Open market closed to Irish sellers

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When Chris and I went to eBay Live in June, we were lucky enough to get to talk to John McElligott, the MD of eBay Ireland. John spoke about being a young site in a country with a small population, and how exporting is a necessity for many Irish businesses:

with Ireland’s small population, it makes sense to target larger populations in the UK and Europe. John comments that many small businesses in Ireland think about exporting from day 1: what better way to do that than with the help of eBay’s established global brand?

Unfortunately, it seems that things aren’t quite that simple for many Irish sellers. Unlike their UK counterparts who can list on the .com site from day one, sellers have been prohibited from selling on any other eBay site including until they match up to several eligibility criteria, most notably, having achieved 25 feedbacks.

It’s particularly galling to have this policy apply to Ireland but not to the UK, when many Irish users actually started out on, before their own national site existed. Sellers caught under this policy can now not even sell on eBay UK, even if they registered there as a buyer in the first place.

If this discriminatory policy, introduced last December, were not enough, eBay have yet again moved the goalposts without notifying sellers: Support are now informing members that the bar has been raised to 50 feedbacks. There’s also a suggestion that those must be 50 feedbacks *from selling*, though this needs clarification.

Irish sellers, who have found out about this new regulation only by having their overseas sales restricted, are understandably angry. Though the Irish site’s achievements – notably half a million users – have been trumpeted, it seems as if Irish sellers are being treated like mushrooms compared to their UK neighbours. Mark from Cruel and Unusual DVD, one of Ireland’s most prominent Powersellers, told me:

“A small nation like Ireland is historically dependant on export, from the largest multinational to the smallest craft seller , and for eBay to restrict this without grounds is another nail in the coffin of a sadly neglected site. Do they really think we can survive as a viable eBay site by just selling Aran Sweaters and Guinness memorabilia to each other?

I personally think it should be co-opted into the UK site to stop mucking about its users any further. I wish they’d just let it die. The ghost town appearance embarrasses me.”

2 Responses

  1. If I was an Irish seller I’d be pretty peeved about the increased barriers to cross-border trading. (Is there a sudden increase in fraud by Irish sellers that hasn’t been reported in the news?) Anyway, I’d suggest a few “Letters to the editor” from concerned citizens in the Republic to get an open public debate going…

  2. Having tried to bully mainland UK sellers into NOT trading internationally (and failed) for the last 10 months, it now looks like the Meg-low-maniac and her minions are trying it on with the smaller players like ie.
    When oh when are governments going to wake up to the shenanigans that are affecting national economies globally, that are being spawned Bush-like from a company that touts itself as being community and fair-trade focussed?

    What’s next for the Emerald Isle? The same restrictions on international visibility as eBays in Singapore, Malaysia, Phillipines et all? I.e. (no pun intended) visible only by logging into those sites, no integrated PayPal payments, no invoicing tools, and no shipping options other than to those sites’ own redidents?

    And adventurous tourists from the States are shocked to find why their nation is so despised in other countries? Is it any wonder when American CEOs play with peoples livelihoods in this manner?


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