May 24, 2005

Registering Your Closed eBay Store Name as a User ID: A Tale of Frustration and Eventual Success

One develops a healthy skepticism when it comes to email technical support. It's difficult because it is relatively slow and because often each reply is from a different tech support specialist. It also seems that few tech support specialists actually read the whole question and most are very quick to reply with boilerplate text or procedures.

With all that as a given (in my universe, at least), I had an eBay problem this spring. Yes, a time span of a season is an appropriate measure for how long it took to resolve the problem!

I used to have an eBay store named "A Big Smile" (the URL for the store was "" since eBay fills spaces in store names with dashes) and had expected to keep it going. Then eBay increased its fees, making stores much more expensive to operate. While I had the store, though, I registered the domain name "" I like the name and want to keep using it, but would the eBay system let me register "a-big-smile" as a user ID? Nnnoooooo! I tried changing a user ID and creating a new one. Despite eBay's search for members tool reporting no such user, I couldn't claim the user ID.

OK. Live Help was no help two or three times, so I asked through the help system. It took seven (7) emails each direction. Five (5) tech support specialists sent suggestions ranging from "it should work" and "clear your browser cache" to the actual solution as follows:

1. Reopen the store named A Big Smile.
2. Change its name to something else.
3. Register the user ID a-big-smile (change or new user).
4. Close the store.

I now have the user ID "a-big-smile" though the total cost in frustration and fees is to be determined. The frustration and time were high; hopefully the fees for having a store open for about 15 minutes will be comparatively tiny since eBay seems to prorate fees. (I just did the math: 15 minutes is 1/2880 of $15.95 which works out to be $0.006.)

Kudos for Rian W of eBay Stores Support are offered here and by email (the 8th!).

Persistence and a willingness to be a PIB (pain in the backside) can pay off.

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