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What Exactly Is Changing in eBay’s New User Agreement

eBay
What Exactly Is Changing in eBay's New User Agreement

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.

Here’s a rundown of the major changes we identified. Note that changes to Section 13 – one of the most important sections, dealing with returns, cancellations, and the eBay Money Back Guarantee – were especially tricky, so we advise readers to look over that section in the new UA to make sure you familiarize yourself with the new rules. (Section 13 also references eBay’s Payments Terms of Use, with which you should also familiarize yourself.)

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)

eBay also streamlined Section 5 where it describes what it will do if a seller’s payment method fails or the seller’s account is past due, because sellers must now also abide by the Payment Terms of Use.

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.”

The new User Agreement says in cases where a seller’s account is past due: “eBay payments entities may collect amounts owed in the manner described in the Payment Terms of Use.”

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.

However, Section 11 of the User Agreement references Section 14 (Managed Payments) and eBay Payment Terms of Use, both of which you should familiarize yourself.

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:

“When an item is returned, to refund the buyer, you (as seller) authorize eBay or eBay payments entities to collect the amount of the reimbursement from you as described in the Payments Terms of Use. If you receive your transaction proceeds to your PayPal account, you also authorize eBay to request that PayPal remove the refund amount (in same or other currency) from your PayPal account.”

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 Speak

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.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
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/.

2 thoughts on “What Exactly Is Changing in eBay’s New User Agreement”

  1. I’m very close to dropping out of eBay after more than 20 years as a hobbyist seller and buyer. This new payment system is not hobby friendly!

  2. Anyone else had shipping policy changed to default across all their listings without warning?
    I’ve spent the last couple of hours with ebay chat and no knows what’s happening.

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