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eBay changes anger smaller sellers

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Online tat bazaar eBay is changing how it charges to encourage more fixed price sales instead of auctions.

Changes to the fee structure announced yesterday seem to make "Buy it Now" offers more attractive, at least to sellers of higher value items. Smaller sellers seem alienated by the changes.

eBay wants to make itself an all-round online retailer rather than just an auction site. For bigger sellers with plenty of inventory, the changes should mean paying less fees to eBay - that's how it's being interpreted on eBay message boards. The new fees start on24 September.

Fees are split between up-front charges and final value fee - a percentage of the selling price. Items sold for less than £29.99 used to be charged 7.5 per cent, those selling for between £30.00 and £49.99 at 4.5 per cent - both will be charged 9.9 per cent under the new scheme. However, volume sellers can get discounts of up to 40 per cent on these fees if they sell enough volume and provide good enough service. The situation is further complicated by adding in PayPal fees to the total - eBay encourages sellers to use PayPal. PayPal protection will go up from the current £500 to unlimited from the end of September.

But insertion fees for Buy It Now listings used to cost between 10p and £1.30. They will now cost between 1p and 40p.

There is no change to the obligation to accept PayPal - sellers must offer it but can also accept other payment methods. Last month eBay backed down in Australia from moves to only accept PayPal.

Official announcement is here. eBay has also created a "fee illustrator" here.®

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