I agree with your friends - Ebay used to be a friendly place to buy and sell once upon a time. However, the last couple of years it hasn't been so.
Mostly 'bigger' business sellers have outmuscled the 'little' friendly sellers, so it's like a big department store moving in on the little corner shops . . . no personalisation or an enjoyable chase for something you really want.
Most things I want from Ebay are now 'cheap as chips', and readily available. There is no market for the real 2nd hand sellers who want to shed their stuff cheaply - what Ebay was originally set up for, I think. The fees have gone up, as has the Paypal conversion of currency. There are fewer auctions and more 'buy-it-now' with the seller having multiples of the same items. There is less opportunity for an individual to make a little money, or at least get the same money back for something as most things have been devalued.
There's a site over here called Gumtree that is free to advertise goods, with absoutely no fees whatsoever when you sell, so a lot of people buy and sell on that, but most of it is local business - pay and pick up. No paypal involved. It took a while to get started, but now it's taking off like Ebay in the early days. People who really want to get rid of their goods, and not buying to sell, like on Ebay nowadays.
Ebay has pretty much destroyed antique shop owners and businesses like that, like online buying has bankrupted book stores etc. It doesn't allow people to make money to cover overheads. This in itself has killed the economy. Don't know many people who go to the shops to buy anything else except for food these days . . . unless there is a department store super sale where goods are actually cheaper than you can get online (this may only happen once or twice a year over here).
However, one positive is that I seem to be able to get whatever I want pretty much straight away without leaving home. The negative is the postage has soared and the anticipation of an auction ending and 'will I get it' has disappeared. And no more adrenalin rush in the last few seconds.
In my opinion, there are a lot more 'sharks' now on Ebay - people with less knowledge about things who only want the sales. Customer service is pretty much non-existant. You have to make your own mind up about the item - less and less detail is in descriptions because people don't really know what they are selling.
And that is my two cents ! /> /> />
I have to say I respectfully disagree with you, Sandra. I feel as if customer service is as good as ever on eBay because the eBay buyer protection policy guarantees that even if customer service is not up to par and you have an issue, it will get sorted out.
I still see many "small time" sellers. You also have to realize that some "small time" sellers that started selling 10 years ago may now have over 1000 feedback and appear to be a "big business" but in fact give the same service and do the same amount of business as they did when they started.
The fees may have gone up, but in my opinion it is still quite cheap to sell items on ebay. Even after listing fees, eBay commissions, PayPal fees, and foreign currency exchange fees, you never end up losing more than 15% of the final price. Maybe that seems high to some people, but to me that is more than fair.
As far as eBay "destroying" antique shop owners and "business like that," I think that is more a result of the internet as a whole and not eBay specifically. Even if eBay did not exist, antique shops would have a hard time making it these days when there is craigslist and so many online stores that drastically change the supply and demand of these types of goods.
eBay was originally set up to do one thing: make money for eBay. Even with this in mind, as a second hand seller who wishes to shed my stuff cheaply, I find eBay is the place where I get the most money for the items I sell, even after fees. Even if they increased their fees so that I was paying closer to 20% commission, it would still be the best place for me to sell things I no longer want/use.