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Wed Aug 15 2012 12:06:11

Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?

By: Julia Wilkinson

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Nestled in the 2012 eBay Fall Seller Update was news about a new fee eBay will charge sellers who end auctions which have already received at least one bid early. I didn't even really realize it until I noticed an active discussion on the eBay boards debating the fee, titled "Does the upcoming Early Termination Fee Take Seller's Rights Away?"

I found this discussion interesting because although some sellers were angered by the new fee, which starts October 1 --  and will equal the amount of the final value fee had the listing ended naturally and sold for the highest bid received when the seller ended the listing -- plenty of others defended eBay and said the new fee was understandable given that a lot of sellers seemed to be abusing the "ending a listing early" feature, leading to a substantial number of disgruntled buyers.

This made me think back to other "bad apple" situations when all sellers on eBay have to pay for the abuse of the few, such as the fee we now pay on shipping fees (yes, a fee on shipping fees...sounds funny, doesn't it?) because some sellers were listing items at deceptively low starting prices and packing the real cost of the item into their shipping, in order to save on listing fees.

It also makes me wonder, who is finding the need to end so many auctions early, and why are they doing it? It reminds me of that old Seinfeld bit about how they have that tiny slot for used razor blades in airplane bathrooms:  "Who is shaving on the plane? And shaving so much they're using up razor blades? Is the wolf man flying in there?"

Who is ending so many auctions early? And if the "few bad apples" are abusing this, could eBay find a way to prevent the few, rather than penalizing the many? Granted, eBay does allow a seller one freebie a year: "In rare situations, a seller may need to end a listing early, so the fee will be waived the first time a seller ends a listing early each calendar year."

Could eBay, for example, set a reasonable limit on ending a listing early..say, three to five a year? Or some other amount? Or is there another way they could handle it, such as targeting the sellers who are doing this on a regular basis?

Personally, I don't often need to use this feature, but on the rare occasion when I do, it is for a good reason, such as I discovered a flaw that I hadn't noticed on first inspection (we are only human after all; all sellers sometimes make mistakes) and it makes the auction unacceptable. Or, let's say someone's dog chewed up the lovely Manolo Blahniks they had up for sale. I don't do it often but if I had to do it just a few times a year, I don't like that I'll be charged for it. (Granted, I don't think any of the auctions I ever ended early had a bid, but after 13 years of selling, I honestly can't remember).

What do you think? Is this fee fair, or do you not give it much thought? And on a larger level, when these "bad apple" situations occur, do you think eBay could use its technology to ferret out those who are "gaming the system" and penalize only them? Post a comment here!




Comments (32) | Permalink

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Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?   Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?

This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Wed Aug 15 13:24:16 2012

Who knows why eBay is implementing this but the truth is eBay attracts so many bottom of the barrel scumbags and Chinese cheaters, if there's a way to cheat, beat fees, ripoff buyers, shill bid, snipe or scam ~ you can bet it's happening at eBay.

One thing I do agree with is that it pretty much sucks when a seller ends an item you've bid on early. As a former eBay user who bought quite a lot, I'd say 1 out of 10 auctions I'd bid on was ended early. Probably because the newbie seller was afraid the item would lose them money. Normal people know that's what a reserve is for but eBay fails to clearly spell out options, rules and regulations for new sellers, most learn by getting burned.

Every day I read here, I'm thrilled I quit using eBay as a seller and buyer.  

Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?   Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed Aug 15 13:48:14 2012

To those that say that ending an auction item early disappoints buyers making the penalty fee a good move on eBay's I would say this.

Stop fooling yourself. An auction ends early with bids, SO WHAT?

If eBay was so genuinely concerned about sellers disappointing buyers they would not allow Toys R US to continue selling on eBay and disappointing thousands of buyers per year. ( Feedback for Toys Are Us here: http://feedback.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewFeedback2&userid=toysrus
&&_trksid=p4340.l2560&rt=nc&iid=170895226840&sspagename=VIP:feedback&ftab=FeedbackAsSeller)

eBay
is simply looking for a new way to generate revenue while using the practice of ending auctions early as an excuse to fleece sellers out of more revenue.

eBay has run out of legitimate ways to raise their revenue. They have changed  the marketplace so many times they have alienated buyers. They change rules so many times, they have alienated sellers. The result of their efforts is they can no longer genuinely grow sales revenue so they have to resort to forcing sellers into offering "free shipping" to make it appear as though sales on eBay are growing.

eBay is in desperation  mode to collect revenue so they are resulting to new fees that they justify be declaring they are trying to deter bad behavior.

To deter sellers from inflating shipping costs, they added a penalty fee on shipping costs, that is unless you help them artificially inflate their sales figures by including shipping costs in the selling price of your item.

Now, they are adding a new penalty fee on sellers who end their auctions early when the item has bids.

No doubt, eBay will see this as a source of new revenue, and the penalty fee for ending a listing early will cover ending all listings early with a future seller update.


Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?   Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?

This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww
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Wed Aug 15 13:56:28 2012

Spartacus, thanks for your input! Wow, 1 out of 10 auctions you bid on ended early? I would agree that is quite a lot. I can't say that I've had anywhere near that many end early on me (as a buyer)..I think maybe a handful over all the years I've been buying and selling?

But I did hear on the eBay boards discussion some folks saying this had become a bad problem. I would guess that your reasoning that it is new sellers who don't understand  reserves etc., starting auctions at low prices and then getting disappointed, who are the most likely culprits doing this. Maybe a little ''newbie education'' is in order..if that would be possible! ;)

Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?   Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Aug 15 14:14:05 2012

What a GREAT observation OP and spot on in my opinion.  

It's just another way for Ebay to make a few more bucks at our expense.  1 per year fees if pitiful.  While I probably only have 1 per year, sometimes accidents happen.  Sometimes us mere humans make a mistake.  Ebay wants us all to be robots and further expect us to be 99.5% accurate at all times in ALL situations.

And as we all know, Ebay can't even come close to making that standard themselves.  Like all the glitches that are everywhere on the site right now.  They claim only for the past week and a half, but that is absolutely not true.

So what penalty can we impose on them for costing us money.  And make no mistake, all these glitches are costing the sellers sales.  While I know that hurts Ebay too, what we are discussing here are penalties for costing the other money.  And Ebay is costing me money.

For example:  This picture problem currently on Ebay.  It's not getting better, it's getting worse.  I've found another half dozen listings of mine with problems.  Ebay says they will refund sellers double the listings fees.  I'm so excited, I get 10 cents back.  That certainly should make up for the problem don't you think.  All those highly educated people at Ebay and not a brain amoung them.

Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?   Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 15 14:50:15 2012

NOTHING with eBay is complicated - not its CEO, not its employees and not its methodology when it ''makes a move''.

There are a few factors here in play:

1) EXACTLY what Ric said. eBay has run through all its ideas and now once again turns to some kind of fee to offset the loss of mid level sellers. eBay wants to be Amazon but it cant be, so it tinkers on the margins, making things worse. If you think about it - besides raising insert fees or percentages on certain categories (FVF's) where else, how else can eBay grow? They can crow all day about ''mobile blah blah blah'' but the only person who REALLY believes in it, is the fool in charge. If it was the next big thing, they wouldnt have brought Noah in from Amazon.  

2) Too many customers are double if not tripple or quadrouple listing. Small sellers who have small inventories list those items in 4 places (ebay, buy.com, amazon, sears) and which ever place creates the sale gets the goods and they are removed from the other 3 places. Buy.com, Amazon and Sears (each for thier own reasons) could care less - but as issue #1 is happening ... eBay has no where to turn - therefore as with all eBay issues ... ITS THE SELLERS FAULT STUPID! If sellers wouldnt pull thier auctions - there would be no ''problem'' as there would be more sales, more buyers, more FVF's, higher stock pricing so JD could sell off more stock.

Its not really hard to figure eBay out. Of course if eBay was just ''normal'' then they would have all those sales, but they are so corrupt that they cant/wont change - even if they wanted to.

They are so far down the rabbit hole of blaming sellers and trying to make them the scape goats that they cant get out - so they figure - hell lets go for more.

Whether its VERO, Magic Invisible DSRs, No feedback for buyers, Shillbidding, or fees for everything under the sun - eBay is going to continue to go this course. And, then when it bites them in the @$$ - lets get a fee up on there, that will make it go away.

I dont do auctions, I wont do auctions, I have no reason to do them - god bless you if you do them - but im not gonna play JD's game :)

Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?   Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?

by: mylifeisgood This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 15 14:55:59 2012

Ebay is doing this just to give the whiners something else to whine about while they (Ebay) is doing some other dasterly deed....

Anything to draw attention away is Ebay's game.  

Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?   Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?

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

Wed Aug 15 16:12:30 2012

So where is Philip with his information on Eforcity and their shill bidding practices. My guess is they will tear thru that 1 exception on Day 1!

Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?   Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Wed Aug 15 18:11:33 2012

Where I can see the rational and have been there is if a potential buyer says "I'll give you $$$" if you cancel your listing early or put a BIN price.

If you jump at the offer, you are ahead. The worst eBay will get is the penalty amount. Now, if you can cover that penalty and do better - why not? Or wait until the snipers show up & do even better?

It's just a tempest in a teapot notwithstanding eBay's arrogance.

I wonder what the next "chain" er "shackle" will be on the sellers.

Any bets? Hey Julia, maybe you should run an
"eBay's Next Kool Idea?" blog,
or
"The next stick-it to the sellers"  blog.

Arrgh!
Time for more lithium & adult beverages.....

Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?   Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Wed Aug 15 18:59:08 2012

Sorry, I'm late today ...

Well, Julia, you’d better start reading Ina’s blogs …

“New Auction Fee: Beginning October 1, eBay will charge sellers for ending any auction listing early that has received at least one bid. … eBay believes ending an auction early once it has received a bid leads to disappointed bidders.”

http://www.ecommercebytes.com/cab/abn/y12/m07/i24/s01

This has nothing to do with disappointed buyers but is all about a disappointed eBafia: too many such final valuation fee-less cancellations lead to a reduction in fees received by eBafia, and eBafia desperately needs those fees; after all, to keep the rusting old scow afloat, eBafia has to compensate somehow for those earlier “reductions” of the fees otherwise payable by merchants.

Obviously, this ''ending auctions early'' fee is being introduced principally to stop unscrupulous merchants avoiding eBay’s FVF by the monotonous cancelling/relisting of their grossly shilled nominal-start auctions that have not yet attracted any reasonable genuine bids.

The “master fraud facilitator”, eBafia, is wise to all the tricks that such fraudsters play to avoid eBay’s FVF on such shilled auctions; after all, eBafia has that “sophisticated and proactive software” to keep track of all such shill bidding fraudsters …

This change has the added benefit to eBay of encouraging merchants to start auctions at the minimum value that they are prepared to accept which will bring eBay a higher listing fee, always assuming its not one of eBay’s desperate listing fee-free days ...

But, fraudsters should otherwise fear not; with eBay’s unstated but effective blessing they may carry on blatantly shill bidding on their auctions, but in the future eBafia is not going to let them avoid its cut on such failed attempted frauds.

A great move, eBafia. No doubt about it; the “master fraud facilitator” knows how to turn a blind eye to shill bidding fraud, but the avoidance of its FVF, that, the eBafia finds simply intolerable and so, after 1 October, merchants are going to be paying a FVF on early cancelled auctions that have received a (shill?) bid placed thereon (above any set reserve, where reserves are able to be set).

Brilliant, eBafia, brilliant! How could we ever have expected you to be satisfied with collecting your FVF only on “sales”—real or faux, when now, as the good ship “eBafia” slowly settles in the water, and many merchants become ever more desperate, and there is an ever increasing amount of attempted shill bidding frauds that are then being “pulled” because they are obviously going to fail. No, rather than do anything about such attempted frauds eBafia is now going to simply take its percentage, whether the fraud is successful or not.  

The Mafia of old would undoubtedly be most proud of the eBafia’s masterly, ever-evolving, fraud-enabling, business model …

As long as you understand that nothing that eBay does is driven by other than consideration for their “bottom line”; not even the US Criminal Code is allowed to stand in the way of that bottom line, and once you understand that you will get no further surprises from eBay …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?   Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Wed Aug 15 19:04:31 2012

By the way, "eforcity" does not shill bid; he's one of the major sellers that clearly do not shill bid on their auctions. If you want to watch some habitual and blatant eBay-approved shill bidding, watch seller eDropOff ...

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?   Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?

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

Wed Aug 15 21:55:50 2012

LOL AI G! I'd sure like to give them ''kool ideas.'' I think that with companies it's all about the bottom line...I get that..and I know they probably see a lot of this stuff as whining. Still, I think if there are ways they can address the ''gaming'' without penalizing everyone, it would be preferable and build seller goodwill. Fixed price is all well and good but I still come to eBay for the unique, offbeat, and the bargains. And, frankly, for the used! ;) I'm sorry, ''pre-owned.''

Philip, lol..good point! I sure try to keep up with Ina's writing, but with someone that prolific, it's not easy! ;)

Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?   Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 15 22:53:30 2012

Its not hard to see where eBay is going and what it will do NEXT to rake in fees it doesnt deserve.

1) Now theres a %20 fee reduction if you do as they ask ... returns, shipping times etc - NEXT it will get turned on its head - instead of a %20 fee reduction ..if you DONT do what we say (for what ever idiocy they come up with next) we will CHARGE you %20 more!  

2) Authorized Dealers - not only will you have to get permission to sell certain brands (Hi VERO we see you and Net Enforcers over there together colluding against small sellers) but to get access to certain Brands and get that permission - you will have to pay a fee. After all VERO costs money. Think about how many cases of Cheetos, cases of Red Bull and the cost of cable (to watch Jersey girls or the Kardashians) costs! You want to play (read:sell) certain items/brands - pay up! ''those costs will go to offset the VERO program so that we can make shopping on eBay a safer enviroment'' (or some such BS)

3) TRS/Powerseller designations - play for pay ... want better search visibility - pay for it!

4) FBE - Noah will bring ''FBA'' to ebay and you will have to pay abit more then Amazon ... plus you wont get the protection on feedback - but eBay never cares if feedback is true, damaging or even legal. (their opinion was that the shipment was late, my opinion is that JD takes (20) 5 hour energy drinks per day ...

5) Pay for feedback removal - its just a matter of time - everything will be monetized. Now its just a matter of the number of transactions - the more you have the less the negatives count. Here we dispense will all that and get to the $$$ right away.

See, its easy to know where eBay will go - a smart man would fix the leaking ship and help BUILD the company, JD et al just want to keep it afloat long enough to make millions off the stock, then leave for some other dufus company that thinks he ''knows'' ecommerce!

Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?   Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?

by: SallyH This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 15 23:15:13 2012

Just wondering if this will ONLY apply the AUCTIONS?  I have been upgrading many of our Store Fixed Price Qty listings with longer title lines and galleries with larger, multiple photos.  As I post the new listing I end the old one. Sure hope they won't decide to charge us for those too.

Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?   Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?

by: Starscream This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 15 23:59:26 2012

This one is simple. They've been throwing free auction listings at everyone. There are a lot of newbies who don't realize that auctions ain't what they used to be on Ebay.

They put up their stuff, realize they are going to lose their shirt on the item, and then they yank it off to avert the loss.

Someone at Ebay noticed the trend and figured they could make a buck of that too. Just another way to keep the lie going. ''All is well I tell you...''

Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?   Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Aug 16 00:13:13 2012

Pace says:

"5) Pay for feedback removal"

Didn't they already try this? I remember years ago you could pay $20 and get feedback removed. I don't remember what else was involved other than the payment.

Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?   Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?

by: blaumann This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 16 00:21:25 2012

FAIR??? When was the last time ebay was treating sellers in a fair manor?

Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?   Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?

by: maggieq This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 16 00:43:21 2012

Well this little eBay newbie feels like a baby seal in shark infested waters.  All I've read since I finally got my items together, put hours of time/effort into creating ''eye catching and yes honest'' ads for 2 lovely valuable items - is that eBay isn't worth the effort anymore.  I did have the sense to list both items on Reserve to test the buyers market.  I know what I'm  willing to let these items go for...and I am aware there are those looking to get valuable items for next to nothing.  So dear eCommerce experts - I find this a most valuable source of continued information.    

Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?   Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Thu Aug 16 09:22:32 2012

Hi  maggieq:

I've never had much luck with reserves. What you get is a message from a "buyer" asking either "what is your reserve" or "will you take my mule in trade for your item, I'll even toss in a gen-u-ine straw hat for the mule".

Then again, if you are willing to test the waters without any expectations - feel free. The only caveat is that the number and quality of the eyeballs varies. I've had auctions where I reduced the price by 30% or more, tried listing it 3-4 times and when it sold it sold for more that when it was listed originally - 2 bidders got going & pumped up the selling price.

I just don't know if a reserve is worth the effort. Perhaps a "best offer" at the reserve price may work better - at least you can auto-screen the riff-raff offers.

Peace, love & Cherry Garcia

Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?   Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?

by: timeaftertime This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 16 11:41:12 2012

Al G - My experience is exactly the opposite of yours -- auctions ended early are usually by unknowing sellers, victimized by bottom feeders offering them a pittance for something valuable.

The seller inevitably has no idea how valuable their item actually is, and so lets him/herself be  cajoled and schmoozed into selling way under the money.

eBay is always a gamble, but my experience is that if somebody contacts you looking for a ''buy it now'' , the best plan is to leave the auction and snipers usually triple or quadruple the amount the bottom feeder wants to pay. I still remember the auction we were ready to spend $900 on, and the seller ended it early. She was honest enough to tell me she had sold it to someone who offered her $250.  While she was really happy to get $250, it is just sad that she would have realized much more had she let the auction run.

The moral of that story is, especially if you don't know what you are selling, it's better to take a chance on the market than give in to whiners asking you to end the auction and sell to them.

The best payback is to print their userid in your response to their question:  ''Sorry, ''bottomfeeder'' I do not end auctions early!'' and then post it in the listing !!!

These are the same people who go to live auctions and loudly complain about some item, specifically hoping to convince other potential bidders to not bid because something is wrong with it.  Then guess who is bidding on it when the auctioneer holds it up!!



 

Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?   Bad Apples: Is eBay's Upcoming Early Auction Ending Fee Fair?

by: timeaftertime This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 16 11:57:31 2012

Re Reserves - I seldom use them any more because of the cost. If I do, I often put the reserve $$ amount right in the listing and hope bidders know the value of the item involved. I also hope they understand I need to protect my investment -- they would do the same if they were in my shoes!  

What I usually do now is list an item for the minimum price I'm willing to accept for it.

Yes, maybe some bidders are turned off by a higher opening minimum bid. I just have to hope they realize there is no hidden reserve, and the starting price is reasonable and if they bid they might actually win it for the amount they see on the screen.

Intelligent bidders understand you are gaming them if you use a low starting bid/reserve to entice them into ''auction mentality'' hoping the competition will make them bid higher than they may plan to.

Also, from a bidder's standpoint nothing is more frustrating than bidding against an unknown reserve amount, when it may be, say, only $5 more than your highest bid. Knowing the reserve amount gives me the ability to make an intelligent decision about bidding. If I feel the reserve is ridiculously high I won't waste my time.  If it's only a few dollars more, I will reconsider my maximum bid.    


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