eBay Provides General Phone Support To Everyone

In the past, any eBay seller who paid for a store subscription had access to phone support as well as support via Live Chat and / or Skype. And the phone number for eBay Store Support was displayed to a seller once they clicked on the “Manage my eBay Store” link from the My eBay page. But, now, according to the eBay Help pages, eBay store owners are receiving different levels of phone support based on how much they pay for their eBay store.

The phone number for eBay Store Support is not given on any eBay Help page. And from the “Manage my eBay Store” link, now something different appears. There is a link to click if you want to Contact eBay for support but to get a phone number to display, you first have to go through the eBay FAQ knowledge database. Ask a question not found in the database and to the right of the screen will appear the following information:

I have multiple eBay selling IDs and what I noticed today was that the phone number was the same for the store where I had a basic store and the store where I had a premium store. And both screens showed that support was available from 5 am – 10 pm.

So, my thought was that the eBay ID with the premium store was getting shortchanged since I should have been receiving 24/7 support for that eBay ID. On another selling ID where I also have a premium store, there was information stating I could call the phone number (a different phone number than appears on the other two selling IDs) anytime 24/7 so that confirmed my initial belief that one of my premium stores was not receiving the service that it should. So I phoned eBay Customer Support.

What I learned from ebay contact telephone number was something that I have not seen posted anywhere so I wanted to share the information here in this blog for other eBay sellers.

The eBay representative explained to me that previously all eBay sellers with a store had phone support and that eBay Powersellers had phone support (note that the level of phone support and the phone number to call was based on the Powerseller tier — the higher the sales, the more service a Powerseller received). No other eBay members, including buyers, received phone support.

According to the eBay representative I spoke with, eBay is changing their customer service level to provide phone support to everyone and to better match the skill level of the customer support personnel with the needs of the caller. In the past, there was one telephone number to call if you were calling about a Stores issue and there were multiple phone numbers to call if you were a Powerseller, based on your sales volume. Before the end of this year, however, all members’ calls will be routed through two phone numbers only:

General Support

eBay General Support telephone service is available to everyone 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Any seller who has access to the Customer Care phone number below will be routed to the General Support customer service staff if the seller phones in after hours. General Support staff are “generalists” who are trained to answer very basic questions and who have to put the caller on hold and consult with others if the question is very complex.

Customer Care Support

I am not certain that this the correct title for this support but when I asked the eBay representative for the correct term, she gave me the term “Customer Care”. This Customer Care phone number is one that only approximately 1% of the eBay members will see when they click on the “Call Us” button. I currently see this phone number in 2 of my 3 selling IDs. The Customer Care “specialist” said that by the end of the year I should see this phone number in my third account as well.

Note that sellers who have been assigned their own Top Seller Account Manager (TSAM) have an additional phone number that is the phone number directly to their TSAM. This phone number does not appear anywhere on the My eBay page or in the Manage My Store area.

My Personal Observations:

1. It seems to me that there is a wide gap between the service that 99% of the community members will receive and the service that 1% of the members will receive. I recently had a pretty simple question and called the General Support phone number (although at the time I didn’t know that is what is was called) and I was shocked at the lack of basic understanding that the phone support representative possessed. The representative obviously didn’t understand my question and she left me on hold several times for long periods of time to speak with “the other departments” who she later told me was the Technical Support department and Trust & Safety when I asked. Either the General Support staff needs more and better training or there needs to be a mid-level support telephone service available to community members who are not asking the most basic of questions. I understand eBay wanting to match the level of service provided with that of the caller’s needs but I don’t think the General Support staff, as it exists today, will come anywhere close to meeting the needs of the callers.

2. eBay is relaxing the Powerseller sales requirements so that soon there will be a great influx of new Powersellers into the program. But one of the biggest benefits, dedicated phone support to Powersellers, is essentially gone for almost all Powersellers. While a few sellers (those in the selected 1%) will see an improvement in the customer service phone support that they receive, the vast majority of sellers (especially long-time Powersellers) will see a dramatic decrease in the quality of phone support they will receive in the future.

3. The information listed on the eBay Stores benefits page is incorrect. The level of phone support is not based on the type of store a seller chooses (and pays for) but rather there is a completely different set of criteria used to determine which sellers receive the best support. The Customer Care specialist I spoke with said that the criteria is not published and is probably based on a number of different factors.

4. Like all changes eBay makes, this change in the level and quality of phone support will probably be viewed differently by users. Just like those who qualify for the Top Seller account program, and the corresponding benefits they will receive, are pleased with the new seller performance criteria measurements while most other sellers are not happy with the new standards — so, too, will the opinions vary about this new Customer Service approach from eBay. Those in the top 1% of community members who receive the “special” phone number will probably be pleased with the new level of customer service provided while everyone else will likely be displeased with the changes.

5. While eBay did provide very clear communication about the Top Seller Account Program, which provides benefits only to a select few while removing benefits from a great many sellers, there has been no announcements about the dramatic change in customer service that eBay is rolling out.

Final comment: Just as with a lot of eBay’s recent changes, I can actually see what eBay is trying to do and I understand why they are making changes. But I have concerns about the actual implementation. The customer support that will be provided to callers who phone in to the General Support line is not going to be adequate for all 99% of the eBay community members who are directed to call that number. And, unfortunately, I think that there will be a much bigger majority of those callers who will not get the phone support they need than those who do get their questions answered satisfactorily.