Ebay pulled a couple of my listings yesterday. Their grounds for doing so were mildly amusing insomuch as it is a transparent policy to increase their listing fees. Buried somewhere in Ebay T&Cs is the entertaining precept that the seller may not charge the buyer for PayPalâ€™s extortionate transaction fees because in some way this undermines trust in the seller?
How does that work then? As a seller, I offer the buyer many options to pay for the item. One of those attracts costs which I have no intention of paying. If the buyer feels the same way, fine â€“ send me a cheque, do a bank transfer, pay me in chickens, I care not. How can this in some way undermine trust in the seller? Beats me!
Whatâ€™s even funnier (and itâ€™s important not to take this terribly seriously) is Ebayâ€™s stated resolution to the fees issue. They suggest that you include the fees in the initial cost of the item. Itâ€™s a BLOODY AUCTION, Paypal takes a percentage of the final bid so excuse me if Iâ€™m being mathematically special needs but how can I work this out at the start? Other than artificially inflating the price of the goods which is the very thing Ebay righteously tells us not to do!
I guess if I did just chuck a fiver in for Paypal, Ebay wins both ways â€“ their listing fee is increased and they get even more for the transaction to Paypal (a company which they, of course, own). At best itâ€™s just stupid, at worst itâ€™s a mendacious attempt to increase their profits by claiming it boosts trust in the virtual marketplace. I must check how many Ebay Execs were previously politicians as it smacks of the soundbite rhetoric weâ€™re bamboozled by every day.
And breathe. Iâ€™m not taking it seriously. Honest.
So what to do? Well Iâ€™m going retro, old school if you will. From now on, any buyers dealing with me must shun the â€œnowness” of instant payments and relearn the art of transactions that take days not seconds. Yes, theyâ€™ll have to fill in a cheque and maybe itâ€™ll mean I need to ride down to the bank but if that stiffs Ebayâ€™s profits by only a quid, itâ€™ll be a moral victory for the little man 🙂
And you know, suddenly the call of the local free papers is strong. I mean there must be hundreds of potential buyers in Buckinghamshire desperate to own some pre-loved electronic components?