Suing eBay for unpaid item insertion fees

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Yet another frivolous lawsuit has been filed against eBay in the States. A seller listed a car several times on eBay and a buyer did click the Buy It Now button. However they never paid for the car and instead requested that the buyer cash a certified cheque for more than the sale price and send the difference back to the buyer.

This is a well known scam, you send the balance and then the cheque bounces, an obvious scam and the seller acknowledges that eBay advised them it was a fraudulent transaction.

The question is however should you be charged for eBay insertion fees for an unsuccessful sale? eBay do offer a refund on insertion fees for a relisted item which successfully sells, they also refund fees if they cancel a listing. It’s also worth bearing in mind that for most categories eBay have an Instant Payment facility where you can insist the buyer pays with PayPal before the item is removed from sale and eBay’s shopping basket works similarly for fixed price items.

In this case the seller has asked the question and wants their fees back through the courts. My view is that insertion fees are advertising fees, they’re not dissimilar to placing an ad in the local paper or in AutoTrader. You don’t expect to get your advertising fees back on other sites even if a buyer commits to pay and then doesn’t. You’ve had what you paid for which is exposure so why would you expect to get your advertising fees back on eBay?

What do you think? Are you happy to pay eBay’s insertion fees or should they be refunded if a buyer commits to buy and then doesn’t follow through with the transaction.

One Response

  1. Actually, I think he has a point, and the analogy between eBay and Autotrader isn’t quite comparing like for like.

    As soon as I click Buy it Now, the item is removed from any further searches. To relist, I’ve got to pay again.

    On Autotrader, I still have the possibility of another potential customer seeing the advert and also contacting me.

    I think the best solution is if you mark the transaction as uncompleted, eBay reinstates the listing and lets it run until it’s scheduled expiry date.

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