I joined OnlineAuction.com (OLA) in June or July on a monthly basis as a seller. It entitled me to sell on line, communicate with other sellers via "omail", buy and participate in forums. I quickly found that OLA was a fledgling company with very little on the ball and a big sales pitch. I also quickly realized there were two distinct "camps" of people selling on OLA, those who are totally Pro OLA no matter what and those who want to see change and growth and who are very frustrated and disappointed. I also found that you cannot disagree with the Pro OLAers and expect to come out unscathed.
Wanting to give it a chance I stayed and then the compan did some "upgrades". Their upgrades proved to be downgrades for the types of items I sell -- their category system became more limited and more biased toward items they apparently want sold on their site. Then they changed the size of the photos accepted on their site -- I managed to find my way through these changes and stayed despite my disappointments because anytime I called OLA I was told, things were changing for the better and "stick it out, we're coming along"! I also learned that it was necessary to be a computer techy to really get anywhere on the site and I am not. This was not explained in any conversation I had with anyone from OLA. I only got stories from their "people" that changes were coming and things would be great".
I reached a breaking point and decided that I didn't want to sell there anymore and OLA has it set up that you must CALL IN to cancel any type of membership which is perfect for their salespeople to start their pitch! FRANK was my salesperson. I told Frank I wanted out and the sales pitch started. To be brief I was offered $100 in free upgrades if I would stick it out for another three months. I agreed to think about it and call him back. I decided I was not interested in a three month commitment and told Frank so and he told me he would offer the same for two months and that I should call him that Friday with my decision. My membership was due to be charged for another month that Saturday, so we were cutting it close, but Frank assured me that there would be no problem if I decided I did not want to renew
I called on Friday to cancel my membership and got voice mail and left a message. I called three more times throughout the day and still only got voice mails and left messages that under no circumstances should my credit card be charged, that I wanted to end my relationship with OLA. I even tried calling another number and was left on hold endlessly.
Saturday morning, I woke up to an email that I was charged for another month! I was insensed and went into the forums to discuss my problem. I was basically "tarred and feathered" by the over zealous OLA people. Someone with an "in" to OLA obviously contacted their "webmaster" who entered the forum after I had already left and told me to contact OLA in the am on Monday.
Frank called me on Monday and we discussed the situation. He told me he had a "death in the family" and wasn't able to answer his phone. Since I could not know if the story was true or not, I offered my condolences and we discussed OLA a little more and I was drawn back in. I thanked Frank for being so considerate and he replied with: "That's because I'm a CHRISTIAN and I have to be this way". I was nauseated by the response and said: "Well, I'm not, and I am a good person too". To me religion has no place in the work place and as of yesterday, September 26, 2008, OLA has changed their rules to include this sentiment!
I went back to selling a little and participating in the chats. On Wednesday, I was in the chats having a conversation with another member that had stared in OLA's "omails" - their private way of communicating. The conversation was totally civil until one of the overzealous people decided to chime in and I responded to the comment. The comments became heated and then one of the BIG OLA "cheerleaders" joined in and went for my neck. I told her she had no idea what was going on in the original conversation and that she didn't need to be involved in this. She came back at me, called me names and threatened to report me to OLA if I posted private "omails". We both got very nasty -- I felt I was defending myself against two people who had absolutely no business starting up with me. They were looking for trouble.
I immediately called OLA to complain to ROWAN and told him how awful it was to deal with the two separate "camps" of people and the games people play on the site and how people are being run out of the site by certain people. He assured me this complaint would be addressed. OLA addressed this by pulling the whole forum -- something they have done before rather than deal with issues.
Yesterday, Friday the 26th, the forums magically returned to OLA and I was "banned" from them with no notification. I immediately called OLA and once again spoke to ROWAN who told me he would have someone from management call me back. He also told me there were very few people in the office available because they were preparing for a trade show. VALERIE called me back, claiming to be in management. I told her that it appeared that I was banned and I wanted an explanation. VALERIE LIED TO ME. She told me there was nothing wrong with my account and that it was probably my computer's cookies that needed to be cleaned! She assured me I was in good standing! She told me to call Monday if I was still having problems.
Well, it was not my "cookies" -- I was blown off by someone who did not want to deal with this issue on a Friday evening. Everyone at OLA is great at passing the buck and pushing things under the rug. No one else who participated in this "argument" was banned -- only me. I FIND THIS TO BE DISCRIMINATORY AND DISGUSTING.
I have emailed every address on OLA's front page to make sure that my membership is cancelled without me having to call and hear a sales pitch again. I have filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau against them.
Personally, I feel because I am a monthly member, not one of the people who fell for the "founding membership" fees of $196, that I am easily dispensable. I can be replaced easily, not someone who has forked over yearly fees.
I feel OLA owes me an apology for not having the decency to tell me the truth. I feel that I am owed an apology for having CHRISTIANITY thrown in my face when it has no place in my life.
I want to warn anyone thinking of getting involved with OLA that the site is not moving in growth, it is going backwards. If you are not tech savvy, you will go nowhere because they offer no advertising. OLA is run like a giant garage sale and sell very low quality items. Most sales are made between sellers. There is absolutely no outside buyer base. They promise the moon and deliver nothing and there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to how they run things. They are deceptive and I personally feel it is similar to the pyramid schemes of years ago because founding members are encouraged to recruit new members with promises of perks if the new member uses their membership number. It is unprofessional and low class. It made me appreciate where I have been selling more. It is more like a cult than an online auction site. I have never seen anything like this in my life and hope not to every see anything like this again.
I want to warn everyone -- stay away from OLA -- Online Auction.Com. It is a company that has been around for years but poses as a new site because it has been around in different incarnations.
Neponsit, New York