Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Mar 11 2018 20:48:44

When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay announced changes to the User Agreement effective March 30, 2018 - see our story in Newsflash to see some of the provisions that are changing.

When reviewing the UA, we were struck anew by some of the provisions eBay has added over the years. For example, did you know when you post a listing on eBay, you could end up paying additional fees beyond the regular listing and commission fees, and there's a possibility eBay will not always display all of your listings in search results? Did you know eBay has the right to auto-renew your fixed-price listings and has the right to modify your content and product data? And did you know DSRs (Detailed Seller Ratings) may still influence placement in search?

Here's a look at some of the terms of use that have made their way into the User Agreement over time. Keep in mind we are summarizing sections of a legal document - this post should not be construed as legal advice, and we recommend you review the full eBay User Agreement.

eBay gives itself the right to charge you extra fees if you fall below minimum performance standards.

eBay gives itself the right to "not display" your listings if it thinks you're abusing its service in any way, (presumably while you continue to pay fees and possibly without providing you notice).

eBay gives itself the right to charge you final value fees even if your item doesn't sell if it believes you are violating its policy about selling outside of eBay, "given your usage of eBay Services for the introduction to a buyer."

eBay gives itself the right to charge you for the "recovery of expenses for policy monitoring and enforcement." ("If we believe you are violating the policy on Offers to buy or sell outside of eBay, you may be subject to a range of actions, including limits on your buying and selling privileges, restrictions on listings and account features, suspension of your account, application of fees, and recovery of expenses for policy monitoring and enforcement.")

eBay warns that bid updates and other notices may not occur in real time.

eBay isn't liable for problems such as service disruptions; viruses; glitches, bugs, errors, or inaccuracies of any kind.

And here are some noteworthy provisions from the UA's "Listing Conditions" section:

Your listing may not be immediately searchable by keyword or category for several hours (or up to 24 hours in some circumstances). eBay can't guarantee exact listing durations.

When you use the consumer seller listing tool to create listings, your fixed-price listings may renew automatically every 30 days, based on the listing terms at that time, until the quantities sell out or until you cancel the listing.

Content that violates any of eBay's policies may be modified, obfuscated or deleted at eBay's discretion.

We may revise product data associated with listings to supplement, remove, or correct information.

We strive to create a marketplace where buyers find what they are looking for. Therefore, the appearance or placement of listings in search and browse results will depend on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to:
- buyer's location, search query, browsing site, and history;
- item's location, listing format, price and shipping cost, terms of service, end time, history, and relevance to the user query;
- seller's history, including listing practices, Detailed Seller Ratings, eBay policy compliance, Feedback, and defect rate; and
- number of listings matching the buyer's query.  

To drive a positive user experience, a listing may not appear in some search and browse results regardless of the sort order chosen by the buyer.

Some advanced listing upgrades will only be visible on certain Services.

eBay's Duplicate listings policy may also affect whether your listing appears in search results.

Over the years, we've reported on some of the more controversial provisions eBay added when it introduced them. But it's fascinating to review the entire User Agreement today - you may be amazed at how things have changed.

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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?   When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?

by: DZT This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 11 22:16:24 2018

The old coin flip scam....

Heads I win.... Tails you loose

Perminate Link for When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?   When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?

This user has validated their user name. by: Castoman

Sun Mar 11 22:34:03 2018

Seems to me they keep track of all their system "quirks" and instead of forwarding them off to a project manager and development team(s), they punt them to their legal department to get the CYA language in their UA. Just my $.02.

Perminate Link for When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?   When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 11 23:03:36 2018

NEVER.....I'm not a lawyer. If you want to sell on ebay you sign the user agreement. Doesn't matter what it says. Fleabag will translate it to their advantage. You lose.

Perminate Link for When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?   When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?

This user has validated their user name. by: cfrphoto

Mon Mar 12 00:53:24 2018

eBay is operating fast and loose with seller copyrights. While eBay may be able to get away with "borrowing" a seller image of a fungible item, it seems like a reach to reserve the right to use seller images of unique items or photographs other than "fair use" on the eBay site in connection with marketing or selling listed items. Once eBay opened a company store for shipping supplies of dubious value, there was no question that eBay is attempting to impose a plantation style business model on sellers.  

Perminate Link for When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?   When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Mar 12 02:48:42 2018

Most of what is stated has been in the UA for at least a couple years now.  And Ina is right.  We have discussed them all here at one time or another.  I can't say I'm a fan of any of them, but I am aware of them.

Perminate Link for When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?   When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 12 06:45:47 2018

Being eBay is a company of lawyers who pretend they are in ecommerce, the frightening terms in eBays UA/TOS are not suprising.

eBay is well known to stretch "the rubber band" as far as it will go and then some - simply because they "know aka dare" smaller sellers to challenge them.

Even if they are wrong and you are right - do you have $50-100k to challenge them in open court? All they need to do is wait you out while you pay your attorney $300+ an hour. At some point - you just say "UNCLE".

As well, even if you do win, eBay can simply hide your listings, change you to below standard and then can you - or charge you (accuse you) of making off eBay sales and kick you off the platform - so you could win the battle but loose the war.

eBay is a vindictive company, one who believes that sellers are NOT thier customers - what Bob Cupcake says .... is a smoke screen.

Bottom line, as time goes by, eBay grants itself more and more power, more and more control and there isnt much you can do about it.

eBay relys on the "boiling frog" method of business ... by the time the water is hot enough to cook you - you are already "dead".

eBays UA mirrors real life Mafia scenarios and thats why people know them as the "gang from San Jose". DW is Tony Soprano, just he doesnt live in NJ, and he uses the TOS, not  Tec 9.

Perminate Link for When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?   When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 12 07:09:47 2018

Being on Ebay is a lot of work, a lot of work.  I'm constantly checking all listings (about 200) everyday 2-3 times a day to make sure nothing has changed.  You just have to be very diligent and "woke".  It's almost like having a second job, whereas with other sites, you just list and go.  You don't have to check after them.
EB = a big pain.

Perminate Link for When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?   When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?

by: frustrated This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 12 07:51:11 2018

I personally had to spend time to move all of my CIRCUIT BREAKERS back to the CIRCUIT BREAKER CATEGORY, out of PLCs.

They deliberately changed them to make them wrong.  

So it ain't just e-commerce they don't know about...........

Perminate Link for When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?   When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?

by: Troy Stiffler This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 12 09:09:22 2018

@frustrated - To the best of my knowledge, there is no ''moving them back''. They'll perpetually re-move to PLC.

There are a lot of sellers on Ebay who don't understand their product (it happens ... as we mostly operate in the ''thrift'' or ''grey market''). But I wish Ebay would either hire professionals who know what they're doing, or keep their fingers out of it. They employee people who have no comprehension of such things. Or they'll file part #'s under the wrong category, because they just don't care, and, like, they want to go to lunch break.

It's bad to have your whole business revolve around eBay, and then have to deal with their incompetence. But, as it goes, eBay is #1 in thrift and grey market products. There is no other marketplace. You can attempt to form a business outside of eBay for these products. But it's really really hard to keep that revenue going. So you just have to push through the stupid to keep those sales flowing.

The idea of eBay managing structured data makes me shake my head. I don't think they have people with the intelligence necessary. And they'll stumble through it while the sellers are desperate to try to get it right. For those who actually care about category placement and other accurate catalog data, it's like we're being trolled by eBay.

Perminate Link for When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?   When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?

by: b86fiero This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 12 10:17:54 2018

The eBay User Agreement is like the United States Federal Tax Code.  You might read it - or a particular paragraph or sentence of it - and think you know exactly what it means.

Don't bet your financial life on what you think it means.  

"eBay cannot guarantee listing duration" ........ so why are we being charged for specific a time duration of 3 days, 5 days, 30 days when we list?  Isn't charging someone for something they do not get called stealing?  

Doesn't eBay violate its own policy by moving listings into unrelated categories from the originally correct category as listed by the seller?

Doesn't eBay violate its own policy when it automatically changes item specifics to what their AI thinks you're selling from what the actual product in your hand states on the label?

Get 3 lawyers in a room and each will spin a different meaning to the same sentence.

Us hapless sellers don't have a chance.    

 

Perminate Link for When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?   When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?

by: epuise This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 12 10:19:21 2018

a listing may not appear in some search and browse results regardless of the sort order chosen by the buyer...

let THAT sink in...

Perminate Link for When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?   When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?

by: bpm This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 12 10:52:14 2018

Based on the UA can anyone tell me what Ebay are actually responsible for? Just one thing?

Perminate Link for When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?   When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 12 11:30:04 2018

The UA/TOS was written to absolve eBay of ANY responsibility, period.

Under the guise of "improving the site for its other users", eBay gives itself the power to do AS IT PLEASES - with ZERO consequences.

They know they can do this because:

1) they are all lawyers - so they know how to wordsmith the UA to just shy of it becomming a "real" legal matter

2) they have TONS of money so they can outspend you (and anyone else who challenges them)(big sellers with money dont play by the same rules we do) in court so that you cant win

3) they know that they are #2 in ecommerce overall so they have the clout to do as the please. Because alot of people "have no other selling platform options", for them, Amazon just doesnt work ... therefore their "ONLY" choice is eBay and eBay uses that to take as much advantage as possible.

eBay brass circa 2007 ALWAYS wanted to be Amazon. S L O W L Y they changed eBays entire nature to reflect that ... and now its reaching its tipping point.

When eBay can charge you for a service and not provide it (and get away with it) ... we are all in DEEP trouble!  

Perminate Link for When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?   When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Mar 12 11:58:32 2018

Ebay's demise has been predicted on this site for over a decade!

Yet, eBay still thrives and prospers. . .

Perminate Link for When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?   When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Mar 12 12:04:59 2018

Thus the popularity of any site that isn't eBay.

It's a lot of fun selling on other sites where items don't fall into a black hole and can actually be seen.  And their user agreements don't read like a pact with the devil.

2018 eBay: lots of work with little return. Can't grow your business.   2018 on other sites: you get back exactly what you put into it, and you CAN grow your business.

Perminate Link for When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?   When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Mar 12 12:20:56 2018

@Rexford

I've been on eCrater for almost 2 weeks, not a single sale.

I can't pay the bills on that kind of performance!

Perminate Link for When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?   When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?

by: Toledo Maude This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 12 14:23:35 2018

User Agreement?  Who cares?  The site is eBay's and as many sellers including myself learned in 2012 that eBay is not our trading partner with our best interest at heart.

Prior to having my business being destroyed by eBay in 2012, losing the right to sell on eBay would have been Titanic in biblical proportions.  Now "do I close up the eBay shop and expand elsewhere today or tomorrow".

I will stay on eBay as long as the sales are there and fees affordable.    

Perminate Link for When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?   When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Mon Mar 12 17:22:05 2018

I read the TOS in 1998.  By 2012, I figured the 50-odd pages of word salad distilled down to "rich want, rich get" and spent the time elsewhere.

Perminate Link for When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?   When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?

by: odona This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 12 21:08:41 2018

The ebay business model was always perfect - set up the app, do nothing else, collect money...its down to how much can be sucked out of the money flow between buyers and sellers - all to simply increase the stock owners' return...sad - in my business (vintage) ebay used to be a glorious spot to do business - now not so much...

Perminate Link for When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?   When Is the Last Time You Read the eBay User Agreement?

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Mar 13 02:49:10 2018

@rk

While I certainly agree it is some dry reading and may seem it is 50 pages long, it isn't.  If you were to print it out, it is 11 pages.  Still not fun to read, but it is something that each seller should know about if they are currently selling on Ebay.

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