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eBay: 'We will lower listing fees'

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This morning, eBay's CEO-to-be told a roomful of obsessed internet auctioneers that he will soon charge them between 25 and 50 per cent less to list their items on the site's virtual marketplace.

But he's not willing to kiss all those dollars goodbye. While charging less for listings, eBay plans to charge more when items are actually sold. eBay says its sellers prefer this sort of setup because "it lowers their risk if an item doesn't sell."

Addressing more than 200 of its "top North American sellers," Meg Whitman's replacement John Donahoe also said that the world's most popular internet auction house will raise the minimum standards for sellers and offer them all sorts of goodies if they stay on their best behavior and sell lots of stuff.

"Consumers have more choices than ever, and they expect more when they shop online today," the eBay president and CEO-elect said during his keynote address at eBay's eCommerce Forum in Washington, D.C. "We're serious about making eBay easier and safer to shop."

eBay's new fee structure will arrive on February 20 in the U.S., and eventually, similar changes will be made "globally." In the States, listing or "insertion" fees will be significantly lower for items priced above $25.

The insertion fee for items priced between $25 and $49 will drop from $1.20 to $1, for instance, while the charge for items priced over $500 will drop from $4.80 to $4.

Meanwhile, charges for sold items - known as "final value fees" - will leap in the other direction. Today, when an item sells for between $25 and $1000, eBay charges $1.31 plus 3.25 per cent of the remaining sale price. On February 20, it will charge $2.19 plus 3.5 per cent of the remaining sale price.

In words, even when you sell an item for a mere $25, you're losing an extra 67 cents. Of course, you save 20 cents if the item doesn't sell. Plus, eBay is eliminating fees for its "Gallery" option, which means sellers will soon be able to post photos of their items for free.

You aren't pleased? You must not be an eBay seller. eBay says its sellers are pleased. ®

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