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Tue Oct 18 2011 17:18:21

Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy

By: Ina Steiner

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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."




Comments (30) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy   Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy

by: motionman

Tue Oct 18 17:34:28 2011

Just when you thought ebay can't get any weirder they prove you wrong again and again.

Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy   Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy

by: stillunaware

Tue Oct 18 17:37:01 2011

Thanks eBay!... create a problem and then create your own work-around for it. Any suggestions for a work-around for the final value fee on shipping? Just asking.

Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy   Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy

by: GoodGracious

Tue Oct 18 18:25:40 2011

Is there a marketplace in the world anywhere with more regulations than eBay? It is becoming the antithesis of free-market.

Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy   Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy

by: LadyElizabeth61

Tue Oct 18 18:31:21 2011

The eBay explanations are a crock. I've had this happen, when I've scheduled a time in advance, and before I've even listed an item.

Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy   Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy

by: ayek8

Tue Oct 18 18:52:01 2011

Sigh. eBay, you disappoint me - truly you do. And yet, I just can't throw the towel in yet.

Thanks for the info!

Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy   Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy

by: Sam

Tue Oct 18 19:28:42 2011

Time to invoke my favorite movie line from the original Planet of the Apes when Charles Heston has a high pressure fire hose blasting him down.

"It's a madhouse.... A MADHOUSE!!!".

Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy   Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy

by: fvh

Tue Oct 18 19:35:45 2011

What a crock!

This is about stealing more money from sellers (in the form of fees) as well as creating the appearance of growth (in the form of more listings).

And still I can't come to terms with what once beloved eBay has become.

Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy   Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Tue Oct 18 19:47:19 2011

In addition to a double secret fee hike for some sellers, I suggest there's at least one other reason for this unanno9unced new policy that yet again violates ebafia's promise to sellers.

Greedbay is trying to take advantage of volatile precious metals prices by limiting sellers' ability to peg pricing to actual daily market prices when they increase. It's a sophisticated form of price fixing.

This not only disadvantages bullion sellers but sellers of gold and silver coins and fine gold, silver, and platinum jewelry.

Perhaps this is why ebafia has been pushing precious metals for the last couple of months.

I'd like to know who at ebay might be buying or advising certain insiders to buy underpriced precious metals and profiting as the market increases.

Remember Wall Street hedge fund manager Rajaratnam who illegally received inside information about ebay possibly from someone inside ebay?

Raj received the longest sentence ever given for insider trading (only 11 years), but it isn't long enough IMO.

The sentencing judge accurately pointed that the sentence "reflects a virus in our business culture that needs to be eradicated."

Ebay management is infected with the same greed virus that affects most of then other Wall Street banksters.

OCCUPY SAN JOSE EBAFIA.

Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy   Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy

by: Cadia

Tue Oct 18 20:27:41 2011

Most of the time, revising a price upward is the result of a simple typo, e.g., $10 vs. $100.  So I believe eBay is being hard-nosed about something that really isn't an issue.

Raising the price in increments to the desired price defeats the intent of eBay's policy, takes longer and yields the same result -- a higher price.

A simple solution is to revise all other details except the price.  That is, the seller should find an item for which $10 IS the correct price and change the product to something else.  Then create a neew listing for the $100 item.  

If all of this is done within the first few minutes of an auction -- or even up to an hour later -- there is little chance anyone will have seen the original listing anyway given eBay's very slow indexing system and the fact that most auction listings get few viewers.

Of course, one way to avoid price typos in a listing is to use a template that already contains the correct information for item price, postage, weight, etc.  Then it's just a matter of revising text and title.

~~C~~

Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy   Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy

by: NullApps This user has validated their user name.
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Tue Oct 18 23:00:30 2011

This limitation really makes little sense.  It sounds like eBay is claiming they are afraid of upsetting buyers but how does listing the item again make buyers happy?  Is it simply because the item drops off their watch or wish lists?  If so those buyers get an email a few days later telling them the item has been relisted.

Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy   Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy

by: NullApps This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Oct 18 23:16:41 2011

@ Ming

You are wrong regarding metal prices.  I developed an eBay repricing app a few years ago that happens to have the ability to follow prices on the order of minutes for metals like gold and silver but have yet to run into this issue from eBay.

How exactly would eBay benefit from forcing their sellers to sell bullion at a lower than market price?  Guaranteed buyers?  They get lower FVFs.  Bullion sellers would be finding eBay unprofitable and would be forced to leave right when the market is at its height.

If I were going to make a wild guess I'd bet that the real reason for this rule is search manipulation.  Best match has always been mostly about sales with price and keywords being only minor factors.

Years ago when best match started the way to get on top of search was very simple:

1)  Pay the Featured Plus fee.
2)  Allow best offer.
3)  Accept whatever crazy lowball offers you receive.
4)  Let Featured Plus expire.

They took away featured plus roughly two years ago so the way to get exposure now is to start with a very low price and then increase it once you have a high best match rank.  Once you are on top you would basically stay on top even though you may be ''poorly priced''.  Buyers see the #1 listing at a ridiculous price and walk.

Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy   Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Tue Oct 18 23:47:34 2011

All the spoiled brat MBAs who read these blogs and occasionally contribute their transparent BS will soon be worrying about it's going to take to make SELLERS happy.

They've gone way too far aiding and abetting felony fraud, mail fraud, and theft by deception and the semi literate miscreant buyer base they've so carefully cultivated.

Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy   Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy

by: Nobody Is Steering This Ship?

Wed Oct 19 01:18:40 2011

This is the latest illustration of how incompetent eBay's CEO and management team really are.

Sellers had been somewhat relieved when John Donahoe announced that system and policy changes would be limited to two or three times per year. Mr Donahoe also promised sellers that eBay would provide 60 days advance notice of any and all seller facing changes. Additionally, he promised that changes would not be made during the Holiday selling season.

That promise did not last very long, and it is obvious that CEO John Donahoe can no longer be taken at his word.

Apparently the CEO no longer has control of his management team as there have been numerous recent changes to eBay systems and none were announced as the CEO previously promised.

It is now October the Holiday season is on and we now have changes in the way search results are displayed as well as this policy change preventing sellers from increasing prices.

Clearly, John Donahoe and his management team no longer intend to limit changes to cycles, no longer plan to advise sellers in advance, and will impose changes even during the Holidays.

So much for affording sellers the ability to forecast their business on eBay with any kind of certainty. The kamikaze attack on sellers is back on in full force.

Perhaps if Mr Donahoe were not so busy traveling here and there to deliver keynote speeches, or attend various board meetings, and all the while staring at his smart phone trying to decide on how many stock shares he will sell in his next dump of gifted shares, leadership would be more coherent, and commitments made to sellers would be honored.

Hopefully eBay's Board of Directors has run out of patience with Mr Donahoe and his three year turn around plan that is now in it's fourth year without significant results.

Perhaps Mr Donahoe feels the Board no longer has any confidence in his abilities given the hiring of a new President of Marketplaces with an outrageously high compensation package.

Maybe sellers will get the relief they have been seeking and as soon as the new guy moves into the million dollar house eBay is buying for him, Donahoe will finally be given the walking papers he deserves.

Maybe, maybe not.... but sellers can certainly hope can't they?

Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy   Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy

by: 3lbs7ozInGold=$100K

Wed Oct 19 04:46:20 2011

@ NullApps ''How exactly would eBay benefit from forcing their sellers to sell bullion at a lower than market price?'' Think about that question for a minute. Who would want to buy bullion below market prices?

MING THE MERCILESS IS RIGHT, It's a sophisticated form of price fixing. With perks. The market is very volatile which provides ebay an enormous opportunity to manipulate and profit whether bullion prices go up or down. Who would want to sell bullion under ebays terms? I asked four dealer I know and received a 1 word 4 letter response. $100,000 in gold weighs what 3lbs 7oz and can be carried in your pocket. Try that with $100,000 in cash. Remember this is ebay so buying gold off ebay might be very beneficial to certain groups that watch sellers and buy when the price dips. A nice little perk: if a bullion purchase is made especially a large one and the price drops the buyer can complain, sellers account gets put on hold (who now has the money?) buyer now has negotiating power to blackmail seller to get their funds released.

Again MING IS RIGHT when he says ''They've gone way too far aiding and abetting felony fraud, mail fraud, and theft by deception and the semi literate miscreant buyer (and seller - (added by author) base they've so carefully cultivated''.

Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy   Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy

by: Keeping an eye on all of them
Web Site

Wed Oct 19 07:16:33 2011

To: Nobody Is Steering This Ship?

NOT to be rude or anything but YOU'RE WRONG...

There have been VERY significant results of Donadumasses changes over the past 4 years...

ALL OF THEM RESULTING IN THE UTTER DESTRUCTION OF EBAY!

As I keep saying, I rub my hands with GLEE every single time I see ebay make yet another heavy handed dimbulbass move and site destroying change...

Every last one of those stupid moves they make moves this foul smelling company 1 step closer to BEING GONE - AND THAT'S A GOOD THING FOR EVEYONE!

Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy   Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy

by: Y.D.D.D

Wed Oct 19 07:23:03 2011

Right on Ming ! Never thought about it, but your take makes 100% sense to me about the precious metals volatile market.

Sellers screwed again, given no freedom, and no FREE AGENCY to run there own goods

Nuff said

Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy   Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy

by: Money

Wed Oct 19 08:47:12 2011

Gold is volatile, but not by 200%.  That appears to be the only limit to raising prices.

I agree with the other poster - this is mostly relevant to typo's, and if that's the case, it's rare enough so it shouldn't matter to anyone, including ebay.  

and if ebay is saying that they have buyers buying stuff for more than twice "what they though it would be", and not notice this during checkout, it says more about the checkout process and the buyers.

Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy   Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy

by: Steve

Wed Oct 19 09:54:24 2011

What a crock Johnna Hoff. How can you even say that with a straight face.

Just another nickel and dime money making scheme on the backs of sellers by eBay.    Any fool recognizes this.

They really need to fire all of these junior MBAs and managers who are coming up with these ridiculous schemes.

Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy   Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy

by: Scotty

Wed Oct 19 11:04:20 2011

Could be to prevent sellers from raising prices on whatever the next ''hot'' holiday item turns out to be, i.e. Cabbage Patch dolls, etc.  They want to create the illusion to buyers ''look how cheaply you can get this for on ebay''....and if a seller does not like it....pay a new listing fee as a penalty.  It boggles my mind as to what type of person (or persons) sit in a conference room and come up with this stuff.  Seriously deranged people.

Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy   Raising Prices Gets Tricky on eBay Thanks to Unannounced Policy

by: Louis

Wed Oct 19 11:29:15 2011

I think this policy change may be the result of the fact that, as I understand it, buyers may now place items in their shopping cart without paying for them as the items are not truly ''sold'' until they are paid for. Raising the price on an item which is in a shopping cart unpaid-for could result in the buyer paying more for the item than he understood it to cost at the time of placing it in the cart. I hope this explanation makes sense...I'm not championing this change, just trying to think it through.  

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