Jewelers Of America Strikes Deal With eBay For Special Concierge Support Access

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


Jewelers of America has announced a special deal for their members granting special access to eBay's exclusive premium white-glove Concierge Support, promising connections to dedicated customer service reps with minimal wait times.

Through the partnership, Jewelers of America members can expect the following eBay Concierge benefits:

  • Receive help with everything from resolving an issue with a buyer to analyzing sales data to better serve their businesses.
  • 48 hours to respond to any changes eBay needs made to a listing, to ensure listings aren’t ever removed.
  • Support to keep sales status above standard.

eBay also sponsors Jewelers of America’s 2024 GEM Awards and collaborates with GIA for the authentication of fine jewelry listings eligible for eBay Authenticity Guarantee.

Sellers outside of eBay's favored "high value enthusiast buyer focus vertical" categories may be frustrated by the fast tracking of certain sellers through partnerships like this.

eBay Concierge had long been regarded as one of the main benefits of maintaining a higher tier store subscription or being a high volume seller on the platform across many categories, but in 2021 eBay suddenly removed a large swath of sellers from the program without explanation and now they refuse to disclose the criteria for average sellers to receive this benefit.

When Concierge was first introduced in 2017, then SVP Global Operations Wendy Jones said the plan was to make many parts of Concierge the standard support experience for all eBay sellers within 18 months...but that never happened.

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Despite having decidedly not fixed customer service at eBay, Jones was awarded an $11 Million bonus in 2018 by then CEO Devin Wenig ($8 Million of which was a retention bonus.)

Sellers at the time questioned the wisdom of such a large bonus, given the still lagging state of customer support under her purview, and it was also seen by many as particularly insensitive given the round of layoffs the company undertook around the same time.

Wenig thanked Ms. Jones for her ongoing contributions and encouraged her to "continue to deliver in 2018 and beyond" - though it's not clear exactly what he meant as by most objective standards eBay under her tenure was not delivering on any of the promises of improving the customer support experience.

When Jones stepped down from her position in 2020 under current CEO Jamie Iannone, she collected another $11 Million+ in severance benefits, again despite perennial complaints about falling levels of service and failing to bring Concierge to the masses - and despite her alleged role in the eBay cyberstalking scandal.

More recently, sellers who spend ~$300-$3,000 per month for Anchor or Enterprise store subscriptions find they are no longer able to access the dedicated customer service that is supposed to be included in those higher tiers.

Other sellers have grown concerned about the increasing use of AI for customer support since a mysterious extra $12 Million expense was reported in eBay's July 2023 10-Q filing and the Q3 2023 earnings report confirmed that expense was tied to "rolling out conversational help bots."

Those concerns have only increased with mass layoffs announced in January and promotions and title changes among remaining Global Customer Experience staff who are now tasked with "deploying AI to revolutionize CX."

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And eBay appears to be doubling down on this AI-powered customer service "revolution", with no end in sight.

When asked at a recent Morgan Stanley tech conference to name things he thinks investors most under appreciate about eBay, Iannone didn't hesitate to say that no longer having to pay for human customer service reps to read detailed explanations about business impacting issues from sellers before responding to their requests for help is "fundamentally changing the pace of innovation."

eBay deals with a lot of customer support between buyers and sellers. And that customer agent sometimes had to read like a 12 paragraph e-mail where somebody explained it, we would hire someone to read that.

Now we have AI read that e-mail, write the initial response. So it's fundamentally changing our pace of how we work and the pace of innovation.

It appears that eBay is well on the way to shuffling most customer service tasks off to the bots while reserving the "real" support for the special elite - that's certainly a "fundamental change" to how eBay works, but definitely not one for the better.

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Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!