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eBay Backs Off Relist Fee, Pushes GSP in UK Seller Update

eBay has backed away from instituting a new fee it previously announced affecting UK sellers. In March, eBay announced a new feeto go into effect in the summer along with fee hikes that took effect on April 2nd.

“We want to encourage sellers to either update or remove outdated listings by bringing in a new outdated listing fee,” eBay explained to UK sellers last month. “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.”

On Tuesday, eBay UK said it had listened to seller feedback and decided not to go ahead with the surcharge. “However, we still encourage you to avoid outdated listings. We’ll keep working towards finding new ways to support you and help your listings succeed.”

The news came as part of the Spring Seller Update announced on Tuesday. Other changes include a requirement to add product identifiers to certain listings (see related story for more on that change), and a new push to get more listings into the eBay Global Shipping Program (GSP).

Sellers usually pay attention to announcements eBay makes outside their region looking for clues for changes that may be coming their way, so it’s likely U.S. sellers are relieved about eBay UK’s decision to back away from the new relisting surcharge.

Global Shipping Program
The crux of the changes eBay UK is making to its Global Shipping Program are as follows:

From May we’ll start enrolling sellers who aren’t already part of the programme. This will allow sellers to use the Global Shipping Programme’s automatically calculated postage costs to expand to more countries.

This applies to eligible listings where sellers haven’t already specified the postage costs to the countries covered by the programme. If this applies to you, we’ll let you know in advance by email. For each listing, you can choose:

Which countries you post to yourself.
Which ones you use the Global Shipping Programme for.
To exclude any countries you don’t want to send items to.
You can opt out of the Global Shipping Programme at any time at an account or listing level.

It is also adding more countries to the GSP program at the end of May, including Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

Private Offers, Not to Be Confused with Best Offer
eBay UK is also adding the ability for sellers to make private offers to buyers who contact them about a fixed-price listing (similar to Best Offer, but the seller doesn’t advertise on their listing that they’re willing to offer a discount price). “From early May, when buyers contact you about a fixed price listing, you can send them an offer to buy your item at a discounted price,” eBay explained.

The new feature received a mixed reaction. Many sellers were concerned this would mean buyers would expect sellers to entertain offers on their listings.

And in a discussion of the new feature on the EcommerceBytes Blog, a seller wrote, “So, if buyers become aware of the possibility of a reduced price will number of incoming questions increase?”

But one UK seller said they had several big buyers for whom they provide regular discounts when asked but said it was currently a cumbersome process that could take days to arrange.

Meanwhile sellers in the U.S. said this feature has already been available to them.

Increased Protection for International Sales?
Another change eBay said it was making was increased protection for international sales, but cited a policy that had rolled out last October.

One seller expressed the same confusion we experienced: “This is puzzling,” they wrote on the eBay UK discussion boards. “The increased protection, appears to be the same protection which has been in place for about 6 months.”

The seller continued, “This is not increased protection – it is completely unchanged. I assume that eBay were intending to offer increased protection, but then changed their minds at the last minute.”

Comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

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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). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.