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eBay Significantly Scales Back Loyalty Program

eBay is scaling back its loyalty program that rewards members for qualifying purchases. Effective January 1, 2014, program members must earn a minimum of $5 in eBay Bucks during a quarterly earn period in order to receive a certificate at the end of the period.

But another change to the program has buyers very upset: members will lose the balance in their eBay Bucks account if they don’t earn $5 or more in a calendar quarter – that requires them to spend $250 using PayPal in eligible categories.

At the same time it’s making it harder to keep eBay Bucks, eBay is making it harder to earn Bucks by eliminating a major category from the program – purchases made in eBay Motors Parts & Accessories will no longer be eligible for eBay Bucks rewards.

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eBay said it was making the changes as a result of its latest audit of the program. A member who also sells on eBay told EcommerceBytes it was the latest in a series of moves to scale back of the program, which includes the elimination of the VIP level in early 2011; the removal of the Bullion category within Coins & Paper Money in the fall of 2011; and the removal of the Business & Industrial category from the program in 2012.

“Apparently, eBay needs to hold more money and is significantly reducing the amounts they will have to pay out as part of the eBay Bucks Reward Program,” said the EcommerceBytes reader. “The program seems to be scaling back in increments as eBay first eliminated purchases from entire categories such as bullion and business categories, and now they will refuse to pay out small balances.”

Buyers discussed the changes on the eBay discussion boards. Wrote one buyer on eBay’s Buyer Central board, “I find it deplorable that eBay in its greed would deny those less fortunate their earned eBay bucks by making this change to policy. I myself almost always earn at least the new minimum but there are so many who don’t and they should not be penalized due to their economic status. If this change to policy takes place I will be taking my online purchasing elsewhere. Does anyone else feel as I do about this?”

Another buyer said the program wasn’t outstanding, but was a way to give a small “thanks” for doing business on eBay. “Most months I won’t have that kind of rewards because I don’t have the income for much “extra” or “disposable” spending, so I won’t be getting that small reward anymore. I really don’t appreciate that at all.”

eBay Bucks offers consumers 2% back on most items purchased through the site with PayPal. Each qualifying purchase automatically earns eBay Bucks which accumulate during each calendar quarter. An eBay Bucks certificate is then issued and consumers have 30 days to redeem their eBay Bucks towards purchases with PayPal on eBay.com.

More information about the program is available on the eBay Bucks FAQs page.

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Ina Steiner

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. Send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.


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