It's official : eBay Australia goes PayPal only

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: as reported in the press earlier this week, eBay Australia is to go PayPal only. From 21st May, all listings must offer PayPal, and from 17th June, PayPal is the only permitted payment method for most transactions, the only real exceptions being cash for items collected in person, and .

eBay justify their decision on safety grounds for buyers, but also emphasise that PayPal may cut down on unpaid items for sellers:

We believe buyers will be more confident shopping on eBay if only the safest payment methods are permitted. In 2007 on those who paid with PayPal were much less likely to enter a dispute. In fact those using PayPal were almost four times less likely to have a dispute over their purchase than people who paid with bank deposit. Plus, PayPal sellers were almost half as likely to experience an unpaid item as sellers who did not accept PayPal.

With all eBay UK sellers, and forced to offer PayPal, though permitted other payment methods, sellers in other parts of the world should probably be prepared for similar changes, though eBay are obviously working on a country-by-country basis (in France, for example, it would be illegal to force all buyers to use PayPal). How long before becomes PayPal-only?

eBay Australia forums are already seeing seller protests at this new policy, with many sellers threatening to move their listings to eBay-competitor Oztion. I know we have some Australian readers (Bonni, where are you?); I suspect I know what the reaction will be, but please do leave us a comment.

16 Responses

  1. so what happens to international listings
    that are quite happy with aussie cheques or money orders as payment

  2. There’s an interesting ambiguity in the announcement on that score:
    All items listed for sale on on or after 21 May 2008 must offer PayPal as one of the payment methods.

    All items appearing on as of 17 June 2008 must be paid for using one of the following:

    Pay on pick up (i.e. paid for when picking up the item)
    Visa/MasterCard (with transactions processed by PayPal).
    No other payment methods will be permitted.

    Does “appearing on” mean “listed on” or “listed on another eBay site with worldwide visibility”? I think we should be told…

  3. I’m happy to accept postal orders in sterling from Australia, NZ and Canada as the post office here accept them – I don’t see why that should change if that’s what the buyer wants and I’m OK with it.

    I wonder what the legal position is here? It seems very restrictive. And we all know the real reason is more profit for Paypal/Ebay no matter what rubbish they spout about “safety”.

  4. Hey Kate, legally I doubt it’s much different to Amazon using Amazon payments to collect money from buyers and then distribute it to third party sellers.

    In truth I’ve never heard anyone complain they couldn’t pay via cheque / postal order / PayPal / Google Checkout etc for Amazon purchases. Nor have I seen sellers clamouring for Amazon to accept multiple payment methods.

  5. I’m not certain this is legal in Australia. I’m no expert in trade laws, but we do have laws about competition and unfair use of a monopoly and so forth. Many people are apparently making complaints to appropriate governmental organisations that supposedly keep track of these things. I guess we’ll see on that front.

    I expect that Oztion will, indeed, get a big boost of new users for the short term, but in the long term, I think this is more a sign that online auction sites are dead and/or dying. I personally think the format of the multi-seller venue where anyone can sign up and sell is going the way of Usenet (you can Google that if you need to ;)).

  6. Well, if I were an Australian person, I suppose I would go back to the old way of searching on or, with worldwide selected, to find anything that is from overseas with options other than Paypal if are going to stop them from appearing there…

  7. OK – so imagine this scenario – ebay banned sellers from asking for cash payments a while back, but if someone sticks cash in an envelope and sends it to me (and a few do), I’m happy to accept it and send their stuff. If the whole site went Paypal only, and a buyer sent cash/cheque/po etc what would happen then? Would we still be able to mark the item as paid? Would ebay do anything about sellers who marked items as paid but with no trace of a Paypal payment? Would they assume the item was unpaid and give the buyer a strike?

    Amazon of course works completely differently. The buyer pays Amazon and Amazon pays the seller. Whereas ebay is supposed to be “just a venue” for bringing buyers and sellers together.

    In any case with Amazon you know what the rules are when you sign up. Unlike ebay where you think you know and then they move the goalposts every few months.

  8. Amazon are nothing like Ebay in many respects. All these changes on Ebay are very weird!

    It seems as though Ebay are trying to limit their customer base and are almost trying to make it as hard as possible to sell/buy.

  9. I believe that cross-border listings that want to appear on will have to offer PP, and if they offer other payment methods as well, these will be hidden from buyers.

    While I’m here I’m duty-bound to point out that the main reason for this move is so that can offer protection on every single purchase on eBay. No more buyers losing their money, ever, is the ultimate goal.

  10. to be honest I dont care if ebay tell me I must accept camels and yaks as payment
    as long as buyers pay and are happy with the payment method and I make a profit

  11. Thanks for clarifying that, Richard (that was Richard from eBay, in case anyone doesn’t realise).

    I’m largely in agreement with North, actually – my concern therefore is that PayPal *only* shuts out buyers who don’t have a PayPal account. I’ve had a couple just this week who for whatever reason can’t make PayPal work. One paid me with Nochex. The other paid me with stamps: yes, against eBay’s policy but her suggestion. I certainly wasn’t going to tell her “eBay say you can’t send me stamps”.

    I don’t see why eBay’s profit and buyer security have to be mutually exclusive concerns either. How many sellers wanted to use Google Checkout because it was fee-free before Xmas? We’re all in it for the bottom line, even eBay.

  12. The big question of course Richard, is when will the UK go PayPal only? After all every listing now has to offer PayPal, so it’s not a big step to make for the UK to go the same way as Australia…..

    (PS I’ve just received a cheque through the post this morning… about 1-2% of my buyers still prefer cheques! 😯 )

  13. Ebay’s success comes because it’s a moderator – a broker in a sale. It connects two parties together, and nothing more. When it does that, Ebay is golden. It’s interface is nice, it’s search feature generally works, and that’s why it’s a multi-billion dollar corp.

    But if they cram PayPal down my throat, I’ll swallow something else. I’m already at the point where Ebay is my LAST resort, since their ratings have been so thoroughly gamed I have no idea who I’m really dealing with, anymore (especially after May when sellers can’t leave factual negative comments).

    Forcing PayPal? No way. I refuse. What’s the next halfway decent auction house – Truthfully, I’ve already moved much of my online purchasing to…

  14. Richard: “While I’m here I’m duty-bound to point out that the main reason for this move is so that can offer protection on every single purchase on eBay. No more buyers losing their money, ever, is the ultimate goal.

    The other side of that coin is protecting sellers. I have had it up to the eyeballs with the five finger discounts from my store.

    There is a growing culture of oh, if they item wasnt sent signed-for, then I can claim it didnt arrive and get another one or my money back.

    The recent paypal seller protection change is simply window dressing.


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