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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1858 - August 21, 2008 - ISSN 1539-5065    1 of 4

eBay Sellers Cope with Changes (again)

By Ina Steiner
August 21, 2008

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eBay has once again announced a host of major changes to its site this year, leaving sellers struggling to understand them - and to figure out how best to adapt their selling strategies to cope with fee changes to comply with policy changes. The company, which announced the changes late on Tuesday, had also made major announcements in January and in June. eBay has created a number of channels to answer users' questions about the August 19th announcement.

eBay set up a special forum this week that, according to eBay's President of eBay Marketplaces Lorrie Norrington, is staffed by some of her top people to answer users' questions. (AuctionBytes has received a number of complaints from users participating on the board that they are getting reprimands, called "pink-slaps," by board moderators)

Norrington will host a Town Hall meeting on Friday, August 22, 2008, from 1:30 to 3:00 pm PT where users may phone in and ask eBay and PayPal executives questions. eBay created an overview page with links to more information about the changes, and it is running webinars to help explain the changes to users.

While much of the press has been covering the major fee change going into effect next month, many sellers are just as concerned about eBay's new electronics-payments only policy that prohibits sellers from accepting checks and money orders. The policy states that beginning late October 2008, all items listed on eBay.com must be paid for using one of the following approved payment options: Direct credit or debit card payment via a merchant credit card account; PayPal; ProPay; or Payment on pick-up.

But adding to sellers' confusion are seemingly conflicting statements from eBay moderators such as this one, which left one AuctionBytes reader wondering if it was okay to accept checks and money orders after October as long as they did not solicit such payments in listings:

Right. But let's be crystal clear here: Seller are free to accept any payment type request a buyer might send them but post October, they will not be able to offer the option of checks or money orders in their listings or their email to buyers.

While many are against eBay limiting payment choices - particularly the ban on services such as Google Checkout - there are some sellers who prefer electronics-only payments, saying they reduce customer service interaction. Some have wondered if the new policy might also lead to an end to deadbeat buyers who fail to pay for items they've purchased on eBay.

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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