Another reason to hate eBay

Yet again I’m having a love/hate relationship with eBay. On Thursday I sold a Sega GameGear game; the (French) buyer had zero feedback, but I wasn’t too concerned over this. We all had zero feedback at one stage, right?

Two days later I received an e-mail entirely in French, telling me that the buyer was no longer registered on eBay and I should consider the transaction cancelled. This is annoying for sure, although it was partly expected, but the thing that rattled me is that I was told this in a foreign language. Sacrebleu!

I’ve got enough brain cells to be able to cut and paste text and run it through an online translator, but imagine that wasn’t the case? I’d be left scratching my head, or worse still, waiting for the chap to pay.

You wouldn’t expect British Gas or similar to phone you up and start talking to you in French about your account, so why eBay are allowed to do it is beyond me.

Matt Gander

Matt is Games Asylum's most prolific writer, having produced a non-stop stream of articles since 2001. A retro collector and bargain hunter, his knowledge has been found in the pages of tree-based publication Retro Gamer.

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  • Similar but not similar. Have you tried to phone Amazon recently? They used to hide their phone number in the depths of their help section, but now they’ve just got a button which makes them call you immediately! It works, surprisingly.

    It was a bit of a struggle to make the bloke understand the issue (everything said I qualified for free super saver delivery, but it kept charging me), but you’ll be relieved to know that I got it sorted eventually. True story.

  • It was just strange – why assume that somebody can speak French fluently?

    I know it was an automated message, but they must have seen that I was an English seller?

  • Probably just a glitch. I know their public API keeps tracks of the country of listing, country of seller, and country of buyer. I would assume their private API works similarly. The most sensible choice would be to look at the country of listing (though country of seller would also make sense) to determine who messages originate from (,, etc) and the message template/language (US-en, GB-en, FR-fr, etc) to use. But in grand eBay fashion or via a bug they used the option that made the least sense.

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