Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Feb 27 2019 15:29:59

eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate

By: Ina Steiner

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Sellers are skeptical about eBay's decision to make all fixed-price listings "Good Til Cancelled" with a 30-day automatic renewal. And let's face it, many people detest recurring billing, whether it's a gym membership or an item they thought was a free trial or one-time purchase.

Starting in mid-March 2019, the listing duration for all new fixed price listings on eBay will be Good 'Til Cancelled (GTC). The only way to list on eBay without it will be auctions.

That is a huge change on three fronts:

1) eBay is eliminating duration options - currently sellers can run fixed-price listings with a duration of 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, or 30 days, with 30-day GTC an option. Eliminating shorter durations is a problem for sellers who want to convey a greater sense of urgency or have a limited time frame in which to sell an item.

2) eBay is requiring GTC auto renewals for all listings with the exception of auctions. Repeat, auto-renewals. That can lead to stale listings, some sellers say, and may make it difficult to manage thousands of listings.

3) Recurring billing on all fixed-price listings. Repeat, recurring billing. Sellers who don't pay attention could end up paying fees for listings they don't want.

In addition to worrying about paying fees for listings they don't wish to renew, some sellers who rotate listings to stay under their free-listings allowance say they'll be forced to pay more in fees (or else make less inventory available for sale on eBay).

Sellers turned to eBay and industry boards and listed many reasons why the GTC mandate doesn't work for them. Products with an expiration date was just one.

We also saw many questions, including those that touched on the following topics:

- Will GTC listings get greater visibility in eBay search results every 30 days? (Many sellers believe listings currently get a boost in visibility when they are about to expire, or when they are newly listed.)

- Will GTC provide better SEO (visibility on search engines such as Google)? And if so, how?

- If sellers cancel GTC listings prior to the 30-day renewal, will they be penalized - ie, in terms of seller performance metrics? (And will eBay put that in writing?)

- Do GTC listings count towards sellers' monthly zero-insertion fee listings? (Note: The eBay announcement states: "Good 'Til Cancelled listings renew automatically every 30 days unless your item sells before that timeframe. We charge an insertion fee every 30-day period. Good 'Til Cancelled listings count toward your monthly zero insertion fee listings. Fee amounts are based on the terms in effect when the listing goes live and when it renews.")

- How will sellers who rotate listings to keep listing fees down manage?

eBay manager Brian Burke had some suggestions for sellers worried about the change. Responding to seller concerns on the eBay discussion boards, he wrote on this post:

In the use case where you have more than 250 items that you list every month, you have some options:

- Only list 250
- End some early to rotate other listings (this is in your control - though we do not recommend it since listing items is time consuming and removing listings means buyers cannot see them)
- Upgrade your store subscription level
- Incur the insertion fee cost for those listings above your threshold (in the example above 250 listings)

That response didn't do anything to quell accusations lobbed at eBay that the move was a grab for more money from sellers struggling on a marketplace that is experiencing troubling growth.

In one sense, there's no upside to the GTC mandate, since sellers who wished to use it already had the option to if they found it beneficial. 

eBay is hosting a chat session today at 1 pm Pacific (4 pm Eastern), please post any questions there that you have about eBay's move to GTC auto-renewals or about any of the other changes eBay announced on Tuesday as part of the Early Seller Update for 2019.

Update 3/4/19: Be sure to read Sunday's news article, "eBay Execs Unprepared for GTC Double Billing Problem."



Comments (48) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate   eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 27 15:49:13 2019

Upgrade your store subscription level
- Incur the insertion fee cost for those listings above your threshold (in the example above 250 listings)

thats all u need to know!

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate   eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 27 15:54:57 2019

Like I said yesterday this is a direct shot at the small seller. Large sellers have 1000's of listing and could care less about looking to see what is there every 29 days. Large sellers use GTC and don't list just 1 or 2 of an item as its time consuming. We like to list and forget for a few months.

Its the small sellers that like to try and game the system that this is directed at.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate   eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Feb 27 16:09:53 2019

pace306 is 1000% correct. Everything eBay does is to gain more fees.  

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate   eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 27 16:30:26 2019

One of Wenig's stated qoals during his most recent tap dance was to increase 'inventory'.   Having every FP listng that doesn't sell automatically relist is one way to compel that.  Then there'll be lots more 'choice' for all the buyers just salivating at the thought of even MORE cell phone cases and tin plate jewelry to pick from.

Oh, a chance for more take?  AND more ad space?  You don't say. Well, maybe that'll pay for the dividends...see?  Win win.  



Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate   eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 27 16:55:20 2019

Ebay is now deleting messages on the boards that show how big of a money grab this is.  So now you either agree with Ebay or don't bother posting anything on the boards because Wenig is desperate.  So now they are resorting to Censoring what Sellers say about their newest money grab.  

But they are not giving out slaps because they know the posts did not violate any of their policies, but just cause everybody to see just how idiotic their newest change is.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate   eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 27 18:28:33 2019

Doing this BS is free, fixing eBay is not.

Follow the money.

eBay was doing just fine before all this nonsense- even a monkey could see that.

Back in the day I had 14 day returns and it was no problem moving items.

Back in the day I listed what and when I wanted with no store and I moved boxes.

Now with all this junk I don’t, logic says the new junk doesn’t work. And everyone agrees

Except the monkey in San Jose who’s busy flinging poo at the wall to see what will stick.

Stupid monkey

(Real monkeys of course are smart wonderful animals. DW makes them look bad)

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate   eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate

by: geoffreymason This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 27 19:00:04 2019

Sasikat: Game the system? Sellers want to have a set-up that WORKS FOR THEM. Coordination of start and end times is just good business. You make it sound as if those who do, or those who manage their sites efficiently and thriftily -- also good business -- are underhanded. I have a 1,000-listing subscription and I buy 500-600 additional listings per month. To increase my subscription to the next (maximum) level would be foolhardy and inefficient. Finally, it is not necessary to insult and demean other sellers when one has no idea of their situations, needs, or goals.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate   eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate

by: geoffreymason This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 27 19:09:48 2019

All sellers who are negatively affected by this dumb ebay edict ought to sync their listings on Bonanza. Transfer is easy, fees are reasonable -- cheap, in my opinion -- and there are none of the headaches that one gets in dealing with Wenig & Company. A mass migration to Bonanza would give that company capital to invest in promoting the site. Give it a try; you've nothing to lose; if you don't like it, then quit!

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate   eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate

by: 1st Armored Division 1971-1973 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 27 19:09:55 2019

I normally have a few hundred Fixed Price listings I haven't used each month so I will take old listings which I only run on listing sales and run them as FP 30 and I normally do sell a few. But they are slow sellers so I don't want to use all my FP listings and run them GTC.

Looks like those days are over. I just won't run them as GTC.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate   eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 27 20:10:34 2019

One of Wenig's stated qoals during his most recent tap dance was to increase 'inventory'.   Having every FP listng that doesn't sell automatically relist is one way to compel that.  Then there'll be lots more 'choice' for all the buyers just salivating at the thought of even MORE cell phone cases and tin plate jewelry to pick from.

Oh, a chance for more take?  AND more ad space?  You don't say. Well, maybe that'll pay for the dividends...see?  Win win.  



Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate   eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate

This user has validated their user name. by: Lightning

Wed Feb 27 21:32:54 2019

There are (at least) 4 distinct issues in play with this new policy.  First, sellers won't have the chance to interchange products to rotate their stock without doing it manually, ending auctions as necessary.  Which also creates the hurdle to identify which listings are due to be changed out vs. those they want to keep running.  No automatic trigger such as a listing ending.  We're talking spreadsheets, phone reminders, Ouija boards, counting on our toes, etc.

Secondly, you have the loss of urgency on the buyer's part, no blurb that the listing has X amount time left, better hurry!  You can't plan for when it ends, because it NEVER ends.  You can't plan to list it on a certain day so it ends on a certain day.  Maybe you like your listings to end on weekend days.  So you used to list on Thursdays and Fridays for a 30 day period.  Doesn't work anymore.

Thirdly, there is the possible (probable) event that you don't end your listing on day 29 and it gets relisted.  Now to stop it is a waste of that relisting fee, so you have to let it run and hope you catch it next time.  Sort of like a bus schedule on steroids.  

If you just let your listings run and run, it's not too big of a deal.  You only catch ONE double billing per listing every 68 MONTHS, over 5 years apart.  If you list on March 1, it will re-up on March 31, so twice that month.  It keeps moving forward each month - April 30, May 30, June 29, July 28, Aug 27, etc. After that, if you count out 30 days per, it won't double up again until August of 2024.  God, I hope it's sold by then!  Some people think they will be double billed every month that has 31 days.  Just doesn't work that way.  BUT....the whole problem could be solved by having GTC listings run 31 days instead of 30.  But even such a small gesture like that will be beyond eBay's ability or desire to concede.  Easier to take it from us.

Lastly, this policy is about control.  Loss of control for sellers, eBay's foot on our necks.  Another way eBay dictates how to best run our businesses, by simpletons who have NEVER RUN THEIR OWN business.  They like to jump in the driver seat of a vehicle they don't understand, never built, have no equity in.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate   eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed Feb 27 21:55:25 2019

The money grab expands while the marketplace takes giant steps backward.  The CEO is clueless and his team is being diminished.  

The pressure from activist investors who are interested only in the well being of their investors is forcing the marketplace to it's knees.

eBay is trying to pressure sellers to offer expanded pricing discounts while at the same time raising fees via  the permanent listing format.  This serves to further position eBay into a zero sum game for the sellers they rely on for revenue.  

It is tax season.  Sellers are getting a look at their bottom line from last year. Sellers who discover they are hanging on by a thread will decide sooner rather than later to abandon the rudderless sinking ship instead of going down with it.

Personally I would be surprised if any company is interested in purchasing this broken beyond repair marketplace.  Amazon continues to  eat eBay's lunch, they would see no advantage in absorbing the marketplace business eBay has destroyed.  Google likely does not need or want all the headaches that taking on eBay would bring.

Looks to me like we are approaching the point where eBay implodes from it's decades of internal failures brought on by trying to appease Wall Street.


Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate   eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate

by: notfunanymore This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 28 01:31:24 2019

Duh, money grab. More and more ways of taking more of what you earn. And the sellers keep selling.... and they create more ways to take more of it, and the sellers keep selling and they create another scheme the take a little bit more. On and on and on.....

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate   eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Thu Feb 28 01:33:51 2019

If GTC listings have no impact on staleness and visibility then I’m all in.  

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate   eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate

This user has validated their user name. by: cfrphoto

Thu Feb 28 01:56:10 2019

After some reflection, I realize that it will be possible to adapt to the new policy, but the GTC only policy change was imposed with minimal notice. I list fixed price listings for 30 days and reprice in SixBit before resubmitting. I developed a SQL script to reprice items before resubmitting them from SixBit. The reprice and relist process takes less than an hour for a few hundred listings. Implementing an automated process to reprice running eBay listings may take time and will divert resources from other projects.

If eBay implemented a repricing tool, available in the Seller's Hub and third-party applications through the API, it would solve part of my problem. The eBay Promotions Manager requires an awkward process to manually select listings. It is not a good model for a repricing tool. Having the capability to quickly and efficiently adjust prices would help sellers and might also improve eBay’s bottom line. Sellers who adjust prices seasonally or are engaged in a "race to the bottom" could use more automation.


I seldom use the eBay web site except to monitor auctions with the Classic eBay All Selling window. The new Seller’s Hub is unpleasant. It is unfortunate that some sellers impacted by the change depend on the eBay Sell Your Item web pages when better alternatives are available. I haven’t tried to list with the eBay Sell Your Item page since 2005.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate   eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate

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

Thu Feb 28 02:12:21 2019

Watch out for those ''An extra 100 listings free'' promotions which will generate a lot of fees from sellers who miss the rollover date.  And a lot of ill will toward eBay.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate   eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate

by: Bookseller1234 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 28 03:07:52 2019

The 30 day renewal is the problem for me.
I already use GTC in my shop but even though I can have fewer total listings than my allowance I can still end up getting billed for additional fees in a 31 day month.(but have unused allowance in February)

Has anyone who studies advertising standards had a look at eBay's wording for their shop allowances?
It looks misleading to state x free listings per month yet charge additional fees in a 31 day month.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate   eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate

This user has validated their user name. by: Lightning

Thu Feb 28 03:35:59 2019

@cfrphoto
The methods are available in Seller Hub, but I guess you aren't anxious to adopt that, and who could blame you.  It does seem a bit confusing at first, and then only gets more confusing.  But it does have some power.

In the Hub, you can select whatever group of listings you want and bulk edit the prices by dollar value or %.  If the listings you are trying to edit are not easily ''picked'' from the pages, scattered around, you can use store categories to filter them.  I use the Second store category to assign Group labels, A, B, C, whatever your code might be.  You can also use Custom Label.  So I can ask for all Group A to show up on the screen, check the top check box to select them all, pick the correct field to edit, and in moments a few hundred listings changed price.  Like if you wanted all of them to drop 10%, or $2 each.  If it's a varied discount by listing, or you want to skip some, that does take a bit longer.

You could also use that Active Listing page to Bulk End any group of listings, and they go to Unsold in seconds.  Then you could apply your SixBit App and SQL to it, just like before.  You're just jumping in to manually end listings that used to expire automatically.  But the effect is the same.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate   eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate

This user has validated their user name. by: Lightning

Thu Feb 28 03:42:57 2019

@Bookseller1234
All we have to do is get eBay to make the GTC 31 days instead of 30.  We've just been stuck on 30 so long that we aren't even thinking of other options.  What's an extra day going to cost them, really??  Wow, one whole extra day above the 30 that an item hangs out there for sale.  You just tweak a bit of code, done.  That way you can't possibly get double-billed.  Oops.  I think I just hit on why they WOULDN'T do that.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate   eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 28 04:19:40 2019

The 31 days scare me. I already pay Ebay an average of 23% percent per month in fees, counting my store subscription. There is still Paypal fees to add as well.  I cannot pay more than that. I will have to reduce my inventory by about 200 items to make sure I do not get overcharged. What shock this is going to be for some folks when they find out they get billed twice in the same month for an item. GTC scares me more. I tried putting 200 items in GTC once, and I sold an average of one item per month. Got rid of that in a hurry.    

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