The glitches are a result of an effort to upgrade the computer systems of the San Jose, Calif.-based company. In the past two weeks, members have encountered difficulties listing auctions, viewing the bidding history on individual items and using their personalized "My eBay" pages.
Company spokesman Kevin Pursglove said the problems should be solved within the next seven to 10 days. "Because of the improvements and expansions, an occasional interruption could happen in that time frame," he said.
The problems at eBay are the most persistent system troubles the company has faced since its repeated outages last year. Unlike those problems, which often made the entire eBay system inaccessible for hours at a time, the current troubles have caused few full-blown outages and have tended to last for much shorter periods of time.
In a note to visitors posted on its announcements board yesterday, eBay said the recent problems stemmed from an effort begun Aug. 2 to move closed auctions from its main server to a secondary server. The goal of the move was to improve the performance and scalability of the site, but when the site started experiencing glitches as a result of the changes, eBay began to tinker with its system software to resolve the problems.
"It is extremely distressing for everyone at eBay to have to report any problems with the site to you," the company said in its note. "We deeply understand how important optimal site performance is to the community, and we strive to deliver consistent site stability.
"We apologize for the inconvenience the technical problems of late may have caused you."
But some eBay sellers, unsatisfied with the apology, took to the Web's message boards to demand that the company refund fees to auctions affected by the intermittent problems.
"I'm really upset over the mess this site has been in the last two weeks," said one eBay seller on the company's message boards. "Every time I turned around all I saw was 'this functionality is unavailable.' Well, if eBay was unavailable, you damn well should pay me back listing and final value fees! You owe it to us."
eBay's policy is that it will refund fees only when it has a site outage that lasts two hours or longer. But Pursglove said that sellers who feel their auctions have been affected by the recent troubles can apply for fee refunds from the company.