Everyone has used eBay and everyone has been burned, so the company's latest announcements should be interesting to, well, everyone...
In an eCommerce Webcast yesterday the world's largest online auction site detailed plans to radically restructure its service fees, alter its requirements for PowerSellers and tweak its feedback system.
So let's start with the big one: costs. As of 20 February eBay US (followed by a global roll-out) will slash its article listing fees by a total of up to 50 per cent, this will comprise a reduced insertion fee on both auction and fixed price items and a free gallery picture (your item's thumbnail comes up in search results). On the flip side however eBay is raking more in on Final Value Fees (the percentage taken when an item sells) raising its cut from 5.25 per cent to a hefty 8.25 per cent. The argument goes that this system encourages more people to list and benefits the vast majority of users whose items sell for under $100 (£50).
As for PowerSellers, they will have more benefits including fee discounts and the ability to ship to any address a customer requires while seller protection will be extended around the globe (it was the US, Canada and the UK only) and unlimited (up from an annual restriction of $5,000).
Finally, eBay's much touted Feedback system gets a number of alterations. Positive feedback from repeat customers will now count more than once, buyers must wait three days before they can leave neutral or negative feedback for sellers with an established track record and buyers will be held "more accountable" for unpaid items (though how was not detailed).
On top of this, buyers who are suspended will find any neutral or negative feedback they leave sellers will be suspended - deserved or not. The theory here being "Members who are suspended for unpaid items or other offences should not be permitted to harm the reputation of members in good standing." This is rather general, but it does reduce the impact of deliberately malicious buyers.
So what do we make of all this? I imagine your reaction depends greatly on whether you tend to sell items of high or low value. Win some, lose some...