Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Jan 10 2018 23:47:05

eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy

By: Ina Steiner

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An eBay moderator responded to a seller's question about yesterday's blog post describing a case where eBay informed a seller it would charge a commission for a listing it had removed due to a copyright complaint.

During Wednesday's weekly chat session, the moderator responded to the question with the following statement:

"eBay does not charge commissions for unsold items that are removed for VERO copyright complaints. When an item is removed for VERO, Listing Fees are credited back for unsold listings. However, Final Value Fees for previously completed transactions are not credited - as was likely the case for this customer."

However, this didn't clear up the confusion, which was compounded by the letter eBay sends when it takes down a listing, which begins:

After reviewing your eBay account, we've taken the following action:
- Listings have been removed. A list of items that were removed can be viewed at the bottom of this message.
- We have credited all associated fees except for the final value fee for your listing(s).

We haven't heard back from eBay's PR spokesperson Ryan Moore, so we did some more digging and found a page where eBay reserves the right to keep fees (including insertion fees) for listings it removes due to policy violations:

Will my fees be refunded?
If we removed your listing because of a policy violation, we may or may not refund your fees for that listing, depending on the policy you violated and whether you've violated our policies in the past.

If the buyer has committed to buy but has not paid in full, eBay fees will not be automatically credited for the listing.

Insertion fees and advanced listing upgrade fees apply to each listing you create, are charged at the time of listing or relisting, as applicable, and are nonrefundable.

For questions about fee credits for a listing that's been removed, contact us.

We also found this case from 2014 where a seller said he was unable to cancel the transactions (how can you cancel after a listing has been removed), and was out his fees even though he had refunded his buyers.

And we found this case from 2015 where a seller said eBay removed a listing that someone had bought but not yet paid for, but eBay had already charged him the final value fee.

We're still hoping someone from eBay will respond to our inquiry and clear up the confusion. Given the fact that eBay has recently given itself permission to charge commissions for unsold items in cases where it deems the seller has provided contact information to buyers even though there has been no transaction, it's easy to believe the worst.




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy   eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy

by: Studiolines This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 11 01:10:06 2018

What amazes me is that my understanding is that there does not have to be valid proof of a issue, just a report of such. It would be one thing to end the listing and investigate and entirely another to charge fees when a paid sale did not occur.  

Perminate Link for eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy   eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy

by: Studiolines This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 11 01:11:20 2018

Hope Ebay responds with a more specific answer on this issue.

Perminate Link for eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy   eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Thu Jan 11 01:17:11 2018

Regardless of ebafia's quasi legal/illegal TOS, I have always questioned whether in VERO cases ebafia can legally act as judge, jury, and executioner without the defendant seller having the right to present exculpatory evidence to a neutral judge or jury.

Ebafia isn't and never as been a neutral judge because they PROFIT from VERO takedowns. Now they have granted themselves the right to PROFIT even more from VERO claims even if the VERO claim doesn't meet the legal requirements which I suspect many of them do not.

Since the ascension of The Ho in 2008, ebafia has consistently teetered on the edge of illegalities and, in some cases, crossed the line into RICO and anti trust territory. This move falls into the latter category.

Unfortunately, the "New York Times" consumer advocate, the Famous Haggler, retired last year, but I think emailing "The Times" and the "Manchester Guardian" might be our best bets.

The arrogance of these Swamp Elites and their lackey mouthpieces is nauseating.

Perminate Link for eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy   eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Jan 11 03:04:08 2018

"And we found this case from 2015 where a seller said eBay removed a listing that someone had bought but not yet paid for, but eBay had already charged him the final value fee."  This is not unusual it is how Ebay has always done it.  The FVF for the price of the product is charged to the Seller's account once the purchase happens.  It is the FVF on shipping that is not charged until the buyer actually pays.  This particular seller had a different set of circumstances.  They had an actual sale on an item Ebay deemed to be counterfeit.  

The problem the seller had from 2014 is different too.  It was pertaining to having some listings in the wrong category.  While certainly this can be an issue, the seller did not need to refund their buyers.  They could have shipped the items if they wanted to.  The seller just made the wrong choice which complicated the issues for them.

The thing these two cases have that the original case [in the other blog] doesn't have is a sale of the items.  These two cases had a sale and THEN Ebay pulled the listings.  The original blog, per the seller, had no sale at all.  So while similar in nature, not at all the same thing.

Perminate Link for eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy   eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Thu Jan 11 08:30:21 2018

Good point, Marie. eBay has sent that letter with the confusing language many times, what's uncertain is in what cases it charges sellers FVFs in practice, since it gives itself the right to keep fees ("If the buyer has committed to buy but has not paid in full, eBay fees will not be automatically credited for the listing").

For a seller who has "sold" an item but has not yet received payment, and with no way to collect payment once a listing has been removed, it must feel to the seller like they're paying a commission on an unsold item if they can't get eBay to remove the FVF from their invoice.

And you're right about the importance of ensuring you follow the right protocol once eBay removes your listings after it receives a complaint from a copyright holder or for any policy violation.

Perminate Link for eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy   eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 11 09:52:34 2018

...... Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids ... and ecomerce ISNT for eBay.

eBay operates on what they can get away with LEGALLY and whats "best for them".

What most DONT know - is that eBay (who will never admit it) profits from VERO.

eBay (though forced by the courts to set up the VERO system as to avoid further fines) CHARGES VERO participants money to get the software to search for the specific "issue" they need to find. As a buyer YOU cant find (most times) what you are looking for - so how could a manufacturer?  Answer: theres an SDK that they can buy that hooks into the system to get access at "root level". Just ask verowatch.com and nrginternational.com. (bnut I digress).

When a sale happens (lets say theres 10 of an item). Until the VERO violation "occurs", all PRIOR sales are considered valid. Its like football - the plays before the whistle are good - its only the actual play the flag was called on thats no good.

Therefore - eBay keeps the money on all the sales prior to the "whistle".

As well - picture copyright VERO issues arent the same type of crime as counterfeit, and neither is trademark. Those types of DMCA rules do NOT invalidate the sale - since its the picture thats "wrong" not the item.

As for "If we removed your listing because of a policy violation, we may or may not refund your fees for that listing, depending on the policy you violated and whether you've violated our policies in the past."  ....... they would have to do ALOT of heavy lifting in court to get that past a judge - eBay simply bets you dont have the gonads to take them to court (expense).

eBay would of course paint the seller as a "serial infringer" and that the "cost to the system" would "entitle" eBay to claim h/she/it is a drag on the " system" and thus costs them money that they are entitled to it.

Ming (of course) is %100 right .. "Regardless of ebafia's quasi legal/illegal TOS, I have always questioned whether in VERO cases ebafia can legally act as judge, jury, and executioner without the defendant seller having the right to present exculpatory evidence to a neutral judge or jury." BUT thats they problem with ALL parts of eBay - they "dont know what you did/sold/got/shipped/returned/posted" but they get the RIGHT to decide without knowledge to punish you.

THAT is why eBay gets people angry. INVEST in your users - dont just brush it off and make snap judgments without any knowledge.

eBay ONLY wants to protect itself (LOL some partner) .. they could care less what happens to you .......

Perminate Link for eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy   eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Thu Jan 11 10:08:08 2018

That sort of logic hole is common where somebody who isn't very smart and doesn't know much makes policy decisions without consulting anybody else.  It really doesn't surprise me that eBay is afflicted with such conditions with the sheer sloppiness of their site these days.

Perminate Link for eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy   eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy

by: dander This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 11 10:18:07 2018

It use to be easy for someone to claim copyright infringement. I am guessing due to abuse, ebay has tightened up on this. You must submit proof that you are the owner of the material in question. You can go and try to report a listing for copyright violation and see for yourself.

Perminate Link for eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy   eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Thu Jan 11 11:23:27 2018

eBay mod:

''Final Value Fees for previously completed transactions are not credited - as was likely the case for this customer.''

WHAT A BREAKTHROUGH!!!

They are finally acknowledging that fee-paying sellers are indeed their customers!!

Perminate Link for eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy   eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy

by: aim04744 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 11 13:13:20 2018

I am confused about if the item actually sold?

If the item had sold, and then Ebay pulled the listing for VERO, as I suspect happened in this case, then yep they will charge and keep the fees.

If it never had sold, then there should never had been a FVF charged.

Either way, the seller has a responsibility to ensure that he is selling authentic items.

Wish we knew what the item was, if it was sold and then pulled and what the actual reason for it being pulled was.  

Perminate Link for eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy   eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 11 13:19:42 2018

"You must submit proof that you are the owner of the material in question. "

Yes but that doesnt mean that the accusation is VALID.

ALOT of VERO takedowns are ILLEGAL aka done under false pretenses. Manufacturers use the takedown option(s) to lie.- to keep unwanted sellers of their items OFF eBay.

They also use it to punish sellers who dont obey MAP.

NEITHER of these things are within the scope of copyright OR trademark - s simple reading of the DMCA laws makes that quite clear.

Like other processes on eBay (returns comes to mind for example), its neither clear, correct and most times in unlawful.

Copyright is for pictures and text copying. Trademark is for "grey market import items" (except that its really NOT, but at least its the correct "mechanism", and for fake goods.

Using DMCA and VERO takedowns to stop people that you dont like,  that you dont want on eBay is in itself a crime (section 5) ie misusing the law(s).

eBay doesnt care since they profit from it all ... would you prefer the crime family from Newark, Broolkyn, or San Jose ?

Perminate Link for eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy   eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Thu Jan 11 13:30:42 2018

@pace

"ALOT of VERO takedowns are ILLEGAL"

How do you figure?

eBay can take down ANY listing for ANY reason!

It's NOT against any law I know of.

If YOU think it's against the law please list what California penal code eBay is breaking. . .

Perminate Link for eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy   eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Jan 11 13:34:41 2018

@Ina

My viewpoint on how they worded the policy is more like a B&M store possibly stating they reserve the right to deny service or something like that.  But just because they reserve that right, doesn't mean they do it on a regular basis.  They just want it known it could happen.

But I've said many times that Ebay does NOT have a way with their words.  It could and should be worded better and more clearly.

As for the seller that sold some items and then noticed that Ebay did not reverse the FVFs, it wasn't stated what timeframe he looked at to see if the FVFs were reversed.  Did they expect it to be immediate?  Did they check a few days later?  Or what exactly?  They didn't say.  I have no idea and the seller didn't update the thread as I remember it.  A phone call may or may not have fixed the problem.  I just don't know.  There are details that we just don't have.

@dander

You are correct.  Vero does say they require proof.  But I have to say that the bar for proof must be VERY low as I've had listings removed for what they have said were copyright issues.  I've proven that it wasn't their pic and that it was mine.  They said Oh well, it was close enough.  That is exactly what they said to me.

We [you nor I] can't report something that infringes on our copyright through Vero just because you want to.  You MUST be a member of Vero first.  Only Vero members can report issues that will then get reported to Ebay by Vero.

Perminate Link for eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy   eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Thu Jan 11 16:39:26 2018

@toolguy
It may not be illegal to take down the listings but filing false DMCA takedowns is a form of fraud.

Perminate Link for eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy   eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 11 17:42:53 2018

Anyone who actually reads the DMCA takedown law itself will quickly discover that while it does indeed require the 'notified' host to immediately remove any 'alleged' offending material, it also explicitly excludes the host from applying any sanction or penalty associated with the takedown itself.

Because it is only an ALLEGATION at the time made.  

However, the same 'legal requirement' basis used by eBay to defend the takedown, is then completely ignored when it comes to applying due process and requiring proof of allegation so to HAVE a basis upon which to apply their sanctions.  And yes, it's their site and they can shut down the whole farm whenever they have a wild hair, but that's not the point, is it now?

Now, eBay would claim the notice itself IS the 'proof' of wrongdoing, as it is supposedly carries the same legal weight as an affidavit.  

Yet we all know, and most have experienced, a VERO takedown unencumbered by fact.  They simply count on the fact the poor uninformed and intimidated seller will not sue (or countersue if the alleged 'injured party' were ever to follow up to press their 'case' - which WILL require proof).  

And eBay, in their typically unethical way, will simply shrug, and 'remove themselves' from further discussion, claiming it's 'between the parties' to correct.  While providing the accuser liberal time to 'respond' to any seller query, and while doing NOTHING to enforce the accuser's responsibility to respond, and with little incentive to expedite listing reinstatement - much less visibility - should the VERO rep actually ever admit to their 'well intended error'.  

And of course, by then actually acting to punish the accused and helpless seller via allegation alone, DESPITE their stated position of neutrality.

And this will contnue as long as sellers let them continue.  Because apparently the Section 1 of the 14th ammendment to the US Constitution doesn't apply to eBay.  Or more accurately, to those in charge of their ill-gotten bankroll.  

Be nice if one of their mderator minions would respond to THAT.





Perminate Link for eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy   eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy

This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Thu Jan 11 19:45:58 2018

Silver Ice King Said (on the preceding ECB blog):  
1)   “Remember that Ebay changed their TOS to include that any and all photos or information that is uploaded to their site by a seller can and will be used by Ebay as it sees fit. This includes all Intellectual Property.”

Yes.  THIS is the real danger of GOOGLE/Ebay/Etsy/Amazon & the rest, in their quest to acquire the rights to content on the internet.  They may not have started out just to steal it, but imagine if they had to deal with MY Trademarks & Copyrights!  (And BILLIONS of other users)  Our “Willing” signature to an extensive TOS that give up OUR rights, saves them BILLIONS of dollars, COUNTLESS hours of time, and GAZILLIONS of $$$ in legal expenses.

AND Silver Ice King Said:

2)   “I really believe Ebay is getting to the point that if it sells anywhere and was ever listed on Ebay they feel they are owed the FVF for having drawn attention to it in some way.”

Well, I just don't believe in aliens, area 51, a flat earth, fake moon landings staged by disney and other wild unsupported, crazy theories and suppositions.  Plus, I believe Oswald acted alone.  But as bizarre as it seems, you NAILED THIS....  This may be how the monetizing the “Stolen Intellectual Property” begins to take shape.  I simply see NO OTHER GOOD REASON for any of these companies to forbid us to Watermark, give up our intellectual and artistic rights, and turn over our legal recourse to them.

For anyone that doesn't yet get this, consider the rights of the Graphic Artist, Photographer, or Corporation.  Would Ebay allow the use of their Logo?  Would Medtronic give up its' patents on pacemakers?  Would Andy Warhol give up reproduction rights to his works?

Perminate Link for eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy   eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy

This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Thu Jan 11 20:05:56 2018

Not without PAYMENT

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 11 21:27:28 2018

LORD ALMIGHTY - WE HAVE A WINNER ... NOT

I aim to keep this as G rated as possible - but stupidity (not opposite points of view) somehow make my blood boil.

I expect people to post intelligent things (thank you Ming, Marie, Rexford, RK and others) .....

HOWEVER

""ALOT of VERO takedowns are ILLEGAL"

How do you figure?

eBay can take down ANY listing for ANY reason!

It's NOT against any law I know of.

If YOU think it's against the law please list what California penal code eBay is breaking. . .

1) its not CA law - its common US trade law that succeeds what ever CA does (CA laws can be more strict not LESS)(ala the laws on 420)

2) Making false DMCA takedown requests (eBay, Amazon, manufacturers - whomever) is against the law .

What many who abuse the DMCA system do not realize is that they
can be sued and held civilly liable for the havoc they wreak by sending
these fake notices. There are also criminal sanctions available for false DMCA takedown request senders since the requests are sent under the penalty of
perjury.

3) "ALOT of VERO takedowns are ILLEGAL" ..... since you dont understand how  "fair use", Lanham, FSD, Belltronics vs Southwest and the HOST of other laws work - its understandable that you'de think that. GO READ SOMETHING about how IP works - then come back and tell us what you've learned. If you need any MORE cases to research - Ill get them for you - but please dont waste my or anyone elses time with sillyness.

4) eBay can take down ANY listing for ANY reason!

It's NOT against any law I know of.


NO THEY CANT - see above.

eBay is a website. I know you think they are GOD, or maybe just THE WAY to finance your drug empire (yes we know - somewhat legal in CA but not in most other places PLUS the Federal laws AGAINST gateway drugs) - but they are simple people running a company they know NOTHING about.

"EVEN eBay has to - is supposed to abide by the LAWS SET FORTH". If you dont understand that - then please read about states rights vs Federal rights (skip comming back here and explaining it - since we dont care and it doesnt mean anything HERE anyway).

eBay can not just "do as they please" aka take down listings for no reason. If NOTHING else - its a violation of CA's CONTRACT law - you buy a service when you make a listing and sellers DO HAVE rights (even if YOUR HEROES say otherwise).

I have no more time to try and teach you how this all works - I will NOT be responding to what you reply - no matter how ludicrous it may be - since I know that you are simply trying to gode me into getting David or Ina angry.

Ive gone MANY more rounds on this with eBay and manufacturers - when you have experience in it - please come back and have a MEANINGFUL conversation with the rest of us.

Perminate Link for eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy   eBay Mod Wades into Commission Fee Controversy

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Fri Jan 12 00:43:11 2018

Selling on other venues has taught me to appreciate eBay warts and all. I have to jump through lots of hoops and hurdles and on occasion spin futile wheels but *in totality* eBay is better than other sites. I've stopped offering off-eBay discounts (thank you, posters) and advise my price-pinched buyers that anything I sell is 10% MORE on other sites. I would rather take my chances negotiating with eBay than some of the other sites following an a**reaming.  

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by: Paul W This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 12 01:33:04 2018

Snapped said:  ''apparently the Section 1 of the 14th amendment to the US Constitution doesn't apply to eBay.''

This is true.  Section 1 of the 14th Amendment has nothing to do with eBay and only about what the State government may do.

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