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eBay AU Angers Shoppers By Ending Discount Early

eBay kicked off a promotion on December 29th to entice Australian buyers to spend $150 through the end of 2015, but it ended the sale a day early, causing an outcry among shoppers who had yet to take advantage of the offer.

The promotion offered buyers a 15% discount off their total purchase when they spent a minimum of $150 between December 29 – 31. But on December 30th, it abruptly revised the terms and conditions of the promotion to end the promotion on December 30th instead of the 31st.

Reaction ranged from disappointment to outrage. One buyer wrote, “Drats. I was going to buy tonight too and take advantage of it. Never known a promotion to end early like that before.”

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Another buyer wrote, “I am just as bleep as you that eBay Australia choose to end the 15% discount 18 hours early. It is a misleading of advertising and it’s against the Australian Consumer law.” The buyer suggested everyone lodge a complaint with the Australian government watchdog agency, the ACCC, to investigate – “I urged everyone who gives a damn about our consumer rights being ripped off by EBAY AUSTRALIA to take actions,” providing a link to a complaint form on the site of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission.

Another disappointed buyer wrote, “For the uninformed bait advertising is when a company advertising an item or a service for sale that they don’t have, or only have a minimal amount to get customers into the store, what is worse about this offer is you had to actually commit to buy the item before you found out that the Promotional offer was no longer valid. I have also sent a complaint to the ACCC in regards to the way eBay has ended the promotion.”

eBay told buyers who inquired, “Due to the popularity of the 15% site wide promotion there were concerns around the stock levels leading to customer experience. As eBay always strives to offer the best customer experience for its buyers, a decision has been made to end the sale early at 1pm on the 30th December.”

However, the argument didn’t hold water as far as some shoppers were concerned, who pointed out that eBay doesn’t hold any inventory. “The sale is strictly between the buyer and the seller. If the seller has no stock the listing will be ended anyway and there will be no sale.”

Another shopper said eBay sellers would likely get cancellation requests due to what it called “eBay’s poor performance.”

“It’s a very bad way to run an incentive to buy, a worse way to end it…essentially making it as little known as possible,” they wrote.

Some buyers said they contacted eBay and were able to get the company to agree to extend the discount to them on the 31st, but were unable to get confirmation in writing, so were concerned whether they would actually get the rebate in the 15 – 20 days as promised.

eBay has removed the terms and conditions from the promotion page.

Comment on the AuctionBytes Blog.

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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

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