 2 £3.28
each?" I ask because there is an ongoing ebay failure which
can cause people to be over-charged. If you saw the promo
boxes you may have been subject to this. It would be
immensely helpful if you let me know if you saw the
multi-buy promotion, and if so I'll refund the difference
Thanks, Henry Walmsley.
____________________ _________________________ Hi there,
Yes there were discount boxes, Ive attached a screenshot
of what is displayed on the item page below
Thanks for contacting me
All the best
I also see that Robert Hattrell is no longer VP of ebay
UK. No. He is now Senior Vice President of Ebay
Europe. Well lad, I'm delighted to see that eight
months of retail fraud on your website has lifted you to
such a lofty position. I dare say that your promotion
is due to the extra money generated by systematic ebay
retail fraud on the online marketplace for which you are
22-OCT-2020: Another Instance of Ebay Price
Misrepresentation aka Fraud From 17th October 2020
1) We try to establish the issue while 'Bler' fetches
her pocket calculator, then we get some made-up excuses
about buying one item.
2) I attempt to establish that the problem is not an
inconvenience or a glitch, it is systematic ongoing retail
3) I issue a refund to the customer.
4) I try to establish a visible transaction in my ebay
account where I can see my ebay fee refunded, and
the last one from 15th October.
5) Having been assured that the credit had been
issued, we find that an unusual thing called "Validation"
actually has to occur before the credit is issued.
6) Some ebay "blabber mode"
7) I still can't see the credit.
8) 'Bler' says that she does not have full access to
my account. LIE DETECTED!
9) 'Bler' states definitively that due to
the seriousness of the situation, she will personally inform
Robert Hattrell SVP of Ebay Europe. LIE DETECTED!
10) I make it entirely clear that my queries regarding
my invoice were not dealt with, and get cut off.
Forgive me for leaving a lot of background chatter in on
these calls, but just occasionally I think that you can hear
very similar conversations going on in the background
during quiet periods. Specifically at 28:42, where we
hear "Ahh, alright, so the buyer paid twenty-six pounds ####
make sure you have not changed the amount ###.... refund,
you can always call paypal...ok is there anything else?"
Followed by, "Yup,yup,yup, yup yup yup yup!" Celebration
noises. Also, sometimes it sounds like a bit of an
hilarious party going on. Now, I've compressed these
calls up a bit already, but I might try to clean the hum off
of that bit of background conversation, because it sounds suspiciously
familiar, and hearing someone celebrating in
the background at fobbing off yet another honest ebay seller
is not funny. Welcome to the ebay Indian boileroom
seller support scam. Tell me it's not true, Bobby,
before I clean that audio passage up. 09-NOV-2020: Another Instance of Ebay
Multi-Buy Promotion Retail Fraud
On 06-NOV-2020 I attended an online ebay webinar from 09:00
to 13:00. This was supported by Caroline Dineage, M.P.
for Gosport and Digital Minister, Solent Local Enterprise
Partnership LEP, Gosport Council, Business South, New Forest
Council, East Hampshire Council, Havant Council, and
Southampton City Council. Webinar organiser Annie Shields,
firstname.lastname@example.org, had been given links to these
pages in advance on 29-OCT-2020. During
this webinar, multi-buy promotions and order level
promotions were specifically encouraged by ebay executive
Berengere Chaintreau-Fuchs, despite their ongoing failure
causing retail fraud. Out of the above organisations,
only Caroline Dineage was informed about the ongoing ebay
retail fraud situation by email and special delivery post in
advance. According to her assistant, Natasha Hook,
"Caroline has arranged these events
as the Member of Parliament for Gosport and not in her
Ministerial capacity. Under Parliamentary Protocol,
MPs can only correspond with their constituents, therefore
you need to contact your MP. However, if you would like to
provide some more details for Caroline’s information then
To which I replied,
"Then ebay should not use the
'eBay is hosting two Online Digital Skills Workshops on 6
and 13 November in association with Digital Minister and
local Gosport MP, Caroline Dinenage, designed to help
local businesses in the Solent area grow their presence
Unless she is willing to address all ebay issues,
specifically, ongoing retail fraud on the site, you must
ensure that all references to "Digital Minister" are
removed from future ebay missives and are specifically
removed from previous ones."
That seems fair. Caroline has links to all these
pages, but I've yet to hear anything back in her capacity as
Digital Minister. There will be interactions with
specific members of Solent LEP and Southampton City Council
before the next upcoming ebay webinar on 13-NOV-2020.
During the webinar, I received no response from the speakers
to a question sent in by me regarding this issue.
Meanwhile, perhaps everything has already been fixed and
mended since I first reported the issue on
07-APR-2020? No. Right on cue, I deal with the
days orders and find another retail fraud instance from
05-NOV-2020. Here is the telephone call to ebay seller
support where I am assured by Leon that it is given top
priority. You can click on the link below to hear the
call in full.
1) We establish that the problem has indeed occurred again,
and that it has been ongoing since 07-APR-2020.
2) I suggest that Robert Hattrell and Berengere
Chaintreau-Fuchs should be informed as they are both still
pushing the use of MBPs in ebay webinars.
3) I issue a refund to the customer to avoid being a
criminal under UK law.
4) I request a refund of the ebay fees on my refund to the
customer to avoid ebay being a corporate fraud.
Leon is a little more polite and 'on-the-ball' than usual,
but politeness does not solve the issue. I may provide
a little more documentation but for now, the problem clearly
still exists and it will continue to do so while ebay keeps
mysteriously removing my multi-buy promotions and then
re-instating them for no reason. 29-NOV-2020 Two More Instances Of The Ebay
Website Causing Retail Fraud On The Same Day
On 29-NOV-2020, two more instances of multi-buy promotion
failure causing retail fraud occurred within hours of each
other. The first instance defrauded my customer out of
£2.08. Thankfully I spotted it and wrote to him via an
Henry: Hello <nice customer>,
You will see a refund for £2.08 on this purchase soon,
because an ongoing failure in ebay systems failed to apply a
multi-buy discount when you paid. It would be immensely
helpful to me if you could drop me a quick message
confirming if you saw the multi-buy discount boxes and
prices on the listing when you viewed the item.
Nice Customer: Hi, thankyou, I hadn't noticed the
error which is funny because the multi buy was why I got as
many as I did! Yes it did say something about multi
buy. Thanks. ###
This throws into sharp relief once again the nature
of this nasty issue. The customers don't always
notice. It's a failure causing a clear fraud.
My second customer suffering the same thing that day was
less specific about seeing the multi-buy promotion boxes,
but he was also refunded the £0.64 that ebay stole from him
in my name.
To be clear, the refunds are given by me. Then I have
to go onto the telephone to make sure that ebay are made
aware of the problem, given a chance to respond, and to
attempt to get the ebay fees back on the refunded part of
the transaction. Here is the hour-long telephone call
to the "Ebay Seller Support Telephone Line Of Lies"
You can click on the link to hear it. The only edits
are to remove the hold music and to preserve the anonymity
of my customers.
30-NOV-2020 Telephone Call to Ebay Seller Support
Concerning Two Further Instances of Ebay Retail Fraud
Caused by Failing Multi-Buy Promotions.
1) We establish the problem at some length.
2) I am connected to an account specialist. I am
not sure why.
3) "Hello Hello," it's a chirpy-chappie who sounds as
if he's working from home on an old analogue cordless
telephone. I hope that he knows just how frightfully
insecure they are. Sorry, I should have asked
him. You can pick-up both sides of calls made using
them from two miles away using nothing more than an old
valve HF communications receiver, and a wire aerial in the
garden. Actually, you can even re-tune a MW AM radio
and do the same thing. They have the distinctive
analogue interference caused by proximity to a computer
monitor on the downlink sound heard in the call.
Naughty, and stupid.
4) We establish the same problem again, at
5) Chirpy Chappie suggests reporting the glitch.
I suggest not calling ongoing retail fraud a "glitch."
6) Chirpy Chappie says that when I refund the buyer, I
will get my fees back automatically. Wrong!
7) Chirpy Chappie apparantly refunds my fees for the
refund. We shall see.
8) We deal with the next instance.
9) We agree that the second buyer was over-charged as
10) I suggest that Robert Hattrell needs to know about
retail fraud on the ebay site, and I suggest some solutions.
11) I am put through to the selling promotions
department, "so that they can resolve the situation."
12) I make it clear that retail fraud is not an
inconvenience, it's a crime.
13) An enormously long hold occurs.
13) We now have Denise the manager.
14) Denise the manager attempts to grasp the situation
at some length, while an ebay boiler-room party goes on in
15) Denise can't duplicate the issue and then blabbers
on hopelessly stabbing at the keys. I let her
try. No, it's not working, is it?
16) I try to help Denise a bit, with the confusing
ebay checkout system, that is confusing for my customers as
well. Even ebay telephone "managers" can't understand
their checkout systems and promotions, even when they are
working correctly. It's ridiculous.
17) We carry on. I explain that I have reported
the same problem ten times since 07-APR-2020.
18) I complain bitterly. The ebay boiler-room
party carries on in the background.
19) Denise tells me the same old lies about reporting
the problem yet again. I use the phrase, "ebay lies."
20) Ebay does absolutely Nothing. I say that it
is not good enough.
21) I remind Denise that Robert Hatrell is
"Responsible for all ebay activities in Europe." The call
Is it odd that two should occur on the same day? Is it
odd that I'd had a bumper sales day that day? Are ebay
systems turning off my promotions because I'm selling too
much, according to their invisible internal limits?
Well, this problem would certainly be a give-away symptom of
that, if it were indeed the case.
Another Aside (2)
On Friday 13th November there was another ebay webinar for
more advanced users where, once again, multi-buy promotions
were promoted to encourage sales. One of the
introductory presentations promoting ebay was made by none
other than the Rt. Hon. Suella Braverman Q.C. M.P., the UK
attorney general. Gosh! I thought that I'd
better make the attorney general aware that the online
marketplace that she is promoting regularly produces retail
fraud, so I sent the following letter by special delivery:
House of Commons,
Since January 2012 my primary source of income has been as a
self-employed seller of electronic components primarily
using the ebay online marketplace. On 13th November I
took part in an online webinar run by ebay entitled, "Power
Up Your Online Sales," where you were one of the speakers.
You should be aware
of the many thousands of deeply frustrated ebay sellers who
would like to "Power Up Their Online Sales," but are
prevented from doing so by a variety of ebay site
malfunctions, illegal sales limiting activity hidden within
their computer systems, and retail fraud committed by ebay
failures are directly connected to a site feature that was
specifically promoted during the last webinar.
I have been
meticulous in documenting these issues, giving ebay a chance
to respond every time.On no occasion have I received a satisfactory
particular, an issue with customers seeing one price and
then being charged a higher price at checkout has been
ongoing since 7th April 2020.That has still not been resolved as of this date, and
the last occurrence was on 5th November.That is retail
All my documentation is available in public and online at
the following secure https web address:
Somewhere in your
schedule, I urge you to consider the following actions:
1) Put aside some
time to look at these pages, to understand the importance of
the points made and the dismissive responses given to me by
2) Bring these
points and the online documentation to the attention of your
ebay contact or Robert Hattrell who, "Is responsible for all
ebay activities in the region."
3) Reconsider your
apparent public connection with ebay UK, who consider retail
fraud to be so unimportant that it can be ignored for eight
Henry J. Walmsley.
I have yet to receive a response from her office at the
House of Commons. Perhaps the UK attorney general was
assured by her friends at ebay that this problem had been
completely fixed. The two instances of retail fraud
from 29-NOV-2020 detailed above show that this is not the
16-DEC-2020 Two More Ebay Retail Fraud Instances Occur
Within Four Days.
On 07-DEC-2020 a customer bought two items of ebay item no.
120748828825. He couldn't remember seeing the discount
prices, so they may have been deactivated by ebay systems
when he viewed the listing. That is not supposed to
happen, of course. In any case, when I re-checked the
listing the discounts were back, so as far I I can tell,
price misrepresentation has occurred.
The discount price was (£4.71 X 2) + £1.58 = £11.00 for two
items plus one instance of a £1.58 postage charge.
The price charged was (£4.96 X 2) +£1.58 = £11.50 for two items plus one instance of a
£1.58 postage charge.
A sneaky overcharge of £0.50 by ebay systems.
This looks quite simple to me. To, "One of the
highest senior supervisors," however, it seemed to
be extremely complicated. Oh dear, an even
more expert liar than usual. And so it very
much proved to be, in a near hour-long call to the
ebay seller support telephone line of lies.
You can click on the link below to hear the call in
full, with the complete muted silences and hold
music removed. (We like to hear what's going
on in the background while the microphone is open
1) I speak to Isabel or Isa. We do the
2) I speak to Jona or Lona who is, "One of the
highest senior supervisors." My gosh.
How? Being the biggest and best liar of them
3) Jonalona goes to every possible place to
deny that the problem even exists.
4) Jonalona tries to deny that it is retail
fraud to the very last word.
5) For some reason Jonalona suddenly decides
that this is a problem to do with Ebay Managed
Payments, which it clearly isn't.
6) Like a fool, I fall for it, and speak to a
sensible person called Robert and we end the call.
I say, "fall for it." Why did Jonalona
suddenly decide that the problem belonged to someone
else? I'll tell you. Because ebay sends
you a little survey after most telephone calls to
the ebay seller support telephone line of lies,
*but*, the feedback given in such a survey always
relates to the last person that you were transferred
No reasonable conclusion was reached during this
call. The promised call back did not occur the
following day. It warrants a call back from
me, but if you listened to the end, you will
understand that a certain amount of weariness can
occur. Still, once more, ebay have been given
a chance to respond to each and every case of retail
fraud caused by their systems. I refunded the
customer the 50pee.
On 11-DEC-2020 the following ebay systems error
causing retail fraud, relating to a purchase of
ebay item no. 111180964523.
discount price was (£3.11 X 2) + £1.58 =
£7.80 for two items plus one instance of a
£1.58 postage charge.
The price charged was (£3.45 X 2)
+£1.58 = £8.48 for two items plus one
instance of a £1.58 postage charge.
The customer was defrauded by £0.68 by ebay
systems. To check, I send the following
enquiry to my customer:
You've been over-charged for this order by a failure
in ebay systems to apply a multi-buy discount. I'll
refund the 68p by tomorrow. Meanwhile it would be
most useful to be if you drop me a note to say
whether or not you saw the multi-buy promotion boxes
on the listing when you viewed it. ("buy 2, £3.11
each") kind of thing.
New message from: ######## (16Yellow Star)
Hi Henry, yeah I did see it but to be honest didn't
notice the increase, thanks anyway...
That's Ebay Retail Fraud! I spotted this one
quickly, so it was quite difficult to deny.
1) Michael has serious trouble adding
2) Michael eventually admits that this is a
known failure in ebay systems.
3) I inform Michael that the current person in
charge of eBay UK, Murray Lambell should be informed
of this serious problem that has existed since April
2020, and which has been reported by me on each
4) This time, I do not fall for being
transferred to someone else before ending the call.
Murray Lambell has taken over as General Manager of
Ebay UK from Robert Hattrell, and is, "...responsible for all of eBay UK’s
Business to Consumer and Sales & Operations
activities." This includes the retail fraud in
all of the above instances.
Murray Lambell says online, "I am delighted to be taking over the
reins at eBay UK, which is an incredibly exciting
business in normal times, and is proving to be an
even more significant business in this developing
Well, we live in interesting times, Murray!
Let's hope that your 'new normal' <cough>
includes fewer instances of consumer fraud committed
by your website, eh?
More to follow, as it occurs. 01-MAR-2021 Two More Instances Of
Ebay Multi-Buy Promotion Failure Retail Fraud
Within Two Days
On 13-FEB-2021-22:17 a customer ordered two items
and was charged the full price for one item twice,
rather than the discount price for two. On
this particular occasion, the customer did not see
the discounts, but as a UK customer, he should have
done. This demonstrates the ongoing issue of
multi-buy promotions disappearing seemingly at
random. Oddly enough, it seems to be when I'm
selling a respectable amount, and ebay systems are
desperate to reduce this. There are currently
three seller support telephone calls associated with
this report, two of which clearly involve passing
the proverbial Hot Potato, as if it's a radioactive
lump of spent fuel.
1) We establish the facts at length. I wish
that I did not have to do this every time, but when
you do not, you get a flat denial from ebay.
2) Jeannie pretends to create a bug
report. Liar. It takes much more typing
to do that than we hear on the call.
3) I ask for a fee refund and Jeannie tries to pass
me somewhere else to avoid the negative feedback on
the call. Nope!
1) Establish Facts, supposedly get a fee refund on
the refund amount.
2) Hot potato drop 1, long hold
3) Hot potato drop 2, long hold
4) Put through to the pretend village idiot
/ fall girl.
5) Attempted obfuscation by numbers, along with
hilarious call centre laughter in the background.
6) Some "blabber mode," about when the promotion was
7) Cut off!
8) I was called back and am forced to make it clear
that the line was not dropped at my end.
9) "This is really a glitch on our system." - a
small admission. "We are really sorry, but
there is no problem" (!) "It is the only
10) We discuss when this was, "all fixed."
11) I say again that this is retail fraud.
12) We establish that not all accounts are affected.
13) The telephone operative pretends to create a bug
report as a priority, but can't guarantee
anything. No, indeed. Not if you don't
create the report because the whole thing is too
much of a hot potato to even document for legal
14) I suggest that Murray Lambell needs to hear
about the retail fraud being committed by his online
marketplace, for which he is responsible.
15) I get 58pee back, as if it's some kind of gift
from god. 'Gee Thanks, eBay!' What do
you want, some kind of Ebay, "Best Liar" Badge?
Upping the online ante slightly, you can now see and
hear that last call in full, including the hold
music on YouTube, Murray Lambell:
That's all for now. The second retail fraud
incident that week, and the subsequent ebay
telephone 'support' lies will follow shortly.
03-MAR-2021 Another Confirmed Case of Retail
Fraud Caused by Ebay Systems on 17-FEB-2021
On 17th March 2021 I spotted another case of ebay
retail fraud committed by ebay systems on my behalf
on. I sent a site message to the customer to
ask if he saw the multi-buy promotion boxes:
Henry: "Hello Nice Customer,
You've been overcharged on your order by an ongoing
intermittent failure in ebay systems to apply
multi-buy discounts correctly. Your total of £8.90
should have been £8.20. I'll refund the difference
manually later on tomorrow. Meanwhile it would be
immensely useful for me if you could let me know if
you saw the discounts when you viewed the listing,
boxes saying "Buy 2 £3.11 Each."
"Hi, thanks for the refund - didn’t realise I’d
been overcharged. I did see the discount box when
I chose to buy two of the pots.
Once again, clear price
misrepresentation retail fraud. So, off we
go again to the ebay telephone seller 'support'
telephone line of lies. You can hear the
entire phone call with just the hold music edited
1) Just the usual
denials, lies, and hot potato drops writ extremely
large on this particular occasion.
2) I refund the customer during the call.
3) Absolutely no resolution of the issue.
4) I complain, invoke Murray Lambell General
Manager of eBay UK, who is responsible for all
ebay UK activities including retail fraud.
5) I am told to write to the Dublin dustbin
complaints address, as if we're living in the
19th century. I suggest delivering it by
horse and cart.
The video for this call
is already on YouTube, though you'll have to sit
through the hold music on that version while I learn
how to edit videos.
I have yet to call back and get the ebay fees
returned on the refund for this one, so we may yet
get to hear even more lies and more hot potato drops
on this particular incident.
25-MAR-2021 Another Instance of Retail Fraud
Caused by Ebay Systems, Number 15 Since 7th
I was losing count of the number of retail fraud
instances that I've detected so I thought that I
would check back and add them up. I make this
On 24th March 2021 I'm selling a decent amount on
ebay, and so ebay systems appear to be randomly
de-activating my promotions for some mysterious
reason. Short of constantly checking each
listing this is very difficult to spot.
Fortunately, or unfortuantely, the de-activations
can occur while the customer is viewing the listing
so we have the same story of this causing retail
fraud yet again.
1) The first callback is silent so I drop it and
2) Facts established. Yes, there was indeed an
error. I know!
3) I complain, and am pointed to the Horse and Cart
write-in address in Dublin.
4) I explain that this is the fifteenth time of
reporting the problem and that nothing has being
done via the 'process that you follow'
5) An unsatisfactory response again.
You can see the video version of this call on