Is Ebay Double Dipping?

Ebay is by far the most popular auction site in Australia, creating over $2.5 billion worth of transactions annually, and, in some cases, providing a source of income for third-party companies.

I have used it on occasion, and have had no problems with the company so far, but it has recently announced a few changes to the site that raised my eyebrows.

Currently when you buy from Ebay, you can use several methods of payment – cheque, cash, EFT, money orders and Paypal. Now, Ebay has announced they will only allow payment using cash or Paypal. Not a lot of people use the cash option, especially when it comes to delivering items interstate, so in fact, for some, there will only be one option. Thankfully the ACCC are looking into and it looks like they are going to nix the idea, but rumour has it eBay will appeal any unfavourable decision.

Ebay claims they are doing this for our own good, but that kind of rings hollow for three reasons:

1)If it's for the consumer's own good, then why have the cash option? Surely of the multitude ways of paying, that is the riskiest, with people either giving out wrong amounts, or haggling once the deal is done. If there is a dispute, it's a lot easier to cancel a money order or cheque, or get the bank to reverse an EFT – once cash is handed over, it's a lot harder to try and get it back when you get the goods home.

2)If Paypal is such a good way to pay, then why won't eBay allow similar options like Bpay and Paymate in on the action?

3)Probably the most obvious reason of all – guess who owns Paypal? You guessed it, eBay. And with eBay owning Paypal, they get listing fees AND a cut of the payment because they charge people a percentage of the price.

There is also a fundamental principle underlying all this, too – freedom of choice. It sticks in the craw that eBay has basically ransomed people to use their system in a take-it-or-leave-it manner.

I think people understand that companies are in business to make money, and I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with monopolies, and no matter how eBay spin it, this certainly looks like it.

Maybe people will start exploring other online auction options..