eBay sleazily slips in a substantial fee increase with almost no public notice

I have almost 1000 sales on eBay and never got wind of this. The main listing fee is set to the initial listing price, and (NOW) will not change even if the seller lowers the price. I adjust initial prices downward constantly when items don’t sell. This could cost sellers a good chunk of change.


Interesting, so before this change if I listed my wiget on ebay at a starting price of $500 and it gets no bids and the auction is ending very soon, could I have put in a last second price decrease (think reverse sniping), say to $5 and avoid the high listing fee?

I’ve been selling on eBay since 1998, and this new policy isn’t an issue for me. I’ve never lowered my starting bid price mid-auction ever. I always start my auctions at the lowest acceptable price.

Lowering the initial bid price and getting a fee rebate seems like fee avoidance to me, no better than a guy who sells something at a $5.00 “Buy it Now” and then charges $40 for shipping. YMMV.

For items that can have largely variable prices I’m not really grasping your point. If I list of pair of near new dress shoes I think are the bomb @ 49.95 then rapidly discover via lack of interest that none one else thinks they're worth that, and reduce my initial asking price to 34.95, how is that fee avoidance? The price is being lowered to reflect market realities. To charge me for a 50.00 listing free if I drop the price to 35 in the first day or so hardly seems appropriate.

Why not just start them at 34.95 to begin with then? Or use a research tool like Andale or similar to find out what people are paying for the same / similar items, and pricing it accordingly?

Seriously, this fee change is going to whack a few honest sellers like you, but it’s going to hit a lot more of the jerks who manipulate pricing in the way **kanicbird **pointed out.

We must sell very different items (I sell mainly odd and ends of interest I get from Goodwill). If I’m seeking to maximize my selling price for a unique auctioned item why in the world would I bottom line my price right off the bat? It makes no sense if I’m not 100% confident about the price of an item, which I’m not a good deal of the time.

I’ll try it at x and if that doesn’t work I’ll reduce to Y and so forth. This is selling 101, why are you making it sound as if I gaming the system if I don’t go right to the bottom line and hold there. If I did that I’d cost myself thousands of dollars, and it would be a relatively unproductive selling strategy unless I’m selling a commodity type item.

That makes sense if you think there are likely to be only one buyer, but if there are going to be several, the auction will maximize the selling price on its own.

are should be “is”, obviously.

I don’t see how this can help. If I see an item I might be interested but the price is too high. I never look at that item again. If by fluke I were to notice you reduce price on an item I would make sure that if you ever had anything to sell I was interested in I would wait till the very end of the auction before putting any sort of bid in.
If the item originally had a decent price I would put a bid in at that price just to sound out that auction, possibly getting in a bidding ‘war’ with if another buyer is interested.
If you want to get at least $50 why not set the start bid at $35 but also set a reserve price of $50? Or set the buy it now option to $50 and start bid to $35. As an auction I expect to see the starting price as the bottom line and expect to compete against other potential buyers to get yoour item.

I don’t think you quite understood what I was trying to say.

Take those 49.95 shoes. They weren’t selling at 49.95, so you lowered the initial bid mid-auction to 34.99. Doesn’t that mean that 34.99 was the minimum acceptable price you would take for those shoes? If so, why not just have started them at 34.99 to begin with? That’s not “bottom lining” your price - “bottom lining” would be buying them at Goodwill for 14.99 and starting your auction at 15.99.

If you’re not confident about the price of an item, do some research. Check completed auctions, or pay Andale 7.95 a month for their research service which analyzes past eBay auctions to give you an idea of what your category sells for.

I don’t think we sell vastly different stuff, actually. I comb thrift stores for eBayable stuff, too, but I also hit tag sales, rummage sales, and live auctions for stuff that’s collectable or unusual. But I *do *have a completely different pricing philosophy than you do, because I start most of my stuff under 5 bucks, with a lot of it starting at 99 cents, and let the market decide where it’s going to go. I don’t cost myself thousands of dollars, either - I’m a small-scale seller but still I make thousands a year.

Like I said before, YMMV. It sounds like you’re getting caught in the crossfire because eBay isn’t targeting sellers like you with that policy change, they’re targeting the cheaters.

Ebay prevents this by preventing any changes 8 hours before the end of an auction.

Ebay is getting too damned expensive. I just sold an 1898 gold double eagle and I got whacked $18 in fees. Paypal will whack me another 3%. So my days of selling more expensive items there is about over.