Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Unannounced ebaY Fee Increases

The Unannounced ebaY Fee Increases
2 Mar 2006
Revised 5 Mar 2006 to add information about the unannounced store fee increase
[Editors Note: We decided to leave both these articles posted so the changes we made would be clearly available for comparison. We found out about the store price increase when a reader emailed us after reading the original 2 March article posted on this blog]

On 18 January 2006, Bill Cobb, president of ebaY North America, announced a price increase for ebaY US. Of course, in the normal ebaY way, it was announced as fee adjustments, made to appear as if it was a minor increase, and that some fee decreases would mitigate the fact that ebaY has increased their fees every year, despite year over year record breaking profitability. As always, the business community looks at this and says that ebaY is justified in charging whatever the market will bear, but it once again puts the lie to ebaY's propaganda about being community based.

The fee increase went into effect on 22 Feb 06. The way the new fees were structured, ebaY reduced the fee on items listed at 99 cents or less from 25 cents to 20 cents, and increased the final value fee on the most common ending price level, an additional one quarter percent (.25%). They made some features free, including picture show and sales reports plus, and reduced fees for the second and third tiers of picture manager (all pretty worthless features, much less expensive and more reliably found from third party service providers). In addition, Bill Cobb said, "There are no changes for eBay Stores fees.", which you will see further along in this article, was a blatant lie on Mr Cobb's part. Despite the unannounced fee increases made to the store listing fees, TAG also expects an increase in store subscription fees, probably in the May/June time frame.
You can see the fee increase announcement at -

What ebaY failed to mention, was that there were fee increases they did not tell their sellers about. TAG wonders if these fee increases, which probably border on the illegal, and violated ebaY's own user agreement, were even too sleazy for ebaY to mention in public, or if ebaY felt they could slip them in without anyone noticing. Once word got out and they were questioned about it, they would have probably used their old, "it has always been that way, we just didn't enforce it" line, or some other excuses, complete lies all, that seller's have the invoices to prove. Fortunately erudite TAG subscribers did notice the fee increases, and let us know about them.

There are two sets of ebaY increases, that ebaY failed to mention, or blatantly lied about. The first increase ebaY forget to mention, comes into play when a seller revises a listing to decrease the price of the item in that listing. In the past if the seller decreased the price of a listing, so that it took the listing into a lower fee category, ebaY would refund the difference. Just as, if the seller increased the price of a listing, ebaY would add the extra fee to the seller's bill. Now what ebaY is doing, is not refunding the difference in fees, in the case of a decreased price, but is still adding the increased fee when an item is revised to increase the price. This also probably applies to the reserve fee, when the change to the fee is based on a lowered reserve price. ebaY explicitly mentions, " Reduce the start price of your item. (You will not receive credit for the difference in your insertion fees.)" but does not address other fees, such as listing duration fees, or other items you might revise. See the revise your listing info at -

For example, if you look at the fee schedule at -

If you start a listing at $59.99, the insertion fee would be $2.40. You then later revise it to $49.99. ebaY will not refund the $1.20 difference, they will keep it. But if you start an item at $49.99, you will be charged $1.20, and then later revise that to $59.99, ebaY will charge you the extra $1.20 to bring the listing fee up to $2.40.

The only place you can see this fee change is on the revise your listing page. But since that page is included in the user agreement by default (as are all ebaY's little back doors hiding information), ebaY will claim you agreed to this change by using their site. TAG argues that this is an illegal rule, keeping fees they are not entitled to, but until someone successfully sues them over this issue, or media attention shames them into a change, it will be the ebaY law.

The second fee increases were made in the stores, by removing the 60, 90 and 120 day listing durations. The only option now open to store users is 30 day and Good till Cancelled (GTC). All the listing upgrade fees are now charged every 30 days, and that change causes increases that range up to 300% (depending on duration) for those who previously used 60/90/120 day durations. The fee increases are shown as follows:

Gallery was 1 cent for 120 days and now costs 1 cent each 30 day period

Listing Designer (see note) was 10 cents for 120 days, and now cost 10 cents for each 30 day period.
(Note) No charge for listing designer for Blackthorne Basic, Blackthorne Pro, or Selling Manager Pro subscribers.

Highlight was $11 for 120 days, and now costs $5 each 30 day period.

Featured in Search was $34.95 for 120 days, and now costs $19.95 each 30 day period

Additional pictures were 45 cents for 120 days, and now costs 15 cents each 30 day period

Supersize pictures were $1.50 for 120 days, and now costs 75 cents each 30 day period

Picture Pack was $3.01 for 120 days, and now costs 76 cents each 30 day period

There is one price reduction, and that is for the Picture Show which was 55 cents for 120 days, and is now free

You can see the old stores fee schedule at -
And the current store fees at -

Once again ebaY shows how willingly and blatantly it lies. When the President of North America, can post that there are no fee increases in stores, when there were increases, it shows how deeply corrupt ebaY and its management is.

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