The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 11, Number 38, September 21, 2008, Article 15


Eric Holcomb's query about eBay's new payment policies generated these responses from E-Sylum readers. -Editor

Russ Sears writes:
Over the years, eBay has made more and more rules and more and more money. They have provided little to no assistance in the case of a fraudulent seller. Now, with the requirement for sellers to accept PayPal, they are adding to their income... again.

But for a small seller like me, they are not only taking more of my money, but also creating a new set of books for me to keep. Since I claim all of my eBay sales, using PayPal gives me another thing to do. One day, the federal government will determine that eBay is a monopoly and act accordingly.

Dave Lange writes:
I find the transparency of eBay's actions quite disturbing. The company claims that this is being done to protect customers, but it all too obvious that it is just a revenue-enhancement gimmick for eBay, which owns PayPal. Since PayPal extracts a fee for its services, an item has to sell for something over its actual cost to me before I can break even. I buy and sell coin boards, folders and albums on eBay, and there are always a few customers, mostly the elderly, who still send checks or money orders. I suppose these customers will be lost, though in fact they constitute a minority of my buyers. Most, like me, enjoy the convenience of PayPal, but its use should remain optional at the discretion of buyer and seller.

Another disturbing move is that eBay keeps dropping hints that it may require sellers to offer free shipping. I see this as a means to extract yet more money from sellers. eBay doesn't receive a percentage of the shipping fee, but by requiring free shipping it would force sellers to again charge more from the buyers to cover expenses, and such higher prices would result in larger fee collections by eBay and PayPal.

In the past year or two there have been so many changes in eBay's policies and functionality that it has become quite frustrating. There seem to have been a lot of changes made simply for the sake of change, and these have forced users to continually relearn something they'd already mastered. I've long been leery of software "upgrades" and similar, seemingly unnecessary changes, but these seem to be irresistable to website engineers and their management. I'm afraid that something that wasn't broken is being rendered nearly useless to me through such frequent "fixes." Am I simply a Luddite, or do others feel the same way?

Phil Iversen writes:
Call out the National Guard or at least the ACLU as we're losing yet another Freedom! Now acting like Big Brother on the internet ~ yikes! What right do they have to do this? If every business started to follow this practice it would wipe it most yard sales, swap meets, coin shows, hot dog vendors and the guy that shines shoes at the airport. I'm afraid I'd need to pay the mortgage, pay the utilities or car payment and if something happened and it didn't get processed, I'd lose everything I own. With as many computer hackers stealing your social security number, military records, store and gas credit card numbers there are not enough safeguards to protect yourself from theft. I'm sure that many will start to use an auction company that is not so demanding. If everybody had to use an electronic card it would force the BEP and U.S. Mint employees to find new jobs as well as those who issue checks and money orders. Good grief, Charlie Brown, it's almost scary being alive anymore!

Alan V. Weinberg writes:
With respect to Eric Holcomb's observation that eBay will soon require all sellers to take only Paypal or other electronic forms of payment: I just read an article advising of the same thing in the APIC's Political Bandwagon. That article stated that eBay sellers are not compelled to take that form of electronic payment exclusively and can, with alternative payment choices stated in their listings, take checks and money orders...or cash for that matter. More often than not, since I don't have Paypal, I've emailed a seller who states in his listing "Paypal only" , asking if a postal money order is acceptable and that I don't have Paypal. Almost always, the seller replies "yes".

It is also apparently true that new eBay registered sellers , who had been totally unregistered with eBay before even as bidders/buyers, are being required to sign up for Paypal. But "older" eBay sellers , even if they'd only been previously buyers, can remain Paypal-free. In other words, I've been registered with eBay as a buyer/bidder since 1998 but have never yet sold anything on eBay. It is my understanding that if I registered sometime in the future as a seller too, I will not be required to accept Paypal. True?

Perhaps an E-Sylum reader who is an experienced eBay seller can straighten out all this confusion. Because if what people are hearing about eBay's soon-to-be -enforced electronic payment requirement is true, this will significantly impact numismatics. Many buyers do not want Paypal and prefer checks, money orders or cash. As it is, I believe starting in January there will no longer be eBay live numismatic auctions ? Is that true? I've seen that in print more than once.

Ya know, all this electronic requirement payment brouhaha sounds suspiciously of violation of anti-trust laws since eBay owns Paypal. Maybe Congress, if they can redirect their attentions from the "important business" they handle (said with tongue- in- cheek), they might investigate this new eBay policy. If nothing else, it is certainly illegal restraint of trade, a federal issue.

I was incredulous when I first read about eBay's new requirement. I wonder if they're spoiling for a fight over the issue. Ostensibly, the requirement is to enable them to better police the marketplace. If enough citizens complain to the regulators, eBay could ask the regulators to drop their new rules and allow eBay to return to a more open system. -Editor

Wayne Homren, Editor

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