Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Sept 19 2017 12:43:16

eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay will charge final value fees for listings in cases where sellers merely include their contact information or ask buyers for their contact information, even if the item remains unsold. 

eBay updated its User Agreement to add the provision, found under the "Using eBay" section:

"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. If you are a seller and you offer or reference your contact information or ask a buyer for their contact information in the context of buying or selling outside of eBay, you may be liable to pay a final value fee applicable to that item, even if the item does not sell."

eBay announced the changed to its User Agreement on Tuesday. That means sellers could pay a commission fee for a listing that they haven't sold.

There's are several big issues here of concern for sellers:

One is the principle of eBay charging commissions (Final Value Fees) for items that have not sold on its site.

The second issue is that eBay can't correctly identify which listings provide seller contact information, an issue we've been blogging about since eBay recently began sending warning emails to innocent sellers.

Lastly, it's unclear if sellers will have the opportunity to dispute such charges.




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases   eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Tue Sep 19 12:51:48 2017

So, if eBay THINKS your have sold an item off the site to avoid fees, they will charge the seller a Final Value Fee anyway?

The only way they could perhaps legally apply the fee is when an item has a question asked about it, and the listing is then deleted without an official eBay sale.

Otherwise, this would fall into the category of ''taxation without representation''. Ask England how this worked out for them in the 1770's!!!

Perminate Link for eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases   eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases

by: JWsax This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 19 13:08:30 2017

They are taking cues from the Joe Stalin playbook Are we going to be subject to waterboarding by ebay next?

Perminate Link for eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases   eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases

by: moreintheattic This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 19 13:09:20 2017

So what if I'm doing a show and I end the some of my listings because I'm bringing these items to a show to sell?  Does eBay want a pound of flesh for this as well?  WHO OWNS MY ITEMS ME OR EBAY?

Perminate Link for eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases   eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases

by: marcello This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 19 13:45:45 2017

Ebay is always coming up with new innovative ways to punish the sellers who pay their multi-million dollar salaries.

Perminate Link for eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases   eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases

by: westy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 19 13:47:24 2017

It's not surprising that eBay is trying to suck every last dime out of sellers. Looking at my Seller Hub it shows that eBay sales are down 6.2% today over the past 30 days. Yesterday it showed 5.9%. Both numbers are huge considering Toys R Us filed bankruptcy yesterday and their sales over the past quarter were only down 4%.

Just wondering how eBay is going to spin this drop in volume at the next shareholders meeting?

Perminate Link for eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases   eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases

by: westy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 19 13:47:24 2017

It's not surprising that eBay is trying to suck every last dime out of sellers. Looking at my Seller Hub it shows that eBay sales are down 6.2% today over the past 30 days. Yesterday it showed 5.9%. Both numbers are huge considering Toys R Us filed bankruptcy yesterday and their sales over the past quarter were only down 4%.

Just wondering how eBay is going to spin this drop in volume at the next shareholders meeting?

Perminate Link for eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases   eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases

by: epuise This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 19 14:25:49 2017

If eBay charges you a FEE on an unsold/ended item...
BECAUSE your BUYER asked for contact info:
CONTEST that charge on your Credit Card.
Let eBay PROVE you sold it "outside".

What these new announcements say is:
eBay is bleeding to death.

Nothing stops you from dealing with YOUR Customer...
DIRECTLY... on the SECOND, etc. sale...
Once you got contact info. from ONE eBay sale...
the Customer BELONGS... TO YOU.

Perminate Link for eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases   eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Sep 19 14:54:43 2017

The answer to this concern is so easy.  Don't EVER use M2M [member to member] emails if you are going to direct a sale off Ebay.  

This has always been an issue for Ebay, no surprise there.  But sellers that are literally risking their account on Ebay by practicing this behavior.

With that said, I've had that warning appear on a M2M email before I sent it a couple of times.  There was zero contact info in the email, so I'm not sure how accurate the bot is that goes around trying to find violators.  This certainly cause me to be concerned.

Perminate Link for eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases   eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases

by: Dburn This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 19 15:12:58 2017

I came off a restriction for the ''belief '' I was selling off site , apparently to save $2.65 .

I can understand the concern especially with big ticket items. But like many other things , eBay has one policy to fit all regardless of circumstance. Bye the bye, they do not allow appeals. If you enter the code they give you, you are sent too the Philippines. If you try contacting them without the code, the US CS will apologize and transfer you immediately to the Philippines. No appeal is possible contrary to an answer from eBay to an inquiry made by Ina

They apparently want customers of  those restricted or suspended to suffer also. When they try to contact you for any customer service matter, they get a brusque email stating the seller is unavailable to answer.

An easy to implement solution to all of this would be to have the seller choose the restriction or pay a fine based on some formula.

Further, I noticed before they had java-script error checking for key words that would trigger a restriction so a seller would not wonder blindly into the trap. For whatever reason this wasn't working.

Now, the computer is the sole arbiter . Apparently in a cost cutting move, when the computer auto restricts you, there can be no human intervention during or after the restriction. This is incredibly stupid and shortsighted.There are plenty of ways to satiate their paranoia without putting the seller out of business and causing the buyers mass confusion.

I wonder what happened to the key word error check. I'm betting the more paranoid stopped it because then sellers intent on beating eBay out of $2.46 would be able to figure out alternate spellings.  I assume they also don't allow customers to contact you during the restriction period because the customer is feared to be the other side of the trade.

Meanwhile they won't warn us when a scammer is out to beat us out of money despite their extensive database of buyers who have too many returns or too many ''items not received''

Something there doesn't seem quite equitable


Perminate Link for eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases   eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases

by: GretchensFetchins This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 19 15:16:40 2017

Seems pretty self defeating when they provide the email address to you in the sales record.

That said, they seem to think telling a customer to feel free to ask a question is including my contact information.

Perminate Link for eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases   eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases

by: Tom This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 19 17:13:04 2017

No one should have any confidence in eBay bots' ability to determine what is and what isn't contact information. They've given me notices that I must remove contact information from a couple listing for cheap $2.00 cassette tapes. Obviously there was NO contact information in my description, and the only thing I could determine was that they thought the record company's 10-digit catalog number was a phone number. Any semi-intelligent person would be able to tell that the words ''×××××× Records ##########, 1993'' in parentheses after the artist and album title is NOT contact information.  But the only way I could relist it was to remove the catalog number.

Perminate Link for eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases   eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 19 17:37:20 2017

It was bad enough when they DOUBLED the fees years back. I can't recall exactly; was it under Meg or The Hoe? Then they slapped FVF's on shipping; that was The Hoe. Now they aren't even bothering with the pretense of sell-thru; they'll just charge you a fee anyway. Jeez Louise!

Perminate Link for eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases   eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases

by: Vernfern This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 19 17:39:54 2017

First eBay started using Bots to sniff-out possible direct sales and the results was countless people being banned for a week without any chance of appeal to a real human who had any authority to over-ride the ban. Now they are going to use the same Bots to bill us when they THINK we sold something outside eBay.

Not going to fly. The $#!+ will hit the fan so hard in social media as soon as they actually bill someone that heads will roll. There are some things you simply CAN. NOT. DO. Billing because you THINK someone did something wrong is in itself very wrong.  

Perminate Link for eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases   eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases

by: partschaser This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 19 17:40:30 2017

Below I've pasted the the actual text of the new policy. It is purposely vague and threatening. I'm also very concerned what data Ebay will use to make decisions about how many off-line sales are made, or where they get the data. How would they determine "damages"  for sharing a phone number or email address?

It seems like they would have to have access to sellers' Paypal data  to really get good numbers.  For example if you sold a particular tool on ebay, then later sold the same tool on your own website and took a paypal payment. Or the same customer email address appears multiple times in the paypal history...What's to keep them from claiming that those are all "off-ebay" sales. Of course Ebay shouldn't have access to our Paypal data, but its certainly possible depending on what the user agreement states. Then again, maybe I'm just overreacting.

Ironically, my ebay user name is my company's name...So perhaps every single sale I've made anywhere is actually an "Ebay sale".  And what about all those fees I'm paying for the Ebay store, which is a virtual extension of my physical store?

At the same time, one of the benefits of the 12% fees we pay have always been advertising and exposure for the business. So we're actually getting less for our money now.  
It makes no sense to say that a company has to give up its identity to sell on Ebay...

"Sellers are liable for fees arising out of all sales made using some or all eBay Services, even if sales terms are finalized or payment is made outside of eBay.

Sellers are also liable for final value fees if they offer or reference their contact information, or ask for a buyer’s contact information, in the context of buying or selling outside of eBay, even if the item does not sell.

If you receive an offer to buy or sell outside eBay, please report it.

Make sure you follow these guidelines. If you don't, you may be subject to a range of actions, including limits of your buying and selling privileges, restrictions on listings and account features, suspension of your account, application of fees, and recovery of our expenses in policy monitoring and enforcement."  

Perminate Link for eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases   eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases

by: dander This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 19 19:15:30 2017

BE DISCRETE. Apparently this is hard for some people. Don't do stupid stuff, you fly under the radar. Do stupid things like use ebay messaging to contact a buyer for an offsite transaction, is as stupid as telling the clerk that the items you're buying on clearance are going on ebay, or doing a youtube video on your great arbitrage finds. Yet people do these things and more and wonder why they get suspended, or lose their loyalty rewards, or banned outright from stores.

Perminate Link for eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases   eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases

by: Mark4 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 19 19:56:47 2017

Illegal,  and when this happens to people I would encourage that person to put this all over social media. Most people already don't trust ebay, this will help. note the sarcasm.  

Perminate Link for eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases   eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases

by: Bidonmine This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 19 20:05:17 2017

Simply change the price to 1-cent and then end the listing. They can have the commission on 1cent.

Perminate Link for eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases   eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases

by: Bidonmine This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 19 20:07:36 2017

What about when a buyer emails you offering to buy offsite and you say no and the item doesn't sell? Will Ebay assume that because the buyer wanted to purchase offsite that that is what happened and then charge you the fee?

Perminate Link for eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases   eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases

by: Truk This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 19 20:21:49 2017

We pretty much roll with the punches on ebay but we put lots of hosted photo's in our listing's well over 25,000 photo's and then we had to remove them we spent thousand in labor, then remove all outside  links , now water marks we have 10's of THOUSANDSND OF PHOTO'S it will cost us thousands in labor to remove watermarks or take new photo's in the mean time we aren't listing we are fixing ebay
I'm just exasperated and running out of energy to deal with eBay any longer

Perminate Link for eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases   eBay to Apply Commissions for Unsold Items in Some Cases

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Tue Sep 19 21:59:08 2017

Alright, you know how you get around this?

Get a Linux web host with cPanel.  This costs about $100 pee year.

Upload your images to the web host.

Set up a script on your web host.  If the request is from an IP range used by eBay, show a random image.  If not, show an image with your contact info in it.

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