Is it time to complain?

  OTT_Buzzard 14:26 05 Jun 2009

about eBay advertisng for new PC's?

Specifically, I'm referring to the habit of eBay sellers to advertise, for example, a pc as being '9.32GHz quad core', as supposed to the reality of being '2.33GHz quad core'.

Am I the only one who thinks that this is not only misleading, but wholly untrue? Surely, if an advert appeared in the national press or on TV making these claims, it would prompt complaints, then either the ASA or Trading Standards would take as interest?

I'm guessing that most people here at PCA would know instantly that the claims are rubbish and would know the true figures, but what about the part of the population who aren't necessarily so savvy?

I can't help but think that the claims could also result in people buying the wrong hardware. Afterall, a core 2 duo E8600 could be listed as 'only' being '6.66GHz', compared to a Q8200 which could be listed as '9.32GHz'.
The implication of course is that the Q8200 is a faster processor, which is not necessarily true.

So, I guess I'm trying to gauge opinion as to whether it's just me who thinks the adverts are unreasonable. I don't want to instigate a complaint if the general feeling is that it's unjustified. That would cause unneccessary work for everyone.

Complaints can be submitted to the ASA online, but don't actually know if they are the right people to notify? Could it fall under the remit of Trading Standards?

I'm also not sure as to who the complaint would be directed against: eBay (for publishing the adverts) or the sellers?

Any thoughts?

  HondaMan 14:42 05 Jun 2009

That was what I was trying to get to here. click here

Speeds quoted in the current style have no meaning, code numbers mean absolutely nothing to me and I suspect a few thousand others

  Charence 15:21 05 Jun 2009

I completely agree with you. Advertising processors like that is wrong and misleading for many consumers!

There was a previous thread where a link was posted to a 3.2 GHz Atom CPU, and I guess the 1st action to take would be to report the item/seller to eBay.

But if a complaint is issued to ASA, in my opinion it should be directed at eBay because they fail to remove such listings.

I wonder if a PCA article about this may help warn some readers?

  OTT_Buzzard 15:27 05 Jun 2009

'But if a complaint is issued to ASA, in my opinion it should be directed at eBay because they fail to remove such listings.'

Interestng thought line....there's some history with eBay and arguments as to their responsibilities for listing. I believe a recent case involved a clothes company suing them for allowing the sale of fakes? Might check that out....

  OTT_Buzzard 16:11 08 Jun 2009

After some further thought and a little more readng, I have just submitted a complaint to the ASA regarding one specifc eBay listing.

Not sure what will come of it, they may still refer it to Trading Standards. Will keep you informed on the outcome (if any one is actually interested!)

  Charence 17:29 08 Jun 2009

Yes :)

  Forum Editor 18:56 08 Jun 2009

I'm sorry that I've only just noticed your thread - very hectic weekend.

The first thing to say is that Ebay is the publisher of its listings, but the goods offered at auction are described by the sellers, and descriptions are accepted 'in good faith' by Ebay.

It would obviously not be possible to check the veracity of the technical description of every item offered on the Ebay site, and it would be unreasonable to expect Ebay to try. Technical specifications should be verified by purchasers prior to bidding - it's not Ebay's job to protect ill-informed purchasers from themselves. The old phrase 'Caveat emptor' applies here, just as it does in any purchasing situation.

You might well argue that Ebay could issue guidelines to sellers specifically warning them about describing processors correctly, and I might support that argument, but to be honest there would be no way of ensuring such a guideline was being adhered to.

The ASA may or may not be interested - my feeling is that they'll say more or less what I've said, but I'm happy to be proved wrong.

  OTT_Buzzard 19:06 08 Jun 2009

Thanks for the reply FE (I was wondering if you would comment!).

The crux of my complaint was 4 fold:

1. the selling company should be technically competent enough to realise that the figures they advertise are innaccurate
2. It is misleading to a buyer
3. It can result in a product being mis-sold because the PC can never reach the performance levels advertised
4. It can result in the wrong PC being purchased - a dual core 3GHz PC (adverstised as 6GHZ) could be a more suitable PC than a quad core 2.4GHz (advertised as 9.6GHz).

The complaint was specific to one Limited Company (it doesn't really matter who) so as to avoid eBay's policy for listings.

The only thing I really never managed to establish was whether or not a listing is classified as an advert - if it's not then it would appear to be more of a Trading Standards issue.

Really all I'm hoping is that enough noise is made to get the sellers to stop the advertising's hoping!

  Forum Editor 19:22 08 Jun 2009

is technically not a sales ad - it's an offer to bid at auction. When goods are offered at auction it's up to prospective bidders to satisfy themselves that they know what they are bidding for, and Ebay makes sure that there's an opportunity to question a seller before bidding.

If you make a winning bid and subsequently discover that the item you've bought is not as described on the site you are protected by consumer law, but your first recourse is to the seller, not to the operator of the auction site. Ebay has a complex and pretty effective dispute procedure, and will say that buyers are protected from fraudulent sellers as far as is possible, but in the end Ebay isn't liable for the money - that's between the buyer and the seller.

  OTT_Buzzard 19:23 08 Jun 2009

does this still apply if it's a 'buy it now' only listing?

  interzone55 21:40 08 Jun 2009

My opinion is that Ebay is basically a virtual car boot sale, and buyers should approach the site in the same way they would a car boot sale.

Keep your eyes open and trust no-one...

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