eBay Responds To Customer’s Question

Just a transcript, nothing else. Last e-mail was the best!

On the following question:

Message: Is there any documentation for setting up a merchant account
payment method as a way for buyer to pay for my listed item? I have a
merchant account and would like to process payments through that instead
of through other means.
Also, I would appreciate any guidelines on best practices for the
implementation of merchant account payment method.
Thanks a lot!

I’ve got the reply:

Dear eBay Member,
Thank you for writing eBay in regard to makign merchant account as the
payment method on your listing.
If you don’t see the “Merchant Account – Credit Card” option in the Sell
Your Item form, please click the “Show/Hide Options” icon in the upper
right corner of the Create Your Listing page. You may select to show
that option under the “Payment” heading.
Additionally, a merchant credit card processing account allows
businesses to offer their buyers the option of paying directly with a
credit card online (including through third-party checkout) or by phone.
The accounts are offered by many third-party providers such as banks or
credit unions.
If you have any questions, please get back to us or contact our live
chat support. To reach Live Help for assistance on billing issues, go
Thank you for being a valuable member of the eBay community. Have a
wonderful time shopping and selling on eBay!
Ian S.
eBay Customer Support

This doesn’t answer almost anything, so I ask again:

Thanks for your prompt reply. I have found the option under Add or
remove options in payment options section.
Also, if I want buyers just to click the button and be presented with
screen to enter their payment information – how would I accomplish this?
Should I just create a “Buy” button that would redirect them to a
shopping cart of my choice or is there any other way? Would this be in
line with eBay policies?
Please let me know.

And – tada! – here comes the best answer of 2009:

Dear <Member Name or Member ID>,

Thank you for writing eBay in regard to <issues>

It is my pleasure to assist you. Thank you for choosing eBay.

Anyone else thinks eBay cares?

annoyances technology

Web Site Usability – Why Should You Care?

Everyone is talking about usability, it seemed to be a hot topic recently, but thanks to the crisis everybody seem not to care. I have covered some usability ideas in the past, but it just turned around and bit me in the back – again!

Yesterday I was paying my bills. By the way, just imagine how much of on open market is paying bills – banks play there, credit card operators play there, ISPs play there and still it isn’t a single way of doing things. But I digress. I headed to Banana Republic’s web site since I didn’t have a direct link to credit cards account login page. Click on Credit Card all the way at the bottom of the site. Redirected to a secure portion of Banana Republic’s site. Good. Now let me see where’s my account. Click on the big button with “HAVE A CARD?” question next to GET A CARD button (BTW, did you notice that it’s all ONE IMAGE MAP? With another huge image map below?). Imagine this – a new pop-up window opens, with totally random URL in it. The seem to be the flavor du jour, courtesy of GE Money Bank (has anyone heard about GE Water Bank? GE Blood Bank? GE Sperm bank?). Alright – no questions for GAP brands, let’s bash look at GE.

Aside from modern and very inconvenient way to log in the user (first you have to provide login only, then either answer two personal questions or provide password and identify an image), the whole idea of opening a new window with new URL seems strange. We seem to fight phishing wich partially based on deceiving the unsuspecting user that this new URL is the one he needs to visit – and you get something like this? No wonder banks keep being hit. And why do I need to provide a login only?

To protect your security, we ask for only your User ID to initiate access to your account. Then we show you the Personalized Image you selected before asking you to enter your Password. We do this to help prevent phishing, and to ensure your confidence that you have accessed the correct website for your account.

Right. With the proliferation of social networks it’s much easier to gather personal information about someone rather then guess somebody’s password. But nobody seem to care anyway.

But the turning point (and the reason for this blog post) occured a bit later. After filling all the fields to make a payment and clicking MAKE PAYMENT button, script found that I’ve made a mistake entering a date. Turned out I typed 2008 instead of 2009. Alright, I am not asking to fix such an obvious mistake for me, but WHY DID YOU JUST RESET ALL THE ENTERED INFORMATION? Instead of paying full amount I just made a minimum payment. And no – you can’t reverse it or make another payment today.

Now back to initial question – why would you care? It’s simple – because things like this matter in your personal and business life. It used to be 30 minutes to pay all of my bills – utilities, credit cards, etc. I use special software that opens login links for me, types in my passwords for me and submits it for me. The advantage is that I use one VERY complicated password to manage other VERY complicated passwords to my accounts – instead of remembering a bunch of simple ones). So with a single mouse click I can get right into account information screen. With modern ways to log in (that are just as prone to phishing as old ones) I spend over 2 hours for same amount of activities. An impact is kind of obvious.

The time is not the only concern here. It would take a really small distraction for the difference in amounts paid to go unnoticed. Next thing you know – you think the credit card is paid in full while it’s not. And we all know what a credit card company can do if you missed a payment.

Usability isn’t some form of useless science. It’s something that directly affects us in everyday life. The way we pay our bills. The way we interact with things. The way we achieve our goals.