A PETITION to the FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
Americans For Open Records (AmFOR), and the undersigned, believe eBay Corporation utilizes vague or 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 and invites comments and further complaints on this Petition page, for the Federal Trade Commission to investigate.
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 -- after representing that eBay is discounting Postage 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. Of course eBay did not respond to complaints asking how eBay can justify charging someone a percentage of what they already PAID for shipping. And the U.S. Postal Service's email response to me was that they didn't find it a violation of Postal Service policy -- including the USPS policy about "fair and equally applied fees." By 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. Ebay’s User Agreement includes a section captioned "Returns and Refunds" at http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/return-process.html . Nowhere in its User Agreement does eBay state any specific limit or "quota" or dollar amount that a Buyer or Seller is subject to, nor that anyone not meeting their secret quota may no longer use their service while anyone meeting or exceeding their "secret" quota is rewarded by exemption from "fair trade policies and rules." In a stroke of promotional genius, eBay offered "Buyer Protection" and urges Sellers to "accept returns" on either auctions or fixed price sales. But, like the NSA, eBay monitors every Buyer-Seller transaction, emails, 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".
In January, 2014, eBay permanently suspended me from eBay, despite my maintaining a 100% Positive Buyer-Seller Feedback score in well over 1,000+ of my eBay buying and selling transactions. Those 1,000+ transactions meant 1,000 times that I made money for eBay. My "crime???" 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. Under eBay's "secret quota" policy which is applied differently to different members depending on a secret quota of transactions, a member who receives as little as 2 refunds within 90 days, even though by mutual agreement of Seller and Buyer and even though done according to the User Agreement policies, including partial refunds where the Buyer loses their original shipping cost and return shipping costs, the refunds I received duing 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 Agreemtn 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.