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eBay UK Introduces Brand New Fee that Worries Everyone

eBay surprised Business sellers in the UK on Monday by announcing new fees – giving sellers only one month’s notice – and it said there were more changes in the works. eBay passed off the restructuring as “fee changes” rather than a rate hike, but there is only one minor change that is actually a fee decrease. Meanwhile sellers in the U.S. speculated on what the news could mean for them.

There are three main changes to fees for UK Business sellers, along with a brand new surcharge for listings with low turnover:

  • UK sellers will pay higher commission fees (FVFs) in all but two categories.
  • “Premium” sellers will pay more as eBay drops the fee discounts they receive – eBay UK is decreasing the discounts it passes along to sellers who are part of its Premium Service.
  • Sellers with Anchor Stores will pay higher fees due to eBay’s imposing limits on the number of free fixed price listings they receive – Anchor Shop subscriptions will have 50,000 inclusive fixed price listings each month instead of unlimited listings.
  • Sellers in categories with low turnover will pay higher fees thanks to an “Outdated listing fee” surcharge. (More on this below.)

The first two fee changes take effect April 2nd, just a month away. The other two changes take effect this summer.

And there are more changes ahead – eBay wrote in its announcement, “Heads up, we’re making this pre-announcement ahead of the regular Business Seller News to tell you about fee changes from 2 April. Details of all other changes will be published in the spring Business Seller News.”

Understanding the Impact on Final Value Fees
Collecting categories will see a change in FVFs from a range of 7.83 – 9.57% to a flat 9%. That’s an increase of as much as a 15% for some sellers, such as those selling Collectiables and Books, Comics and Magazines. Sellers in a few collectible categories (Dolls & Bears and Pottery, Porcelain & Glass, for example), will see a decrease of 6%.

Notably, UK sellers of Electronics Accessories; Jewellery; and Everything Else will see a 15% increase in commission fees.

The Holiday & Travel category will see FVFs decrease from 8.7% to 6%.

All other Final Value Fees for Business sellers will rise.

Understanding the New Surcharge on Relists
Beginning this summer, eBay UK will institute a surcharge on old listings. It explained, “We want to encourage sellers to either update or remove outdated listings by bringing in a new outdated listing fee. This means that listings which haven’t sold within 18 months will be charged an additional 10p fee on top of the usual insertion fee when renewing the item.”

eBay UK published this FAQ along with the announcement:

How do I know which of my listings are outdated and how will I be charged?
From summer 2015, if you have a listing that has been live on eBay.co.uk for 18 months or more and it has not sold, you will be charged 10p in addition to the listing’s insertion fee to renew the item. This will be included on your monthly invoice. Full details of how this will work for various listing types, including multi-SKU listings, will be made available nearer the time.

Seller Reaction
There was much reaction on both sides of the Atlantic. In the UK, a seller wrote on the eBay discussion board, “Seriously though, nearly all the fee changes are bad news…as is the reduced TRS discount. What will happen with sellers that deal in “slow moving” collectables? Looks like they will have a tough time if there items are not selling. …and how will eBay know if something hasn’t sold for 18 months unless it’s been constantly re-listed or on good ’til sold?”

Another asked, “if you forget to end the listings which haven’t sold and sell similar, is the 10p charged each month it renews thereafter, or does the 10p buy you another 18 months??”

In the U.S., one seller liked the idea of the new surcharge. “Probably an unpopular view, but I’m not opposed to that at all…maybe it will help clear the sight a bit from so many garbage or grossly overpriced listing…Going to my corner now…”

But another called it a disaster for sellers like them – “I have over 10,000 items in my store and I relist every month. My buyers need to see a large inventory.”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.