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Feedback 09/04

Letters from our readers

Permanent Solution

Your July "Staff Smarts" piece on temp-to-perm workers entitled "Here to Stay" by Chris Penttila describes important factors for companies to consider when contemplating a decision to migrate an outsourced temporary employee to full-time status. However, one unique twist on the staffing equation in the marketplace for workers was not covered [in the article].

As evidenced by the success of our own staffing company, 10 til 2 LLC, here in the Denver area, there is a huge untapped market of over-qualified and capable workers who only desire to work part time, but on a permanent basis. Our women-owned company was designed from the outset to match these talented people with companies needing an uncommon solution to their staffing [issues].

Naturally, our market consists mostly of college-educated moms who decided when they started families that raising their children was more important than working full time, but who now, because their children are in school, have time during the middle of the day to return to the job market.

What we have found and continue to build on is the fact that many companies, both large and small, love having our brand of motivated, college-educated, part-time workers who offer prior full-time experience and maturity.

For some employers, the permanent answer turns out to be permanent part-timers without the HR hassles and associated costs. It's a win-win strategy for both the employer and the employee.

Jill Ater
Co-founder
10 til 2 LLC
Denver

Not Sold on eBay

As editor of Entrepreneur magazine, I would hope that you can provide an objective perspective toward corporations that an entrepreneur would potentially use as a vendor ("Editor's Note," July).

EBay has grown to a considerably large company with a large number of users and is the marketplace for individuals, organizations and corporations. That said, eBay has a serious problem with fraud committed by its constituents that it is reluctant to fully address. Even though eBay encourages the use of PayPal (an eBay subsidiary), one's fraud "insurance" is limited to $500, which is insufficient for most commercial transactions.

Credit cards have some mechanism that permits one to contest charges for up to the full amount of defective, misrepresented or unwanted goods or services. EBay wants to cut these losses at $500 and assign them to a subsidiary, because they know a 100 percent return policy would be detrimental to their business plan and their bottom line. In the long run, they will hurt their customer confidence and possibly run afoul of an Eliot Spitzer-esque state attorney for abetting fraud.

I believe that keeping customers happy and preventing fraud are not mutually exclusive; however, eBay does not share this line of thinking.

Jay Riemer
President
Smart Architecture
Duluth, Georgia

Response from Rob Chesnut, vice president of Trust and Safety at eBay:

As the head of the Trust and Safety department at eBay and PayPal, I want to assure you that we do not tolerate fraud in our sites. Every day, eBay and PayPal take direct and aggressive measures to minimize fraud and to provide methods for users to buy and sell safely.

One key aspect of the eBay business is our payment service. PayPal is not simply a "subsidiary of eBay" as you say, but actually a critical component of eBay's security. PayPal's world-class anti-fraud engine protects eBay users every day and has made it the safe way to pay online.

Last fall, we began offering PayPal Buyer Protection, which protects buyers against fraudulent transactions up to $500. This free program, which now covers more than 70 percent of items listed on eBay, has been highly successful in helping build confidence in the marketplace. Additionally, eBay offers its own purchase protection program that automatically protects all items bought on eBay.com for up to $200.

It's also important to note that, like credit cards, PayPal offers a feature that allows buyers to contest charges to the full amount of their purchases. And as in the offline world, buyers have the opportunity to file chargebacks if they used their credit cards through PayPal. With PayPal Buyer Protection, eBay's purchase protection program and credit card protections, most eBay buyers enjoy full protection on their purchases. And of course, for very high-priced items, such as high-end electronics equipment, we usually recommend that both buyers and sellers protect themselves by using a licensed escrow service.

We remain highly committed to maintaining this safe, well-lit place to do business and to ensuring that the sales on eBay occur problem-free.

Start Your Engines

Regarding your article "Crisis Mode" about entrepreneurs dealing with higher gas prices, I believe people need to be aware that the technology for much greater fuel efficiency is already available. Consumers need to demand its use in new engines. The Sonex Research Co. offers technology that enables a gas engine to run using diesel fuel with greater efficiency and cleaner exhaust. Diesel fuel is cheaper and easier to refine than gas. This company's history also offers a good story in entrepreneurship.

Maybe Entrepreneur magazine will run a story on Sonex. Meanwhile, we should all start requesting better engines from the manufacturers.

James Bauernschmidt
Severna Park, Maryland

Correction: Writer Judith Potwora's name was misspelled in the byline of "Breaking the Chain".

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This article was originally published in the September 2004 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Feedback 09/04.

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