eBay UK’s Rob Hattrell offers to defer fees for 30 days during Coronavirus crisis

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eBay have been working furiously behind the scenes over the weekend working out how to best support sellers during the Coronavirus crisis and Rob Hattrell phoned Tamebay this Saturday evening to announce that eBay will defer certain selling fee payments for all registered business sellers for 30 days to give some relief.

What are eBay doing to mobilise Seller Assistance?

eBay are rapidly mobilising to assist sellers through this time with thousands of support staff being redeployed to work at home. This is by no means a trivial matter when you have call centres which, coupled with a massive increase in calls, is why if you’ve contacted them may be why you couldn’t get through on the phone or had a slower than normal reply.

Earlier this week, eBay put steps in place to protect your seller standards. If though hard work and doing the right thing you’ve earned seller status they pledged to ensure your seller status is protected for at least the next 90 days. They want to ensure that if, through not fault of your own, your business is hit during the Coronavirus crisis that you are treated in the same manner as you have been for the last three months (or year if you’re on a year seller status assessment).

At the same time eBay have been working hard to protect the marketplace reputation, effectively also your reputation, from those looking to profit excessively with price gouging. Every time a consumer points to an eBay listing and says “Look how they’re ripping you off”, that’s one more buyer that won’t want to purchase from eBay and that’s why they’ve restricted the sale of all masks and hand sanitiser products on the marketplace. eBay want you to list your inventory and want to support you and your business reputation so what they won’t do is allow sellers to take advantage of consumers (many of whom with underlying health concerns or who are older are literally terrified due to the Coronavirus crisis). If you see egregious price gouging report the listings to eBay who will take action.

eBay UK defer fees for 30 days during Coronavirus crisis

Rob Hattrell, who is working all weekend, wanted to reassure sellers that eBay are here for them and so the next step is to relieve some of the pressure on eBay businesses with the offer to defer fees for the next 30 days. For many eBay sellers, after stock and shipping, their eBay fees are their biggest single outgoing (roughly 10-12% of sales) and so deferring fees instantly adds free cash flow into the business, perhaps for paying salaries or ordering in more stock.

More details will be forthcoming next week, but in the mean time here is Rob’s message to eBay Businesses:

“All of us in the UK are facing an uncertain future at the moment. At eBay, we’ve been working as hard as we can to make sure we do the best we can for the business sellers in our community. We know that you’re facing enormous challenges with how much is changing due to COVID-19. We want to work in partnership with you through this difficult time.
Following on from the seller standards protection we announced earlier this week, we asked many of you what support you need right now. You told us you need help with cash flow and flexibility with making fee payments. So we’re putting a plan together to defer certain selling fee payments for all registered business sellers for 30 days.
We want to relieve some of the pressure you’re telling us you’re facing and give you the flexibility needed to sustain your business.
If you have a business seller account, and could use help with your payments, visit the COVID-19 Seller Centre page on Wednesday 25 March where details on the next steps will become available.
Please look after yourselves, be safe. Thank you for being a part of our community, and for selling on eBay.”

– Rob Hattrell, Vice President, eBay UK

90 Responses

  1. Reduction in fees are whats needed
    Deferring fees for 30 days is not that inspiring.
    This nightmare will last a lot longer than 30days

  2. It will be longer than 30 days for sure. I cancelled my store and unlisted everything last week. Nice gesture I suppose from him but it’s somewhat preying on those sellers who think this news event will blow over after a few weeks.

  3. Again, like government help for self employed, it’s too little.

    This will just mean a whacking fee bill down the line that will cause problems later for sellers.

    It’s the anchor shop fees that need to be scrapped during this period.

    Paying fees on what you sell is not a problem. You are selling, therefore you can pay.

    Its those crippling fixed fees that you pay even if you activate the holiday settings on your shop. Also, you can’t suspend your subscription and resume it, you lose all your feedback and trading history.

    So Mr Hattrell need to address this NOW.

    Unless Ebay address this I will be closing our 2 anchor shops next week after 16 years as people have stopped buying for obvious reasons.

    I’m unlikely to come back as I would start on feedback of zero and have to repopulate my inventory from scratch again. No thank you.

    Mr Hattrell, consider the long term view here that you could lose some longstanding excellent sellers and your marketplace will be diminished as a result once all this is over.

    You say Ebay is working as “hard as it can” to do the best for its sellers. Clearly you are trying to balance out helping sellers with appeasing shareholders. But even you must know in your heart that what Ebay is offering sellers is nowhere near enough to help them survive this crisis. And if we don’t survive, will Ebay?

  4. In reality the ability to defer fees for 30 days
    Has always been available
    To those that play the invoice and payment. System

  5. Deferring fees for 30 days about as helpful
    As inviting us all down the pub
    As normal ebay doing the right thing Is dressed up as a favour
    Mr Hattrel
    These are not normal times

  6. Here is how i read it:

    As a business, i want to come out the other side ready to go again.

    The government are doing many thinks that will facilitate that process, which is mostly to do with Cash Flow for us, (Business Rates cuts, Business Loans & Deferment of some Tax Payments) and putting money in the pockets of the people that are our customers, by guaranteeing their wages.

    The initial problem will be that some of these will take a few weeks to come to fruition and so deferment of any payments is welcome.

    I do not expect Free Money, but will take it if offered, i’m hoping my business was on a sound enough footing to ride this through, what i expect is that the businesses we owe money to understand the situation and cut some slack.

    Some organisations will be better than others, and some will beggar belief.

    Where we can pay a bill we owe, i will pay as i do not want to store up larger payments down the line also those businesses will have cash flow issues themselves.

    For our own mental health, i think being positive about concessions that come our way is far better than sniping at it.

  7. If you thought returns were a problem after christmas
    Just wait
    A tsunami of returns are about to hit
    Once this bites
    What is ebay going to do to help?

  8. Regarding Ebay deferring fees, it won’t be enough.

    As a seller I will be lowering prices on many items and sending discount offers to watchers, I have already done this and achieved some sales. I have lost some profit however it gives me more cash flow. If I took eBay’s approach I would be asking the buyer to make up the difference between the offer price and the full price in 30 days, clearly this isn’t going to happen.

    Ebay need to think about the bigger picture here, if they don’t help sellers out more in the short term they (Ebay) will suffer in the medium term.

  9. Deferring fees is only creating a bigger problem down the line, I too have cancelled my shop sub and there’s little interest in my new listings.

    How about just 100 free listings from ebay, so the income from the few that sell doesn’t get eaten by the many that don’t.


  10. Just say you are a self employed sole trader.

    Prior to this crisis:

    Your sales were 70k with a gross profit of 35k, Ebay took around 8.4k of that (fees at 10% plus 20% VAT), I have not included shop costs, promoted listings costs etc. You then have to pay Paypal costs as well as other running costs. Once everything is said and done you may have ended up with 16 – 22k.

    Post this crisis many sellers will have to reduce prices to get some cash flow going, so now:

    Your sales are 60k however you have only managed this by discounting prices, gross profit is now 20k, Ebay are still taking 7.2k, so whilst they are taking a bit of a hit the seller now has earnings that have fallen through the floor. Add in all the other costs you will now be down to earnings of 5 – 10k.

    This is what I think will have to many sole traders who have been simply making a living for the last few years.

    It will get to the point where it simply isn’t worth the effort.

    Clearly the length of this crisis is key however if it is around for 6 – 24 months I think sole traders on Ebay will be smashed to pieces.

  11. This won’t be any good for myself. My shop has been on holiday mode for two weeks as I have been out doing delivery all that time, yeah I get overtime but no income from online selling is a big hit, and the wife us job is prob going to go.

    I would like the option to be able to put the thing in holiday mode for as long as possible with our paying them a set fee for nowt. It takes ages to get all those listings up to spec and you will just lose it all if you cancel.
    30 days the guy is dreaming this thing is just at the beginning.

    Tbh this lot will want their pound of flesh whatever

  12. eBay HQ folks must live on the moon, same as UK government.
    Deferring – some of – the fees? To improve cash flow to e.g buy stock?!
    Our stock comes from abroad (including Italy….) and nothing is coming into UK right now. Not many people buying the products either.

  13. eBay, if you want to help, reduce your shop fees in half or cut them all together. Take the packing voucher price off at least as a lot of sellers won’t be needing packing supplies.
    I know what works in one section won’t work in another as some sections of ebay will hardly have any sales at all and others will be through the roof. Maybe do it section by section with a reduction in final value fees for the sellers being hit the hardest.

  14. Welcome support from eBay. Every bit helps. I note that Amazon have nothing in place to protect merchants metrics.

  15. It would be nice if ebay started to look at the situation with some deliveries, especially the Royal Mail going contact free…..and thus not taking a signature on delivery.

    All i had from ebay the other day was an announcement for buyers saying if you dont get an item, get a full refund, buyer protection etc.

    How as a seller, when i buy a signed for service, prove delivery when the RM do not take a signature…….most buyers will be okay, but some will see the loophole and claim, ebay instantly, blindly refund / embargo the sellers money…….and I cannot provide proof of delivery…..no signature taken.

    this may look like ebay is on the sellers side, but it has been years since ebay gave any thought to the seller, they back the buyer. Yes, you need buyers, but no sellers = no buyers.

    I would like ebay to be as proactive on both sides and both are equally needed.

  16. Its the fixed shop fees that are the killer, if they are serious about maintaining the business model and given the Amazon competition that is set to decimate the high street even more go to a % fee basis so if you sell something you pay the fee.

  17. During this crisis it is likely that we will have to stop selling at some point probably soon and possibly for a number of months, the thing that will hit us is having to pay anchor shop fees. We are all stuck with the choice of ending our listings and dropping the shop subscription while loosing the history and positioning or going holiday mode while having the burden of the anchor fees with no income. Ebay need to think long and hard on this as they could loose a significant number of sellers for good. Deferring fees is a nice gesture but we will ultimately have to pay it back, I don’t mind paying fees for what I sell but while closed down fees will come out of reserves which is far from ideal

  18. “eBay have been working furiously behind the scenes over the weekend”

    Result? Don’t worry about your £480 this month, you can just pay double next month.

    Cheers for taking the hit, ebay. Really appreciate it.

  19. Simple really, remove all business sellers shop fee’s regardless of what shop you have but keep sales fee’s going, that way it’s a level playing field and no business is treated any different from another, also that needs back dating so shop fee’s are not in this months invoice and if any business wants to zero it’s stock levels or go into holiday mode there is cost involved (shop fee’s) and history / feedback / metric’s all saved.
    eBay this is about saving your business as well as ours, nobody is going to be a winner by the end of this so you need to take it on the chin the same as the rest of us.

  20. I’m stuck in my rented flat, looking after my girlfriend who actually has C-19, trying to avoid it myself, being Type 1 Diabetes. I can’t go outside, we’re in quarantine. So my Ebay shop is off, no income now, my rent still has to be paid, and eBay won’t even waive anchor fees while the shop is closed? 30 days until a double payment isn’t any help whatsoever.

    Characteristically harsh, but hey, fair. Everything for the landlord, everything for eBay. No concession whatsoever. All I care about for now is getting my girlfriend better., but I’m not going to be quite so easy to deal with in future.

  21. Accepting that Ebay have to pay their own fees, wages etc etc, maybe removing the shop fees but adding a % point (not necasseraly a whole % point but something) to the final valuation fees. At least you then get no sale no fee, keep your sales history, go in to holiday mode without worry. And being fair to Ebay, they are not loosing out completely. this is an in it together problem and there are no easy solutions but defferals only accumulate problems down the line.

    Just a thought.

  22. “Rob Hattrell, who is working all weekend” – welcome to the real world of ebayers weekends. Now perhaps you have the merest inkling of what we do all the time.

    Deferred payments will only get us into deeper debt as this isn’t going to go away in a month. Removing shop subscription fees for 3 months should be your starting point.

  23. Remove shop subscriptions for 3 months and then review otherwise you will be seen as profiting from this virus too !

  24. “eBay UK’s Rob Hattrell offers to defer fees for 30 days during Coronavirus crisis”. It’s arguably better than nothing, but deferring shop subscription fees a month is a flaccid effort given the current global environment.

    If eBay truly wanted to ”Help in ways that matter most” eBay would quickly implement one or more of the following for sellers in good standing:

    – Provisional *elimination* of Shop/Store Subscription fees for at current level, for current subscribers
    – *Reduction* of selling fees. 50% sounds about right
    – Pass-through better eBay shipping label savings
    – Issuance of an additional monthly Promoted Listings credit based on shop subscription level

    Ebay’s doing some end-of-quarter buyer incentives in the US & UK too, but with some economists predicting 30% unemployment in the states, eBay is going to need to ‘share the pain’ with its sellers in a more meaningful way that deferring shop fees for a few weeks.

  25. Rob Hattrell whos worked all weekend has only come up with deferring fees !?!?!

    Defering fees for 30 days is an absolutely crap offer. Only a large fee reduction can help. Worked it out yet?

  26. Some pretty ungrateful comments here.

    eBay owes you nothing, but has offered to suspend collection of the biggest fees they take and prevent the thing that most of us fear — account downgrade. Compare with Amazon closing FBA and sending out constant reminders about hitting SFP targets. And you’re coming here to complain about Rob?

    As a first step, I’d say they’ve hit the ball pretty close to the hole. Can they do more to attract buyers into the marketplace? Do they need to look at things in 30 days and see if they can delay further? Can they help sellers who have to mothball to preserve their precious accounts? I’m sure there is and I’m sure eBay is looking at that right now, but for me right now, I’m looking at this one week and one month at a time and this helps me to keep business ticking over, stock coming in, staff employed. And anything that keeps that going for longer is good for chances of a swift recovery.

    And frankly I’m waking up pretty grateful that I am not working in hospitality or events — online sales is a category that might see a strong boom as people avoid the shops and are stuck at home, so I’ll take all the help I can right now to keep the lights on and maybe help serve that demand.

    Hope everyone in this community stays well and finds a way to navigate their businesses through these uncertain times. I had no expectation other than that I would have to do that alone as I have for the past 20 years, and I for one feel extremely supported by the announcements of Sunak and Hattrell that I’m not left entirely on my own to get through this.

  27. Anyone else get a text from ebay saying taxes will be free for 2 months? It seems to of come from ebay as on the same message thread as collection order codes. Nothing in ebay messages, email or on ebay pages.

    Message is: Because of Covid-19 our taxes will be free for 2 months. Apply now at web address ending ebay.co.uk/VAT

  28. Chris,

    The thing is the deferral stinks of:

    “We are Ebay and we will not lose out because of this virus”.

    Hardly the everyone in it together attitude they should be portraying at the moment imho.

    Ebay could win a few friends here with the right approach.

  29. The fact that ebay sold off a ticketing website the other week for billions yet can’t give sellers a break other than delay fees, keep your account ratings the same and extend the period for item specifics in certain categories speaks volumes.

  30. Personally, I am not sure a deferral of fees is an enormous help.

    Everyone has an axe hanging over their neck as it is, all this does is make the axe even bigger 30 days later.

    I think the suggestion of waiving shop fees is an excellent one. It is a fixed cost which is a problem (one of many) if there are no sales.

    E-Bay makes enormous profits every year, and I wouldn’t have thought that waiving shop fees for a couple of months is going to put them out of business.

    Perhaps better phrased like this – Mr Hattrell, its your round mate.

    Oh yes, Bezos, richest man on the planet allegedly, its your round too mate.

    Society is going to have a very long memory from this period in our history, and those who fail to step up to the plate will not live it down easily.

    Your move 1%.

  31. Need shop anchor fees and listing fees suspended whilst shop is on holiday until this is over. Too much work to cancel 1000’s of listings that now can’t be bought ?

  32. There’s a fairly obvious point that needs clarification. There’s little possibility of sales, since dropping off parcels is a non essential trip, and it will surely become an issue if posties are risking their health to pick up non-essential parcels.

    So, do we switch on our shop holiday settings, while still paying ebay for those same shops, or do we terminate our shop subscriptions and accept that we have to laboriously list all those listings when things get back to normal?

    The obvious solution would be for ebay to waive shops that are “on holiday”, but either they haven’t considered this situation, or they have done and want to price gouge almost every ebay shop owning business seller in the UK.

  33. Nick. Where did anyone say that dropping off parcels is non-essential? Do you have a source please?
    Post offices are remaining open, Royal Mail statement says the post will continue (albeit, maybe a little slower).
    Why are they remaining open and Royal Mail continuing if no-one is allowed to use them?

  34. I am a very small registered sole business seller on eBay with eBay shop and also work 12 hours in a supermarket to supplement income. At the moment no one is buying but I face a crippling eBay fee to be paid soon. I am in a quandary as what to do, shut up shop and stop selling on eBay or hope eBay see sense and give us all a chance by waiving shop fees and support us whilst in this current crisis.
    Looking forward to hearing what eBay say in next few days.

  35. Carl does make a good point. Why would the post office be open if we weren’t allowed to use it?

    By it being allowed to stay open, all of its services are being considered as “essential”.

  36. Rules are clear. You can go out and about to do your work if you can’t do it from home. This includes dropping to post office if that’s part of your work.

    Even at work, and especially if that work involves queueing at the post office, you must maintain 2m separations.

  37. We seem to be following the same pattern of deaths as Italy but, unlike the Italian health service which is incredibly comprehensive, ours has been creaky for years. Which means we’ll be seeing death in a way not seen since the war, particularly since many people in the UK simply don’t understand the consequences of their ambivalent actions.

    I suspect, that within a few days, we’ll be told to stop using the postal service, or couriers, because we will need those delivery channels to continuously (and reliably) supply millions of essential items every day.

    There will be no room for ebay sellers to distribute non-essential products, and we have to stop trying to kid ourselves that we can somehow circumvent the obvious requirements for total lockdown.

  38. @David.
    It’s a big ask to interpret the .gov advice in such an ebay friendly way in my opinion, but I suspect this argument may be academic. UK parcel services may well have to prioritise essential item distribution, possibly within days.

    Personally, despite the financial loss, I’ve resigned myself to the lockdown, switched on my shop’s holiday settings, and we’re staying indoors.
    But apart from anything, given that we’re pensioners, I’d rather not go anywhere near anyone else at the moment, thank you very much.

    Ok, that’s all I have to say on the subject, other than to wish everyone a safe transition through this difficult time, and a speedy financial recovery for all ebay sellers caught up in this dreadful situation. Peace.

  39. Cant believe that posting Anything other than medical or food is essential ,
    We wont be going to a post office swopping infections

  40. Posting some trivial trinket to make a shilling is just not right
    if it results in a 80 year old grandmother collecting her pension
    Ending her days on a ventilator
    Gasping for breath

  41. We have Lots of Argos click and collect packages in the system
    Now not able to be collected
    What is ebays advice and how are they going to offer any help

  42. Keeping couriers and mail order going boosts morale and discourages people going out.

  43. @ Jim

    I supply tools to lorry & other mechanics that keep stuff on the roads delivering stuff, & keeping Ambulances, Police Cars on the road.

    Tools are also needed to keep equipment working!!

    Should I shut up Shop…

    Think Not – There is a bigger picture

  44. Jim,

    Have the day off mate.

    The message thus far is that online businesses are open and post offices are open.

    That is where we stand, if someone wants to take their parcels up to the post office, that is up to them, they just need to do it in the most thoughtful way they can.

  45. Unless your online business is supplying essentials like food or meds, you should be staying home. I don’t know how much clearer it could be.

  46. Jim,

    Selfish stupidity was the idiots who were crowding at the seaside over the weekend eating food outside cafes etc etc.

    A small business dropping a bag of parcels off at their local post office is not selfish stupidity imho.

    If the post office is packed you go back to your vehicle and wait however I am expecting most post offices to be pretty quiet, a lot of their regular users will be housebound by the virus.

    Perhaps if the government come out and offer the self employed something some will decide to shut up.

  47. Cut n Pasted from politics.co.uk
    I am stranded in Greece at the moment. The whole country is on lock-down. As of 6am Monday morning, I must fill in a permit form in order to leave my house, and it must fulfil a set of predetermined criteria. Otherwise I am fined. Repeated breaches can lead to my arrest.

    The Greek government is following World Health Organisation advice. It is taking draconian action, even though it is behind the UK cases/deaths curve. I don’t feel oppressed. I feel protected. Because I understand the context of this is a deadly pandemic.

    I like having clear instructions. Things here are calm. The supermarkets have everything in stock. The public supports the measures. They are adults. They understand.

    The reaction of the UK seems to me a classic category error. Because the only recent crisis reference point is terrorism, we have been taught that the right reaction is defiance. Carrying on. Not letting them win. This makes perfect sense in those circumstances. The terrorist’s goal is to disrupt your life. You win by not letting him disrupt it.

    A virus has no such goal. Its sole imperative is to propagate. You’re not being defiant by aiding it. You’re being dangerously dim.

  48. Businesses allowed to remain open are:-

    Supermarkets and other food shops
    Health shops
    Pharmacies including nondispensing pharmacies
    Petrol stations
    Bicycle shops
    Home and hardware shops
    Laundrettes and dry cleaners
    Car rentals
    Pet shops
    Corner shops
    Post offices
    On line retailers

    As stated on Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government document

  49. I can’t see the issue here, deferring fees is not a good solution to anyone, don’t do it.

    Check your business interruption policies and speak to your insurer, any eBay sellers who rely on sales and are a ‘business’ will have a comprehensive policy to protect against this stuff.

    Also if you don’t sell anything you won’t pay any fees, if you sell a lot then surely you want to pay your fees, the higher your bill the better? Yes sales will suffer over the coming weeks but cutting prices won’t help, keep to your prices otherwise you are ruining your market. If everyone jumps on that bandwagon it will take ages for your market to recover and you’ll end up making a loss just to be competitive when everyone else follows suit, it’s not good business.

    The other issue is going to be sellers struggling for new stock, as we all know, the more you list, the more you sell and some will struggle to do that at the moment which will affect sales.

    No shop fees would be helpful, or an adjustment to fees certainly just to give sellers assistance for maybe 3 months.

    Good luck everyone, chins up!!

  50. WOW
    thanks ebay.
    A payment holiday…..
    The biggest crisis in decades and you offer a payment holiday to sellers
    As a minimum stopping the shop fees whilst business is dead in the water would have been helpful,you would still be getting any fees on actual sales and helping in the main the little self employed guys trying to make a living.
    Guess it’s TRUE what I read elsewhere,sellers are not valued by ebay
    We will remember who was helpful during this unprecedented situation and many many big companys are helping as in the long term it makes sense.

  51. Absolutely disgusted with ebay’s ‘help’. Fee deferment? Are you having a laugh!! No money coming in, but you still want paying…..for what exactly? Shows exactly how valued your sellers are.
    Disgusted, but not surprised.
    I’m done with them.

  52. Whats 30 days going to do against the relentless highly promoted and helped Chinese sellers.

    Not much at all long term.

  53. So eBay knows domestic sellers, are living hand to mouth and making hardly anything ?

    Not a nice look !


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