eBay is placing restrictions on sellers' ability to place items for sale through its promotions manager tool - but it is exempting some sellers from the new sale restrictions. Could the company be worried about charges of deceptive advertising?
As part of the Summer Seller Update announced on May 22nd, eBay announced the following restrictions:
New markdown sale event requirement
Starting June 25, 2018, you must list your item for 14 calendar days at the same price before you can create a markdown sale event with Promotions Manager.
We recommend that you list your item at a competitive price before you create a markdown sale event. For many products, pricing recommendations are provided as you list and under the Growth tab in Seller Hub.
A seller who received the exemption notice from eBay told EcommerceBytes, "Although I know there are legal reasons for this, I just shake my head. Instead of just telling the simple truth that running "sales" are illegal, eBay speaks of transparency and uses other buzzwords because they are incapable of telling the truth."
The seller is referring to deceptive advertising practices for which some retailers have gotten in trouble with regulators in the past, including Overstock.com, as we reported in this article
published by BNA.com last year points to why sellers should use caution in advertising "sale prices" and reported that "Nordstrom, DSW, Neiman Marcus, and J.C. Penney are among the many retailers that have faced class actions alleging they use deceptive "compare at" figures on price tags."
You can find the regulation on the government website here
in Title 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations under Commercial Practices - Guides Against Deceptive Pricing - Retail price comparisons; comparable value comparisons.
It isn't clear what led eBay to create the new restriction or why it is allowing some sellers to be exempt. Here is eBay's letter forwarded to EcommerceBytes by a reader:
Hello (user name redacted),
As part of the Summer 2018 Seller Update, eBay announced an update for markdown sale events that will require a listing to be active at the same price for a minimum of 14 calendar days before it can be included in a sale event starting June 25, 2018.
We wanted to let you know that we have exempted your account from this requirement. You will continue to be able to create markdown sale events for listings without a wait period.
It is, however, important to note that when creating a new markdown sale event, the listing price should be a price that the item (or one that is virtually identical to it) has sold for in the recent past.
To ensure price transparency for eBay shoppers, and increase the likelihood of a sale, we recommend you list your item at a competitive price before you create a markdown sale event. As you list, pricing recommendations are provided for many products as well as under the Growth tab in Seller Hub.
Learn more about pricing strategies here.
As always, thank you for selling on eBay.
eBay Selling Team
eBay's Promotions Manager tool is only available to those sellers who have an eBay Store subscription. Sellers discussed the new policy here
, and an eBay moderator clarified the new restriction only impacts price markdowns: "Promotion Manager offers are not related to this change. The new requirement is related to Markdown Manager sale events only. Promotion Manager offers for order discounts, shipping discounts, and codeless coupons are not impacted."
That was followed up by another moderator's recommendation that sellers consider using those other promotional offer types available in Promotions Manager, which are available at no charge to sellers. And not surprisingly, she said sellers could include newly listed items in a Promoted Listings campaign, which is eBay's paid advertising program for sellers.