Having just been in the news for a turnover at the top — Meg Whitman, eBay CEO for the last ten years and through its entire growth period, is leaving — eBay is changing its fees, in the U.S., at least. And they’re making a Big Deal about how they have “listened” to their customers by reducing insertion fees.
The insertion fee is the charge one incurs by listing something for sale, and the fee depends upon the asking price — the starting price, for items up for auction. The insertion fee for an auction item with a starting price of less than a dollar will go down from 20 cents to 15. Insertion fees for other starting-price ranges up to 25 dollars have also gone down by 5 cents, and by somewhat more for higher prices.
In compensation to eBay, though, they have raised their final-value fees. If your item sells, you pay them a percentage of what the item sold for, as a final-value fee. The fee will go up from 5.25% to 8.75% for the first 25 dollars of the final value. That’s quite an increase, which
- far outweighs the reduction in the insertion fee, and
- has a much greater impact on smaller-valued items.
|Starting Price||Final Price||Insertion Fee||Final Value Fee||Total Fee||Percentage of Sale||Fee Increase|
Look at the jump in the fee for an item that sells for $20! Yes, indeed, they’re listening....
Another change that I wonder about (this is from their page summarizing the changes):
Buyers will only be able to receive positive Feedback.How does that serve as a benefit? It means that if a buyer isn’t communicative, is argumentative, delays paying his bill, makes false or unreasonable complaints, or the like... the sellers have no direct way to show their difficulties with him. I suppose they can still say negative things in the verbal part of the Feedback (why is this capitalized, anyway?), but they can’t mark it as “negative” so it shows up directly when people check.
And, just from a language point of view, there’s this:
Buyers will be held more accountable when sellers report an unpaid item or commit other policy violations.Hmmmmm. I don’t think that’s quite what they meant. Though if I were a seller, I might like the buyer to be held accountable for my policy violations....