User Agreements are tedious, no doubt, but they spell out the rules you agree to when using an online marketplace or payment service.
eBay didn’t make things easy when it announced last week as part of the Fall Seller Update that it was making some changes to its User Agreement, so we pored over the current UA and compared it to the new one, which goes into effect next month.
Section 3 (Using eBay)
eBay streamlined some provisions in Section 3 (Using eBay):
Paying for Purchases:
The current User Agreement reads: “(you will not) fail to pay for items purchased by you, unless you have a valid reason as set out in an eBay policy, for example, the seller has materially changed the item’s description after you bid, a clear typographical error is made, or you cannot contact the seller (see our Unpaid item policy);
The new User Agreement reads: “(you will not) fail to pay for items purchased by you, unless you have a valid reason as set out in an eBay policy, for example, the seller has materially changed the item’s description after you bid (see our Unpaid item policy).”
Delivering Items Sold:
The current User Agreement reads: “(you will not) fail to deliver items sold by you, unless you have a valid reason as set out in an eBay policy, for example, the buyer fails to comply with the posted terms in your listing or you cannot contact the buyer.”
The new User Agreement reads: “(you will not) fail to deliver items sold by you, unless you have a valid reason as set out in an eBay policy.”
Section 5 (Fees and Taxes)
The current UA is specific: “If your payment method fails or your account is past due, we may collect amounts owed by charging other payment methods on file with us, retain collection agencies and legal counsel, suspend or limit Services, and for accounts over 60 days past due, request that PayPal deduct the amount owed from your PayPal account balance.”
Section 11 (Holds and Restricted Funds)
eBay made changes to Section 11 to account for the fact that a majority of sellers have been moved from PayPal to eBay Payments.
Look over this section, but it doesn’t appear to contain a substantive change. The bottom line appears to be that eBay payments can restrict access to sellers’ funds and it can instruct PayPal to restrict access to funds in sellers’ PayPal accounts, per usual.
Section 12 (Authorization to Contact You; Recording Calls; Analyzing Message Content)
If you care about how eBay may reach out to you, read section 12. One thing that eBay added to the new User Agreement that jumps out from this section: “You may also opt-out of a specific text marketing campaign by replying “STOP” to such marketing text message.”
Another thing that jumps out – eBay is giving itself permission to manually review messages sent through its messaging tools when flagged by its automated scanning and analysis system.
The system itself is not new, but we’re guessing readers may not be giving it much thought – here’s how the section from the new User Agreement reads:
“eBay’s automated systems scan and analyze the contents of every message sent through its messages platform, including messages between users, to detect and prevent fraudulent activity or violations of eBay’s User Agreement, including the incorporated terms, notices, rules, and policies. This may result in a manual review of messages sent through our messaging tools.
“This scanning and analysis may occur before, during, or after the message is sent, or while in storage, and may result in your message being delayed or withheld. eBay may store message contents, including to conduct this scanning and analysis.”
Finally, eBay tweaked the area in Section 12 dealing with obtaining users’ consent before marketing to them.
Review: Section 13. Additional Terms
Section 13 deals with returns, cancellations, and the eBay Money Back Guarantee.
The current UA has 2 sections:
- Returns and Cancellations
- eBay Money Back Guarantee
The new UA has 3 sections:
- Returns and cancellations for sellers
- Cancellations for buyers
- eBay Money Back Guarantee
Some of the new verbiage is to account for the fact that “eBay payments entities” are now processing payments for a majority of sellers rather than PayPal. And it’s not just verbiage – now that it processes payments, eBay can collect certain funds directly from sellers.
For example, the current UA states:
“When an item is returned, to refund the buyer, you (as seller) authorize eBay to request that PayPal remove the refund amount (in same or other currency) from your PayPal account, place the amount on your invoice, and/or charge your payment method on file.”
The new UA states:
And, in the new UA, eBay says it may collect the cost of return shipping labels from sellers in various circumstances as opposed to authorizing eBay to place the return shipping label cost on the seller’s invoice.
Another change has to do with return shipping for SNADs (eBay parlance for “items not as described”). The current UA states that the cost of return shipping for SNADs is the seller’s responsibility, but in the new UA, users authorize eBay to collect the cost of the return shipping label from the seller for SNADs.
The new UA also states that eBay may issue a refund to the buyer on the seller’s behalf if a transaction is cancelled, which is similar to the terms spelled out in the current UA but, no longer relying on PayPal to remove the refund amount. In both versions of the UA, eBay refers users to its cancellation policy.
Of all the sections in the new eBay User Agreement, Section 13 – Returns and Cancellations is the most worthy of attention (and also the hardest to compare).
Review section 14. Managed Payments
A paragraph in the current UA about the contract for purchases being between buyers and sellers was changed and moved up to the top of Section 14. The section starts off in the new UA:
“A designated eBay entity (each, a “payments entity”) manages payments on behalf of sellers for most sales (such management described as “managed payments” or similar). Regardless of whether or not eBay or an eBay payments entity manages a sale, the contract for sale underlying the purchase of goods is directly concluded between seller and the buyer.”
In the new UA, eBay also removed the reference to moving more seller accounts to Managed Payments, which currently reads as follows: “Some eBay sellers have already enrolled in managed payments. eBay anticipates moving more seller accounts to managed payments in phases starting in July 2020, providing notice to the affected sellers as they are scheduled to be moved.”
Sellers had expressed frustration on the eBay discussion boards about the difficulties in determining what was new in the User Agreement that goes into effect next month. We’ve done our best to identify the major changes. Read more and leave comments of your own in last week’s EcommerceBytes Blog post.