Friday, December 19, 2014

ASK THE EBAY QUEEN: Why won’t eBay’s search show my items?

By SUZIE EADS, Ask the eBay Queen | 9/5/2013

Dear eBay Queen: I really don’t think I’m cut out for eBay. I cannot figure out how I can get higher up in search results. I have some really great items for sale: striped vintage tumblers, 1950s glass ball pitchers, beautiful vintage Napier rhinestone jewelry. It seems like nothing I sell is even being looked at. What can I do?

Do you have any idea how I can be moved up higher in the eBay search rankings? What are some of the things that would put me closer to the top of search? — Anna Greenburg

Dear Anna: There could be a few things that might affect the way you are being seen through eBay’s “Best Match” search. Best Match is eBay’s default way to search. Here are a few things that move your items up in Best Match searches:

• Detailed seller ratings;

• Being Top Rated Seller;

• Offering free shipping; and

• Giving works to charity.

Things that will knock your listings lower:

• High shipping charges; and

· Your detailed seller performance rating.

Newly listed items get a temporary bump, so don’t list your items as “Good until Cancelled,” if you are listing them in your store. Thirty-day listings are better for store items, and then relist them so that they get that temporary bump when they are renewed.

Just to be clear: things like being a Top Rated Seller, offering free shipping, giving works to charity — do not factor into the ordering of search results when the shopper selects any sort order other than Best Match. This is why every chance I get, I will tell eBay buyers, or even when chatting with strangers about eBay’s Best Match. I tell people to never use Best Match. (Almost everyone says, huh? Sort order?) That gives me the opportunity to tell them how eBay picks what items I see and don’t see when Best Match is selected. Best Match might be a fair way to reward good seller behavior, but for people looking for specific, vintage items, it’s like wearing fogged-up goggles in an antique mall.

Dear eBay Queen: I bought a used cell phone that came with an AC charger. The phone is OK, but when I plug in the charger, it really won’t charge unless I hold it in a certain way — the connection is very loose. I contacted the seller Aug. 30, and asked if I could return the cell phone, or if they had another suggestion. I did not receive a response. I emailed again yesterday, and still have not heard from the seller today.

Do I wait until a certain amount of time has passed before letting eBay know? Do I just send it back “Return to Sender” if the seller never replies? I’m not sure what to do. Their auction did state “as is.” If I am out the money ($13), that’s not a big deal, but it’s the principle of the matter, I think, right? Thank you in advance for your help! — Bob and Linda

Dear Bob and Linda: I would not wait any longer. I would immediately open a “Not as Described Claim” with eBay. To do this, go to your purchase history and you’ll see a little carrot arrow; click on that and then on “Resolve a Problem.” This will start the “Not as Described Claim.” Your seller will be notified, and given three days to respond. If they don’t, the case will be closed in your favor, and a refund will be given to you.

When you fill out the claim information, make sure you state that the item will not charge unless you hold the charger, and that you’d like to return the item for a refund. Keep in mind that eBay will read your statements to the seller. The seller will have to respond in the three-day time period. They will need to decide whether to offer you a refund once the item is sent back, let you keep the item and refund, or refuse to correspond. Either way, you will be receiving your refund.

Dear eBay Queen: I read a column you wrote talking about eBay’s search problems. My mom keeps all your columns in a little book. I’m not sure the date of the column, but I thought it was interesting enough to post my own findings regarding searching for eBay items. I really think eBay needs to change the way search pulls items people search for. Here’s an example of why bidders don’t find our stuff.

I’m looking for 18-gauge nail-gun brads with brown-painted tips. My search words were “brown brads 18.” I searched in “All Categories.” Title only showed 14 results including 9 for packages of brads. I wanted to eliminate the listings for Brad Pitt items, so I changed the search terms to “brown brads 18 –(pitt)”

Poof! All but one of the listings for brad nails disappeared. Every listing from the “Home & Garden” categories became invisible. Do you know anything about this? — Greg and Ann Thompson

Dear Thompsons: After doing a little research, I learned that eBay search tool does not support delimiters in the basic search. To do the kind of search you are doing, you need to go to advance search and fill in the exclude words field to remove a word(s) from your search.

I have forwarded this information, along with your email address to eBay.

Dear eBay Queen: I sent two items to a buyer in Germany July 26, and she contacted me yesterday to say she had not received them. I mailed them First Class as stated in my listing. I have the proof of posting slip/receipt. She keeps sending me messages, asking about how to track the parcels, but I don’t think there is any way of doing that, is there? Can you tell me where I stand? I have never had much luck getting help from the eBay help desk, and I really can’t afford to refund her the cost of the items — it already cost me more to post them than I charged her. Should I send her the proof of postage (which will be the cost of another letter to Germany), so that she can claim insurance from the Post Office? Any help would be appreciated. — Sue

Dear Sue: Yes, you should be able track the item by using the “LC” number that is listed on the customs form. You can search to see if your item was delivered or where it is currently by going to and entering the number in the search box.

If this were my transaction, I would send the buyer a photo of customs form along with instructions on how to search for her item on

If it ends up that your item was lost in the mail, there isn’t much you can do except refund your buyer their money. If the item was insured, I would go ahead and start the insurance process. A professional seller will always refund the buyer then claim themselves for item lost from the post office.

If the tracking shows that the item is still en route, I would ask her to wait a week or so more as it is still on its way to her. Keep in mind, your buyer could open a dispute against you and win since it’s been 30 days since it was sent. If she chooses to open a dispute, she most likely would win.

Strange eBay items of the week:

• eBay item No. 20093332688. Have you ever considered booking a vacation on eBay? My family would love to stay here: “Disney’s Bay Lake Tower Labor Day Rental 2 Bedroom Vila!” It sold for $1,745 at

• eBay item No. 271233547909. Rare perfume bottles can be quite collectible. Check this one out: “Rare Renee Lalique Saint Georges Perfume Bottle Nude Figure Stopper.” It sold for $15,100 at

Suzie Eads is a nationally known eBay marketer and eBay trained education specialist. She lives in Rantoul. Have a question for the eBay Queen? Email the eBay Queen

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