eBay UK free insertion, FVF increase for private seller 99p auctions

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eBay UK for private sellers on auctions starting at 99p or less are to be abolished. At the same time, Final Value Fees are being increased to 10% across all price tranches (regardless of starting bid), up to a maximum FVF of £40. eBay say:

We’re continuing our commitment to moving the cost of selling on eBay.co.uk and eBay.ie away from front end fees so that the majority of fees are paid only when you successfully sell an item.

The changes do remove some of the risk from selling on eBay: when you’re a private seller and can look at every 10p, there can be little more depressing than a seller invoice when you haven’t sold anything. But don’t get too excited: if you’re selling something that finishes for more than a tenner, or you’re listing in the media categories, your fees just increased. Here’s how they compare (for non-tech, non-media categories):

Selling price Old fees New fees
99p 19p 10p
£4.99 54p 50p
£9.99 97p £1.00
£29.99 £2.72 £3.00
£99.99 £6.40 £10.00

Media categories already had free insertion fees, with FVFs at 9%, so that’s a straight increase had 5p insertion fees with FVFs of 9%, so that will be a fee increase on any item sold at more than £5.00.

The new fees will apply from 12th March. Please note: fee changes apply to private sellers listing auctions on eBay UK only. There is no change to the fees for business sellers or BIN listings.

Though “risk free” selling will undoubtedly appeal to many private sellers, I can’t help thinking that by pushing them towards 99p auctions, eBay are forcing them to take another, more costly risk: that their items will sell for much less than they would have with a higher start price, or on Buy It Now.

I’d imagine that the kind of items private sellers are likely to list – and I have no actual data on this whatsoever – are going to be clothing, children’s toys, DVDs, CDs, books. In other words, the kind of thing that is replicated in thousands right across the eBay site. These kind of ‘commodity’ items do not do well at auction: if you start them at 99p, you’ll be lucky to finish at £1.04. Buyers don’t need to compete to win because there are a dozen or more all the same. Moreover, they don’t want to wait to see if they’ve ‘won’ a 99p DVD; it’s easier to use BIN and get on with their lives.

What a push towards 99p auctions might do, though, is to restore eBay as the place to grab a bargain. eBay’s home page used to carry links for items “ending soon, no bids” – and a short browse would uncover a gem or three which could be picked up for pence. I’d bet on that link or one like it being restored to eBay UK’s home page in late March; let’s hope it brings the buyers back with it.

35 Responses

  1. Richard the pink once said that insertion fees were “a disincentive to list crap” (or something similar). I dread to think what eBay’s going to look like now.

  2. In the short term this change could help ebay by bringing new sellers and items to the scene but the longer term picture looks very unpleasant.

    Private sellers will simply relist unsold items ad-infinitum (costs nothing and takes just a few mouse clicks). The percentage of tat will progressively increase with the passage of time and the buyer experience will, as a result, progressively degrade.


  3. Who cares..

    Finally a major annoucement from eBay which doesnt result in me having to do loads of bloody work…Yippee.

    As for 99p start auctions, good luck to them, I think Sue was being generous suggesting they may make 1.04, be lucky to get a bid 😆 unless its interesting/unusual or newsworthy auctions are pointless in todays market imho, unless your name is Norf.

  4. Now Whirly, you’re being mean about auctions. I listed a 99p start one the other day, and it finished at £1.61!!! (while it was running, I sold about a dozen of the same item on BIN at £10, mind you)

  5. A few days back I listed a 99p auction and it finished for 99p

    Now you might think that a bit of a disaster but it’s becoming nigh on impossible to dump old IT products these days with the WEEE and it’s great to make it someone else’s problem, even if only for 99p 😀

  6. 99p auctions are the only true Religion!
    plus you dont need to do your napper in
    trying figure out what to charge and how to get seen in best match

  7. though I must admit its no sure thing these days

    at one time we listed every thing @ 99p

    now days we make dammed certain, we check completed with the intensity of a baboon seraching for lops

  8. we do 99p auctions all the time, but we dont sell things that there 2000 bins of kicking around and they always end in £250- £400 range.

    so I agree with Norf, 99p auctions are the only true religion!

  9. #10 – I think Sue may be referring to the fall out from this – the savvy, small, non-PowerSeller, non-business, sellers are going to be up in arms about the overall fee increases this will cause.

    There’s also the fact the announcement does not call out overseas sellers for exclusion from the free listing, but implies they are included – that could swing two ways – UK-resident sellers raising holy hel_l about flooding by “cheap Chinese imports with P&P gouging”

    …. or we could see a repeat of September 26th last year where foreign sellers were without forewarning or announcement, forced to pay the highest level of insertion fees for new-BIN regardless of overseas shop subscription level, after 4 weeks of the UK staff avoiding answering all questions on that topic (and I see the FAQ and Help pages still carry the plagiarised verbatims of my posts on BuildaSkill).

    Then there’s bound to be some business sellers crying “foul” because “the larger volume sellers should get the perks and discounts”.

    My own thoughts include that this is a move to drag in new sellers for growth into tomorrow’s business sellers, because too many of last year’s have left the site for pastures new after all the changes.


  10. Effectively 49p BINs are back for private sellers.

    Revolving 1 day auctions – always newly listed, always within 24 hours of time ending soonest and no sale no fee.

    Nice one eBay.


  11. Sue – In the main piece you say that ‘Media categories already had free insertion fees, with FVFs at 9%, so that’s a straight increase.’

    Media category fees are 5p if you list at 99p or less, 10p at £1 or more.

    I’m selling my record and CD collection and start everything at 99p. My stuff finishes between 99p and £350. Some CD’s are worth a few bob. My personal best is £28 and I get a few people who don’t mind waiting to see if they win a 99p CD or record at auction even though other sellers may have the same item on a BIN.
    I agree with #2 though in that these changes will mean I’ll probably list some of my virtually unsellable records at a lower price rather than just putting them into job lots. I’m sure if you list something for long enough someone, somewhere will buy it eventually so I can see a lot more ‘duff’ records being available. 1980’s pop records are usually hard to get rid of so expect more Spandau Ballet, Wham and Bros items in the future….

  12. Thanks, JDOG – have amended the post. Thanks also to Patrick for pointing this one out. (See, if I’d gotten around to selling off the DVDs I never watch, I might’ve got it right first time 😉 )

  13. Would be interested to see how many millions 99p items from HK and China sellers which with UK regrister details.

  14. In Autumn 2008 we introduced new fee structures for business sellers and we have seen a huge amount of sellers benefit not only from these new fee structures but also the business seller volume discounts also introduced in 2008. These benefits do not change and we encourage sellers that are not business registered to examine these and register to benefit.’

    This was from a pink called Patrick on UK eBay Q&A forum. Doesn’t look like eBay is fussy if business sellers are really businesses. If eBay are prepared to allow private sellers to benefit from registering as businesses, it looks like the days of the private sellers are numbered. Probably limited to auctions with a starting price of 99p or less.

  15. Tamebay is talking pennies in this article and therefore totally missing the point. Apparently eBay has done a good job distracting sellers from what these changes are about.

    FVF for a GBP 100 item is now (30×8,75%)+(70×5.25%)= 2.63 +3.67 = GBP 6.30.

    From 12th March this will be silently increased by eBay to a whopping GBP 10.00

    In this example a GBP 3.70 or 59% fee increase!

  16. Good point, Mark. Sleight of hand relies on distracting attention from what you are doing to what you want people to think you are doing.

  17. What happens if a private seller does not start the item at 99p?

    Are they still charged 10% FVF?


  18. Ebay have just massively hiked the FVF as far as I can tell…

    Ebay have not reduced the upfront risk unless you are willing to play “auction roulette”…

  19. #20 Or looking on the bright side…. imagine how many “private businesses” that have avoided their responsibilities will suddenly find it incredibly convenient to become a “business business”.

    Possibly they’ll also get around to registering for tax and formulate a legal returns policy etc etc 😈

  20. @Sue: the point I tried to make is that the “free listing up to 99p” is just a non issue not worth mentioning. Except for the fact that eBay misuses it to distract customers from the main change: an incredible and unprecendented fee hike. eBay is certainly not straightforward and honest about this. At £99.99 you state £7.59 in old fees. If I’m correct that should be “only” £6.30.

    How many eBay sellers are aware of this fee hike? I’m afraid the vast majority will found out not earlier than when they get their invoice next April.

    Nice one: compare eBay UK’s FVF with eBay Australia and spot the difference:

    AU$0.01 – AU$75.00:
    5.25% of the closing price

    AU$75.01 – AU$1,000.00:
    5.25% of the initial AU$75.00 plus 2.75% of the remaining.

  21. @Mark re 26.

    It’s one of those things, isn’t it? Not of much interest to you. So it must be wrong, right? Here’s a little game: imagine it being of interest/benefit to other people who are different.

    As a private seller who likes auctions, I think it’s no bad thing. I see the logic, can see the benefits.

    If you want to compare eBay UK to eBay Australia, I have a number I’d like to throw into the mix: AU population circa 21 million. UK circa 60 million.

  22. @ 29 I suspect that, overall, as a private seller I will be paying pretty much exactly the same as I might before. But it’s not just about the actual cost it’s about the perceived cost and lowering barriers. By removing upfront fees eBay is encouraging people to take a punt.

    As an aside, as far as I can see, your arguments are: a) you’re ignorant and b) you’re stupid. And I don’t think I’m either. And let me tell you neither would get you very far at even the worst school debating society out there. ;o)

  23. A lot of the 99p brigade, with their hundreds of listings, should be registered as businesses. The genuine private seller, who may only list a few higher value items in the year already has to walk on eggshells over feedback/DSRs, and will now have to pay higher fees. I can see the one-off collectables part of eBay suffering as a result.

  24. I use ebay to sell a few sundry items, I am laying some groundwork for setting up an online business and for the last year I have been selling some sundry items for sports.

    Basically, I was sort of happy but now its simply not worth,

    Ebay roger you first, then paypal, plus you have to stock the item and post it. It simply just closes the margin tight to the point of making it not worth the effort.

    What they haven’t done is made the process any easier or simpler so there is no benefit to the seller, just more costs..

  25. As a private seller who sells of unwanted clothes, electrical items and other stuff around the £20 mark with a starting price of £4.99-£9.99, why should I have to pay an additional 25p or more for no good reason.

    eBay sucks. Its about time someone beat them with a big stick.

  26. As a private seller who sells of unwanted clothes, electrical items and other stuff

    I think the “other stuff” is quite interesting…I guess selling on eBay is just a hobby then 😉


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