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The Almighty Buck Businesses Your Rights Online

eBay To Disallow Checks and Money Orders In US 412

Posted by Soulskill
from the shooting-for-their-own-bailout dept.
Sir_Kurt writes "In eBay's latest FAQ, they explain that sellers (for the good of the buyers) will no longer be allowed to accept checks or money orders as payment. They can take electronic payments only. So, will Google Checkout, Checkout by Amazon or Amazon Flexible Payment be allowed? No, says eBay: 'Google's and Amazon's products and services compete with eBay on a number of levels, so we are not going to allow them on eBay.' Options are limited to PayPal, ProPay, direct credit payments to the seller, and 'payment upon pickup.' But remember, this is for our own good!" eBay ran into trouble earlier this year for trying to restrict payment options.
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eBay To Disallow Checks and Money Orders In US

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  • by Shivetya (243324) on Monday September 22, 2008 @06:09PM (#25111503) Homepage Journal

    Too many people fall for the "I will send you X+Y and you send me back Y with the item".

    Besides if your dealing on the net the protection of a CC is a must

    • by Macthorpe (960048) on Monday September 22, 2008 @06:12PM (#25111535) Journal

      That doesn't excuse banning competing payment systems, however, especially ones that meet the same standard as Paypal.

      This is a sideways move towards allowing only Paypal transactions to be made in the US - they're testing the water and seeing how far they can push it.

      • by nbert (785663) on Monday September 22, 2008 @06:33PM (#25111773) Homepage Journal

        especially ones that meet the same standard as Paypal.

        Quotes like this make it sound as if Paypal had a standard. Instant transfers and protection from fraud on ebay sound great, but there are also many cases in which money gets retransferred for no apparent reason or accounts are blocked because something was not conforming to their "policy". To me they are just pretending to be a real bank. As long as it works as advertised it is great but when there is trouble you'll face scenarios you would never encounter with any financial institute.

        I'm too tired to look up any sources, but take a look at this google search [google.com].

        • by timbck2 (233967) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <2kcbmit>> on Monday September 22, 2008 @06:43PM (#25111855) Homepage

          Hear hear! Paypal looks like a bank, acts like a bank, and quacks like a bank...therefore, it should be regulated like a bank, and held up to the same laws and legal scrutiny as any bank.

          • by guyminuslife (1349809) on Monday September 22, 2008 @06:51PM (#25111927)
            PayPal should be making subprime loans?
          • Corrections (Score:5, Interesting)

            by mpapet (761907) on Monday September 22, 2008 @06:58PM (#25111991) Homepage

            Paypal acts like a payment processor, not a bank. They don't have a bank charter among other things. Payment processing regulation is very lax.

            They are a teeeny-tiny player in the payment processing world dominated by hook-and-crook by the Visa association of banks.

            • Re:Corrections (Score:5, Informative)

              by mysidia (191772) on Monday September 22, 2008 @07:22PM (#25112239)

              Paypal acts like a payment processor, not a bank. They don't have a bank charter among other things. Payment processing regulation is very lax.

              They allow you to move money from your bank account to your paypal account.

              They allow you to elect to make payments from your paypal "balance"

              They offer a "debit card" that draws from your paypal "balance".

              If someone sends you funds, it goes towards this balance.

              If they put a hold on your account, they deny you access to this "balance" that is your money.

              They sure sound a lot like a bank to me.

              I suggest calling your legislators, writing them, etc, to ask for tougher regulation and better regulatory oversight for the operations of companies like PayPal.

              • Re:Corrections (Score:5, Informative)

                by pappy97 (784268) on Monday September 22, 2008 @08:21PM (#25112927)
                You forgot the part about how paypal has it such that your paypal balance can be a money market account which earns interest. When you consider that plus everything else, it's definitely acting like a bank.
                • Re:Corrections (Score:4, Interesting)

                  by mysidia (191772) on Monday September 22, 2008 @09:03PM (#25113449)

                  It's more like a sweep account you might have with a brokerage firm. The reason is... the money market account PayPal offers is not an insured account.

                  Moreover, (accordingly) shares you purchase are entered in your name with you as "Owner of record" for the shares. I.E. The moneymarket investment is your investment, not PayPal's, and you take on the risk of loss of value.

                  So the fund manager "Barclays Global Investors" is paying out the interest.

                  It seems to me like PayPal is acting a lot like an introducing broker.

                  Broker/Dealers are subject to a lot of regulatory scrutiny, much like banks are. I wonder how it is possible that PayPal is in the business of marketing securities to the public in this manner without being a broker...

              • Re:Corrections (Score:5, Insightful)

                by That's Unpossible! (722232) on Monday September 22, 2008 @09:58PM (#25114043)

                I suggest, instead of calling your legislators to ask them for more laws and restrictions, I suggest that you use your freedom of choice, and stop doing business with PayPal.

                Because the next time you ask a legislator to regulate something you don't like, they may end up regulating something you DO like.

                The heavy hand of government should be the absolute last resort.

                • Re:Corrections (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by mysidia (191772) on Monday September 22, 2008 @10:29PM (#25114475)

                  Refraining from doing business with PayPal is not an option. There is in many cases no good alternative.

                  PayPal also doesn't care if I personally or even if I get 1000 people to join me in refraining from using them; it won't change a thing. There won't be a massive boycott of PayPal; only a small number of people have been directly impacted by PayPal's bad practices, not enough to create the necessary outrage.

                  People have tried personally boycotting PayPal for a long time -- this isn't a good answer either, these people are personally harmed by not having use of PayPal's services.

                  And PayPal doesn't care. The only thing corporations as huge as PayPal do understand is regulation.

                  The regulations don't need to tell PayPal how to blow their nose, but they need to tell them not to blow it in my face.

                  They need to be restrained from arbitrarily freezing individual customers accounts and holding cash that rightfully belongs to the customers for extended periods of time.

                  Amounts frozen for more than X days need be limited to transactions that there is specific and reported cause for suspicion about.

                  Amounts frozen for more than Y days need to be limited to transactions that have an issue. And X

                  They should be prohibited from discriminating: no closing of an account without cause and without warning. And no stealing: no closing an account and refusing to release assets for 6 months, without a judge's order to do so.

                • Re:Corrections (Score:4, Informative)

                  by vought (160908) on Monday September 22, 2008 @11:56PM (#25115459)

                  I suggest, instead of calling your legislators to ask them for more laws and restrictions, I suggest that you use your freedom of choice, and stop doing business with PayPal.

                  I think the point of this article is that eBay is rapidly removing payment options in order to force people to use their unregulated banking service.

                  If you'll recall, un- or under-regulated banking practices led to the current mess.

                  I think a little scrutiny is warranted. And if warranted upon scrutiny, action. Us little guys don't get much of a voice anymore if government doesn't do the shouting.

                • by TheLink (130905)
                  It's not quantity of regulation that you want, it's quality.

                  Maybe the government shouldn't use a heavy hand but a good hand instead?

                  After all the heavy hand of government is handing out taxpayer money to the companies involved in the recent financial crisis.

                  Sure it may be necessary.

                  But perhaps the hand of the government should have skimmed off profits from all those financial companies during the good times, and kept that money in a Bailout Fund to be used for bailing them out. That'll be fairer right? Ever
              • More Corrections (Score:3, Interesting)

                by mpapet (761907)

                They allow you to move money from your bank account to your paypal account.
                So do any number of gift cards. Sorry. Not a bank.

                They allow you to elect to make payments from your paypal "balance"
                As do gift cards, a positive balance on any given utility, your cable bill, etc.

                They offer a "debit card" that draws from your paypal "balance".
                Any company with a few thousand customers could do the same thing. Visa pays a bounty in the $40/per sale range. It's a Visa product originated by a Visa member bank wit

                • by penguinbrat (711309) on Tuesday September 23, 2008 @09:03AM (#25118939)

                  Your average utility/store credit card is not a registered bank.

                  Well, duhh... That's not their business, but they are BACKED by such in such lender/bank who are regulated. I just did a simple random search of a few stores, and all the cards are backed by such a place.

                  Comparing Paypal to a utility bill, or ANY bill is not even close to being fair let alone accurate - if you overpay someone, they are required to refund you your money or you can go after them. This 'refund' usually is just applied to your next bill - although, if you close your account they send you a check regardless if you were a bad customer or not.

                  Comparing them to 'gift cards' is more accurate although at the same time, gift cards are not used as banks in which Paypal actively encourages you to do so, and makes them selves "look" like one. Essentially it should come down to something as simple as how much money goes through the account - a gift card usually has a max limit of a $100 or something like this, Paypal has $1000's upon $1000's going through it.

                  Even the quick payday loan shops who charge 30% interest and worse than any given collections joint - even they are regulated at some extent. Paypal is just exploiting loopholes to the max.

            • Re:Corrections (Score:4, Informative)

              by rapiddescent (572442) on Tuesday September 23, 2008 @03:54AM (#25116937)

              Paypal acts like a payment processor, not a bank. They don't have a bank charter among other things. ...

              Yes they do, the UK FSA forced them to become a money issuer in 2004 and to escape FSA ruling in 2007 they managed to get a banking license issued [finextra.com] by the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) [public.lu] in Luxembourg - under the name eBay SA. The European Paypal HQ is therefore now in Luxemburg.

              The problem with this is that Luxemburg has well known lax regulations for banking and is a well known tax haven - that has seriously pissed off the German government for harbouring criminals and tax evaders. Also, they have strict banking secrecy laws so that Paypal can operate autonomously reporting to no-one.

          • by cheater512 (783349) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Monday September 22, 2008 @07:17PM (#25112197) Homepage

            You mean the US should be more like Australia, where Paypal has to follow certain rules, just like a bank? :)

          • by chrb (1083577) on Monday September 22, 2008 @07:26PM (#25112279)

            it should be regulated like a bank, and held up to the same laws and legal scrutiny as any bank.

            It is - in Europe Paypal is a licensed, regulated bank based in Luxembourg.

        • by Bert64 (520050) <[moc.eeznerif.todhsals] [ta] [treb]> on Tuesday September 23, 2008 @05:10AM (#25117349) Homepage

          Yeah, paypal's system sounds all nice if you never have to make use of any of their "protection" programs...

          If you know how to play the system you can get away with fraud quite easily with paypal's backing... For instance:

          Paypal will not refund people who bought a service as opposed to a physical item, even if that service was never provided and you never had any intention of providing it.

          A friend of mine rented a colocated server one friday a few weeks ago, from a business seemingly US based that promised to have your server up and running within 24 hours and claimed to offer 24/7 support.
          He heard nothing from them until monday when he got an email from someone in the UK saying they don't work weekends, but that he would get straight on it as a priority...
          On the wednesday he contacted again, and they told him it was in progress...
          On the following friday they said the server would be ready "very soon"...
          On the second following tuesday he discovered that he had already been entered into the billing cycle starting from the date he paid, and that he was effectively paying for the previous week and a half when he had no service.
          On the second following friday he tried to call them, they hung up on him and refused to answer subsequent calls. He emailed asking for a refund and was told they "don't issue refunds"
          So he filed a paypal dispute, the seller immediately escalated this to a full claim with the comment "transaction was for a monthly server rental, not a physical good" so they clearly know how to game the system...
          Luckily my friend paid with a credit card, so he was able to dispute the charge on his card and get his money back.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by isBandGeek() (1369017)
        So on top of the fee that they charge you for selling your item on eBay, they get to take another few percents off the buyer for using Paypal.

        Eventually, if they don't ban the other methods of payment, they would charge a few percents on using the other payment methods as an "inconvenience charge".

        Well, this is the beginning of the end of another good idea.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Remember Billpoint.....ebay took care of that. 10% of my sales are check or money order. Bye Bye 10% of my sales....and by bye 10% of ebay fees, At a time when all businesses are looking for as many payment methods as possible to capture sales, ebay is chasing away business. You guys at the top of ebay aren't too bright

      • by davester666 (731373) on Monday September 22, 2008 @06:53PM (#25111939) Journal

        Yeah, this is the opposite tactic to what eBay tried to pull in Australia. There is was "you can only use paypal". Now they are trying the opposite, just to exclude everyone else BUT paypal.

        And yes, I did read the summary, which does mention they are permitting a couple of other methods right now. But is there any doubt as to which direction they want to go (as in, keep reducing the methods of payment until you can only use paypal)?

    • countered by: "I X by paypal, and pray I receive Y - as many times I have not." It's not worth it to deal with Paypal Protection, as a better use of my time is getting the item I may need.

      • by timbck2 (233967) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <2kcbmit>> on Monday September 22, 2008 @06:44PM (#25111871) Homepage

        I actually received my money back (Paypal called it a "reversal") by filing a dispute against a deadbeat eBay seller through Paypal. I was really surprised, since the one or two other times I've had disputes with sellers, Paypal ALWAYS ruled against me.

        • by cayenne8 (626475) on Monday September 22, 2008 @08:23PM (#25112953) Homepage Journal
          Maybe I've been lucky..(knock wood)...I've bought things on eBay using both checks and money orders as well as PayPal. I've never had any problems with any method. I sent my $$, and got my product.

          I kinda doubt that the US DOJ will move on this....heck, they'd really like to better track all the $$ going through eBay, and having it all funneled through one computerized system will just make it easier to find a way to tax you on your sales.

          So much for making a little 'no tax' cash on the worlds largest garage sale.

    • by jeevesbond (1066726) on Monday September 22, 2008 @06:38PM (#25111817) Homepage

      Well, of course the excuse they are using is factually correct. We have to look deeper, at what they're really intending to achieve by doing this. It doesn't take a tinfoil hat wearing loon to see that eBay are trying to shoe-horn everyone into paying by Paypal. They've already tried it once recently!

      There's also one point the summary missed:

      eBay ran into trouble earlier this year for trying to restrict payment options.

      The thing is, they ran into trouble in Australia. Will the US DOJ take an interest? Am guessing, but I doubt it.

      This is a case where the course of action for the DOJ is clear however. eBay and Paypal should be split into two separate companies, that would stop this -- and any future -- nefarious deals between the two. Returning competition to the market.

      • Competition? (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's been decades since we've had a true competitive market in the US. Agriculture was the last to go.

    • protection (Score:4, Informative)

      by falconwolf (725481) <falconsoaring_2000NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Monday September 22, 2008 @07:08PM (#25112101)

      Besides if your dealing on the net the protection of a CC is a must

      CCs only protect buyers not sellers. A buyer can always dispute a charge on their credit card, which is a good thing as credit cards or their numbers can be stolen. But it's bad for sellers, they may not get paid. And if they have too many chargebacks their merchant account [merchantexpress.com] can be canceled. As for paying with checks or money orders, banks will stop payments on checks and the buyer can get a refund with their money order receipt.

      Falcon

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If you are too stupid to realize that the X+Y thing is a scam, then you probably need to either get bit in the ass by it or get off the internet.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bert64 (520050)

      Yes, some people fall for the fake check scams... But those people could fall for any kind of stupid scam.
      Most people will only ship the item when the check has cleared, and if the check is for the wrong amount they will know its a scam and destroy it or hand it to the cops.

      Some people don't have and can't get credit cards or bank accounts, but anyone can get a money order, and for some people that's the only way to buy anything without having to use cash.

  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Monday September 22, 2008 @06:11PM (#25111521) Homepage Journal

    The more restrictions they put on their service, the less interest I have in using it.

    I liked the good old days of ebay where you could buy a few sparc stations and then drive over to a guys house and give him cash for them. (craigslist has filled that void)

    • by ghoti (60903) on Monday September 22, 2008 @06:18PM (#25111607) Homepage

      I don't mind using PayPal, but I really hate the fact that the site is swamped with commercial vendors rather than people selling stuff they don't need any more. eBay needs to be split into a marketplace where you can go to buy new things (like Amazon), and the good old auctioning of used personal stuff. Until they do that, they won't see me again.

      • by Jimmy King (828214) on Monday September 22, 2008 @06:28PM (#25111703) Homepage Journal

        I'm with you, man. Every few months I decide to scour eBay for something I don't want to pay full price for with the hope that I'll find the one true, used, item from a normal person in the middle of all of the "new for the same price or more than it costs at a store, plus shipping, plus you have to wait for it to arrive" crap.

        Every time I do that, I end up spending the next hour ranting to my wife (seriously, for real, I have one of those) about how eBay has gone to hell and it's just a bunch of overpriced, new products now instead of used stuff.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by vux984 (928602)

        eBay needs to be split into a marketplace where you can go to buy new things (like Amazon), and the good old auctioning of used personal stuff. Until they do that, they won't see me again.

        Ebay IS split into a "market place" (ebay stores) and an "auction". The trouble is the marketplace people want visibility in the auction side and so flood the auctions with their stuff.

        And then on top of that there are the boatloads of garbage sellers, who just stuff the auctions with worthless crap that never sells... 'gu

        • by iocat (572367)
          It depends on what you want. If you want something new or modern, forget eBay. If you want something old or obscure (Apple IIc flat-panel display, copy of Suspended in the box), it's still the only game in town.
      • by nurb432 (527695)

        Don't hold your breath, they cant make enough money off the private 'yard sale' customers to make them happy.

        I see craigslist growing due to this blunder.

      • by Ender77 (551980) on Monday September 22, 2008 @09:16PM (#25113573)
        This is what EBAY wants. They want to get rid of the casual sellers(higher fees, forcing them to adopt one type of payment..etc) and only have commercial sales. They make way more money doing this. Of course this means that they are stabbing in the back, the seller base that made EBAY what it is. What we need is a NEW auction site to take away ebays crown.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Itninja (937614)
      Is there anywhere else? Ebay used to be 'the garage sale to the world'. With in overwhelming amount of corporate sellers, now it's more like 'outlet mall to the world'. And Craigslist is just want-ads with zero protection offered or even implied. Putting an ad is the local paper is sounding more and more like the best option (at least for selling).
    • by SlowGenius (231663) on Monday September 22, 2008 @06:28PM (#25111705) Homepage

      But there really aren't a lot of "somewhere elses", other than craigslist, at least, not in a realistic sense. And craigslist is only an okay option for people who are happy selling locally at a fixed price (or perhaps "best offer", if you want to be technical about it.)

      Other than that... hmm. Certainly there are a whole myriad of tiny itty-bitty auction sites out there (I would guess), but aside for some very narrow specialty niches, ebay enjoys an incredible barrier-to-entry advantage in the auction-house market. Why? Because when selling, just about everybody wants the biggest possible market for their wares. Hence, just about everybody goes to the biggest market. Duh.

      This will not change until/unless eBay shoots itself in the foot by getting so greedy on sales commissions that they manage to piss off a critical mass of people. And even then, they'll still enjoy enough of a natural advantage that they can just back off a percentage point, wipe out their fledgling upstart competitor, and carry on as before.

    • by Tacvek (948259)

      The more restrictions they put on their service, the less interest I have in using it.

      I liked the good old days of ebay where you could buy a few sparc stations and then drive over to a guys house and give him cash for them.

      That is still allowed under the current policy, as there are no restrictions on the payment at pick-up option, but very few sellers offer that.

    • But not in this case. As a seller, you can't go elsewhere because all the buyers are there, and as a buyer you can't go elsewhere because all the sellers are there.

      Ebay holds a fully locked down monopoly, and they need to be regulated as such.

  • Improvement at e-bay (Score:5, Interesting)

    by goombah99 (560566) on Monday September 22, 2008 @06:13PM (#25111547)

    Basically paypal and e-bay are ridicuously bad about protecting people from scams.

    However this is a move in the right direction. Recently they put a 30 day escrow on pay pal payments. Which they should have done years ago.

    Now it's much safer to shop.

  • 2. Wait a year.

    3. Knock direct credit payments to the seller and payment upon pickup on the head.

    4. Profit!

    Who says they haven't learnt from what happened in Australia.

  • So... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Coopjust (872796) on Monday September 22, 2008 @06:15PM (#25111569)
    Other than payment upon pickup, you have to accept a payment method with 5-10% transaction fees. Internet merchant accounts take time to setup, so most sellers will switch to PayPal. Might make them more money in the long term, but I think it's another move that will alienate sellers from eBay.
    • Unlike Ebay's other recent moves which really have only upset sellers, this one stands to upset both buyers and sellers. Granted, I use paypal on ebay and I always have, so I'm not really affected. But the company who pisses off both vendor and buyer is not one that is successful in the long term. It seems that the more ebay tweaks their system, the less profitable it becomes, and that prompts more tweaking. My advice to ebay - go back to what made you successful in the first place, and stop worrying abo
  • by h2oliu (38090) on Monday September 22, 2008 @06:15PM (#25111573)

    Many may not remember, but when Sears first came out with the Discover card, they stopped accepting Visa/Mastercard.

    Sales dropped, and it was the beginning of the end for Sears.

    Those who don't study history....

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I thought the beginning of the end for Sears was when they started selling all those crappy Kenmore appliances in the 70s.

  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Monday September 22, 2008 @06:17PM (#25111593) Journal
    If Google wanted, they could launch an e-bay competitor.
    • by Dan667 (564390)
      Google should build an ebay competitor, this seems really ripe for one. I stopped using ebay and now use craigslist or network and do not know a single person that is currently happy using them and most have outright stopped using ebay.
  • Don't use paypal (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 22, 2008 @06:18PM (#25111603)

    If payment options are ever limited to Paypal, then I won't be using EBay.

    Little known fact: Paypal "reserves the right" to reverse a transaction without permission from the seller. That's what backs their money-back guarantee.

    I sold an item which went to a woman in CA, it arrived damaged in transit. I worked on processing the insurance claim, but she didn't want to wait, and made a claim to paypal. They reversed the transaction, she shipped the item back, and received money from them which they billed me for. I refused to pay, so they kept money from another transaction that I made during this time.

    So now I have a broken item that's been to CA and back, I can't make an insurance claim since it's since been shipped again by a different carrier, and paypal is sending me to collections since I refuse to pay for a return they authorized, not me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Adrian Lopez (2615)

      Considering PayPal wants access to my bank account in order for me to purchase anything through their service, I absolutely refuse to do business with merchants who only take PayPal. Why would anybody trust a company like PayPal with their bank account details?

      Now that I can't pay for items via Money Orders, I'll be even less inclined to purchase stuff through eBay.

      eBay is in serious need of competition.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I can't for the life of me understand why so many people continue to waste their time using eBay. What exactly is the appeal of going through a bidding process to end up paying over retail prices on stuff that may not ever even get shipped by whatever douche happens to be scamming at the moment?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by vux984 (928602)

      I can't for the life of me understand why so many people continue to waste their time using eBay. What exactly is the appeal of going through a bidding process to end up paying over retail prices on stuff that may not ever even get shipped by whatever douche happens to be scamming at the moment?

      Ebay was, is, and will continue to be for the foreeable future a good place to purchase difficult to find collectibles at reasonable prices.

      This includes used books, board games / table top games / role playing games

  • by jav1231 (539129)
    Just in time for the rumored layoffs at eBay. Not a good time to be cutting services. I can understand why but OTOH, PP has it's share of problems.
  • I'm not saying that many people do it (it would require a lot of trust), but it shouldn't be eliminated completely as an option. Is that what the "payment upon pickup" is supposed to cover?

  • by rahvin112 (446269) on Monday September 22, 2008 @06:25PM (#25111673)

    The love affair with overpriced auction winnings is waning. More and more people are realizing that most of the stuff on ebay that you can get at your local store or at another retailer on the internet is usually ridiculously overpriced. The days of paying 105% of new price for used goods are over. This realization by the consumer is hurting ebay's bottom line. They are no longer growing at double digit percentages and I would argue trends show all growth will halt in less than a year. To continue to grow revenue they have to try to take a bigger cut of every sale. They have already raised prices so the next step is to take a cut of every payment transaction. That was the entire strategy with the paypal acquisition. It's simply been a matter of time before they ban every payment method other than paypal.

    The question is will there be a drop is use of the site as a result, or whether there will be a lawsuit. Ebay has always run into this issue that someday a lawyer is going to get everyone together who's been scammed and file a class action suit that targets them for all the things they could do to prevent fraud and don't. It's going to be a BIG lawsuit someday so the executives have it in mind to bump the stock price as much as possible and make sure they get their bonuses before the shit hits the fan. That and making sure there is still growth in a company where there is no growth.

    • by owlnation (858981) on Monday September 22, 2008 @06:38PM (#25111813)

      It's going to be a BIG lawsuit someday so the executives have it in mind to bump the stock price as much as possible and make sure they get their bonuses before the shit hits the fan. That and making sure there is still growth in a company where there is no growth.

      You're quite correct apart from one thing. eBay has been trying to bump its stock price for the past 3 years -- totally unsuccessfully. It's almost half of what is was 3 years ago(prior to the Skype purchase debacle). It's a dead man walking, and has been for some considerable time. Meg Whitman, the prime architect of its demise, baled a rich woman some time back. Just in time to avoid be caught in the wake of the ship as it sinks.

      • by vistic (556838) on Monday September 22, 2008 @08:15PM (#25112867)

        I don't think you pay attention to the overall market. The stock may be half what it was 3 years ago... but it's also half of what it was just in October of 2007 (less than a year ago).

        But then again, take a look at Google's stock... Yahoo's stock... Amazon's stock... really ANY tech stock.

        Glancing at a stock chart for a minute is meaningless if you don't understand what's been going on with the economy. All things considered, eBay's stock price isn't that bad compared to the rest of the market.

      • by CopaceticOpus (965603) on Monday September 22, 2008 @09:42PM (#25113801)

        Meg Whitman, the prime architect of its demise, baled a rich woman some time back.

        That is a fascinating financial strategy. Did she use a standard hay baler, or did she bale the woman by hand? Did the woman survive? Did Meg Whitman face any legal penalties for this?

        Forget my job, I'm just gonna bale me a rich woman!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      unles you are a caancer.... or a publicly traded corporation ....

      eby could be a fine, stable business... if they go private and quit worrying about how to do 'double digit growth'... a ridiculous long term goal for any company.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by iocat (572367)
      The other side of the bad-news coin for eBay is that after it rationalized the collectors' market, pretty much everyone has gotten what they need. All the things I was willing to spend non-trivial amounts of money on (Infocom games, Apple II stuff, etc.), I have. I have nothing against eBay, I just have no reason to shop there anymore. My collections are complete, and I prefer to buy new things from real stores.

      Half.com is still pretty good for used stuff, though.

    • The love affair with overpriced auction winnings is waning. More and more people are realizing that most of the stuff on ebay that you can get at your local store or at another retailer on the internet is usually ridiculously overpriced. The days of paying 105% of new price for used goods are over.

      What? What are you talking about? Show me an action that sold for more than local store retail.

      The vast majority of eBay items are used merchandise.

  • by PCPackrat (1251400) on Monday September 22, 2008 @06:25PM (#25111675)
    eBay has been going this route for a while. I don't see them backing down. I am in agreement that Craigslist is filling the void that eBay used to fill very well. Now it's just a bunch of 'PowerSellers' reselling product they don't even have. It was a nice flea market while it lasted, but they got big $$$ in their eyes and got greedy.

    For example, I sold an item for $150, final value fee was $12.35 and paypal took another $4.82. That's a good chunk of the sale when you are the one designing the auction page and putting the items up for sale. All in hope that the buyer isn't going to rip you off by reversing the charges after pretending they never got the item and you can't leave them negative feedback anymore.

    There is a need for a new auction site to open that is like eBay used to be.
    • by v1 (525388)

      All in hope that the buyer isn't going to rip you off by reversing the charges after pretending they never got the item and you can't leave them negative feedback anymore.

      the problem was it was working the other way.

      My ONE and only negative as a buyer was when I bought a flash drive, which was defective on arrival, returned it to seller. (hong kong postage) and waited as I was stalled repeatedly by the seller, waiting for manufacturer to receive it, waiting for reply, etc. Until I realized I'd exhausted my

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 22, 2008 @06:28PM (#25111701)

    and every day, companies send million-dollar checks through regular US mail to each other. and the system actually works pretty well. for 47 cents, plus envelope , paper, and special laser cartridges, you can transfer a million dollars. try doing that on paypal, or setting up eletronic systems to do that, and now try to keep those systems secure. now try to do it for 47 cents per transaction.

    checks are dying, but they are not a horrible system. they work.

    what's really going on is this: meg whitman left ebay, now some 'genius' MBA has come in and said 'omg we are not screwing the customers enough. take away their freedom of choice, and change it into profit for us'.

    in other words: capitalists hate us for our freedom.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Shikaku (1129753)

      I don't believe you can send a check marked 1 million USD at all. I want proof. Please send me a working check worth 1 million USD, and I promise not to cash it in.

  • As Ebay increases restrictions they're increasingly excluding their own customer base. Where are these people going instead? Another comment mentioned Craigslist; and there are specialty auction sites (gunbroker.com is one I'm familiar with) that handle categories Ebay specifically excludes. But are there any general auction sites that are getting more popular as Ebay declines?

  • I tried eBay for a few recent purchases but I found that Amazon was winning most of the time - either with its own stock or through third-party sellers. The marketplace is far more efficient for buyers - you don't have to wait for auctions that you might or might not win to complete. eBay might still be the best place for unusual or one-of-a-kind items - I've seen certain out-of-print titles go for far less than the offers on Amazon - but for most things it's just not worth my time.
  • by Xanthvar (1046980) on Monday September 22, 2008 @06:36PM (#25111797) Journal

    Now you can truly get scammed!

    Previously, the best way to pay was with a US Post Office money order.

    What you would do is write a description of the item that you had purchased, and if you didn't get it, the seller had committed mail fraud.

    The reason this was the best, is that they (the post office)have a whole division dedicated to mail fraud, and would actually work at tracking down fraudsters and shutting down their operations, as the laws on mail fraud have teeth, as opposed to something that belongs in small claims court otherwise.

    Other payment methods (Visa, MC, PayPal) isn't going to spend a whole lot of effort to recover minor amounts of money, they may refund your money, but the scammer gets to continue their operation, maybe with a minor name change, taking advantage of the next sucker to come along.

    This goes back to the reason why you don't really want to hack government entities, is that they will spend a fortune on tracking down the perpetrator all out of disproportion to the actual damage caused. *

    In fact, a good way to tell the legitimacy of the seller, especially if they were a "private" seller, is to see if they would accept a USPO money order.

    If they didn't it was a red flag that you may not want to deal with them.

    I can understand (from a purely greed standpoint) of EBay not wanting to allow this type of transaction, as they don't get even more of a cut of the PayPal action, and just have to make due with the listing fee.

    Oh well, just another nail in the coffin for fiscal responsibility.

    • Previously, the best way to pay was with a US Post Office money order.

      Money orders are basically cash. This is a TERRIBLE idea.

      What you would do is write a description of the item that you had purchased, and if you didn't get it, the seller had committed mail fraud.

      The USPS doesn't prosecute individuals for mail fraud on eBay. And even if they did, the worst offenders are overseas and out of the reach of the USPS.

      Other payment methods (Visa, MC, PayPal) isn't going to spend a whole lot of effort to recover minor amounts of money, they may refund your money,

      The credit card companies will almost certainly refund your money because they MAKE MONEY on refunds. Ebay sellers are often charged $250 for each chargeback. American Express almost always takes the side of the consumer, they expect every merchant using AMEX to have a 30-day "no questions asked" return

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      In fact, a good way to tell the legitimacy of the seller, especially if they were a "private" seller, is to see if they would accept a USPO money order.

      As a seller, I used to love the USPS money order, and gave a discount (I think it was around 5%) to anyone who paid with it. I'd cash in the money order while dropping the package off at the post office (which was right down the street from my house). Cleared instantly, no chargebacks, no bounced checks, no need to go to the bank *before* shipping. It was well worth giving away the discount, which was more than the what I'd have paid in paypal fees.

  • by statemachine (840641) on Monday September 22, 2008 @06:42PM (#25111847)

    EBay/PayPal holding the money doesn't solve where the buyer gets the item but claims he didn't, or where the seller ships something else.

    It's still he said, she said. People on both sides will still get ripped off. The only thing different is the extra fees by using PayPal.

    • EBay/PayPal holding the money doesn't solve where the buyer gets the item but claims he didn't, or where the seller ships something else.It's still he said, she said. People on both sides will still get ripped off. The only thing different is the extra fees by using PayPal.

      As a seller, you do get $2000 of protection if you only accept Paypal and you only ship via UPS tracking using what's called a confirmed Paypal address. Basically you have to prove that you are at that address via a major credit card,

  • ... I already started boycotting EBAY when they bought PayPal.

  • So, they tried this crap as a trial run in Australia, telling everyone it was going to become the policy... except, well, enough people saw it for what it was, which is purely trying to make even more money... and got the ACCC (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission) to rule it not allowed.

    Huzzah for Australia, but man... eBay can't be going too well if they're going to keep trying this crap.

    They're going to discover people aren't quite as loyal as they may have thought.

  • As a sometime seller,this isn't significant.

    In about 1,200 sales, I've had exactly one bad check, and that was about six years ago.

    I've had 99+ buyers paying by PayPal for the last four years or so, with no push from me.

    So this change is not going to change things for most buyers or sellers. It does simplifiy things a bit.

    • by Skapare (16644)

      The buyers you get are the ones that don't mind what EBAY is doing. But you are getting fewer buyers (e.g. fewer bids) than you might have, otherwise. I can assure you I have not bid on any of your items because I don't use EBAY anymore. As this drives away even more people from EBAY, you'll be getting fewer bids and selling at a lower price in many cases.

  • Can anyone recommend any other online auction houses (I.e., one that you've actually used it to but/sell an item)?

    Thanks,
    SD

  • The tipping point? (Score:5, Informative)

    by steveha (103154) on Monday September 22, 2008 @07:07PM (#25112097) Homepage

    Right now, eBay is the auction place. Sellers want to sell on eBay because that's where all the buyers are. Buyers want to buy on eBay because that's where all the sellers are.

    At some point, both buyers and sellers could get sufficiently upset with eBay as to take their business elsewhere. Are we there yet?

    And if we are, what is the most likely competitor?

    http://online-auction-sites.toptenreviews.com/ [toptenreviews.com]

    One more thought: if the current situation is close to the tipping point, then all it would take is one single disturbance to cause a mass exodus from eBay to the new site. For example, if Google were to buy one of eBay's top competitors, and publicly announce Google Auctions, and announce that they would charge less in fees and allow checks and postal money orders... eBay could lose everything in the blink of an eye.

    Remember how fast Xfree86 was dumped in favor of X.org? Dissatisfaction with the Xfree86 project was already high, and then they announced one more petty annoying license change, and *boom*, they were done. I wonder if this could happen with eBay.

    http://www.internetnews.com/dev-news/article.php/3338031 [internetnews.com]

    steveha

  • How can a business stipulate that you cant use accepted legal forms of payment?

    They get the fee from the listing, AND the pay-pal service fee. Double dipping and restrictive business practices from a virtual monopoly.

  • To be fair, there are a ton of scams involving money orders and checks.

    It's not just some buyer getting scammed by sending a money order and never receiving merchandise. It's also sellers getting scammed by accepting fake money orders and are then liable for cashing it. Often, they even pay the scammer, because the money order is too large of an amount and the gullible seller refunds the difference.

  • by mckinnsb (984522) on Monday September 22, 2008 @07:53PM (#25112595)

    I used to work at a high-end guitar store in the Northeast, and my boss put his entire store inventory (that he owned) on Ebay. The reason was simple enough: his inventory was pretty unique, expensive, and collectable, so he felt he needed to reach a global audience to have the best potential to move his gear.

    He stopped accepting PayPal for international bidders after an incident in which a international scam artist purchased an item online and reversed the purchase the day it was shipped out the door. Unfortunately, PayPal offers no insurance to the seller in international transactions. So PayPal is a no go for him.

    Credit cards are also a problem. He has been burned before. While credit companies and credit card processing companies generally protect you more than PayPal, it can still complicate international small-scale business. In order to verify that the person is not using a stolen credit card, he has to call up the credit agency in its respective country and verify that the shipping address and billing address are the same. Interestingly enough, some banks (particularly in the UK) will flat out refuse to give you this information - even a simple yes or no response when you give them the address you have is against their policy. Also interestingly enough, this service is not automated for international transactions , although it is for US transactions. Now imagine doing this many, many times a day, especially if you sell cheaper items, lets say in the 10-20 dollar range. Also keep in mind that the more times you give a customer an indication of distrust (such as calling them at their residence to confirm other information or ask the bank to release information), the greater your chance to drop the sale becomes.

    I'd estimate that roughly 80% of his international transactions over eBay were done via check, money order, or direct money wire, because these methods of payment were convenient while also fairly risk-and-hassle-free. Without this option, I don't see him making as many sales overall, especially in today's market, where the US economy is floundering and the majority of his sales come from overseas. Nearly 3 out of every 5 guitars we shipped last year went overseas, despite high shipping rates, and many of them went to England. Nearly 4 out of 5 of every 1000+ plus item went overseas.

    Now, of course, many of you are probably saying "Well now, why didn't he just start a website?". He did. The problem is this: eBay just has too much exposure to let go of. He will probably keep his eBay store, but mostly because advertising through Google or anywhere else is just so damn expensive. He used to pour 500 dollars a month into AdWords. Guess where that got him? Nowhere. Analytics even said so. But when the customers contact him through Ebay, ethically he has to complete the sale through Ebay (or lose his merchant account). If he is restrained to completing the sales through Ebay, he will probably make less sales because for him credit card is now the only option (pay on pickup doesn't really make sense internationally), and his business and Ebay will both suffer. But if he behaves unethically by taking those contacts and processes them through his own website , Ebay still loses and there is the potential of him losing his account and exposure, along with the additional "untrusty" flag that comes along with telling a customer you are going to "bend the rules".

    I don't see how this can be a win for Ebay.

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