Mercardolibre Vs Ebay


Nov 8, 2012
I do love Argentina, but it can be frustrating sometimes, especially when it comes to online shopping.

Find item you want.
Ask seller if they have stock, wait a day or two.
Ask seller how much they charge postage , packaging and going to the correo will be. wait a day or two and find they want 70 pesos to package a couple of brass screws (true story)
Goto check out when negotiations are finish.
Pay with bank transfer or credit card. wait a few days to clear.
Fingers crossed the item will arrive in the next few weeks in one piece. If its damage or lost, seller blames shipping company and shipping company blames seller and packaging. Stalemate for a week or so. Seller tries to make you pay to send out new item.

In some 50 purchases on mercardoblibe probably 70% of had issues. either lost, broken or wrong item sent.

Find item you want and check displayed combined price and postage to your address.
Click to buy
Click to pay via Paypal
Item arrives next day or in a few days
If its damaged, can return to seller then seller sends a replacement or refund or in some cases seller just sends another one.

500 ebay purchases i`ve done probably 5% of purchases i`ve had issues with.
I've sold a lot of items and only bought a few on Mercadolibre. Never had a problem selling because what you see is what you get. I am 100% honest about something being used or new. I only sell to local people, no shipping, too much of a nightmare here. Except once I shipped a used laptop to El Bolsón and that worked out fine. I never accept cash either, the buyer must pay via Mercadopago. When they pick the item up, I make them sign "received item" form (which I designed) with a signature, aclaración and DNI#. I never let anyone up to my apartment, too risky (remember that woman who was murdered for a TV sold on Mercadolibre in Flores) I only meet them down in front of my building while the security guard is present.
Buying I've never had a problem, but again I always buy locally.
Today I ordered the refill of a toner cartridge for my printer. The purchase was the recharge and pay via Mercadopago. Luckily the shop is within walking distance of my apartment. I go there and the guy said, "oh you not only need to have this cartridge recharged", you need a new chip and a new roller. I said, okay forget it give me my cartridge and I am going to give you a negative rating on Mercadolibre as these "other" items added $150 pesos extra to the price I paid on line. He said "oh okay, since this is your first purchase from us, we wont charge you any extras". STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS AND TAKE PRECAUTIONS!!
Well it's the same company, you have to remember that the difference is Argentines and Argentina you're dealing
with instead.

I look at it this way: It's Argentina, it's always someone else's fault when something doesn't work,
so responsibility doesn't really exist here, Buyer/Seller/Shipping company/Portena/etc. Due to this,
I cut the risk as much as possible.

When I find something I wan't on MercadoLibre I use Google to find the real business, check their hours,
their location (most important) and go in person and try and get a deal where they give it to me cheaper
because ML or Mercado Payments isn't involved or the fact it's in cash or they forget to give me a factura,
etc. Failing a discount, I still get to see if it's broken/what I wan't/the actual correct item.

The odd time though I have actually stood in the store and bought it on my phone because the list price is

Best of all I don't need to pay for shipping or wait.

Now, this is a pain in the ass because of the time, but I don't trust Correo (nac or other) so it's worth it to me.

I've bought about 10-15 things on ML (well, found most of them via ML and went in person to get a deal) and
haven't had a problem yet

As for eBay, as a seller, it is a pain in the ass. There is no way to auto ban people who have 0 feedback from bidding
and you have to often ship the item while waiting for funds to clear. The fees are billed separately (at least last time I used it)
so it's hard to tell times if it is worth it/how much you've made/lost.

I had to wait for 10 days until I could cancel a person's bid who registered like a day before my auction for a friend's phone I was helping
him sell, only to be told by eBay to call the person or write them a letter...

I sent 1 email explaining how it's a legally binding contract and then they deleted their account.

Another time I helped a friend sell a murse, the guy buying it changed his mind after winning and said
"I want to cancel it". I said that's nice but it's yours, pay up/legally binding contact. I got him to thankfully.

You also can't leave negative feedback to buyers.

From the buyer prospective it's usually been pretty good for me to be honest.
Though, some people lie and say "Shipping from USA" but when I get an envelope with
Hanzi and Chairman Mao's visage on it 20 days after I pay I have my doubts.
Apologies but saw the ebay post title and couldnt resist a self indulgent rant.

If eBay was a person I'd murder his family and leave him in a vegetative state. I truly hate eBay after some fcuk delayed paying me for 8 days finally apologized profusively then a day a day later said he didnt want the item. I said politely that normally I would consider cancelling a bid but seeing as I had to wait 8 days for payment (with no communication nada the first 4 days) I didnt think it was fair he ask me to do so. He suddenly become the victim and said that he believed i would sabotage his item which could end up hurting his kids! In other words if I sent his item HE would sabotage it and send it back for a refund. I contacted eBay and said 'now hang on this just isnt cricket. This guy has massively wasted my time and now is making offensive accusations and threats'. EBay said just refund him and stop crying about it. You hear so much about eBay favoring the buyer over the seller but this was shocking...

Having said that eBay is a better system (for buyers) than the massively primitive MercadoLibre system.
Mercadolibre requires a lot of mistrust when using, in order to minimize the risks of a crappy experience. I never deal with individuals, always with companies. I always look at the reviews, too many bad reviews and I am out of there. If I can take the time to pick it up, look for a seller that has a close by pick up location, if I don't - I only deal with companies that deliver to my house in the day using a bike/messenger service (the one time I didn't, and used Mercado Envios through OCA instead, I regretted it greatly). If the cost of delivery is more than what a cab would cost me to go pick it up, I take a cab (only have done this once with a video card, really).

So far I have only been screwed once, and in this case "screwed" means they delayed sending my product for about 4 or 5 days (we'll see if it gets here on Saturday as promised...)
MercadoLibre fanboy here ;-) -- I work there. I also have had multiple bad experiences buying and selling through MercadoLibre, but I am convinced it's the best way to buy/sell. From the inside I can also say that it's really working hard to overcome the challenges of the ecommerce infrastructure in Argentina and LatAm.

Let's review the experience from OP:

Find item you want.
Ask seller if they have stock, wait a day or two. => Issue: bad seller response time; untrustworthy posted stock info
Ask seller how much they charge postage , packaging and going to the correo will be. wait a day or two and find they want 70 pesos to package a couple of brass screws (true story) => Issue: shipping info not included and another friction point; uncalled-for upsell situation
Goto check out when negotiations are finish.
Pay with bank transfer or credit card. wait a few days to clear. => Issue: banking clearing time takes long? -- for me it was is usually immediate using cc (unless they had to verify my identity)
Fingers crossed the item will arrive in the next few weeks in one piece. If its damage or lost, seller blames shipping company and shipping company blames seller and packaging. Stalemate for a week or so. Seller tries to make you pay to send out new item. => Issues: long time to send out the item and long time to deliver the item; problems with shipping

In reviewing the above, we see that the issues rise from: (1) inexperienced/non-professional sellers, (2) non-maintained item or stock information, (3) lack of shipping integration (4) banking issues:
  1. To address inexperienced/non-professional sellers (or just the downright scams), MercadoLibre has the review/scoring system which heavily influences the exposure for that merchant.
    1. Good merchants know that response time is a factor under their control to drive sales (i.e., fast responses lead to more sales, which leads to a higher score -- as the overall scoring level also depends on the # and total $ of sales). Uncalled-for upsell / Surprise add-on charges / Bad packaging ==> can lead to a bad score or "reporting" a listing (when there are suprise add-ons) which penalize the merchant
    2. If there was no review system => sellers could do whatever they wanted: cheat, not provide guarantees, get away with bad service. The fact that you can tell a seller that they will get a bad review if they do shifty stuff is enough for them to reconsider and sellers who want repeat purchases will behave
    3. For scams (and I've been scammed already too): MercadoLibre is working hard to detect fake accounts, do quick validations. It's often a game of cat and mouse and you also don't want to limit the legit new sellers ==> there is still a lot to be done here and MercadoPago, document checks are some tools being used
  2. Non-maintained / inaccurate stock info = it really is a problem. MercadoLibre tries to address this for the larger sellers with MercadoShops (for smaller ones, it's hard to check, short of visiting their home and seeing the items). MercadoShops has a feature to automatically pause listings and/or notify the seller if stock falls below a given threshold to prevent overselling and start the reordering process. The more sellers use MercadoShops, the more this will be controlled, but we are still "waiting" for the large sellers to get onboard
  3. Lack of shipping integration (friction on costs) = a little over a year ago, MercadoLibre launched MercadoEnvios which has been a very important tool in providing an end-to-end experience. With MercadoEnvios, not only are all costs automatically calculated for any distance and you get large volume rates, but also buyers and sellers are protected because now MercadoLibre can vouch that an item was indeed shipping and indeed received (preventing a previous nightmare of blaming each other). This has been a hit (over 1M MercadoEnvios in Brazil already and growing rapidly here in ARG as well) and we hope all sellers can choose this.
  4. Banking issues => MercadoPago is big here as many of you know and solves the payment component. It provides a trustworthy and supervised channel. The one time I was scammed for example, was when I did not use MercadoPago to sell something -- I was given fake dollars even I double checked them.
There are still a lot of challenges and there are many more issues not covered by OP. EBay benefits from a larger, more open and developed infrastructure by operating in the US. In America, there are more sellers (and competition is good), less bureaucracy for importing items (real cost base is lower), and you can generally trust UPS/DHL/Fedex to take care of packages. If Ebay was here in ARG, they'd have just the same challenges as and start from a much earlier position than MercadoLibre.

From a customer perspective, the current focus of the company includes: (1) improving customer service -- we recognize we are in the pits here. Email and FAQs are not enough, and so we need to develop good call centers with updated information; (2) enabling easier purchasing -- mobile which already accounts for 17% of sales (30% in Mexico); (3) strengthening the sellers -- allowing them all to have more efficient operations, and thus make it so that good customer experience is what differentiates them; (4) working on cross-border selling (and yes, this is big) but there are a lot of issues and it's still early for the company here.
If you sell on ML, you're forced to use Mercadopago, which is pile of steaming shite.
They hang on to your money and make life very complicated.
Further, if you answer a question and insist on cash, your reply is removed.
In this climate of economic woes, cash is king.
Devious chicanery is required.
I've bought and sold 1000's of items over the years on eBay. Very few times I've had a problem. Probably because it is my culture (US) and I can sniff out BS quickly. I don't have that same 6th sense yet in Spanish so I'm pretty wide open to being ripped off. I only us ML as a reference for prices and/or if I can find the actual store to go to.
I insist on Mercadopago when selling and it works out well for me. The money is held in "escrow" by Mercadopago until both the buyer and seller indicate that the transaction has been completed satisfactorily. If the buyer doesn't give you a rating the money is held for 21 days. If they rate you the money is immediately released and credited to your bank account in 3 business days.
As an extra added precaution, I have my own "recibido conforme" slip that I make people sign when they take the merchandise, with a signature, aclaración and DNI. Keep in mind that when any merchant accepts a credit card from a customer, they don't receive the money credited in their account for 18 days, I know it's a pain not to have the money right away, however for the protection in provides, it's worth it.