Trading Standards has submitted a list of over 200 sellers to eBay UK claiming they are not correctly displaying VAT and business information.
Apparently eBay UK is being asked by Trading Standards to take action against these sellers and ensure that they display verifiable business information such as an accurate company name, physical business address (not a PO BOX) and also display a VAT number.
According to Trading Standards, as an online marketplace and intermediary, eBay doesn’t have to mandate the display of VAT numbers by sellers until notice of a problem has been given. It would seem that this list represents such notice so eBay will have to make some kind of response.
eBay has given Tamebay a statement: “We cannot comment on specific correspondence with regulators, however eBay is conducting an ongoing education programme with overseas sellers regarding their UK VAT obligations.”
I have seen the list of sellers and (whilst not vouching for its accuracy or validity) must say it makes for interesting reading. If it is accurate, it must be noted that the volume of eBay sales that the sellers listed make amounts to very many tens of millions of pounds every year.
I’ve been in touch with the eBay seller (who is a Tamebay reader and wishes to remain anonymous) who compiled the list and he is hopeful that Trading Standards will stick to their guns and push for legal action if eBay don’t make the sellers display more transparent trading information.
We’ll see what happens.