Free 99p auction listings for private sellers to be limited

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It’s the policy change that UK business sellers have been asking for, begging for, pleading for for months: eBay UK are introducing a limit on free 99p auction listings for private sellers: . There are two tranches to the roll-out of the new policy.

1. Beginning this week, there will be a limit of 100 live listings at any one time

  • for UK and Irish registered sellers with feedback lower than 25, and
  • for all overseas-registered private sellers listing on and

Multiple items on a single listing will all count separately towards this total, so that’s not a sneaky way around the limit either.

Any private seller listing in quantity will be reviewed by Customer Support, and may be required to register as a business, or may be blocked from selling completely. We’ve seen a number of high-volume private sellers being required to register as businesses already.

Sellers registered on are bound by the International Trading Policy, which now requires high volume sellers actively listing on European sites to be registered as business sellers. Penalties for breaching the ITP include demotion in search and being blocked from listing on European sites altogether.

2. From June 2010, free listings for all private sellers listing on eBay UK will be limited to 100 per month. Any listings placed in excess of this limit will be charged “an insertion fee”. There’s currently no published detail of whether this insertion fee will be the normal one quoted in eBay’s fee schedule, or whether this will be reconsidered between now and June.

For those who are are thinking this might just be too good to be true, the went live at 2.36pm UK time, well after the 12 noon cut-off for April fools 😉

34 Responses

  1. I wonder what the criteria will be on what constitutes a business seller ?

    500 widgets the same or 500 different widgets for example ? Two very different scenarios.

  2. As a business seller this type of move by eBay will encourage me to expand the eBay side of the business.

    There may well be other business sellers large and small who are of the same mind.

    If this is the type of reaction to this move eBay were hoping for from the business community then it it may work!

    I have absolutely no problem with private or private professional sellers as long as it is a level playing field.

  3. Now this is good news.

    This was an issue and it has been raised by the business sellers to ebay they have listened and gone away and thought out how to deal with it come back to the sellers and then asked them what they think and what should be done gone away again more thought and made a good policy with the help of the business sellers and ebay staff working as a team together to help all for the benefit or both the business sellers and ebay themselfs.

    Please ebay keep this good work up.

    Work with your sellers closely and dont make quick and ill thought up ideas and the site will improve

    OH Sorry just woken up from a dream – Yawn

    Nice dream.

    But on a serious note – good move ebay this is the type of ideas that make sense.

    Thank you

  4. This is a step in the right direction.

    As there will be a limit of 100 live auctions at any one time per calendar month, how will eBay police the fact that between now and June, these ‘private’ sellers will create a number of new IDs reach the the 25 mark.

    Then in June have a 100 listings on each of these new IDs with slightly different looking templates to cover the fact it’s the same seller.

    That’s a concern I still have.

  5. This 1st part is more to do with ‘foreign’ sellers selling on ebay UK.

    We import from china etc’.
    We noticed recently that a ‘similar’ item we import, and sell on ebayUK for £2.39 with free P&P is being sold for £2.79 (now reduced to £2.39) from a Hong Kong seller (not our supplier).

    So, UK seller can undercut & outsell a Hong Kong seller, BUT ONLY because the P&P is high for Airmail (not to mention the possiblity of import duties etc’)…

    2nd part

    I have seen a competitor that has hidden as a private seller for years, become a business seller recently…..
    Probably more to do with search postion, than anything else. Although @ 150 feedback a month, eBay probably pushed him….

    3rd part

    VAT problems will never get solved, as until a seller gets to over nearly £1500 turnover every Month, they do not have to register.
    This is a problem offline too. I know a business. selling 2nd hand fridges & they have 3 vans + the Boss drives a BMW X5 + there are at least 4 full time staff & hey presto they have a T/O of under £60k.

    NO clear fix for everything!!……..& of course everyone has to start somewhere!!……..

  6. Ebay own GOAL! .
    I wonder if ebay’s share holders will be patting the management on the back for turning away business and FVFs .
    Folks impacted by this for sure are not going to incur a listing fee on every listing over the 100 max when knowing most of that stock / deadwood will not sell and the few items that do will probably go at the opening bid of 0.99p.
    A systematic oppression by ebay of the domination by one group over another.

  7. What is a Business?

    I run a small limited company and I’m not VAT registered. If you want to see my Turnover you are welcome to pay the fee and request details from Company House. (Health & Safety Warning – be prepared for uncontrollable laughing)

    No seriously – I can’t see why any serious sellers wouldn’t employee an accountant and discus VAT with them. My accountant’s advice was very simple “Unless you are confident of busting passed the VAT threshold keep away from it.”

    Now as a media seller I could very easily increase my turnover and bust through the VAT threshold by dropping my prices to achieve a minimum profit per item. Would I see an increase in profits – unlikely. In fact if required to pay VAT my increased turnover would probably reduce profits.

    One of my Business seller competitors sells several of same products I sell and regularly uses Featured First. I know what he is paying for his stock, listing and postage costs and know that even though he is outselling me on these items he is actually selling these items at a loss. His sales do not cover the additional expense of Featured First. One part of me wants to email him and tell him he is a Muppet and to stop selling at a loss (Danger with this course of action is PRICE FIXING) – Ops better not email him.
    The other part of me thinks Muppet – go ahead and go bust!

    So what’s my point – Registration as a Business seller is only a title.

    Calling yourself a business doesn’t make you a business.

    The danger is that many of the Bad Private Sellers will simply become Bad Business sellers.

  8. You know, I think many that list auctions for 99p – and levy disproportionate shipping costs to make their profits – probably wouldn’t mind registering as businesses and/or paying reasonable listing fees if the traffic was there.

    Ebay doesn’t deliver the traffic it used to for common or garden categories; niche categories/products may still get good sales, but (especially now with ‘stores in the core’) it’s a headache to find a relevant item and I think a lot of potential buyers (including myself) give up and go elsewhere.

    A poster on another forum alleges that medved’s research indicates that 85% of listings on end without a sale. If this is true it doesn’t surprise me that listers duck and dive to circumvent fees, as they could end up simply losing – not making – money if they do things legit on the site.

    I think the real problem is the site is broken and needs fixing to get the buyers – hence the traffic back – and people would be more willing to pay.

  9. Ebay are still under the illusion that they are the only show in town . At one time that used to be the case and sellers had no option but to tow the line or lump it as other selling platforms were useless in trying to sell stock.
    But these days thats no longer the case
    I’m a media seller and use multiple sites to sell my stock and ebay comes fifth in regards to sell through rates.
    Ebay are under the impression that those 0.99p listers will pay insertion fees to list their stock over the 100 free max allowable live listings,but it aint so.
    Why anyone would want to fork out listing fees to upload stock for sale when there are better venues out there is beyond me.
    If ebay want better stock listed on their site they would need to remove the listing fees and treat all sellers the same like other selling platforms.
    If they want to make sure sellers on their site are either private and business sellers why not make all users add their insurance number to their personal details so as to give the Inland Revenue a heads up.
    These days Amazon is the best show in town, ebay a distant fifth.

  10. “These days Amazon is the best show in town….”

    He ain’t lyin’

    Seriously, Amazon was a Godsend to me when eBay started jerking around sellers. I wouldn’t say I completely trust them – for various reasons – but being with them this past year actually made me enjoy selling again and they leave me, for the most part, to manage my own business.

  11. The reality is that far too many sellers were abusing free 99p listings and hiding behind private status.

    I forget the number of posts I have made on the boards complaining about my catagory being flooded by overseas and UK private sellers.

    Thankfully ‘Olly the Pink’ has worked his magic and one year on commonsense has prevailed.

    I look forward to June with much anticipation – I for one will be listing by aucction again as it does create visability and gets people into our shop where the real money is taken

  12. Now the Business sellers have been complaining about 99p listings and have got things altered in there favour Ebay should now be tackling the same Business sellers who have multiple accounts including both Private and Business can Ebay not see this. These same Business sellers have been buying the 99p items and then selling them on for inflated prices.
    Ebay was originally for me to replace going out selling items at Car Boot sales a bit of fun as well, the whole thing is far to serious now please can someone suggest any other sites to sell my foreign coin collection by individual items as it is now going to cost an arm and leg to sell through ebay.

  13. Actually all this is is a great example of the folk in charge of ebay not having a clue what is going on.

    On one hand we have Lorry whatherface telling us that ebay listen…

    and on the other we have this farce which if ebay actually were listening would never have happened in the first place.

  14. The changes do not go nearly far enough.
    100 insertions x multiple id’s is still a lot of listings and it affects only private sellers. There are plenty of business sellers doing the 99p with high postage thing.
    The jewellery category is loaded with criminals passing off silver plated items as silver.
    The vast majority of buyers still do not know the facts relating to precious metals and are constantly duped. The authorities do not have the capacity (and frankly the expertise) to police it, and ebay do not see any reason to.

  15. At last! I have been banging on to ebay for ages via various routes about this.
    However imperfect the measures are, it is at least a start. I did find it amazing that I could go on ebay and find several ‘volume’ ‘private’ sellers within minutes and eBay couldn’t (or appared not to) with their clever ‘filters’ they kept telling me about. I think the problem must have started to hurt them in the pocket or the volume of noise and evidence from other aggrieved sellers became too much to ignore, whatever at least some positive action is being taken and I’ll take that for the time being…

  16. Does anyone know if I have to be registered as a business seller to sell in large quantities on the .com site? I’m thinking of flogging my wares on there at $0.99.


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