back to article eBay: don't come on our US site without protection

Just when you think eBay is done infuriating longtime users across the world, the auction site keeps cranking out the hits. You almost have to admire the steadfast dedication – that ability to bear 'mid now and ice, a banner with the strange device; Excelsior! Or something to that Longfellowian effect. Point is, the bitter …


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  1. Richard Cartledge
    Thumb Down

    And another....

    They have just banned Safari from completing the checkout process unless you choose Firefox as the User Agent. I have closed my ebay account. They are a bunch of tossers, they had a good site 2-3 years ago, and the idle hands of the web developers have just made mischief with moronic change after change for the sake of their existence. Good pie.

  2. Andy
    Paris Hilton

    How long before ebay backtracks?

    They tried it in Australia and it didn't work, so maybe the Americans will stand up and say No to this. I wonder how long before they try it in the UK? There is always

    Paris - 'cos I would like to bid on her:)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Elephant spoon trestle

    Is there any danger the title of this article could be changed to actually match the factual content of the story? Or is that too much like hard work?

    They're not introducing a paypal only policy in the US, they're banning checks and money orders, you know, the ones what scammers use all the time.

    Why not just fuck accuracy off altogether and change the headline to "Ebay kills babies using a mincer"

  4. Solomon Grundy

    Questions and DropShops

    For better or worse I led the technology development of one of the first national eBay "DropShops" - those places where you take your shit and they sell it for you on eBay. While there almost 30% of our sales were paid for with personal checks...

    If eBay has decided to do away with personal checks they are shooting lots of their merchants in the face.

    Nobody can deal with a 30% loss of revenue and the customers who still use paper checks aren't going to change their ways because eBay said so.

    eBay has been dying since 2003 - I wish they would just give up and go away.

  5. Doug Franklin


    Well, that was the straw that broke the camel's back, for me. I haven't done much on ebay the last couple of years anyway, because it's not nearly the deal it used to be and the risk seems to be higher. But I've cancelled my account after this crap, and I won't be using their services again.

  6. RW
    Thumb Down

    tHe eNd oF eBay aS wE kNew iT

    Prediction: eBay will stop auctions by the end of the year.

    Clearly the bean counters in charge have forgotten what line of business eBay is (or was!) in: the #1 online auction site.

    Somebody with gumption and money to pay development costs could drive an economic Mack truck through the economic void they're creating.

    Unfortunately, the US government is such a spineless lap dog for corporate interests that no one will raise a finger to stop this illegal tied marketing. There are laws against such things in the US (vide the long running lawsuit against IBM for bundling decades ago) but mysteriously they never seem to get enforced in any meaningful-to-Joe-Average way.

    So long, eBay: it was good while it lasted.

  7. Dave

    Paypal - Ugh!

    Given the dispute-resolution process of Paypal, I've largely gone off ever using it again. eBay have shot themselves in the foot once more, not that I've even logged onto the site in months, so I guess it doesn't really affect me.

  8. Storm Cloud

    where's the competition?

    Trouble is, where is there to go for disgruntled Ebayers to peddle their wares on a national scale? When you give a company free reign over a sector, eventually they are going to start taking liberties. Yes there are the likes of Amazon, but that's only for current retail items. What we need is some big hitter who offers a realistic alternative that covers the second user market and beyond. Maybe with Android unleashed on the world, Google has an eye on releasing something like Gmarket to the masses. Seems like a prime segment to place ads to me, which I would be more than happy to put up with if the transaction costs were slashed.

  9. Solomon Grundy

    One More Thought

    eBay sucks. Whitman dropped the ball and her flunky shanked the ball, set it on fire, then stopmed on it over and over again.

    I don't understand why it happened. I know/knew lots of the people that made eBay happen on a first name basis. I never expected the pure shite that's come out of that place over the last few years. Why eBay, Why? I've made so much money with you guys!!!! Why are you destroying the partnerships you set up? Why? Oh God; Why...

  10. Bryce Prewitt
    Thumb Down

    Anti-trust ahoy.

    It never ceases to amaze me just how fucking much some corporate executives fail to "get it."

  11. Paul
    Thumb Down


    Won't buy from again.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    eBay a comedy of errors

    ebay continues to roll on, steamrollering it's sellers.

    First the Detailed Seller ratings where they tell buyers that a 4 star rating is wonderful but tells it's sellers that 4 star ratings is bad that the minimum rating that a seller should be receiving is 5 stars.

    Allows customers to rate a seller on shipping and handling, where sellers that ship items with FREE shipping can be rated with rating less than 5 stars? I never knew there was anything better than FREE or ZERO shipping charge but to the buyers they cannot grasp this.

    They say that taking away a sellers ability to give a negative or neutral feedback to a buyer is making the playing field level and bringing balance back into the equation. Now sellers are open to threats of having their business ruined because they do not do what a buyer wants. Does ebay protect the sellers as they claimed. NO - they use the standard answer that an email saying IF YOU DO NOT DO AS I ASK THEN I WILL RATE YOU WITH A NEGATIVE FEEDBACK AND RUIN YOUR EBAY BUSINESS is not evidence enough of a threat.

    Unpaid items have gone through the roof. I, as a seller, have had more unpaid items where the buyer has not paid since they made the decision to block sellers from giving negative and neutral feedback than I have had in the previous 7 years when you could give a negative or neutral feedback.

    Now they are blocking payment methods.

    After initially saying to sellers that if a person wants to pay with check or money order that it would be alright as long as you don't says I ACCEPT CHECK OR MONEY ORDER in the listing eBay backtracked on this in an email sent out saying that they would monitor the activity of sellers and if you accepted TOO MANY checks or money orders then the seller would be sanctioned and either blocked from seller for a period or be removed from ebay completely.

    Unfortunately eBay refuses to quantify the statement TOO MANY - how many is TOO MANY. Is it 1, 2, or three or thirty? Basically they are telling sellers WE ARE WATCHING YOU.

    Sellers are in a panick to revise their listings, store sellers are struggling, the tools they supply are inadequate.

    Ebay admitted that for a period there was listings that just do not show up in the listings search. A search system that is broken.

    When we first reported our items were not showing up in search we spent over 2 hours arguing on the phone about it and they said that the search words and I must be doing something wrong. I had to explain that after almost 8 years on ebay I think I know how to carry out a search and that if my search could find my items one day and then the same search cannot find my items the following day then it is their search that is not working.

    Ebay really need to think about where they went wrong. I think that they would find a particular year 2003 to be the 'where and when' things went wrong. When they started messing.

    The fixed price fiasco they are entering into is an attempt to recapture that year but with higher profits for themselves.

    Oh well guess I had better just take the position and drop the soap because here comes ebay and I guess since I am a seller on ebay that makes me ebay's B***H.

  13. sidney cook
    Thumb Down


    They have to be losing money; people have been leaving in droves since they started this crap. I have not bought any thing from them is a year, why should I when there are other auction sites that do not charge half as much and you can pay how ever you want.

    I also buy from Amazon because their prices are great and you can buy used stuff even cheaper.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Good - eBay is now an escrow agency

    I like this. If there is no alternative to PayPal then eBay has become its own escrow agency, just like an offline auctioneer, and becomes fully responsible, as it would be eBay's responsibility to verify buyers' legitimacy. This makes chargebacks easier.

    I expect the terms of service would perhaps need to be streamlined and condensed somewhat - a unified agreement for eBay and Paypal in blunt language so eBay's obligations are clear with regards to liability, fraud and chargebacks.

    The selling price fee structure could also be simplified - 20% commission for credit cards, 17% for debit, 22% for foreign credit cards. Like an offline auctioneer, they want 20%, 30% if they can get away with it.

    This way we can directly compare eBay to iKobo or Yahoo Stores and determine what's the best deal for ourselves.

    Perhaps someone else can pick up the torch of person-to-person non-commercial auctions of small items where the reputations of both seller and buyer are considered worthy and there is a genuine negotiation of terms and determination of honest intentions, before the money is exchanged.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Wow - it took so long?

    I stopped using E(vil)bay some time ago - and now just go to Craigslist. Mind you CL is ~25% owned by Obray but CL hates the Ubray management so all is at least sort of OK.

    Evil Bill because the mentality is the same.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ storm cloud

    Try ... it's not as big as fleabay but it's gaining in popularity

  17. Webster Phreaky
    Jobs Horns

    If Safari (the Buggy) is Banned by eBay, I love you eBay!!

    Quote: "They have just banned Safari from completing the checkout process unless you choose Firefox as the User Agent."

    ANY company that understand the Secuity Risk of ANY APPLE PRODUCT is a winner in my camp! Right in eBay. Next? BAN Macs and iPhonies from accessing the eBay site all together.

  18. Blain Hamon
    Paris Hilton

    Re: Good - eBay is now an escrow agency

    > If there is no alternative to PayPal then eBay has become its own escrow agency,

    > just like an offline auctioneer, and becomes fully responsible, as it would be eBay's

    > responsibility to verify buyers' legitimacy. This makes chargebacks easier.

    Interesting, but how much you want to bet that the EULA will change overnight to weasel out of any sort of responsibility gained?

  19. Jesse Zappa


    Amazingly, when I put ads on Craigslist real, actual human beings show up at my door with real, actual cash money that they hand me, put the stuff in their car and leave. No shipping, no hassles, no fees, no ratings, no BS. Craigslist is the best alternative for US sellers who live within driving distance of large, metro areas. I'm about 2 hours from LA and EVERY buyer I've had has been at least an hour away. Ebay? Forget it.

    Mine is the one with the wad of cash in the pocket.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    eBay a comedy of errors

    Goodbye eBay... It's NOT been nice knowing you. I've made my last purchase since I refuse to use their captive shekelgrubbing PayPal operation. I'll be shopping on Amazon and Craigslist in the future...

    Would choose Paris, but even she knows that thumbs down is more than eBay is worth.

  21. JoePritchard

    Springtime, for ebay, and Donahoe...

    Autumn, for Google and Amazon... :-)

    In my minds-eye I have an all singing, all dancing, story of ebay extravaganza a la 'The producers's 'Springtime for Hitler'.

    Only without the laughs. These guys are seriously out to get every last penny from their public or die trying, and for the first time I have to question whether ebay will actually survive the next few years.

  22. Roger Heathcote

    @Ebay kills babies using a mincer

    ROFL... That would have been better! While they might not be insisting on 'paypal only' how long do you think it'll be? If they think they can make more money by getting rid of credit and debit cards too then I'm sure that's in the pipeline... This is what happens to companies with no competitors, their products start to suck. Hopefully we'll see a site come along that'll be to ebay what firefox is to IE and those who care can leave the rest to wallow in the mire.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ George Schultz

    "Mind you CL is ~25% owned by Obray but CL hates the Ubray management so all is at least sort of OK."

    Mind explaining who or what Obray/Ubray is?

  24. Hud Dunlap
    Jobs Halo

    @webster phreaky

    Fire fox doesn't work with my bank. I have to use Safari. My insurance company makes me use Firefox. Why I have to prove who I am to pay a bill I don't understand.

    I know Safari has its issues but I haven't seen anything about problems with secure sites.

  25. Jason Clery


    I moved to e-bid. E-bay sucks.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    ebay drank the coolaid, ALL of it

    I've sold on eBay for 10 years but it is now chaos. Customer service used to be insane--they dropped your email into a shredder, then let someone in India reply with a completely off-topic comment. Now there is only silence or auto-negation of any request. Its scary.

    I send them letters USPS to San Jose--same thing--*silence*. eBay no longer supports the seller's terms, their own policies for buyers, etc.

    eBay now reminds me of a drunken soccer crowd rioting in England. eBay are the cops wielding batons -- grabbing the cash out of the fans wallets as they knock them unconscious.

    I loved the end line to this article "Next they'll drown cats." That may have already started.

  27. James Henstridge


    eBay only backed down in Australia because it was illegal (forcing a customer to buy services from a particular third party as a condition of trade is anti-competitive). If they could have gotten away with it, they would have.

    If eBay is trying this in the US now, it either means that the same consumer protections don't exist there or they don't think the government will enforce those protections.

    Anything eBay learnt from trying to roll this out in Australia will likely only affect their behaviour in Australia. They obviously believe the lost auction fees from restricting payment methods will easily be covered by additional PayPal fees.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    New title required

    Surely eBay now warrents a new 'evil' title... Auction-zilla??

    [Shakes fist at eBay]

  29. Dave Bell

    How long will eBay stay an auction site?

    Without the auctions, eBay is just a shopping mall.

    And they seem to be trying to kill the auction side.

    There's a place for both, but as long as eBay control Paypal they can kill any attempt to fill the gap they're creating.

  30. Gav H.
    Thumb Down

    Wider Changes

    This is just another step in the direction of re-alligning the business to be more like a traditional online retailer rather than an auction house.

    Recent pricing structure changes make it almost certainly loss-making to list some items in certain categories, and the new search tool is just horrendous to use; pop-ups to select/deselect options that were previously available on the main results is at best frustrating and at worst infuriating.

    My selling days are over, but for some categories (for instance vintage musical instruments) eBay is still a fine resource of inventory of often difficult to find items.

    Sadly, I don't think it will be long before auctions are abandoned entirely in favour of fixed prices.

  31. Gulfie

    Ding Dong... grim reaper calling...

    As soon as I get my act together and find another auction site I'll be closing my account. Last time I listed, I noticed that the word 'auction' had disappeared from the listings pages.

    Last one to leave turn the lights out please.

  32. twelvebore
    Dead Vulture

    Dead man walking

    e-Bay is history. It just doesn't know it yet. It'll be bought be Google or Microsoft within two years.

  33. Solomon Grundy

    eBay Escrow

    You actually bring up a fantastic point. If eBay is choosing to act like a real world auctioneer then they should be held to the same standards as real auction houses. Fuck their "only a channel" shit. If someone sells me crap, eBay is responsible.

    Hell yeah. Fuck eBay and burn it to the ground. They've lost touch with their mission and as such are no longer useful.

  34. RW

    @ Solomon Grundy

    "I don't understand why it happened."

    I think I do.

    Taking eBay as purely an online auction site, there's a natural limit to how big it can grow. Only a finite fraction of the world's population is willing and able to engage in online auction sales.

    There's a relevant lesson in Amway, where their sucker pitch claims there's an infinitely large market for their products; anyone with a smidgen of economic knowledge knows that this simply isn't true. No matter how good, how desirable, how cheap, how well advertised a product is, there's still only going to be a finite demand.

    You could sell solid platinum toilets for $10 or a genuine elixir of immortality for $2, and there'd still only be a finite number of customers. A *large* finite number, perhaps, but still finite, and by no means comprising the entire population of the earth.

    eBay has reached that inherent limit after 10 or 15 years in business. But the beancounters know no bounds to their greed and lust for expansion, so they've had to branch out into other lines of business (in essence, jumping Amazon's claim as far as "stuff" is concerned), and these other lines have become the tail that is now wagging the dog.


    Got it?

  35. CTG

    Two questions...

    1) Wot's eBay?

    2) Wot's a "check"?

    Here in NZ everyone uses TradeMe (which is 57.2 times better than eBay) and something like 90% of all commercial transactions are electronic, so I have no idea what this story is about. I can't even remember the last time I wrote a cheque, and I would think it highly dodgy if someone tried to pay me by cheque.

    Really, America, you should try living in the 21st Century some time. It's fun.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Webster, I dislike macs (And their users of course) as much as anyone, but I sick of your childish, pathetic postings about them.

    Pleas do the world a favour and f%ck off.

  37. kain preacher Silver badge

    WHoa there

    States like California and New York will rip Ebay apart. In fact this will make them look into all of ebay practices. Ebay just hit the sleeping dragon with a stick then oissed all over it.

  38. Mark Simon
    Paris Hilton

    Not the First

    I saw this sort of anti-competitive behavior some years ago during the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Because Visa was a major sponsor, you could not buy tickets with your Mastercard.

    What sort of moron imagines that while you are on the phone, purchasing your tickets, you're going to rush down to your bank and pick up a Visa card?

    Paris, because, well, it's Paris logic at work here.

  39. Andrew Moore Silver badge



  40. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Yahoo! Auctions

    I have nothing against PayPal. Have been using it for years including trading outside ebay. But I do wish if they want to make it compulsory, they should cut the PayPal fees. It is a scam that I have to pay both ebay AND PayPal a separate fee!

    I dearly wish for Yahoo! Auctions to be resurrected.

  41. Matt

    I think you meant....

    cheques and money transfers. If you want to keep your UK/European audience it would be nice if you could use UK English. Perhaps you could produce a localised version for the US?

  42. Alexis Vallance

    Ebay gone down the pan

    "e-Bay is history. It just doesn't know it yet. It'll be bought be Google or Microsoft within two years."

    I hope you're right. I'd love Google to march in and sort everything out.

  43. Anonymous Coward

    You are wrong!

    Dear Austin Modine:

    What is your motive behind spreading such rumours against eBay? Your article is totally incorrect.

    eBay never said that they would be implementing PayPal only policy in US. They are planning to ban money-order and check payment options. They are doing so to reduce fraud, and it is good for both buyers as well as sellers.

  44. Anonymous Coward


    Personally I am sick of PayPal, after being 'hit' 3 separate times in which they were involved. The first, arguably not a direct PayPal sting, was being when, out of the blue, they suddenly refused to allow me to pay via them because I hadn't entered some number from a statement I'd thrown away months previously. I ended up paying that eBay bill by cheque, and by coincidence this was my first lot where a crooked (100% recommended) seller never sent the item. No protection. The next was when I had to spend months threatening someone who had sent corrupt CDs with court action unless he refunded my money. I hadn't made a claim from eBay/PayPal as I found getting the information from the eBay site so difficult that I'd run out of time to claim by the time I'd decided the seller wasn't "above board". When I finally got the crook to refund me (he used PayPal) PayPal claimed *their* system doesn't allow them to accept it was a refund after all the time it took me to get it, and the options I was given was either to send the money back to the crook, (are they insane ?!?) or to open a seller account with them so PayPal could pretend this was a normal transfer rather than a refund, allowing them to steal some of my money. And the latest was very recently is when I needed to make a claim because of yet another duff eBay item. I had sent the item back to the crooked seller as per his request before any dispute was registered. It was only when time was running out that I opened a dispute. Then I started getting badgered for "delivery numbers"; something that previously I had no knowledge of. The PO didn't give any such number when I sent the package. But apparently this is enough excuse for PayPal to renege on their promise that one is protected. Protected my arse. The thieving dregs! (Oh and to rub salt into the wound, I was offered the chance to comment in a survey. I went to the site on the last day when I thought myself calm enough to be reasonable, to tell them what I thought, and they had closed it down early. Wonder if they knew what I was bound to write.) Despite accumulating a reasonable score at eBay over the years I can't see me making many purchases from there in the future, been caught by the swindlers far too often. And to read that one of them is going to be made compulsory in the States (today, here tomorrow ?) "takes the biscuit". It just takes to many small save "bargains" to compensate for the larger stings on that site. Oh and have you seen how most sellers seem to think their responsibility for an item ends when they claim to have sent it? As a buyer I don't believe I am responsible for the seller's courier, my responsibility starts once I have the purchase in my hands, and have checked it is ok. What the heck is all that about?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @where's the competition?

    global sites;-

    uk sites:-

    We all talk about google, but perhaps sometimes a little use of its primary search can actually allow us to see beyond our rather blinkered view that there are only 10 internet sites out there (ebay, amazon, itunes, el reg, slashdot, etc).

    Perhaps setting up with a smaller site might get you in on the ground floor with your excessive ebay experience?

    This action by Ebay is good as it should show us that there are not the only ones out there. Open your eyes people, its a big internet.

    Oh and Webster: Are you the bastard child of Donald Rumsfeld and Steve Balmer, as you seem to have the attitude of a rabid dog and the reasoning capacity of a rock.

  46. tabitha l
    Thumb Down


    Currently if you don't have enough 'experience' selling (at least by ebay's standards) you are already being forced into using PayPal only. This would be in Canada though, so maybe it's different here.

  47. Neil Greatorex

    eBay now plans to ban checks

    Did they ever do any checks?

    Some of the sellers I've come across certainly weren't checked in any way.

  48. Simon Ward

    Re: Ebay gone down the pan

    "I hope you're right. I'd love Google to march in and sort everything out."

    Oh please Ghod, no ... the last thing the world needs is another perpetually-in-beta lashup from Google, and that's before considering the sort of crap they'd do with the resulting data.

    However, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Amazon take a run at full-on auctions though - I have a vague (and quite possibly incorrect) memory that they did have some kind of minimal auction functionality once upon a time. The main drawback of Amazon Marketplace as it is now, the fact that you can only sell stuff that's in their database, is one of its strengths - makes listing items a piece of cake. On the other hand, their fee structure is fairly simple even if their 'postal credit' system borders on the farcical.

    I keep meaning to take a look at eBid, but to be honest I've had so much success flogging stuff through the analogue medium of the local post office window that I just can't be arsed. Paying 20p/week to have a postcard in the window beats getting double-dipped (in every sense) by Fleabay and PayPal.

    Ebay have had their day, and I sure as hell won't be sad to see them disappear up their own fundament - there seems to be a fair degree of head/rectum interaction on the part of their management anyway.

    Flames, because I wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire.

  49. spiny norman
    Dead Vulture

    Read the announcement, not the headline.

    As was pointed out way back in the early comments, the headline is misleading. There is no Paypal only policy, just the removal of cheques and money orders as an option. Along with the statement about Google and Amazon, the FAQ also says "eBay will offer several other electronic payment options in addition to PayPal, namely ProPay to start, with more electronic payment providers to be added in coming months." All the "I'll never use eBay again" comments are expected, probably from the same people who say it every time eBay is mentioned, and about as useful as writing to The Daily Telegraph threatening to cancel your subscription. Or should that be The Sun, based on El Reg's new reporting standards?

  50. Dave

    Goodbye, eBay

    That is all.


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