Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Nov 4 2019 11:06:22

Some Online Sellers Feel Tricked into Paying Extra Fees

By: Ina Steiner

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Sellers are writing about their concerns over a practice by online marketplaces that they say "trick" them into paying more in fees. At the heart of the matter: checkboxes in the listing process that are automatically checked, which the seller may not notice - and cases where marketplaces may change the action of display buttons usually found in the same spot.

A reader sent EcommerceBytes a link to a thread on the eBay forums where sellers claimed eBay moves buttons around in an attempt to get sellers to accept offers they would normally counter or decline. The original poster wrote:

"eBay is now literally trying to trick you into accepting offers when you think you're declining or countering offers. When you're doing a repetitive task, like answering a LOT of offers in a row, User Interface, muscle memory, and other habits are very important. eBay is deceptively moving the buttons around as you're loading pages."

To bolster their argument, the seller used the following example:

"Can you imagine if each time you took a phone call, the "answer" and "decline" buttons were randomly assigned to the left or right side? How many calls would you answer that you didn't mean to, and how many would you decline that you needed to answer?"

One seller believed the feature highlighted "accept offer" when the offer was in range of what eBay considered to be the average selling price (ASP), and highlighted "counter offer" when the offer was lower than the ASP. "At least that's how it appears to work," they wrote. "I agree with all of you that it should display the same way no matter what the offer."

Not everyone agreed there was a usability problem - one seller wrote, "To me those buttons are very easy to see and I cannot see anyone trying to hit a button by memory and not reading it first."

Another seller pointed to an Etsy practice they said was similarly troubling to them - having a checkbox for "automatic relist" pre-checked. "If you are not careful and forget to UNCHECK the automatic relist (pre-checked by Et*y) button, your listings will continually relist $$$."

That concern was dismissed by another seller: "Well, that checkbox is prominent on the page and in the same place. And if 20 cents for 4 months is going to eat into your profits, well, you have bigger worries."

That prompted the first seller to take offense - "ANY fee for any amount $ that is received/taken/stolen by using deceitful practices or "trickery" should be illegal to protect consumers," and they said such fees add up.

"No checkbox/option which will incur fees should EVER be checked by default (on ANY site)," another seller replied.

An eBay moderator was asked to get the "offers" usability issue fixed, and one responded by writing, "I've passed this feedback over to the appropriate team."

One seller claimed PayPal did something similar that almost proved costly to them. "I've noticed that PayPal did the same thing on their app a while ago when you have the choice to transfer your money instantly for a fee or the standard way for free. It's just deceptive and disgusting. Every time these companies tweak something, that's easy money for them because not everyone is quick to notice these things."

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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Some Online Sellers Feel Tricked into Paying Extra Fees   Some Online Sellers Feel Tricked into Paying Extra Fees

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 11:27:25 2019

Deceptive interfaces and ever changing user agreements can be challenged by sellers by reporting to the FTC and your state AG office when you feel that eBay or any other venue is abusing your rights as a consumer or a seller on their platforms.

Changing Term of Service and forcing sellers to automatically relist unsold items for a fee is illegal and eBay will be challenged on this by the government in the end, we live by the law of the land, not by eBay terms of service which are deceptive and unjustly enrich the company.

They have been busted for these tactics in the past and were forced to pay sellers back in class action lawsuits. Today eBay has even changed the TOS to force sellers to agree to arbitration barring them from joining class actions. But that does not stop AGs from filing criminal complaints against eBay and fining them hundreds of millions of dollars for criminal activity against Federal law.

Sellers should make complaints to the FTC, State AGs on any deceptive practice they see, every time they see it.

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by: P.Dorf This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 11:31:36 2019

On UK checkout, ebay had moved paypal option from top to bottom. Muscle memory kicked in, but thankfully realised the trick & did not release click.

"I've passed this feedback over to the appropriate team." = $RECYCLE.BIN

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by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 11:39:24 2019

eBay is defrauding sellers on many fronts, these are real sellers reporting thousands of dollars of billing fraud for unknown phantom fees, it is not only the Good Til Canceled insertion fees you have to worry about, eBay is billing unjustly for many things now days calling it a glitch, you have better watch your invoices daily as I think their billing fraud is over 500 million to a billion dollars.

Schenkel is the CFO for years, he knows and is implicated in all the billing fraud eBay has been engaged in and is engaged in today.

We see just the tip of the iceberg here, there are millions of sellers who never look at their invoices everyday and simply allow eBay to defraud them.


https://community.ebay.com/t5/Seller-Hub/MANAGED-PAYM
ENTS-IS-A-JOKE-7DAYS-TO-PAYOUT/m-p/30382955#M48280

Nov 2, 2019 12:06:01 PM

Given all of the issues that eBay has with their site are you worried about the safety of your funds and have you been told they would be protected regardless of eBay's own financial situation ? We have encountered several billing issues recently that we had discovered ourselves that amounted to thousands of dollars of overcharges.

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

Mon Nov 4 11:44:30 2019

"To me those buttons are very easy to see and I cannot see anyone trying to hit a button by memory and not reading it first."

As someone who's had to do a ton of data entry work in my career, doing things by memory is key to speed. If the buttons keep moving around while you're trying to work, then you're bound to hit something wrong and it only slows down your progress. So, I agree that it is important that things not be changed needlessly and, if eBay is constantly moving these buttons around, then it's obvious that they are trying to trick sellers into paying more fees.

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

Mon Nov 4 11:48:29 2019

"Today eBay has even changed the TOS to force sellers to agree to arbitration barring them from joining class actions."

No TOS should legally be allowed to strip consumers of their protections.

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by: ElectronixRecyclers This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 12:14:32 2019

PurpleIris,

As a general legal principle, you can't waive the right to redress before the court.  They can insist on arbitration, or even binding arbitration, but that doesn't supersede your right to take it before the court.  You'll have to go through the arbitration process, but once that's done, you can still bring suit.

Now, what will happen is the court will consider if the waiver in the contract (TOS) is valid.  The two things that would come up in an eBay TOS suit would be mutuality of obligation (where both parties are required to uphold their end of the bargain) or competency and capacity (where the parties must understand the agreement.)  When mutuality of obligation is not present (ie; the eBay TOS states that you have to follow the eBay TOS, but eBay doesn't, or can change them at will), a court will rule that neither party is obligated to the contract.  A competency and capacity argument would show that one of the parties did not fully comprehend the agreement they were entering in to.  While this isn't the same as just not reading it, it does mean that eBay cannot force an "unsophisticated" party to adhere to terms they didn't understand - and judges generally frown upon people using the law as a tool of deception.

The best argument against eBay's attempt to force arbitration is the mutuality of obligation element.  Since eBay can and does change the TOS at their own whim, it's a slam dunk argument that there is no mutuality of obligation, and the party is railroaded into agreeing to the changes since eBay usually doesn't make the changes reviewable for any significant period prior to implementation.  

Note that this is completely different than agreeing to waive liability for injury.  In that case, you're agreeing that you were advised of the risks and agree not to hold a business responsible for injuries.  A liability waiver is essentially a contract unto itself.  They agree to let you, say, skydive, and you agree not to hold them liable.  Mutuality of obligation, consideration, competency and capacity, offer, and acceptance are all present in a liability waiver.

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by: ElectronixRecyclers This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 12:16:44 2019

n.b.; I only brought up injury waivers because I thought someone might think of those as a potential example of "waiving the right to sue," and I wanted to show that I'd considered that.

Perminate Link for Some Online Sellers Feel Tricked into Paying Extra Fees   Some Online Sellers Feel Tricked into Paying Extra Fees

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 12:19:35 2019

Purple, here is the reason eBay changed the TOS, they had to pay out more than 6 million on the last Good Til Canceled Auto relist scam they pulled, seems like Wenig and Temkin thought up a new version of the same crime thinking no class actions could be filed.

All eBay sellers can do is file criminal complaints with the FTC and their state AGs.

https://www.bigclassaction.com/settlement/ebay-reaches-preliminary-6-4
-settlement-in-consumer.php

Los
Angeles, CA: A $6.4 million settlement agreement has been reached
in an unfair business practices class action brought against online
retailer eBay. Under the terms of the proposed agreement, eBay would
pay class members $4.5 million with the remainder going on legal and
administration fees.

The consumer fraud class action was brought on behalf of
approximately 1.2 million eBay account holders, although the number of
actual users represented by those accounts was unclear as one person
could have multiple accounts. They alleged they were charged hidden
and recurring listing fees to sell their goods through the online
auction site.

Under the proposed terms, class members would receive an automatic
credit to their accounts. The lawsuit was filed by plaintiff Richard
Noll in September 2011, alleging eBay suggested that the Good 'Til
Canceled listings, which automatically renew every 30 days until the
seller cancels the listing or the item is sold, came "at no extra
cost" when fees were actually charged on a monthly basis.

A second suit was filed by Rhythm Motor Sports LLC nearly a year
later, and the cases were eventually consolidated. The allegations
included breach of contract, unfair competition, false advertising,
violation of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, unjust enrichment and
fraud.

The class is represented by Keith R. Verges, Parker D. Young and
Raymond E. Walker of Figari & Davenport LLP, Vera Brooks of Thompson &
Brooks and Shawn T. Leuthold.

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by: thievesBay This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 15:15:12 2019

On eBay just about everything is tricks, scams and deception all controlled by them. There is no comparison how eBay operates compared to other mentioned platforms. On eBay it's all about creating chaos and confusion through constant changes and updates, most of which they don't give any notice of. All of it's designed to bring in more money for eBay at your expense. Other platforms are more about transactions and actual sales volume. On eBay it's milking whatever money they can out of everything because they've been in decline for over a decade.

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This user has validated their user name. by: NoMoreEbay

Mon Nov 4 15:27:45 2019

The primary problem is online commerce is still in it's infancy stages. So what we have is a govt. that has not yet even stepped up to the plate to address the vast criminal behavior among all ecommerce sites from ebay to Amazon with their multi-billion dollar counterfeit operations, deceptive practices, theft and abuse. No real laws have been written yet to protect the consumer from this new opportunistic crime wave. A few examples could be...Any fee based options are not to be pre-selected by the company...Price and method of sale will be determined by the seller, not the company... All fee based auto renew aspects of listings will be optional and must be selected by the seller.  

While it could be argued that tortuous interference is on the books for these things, it is too broad and does not really address this new frontier. ebay gets away with moving buttons, GTC auto renewal, checking boxes and adding best offer because while it's immoral it is technically legal . So while ebay is a disgraceful brand full of corruption, desperation and greed, they will continue to get away with it as long as the govt. sits back and does nothing except impose more taxes on all of us.

All we can do is report them to the various agencies and hope for the best. Or do what I and others have done. Tell ebay to go F... themselves and leave.

All of this will probably be moot in a few years anyway. USPS, the taxing authorities and cess-pools like ebay are systematically destroying the online selling experience for all but the largest of them.  

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by: purpleiris This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 20:54:26 2019

@NoMoreEbay, that's exactly what our problem is. New industry, lazy and seemingly clueless government. LOL That's why I keep pushing people to speak up to at least their SAG.

Considering that the DOJ is currently revving up to go after the likes of these sites, the SAG will hopefully present what they receive from sellers to the DOJ. Although, my state seems to hate the federal government. Texans have always considered themselves their own Republic. LOL

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Tue Nov 5 07:42:11 2019

Yes, it's out of control.
NO OVERSIGHT WHATSOEVER.
This is a RED ALERT !

Perminate Link for Some Online Sellers Feel Tricked into Paying Extra Fees   Some Online Sellers Feel Tricked into Paying Extra Fees

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 5 09:06:27 2019

These reasons are why dealing with eBay ALWAYS feels sleazy.

Its eBays reputation - lie, cheat and steal instead of just being straight forward, honest and forthright.

It seems that eBay channels the famous song "I dont give a damn 'bout my bad reputation" ........TO ITS SELLERS!

Perminate Link for Some Online Sellers Feel Tricked into Paying Extra Fees   Some Online Sellers Feel Tricked into Paying Extra Fees

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 5 09:43:48 2019

eBay is in complete disarray, today we just got another response from their highly inept customer service dept which is overwhelmed with untold millions of seller complaints. Now take into account that they are still investigating improper GTC instersion fees from Sept 27, here is the response we got just today.

It is not about the illegal insertion fees they charged us that they still have not credited, it is about another issue, not being about to relist that was not even the issue, this is eBay's response over a month later to the 'issue'. They have no idea what they are doing except making excuses for all the theft of funds and fraud.

Hi,
For your referrence
We appreciate you keeping your bussiness with us.
Hope this will help you out:

Thanks for your email about your Good 'Til Cancelled listing(s) not being renewed.

Good 'Til Cancelled listings automatically renew monthly unless all of the items sell, you end the listing, or the listing violates an eBay policy.

In this case, one or more of your Good 'Til Cancelled listings violates an eBay listing policy. For more information, see the email that was originally sent to your account or go to My eBay and review the listings in the "Unsold" section.

You can relist your item(s) as long as you fix the reason it was not renewed.

To relist your item(s):

1. Click "My eBay" at the top of most eBay pages. You may need to sign in.

2. Find what you want to relist by clicking the "Sold" or "Unsold" link on the left side of the page, depending on whether or not your item sold.

3. Select "Relist" from the "More actions" drop-down menu to the right of the listing.
To learn more about relisting your item, go to:
http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/relist.html
I hope this explains why your listing(s) wasn't renewed.


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by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 5 10:08:26 2019

When the new CEO discovers all the dysfunction, theft and fraud within eBay he is going to be shocked and will have to do interviews with employees to get the dirt on managers and upper management.

What a report back to the Board he is going to have, the new CEO will have to clean house within eBay upper management, or there will be no hope for this company, they have been engaged in fraud and deception way too long and they have fooled their own shareholders and the Board of Directors for decades.

Perminate Link for Some Online Sellers Feel Tricked into Paying Extra Fees   Some Online Sellers Feel Tricked into Paying Extra Fees

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 5 18:20:17 2019

"When the new CEO discovers all the dysfunction"

I beg to differ ... he was/is party to it from day 1.

To pull off such complicated schemes (ie to not go to jail and have regulators up your ... @$$ - as a former lawyer - he HAD to be in on it.

Do you (honestly) think that it will all stop (tomorrow)("when he finds out") ? I dont ... we agree to disagree =)

eBay has NO OTHER game play - but kill sellers one at a time - suck them (wallets) dry and then move on. eBay has always said and still believes that IT is the center of the universe and that theres always a zillion sellers "just waiting for the chance - ney the HONOR to sell on eBay."

Fraud, dishonesty, and "damn the torpedoes - lets make up some other crap rule to kill smaller sellers" is how eBay operates.

Q4 is Xmas time - so it will be ok - there wont be any "losses", and Q1 has people spending holiday cash - its after that "where the rubber meets the road" (hes safe till then) (he has time to get his OWN golden parachute)

Perminate Link for Some Online Sellers Feel Tricked into Paying Extra Fees   Some Online Sellers Feel Tricked into Paying Extra Fees

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 5 20:16:35 2019

I understand Schenkel is in on it all Pace, he signed off on all of Devin's schemes, I'm talking about the CEO who is to be hired, not the interim CEO.

This is going to be the most important hire in the history of the company, they need to hire someone with a software engineering background as Google and Microsoft have both done.

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

Wed Nov 6 00:23:44 2019

Oh, good Lord. Not sure I agree with needing someone with a software engineering background. Just look at what Etsy's CTO did when he served as CEO after they ousted Kalin. He turned the site into his former department's very own playground.

Rather than maintain their own servers so EVERY seller's listings could be seen, they moved everything over to the Cloud where space is expensive and seriously limits every sellers' visibility. Just so they could free up their time to tinker with the site.and develop one money grab after another.

What they need is a CEO with EXPERIENCE IN THE INDUSTRY. I'm not talking previous experience as an executive for some other big corporation or one whose only background is investment banking. I'm talking someone who knows the retail industry and how it does business online.

What we've been given up to this point are a bunch of mafia wannabes who like to stuff their pockets with millions every time they bat an eye.

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by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 6 09:09:06 2019

Well, Google and Microsoft both hired CEO's with who were in the past life Software Engineers, but they both have common sense and use their experiences for the good of both companies.

Cloud is nothing more than a cluster of servers in a data center split up between various users, the difference is some companies own their own data centers and others use AWS, Microsoft, IBM cloud, Netflix is on Amazon Cloud, so are many other brand names.

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

Wed Nov 6 19:46:36 2019

Yes, Google and Microsoft are both software engineering companies that would need someone with that background. It's only smart to put someone at the helm who knows their business.

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