Misleading and Discouraging Payments Policy

No primary category set

eBay are introducing a Misleading and Discouraging Payments Policy which they’ll begin enforcing from mid October in Australia. This is an update of the PayPal Payments Policy which is effective on eBay.com, but which currently doesn’t exist on eBay.co.uk.

The new policy insists that you must accept all payment methods offered from all buyers with no restrictions. For instance you can no longer say you’ll only accept PayPal for purchases over £10.00, or that you’ll accept cheques but not from overseas customers. If you offer a payment method in your listing you have to accept it regardless of the location of the buyer.

This policy is not limited to details within the eBay listing, but includes communications between buyers and sellers.

Most of the examples (and the fact it’s an update of the PayPal Payments Policy) lead me to think this is simply aimed at sellers rejecting PayPal payments from certain buyers. However the implications are more serious. For International sellers you may be perfectly willing to accept cheques from UK buyers drawn on a UK bank account, but accepting cheques in US Dollars, Japanese Yen, Lebanese pounds or any other obscure currency from around the world is not only unrealistic, it’s also nigh on impossible to cash them!

If eBay are to introduce policies such as this in the UK they might as well go the whole way and insist on PayPal as the only acceptable form of payment. Accepting cheques as payment from various countries around the world is just not possible, but to comply with the new policy if you accept them for domestic transactions you have to accept them for International transactions.

Whilst the policy is only currently being introduced in Australia it’s likely to migrate to other eBay sites in the near future. To avoid upheaval when it happens it’s probably worth considering updating your listings to comply sooner rather than later as when it comes to the UK it’ll never be at a convenient time to edit all your listing templates.

I’d predict that it won’t be too far in the distant future that only PayPal is used on eBay. If it’s not because eBay insist upon it, it’ll be because any other form of payment has been made too awkward to accept.

28 Responses

  1. seems pretty clear to me
    if you accept checks/ cheques ,then you accept them,
    if you dont want to accept internationl cheques, then dont list international,
    or get an account with auctionchex eddie

  2. in fact I would much rather do paypal only its only because of buyer demand bother with cheques at all

  3. It would be a lot more sensible if they allowed you to specify payments for domestic vs. international customers, as you can specify different shipping amounts.

    It will also have interesting* implications if they try to introduce it in France: you’re not allowed here to demand payments by a method that might cost your buyers money. As banks here make an annual charge for a debit card (it’s only about €10 but it *is* a charge), probably you can’t technically insist on PayPal only: the option to restrict your sales to buyers with PP accounts isn’t available on eBay.fr. So French sellers in effect will be told they *have* to accept cheques from all over the world? I find that even more incredible than attempting to force UK sellers to do so.

    *and by interesting, I mean “probably not very interesting at all” :-p

  4. Another nail in eBay’s coffin, another shot in the foot.

    Yet another totally crazy policy. Obviously the people that think these up have never sold internationally on eBay.

    If introduced in the UK I wil have two choices, either go Paypal only or except useless cheques, money orders, etc. from overseas buyers. I will have to decide which method would lose the most money.

    The number of sellers who only accept Paypal from overseas buyers is a high percentage esspecially on low value items. Its nothing more than a backdoor way to force Paypal as the only payment method on the site, it’s been heading that way for years, I guess it’s only a matter of when rather than if.

  5. I think you should reread that eBay page on the new policy actually. It seems perfectly reasonable to me. Basically it says “if you say you accept xyz then you must accept it without imposing extra conditions”. So Basically I can still refuse to accept US money orders etc.

  6. I will scrap the last few international listings that I have left running if this is implemented in the UK.
    I’m certainly happy for overseas customers to pay me by card over the phone, just like my UK customers do. They may have to adjust their sleeping pattern for a day though. They can pay me by Paypal, just like my UK customers. But they sure as hell won’t be sending me a non-gbp cheque to cash.

  7. Nowt wrong with US$ money orders and cheques, they are still very popular in the USA, and can be cashed for 95p and a postage stamp 🙂

  8. Further thoughts :

    USA based Paypal account holders have the option to block at source incoming payments from non USA registered Paypal accounts.

    If this policy is introduced to eBay.com, then those sellers will have to unblock that option to conform.

    Interesting times ahead !

  9. if paypal /ebay dangled a carrot and gave a % or 2 reduction for those that take paypal only, we would all be battering on their door
    and cheques would be a thing of the ebay past

  10. I dont want overseas cheques for the hassle and length of time, – if you state you only accept payment in GBP – would this cover you?

    As you are accepting a cheque in GBP…if people overseas can send that (as some ex pats can), then this is fine, .

  11. Ad spotted in global business paper
    “WANTED – rudder , urgently required for drifting business , no ability to steer it correctly , captain abandoned ship a long time ago , most rats too…… please reply to ebay asap , rudder must be in the form a chief exec who knows what the hell he or she is doing”

    why do people seem surprised by random and ill-thought out idea from ebay anymore ??

    the penny dropped with me a looooooooooooooooooong time ago !!

    hope all is well with loads of old chums here …

    good luck with the busy season everyone

  12. We are not happy accepting Paypal payments for large amounts from unverified accounts for obvious reasons.

    This seems designed to over ride those types of reservations.

    Now the other point is that if you wait for the cheque to clear to post and cannot cash it, how have you ever received payment?

    If there is a clearance charge with an obscure currency, is it okay to pass that cost on to the customer?

    All food for thought…

  13. This may or may not be a good idea. My gut feeling is that its not and that I will have to stipulate paypal as my only method of payment. What really annoys me however is the constant way ebay keep changing the rules. Every time I think I have a selling strategy sorted ebay go and mess things up. What’s the next change on the horizon?

  14. Mark’s comment is the key. You can accept cheques drawn on a UK bank or postal orders made out in Sterling. From anywhere worldwide. Unrestricted. Overseas buyers can easily obtain UK cheques from their bank (although at a cost) and most overseas post offices will sell a money order made out in Sterling. If those are your accepted payments, you can safely offer them to everyone worldwide.

  15. These replies prove one thing. As per normal with these new policies they are ill thought out, lack clarity and cause more problems than they’re supposed to solve.

  16. We stipulate we accept Cheques made out in GBP only.
    Mark’s comment is absolutely the key. The problem is – or so it seems to me – is that the people who make the policies don’t use the site, and have no idea of the complexities of eBaying these days or of the level of detail they need to specify.

    It reminds me of Ina Steiner’s comment about the SNP policy: “are they making this up as they go along?”

  17. Well you can’t ask for cash but that didn’t stop someone sending me £3.50 in coins today. And I’m not sending it back and demanding Paypal instead! I accept cheques, POs and bank transfers in sterling from anywhere – I don’t intend changing that. I certainly don’t want to accept Paypal only – it’s too expensive.

  18. Also – the policy states ‘Sellers who state in their listing (in the “Payment Details” section)’

    Note the ‘Payment Details section’ comment, where, when creating your auction you to select the payment options such as cheque and/or postal order etc, but it makes NO distinction for currency type!

    A USA viewer to your UK auction will not only see the price in USD, but also see they can send you a cheque or money order – which if the new policy is introduced you cannot refuse ( I think) ?

  19. As with many of these rules ,its just another , for the self appointed crusading guardian of ebay , who trawl the listings dobbing in sellers ,for self congratulation or sport,

    if sellers just ignore the rule it will become difficult to administer and enforce, and often only applied when some rival or vigilante window twitcher, has a grudge,

  20. A USA viewer to your UK auction will not only see the price in USD, but also see they can send you a cheque or money order – which if the new policy is introduced you cannot refuse ( I think) ?

    That’s how I read it as well. UK postal Orders translate on the US site as money orders. Why can’t eBay introduce various payment methods to various destinations in the same way as they have done with P&P, now that would be really welcome and make a lot of sense. As it is currently I use Paypal and Other, specifying in the listing exactly what methods I accept for various destinations. It’s not foolproof but it does help dramatically.

    As I understand it (and it’s very unclear in the policy) what I’m currently doing would not be allowed.

  21. I suspect the reason for this new “rule” is that too many Aussie sellers were stating “PayPal only accepted for international sales” in their listings. eBay Australia wants to increase the number of domestic payments going through PayPal. Australians are long used to using online bank transfers to make payments – it’s quicker and cheaper than PayPal with no chance of reversals or chargebacks (for sellers).

  22. This rule will fall foul of EC Law

    Simple summary = If you advertise that you accept payment by IBAN Transfer, it is only available to specifiec countries within the EC, or affiliated states of those countries (see Wikipedia for the best overall summaries).

    If this rule is now stating that saying you will accept IBAN from Europe means you must accept it from worldwide, then it is simply not possible to do so, as those non-member countries cannot use IBAN.

    This will become even more significant from Jan 1st 2008 when the IBAN system upgrades so that the bank fees you pay to send funds to any other IBAN country will become the same as the fees you pay to send bank transfers within your own country – for the UK, that generally means free of charge.

    The only “drawback” is that the transfer must be in Euros.

    I’d like to see the eBay bosses tell Brussels that the Eurobank has to now accept IBANs from Khazakstan or Nepal in whatever currencies are used there. I suspect the reaction would be the Belgian equivalent of a swivelling middle digit. (A rotary truffle?)

    It will be interesting to watch how the dot com discussion boards react to this.

  23. “Percy” – one small snag in your argument: “IBAN” isn’t an option you select on eBay. On eBay UK, there isn’t even a box to tick for “bank transfer” generally – which would theoretically cover any country in the world. However, as bank transfer normally charges the sender rather than the recipient, it’s less likely to be an issue than e.g. cheques, which are free to the sender but could easily involve the recipient in higher costs than the actual value of the cheque.

  24. This is not quite correct 🙂

    This will become even more significant from Jan 1st 2008 when the IBAN system upgrades so that the bank fees you pay to send funds to any other IBAN country will become the same as the fees you pay to send bank transfers within your own country – for the UK, that generally means free of charge

    EU countries that have Euro as their base currency already make the same charges for internal and cross border transafers, albeit via various banking systems, the introduction of SEPA will make this a morew unified process, with some enhancements.

    As far as I am aware this will not change the ‘status quo’ in the UK until we adapt the Euro as our base currency.


PayPal USD Stablecoin launched pegged to US$

PayPal USD Stablecoin launched pegged to US$

German Customers switch on to PayPal

German Customers switch on to PayPal


PayPal Return Shipping on Us scrapped


PayPal Launches POS Solution for Small Businesses in the U.S.


Is Crypto on your radar? PayPal lowers rates

ChannelX Guide...

Featured in this article from the ChannelX Guide – companies that can help you grow and manage your business.

Register for Newsletter

Receive 5 newsletters per week

Gain access to all research

Be notified of upcoming events and webinars