During the scheduled chat on eBay's Australian site, Alastair MacGibbon was assailed with questions from eBay users who demanded to know why the local operation did not offer a phone line for reporting urgent problems such as account hijacking, and why reports of fraudulent or misleading auctions often received a tardy response.
MacGibbon, a former director of the Australian High Tech Crime Centre, responded with the oft-quoted figure than less than 1 percent of transactions on eBay were fraudulent. He also emphasised that the eBay community played a critical role in identifying problems.
"Sometimes, for privacy and legal reasons, we are unable to disclose information regarding the actions we are taking (or have taken) in relation to another member or their listings," MacGibbon wrote in response to questions about keeping users informed about the progress of fraud investigation. "However, you can be assured that all reports do receive attention and are investigated."
A phone number for reporting urgent problems to supplement the current Web-based system was a possibility for the future, he said. "We are always looking to expand our services to increase ease of use on eBay.com.au, so stay posted," he wrote.
MacGibbon joined eBay last July but has not participated in a public chat before now. He told participants that he had "waited to develop a more complete understanding of the trust and safety systems eBay has in place". MacGibbon made 19 postings during the 105-minute chat session. Not all participants were impressed. "Seems Alastair hasn't yet been fully schooled in the art of looking up the standard replies and cutting-and-pasting, so he was pretty slow," one user wrote following the chat.