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eBay's Plan to Force PayPal Rejected Down Under 181

Jm_aus writes "eBay's plan to force all users to use PayPal only has been rejected by Australia's competition regulator, the ACCC. This followed 650 submissions from eBay users as well as from Australian banks, other payment services, the Australian Reserve Bank, and (anonymously) Google, which aired a lot of dirty laundry about PayPal's unresponsiveness and failure to sign up to the local banking code of conduct. Apparently the public benefits from eBay's 'Bad Buyer Experience' elimination program are likely to be 'minimal.' There is a period for appeals."
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eBay's Plan to Force PayPal Rejected Down Under

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  • As a buyer, I really want to use my credit card directly. PayPal, last time I used it, only covered a $200 return or so. I went straight through to my credit card company (which is linked to my PayPal account) and did a chargeback through them. PayPal sent me a nastigram saying if you keep that up, we'll cut you off.

    Yeah, thanks but no thanks EBay.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12, 2008 @10:25AM (#23763669)
      As a buyer, I really want to use my credit card directly.

      Just fill out the form at gday.ebay.mate/safecredit.asp and we'll get you started faster than a kangaroo can steal your vegemite sandwich.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <> on Thursday June 12, 2008 @12:49PM (#23766119) Homepage Journal
      Unfortunately in the UK banks are no longer required to help you out or issue chargebacks in cases involving PayPal. The reason is that the banking code only requires them to do anything when you have a dispute with the person you had a transaction with, which in this case is PayPal. You send the money to PayPal, and then in a separate transaction they send it to the seller. So, if you problem is with the seller, they don't have to help.

      I started a petition to get the law changed: []
  • by muellerr1 ( 868578 ) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @10:19AM (#23763597) Homepage
    In most countries, why is PayPal allowed to act like a bank without being regulated like a bank? I've never understood how they get away with that.
    • by PoliTech ( 998983 ) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @10:25AM (#23763675) Homepage Journal
      For the same reason that Ebay acts like a fencing operation for stolen goods, but is never charged as such.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Paranatural ( 661514 )
      I think it's because PayPal is fairly undefined. It does seem like it's a bank and so people unthinkingly treat it as if it is one, but of course it has no actual bank foundation. And, of course, they have no imperative to become a bank, because then they'd have to follow the rules.

      I'm just hoping that all countries everywhere enact similar rulings. Paypal gets on my damn nerves.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LordKaT ( 619540 )
      Because they've settled out of court for large sums of cash before things ever went to trial.

      eBay has done its homework on PayPal and knows it cannot turn nearly as huge of a profit as it does if PayPal has to comply with all of the banking regulations.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mpapet ( 761907 )
      At best, they would argue they are a payment processor. A Bank does many other types of cash and lending operations.

      FYI: You can start your own payment processing service like any business. Where you are going to get screwed, is when you need to connect to banks for electronic funds transfers. ACH rates are low, but getting into the network is not cheap or easy.

      Payment processing is one of the monopolies absolutely no one cares about despite the broad harm to consumers. F*i*r*s*t D,a,t,a and V^i^s^a.
    • by Z34107 ( 925136 ) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @11:06AM (#23764279)

      Because PayPal is not a bank. It doesn't offer loans, it doesn't pay interest, it doesn't have a required holdings (no loans = 100% cash on hand), etc, etc.

      PayPal is as much of a bank as Chuck E. Cheese is a bank for handing out those game tokens and tickets. It's just a convenient way for you to give money to eBay before you spend it on an actual good (the appeal of which I have yet to understand.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 ( 641858 )
        PayPal doesn't just do payment processing. When you create an account with them (which you need to do in order to pay someone), you put money into this account and then transfer it to the seller's account. You can either do this in one step, or put the money in the account first and leave it there for a while. The seller can then keep the money in their account or transfer it elsewhere. If they leave the money in there (or if you put money in your account and leave it there for a while without sending i
        • by Z34107 ( 925136 )

          Interesting - I wasn't aware that they do offer interest on deposits, which puts them more towards bank status.

          However, storing money in an account is just delayed payment processing. And, they're not FDIC insured. They also don't offer any "bank" services, other than giving the money to another PayPal account.

          If you could withdraw money again, I'm guessing it would also be a different situation. And, they still have to comply with Regulation E whether they're a bank or not.

          So, to further obfuscate

          • I could be mistaken, but I remember them getting in trouble a while back when it was discovered that they were taking that money sitting in all the accounts and investing it in other places, just like a bank.
          • They also don't offer any "bank" services, other than giving the money to another PayPal account. If you could withdraw money again, I'm guessing it would also be a different situation.

            They also offer a Mastercard debit card that you can use to draw upon your PayPal balance when buying at brick-and-mortar stores and that you can even use at ATMs. Sounds like a "bank service" to me, and a way to withdraw your money without transferring it to a real bank.

            I really have no earthly idea why they aren't class

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The real question to ask is how the government can get away with forcing any person or company (bank or otherwise) to do with their property other than they wish.
      • The short answer is because the government has the guns. It is important to remember that all powers of any government are backed up by the implicit (or sometimes explicit) threat of overwhelming violence against those who do not submit (rarely physical, although it does sometimes come to that). Those who advocate more taxes, more government, and more regulation would do well to remember that.
        • by bitrex ( 859228 )
          One of the principles of the social contract that one becomes a part of in a theoretically democratic society is that one concedes the monopoly on force to the government. The principle advantage of this in a properly functioning democratic society is that while the government has the sole right to use violence (both against its own citizens who do not obey the rule of law and against external threats), its citizens also have the power to exercise their will as to exactly how that power is used. Your argu
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            "One of the principles of the social contract that one becomes a part of in a theoretically democratic society..."

            When did I sign this contract? When I was born? Am I agreeing to this contract every second (since birth) that I do not quit my job, take all of my property on a plane, and spend my life savings moving to another country? Is that how the contract works in a "democratic society"? If so, where is this explanation written down, and how does it justify the violation of everyone's natural rights a
            • Am I agreeing to this contract every second (since birth) that I do not quit my job, take all of my property on a plane, and spend my life savings moving to another country?

              Basically, yes. The purpose of a social contract (in a grossly over-simplified way) is that every member of the society agrees to it, which greatly lessens the threat of arbitrary violence. If you don't wish to agree to a social contract, you're free to leave the society; if you break the contract, society can remove you by force (e.g. put you in prison).

              • And you did not answer the two conditional questions I posed immediately after that sentence you quoted.

                Also, my purpose here is not to simply say "I don't like it" and leave, but to get discussion going that can eventually lead to candidates being elected who would rather uphold rights than violate them, eventually overturning the laws that do violate our rights.
                • And you did not answer the two conditional questions I posed immediately after that sentence you quoted.

                  Assuming the two questions you mean are:

                  1) Where is it written down? Wikipedia's article [] has decent information about the general concept, and you can probably find some books from the original philosophers in your local library.

                  2) How does it justify everyone's natural rights being violated? Well, like I said, the purpose of a social contract is that you give up certain natural rights (e.g. the natural right to kill someone and take their stuff) in exchange for protection from other people exercisin

                  • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                    "(e.g. the natural right to kill someone and take their stuff)"

                    There is no such right. Read up on Wikipedia [] as well, if you'd like.

                    I'm perfectly happy giving up my right to take someone's stuff"

                    You don't have such a right. See above.
                    • From Wikipedia's entry on Social Contract []:

                      According to Thomas Hobbes and canonical theory, the essence is as follows: Without society, we would live in a state of nature, where we each have unlimited natural freedoms. The downside of this general autonomy is that it includes the "right to all things" and thus the freedom to harm all who threaten one's own self-preservation; there are no positive rights, only laws of nature and an endless "war of all against all" (Bellum omnium contra omnes, Hobbes 1651). In other words, anyone in the state of nature can do anything he likes; but this also means that anyone can do anything he likes to anyone else.

                      You're using a different definition of "natural right" than I am. I'm talking about natural rights being the same behavioral freedom that animals in nature have, while you're talking more about what I would usually call human rights (which I completely support, of course). Since there is no single definition, though, neither one of us is really wrong.

                    • I disagree with you, but I clicked the above just to read:

                      The first philosopher who fully made natural rights the source of his moral and political philosophy was Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679). Hobbes argued that it is human nature to love one's self best and seek one's own good (this is a view known as psychological egoism). Since it is unavoidable ("necessity of nature") for human beings to follow their nature, it becomes a right to do so. According to Hobbes, to deny this right is to deny that we have a rig

                    • Being that we are humans, I thought it was clear what I meant. Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. These are rights that we all have as rational beings, and it is immoral for one person to use their liberty to violate the rights of another.
                    • You're confusing animal rights with human rights. It is your natural right to do whatever you please so long as you don't violate the rights of others. Do what you want with yourself and your property, and do whatever you want with others and their property - as long as you get their permission first.
      • The real real question to ask is how PayPal can get away with forcing any person or company (bank or otherwise) to do with their property other than they wish.

        I always wonder how come the government's motives always seem to be questioned when corporations never are, despite infringing on people's rights and liberties just as much. You can't even say corporations don't have their own army - many of them do. Some of them are the army.
        • "The real real question to ask is how PayPal can get away with forcing any person or company (bank or otherwise) to do with their property other than they wish."

          If you don't like Paypal's terms, don't agree to them. It's that simple.
  • by Barny ( 103770 ) <> on Thursday June 12, 2008 @10:23AM (#23763649) Journal
    ... we would like to add, on behalf of the Australians who you are trying to blatantly extort:


    "Like fuck you will"

    That was an extract from the actual brief, word for word, honest :P
  • by Slimee ( 1246598 ) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @10:26AM (#23763697) Journal
    I can't stand paypal. I've had an account since the earlier days before there really were options, though I so rarely use it because without PAYING for an account, I can only transfer money through a direct bank transfer. On EVERY ONE of my ebay listings I have to add a footnote alerting people that they can't pay with a credit card through paypal because paypal won't allow me to do that...

    And the only way to be able to do that is to sign up for an account where they take a percentage of all of my transactions.

    How does that commercial go? "It's my money and I want it now!"
    But seriously, I'm tired of paypal, I just wish it would go the way of the dinosaurs because it's such a frustrating site to use to transfer funds.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by aonaran ( 15651 )
      Where do you think you can get a service that allows you to accept CC payments without paying them a transaction fee?

      Merchant Visa/MC accounts with your bank will charge fees too. How do you think they make their money?
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Slimee ( 1246598 )
        Yeah but the thing is, with an account where I can't accept these transactions, people are still ABLE to attempt them.

        It's very frustrating to cancel a transaction, send an email to the person telling them I can't accept it and to send me the money through their checking account instead. It's a process that shouldn't have to happen. If I don't have the business premier account or whatever it's called, then people shouldn't be able to initiate a credit card transaction.
      • How do you think they make their money?
    • by Hatta ( 162192 )
      Then don't use it. I never have and never will.
  • I use Paypal to receive money with (it is hella convenient for some folks I do work for on the side to pay me that way).

    OTOH, the down side is that they extract fees that would make a bank or credit union blush for every transaction. Also, someone governmental needs to take a serious look at forcing them to be regulated and to follow the same rules as a real bank.


    • I bet it's "hella convenient" to you, too, undocumented income on the side that the tax man knows nothing about, and isn't linked to you by anything more than an email address, if you want.
      • That's certainly the case in Australia. Both eBay Australia and PayPal have no mechanism for incorporating the local sales tax (GST) in a purchase.
  • Don't bother (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sihker ( 913320 )
    In PayPals opinion I still live with polar bears, barbarians and blood feud. In post Soviet Russia, paypal uses one way money transfers only. Once you transferred money to paypal account, you can only spend it, no transferring back :D I for once welcome our money grabbing overlords :-D
  • I have had a PayPal account since they had that send money with no fees promotion that my now ex-wife and her friend used to rack up a couple of thousand frequent flyer miles on each others WorldPerks cards. I generally trust PayPal and I like the money market feature on my account, but it is not the only way to pay and it should not be set up that way. The world needs competition and it is going to hurt a lot of people who may just want to buy or sell one thing and don't want to set up an account for that one hassle to go through. For some things PayPal is perfect, but not for everything. On websites where you have an actually established revenue stream and are not just selling one or two things a day I think it looks bad if you are running PayPal only. I recently backed out of a deal to buy a stack of sub woofers from a company because I didn't want to deal with the creation of a PayPal account on the business card for one transaction. They lost out on a big sale, just because they were stuck with PayPal and PayPal only and I know that I am not the only one who responds to things this way.
  • Amazon has been great for buying and selling college books on. I have basically just been paying for shipping. When I need to add money Amazon can charge my Debit card, otherwise the money from selling books goes to buying the next set.
    Other items can also be added. There is currently two Commodore 64 systems for sale for $235. Need a PalmOne m100 Handheld 9 Used & new from $11.89.
  • by RaigetheFury ( 1000827 ) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @10:57AM (#23764135)
    I was part of the massive lawsuit against Paypal back when there were plenty of scammers. One such tried to screw me and even though I provide more than enough evidence to PROVE without a shadow of a doubt this guy was scamming the system, committing mail fraud, AND on top of that was using stolen credit cards, AND i gave him his confirmed address...

    They still sided with him. However, I knew this was a possibility and I moved the money out of paypal, and blocked them from charging me back through my bank who happily sided with me.

    About 6 months later I joined the lawsuit, and provided all of the evidence to them for exhibits. If you didn't know we won... and won big. Not happy with the default settlement offering I filed for the full settlement and received my check a few months later. I framed it... and I will NEVER do business with Paypal again.

    I don't care if Ebay bought them. They do not follow banking guidelines, they consistently have proven themselves untrustworthy and generally don't abide by the law OR their own policies.

    If Ebay goes to Paypal only, I think they'll soon realize the size of the mistake they will make when other auction sites blow past them at 90mph!
    • by Chas ( 5144 )
      Sorry, but EBay is just as shady as PayPal is.

      I refuse to EVER give any more money to PayPal or EBay again.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      they'll soon realize the size of the mistake they will make when other auction sites blow past them
      What other auction sites are there? I know of a few, but they all suck. They will have a hard time beating eBay who has television adverts. The other problem is most of the other auction sites are as much of a rip-off as eBay, both in the fees they charge and the stuff listed on them. Most of the other auction sites have junk that goes for above retail.... just like eBay.
      • craigslist is huge I don't know about other places but up here in canada there is kijiji which is basically a rip off of craigslist but still you can find tons of stuff on these types of sites, without having to deal with paypal.

        The part I like the best about a site like that is that you can view the item before buying it. Most of the time you meet up and pick up so can see the item and run away if you want. Cuts down on counterfits and scams. Typically you can't use credit cards but seriously it's where
        • craigslist is huge
          I'll use Craig's List for some stuff, but until they allow you to search all of the for sale posts, and not just the ones within a given metro area, they'll never be able to compete with eBay.

          And since eBay owns 33% of CL, that ain't ever going to happen.
          • CL has flipped ebay the bird several times already, thats not what is stopping them from letting you search all of it.

            CL does not get involved nor does it try to authenticate who you are buying from, hence it stays local. Its a different niche, Craig Newmark has no intention of taking on ebay or becomming a megacorp.
        • by Doomie ( 696580 )
          Kijiji is owned by eBay.
  • by Colonel Korn ( 1258968 ) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @11:03AM (#23764219)
    I sort of enjoyed bidding for things on eBay back when it was new and there were deals to be had, but now nearly everything is at a fixed price and the only purpose it has for someone like me is to buy/sell used computer parts, which I can do elsewhere without the risk or hassle. I feel like the new eBay is mostly for soccer moms who don't know of alternatives, or for people who have very specialized interests with no other options (usually there are other, cheaper, safer options).

    On the other hand, I never liked Paypal. As far as I could tell its sole purpose was to make it easier for sellers to scam buyers, since the only protection given to buyers is something on the order of $100. I know some people who bought Apple laptops on eBay, never received them, but were unable to get all of their ~$2000 back. If it happened to me, I'd do what another poster said today and stop the payment to Paypal from my credit card, but if it were me I wouldn't have made the purchase in the first place.
    • When you are looking for a fairly rare item and/or one that was never really sold in your country ebay has two big advantages

      1: ebay is massive, this means that the chance of someone on the system having the item is pretty damn high.
      2: ebay/paypal is pretty friendly to international transactions. I can use my british ebay/paypal account to bid on auctions anywhere in the world with no hassle (sometimes I do have to contact the seller to ask for postage rates but a lot of the time sellers post a list that co
  • Verfied Accounts (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drxenos ( 573895 ) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @11:11AM (#23764359)
    I found out the hard way that when you "verify" your account, the bank account used to verify your PayPal account becomes the primary account. All payments you make through PayPal come out of it by default. I called them because all my purchases were coming out of my bank account and not my credit card. They said the bank account has to be the primary, and the only way to change it was to revert to "unverified," which I did. I like the protection I get from using a credit card. Payments extracted from a checking account has no where near the same protection.
    • Re:Verfied Accounts (Score:4, Interesting)

      by AbRASiON ( 589899 ) * on Thursday June 12, 2008 @05:59PM (#23771073) Journal
      Yep, mod this up! It's an absoloute fucking scam (again) on paypals behalf.

      Once you add bank to an existing account, it opts to directly withdraw from the bank rather than credit card, you CAN'T make the credit card default.
      In Australia, this means I get charged bank fees for using my regular bank account, (maximum 5 transactions a month free, than small but annoying fees)

      The credit card obviously has no fees - they are happy with the interest you pay as a dipshit consumer in debt (which I'm not)

      Paypal have done this so that people can't do ccard chargebacks as easily.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by porcupine8 ( 816071 )
      Huh. They let you set accounts back to Unverified once they've been verified?

      I wonder how often they let you re-verify an account. Seeing as how they deposit several cents into your account totally free as part of the verification process... I smell an untapped profit opportunity! :)

      • by drxenos ( 573895 )
        Your account automatically goes back to unverified when you delete (from your PayPal account) the bank account it is tied to. They actually make two small deposits, but they take them back after you're verified. As least, they did with me.
        • Really? They've never taken them back from me. That might be new - maybe people really were exploiting it.
          • by drxenos ( 573895 )
            You're probably right. I've had the account for years, but just verified is recently. Or, I could be mixing them up with another company. My online broker uses the same technique to verify. Maybe it was they that reclaimed the deposits.
  • by shadowofwind ( 1209890 ) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @11:26AM (#23764641)
    Paypal claimed the seller had the money, and told the seller we (the buyer) had the money, and lied and stonewalled for months. Finally they just gave the money back without explanation after a state Attourney General inquired on our behalf.

    The previous time I posted this on /., I was modded down as a liar. But unbelievable as the stody is, it is the truth.

    In fairness to Paypal, our experience was shortly after it was purchased by EBay, so probably EBay cleaned it up some since then.
    • by drxenos ( 573895 )
      I don't think you are lying. PayPal wouldn't give me my money back when a seller screwed me over until I threatened to just call my credit card company and do a charge-back.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by anomaly256 ( 1243020 )
      A mate of mine got scammed once. Bought a game console, seller claimed it was AU and came with 2 games, turned out to be a Jap one with no games. I did some digging, contacted the other buyers this seller had dealt with, and they all claimed exactly the same thing happened to them. I contacted ebay through my friend's account, they investigated and found the seller to be fraudulent and locked his account. However, the seller was long gone by that stage. The mobile # he was passing around was no longer v
  • From what I'm reading above, there is a major issue with dodgy sellers on Ebay. Paypal are just handling the payment and offer better safeguards than a transfer to a bank account. TFA is focusing on the fact it would cause a monopoly situation and the ACCC wants competition in the market.

    What actually needs to happen is the ability to have a "one click" report item as dodgy. Ebay gains too much from providing a lax vetting process to ever get serious about it.

    When governments actually get serious about this
  • by macdaddy ( 38372 ) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @11:36AM (#23764783) Homepage Journal
    I've been using Paypal since the very beginning. I've been using eBay and Yahoo Auctions since they were first established. I was thinking about how much $$$ I've spent on auction items over the years back when I last did my taxes. My purchases peaked in 2002 with just over $16k in purchase. In total I have bought nearly $100k of crap off of them both over the last decade. Amazingly enough I have never been burnt. All of my eBay purchases used PayPal I'm sorry to say. The only time I ever had a problem I simply did a chargeback with my CC. PP got pissed and threatened me; when I said I was going to do a chargeback they transferred me internally to a guy who did the threatening. He was obviously reading prepared material from a script. They never locked my account though. That was before you had to verify yourself to send $$$.

    I moved back in 2003. That prompted me to move to a new bank as well. I was fortunate enough to have put my old bank account into Paypal when I verified my account. When I moved I sure as hell didn't update the info. It remained that way until this Spring when I accidentally forgot to change the payment method from PayPal's default of a bank account to a CC. They realized that my account was closed at that time and unverified my PP account. I had to give them my new bank account info. I hated to do it but I had to complete the purchase. I'm seriously considering signing up for a new account somewhere, using it for 6 months and then closing it just so I can get back to the way it was.

    It's amazing that I've never actually gotten burnt considering how much I've used PP. The vast majority of the equipment I buy is networking gear. I'm pretty careful who I buy from. If I have any feeling that it's not a good seller I move on. I won't buy from anyone on the West coast (too much counterfeit Cisco hardware comes from China into the West coast). I'll even read all the seller's reviews and go back through their past auctions and the buyers to see if it looks legit. I guess being careful pays off. I'm definitely not a PP or eBay shill. I lost a fair bit of money in eBay stock and I think the wannabe bank PayPal should rot in litigation hell, but I never have been burnt.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12, 2008 @11:40AM (#23764845)
    How this has affected me...

    I used to use eBay and Paypal quite a bit and for the most part I've had good experiences. For quite a while I kept a significant amount of money (nearly $10,000) in my Paypal money market account, earning a fairly decent interest rate (one of the higher rates I could find at the time). I was aware that Paypal was not FDIC insured but I was fairly confident that Paypal wouldn't collapse. I had one eBay purchase where Paypal backed me up and I got a refund (except for shipping). I really didn't have any serious complaints.

    After hearing the news about eBay trying to force the use of Paypal, I had to rethink my position. I was concerned that such a decision would negatively impact their business and made me less secure in keeping my money there. More importantly, I felt I could no longer "invest" in the Paypal business model. Their interest rates had also been dropping so I started looking around at bank accounts. Surprisingly (or maybe not so, in hindsight) I found one that had a better interest rate and transferred my money. Paypal was more convenient and I'm sorry to miss out on that, but Paypal has lost my business (over $10,000 worth) and I'm not going back now.

  • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <> on Thursday June 12, 2008 @12:53PM (#23766223) Homepage Journal
    Can someone suggest a good alternative to PayPal? eBay seems to have banned everything else that accepts credit cards and many buyers only want to pay by cc, even when you explicitly state that you don't take them. Basically it's impossible to sell anything on fleaBay without a PayPal account I think.

    Maybe an alternative to eBay is needed. Amazon is okay for books and music, but what about other stuff? eBay actually seems like quite a good way to sell some stuff, if it just wasn't for PayPal.
  • by hack slash ( 1064002 ) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @01:42PM (#23767101)
    Whilst I've been using PayPal for about 8 years now and find it's very useful for paying seller, one fact irks me somewhat, with a premier account they skim money off ALL transactions you receive even if the sender is using funds held in their PayPal account.

    So basically they can charge a lot of money just to make one person's account balance go down and another go up - that's never happened when I've done a bank transfer within the UK.

    Daylight fucking robbery.
    • I'm sure it has happened to you. It's called a CREDIT CARD. And it matters not if your balance was in debit at the time. Fees apply.

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie