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QXL.co.uk shuts up shop

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QXL.co.uk - the online auction site that isn't eBay - is closing.

It is accepting bids for two more days, until 9 May, before closing completely at midday on 30 May.

The site was started by ex-journalist Tim Jackson in 1997. It bought rival German site Ricardo in 2000. It survived the bursting of the dotcom bubble in 2001, but never really challenged the might of eBay in the UK.

The company rebranded as Tradus and was acquired by South African media firm Naspers last year for £946m. It was taken private in March.

But an email sent to registered users said:

We request that those members who have an outstanding debit balance on their account to settle these as soon as possible. Any credit balances that remain in your account may be reclaimed by providing the customer service team the credit balance details on enquiries@qxl.com, subject to any outstanding fees which are due as at 30 May 2008 or on the closing of your account, which you will remain liable for.

Most of Tradus's business is in eastern Europe where it operates under several brand names. These businesses will continue to trade, as it is only withdrawing from the UK market. ®

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