eBay Starts “5 Free Insertion Fees” Promotion

Savings don't always add up

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If there’s one thing that’s sure to turn the heads of bargain-seekers, it’s the word "free," and a new eBay program capitalizes on this fact by waiving some insertion fees.  Unfortunately, there is a catch or two, and the auction company doesn’t seem likely to win over many of its critics with this move.

eBay Fees

eBay first announced the "5 Free Insertion Fees Every 30 Days" idea about a month ago.  On the front end, it was exactly as advertised, which was nice enough.  Sellers have never enjoyed forking over cash when their products don’t change hands.

The trouble came when sellers noticed that a final value fee of 8.75 percent (or $20 – whichever’s less) could actually cause them to owe eBay more money than usual under certain circumstances.

Now, as the program rolls out, it appears that nothing’s been changed.  Sellers just need to do the math carefully and consider opting out of the new fee structure by using an eBay or third party listing tool.

Value Fees

Still, eBay executives have their fingers crossed that the change will result in increased participation.  Lorrie Norrington, president of eBay Marketplaces, said in a statement, "By eliminating the upfront costs of selling on eBay, we hope this new structure will encourage all sellers – new, occasional or experienced – to use the offering as a cost-effective way to sell on our site and earn a little extra cash."

eBay Starts “5 Free Insertion Fees” Promotion
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  • Yeti

    I have heard of seller complaints on ebay for 2 years but tried to stay on ebay. But they just do not welcome smaller sellers like me. Fees, changes, bad buyers can insult and say what they wish and you cannot retaliate with a negative feedback, etc etc WOW it is one nightmare.

    With effect from today, I am taking my business elsewhere and I am currently writing to all me past clients about my migration away from ebay.

  • Matt

    Hi, I did some calculations and realize that it can be a good and a bad thing. To simplify I assumed that the starting price is in the same range as the final value. So up to 45$ the new fees are advantageous, between 45$ and 65$ is about the same. Between 65$ and 450$ the new fees can cost you up to 7.60$ more than the old fees… For 450$ and up, it’s a real good deal.

    So if you plan to sell an item between 65$ and 450$, you better using a listing tool.

  • Guest

    Ebay is such a great example of galloping management incompentence ruining a vibrant and successful company. Ebay had a unique attribute – it was the place to go to find fascinating and wonderful stuff for auction – and where to find valuable items too – it was becoming the Sotheby’s and Christies of ecommerce and with the chance to dominate even these. I was a biggish ebay seller and buyer for many years, I don’t list any more as there’s little point, and now my standard search, which used to pick up many items of interest to bid on, now only returns a few. Little point logging on any more really – with the neat stuff going, the “eyeballs” are going too, Ebay’s no longer unique, just another big box estore and there are better ones out there. I wonder too if ebay had any idea of the demographics of their customers – the despised small sellers – the (ex) sellers I know locally certainly aren’t the mom and pop borderline poverty types but are rather well-off collectors with tons of disposable income – I guess they’re elsewhere now.

  • wikoogle

    We are all previous sellers and buyers on ebay. And we have grown to hate ebay due to the litany of practices they’ve pioneered to establish a monopoly and squeeze every drop of money out of their sellers and thus buyers.

    Here is a list of ebay’s actions that we are most displeased about…

    1.) Just in the past few years, ebay has slowly increased the percentage of their commission for goods sold from a little over 6% to 8.75% of the final ending fee!! A 50% increase in your commission/share of the profit in just a few years is absolutely unacceptable!!

    2.) When overstock.com popped up as a competitor to ebay offering lower commission rates, ebay proceeded to buy them out, gut the auction portion of their site, and only then did it start to increase it’s commission rates ever higher.

    3.) Ebay has gone to extraordinary lenghts to shut down other competitors like yahoo auctions and amazon auctions, and are now engaged in buying up any online auction and classified listings left over.

    Recently, they bought up 27% of Craigslist (a rival) and are currently being sued by Craigslist for using that stock share to undermine Craigslist. Once any remaining competition is done away with, expect to see ebay’s commissions rise even higher. This is the definition of monopolistic anti-competitive tactics.

    4.) When paypal first opened to provide people a cheap easy way to pay for online auctions and other purchases, ebay proceeded to buy out the company, and later increased it’s commission rates. Whereas ebay used to allow sellers to enable buyers to pay for items with cashier’s checks, and money orders even just a few months ago, ebay recently changed this policy. Now the only payment method that can be used on ebay is paypal.

    Any sellers that tell their buyers they can pay via money order or check if they don’t have a paypal account, get their auction closed by ebay, without a refund of the listing commission fees. This ensures that ebay gets a cut of the price twice, first for the auction’s ending price itself, and then a percentage of the paypal payment as well. Most sellers including I’ve had auctions that ebay ended prematurely, without warning , and without refunding the listing fees because they mentioned that they will accept payment via either paypal or money order from buyers that don’t have a paypal account.

    5.) In addition to the continual increases in the commission fees, ebay has taken away sellers right to leave nonpaying buyers and buyers who abuse the auction site bad feedback. Sellers no longer can leave negative feedback to bad buyers. This policy along with the higher commission rates led to many sellers boycotting ebay as well.

    Seriously, does ebay’s management not see the direct correlation between the higher commission rates it started charging 2 years ago, with the loss of sellers (and thus buyers) from it’s site?

    Yet, in an effort to squeeze every drop of money out of us, ebay has continuously increased the commission fees more and more and each year. And as a result, it has become less and less profitable for all of us. Many ebay stores have had to close. Ebay’s repeated milking of your sellers with higher and higher commissions and more restrictions is only going to continue your sites trend of losing business, and it’s stock’s decline. And as this petition goes to show, we, the previous buyers and sellers on your site, are well aware of what you have been doing to squeeze every drop of profit out of us.

    We strongly urge to google or some other competitor to launch an auction site to compete with ebay that is FREE and completely supported by ad revenue to provide relief to the many sellers that have had to close up shop on ebay due to the commissions going up from 6% to 8.75% in just two years. And we urge them to do so before ebay completes it’s current buyout of craigslist.

  • AJK

    eBay members should beware. While it may entice new members or inactive sellers, the 5 free insertions costs sellers more money in the long run. Just do the math that eBay is counting you won’t do beforehand.

    I just sold a musical instrument for $197. It was one of my first 5 monthly listings so automatically inserted for free and I did not know of anyway to opt out. Under the regular fee structure I would have paid $10.21 ($2.00 insertion fee + $8.21 final value fee). Instead, with the new 5 Free Listings eBay automatically cut themselves in for $17.24. That’s $7.03 more paid to eBay and less in my pocket. (Not to mention the additional Paypal fees taken out of the buyers payment to me.)

    Bottom line, this is not a promotion to benefit sellers but rather a promotion targeting sellers. This should be called PAY MORE FOR THE FIRST 5 LISTINGS instead of 5 Free Listings program. In fact, eBay has made it very difficult to find the fee reference prior to inserting your listings. If you search and navigate the final value fee help page, you probably find only the regular program fee structure. There is no mention of the 5 Free Listing program. Go ahead and look up “final value fee” and see for yourself. Instead, to find the fees that actually apply you’d have to know they call the new program the 0.00 INSERTION FEE AUCTION FINAL VALUE FEE. That’s a whole different name than the advertising uses. Why do you suppose that is?

    I would never have found the applicable fee reference on my own. In fact, when I called eBay to complain about the excessive final value fee assessed, the eBay customer support rep also used the regular fee structure to calculate and was stumped at first. When she couldn’t justify the assessed fee, she actually tried to tell me “That’s just the way it is, however eBay decides to calculate it.” When I said that wasn’t good enough given her own calculation did not support the charge, she put me on hold. When she came back she knew exactly what was going on. She asked me if I bothered to check the 0.00 Insertion Fee Final Value Fee. “What?!”, I replied. She then proudly guided me to the help page which took exactly 7 click-through pages to locate. She chastised me for not knowing there was a different fee structure that applied to my listing. I replied that neither did she and asked her if that seemed fair. She argued that I’m not the only one, so indeed it was fair. I stated that something unfairly applied to all sellers is not fair. She said nothing, but asked if I had any point to my call now that I knew a higher fee applied. I asked if she could log my call as a complaint regarding the lack of fee disclosure from eBay. Apparently, remembering her training she replied, “You mean to tell me you didn’t know your first 5 insertions were free? You never heard about the free listings before?” I said I was aware of the free listings, but did not know it would cost me more in the long run. Her reply, “So what, you sold your item didn’t you?”

    Seller beware.

  • Guest

    Ebay is a joke always playing games they suck the categories suck they want you to list in multiple categories because they are lazy pigs they should have a hierarchy of a millions of categories you should do a search of categories with option for key words the company is just stupid and a bunch of jerks. Look for a pump type the word pump and get a bunch of high heel shoes. A categories search could break the search down quick and easy they could handle more auctions drop insertion fees completely instead of being idiots

    Witman was a Joke made a billion dollars on monopoly sold out to corporate america with buy now jammed up your butt the system isn’t for the small retailer which is what people want not drop ship crap. The company is just lazy jerks run by wall st.

  • http://www.hairbows4u.com Hair Bows

    Too bad Ebay isn’t what it used to be. The management totally screwd that company up.

  • http://www.sog-knives.net SOG Knives

    Ebay should have never started trying to copy Amazon. Ebay had their own niche a few years ago, and now they have lost their way. I don’t even go there to buy stuff anymore.

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