eBay.com paperless payments policy goes live

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A week later than expected, eBay.com’s paperless payments policy has finally gone live today; sellers may not offer cash, cheques or money orders as means of payment, but only one of the approved electronic methods: PayPal, credit or debit card payment to a seller’s merchant account, or ProPay. As of today, sellers will not be able to list as accepting “checks” or “money orders” through the SYI form; listings already live with checks and MOs as payment options will have those hidden on the view item page.

eBay has extended the grace period for .com sellers to amend their listings to remove references to paper payments to January 15th 2009. Sellers who have to cancel and relist Good Til Cancelled listings in order to remove references to prohibited payment methods, will have their insertion and feature fees credited to their seller account.

What’s still not clear is how this affects non-US sellers whose listings are available on eBay.com, whether using the ISV upgrade or on an international search. Both pinkie James on the UK PowerSeller Board and John McDonald, head of Trust and Safety in the US, talking to Scot Wingo, were unable to clarify the position. In Australia during the short period where PayPal was the only permitted payment method, sellers who offered other means of payment had their listings hidden from Australian buyers. Scot asked John whether sellers on .com would be permitted to offer paper payments to buyers from countries where this is still permitted: he, like thousands of sellers, is still waiting for an answer to this one. If the head of T&S doesn’t know, one has to wonder just who he’s gone to ask; as soon as we get an answer, I’ll update this post.

Updated to add the answer:

A little site experimentation finds that if you search for something you’re likely to find from German sellers and then choose one of the ones not offering PayPal, the View Item page is blocked:

This item is not available for purchase
This item is not available for purchase on eBay United States.
Learn more about our accepted payments policy.
View the original listing on eBay and buy this item on eBay Germany

More generously than we might expect, there is a link to the listing on the original site.

On items which offer PayPal plus paper payments on the original non-.com listing, when viewed on .com the paper payments are not shown.

24 Responses

  1. For non-US sellers listing on .com, please also read sellers listing on .co.uk who pay the ISV upgrade fee.

  2. Sellers who have to cancel and relist Good Til Cancelled listings in order to remove references to prohibited payment methods, will have their insertion and feature fees credited to their seller account.

    And how exactly is eBay going to do that? Do they just take your word for it?

  3. I have only sold one thing to the US since July and only 4 items since April so as far as I’m concerned the listings must be hidden anyway. I used to send 3 or 4 items a week to the USA. I tried the ISV upgrade and it didn’t result in a single US sale so I’m not wasting my money. However some of my CDs are quite rare and should in theory show up on the US site, I would hate them to be hidden because of this stupid payment policy – I offer cheques and POs because UK buyer like them (several “Paypal won’t let me pay can I send a cheque” lately) and bank transfer because Europeans, especially Germans like it and I get plenty of sales from Europe.
    I honestly don’t think ebay know what they are doing at times – it seems that they make up the rules as they go along.

  4. Well I have around 200+ auction listings on ISV, no problem there.

    But I have over 1500 and rising fast listings on GTC (or will be in the next 30 days).

    I really really do not want the hassle of yet another all change relist.

    I asked the question on PS discussion board last week and James pink has asked question ‘upline’.

    Suggests that this question was not considered when policy for .com was decided, yet again reflecting badly on those that should be into joined up global thinking.

    I do not necessarily sell to lots to US, buy sure as eggs I get BIN sales driven from my auctions all around the world and many will have found me from .com and not from .co.uk.

    If I have to sacrifice non paypal payments on my listings I will not be happy.

    The best compromise, don’t like to but might have to, would be to go PayPal only on International sales. Further than that would be a potential watershed.

    More deep joy!

  5. the way the £ is these days, I would go paypal only twice ,with added extra paypal only, with a cherry on the top .to keep US exposure

  6. Its about time – cheques and money orders are banned as they are a real time consuming admin process…and its a fact that cheques can bounce upto 6 months after they have been cashed and supposedly ‘cleared’. Its also amazing how many cheques get lost in the post, as an excuse for non-payment!

  7. Its about time -cheques and money orders are banned as they are a real time consuming admin process

    I know – its real pain, just like customers that come into the shop with a £20 note rather than the exact amount – its so much hassle having to go to the till and give them change 😛

  8. Nothing to stop you banning paper payments whenever you like, #7!

    I don’t find them at all time consuming to administer – and as for bouncing, PayPal is hardly a more secure method of payment from a seller point of view.

    More importantly for me, many of my customers much prefer to pay by cheque or postal order – I certainly have no desire to restrict their choice. If ebay UK bans paper payments, well so be it – they will remain an option on my website 🙂

  9. #7

    You’re a year out of date, check the 2-4-6 rule on cheques.

    After 6 working days, a cheque cannot bounce even if it is fraudulent, the banks take the hit now.

  10. We have far less cheques bounce than PayPal payments. Much easier for a fraudster to get a PayPal payment reversed than a signed cheque. If you’ve nevr had an INR and INAD then I think you must be the luckiest seller on ebay… we’ve never had one of those for a cheque payment yet.

  11. We receive cheques, postal orders, US checks & money orders every week and I can count on one hand the amount of bounced ones.

    I can’t say the same for paypal payments.

    In my view any business should allow the customer to pay by the method that suits the customer and not the other way around.

    We all know that eBay is just trying to corner the payments market but many people do not like paypal, Especially those that have just signed up to eBay and have to wait weeks while paypal fanny about setting up accounts.

  12. Paypal/eBay are a bunch of assholes. They just want to outlaw any form of payment that doesn’t give them a cut. So they’re requiring Paypal and outlawing checques and money orders. They are a monopoly, and their behavior runs afoul of antitrust laws. The new US goverment will kick their teeth out.

  13. #15 I wouldn’t bet on it. It’s no secret that Meg Whitman is an co-chair of the McCain campaing so I can’t see him crapping on eBay if he wins.

    On the other hand Barack has a little known supporter called Eileen who’s been raising funds for him since early 2007. Eileen’s surname happens to be Donahoe and you won’t need three guesses to work out who she’s married to 😉

    I think eBay probably have enough support (or gratitude owed) in both camps to be well looked after. They won’t get any favours from the lawyers, but they certainly won’t get their teeth kicked out by the new government just for being eBay.

  14. I was curious to see if there were any off E bay discussions about this fiasco. I’m really not surprised as I have heard members threaten contacting news firms. Regardless who becomes president or any political figure for that matter that does not operate in all fairness to everyone. Well we can just show a huge distaste for them as the constitution allows. I often wonder why people think the president is a person with great power when he never can be . the constitution forbids an one person from becoming a dictator. But a lot of uneducated people would believe he can. In reality it is congress that makes and approves most all policy. The president is just a public relations person and someone to act as a manager of sorts for the shareholders wich should be the entire legal civilian population in the US. But sadly it is not . Somehow through our own ignorance have let big businesses outsource congress overseas A joke… Maybe.. The government can only have enough power as we let it so stand up and restore the country to how it was founded upon to be free of oppression. If you don’t act on a problem you can’t complain. Therefore I choose to speak out openly against e bays flaws. But truly E bay will be punished for its bad choices as wall street and real estate profiteers who don’t know what work means. Feel free to spread a good word lets all work for change. Thanks K

  15. Disregarding politics but regarding the recent changes:
    eBay is ripping off European sellers by blocking their items from view on eBay USA, Canada, Australia, etc. unless they have allowed for PayPal payments (eBays main goal!).
    It is worse!
    When I do an Advanced Search, by Seller, type in my own user ID, the result is: “This seller is not currently offering any items for sale”.
    I have 11 items for sale.
    eBay is out of line and shooting itself in the foot.
    There might be a legal issue here, breach of contract from eBay’s side or unallowed tying in Europe (ebay-PayPal).
    I am considering reporting this to the European Commission.
    I am disgusted.

  16. Paul, it’s a function of the differing site rules: if you want to list on another eBay site, you have to abide by that site’s rules. You can’t sell unboxed cosmetics to Germany; you can’t list without PayPal on eBay.com, .co.uk, .com.au etc. etc. etc.

    You don’t say where you’re from, but if you want to sell to the world, you need to take PayPal or some other electronic form of payment; otherwise you’ll be paying eBay fees for no sales, you’ll be dealing with dollar cheques* and you’ll spend your entire life dealing with the problems generated.

    Rather than wasting your time reporting eBay to the European Commission, why not take a practical line, and think about whether it’s worth you accepting PayPal in return for the additional exposure?

    * I tried to cash a dollar cheque in a French bank last week. I don’t think they had ever been asked such a thing before, but it gave the entire village a good laugh at what the crazy English woman is asking for now.

  17. I buy and sell for a living
    I can buy and sell on ebay
    thats all I care about. I dont care if osama bin laden runs ebay,

    if it means taking paypal , then I take paypal ,
    if it means suffering blithering idiots from all parts of the planet, thats fine by me too,
    their money spends just as well as anyones

  18. Quote “* I tried to cash a dollar cheque in a French bank last week”

    Well, at least you have now found a solution and now can easily cash those pesky dollar cheques and money orders 😛

  19. This is the response I received from ProPay. I mentioned the integration issues, but it does not sound like they are planning on addressing the integration issue. Its a deal-killer for me and hope the Jan 2009 direct credit card checkout integration is better:

    Thank you for contacting Customer Support. I checked with our tech department and this is what they told me about your questions.

    > 1) When a customer decides to pay via ProPay on eBay.com, ProPay is not sending me an e-mail stating a payment was made.

    Apparently, neither the buyer nor you will receive those types of e-mails. You can keep tabs on transactions by logging in to your ProPay account.

    > 2) When a customer finishes paying via ProPay, ProPay needs to tell eBay that the eBay item number should be marked as paid. It currently is not being marked.

    E-Bay should be marking the item as paid. We’ve looked at the log files and they are all completing successfully. Unless we can get a specific transaction, we are going to chalk this one up as a fluke pertaining to our maintenance deploy and the fact that we had issues getting it out the door.

  20. @ # 19

    I remember cashing a check for something like $0.60 at the bank and everyone freaked out. That was from a non-paying bidder reimbursing me on my fees. Probably can’t get away with that these days.


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