EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 948 - February 07, 2005     1 of 2

eBay Reduces Auction Fees, Promises Improved Customer Support

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The new President of eBay North America announced eBay will reduce its lowest listing fee from 30 cents to 25 cents on the U.S. and Canadian sites. Bill Cobb posted a letter on the Announcement Board on Sunday morning that included several bombshells.

The new insertion fee for listings on the core site go into effect at midnight Sunday. According to the announcement, " and will reduce minimum insertion fees for Auction-Style listings, Fixed Price, Motors Non-Vehicle and B&I non-Capital Equipment Categories from 30 cents to 25 cents (CA$0.35 to CA$0.30)."

In addition to the fee reduction, Cobb said eBay will be doing away with automated email responses to customer service inquiries. This is a radical shift in the way eBay delivers customer service, which users have said has been the cause of much frustration.

In his letter, Cobb said, "eBay has a fantastic Customer Support team, but Meg and I agree we haven't invested enough in giving our CS reps the flexibility and tools they need to really take care of you. So, to start, within the next 90 days, we'll shut down most of our automated email responses. Our users will get a "real" e-mail response to their questions - you'll hear from a human being who will try to help you with your problem or question right off the bat. We will only use auto responses to acknowledge receipt of spam or policy violation reports."

eBay will also expand phone support to Store owners on April 1, currently available only to Silver, Gold, Platinum and Titanium PowerSellers.

eBay had announced in January changes to its fee structure, effective February 18. Certain auction upgrades, including Buy-It-Now, Gallery and 10-day duration features, increased, and commission fees for eBay Store items rose from 5.25 to 8 percent. Cobb said of the Stores fees, "While we stand behind our decision to increase final value fees on Store Inventory Format listings - because they make sense for items that list with insertion fees of two cents - I know this increase has been difficult for some of our sellers. To reward our eBay Stores sellers, we'll be crediting $15.95 - a month's Basic Stores subscription - in May to all sellers who operated an eBay Store for the month of April."

Bill Cobb has been with eBay for four years and was formerly Senior Vice President of eBay International. He assumed the role of President eBay North America in December, replacing Jeff Jordan, who is now President of eBay's online payment service PayPal.

He posted his email address,, and promised to read every email. "And," he said, "most of all, I'll listen."

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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