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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1663 - November 13, 2007 - ISSN 1539-5065    1 of 2

eBay Australia Launches Controversial Payments Policy

By Ina Steiner
November 13, 2007

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In late October, eBay Australia began requiring all sellers to adhere to a Misleading and Discouraging Payments policy. eBay said the purpose of the policy was to make clear for buyers what acceptable payment options are available to them up front, and what buyer protection may be applicable.

The policy states that sellers must not selectively offer payment methods to buyers or discourage buyers from using any of the payment methods offered in their listings. "For example, a seller that accepts credit card payments cannot say that they only accept them for items over a certain value; similarly a seller offering PayPal cannot say it's available for international purchases only."

The policy has some sellers upset that it does not let them exclude money orders from outside Australia without also excluding money orders from buyers located in Australia.

Kevin Tyerman, who has been selling on eBay since January 1998, said that for many Australian sellers, accepting international checks is not viable - in some country areas the local banks simply will not accept them. "But," Tyerman wrote, "by this policy if an Australian seller accepts cheques from Australian buyers, they must now accept cheques from foreign buyers, regardless of whether they can actually bank them. Similarly, I simply can not cash foreign postal money orders here, but if this policy is enforced, I must accept them if I accept postal money orders from Australian buyers."

Tyerman believes the new policy is designed to force sellers to use and encourage PayPal as the only form of payment. "Effectively for most Australian sellers who offer their goods internationally, by being forced to accept the same forms of payment from International buyers, cheques, money orders and possibly direct bank deposit are all made into unviable payment options by this policy."

An eBay moderator posted some FAQs on a discussion board, including a statement that sellers could request that any money orders or checks be in Australian currency only, "as long as you clearly specify this within your listing" (http://tinyurl.com/2o9y9c).


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 ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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