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Amazon.com to launch auction service

Takes the fight to eBay, offers protection against fraud for customers

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Internet bookstore giant Amazon.com has set its sights on becoming an online auction house. In a move that will see it go head to head with the likes of eBay and Onsale, Amazon.com is developing its own auction facility. CEO Jeff Bezos is reported in the Wall Street Journal to have said the company had already signed up 117 businesses that want to run auctions on its site. Clothing, jewellery, electronic goods and photographic equipment are among the list of products set to feature in the new service. The online auction sector has been receiving an increasing amount of attention with current market leader eBay announcing its plans to float last week. eBay has had its fair share of controversy, having come under fire after it was discovered that its service was being used to buy and sell pirate software. Last December, eBay customers were hit by a con man who took money from people but didn't send out any goods. At the time eBay said it was not in a position to compensate anyone that had been ripped off. They were advised to take legal action, but were offered no help. This sort of criminal activity is obviously a concern to Amazon.com, as it has said it will reimburse anyone who encounters such fraudulent activity, up to the value of $250. No date was given for the launch of the service, but a representative of Amazon.com hinted it would go live soon. ®

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