Oz Round Table

The Oz Round Table boards => The Round Table => Topic started by: *CountessA* on February 22, 2014, 10:29:40 AM

Title: Not being notified by eBay when "Best Offer" accepted
Post by: *CountessA* on February 22, 2014, 10:29:40 AM
This is somewhat disconcerting...

I'd put in a Best Offer last night for a rather nice Georgian silver spoon, and had still not received a reply by the time I decided to stop working and went upstairs.

I watched a bit of The Bridge (season 2) and then thought I'd check on my iPhone to see if my offer had been accepted.

No - still no email, and still no message in My eBay (in case an email had been delayed).

This morning, I checked again while out - and then looking in my purchases history, there was the Georgian spoon awaiting payment.

I just wasn't sure that I'd actually won the item, because I STILL had no message informing me that a) my best offer had been accepted, and/or b) I'd won an item. I thought it was possible that the eBay app on my iPhone was being misleading (well, the app is NOT particularly well-designed and I've heard of several serious glitches in the app), so I waited until I returned back here and could check on my computer.

I still had no message; there was nothing in my emails and nothing in My eBay. The item WAS showing in My Purchases - and unless I'd been checking there, I'd never have known that my offer had been successful.

Buyers, it seems that eBay has been mucking around with code yet again. The seller of this particular item is on the UK site: I don't know if that's got anything to do with this new glitch. To be on the safe side, just check your Purchase history if you've been making best offers... and this may also (who knows?) affect winning bids for auctions as well.

Title: Re: Not being notified by eBay when "Best Offer" accepted
Post by: *Brum6y* on February 22, 2014, 12:25:05 PM
EBay's record for mobile phone Apps is not a glorious one.

My seller friend informed me that eBay is sending 'sold' and 'paid' notifications to their (Android) App - one for the sale and then two for the payment.  It's been happening for a couple of months, I believe.

They have also had cases where eBay messages have not been delivered to eBay under either platform - computer or phone.  I know of two where they found out by other means, which makes me wonder ..... How many messages have NOT gone through?

When a Buyer gets no response from a Seller - is it because the Seller couldn't give a toss?  OR is it because the Buyer's message never reached the Seller or the Seller's response never reached the buyer?

Add to this eBay's reported censoring of messages and you just have to wonder how reliable the communication technology is within eBay.  It's bad enough having to cope with that part of the human equation without having communication compromised by artificial impediments.

It is a less than ideal state for production software and it would seem to me that it is the result of inadequate testing - something that is, quite simply, inexcusable.
Title: Re: Not being notified by eBay when "Best Offer" accepted
Post by: *Brum6y* on February 22, 2014, 01:42:25 PM

It is a less than ideal state for production software and it would seem to me that it is the result of inadequate testing - something that is, quite simply, inexcusable.

This is particularly true in this day and age.

The general approach for testing consists of various levels - function, unit, system, integration and acceptance to name a few - and within each the idea is for at least one example of a scenario to test out each and every part of the code.  Testing should also include as many 'twists' as can be identified to make sure unusual situations are handled correctly.  As testing progresses, it is usual for problems to be found and additional scenarios to be identified.  The problems are then fixed and the new scenarios added to the testing for the next round.

For a large system - like eBay - this will translate into a rather large exercise ... where the image of a million monkeys on a million keyboards finds a somewhat appropriate setting.  However, there are alternatives.

Automated testing software has been around for a while and the testing process can be built up and run repeatedly, with minimum human effort and the added benefit that repeat tests will be identical.  You can even set up expected results and have the automation software monitor the success of a testing cycle, making it even easier to run repeat tests.

BUT, do not be deceived, setting up such a test bed is not a trivial exercise and maintenance of it is important.  However, once properly done, the completeness of testing that is offered for every subsequent test cycle is unequalled.  There will always be some elements of testing that will still require human involvement, but the bulk of the boring, repetitive and time-consuming effort will be performed without cursing and swearing and coffee breaks.

EBay and its systems are big enough to warrant the effort of automated testing, but considering some of the problems that have been reported, at times one has to wonder what controls they actually have in place for promotion of software changes into the production environment.

Nevertheless, I must concede that testing - no matter how thorough - very rarely results in robust, functional software, especially the first time around.  The old adage that 'Fact is stranger than fiction' is universally applicable to any and all areas of computer systems.  No matter how many twists and turns or scenarios of double backward somersault with face plant that can be imagined by a testing team, real people in the real world will come up with some doozies.  The sign of a well-written piece of software is that even these are handled in a controlled manner.  They may not be actioned correctly, but they won't stuff something up, disappear into the ether or crash the system.  Nevertheless, these things are bound to happen and there will be the need to be some changes, but with thorough testing, the negative impact of changes should be minimal.

Even so, there are some things I have heard about that, from my experience, simply should not happen.

Still, considering the size and complexity of eBay's systems, there is a commendable degree of competence - but for all those who put in the hard yards with conscientious diligence, to have some silly problems in a high profile corner of the eBay systems scene bring bucketloads of faecal material down upon them is unfair - but **it happens.

The problems with eBay Apps is much like going on a cruise and having your toast burnt every time you turn up for breakfast.  It's just one small thing - but it ruins the 'experience'.