In this case, it wasn't so much the content of the changes that got sellers talking, but the lack of transparency and clear, direct communication.
A few seller comments:
When there are updates to the user agreement eBay should state that xyz has changed to XYZ
The header for the section in the Seller Update references:
New cancellation policy reference
Required seller information when eBay manages payments
What exactly changed in these sections? The link just takes me to the complete user agreement
Sellers complain about this every year- yet every year it's ignored. Amazon, PayPal, and every 3rd party site I sell on highlights what changed. It's only eBay that makes it hard.
Seriously, we can't comment on changes if we don't know what changed.
We can't be expected to print the entire current User Agreement and a copy of the new one presented here then spend hours trying to spot the differences. This legally binding document is too important to be given such a lack of transparency.
eBay staff on hand responded to these questions by basically just reiterating what the update already said.
The user agreement now refers to an existing cancellation policy. The payment section further clarifies what seller information is needed for eBay to manage the sellers payment information.
Another seller responded, pushing for more clarity.
seller_update@ebay : I'm getting the strong sense here that you (the unnamed person writing the reply above) have no clear idea on what the changes are either, as you (understandably) did not do the revisions to the agreement yourself, but were simply handed the new version to announce.
Please push back to get a list of actual changes to the agreement, so that we can all get a better sense of what has changed before anyone (seller or buyer) has a nasty surprise later on. You can post further clarifications to this thread even after it's closed to public replies.
To be clear, this is basic stuff; no one is going to give you a hard time for asking for more detail on what's new in the long document they've dumped on you to announce. Being able to spell out the specific changes made to the agreement will go a long way towards lowering the levels of confusion and helping people to understand what they need to be aware of.
Twitter user FidoMaster stepped in with a summary of the UA changes to help provide some of the clarity and transparency eBay seems to be missing.
Pro tip for CEO Jamie Iannone - when it comes to that seller trust problem eBay has, sometimes the little things are the big things.
I don't see significant changes in the UA here, mostly it looks like housekeeping to clean up language related to the ongoing transition to Managed Payments. However, when you don't make it easy for sellers to figure that out for themselves, you leave them wondering if there might be something hidden in all that legalese.
You see Jamie, ultimately it's about respect, and you can't have trust without respect. Sellers need to know that eBay respects us enough to put the cards on the table and communicate with us clearly and directly, if you really want to be our "partner of choice."
Or as you put it in your internal memo about ethics last year "openness, honesty, respect and doing business with integrity drives our success."
Bare minimum requirement for transparency here would be to specifically call out which sections in the UA changed and link sellers directly to both the old and new versions of those sections so they can compare them.
If you really wanted to go for some magical tech led reimagination, I'd suggest checking out some of the cool things Verizon is doing using blockchain technology to track text based changes on news releases.
Their transparency widget tracks changes to text, making it extremely easy for the user to identify when changes occurred and highlighting the exact text on the page that changed.
That's what real transparency looks like, Jamie. It's time for eBay to start walking the walk.
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