Answers Please: Opting Out of the eBay Arbitration Clause
By Ina Steiner
Today's Answers Please column tackles the issue of eBay's arbitration clause in its user agreement. Do you have a question about shipping, marketing, marketplace selling or other areas of ecommerce? Let us know and we'll get you an answer.
Reader question: When I signed in to my eBay account, a new user agreement popped up. As with the last user agreement update, it had the same clause about giving up my rights to a class action lawsuit and agree to eBay's arbitration process unless I opted out.
I opted out the last time this came up. Do you know, or can you find out, if we have to opt out every time eBay changes the user agreement or, does opting out once cover us for the future? I didn't see anything that told a user how to opt out if they chose to.
Does a user have to opt out each time eBay updates the User Agreement?
EcommerceBytes: eBay instituted a new provision in its User Agreement prohibiting users from filing class action lawsuits against the company. Instead, eBay requires users to submit to arbitration and only allows users to pursue claims and seek relief on an individual basis. However, eBay gave users the opportunity to opt out of the clause, which went into effect last October, by submitting a written notice postmarked by Nov. 9, 2012.
So must a user write to eBay each time it updates its User Agreement? Today's answer comes from eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore, who provided the following response to the reader's question:
"A user does not need to opt-out of the Agreement to Arbitrate provision in the User Agreement each time eBay updates the User Agreement. A user can choose to opt-out by mailing a written opt-out notice no later than 30 days after the date she or he accepts the User Agreement for the first time. The opt-out must be done within that timeframe. If the user does so within that timeframe, she or he does not need to opt-out each time thereafter that eBay updates the User Agreement."
Do you have a question about shipping, marketing, marketplace selling or other areas of ecommerce? Submit your questions to ina@EcommerceBytes.com and we'll track down the right person to provide an authoritative answer.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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