|Sat Dec 28 2013 18:46:22|
Buyers Call eBay Greedy over Loyalty Program Scale-Back
By: Ina Steiner
The word "greed" was tossed around by eBay buyers on discussion boards on Saturday in protest of a new policy. You read that right - it was buyers who were making their voices heard in protest over eBay's latest policy change, though some sellers weighed in as well.
eBay is scaling back its eBay Bucks loyalty program, making it harder to earn rewards and also making it harder to keep them. eBay Bucks offers consumers 2% back on qualifying items purchased through the site with PayPal. There are three components to Saturday's announcement:
1) Members must spend a minimum of $250 in Bucks-eligible purchases in a period in order to receive eBay Bucks;
2) Members must spend $250 in Bucks-eligible purchases a period or they will lose ("forfeit") their entire account balance;
3) eBay is making it harder to achieve that $250 level of spending by eliminating eBay Motors Parts & Accessories from the program.
It's the second change that has members of the program most upset. One buyer said they sometimes spend $400 and sometimes spend only $100 in a quarter, "but now eBay is just gonna wipe out our eBay buck credit if we don't reach the minimum spending."
The fact that the announcement came 3 days after Christmas did not go down well with eBay buyers either. An eBay member wrote, "As for announcing this 3 days after Christmas - SCROOGE has arrived at eBay....if ya have to have a $5 min....then for heavens sake....rollover those dollars."
"Good job eBay! What's up? Business is that bad? Is my meager $1.71 eBay bucks eating into corporate profits. I have been a member for almost 15 years and I thought the eBay bucks was a great idea even when it was just a small amount. Bah Humbug! Boo! Hiss!"
One seller said eliminating eBay Motors Parts & Accessories from the eBay Bucks program would hurt his business. "Yep, this little straw may be the one that runs me off. I mostly sell in auto parts and people say that with the eBay bucks they feel like they are getting a really good deal. I mostly buy in the same category. So there goes my little fun money. With shipping going up this coming month, I am barely getting a few bucks an hour for my time. Now I will have to drop my prices more. I won't do it. I will just throw it away before I work to make money for the post office and eBay and none for me."
The move comes as eBay rival Amazon launched television ads promoting its Prime shipping program - shoppers can pay $79/year and receive free 2-day shipping on purchases, which has proven to be a powerful incentive to members to use Amazon for future purchases.
eBay first tested eBay Bucks in 2008, launched it in beta in 2009, and officially launched the program in the U.S. in 2010. It has since scaled back the program by eliminating other categories as well, look for Monday's Newsflash story for more.