eBay “Customer Support”

Recently I changed my wife’s email address and user ID on eBay. It was pretty painless using their web interface… at least, that’s what I thought.

The problems came a couple of weeks later when she was still receiving solicited promotional material to her old email address. I figured it wouldn’t be that hard to find out why, so I filled in a web form asking if they could check things out. This was their first reply:

Since you have completed the change of address request, be assured that all the eBay emails are sent to your registered email address. The only possibility in this situation is that your ISP (AOL in your case) might have linked both the email addresses to your account. So, we’d suggest you to contact your ISP and confirm if this is the case. However, if this is not the case on their end, then you will need to send us an eBay email with the header.

Interesting. I had a word with her ISP, which was pretty easy given it’s me. Last time I checked I’m pretty sure I don’t run AOL either (thank goodness!). I took a look at the headers, and they look pretty conclusive to me (interesting bits only):

Received: from smfcamppool09.emailebay.com ([66.135.215.238] 
	helo=smfitemap04.smf.ebay.com) ... 
DomainKey-Signature: s=main; d=reply3.ebay.com; c=nofws; q=dns; 
	b=NR1bQ5kTLijbb5Mc3TmFcKdB+BLWEb1YZvYiyvzns2iWz8iyi
	JVBCXP3ERh+lxAYiwwR3kbd94Zg3xyPvcW8CDscQaHYizuzh5vd
	59IOlVCKr1qwAYNvDHTmxMx5RL18; 
From: "eBay" <eBay-INTL@reply3.ebay.com> 
Subject: [her userid], knock his Christmas socks off this year 
	with eBay 
Received-SPF: pass (carrick.bishnet.net: domain of 
	reply3.ebay.com designates 66.135.215.238 as permitted 
	sender) client-ip=66.135.215.238; 
	envelope-from=eBay-INTL.403108935.71560.0@reply3.ebay.com; 
	helo=smfitemap04.smf.ebay.com;

So I sent that off to them and awaited their next reply. Here’s what they said:

Thank you for your reply. I understand that you are concerned about changing of the email address on eBay.

While checking your account status, I noticed that you have successfully changed your email address from ‘[old address]’ to ‘[new address]’ on Oct 27, 2007.

Your new email address ‘[new address]’ is now enabled on eBay.

Looks like they’ve completely missed the point and have decided just to state the obvious instead. So, once again, I explain that the problem is that email is still going to the old address.

In comes the next reply:

I really want to help you resolve this issue because I know how important it is for you to have this matter settled. However, your message didn’t include the email header, which I need in order to take action.

Now it looks like they’re repeating themselves. Funny thing is, if you scroll down their email you’ll see they’ve quoted the last time I said I provied the headers. So, with a few rants about their inability to read the case history, I give them the entire email, headers and all, again.

And here’s were it starts getting really good. I had to read this a few times to believe they actually said it:

Thank you for writing back again regarding the unsolicited email you received. I’m sorry that this matter hasn’t yet been resolved.

I’ve checked the information you sent us and I can confirm that the email was not sent by eBay, and is not endorsed by eBay in any way. However, it appears to have been sent by another eBay member.

How to cut down on spam emails …

Now hold on a minute. For a start, I’ve never said it’s unsolicited, it’s just going to the wrong address. And now, to top it all off, they’re trying to say they never sent it and that another member did!

I took a few minutes to cool down before calmly asking them to explain how exactly they came to that conclusion. I also suggested that if they can’t answer my questions they should consider escalating the query to someone who can.

Finally I manage to make contact with one of the (I summise) 20% of their staff who know what they’re talking about:

Please understand that when you change your email address on eBay it will remain in our database for the next 30 days and once this period is over, you won’t receive any email at your old registered email address as our system releases that email address from the database.

It took a week and 10 emails for that conclusion to be reached. It’s not rocket science, is it?

All I can say is that I’m glad it wasn’t something important…

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