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On the day that eBay increases its charges for selling items upstart rival online auctioneer eBid is putting the boot in by offering free listings for life.

eBid is promising free "Gold" membership - which includes free listing of items and zero final value fees - to anyone who applies today. Gold membership is available for the cost of listing just one item on eBay. eBid is the plucky underdog to eBay's increasingly bolshy market leader. It aims to provide better service and promises to answer email queries within 24 hours.

eBay is increasing fees for inserting multiple items from £2 to £3 - based on starting price. Adding a BuyItNow price, which used to cost 6p will cost between 5p and 25p from 29 September.

The firm operates in the UK and is opening in the next few months Australia, Canada, Ireland and the USA. It claims 410, 000 registered users, 95 per cent in the UK, and is gaining 650 new members a day. eBay claims 157m members worldwide and 10m in the UK. In what can only be described as audacious spin/arrant nonsense eBid claims this is an advantage - you don't have to wade through as much rubbish to find what you want and if you are buying there will be fewer rival bids.

It charges sellers no listing fee although it does take 2 per cent of the final transaction - much less than eBay.

eBay charges sellers to list items on the site as well as gouging an eye-watering percentage of the final sale price - this ranges from 5.25 per cent for items sold for less than $25, dropping to 2.75 per cent of values between $25.01 and $1,000, over that and commission falls to 1.5 per cent of the remaining value. Not all items are charged at this rate: vehicles attract a transaction service fee rather than a percentage.®

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