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eBay refiddles with auction fees

Free listings, higher sale charge

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eBay is making more changes to its already profoundly confusing US pricing structure as a way to attract high volume sellers and appease those who auction only a few low-priced items.

The online tat house charges sellers twice per successful auction. There's an “insertion fee" to list an item on the website and a “final value fee" if the item sells.

Starting on March 30, items auctioned at a starting price of 99 cents or less will be listed for free, with a maximum of 100 items per month. But at the same time, eBay will increase the cut it takes from the final sales price from 8.75 per cent to nine per cent or $50 - whichever is less.

For high-volume sellers who use the eBay Stores subscription model, listing fees are being reduced to as low as three cents per item over 30 days. eBay said that will mean a 90 per cent reduction over current rates in some cases.

But to qualify for the lower rates, Stores sellers must also pay a subscription fee, which is high as $300 per month to receive the 3 cent listing fee. eBay supplies numerous pages and charts dedicated to helping fully decode its new pricing regime here. Bring a calculator.

And as many active eBay sellers point out in the company's forums, once the math is worked out, the lower upfront costs are often outweighed by the additional expenses.

The new payment system for the US arrives a week after eBay's fourth quarter earnings showed its bread-band-butter marketplace business growing once again.

The new pricing system is similar to changes implemented by eBay in Europe, which it claims has driven strong growth for sellers in the UK and Germany. ®

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