A PETITION to the FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
Americans For Open Records (AmFOR), and the undersigned, believe eBay Corporation utilizes vague and secret policies, practices and quotas, in a manner contrary to its User Agreement at http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/user-agreement.html, and contrary to Fair Trade laws and practices. This Petition details some complaints regarding eBay "secret" policies and practices, suggests a law requiring promptly notifying users of security breach and invites comments, and further complaints on this Petition page, for the Federal Trade Commission to investigate.
There is no nationwide law forcing companies to notify customers of data breaches by hackers, and most companies, including eBay, are vague about the extent of the damage. On May 21, 2014, eBay posted a notice acknowledging "a cyberattack that compromised our eBay user database which contains your encrypted password," but did not send out emails to all users, misled users that "we believe your account us secure," yet asked all users to change the password, not only on eBay but also on every site you used the same password." Even worse, eBay REFUSES to immediately close my 0-balance accounts on demand, (Account closure request SR: 1-26924454359 SR# 1-26924454359) citing a variety of contradictory policies and automated system preventing closing accounts for 30 days, 180 days, several months, or forever (they seem not to know which and it keeps changing), rendering an account "dormant but not closed" and therefore one's personal and financial information remains vulnerable. We request that the Free Trade Commission and others propose and support laws requiring prompt and direct notification of security breaches, immediate closing of 0-balance paid accounts on demand, especially upon discovery of a well-publicized breach, and provision of free credit reporting as Target did when they had a similar massive breach and as attorney-investigators have recommended at http://www.webpronews.com/ebay-hack-leads-to-official-investigation-by-multiple-states-2014-05.
HIDDEN DOUBLE FEES. Since early 2012, as if folks weren't having a tough enough time staying afloat in a sinking economy, eBay has been charging Sellers 9% of Seller's COST for shipping -- at the same time representing that eBay is discounting Postage COST and Tracking purchased via eBay, and hiding any mention of the double charges on a hard-to-find sub-page of it's "Seller Fees" page. The U.S. Postal Service's email response to was that they didn't find it a violation of Postal Service policy -- including the USPS policy about "fair and equally applied fees." But hiding a secret policy until the puzzling fee shows up on one's eBay Seller' monthly Invoice just compounds the shameful practice.
SECRET, ARBITRARY, DISCRIMINATORY QUOTAS.
8-13-14 UPDATE: Although, today, eBay notified its members they are now streamlining it's Buer Protection / Returns Policy and will begin automatically charging Sellers for Buyers' return shipping cost on faulty or not-as-described items, there is NO mention of continuing to permanently "ban" Buyers who DO need to return a specific number or percentage of total purchases in a specific period of time period for refund per eBay's definition of "excessive" returns, no matter that there may be an "excessive" number of Seller listings that turn out to be "not-as-listed," which the Buyer can only know after paying and receivig the item. So, in effect, Seller misrepresentation is rewarded by exemption from "fair trade policies and rules." EBay monitors every Buyer-Seller transaction, email, and USPS Tracking -- not to verify that an item was delivered and refunded according to eBay's "Returns and Refunds" policy in the User Agreement, but to monitor YOUR spending according to eBay's "secret quota formula" and penalizes exceeding their quota without exception. I was accused of "excessive refunds" in a 90-day period which was during the holiday surge of buying. selling, and inevitably refunding. Reasons for the refunds were that the items were "not as listed" or were defective. and were returned and refunded by mutual agreement of Seller and Buyer according to the User Agreement policies at the time, including partial refunds where the Buyer loses their original shipping cost as well as return shipping costs. The refunds I received during my entire spending history were "reviewed" and called a "pattern of disruptive behavior" and a "threat to safety of the eBay trading environment" while 'Power Seller' misrepresentation or outright fraud that justified the mutually agreed refunds, did not similarly trigger Seller deportation as long as eBay made money on the deal. This is more than "Buyer Beware" -- It's biting off the hand that feeds a corporation in favor of the bigger fish. And the FTC needs to investigate this fishy practice.
FALSE ADVERTISING & SHILL BIDDING STILL RAMPANT. If you Google the words "ebay shill bidding" you''ll find numerous websites with complaints of shill bidding on eBay, including alleged "legal" shill bidding by consignors, going back to 2011. This "unfair trade practice" steals from both Buyers and competing Sellers. If you found recent evidence of shill bidding on eBay, please post your Comment below so it can be investigated by the FTC.
One eBay Buyer posted: "I have lost over $4,000 to a 'Power Seller' who laughed when I tried to reason with him and had no fear of eBay recrimination as he felt secure in his 'Power Seller' status. And we all know the reality, eBay does nothing and really could care less as long as they get their cut of any transaction. All the rest is simply window dressing .... . Ebay chooses to hide under the desk in any problem, claiming they are simply a conduit between a Buyer and Seller thus have no responsibility for the outcome of any transaction that takes place on the gateway they provide.... creating a status of 'Power Seller' as the best, most worthy, most trusted Sellers and so carefully and craftily created 'Protection and Safety,' actually protecting the unscrupulous Sellers by allowing them to use phony IDs which eBay does not bother to verify, thus creating a perfect platform for fraud and criminal activity...,
RESTRAINT OF TRADE, PRICE FIXING, TARGETED CONSUMERS.
Under eBay's User Agreement section captioned "Abusing eBay," they may restrict or suspend your membership "if we think that you are acting inconsistently with the letter or spirit of this User Agreement or our policies" Nowhere does eBay explain that the "spirit" is that of a "rewards system" which not only requires that Sellers and Buyers produce a secret "quota" or dollar amount of profit for eBay but also penalizes those who do not....for example:
Posted at an eBay forum: " I have found major discrepancies regarding who is being allowed to sell different high dollar and popular items on ebay. and eBay is keeping the actual policy and its implementation TOP SECRET! EBay's Trust and Safety Department and Customer Service will not provide a member with a copy of the policy document, what type of limits and blocks are being put on their account, and why their account has been targeted.... the trponse sent by customer service to me is accusatory, slanderous, libelous, and is a personal attack on my character.... This policy is not being used to protect buyers! It is being used to hurt Ebay members that who are not 'Power Sellers' and are being discriminated by eBay! ":
Arbitrary Seller restrictions on selling designer goods has the reverse effect of "Price Fixing" HIGHER prices (and therefore higher fees for ebay) by allowing only their "Power Sellers" to sell such items at higher prices. I attempted to sell a "pre-owned" pair of Coach designer shoes for $15 that originally cost about $100 new and listed it as such. Ebay removed my listing with a message stating in vague terms that I "exceeded a restricted quantity" of an item in any of several categories...but would not specify WHAT POLICY (specifically) I was violating and WHAT CATEGORY and WHAT SPECIFIC QUOTA AMOUNT I was limited to, even when I emailed and called to appeal, nor how ONE pair of shoes violates their quota. ...What was most aggravating was the accusatory messages telling me I was "suspended from selling for 90 days" for "violating a policy" that I WASN'T ALLOWED TO SEE. When I was let out of eBay jail, I sold the same pair of shoes for $15 on eBay by captioning the listing "C-O-A-C-H" instead of "COACH" brand which automatically triggered eBay's computer to prevent my listing from competing with higher priced new and used Coach shoes.
Protect eBay Members from contradictory eBay rules, policies and practices and that tend to discriminate against low income/small spenders or sellers.