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The Almighty Buck Businesses The Internet Your Rights Online

EBay Abandons Plans For PayPal Monopoly 277

Posted by timothy
from the single-source-is-always-risky dept.
An anonymous reader writes "eBay's has lost its fight to ban all payment methods except PayPal. When Paypal originally announced the scheme it was to be global, but they began with a dry run in Australia to test the reaction of government and consumer authorities. In the public slanging match that followed between eBay and the regulatory ACCC, eBay spammed users claiming it was fighting for 'safety benefits for consumers.' Fortunately the consumers won. Conceded eBay vice president Simon Smith, 'While we disagree with the ACCC's draft notice, we have decided to withdraw the notification to stop any further confusion and disruption among the eBay community.' Nevertheless eBay insists PayPal is now always offered as a payment option. Have big corporations finally learned that they can go too far? More chillingly, if eBay had launched the scheme in America would they have gotten away with it?"
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EBay Abandons Plans For PayPal Monopoly

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  • Paypal only (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mycroft_514 (701676) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:27PM (#24054229) Journal

    Then I would leave e-bay, after being there since 1996

    • Re:Paypal only (Score:5, Informative)

      by AmigaMMC (1103025) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @11:07PM (#24054927)
      I was there since 1997, but I stopped selling on ebay several months ago. Their new policies, higher prices and impossibility for sellers to leave any negative or neutral feedback has driven many people away. Just read the ebay forums, the Front Porch, and you will see hundreds of angry people. What's even worse, go to Seller Central forum and browse the last pages... ebay had moved to the back of the list some important threads where people were complaining about the new policies. Last Feb. when sellers called for a boycott and stopped selling for a determined amount of time ebay posted hundreds of thousands of fake listings to show that their numbers were not down (it's all documented in the forums). Nowadays, me and many other ex ebayers moved to iOffer.com and it's like heaven compared to ebay. No listing fees, lower final value fees, proper feedback (and you can transfer your rating from ebay), free pics and free store. As of this week there are over 4 million listings on iOffer.com
      • Can you explain the use of negative feedback against buyers? What situations would you give negative feedback? It seems that if they didn't pay that would be an issue you would take to Ebay, not something you'd complain about on their feedback page. Serious question.

        Interesting points though, I'll have to check out iOffer.

        • Re:Paypal only (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Pseudonym (62607) on Friday July 04, 2008 @12:00AM (#24055225)

          Well, the purpose of negative feedback is to stop being getting screwed over by bad actors.

          There are several ways that a buyer can scam a seller. They can, for example, claim that the item is not as described, and then return something else (e.g. buying a new diamond ring and returning a cheap cubic zirconia, or buying a new laptop and returning an old one). eBay and PayPal will honour proof of postage as "proof" that the correct item was returned, even if it wasn't.

          In those situations, negative feedback was the only recourse that a scammed seller had.

          • Re:Paypal only (Score:4, Interesting)

            by c1t1z3nk41n3 (1112059) on Friday July 04, 2008 @08:56AM (#24058233)
            For better or worse some sellers screwed the rest over. People started sending out emails saying that if for any reason you left a neutral or negative feedback they would leave negative feedback on you. It discouraged honesty from buyers. I myself ended up leaving a positive feedback with negative comment attached after buying a cell phone that had been misrepresented.
            • by sjbe (173966) on Friday July 04, 2008 @12:40PM (#24060259)

              It discouraged honesty from buyers.

              Honesty from buyers? My guess is you haven't sold a significant amount of stuff on eBay. I have over 10,000 feedbacks with a 99.7% positive rating and have seen just about every buyer scam in the book first hand. I'm an optimistic person by nature but when you've had people try to burn you as much as I have you cease being so optimistic about the "honesty from buyers". Most buyers are fine but a very significant percentage are not and making it impossible for sellers to respond to the bad ones does not help anyone.

              The vast majority of feedbacks are either content free ("A+++++ BEST SELLER EVER!!!!") or simply rude responses from people who couldn't be bothered to resolve a problem civilly. I particularly love getting negative feedback from buyers who can't be bothered to actually read the auction terms. Happens ALL the time.

              While I'll be the first to admit there are a lot of scummy sellers out there there are at least as many scummy buyers. eBay's change in policy is an attempt to assure buyers that eBay is safe (it isn't) so that they don't take their business elsewhere.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by AK Marc (707885)
            In those situations, negative feedback was the only recourse that a scammed seller had.

            Wait, so eBay takes proof of shipment that you weren't scammed out of a diamond ring, and you feel that is 100% ok, as long as you can leave negative feedback? I think that the fact that they take shipment records as "proof" of contents of the package would be the issue, as opposed to negative feedback that was overwhelming used as blackmail. I guess blackmail was perfectly fine, as long as it gave you a chance to las
        • by chimpo13 (471212)

          I've been on ebay since Jan 1997 after first using my friend's account to buy stuff.

          I sell sometimes and listed an NSU Sport Prinz (weird microcar with a wonderful Italian designed body) that I really didn't want to sell. I ended up trying to cancel on the last day just last week. eBay won't let you in the last 12 hours. I've never tried to cancel and have no idea when the 12 hour rule took place.

          eBay told me to cancel all bids and let the winner know the car wasn't for sale so he could retract his bid an

          • Re:Paypal only (Score:5, Insightful)

            by cheater512 (783349) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Friday July 04, 2008 @01:01AM (#24055579) Homepage

            I do think that the buyer was fair to give you negative feedback.
            He had just won the auction, and you said that you decided that you dont want to sell it after all.
            Posting a auction requires you to accept a legal agreement which outlines that.

            • by chimpo13 (471212)

              I decided a few hours before the end of the auction that I didn't want to sell and tried to cancel. eBay told me to do it the way I did which makes no sense. It shouldn't be a problem to cancel with 3 hours left but I can see where people would abuse that.

              I asked if I should just have a friend bid it up so that retracting wouldn't be a problem. They said that was shilling even though I wanted to cancel and that they would suspend my account.

              I completely understand why the winner was mad, but I wish he wou

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Dan541 (1032000)

                You should have sold what you listed.

                It's people like you who do stupid things that give us sellers a bad name.

              • Re:Paypal only (Score:4, Insightful)

                by mollymoo (202721) on Friday July 04, 2008 @08:41AM (#24058123) Journal
                You should have had negative feedback for cancelling the auction so close to the end. It was a negative experience for the bidders. It sounds like the winner might not have left negative feedback for you if he knew you could retaliate in kind, which suggests eBay's new rules are working perfectly.
            • by chimpo13 (471212)

              Oh yeah, per my attorney* it's not a legal agreement even though eBay says it is.

              It's a small world of microcar collectors and it opened up a debate over whether I should be sued over it.

              *Federal attorney with previous dealings with eBay

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by GAB_cyclist (1274556)
            "The winner called me up, told me to piss up a rope, and left me negative feedback because he said he knows I can't do anything about it." Why are you complaining...it was a bad sell, hence the negative feedback. Try to see this from the buyers point of view, but still... with 177 good and 1 bad review most people will still buy items from you On subject, I've been on Ebay since 1998. I understand that strict rules are necessary on such a huge market but I've left ship a long time ago because I love the
            • by chimpo13 (471212)

              I completely understand why the bidder was unhappy. I'm annoyed that eBay wouldn't let me end the auction early. To them, it wasn't a big deal and they said the winner wouldn't have a problem retracting. I should've figured it out I was getting screwed since eBay customer service was playing psychic.

              Either way, the stuff I buy and sell are weird specialty bits that sells to a small population. It shouldn't be hard to avoid eBay.

              jaxed [jaxed.com] is a great way to check craigslist

        • by sjbe (173966)

          Can you explain the use of negative feedback against buyers?

          • Some buyers are extremely rude or difficult to work with just like with any retail or mail order business.
          • Many don't bother to actually read the terms of your auction and then act surprised (and rude) when you will not deviate from them.
          • A significant number of buyers cannot be bothered to pay for items they have one. I typically had to send payment reminders to about 2-4% of buyers and about 1% never pay.
          • Some buyers are outright thieves or deceptive.
          • Some buyers insist that you are overcharging for shi
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by van da man (1319543)
        just visited this site hadn't heard of it til I saw your post. this sounds like a good site in general, but the large amount of bootleg computer software that I've already seen on the site such as the Microsoft Office 2007 blue edition found here http://www.ioffer.com/i/MS-Microsoft-Office-2007-Blue-Edition-Very-Rare-36496701 [ioffer.com] and the windows xp black edition found here http://www.ioffer.com/i/Windows-Xp-Pro-SP3-Black-Edition-2008--56542416 [ioffer.com] or even the Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 Preactivated http://www.i [ioffer.com]
        • Haw, but why go through the trouble of E-bay, traceable information etc. , when one could just torrent the damn things?
      • I didn't think I'd ever see a site that offered even fewer legitimate watches for sale than eBay.
    • Re:Paypal only (Score:5, Informative)

      by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @11:16PM (#24054991)

      Then I would leave e-bay, after being there since 1996

      Amen. I personally have experienced the famous Paypal shaft. Froze my account for no reason and blackholed all my communications, just like so many other people. When I finally did get access to my money again after many months of frustration and runaround, I closed the account I was stupid enough to give them access to and left Paypal for good.

      Paypal is an unregulated scam.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mea_culpa (145339)

      eBay was good when it was Auction Web. Almost like craigslist where anything and everything could be auctioned and the listing fees were reasonable. The interface was simple and straight forward, now it is as bad as godaddy.com 90% garbage 10% substance.

      BTW I sold my 1997 account for $1500.

  • by SeaFox (739806) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:29PM (#24054249)

    More chillingly, if eBay had launched the scheme in America would they have got away with it?"

    EBay is a medium to connect buyers and sellers, nothing more. They can't regulate the actual terms of a transaction. All the parties have to do is accept "cash/check" as the method of payment and then go to Google/Western Union/whathaveyou and send the payment that way. Seller gets money via "unapproved" method. What's eBay going to do? Stop him from shipping the item?

    This was a non-issue from the start.

    fp?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:37PM (#24054309)

      That doesn't work when the only option presented to users is paypal, the eBay system wont let you finalise auctions until PayPal processing has occurred and eBay start removing listings that don't conform.

      And no, you didn't get first post you idiot.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by SeaFox (739806)

        That doesn't work when the only option presented to users is paypal, the eBay system wont let you finalise auctions until PayPal processing has occurred and eBay start removing listings that don't conform.

        And do you think sellers would put up with a website telling them what methods of payment they're allowed to accept? They don't need eBay to artificially limit their customer base.

        And no, you didn't get first post you idiot.

        There were no replies when I started typing mine, and the story was not on the fron

    • by Stanislav_J (947290) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @10:21PM (#24054635)

      EBay is a medium to connect buyers and sellers, nothing more.

      That's the mantra eBay has often chanted (usually in the context of somebody wanting to hold them responsible for some fraud that has been perpetrated), but the fact is that they have gradually done everything they can over the years to insert themselves between buyer and seller, and to be directly involved in every phase of the transaction. They have already previously tried to ban or at least discourage other forms of payment -- this is nothing new. They tried several years ago to force all sellers to complete transactions through eBay's own "Checkout" system, and only backed down after mass bitching by some very high volume sellers. They try to intimidate you into using only eBay's own on-site message system to contact bidders instead of e-mailing them directly.

      The problem with these measures is, while still technically "optional," eBay does nothing to encourage such "rogue" behavior, and many (maybe most) users, both sellers and bidders, who have come aboard after these "options" were implemented are under the impression that they are mandatory because eBay pushes them constantly while burying the more seller-centric options in obscurity. Consequently, many bidders no longer understand the "eBay is only a venue" schtick, and believe that they are dealing directly with eBay. After all, when your messages all come through the eBay site, and you pay by clicking on buttons on the eBay site, you lose track of the fact that there are thousands of individual sellers who are the actual merchants. I've had problems with more than a few bidders who refuse to answer my e-mails or to pay me directly instead of through eBay's Checkout because they think it's not "official" otherwise, and that I am trying to pull some sort of scam on them.

    • by no-body (127863) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @10:49PM (#24054827)
      A - EBay is a medium to connect buyers and sellers, nothing more.

      B - This was a non-issue from the start.

      Dream on...

      A - Ebay is a money making machine and de-facto monopoly on online auctions.

      B - Ebay owns PayPal - their auction interfaces are strongly interlinked and incentives in PayPal "Buyer protection" are predominanty shown on every(?) auction.

      Look at 10 auctions and count non-PayPal (quick - CC) payments accepted - I found NONE!

      They can easily effort dropping enforcement of PayPal - they get it anyway.
      Maybe it was dumb to try it in that manner.
    • by Fujisawa Sensei (207127) on Friday July 04, 2008 @02:37AM (#24056039) Journal

      EBay is a medium to connect buyers and sellers, nothing more.

      EBay is a way of profiting from a sale without actually selling anyting.

  • Duh, Yea! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WarlockD (623872) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:30PM (#24054255)
    More chillingly, if eBay had launched the scheme in America would they have got away with it?

    Yes:P There aren't any wildly accepted payment processors you can go with with ebay. While I don't like the arbitrary way Paypal handles accounts, its hard for me to go back to mailing a check or money order with its convenience. I doubt enough Americans would care one way or the other sadly.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:31PM (#24054267)

    I quit eBay (Canada) the day that they forced Canadian sellers to accept Paypal. Also, the fact that they'll withhold payments to me for 21 days without paying interest didn't go over so well either.

    Shame to let all that good feedback go but I won't bend over for corporate raping.

    • by InlawBiker (1124825) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @10:03PM (#24054491)

      I have sold a lot of stuff on Ebay too, but I quit in favor of Craigslist. This Ebay maneuver was just a calculated way for them to muscle sellers into giving Ebay a bigger piece of the pie. It's the 'ol "gain monopoly then exploit" plan. There needs to be a name for it. There probably is but I can't think of it...

      Also here's the obligatory grammar gripe. "Have big corporations finally learned that they can go to far." Where is this "far" place and how do I get there?

    • In all the complain threads I've seen, I've never heard of Paypal withholding payments for 21 days in any country. The same goes for requiring sellers to accept PayPal payments other than the announced one for Australia. I would have a problem with the 21 day thing if that was put on me, but requiring PayPal payments, without the 21 day thing, wouldn't put me off. The proportion of problematic transactions on PayPal vs. cash/check/MO that I get were such that transactions involving PayPal are a lot more

    • I suspect this was all covering fire. By creating a big fuss over paypal-only, they can make must-include-paypal-as-an-option seem a reasonable compromise. A bit like an ambit claim, if you will. A cunning move on their part, but they're still bastards.

  • As an Australian (Score:5, Interesting)

    by renegadesx (977007) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:33PM (#24054277)
    I applaude the ACCC on this move but I wish somebody would have told me this was going to happen sooner. I requested them to shut down my eBay account in protest a month ago. eBay rationalized this by saying they were acting in the interests of consumers despite consumers said very clear they were against this.

    This was about monopoly and eBay getting paid twice per transaction (more money for them). They spammed me MANY times trying to say "this is for your own good". I had customer representatives hassling me all the time when I requested my account be closed and they were going "you can sign up to paypal" and I said "I dont want a paypal account" and after 5 repeated attempts, they still havent shut it down but say "its in the process of being shut down"
    • It took me almost a week of emails back and forth to get my eBay account closed down (also in protest), and unless you find the one correct link on a page littered with links, it's impossible to get it closed. Even if they don't insist on PayPal, I'm not sure if I'll come back again.

  • A few questions (Score:4, Insightful)

    by snl2587 (1177409) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:34PM (#24054285)

    I understand that the real aversion to this plan comes from the "mandatory" part, but why is PayPal a bad thing? Personally, I like having a middleman shield my credit card information from the seller, and I like some of the other protections that using PayPal can afford.

    And, frankly, what's so wrong about having a specific method of payment used throughout a website? If eBay had their own internal payment system identical in every way to PayPal, would there be as much fervor?

    • by EsonLinji (723693) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:46PM (#24054373) Homepage
      eBay already has their own internal payment system identical to PayPal in every way. It's called PayPal.
    • Re:A few questions (Score:5, Informative)

      by FSWKU (551325) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:48PM (#24054385)

      And, frankly, what's so wrong about having a specific method of payment used throughout a website? If eBay had their own internal payment system identical in every way to PayPal, would there be as much fervor?

      A specific method of payment is not the issue here. The issue is that eBay owns PayPal, making the whole "we're doing this to protect YOU" argument rather spurious at best.

      eBay takes a commission on each item sold through their site. Paypal takes a chunk of every transaction that goes through. So it works like this. Person A puts up an item for sale. Person B is the winning bidder. Person A now owes eBay X amount of money based on the final price of the item. This comes out of what they receive in payment from Person B. Person B sends the money through PayPal, which takes a percentage of the transaction, Y. If the item sold for Z dollars, person A will only ever see Z-(X+Y). Essentially, eBay gets paid twice for the same auction. THAT is where people are getting (rightfully) peeved.

      • by maglor_83 (856254)

        A specific method of payment is not the issue here.

        Essentially, eBay gets paid twice for the same auction. THAT is where people are getting (rightfully) peeved.

        Well I obviously can't speak for everyone, but I'm more worried about the former rather than the latter. It hinders competition, resulting in higher prices.

    • Re:A few questions (Score:5, Informative)

      by Bieeanda (961632) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @10:14PM (#24054573)
      PayPal has a long history of closing accounts, dipping into bank accounts that are associated with accounts, freezing assets without recourse and generally being really shitty corporate citizens [somethingawful.com]. Their status as an effective middleman is middling at best.
    • Re:A few questions (Score:4, Interesting)

      by nolife (233813) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @10:15PM (#24054585) Homepage Journal

      I have a separate bank account with "totally free checking" at a local bank and only use it for Paypal. Nothing else. When I need to use Paypal, I deposit money in that account by check from my other bank or using their ATM out front and walk in and deposit it. If some of the horror stories I hear about Palpal freezing accounts or people being scammed happen to me, I will only loose access to a couple of dollars.

      • Re:A few questions (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Iamthecheese (1264298) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @10:31PM (#24054709)
        You do all that to avoid being stolen from, and you still do business with paypal? If your fruit vendor threw a nasty one at you every fifth visit would you just start wearing a raincoat?
        • by nolife (233813)

          I'd rather take precautions than do nothing. Opening an account with a local back takes about 10 minutes and depositing cash or a check at that physical bank is not hard. This bank is in the same parking lot as the nearest grocery store and I pass by it every day so it is not out of the way either.
          You're right though, I do not like Paypal either and I should have to do nothing to protect myself and maybe I'm a little paranoid but the little effort I go through seems worth it to me.
          What is your method of d

    • Personally, I like having a middleman shield my credit card information from the seller,

      Except in Australia there are other more preferred methods for transactions that don't require credit cards or paypal.

      Number one is bank direct deposit, which doesn't involve any extra parties (though the buyer may have to pay their own bank a few for the transaction)

      Number two is a Money Order with a flat fee of $4.00, but limited to $1000 total value

      Now considering that using a paypal account requires the bank account that can be used in option one, and will also attract fees and charges, why would you ev

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      And, frankly, what's so wrong about having a specific method of payment used throughout a website?

      ..the same thing that wrong with Microsoft bundling Internet Explorer with every copy of Windows. Its leveraging one monopoly to increase market share and decrease competition in another market.

      Its anti-competitive and would probably fall foul of antitrust laws in many countries as well.

      They bought Paypal with the specific intention of limiting the payment options of their existing user base and give them (eBay) complete control over ALL transactions.

      Its not just limiting buyers and sellers to a particular

  • by markov_chain (202465) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:38PM (#24054323) Homepage
    I wish they did do it, so that Google could finally put up Google Auctions and we finally got rid of eBay.
  • by John Hasler (414242) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:38PM (#24054327) Homepage

    > More chillingly, if eBay had launched the scheme in America would they have got away
    > with it?

    Probably, because while people like you would have whined and moaned about the evil of it all you would have kept right on doing business with them. You recite high-sounding phrases about your rights, but you value convenience more.

    Try to get a grip. There are lots of other ways to buy and sell things. If Ebay management wants to act like a pack of fools it's between them and their shareholders. They need customers more than the customers need them.

  • I don't get it... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:39PM (#24054329)

    Why is there no competing online fleamarket to eBay? We all know eBay sucks ass! I want my competition!

    Yes, yes, I know, build it and they will come...

  • In the US... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mysidia (191772) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:42PM (#24054343)

    The outright banning was perhaps a red-herring, i.e. an "It can be worse" program to distract people from other anti-competitive measures they were taking at the same time.

    People will remember only that they were considering to ban the competitors outright, they have withdrawn that. Hence, they have succeeded. The public (the news media) will now ignore the more important changes -- the new requirement that paypal be offered on all listings.

    Think of the auction bidding strategy that involves conspiracy: the highest bidder will confer with a third party to "accidentally" make an obvious bidding error, like bidding 100000 on a $100 item. The high-bidding conspirator will withdraw their bid (based on it being an obvious error), with the second-highest bidder getting the item for a ridiculously low price.

    Banning non-paypal services outright is the distracting (erroneous bid). Making it mandatory to offer a Paypal option on all listings is the lower bid that still gets the item (eBay merchants' payment processing business).

    They've also basically gotten away with it by banning their potential biggest competitor (Google) early.

    Justifications are only to save face. The real reason they want to ban new non-Paypal services should be obvious.

    By having pay-by-PayPal-through-eBay's-site required to be an option for all actions, the other payment methods will begin to be marginalized.

    Because they will be less convenient.

    By "not banning them" eBay will pretend to be placating them and allowing competition, where in fact, it will be harder for competitors to compete than before.

    Now by withdrawing their "ban on alternate payment services", many people have by now forgotten or won't notice other changes...

    They'll think eBay learned their lesson and will play nice, when it couldn't be farther from the truth.

    • by syousef (465911)

      You're right, but I don't think it's working:

      "eBay still 'forcing' sellers to use PayPal"
      http://www.smh.com.au/news/web/ebay-blasted-for-strongarm-tactics/2008/07/04/1214951011001.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1 [smh.com.au]

      For me personally, there's only really one way to deal with this nonsense. I haven't used Paypal for a long time after I had what I consider to be a very bad experience (luckily I didn't lose too much money on the deal). I closed my account then, and I'm not opening one up again. If I can't pay by ba

  • by catwh0re (540371) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:45PM (#24054367)
    Australia is a good test bed for consumer goods. Australia is relatively isolated with a limited population of first world consumers. The Australian consumer is typically a spoilt one (with no offense intended, it's just a marketing term for the consumer-climate) This means bad ideas sink very quickly and only the very best ideas will gather the momentum & critical mass for financial survival.

    Australian law lays between the consumer-driven EU laws and the company driven-US laws.

    The ACCC is an independent government body specifically designed to prevent US-style corporate bastardisation. It's significantly resistant to US-style lobbying and has the power to stop company mergers, monitor and investigate pricing, regulate telecommunications companies, make unfair company policies illegal to enforce and works via a complaint system. (Meaning that individuals have the power to enact a government body to look into unreasonable practices.)

    The ACCC is the reason why the iPhone is available on all competent Australian telecoms, why banks had to pass on savings to consumers and why ebay couldn't impose their paypal policy.

    The smaller nature of the Australian population allows for this kind of organisation to exist, so I'm not confident this would scale without corruption to larger countries.(There is also an organisation which deals specifically with corruption.)

    As with any system, there is an appeals process, many companies don't take this route (such as ebay) as the ACCC are usually just enforcing the existing fair trading & trade practices laws.

    • by kaos07 (1113443)

      Actually the iPhone is only available on three networks, albeit the three biggest networks - Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.

      Ironically it's not available on the "3" network".

      • by RodgerDodger (575834) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @10:11PM (#24054551)

        Technically, not correct. It is true that only three networks are offering the iPhone. However, as per ACCC policy, they have to offer a way to buy the iPhone by itself, unlocked and able to be used on any network. For example, Optus is selling the iPhone on the prepaid plans and offers an unlocking service (at a cost - just factor that into the price if you don't want to use Optus).

        The ACCC could not force Apple to offer the iPhone to multiple networks; they could have just approached, say, Telstra. However, the ACCC could force Telstra to offer it unlocked, even if they were the only reseller.

        My guess is that the terms & conditions offered by Apple to sell the iPhone weren't attractive enough for the 2nd tier providers (the ones who don't actually have their own networks fully in place; 3 [three.com.au] is sort of in-between; they have their own network covering major urban areas, but fallback to the Telstra network elsewhere). Of course, these terms & conditions are secret, so unless you're a major telco executive, there's no way to know.

        • by a.ameri (665846)

          Mod parent up. ACCC has shown time and time again that it is on the consumers' side; the eBay ruling and iPhone distribution just go a long way in proving this.

          3 of the 4 major networks in Australia (Optus, Vodafone and Telstra) are now offering iPhone, both pre-paid and post-paid, and unlocked. Optus has just released their prices: the 8GB version costs $729 and the 16GB one $849. This price includes $400 worth of call credits and unlimited data until August 31.

          Compare the total cost of ownership of that,

      • by Spikeles (972972)
        But, it is available to be bought outright from one of those 3 unlocked from the network allowing you to use it on any other network you want.
    • by catwh0re (540371)
      I don't think anyone noted that I said "on all competent Australian telecoms", this is where I get a bit controversial, as I don't consider three a competent telecom - it's overly reliant on other networks merely to maintain voice coverage outside of their comparatively small 3G zone. Additionally it's a widely reported issue(particularly on whirlpool) that three have not fully implemented "soft transitions" when switching from a 3G call on the three network to a GSM call on the telstra network. I.E. the ca
    • by quarrel (194077)

      While I broadly agree with the thrust of your argument, you're mistaking the ACCC for many other regulatory agencies.

      To get your list of "protections" you'd need to include:

      * ACCC
      * ACMA
      * Reserve Bank
      * ASIC
      * FIRB

      At the least.

      And that is ignoring that the ACCC doesn't at all enforce fair trading laws, which are the perogative of the states (in NSW that means the Dept of Fair Trading, it probably has a similar name in the other states).

      You're misattributing most of your argument.

      --Q

      • by catwh0re (540371)
        While I agree that those particular agencies do also handle issues I discussed in the broader sense (some federally and some on the state level). From the ACCC's own website you can see:
        "Its primary responsibility is to ensure that individuals and businesses comply with the Commonwealth's competition, fair trading and consumer protection laws."

        In the examples I listed there was some involvement by the ACCC, yes: some of which were run on effects from actions imposed by the ACCC.(I just didn't provide t

    • But it didn't save you from price gouging ISP's giving you crap for service, then metering it on top of that.

  • by Zouden (232738) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:51PM (#24054407)

    It feels great to be an Australian.

    • It definitely makes a nice change from being the internet retards of the anglosphere.

      Most of the stories about Australia reaching the front page are of the "what new order-the-tide-to-go-out law are they passing now?" genre.

    • I'd rather have our apathetic voting population, crumbling infrastructure, and an ozone layer.
    • by Dr. Cody (554864)

      It feels great to be an Australian.

      ...were his last words before the box jellyfish, funnel spiders, Tasmanian devils, great whites, and inland taipans overtook him.

  • I stopped using Paypal after an error the part of their site caused a payment to a seller to be issued twice. While they are heavily tied in to eBay (the auction numbers each payment is linked to are available in one's payment history) they apparently have no mechanism to prevent double-payments. Both payments were deducted from my credit card immediately, but the seller was kind enough to quickly refund the duplicate payment. However, I learned via a PayPal email that "Refunds to credit cards may take up
  • Here in the good 'ole capitalist USA (not to say that's a bad thing) we don't punish Corps. for actions like this anymore. If that is what you have to do to make a buck then go for it. I think the best example to date is AT&T's immunity from any and all lawsuits during the wireprobing debacle. Free Market was a bad idea...it should have been Fair Market (in the sense that you should be fair to your consumers).
  • Obvious (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BCW2 (168187) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:55PM (#24054429) Journal
    "More chillingly, if eBay had launched the scheme in America would they have got away with it?"

    Depends on whether they bribed enough of the right people or not. Simple and obvious to anyone with knowledge of our system.
  • Now we must bring this case to America so we can use Google Checkout over Paypal.
  • by dnadig (414126) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @10:19PM (#24054611)

    If I run a grocery store, I'm allowed to say what kinds of checks I'll take.

    If I run a coffee shop, I get to decide who'se posters stay on the bulletin board.

    If I run an actual, physical auction house, I'm allowed to say "all payments run through the house." In fact that's what all physical auction houses DO say.

    There's nothing "free as in speech" about a service like eBay. It's a commercial enterprise. They could demand payment in chickens and the ONLY right anyone has is to simply say no and not use them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Legal Tender...
      While it's legal(in some places[in the U.S]) to not accept legal tender, it is required you accept any form of legal tender where debt exists.

      Auction on something, you win, you now owe x dollars. Hello debt.

    • by sasha328 (203458)

      If I run a grocery store, I'm allowed to say what kinds of checks I'll take.

      This would only be a problem if you're the only, or largest by a very very large margin (an almost monopoly).
      But that's only the half of it. Like another poster has said, the analogy is more akin to you saying that people who buy groceries will have to pay by cheque, and then implement a system where if people pay by cheque then there is a cheque processing fee. This is essentially what eBay was trying to do.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Nazlfrag (1035012)

      Australia doesn't have free speech anyway, except that hinted at in the Magna Carta and common law. Still, there is a freedom at work, it's free as free market, in consumers expectation that a competitive, free and open market exists. We have a Trade Practices act that defines most of the behaviour required, play by the rules or face stiff penalties.

      The ACCC acts in the interest of this competitive free market by protecting the consumer from abusive monopolies and similar extortion. Restricting ebays abilit

    • by Xiroth (917768)

      Meh, it's a cut-and-dried anti-trust violation - I'm actually surprised that the ACCC were willing to let it through on the first pass. They're abusing their effective monopoly in one field (online auctions) to increase their market share in another field (money transfer) using bundling.

      Monopolies and the abuse thereof destroys the advantages of the capitalist system. Too many people forget how bad things got in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

  • Ebay killed me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Marty Yinzer (1319513)
    I have earned my entire (significant) income selling IT infrastructure and biopharma research equipment on ebay for years. All the changes they have made in the past 6 months have utterly killed my business. I went from supporting my family and many people that worked for me to ruin. They have completely killed ability of small people to compete (in my arena, at least.) I'm a lucky one because I just landed a kick-ass job doing what I actually like to do (consulting and IT) - but I know several others who
    • The recent changes have moved business to large business. Coincidence? Allow me to proclaim Ebay to be the next Wal-mart, except not as lubricated.
    • by skelly33 (891182)
      Marty,

      With all due respect, while you didn't come looking for advice and I'm sorry to read that you were so impacted by what's going on, but...

      you need to take responsibility for your own failures and stop blaming others (eBay). Your story is no different than that of any other business who failed because they wed themselves to a single vendor who let them down.

      In the future, take care not to paint yourself into a corner; the welfare of you and your family is not the responsibility eBay or anyone else
    • Yours seems to be a US experience. In Australia the number one payment method is direct bank deposit through banks' internet banking applications (I think it was about 60% direct deposit to 40% PayPal on eBay in Australia). In Australia, direct bank deposit works quickly (overnight) and cheaply (generally free). I imagine this may be unlike the US where sending money between banks could be a mess. (I know it was a mess in 2000 when I last had dealings with the US banking system - maybe it has improved since

  • I only use PayPal (Score:2, Informative)

    by Ngarrang (1023425)

    I only use PayPal and will not deal with any seller/buyer that does not accept PayPal. I don't trust 'the check is in the mail', or 'I will wire the money to you tomorrow'. I am especially wary of sellers that offer me a discount if I pay them direct to avoid additional fees. By using PayPal, every step of the transaction is recorded and logged for reference.

    The one time I was warned that a seller had been removed from eBay due to suspicious sales -- and I had already completed the sale -- I filed with e

    • I only use PayPal and will not deal with any seller/buyer that does not accept PayPal. I don't trust 'the check is in the mail', or 'I will wire the money to you tomorrow'. I am especially wary of sellers that offer me a discount if I pay them direct to avoid additional fees. By using PayPal, every step of the transaction is recorded and logged for reference.

      The one time I was warned that a seller had been removed from eBay due to suspicious sales -- and I had already completed the sale -- I filed with eBay and PayPal. I got nearly all of my money back. The seller had gotten to his bank account and removed some of the money first.

      Don't like the fees? Then charge more for your auction or go to another auction site.

      I'm sorry to say paypal doesn't protect you from scammers. Read the fine print. Trust me, i was defrauded for 500 bucks by a seller who had 1000 positive feedback ratio (all VERY well astroturfed).

      The truth is any service which allows you to use a major credit card will allow you to recover defrauded funds by disputing the charge. Don't make the mistake of thinking PayPal or some other service of its sort actually gives a damn, use your credit card's dispute service like I have since that time (recovering

  • Why the hell has the Government got to anything do with this? If eBay customers don't want to use eBay because they're mandating PayPal, they have the right to go elsewhere.

    It's a sad day for liberty when the customers of a company get to use force to determine the policies of that company.

    • Please google "vertical monopoly".

      Name any competing auction site of similar stature to Ebay.

      I believe the last one was shuttered in mid 2k7

      • by Senjutsu (614542)
        Yeah, eBay is such a monopoly that there's a plug for an eBay competitor in a Score:5 reply to the first post on this article. Shuttered in 2k7 indeed.
        • yeah, and there's a plug for a microsoft competitor in a Score:5 reply to the first post on most vista articles, microsoft is still an operating system monopoly.

          The firm only needs "near" perfect control of the market to qualify as a trust.

          Further, if you look after that plug, there's a reply right below it saying "I didn't know that site existed before you linked it".

          as a post on slashdot, that says something.

  • a friend of mine had all the money she was paid for a web design pulled from her account because the customer complained to paypal that he hadn't recieved the service requested. she had no recourse even though the customer was (and still is) using the designs on their website.

    and no i can't give out the website address because she won't tell me (she knows i'd do something like post it on /. muahaha)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by plasmacutter (901737)

      And I had all the money I paid for a second hand laptop stolen from me because paypal's dispute service took so damn long, and the perp was allowed to close the account.

      I had no recourse. Looks like paypal protects nobody then.

  • According to the paper [theage.com.au] today they're still insisting on PayPal, despite what they've publicly said to the contrary.

  • I prefer PayPal (Score:3, Interesting)

    by blind biker (1066130) on Friday July 04, 2008 @12:22AM (#24055377) Journal

    I am a European eBay buyer. From the posts in this thread, this seems to put me in a firm minority on Slahsdot. Anyway; I much prefer PayPal to bank transfer because in case of fraudolent, forged or non working product (or simply if the item was never sent), I have an avenue for recourse. With wire transfers I have no way to recover my money.

    Also, in case of overseas payments, PayPal is _way_ cheaper than wire transfer.

    Just my 2 cents (or a Euro). Resume your cheering.

    • by timmarhy (659436)
      have you ever actually tried to claim on missing or defective products though? precious few have anything positive to say about it, with paypal it's a case of it's great until you have a problem then you see it for what it is - a glorified CC company who screws everyone.
  • Ebay giving up? NOT (Score:2, Informative)

    by Slashdotgirl (912338)
    The latest story according to "The Sydney Morning Herald an Australian newspaper situated in New South Wales, States that Ebay is continuing to enforce it's Crap System 'Paypal' sucks! on us. SMH [smh.com.au]

    For instance it is reported from the article that "Sellers are reporting that eBay is systematically deleting auction listings from sellers who state in their item descriptions that they "prefer" to be paid with non-PayPal methods, such as bank deposit."

    This sordid story is not over and us Aussies can be 'Real R

  • "Fighting for" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Friday July 04, 2008 @02:13AM (#24055925) Homepage

    eBay spammed users claiming it was fighting for 'safety benefits for consumers.'

    But the consumers decided they wanted to keep them.

  • by onlyconnect (824057) on Friday July 04, 2008 @02:42AM (#24056059)

    I posted an MP3 player for sale. I was told I must offer PayPal and ONLY PayPal.

    See here for screen grab:

    http://www.itwriting.com/blog/708-ebay-insisting-on-paypal-only-in-the-uk.html [itwriting.com]

    Tim

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