|Tue Oct 18 2011 17:18:21|
Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy
By: Ina Steiner
Sellers who want to raise their prices on eBay are being blocked when they attempt to manually revise the price of live listings upwards. eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff said the new (unannounced) policy was created to improve the shopping experience. She explained:
"A significant price increase may change the value of the listing to buyers compared to other listings of the same item and result in a less-optimal shopping experience. Listings where a price increase significantly changes the value of the listing in relation to the market and to other available listings of the same item, will need to be relisted."
She went on to explain that the significance of the increase is determined by a number of factors including the price, the percent of change, and the relationship of the higher price to the overall market and other available items on eBay.
The development is somewhat ironic. As eBay moves away from auctions (dynamic-pricing) and towards fixed-price listings (static pricing), pricing on Amazon has never been more fluid with the increasing adoption of repricing tools by their third-party merchants. And despite the perception from those who assume repricers are driving down prices, the aim of repricing tools is just as much about raising prices as lowering them.
Sellers began experiencing problems raising prices of live listings on eBay last month. One seller who had to end several listings and create new ones said it cost her additional insertion and feature fees. "I basically paid double fees for what should have been a single listing," and added, "I am not one to believe in conspiracy theories, but I feel this "error" is actually something eBay designed to get more fees from sellers."
Other readers said they had experienced the problem but had found a workaround. Brett Rush of AuctionSound, a listing management tool, discovered that eBay was prohibiting sellers from increasing prices by over 200%, but said sellers could raise prices incrementally, revising as many times as needed to in order to display the desired price. "One of my clients accidentally listed an item for $10 instead of $100. He had to revise to $20, then $40, then $80 and finally $100," Rush said.
Another seller said eBay Customer Support sent him an email in response to his inquiry that contained the following advice:
"The reason that we do not allow items to be revised dramatically is because we don't want buyers to see an item at a price with plans to purchase the item and then go back and see that the price has been increase dramatically. This could be very disappointing, but also could result in a buyer purchasing an item expecting to get it for a price that is no longer offered. Now that you understand the purpose I want to tell you how to work through this particular item. If you increase the price by less the 50 percent first and then increase the price again, the system will allow you to set the price to the amount you want."