What QM Can’t Do (Part 3)

June 5th, 2011

This is the third post in a series explaining certain technical limitations with Quantity Manager.  Today we’ll cover something that affects all third-party tools for eBay.  It is very likely that this is also an issue with all third-party applications that connect to any service through an API.  In particular we’ll be addressing the situation where a subscriber cancels their account or revokes their authorization token leaving QM without access to their account.  In general this is not a problem since QM should never have access to a former subscriber’s account.  However this becomes a problem when that user does not restore their Inventory levels before doing so.

Granting Access

When a subscriber first joins QM, eBay sends us something called an authentication token.  The authentication token identifies the user and the application that has been granted access.  Every time QM needs to access a user’s account for anything such as updating the quantity available or even downloading their inventory it must send the authentication token back to eBay.  Without a valid authentication token QM cannot update a user’s listings nor access their account in anyway.

Revoking Access

When a user unsubscribes, eBay immediately invalidates the user’s authentication token.  What this means is QM immediately loses all access to the subscriber’s account.  This is a good thing as QM should no longer have such access.  However, this also means a user can’t unsubscribe and then expect QM to perform any actions afterwards.  It is a reasonable expectation that all quantities would return to their correct levels immediately after canceling.  Unfortunately, this is simply impossible.

“I just unsubscribed, now my Inventory is messed up!” or “I just unsubscribed, can you please reset my Inventory?”

Before a user unsubscribes they are instructed to have QM release their Inventory levels.  If a user doesn’t do this their quantities will remain at their current levels.  Once a user unsubscribes QM loses all access to the account and it is impossible to reset them.

Display = Inventory

Having QM release your Inventory back to its proper levels is a very simple one-click process.  Simply go to the “Shortcuts” page and click the button that says “Display = Inventory”.  This tells QM to display on eBay exactly what you have in stock.  Once this button is clicked a notification will appear stating that your listings will be modified shortly.  For performance reasons QM does not do bulk updates immediately but instead puts them in a queue to be performed by a separate process.  The entire process should not take more than 10 minutes unless you have several thousands listings on eBay.  Also, MVL listings usually take longer to update than normal listings due to eBay limitations.  Once you have verified that your listings are back to normal you are free to unsubscribe.

But I didn’t follow directions and my Inventory is wrong.  How do I fix it?

If you do happen to unsubscribe but have ignored the instructions above you are not alone.  There are two easy solutions to this issue.

You can resubscribe to one of our monthly plans and then follow the directions above.  Keep in mind that you must correct for any sales you’ve made since you unsubscribed because QM did not see them.  Once you have fixed your listings simply unsubscribe again.  Monthly plans are prorated so the most this could cost you is $0.18.

The other solution is to simply contact us and request that we send you your Inventory counts.  When you unsubscribe your listing details are not immediately purged and most likely we still have them.  Keep in mind that we must have a way to verify who you who you claim to be as we are not going to send your details to anyone who just asks for them.  Sufficient proof would include contacting us through our helpdesk or website using an IP address you logged into our service from or requesting details sent to the email address you had on record.

Will QM ever be able to restore listings on unsubscribed users?

Unfortunately this will probably never be possible.  The only way it could work is if eBay allowed a grace period between unsubscribing and token revocation.  We believe this would be a bad idea because it could lead to apps getting stuck mid way during cleanup.  It is not a good idea to assume that the user really does want their quantities restored at the end.  We’ve spoken to many users over the years and some simply didn’t want QM to reset their Inventory before unsubscribing.  Thus, the best solution is to leave responsibility of final quantities levels to the subscriber.

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