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back to article eBay, PayPal face court action

eBay warned shareholders yesterday that it is facing a possible class action suit in the state of California and is likely to be hit by more patent cases. The suit alleges that eBay and PayPal acted "to improperly 'monopolise' the forms of payment that sellers can use on eBay". The plaintiff claims treble damages and an …

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Western Union

Interesting.

I generated an auction recently and, fed up with the amount of Nigerians spamming me, I intended to use the words "I will not entertain requests to pay via Western Union" in the listing.

No dice. The Ebay client continually refused to allow me to post the listing, citing some vague error message.

Eventually, after googling, I stumbled on the answer- remove those so-offensive words "Western Union" and all would be well.

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re Western Union

The same happened to me, telling people not to bother offering to pay by Western Union as I don't accept it, the auction was refused until I removed the words "Western Union".

Not a bad thing IMO - also re the monopolies it's all very well having competition but they need ensure security. At least with paypal you know that the money will (probably) arrive.

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Google checkout

eBay also specifically prohibit services like Google Checkout from being used threatening sellers with suspension or account cancellation. Which is a shame, since Google Checkout is free for sellers right now, while Paypal fees are absolutely scandalous, even before you add the eBay listing AND finalising fee. For items I sell at £2 each, at least 50p of each sale goes straight to the unholy eBay/Paypal alliance. Daylight robbery. And now my UK auctions are invisible to the US too... J

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Anonymous Coward

Good to see some stand up against eBay & Paypal

They do not just monopolise the payment method making Paypal compulsory, while demanding authorisation of direct debit from your credit card and bank account even before allowing you to sell, they also restrict sellers for all sort of unknown dodgy reasons.

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Quit your whining.

I don't care how people pay me, as long as they pay me, and promptly. If paypal's cut is too high, you can always refuse to take it, and negotiate the payment at the auction close. There is and remains no fee at all for the seller for using checks, money orders, wampum, zorkmids, or barter, but it takes longer, you can't use credit cards or take the money from the buyer's bank account, and chickens tend to die in transit. This is just another whiney-arsed attempt at using the courts to extort money from a business. The point is, there are alternatives, and if you like them, use them.

So far as paypal security goes, at least they do a better job of protecting your financial identity that regular US banking outfits do. US banks have created the potential for massive financial fraud in the name of easy credit, and when you've been boned by this, they will sit there and make you pay the price instead of fixing it like they ought.

The Western Union string is blocked for financial security -- too much fraud -- not because they couldn't stand the competition. I remember when ebay did it. WU payments have no guarantee. The money goes, and your stuff never arrives. As a seller, if you were defrauded by a buyer using WU, you were gullible indeed to ship before you saw the colour of their money. On a *totally* unrelated note, I would like to know your ebay id, so I can buy lots of stuff from you.

Get over it, guys.

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Really a monopoly?

Using eBay is not compulsory. If everything is so crap and monopolised then why doesn't someone set up an alternative auction system?

It seems to me some people out there are purely interested in trying to get rich quick by filing punitive lawsuits.

Absolutely ridiculous...

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Illegal bundling

I believe that the fact that they pretty much require you to accept PayPal and the fact that if you are required to have a COMMERCIAL PayPal account may run afoul of illegal bundling laws. Ebay is basically a defacto monopoly in the online auctions business. Yes there are others but they're really bit players and Ebay has the lion's share of the market. It is illegal to use a monopoly in one area to force usage of another product or service in a different area. It might not be as much of an issue if they would allow you to use a free account but that option isn't given to you. So, basically, ebay hits you up for listing, they hit you for a percentage of what you make. Then when the person pays with PayPal they hit you up for another few percent of what you make.

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Anonymous Coward

How Courts Work 101

For the record, the function of courts is to uphold law. No matter how 'whiney-arsed' the claimant, or how much he or she is looking to 'get rich quick', if no laws or agreements have been broken, the court will not act against a party, whether a business or individual.

So if a business or individual has awards passed against it, that means they have acted in an ILLEGAL manner and BROKEN THE LAW. If it has not acted improperly, no award will be made.

It amazes me that people actively and proudly flaunt the fact that they would side with those who break the law and act illegally, over individuals who take responsibility to ensure that laws are upheld. A nation is defined by its laws and culture. How utterly irresponsible, undemocratic and unpatriotic to support those who break them.

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re: nameless' post: How Courts Work 101

Lots of courage there for somebody who's convinced they're in the right and possessing the 'nads to try to lecture somebody on the error of their ways.

FYI, lawsuits are generated based upon the assumption of either a successful payout in court, or a financial decision to cut losses and settle. The courts exist to adjudicate, but by their very definition are not in a position to throw the truly stupid and frivolous cases out before the respondent has had to spend large sums of money defending themselves. Justice doesn't enter into it. Any other explanation is a laughably flimsy justification and an attempt to prove that government is fair and reasonable based upon naivete and bong smoke. Lawyers have to eat. They are notorious for not working for free. There's an old saying -- one lawyer in a small town will starve, but if you have two lawyers in the same small town, they will both live in mansions. They exist to take advantage of how the law works, and if they did not, they simply would not exist. People would just handle their own legal matters.

Sadly, there is no effective disincentive to file frivolous lawsuits, and as long as some 90% of our government is composed of people in or related to the legal professions, this won't change.

Nobody is under any compulsion to buy and sell on ebay. There are other auction sites out there. The fact that they are not as good is a function of many factors, including poorer service, less advertising, and the simple fact that people go where the sales are. A lawsuit based upon an antitrust perspective actually harms competition, because better businesses should not be penalized for gaining the majority of the market, and worse businesses should not be rewarded for not being as good at what they do. I do not agree with ebay's policies -- sniping sucks. However, when I have something to sell, I go straight to ebay, because for all the problems with their policies, I make more money, because my products get a better price. After all, 3% of 200 is $6. I make $194. 2% of $100 is $2. I make $98. It's a no-brainer. You of the high morals are welcome to go elsewhere.

However, ebay is big, and has deep pockets. They are a private business. They can charge what they want as long as sellers sell and buyers buy. They are concerned with making a profit, like any business should, and will make decisions on the overall good of the company, rather than what is the right way. Therefore, they are an ideal target for a lawsuit. The public interest is not served by making them a governmental institution. I can only imagine how crap online auctions would be with all of the 'governmental efficiency' I currently observe. It is entirely possible for people to come up with a case that will make it far enough in the court system to get a payout. That's exactly what's happening here. It's slimy, and it makes the people with a whiney-arsed, unjustifiable complaint a lot of money by taking advantage of the court system. It's the same system that drives doctors out of poor communities, closes down employers, and even makes my morning coffee lukewarm because somebody cannot understand that hot coffee should be, well, hot, and hot can be, well, hot, and hot things can burn you. The very definition of whiney-arsed.

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