ACCC swoops on PayPal plot as eBay plots global rollout

As APC reported last week sellers are furious at eBay’s plans to make PayPal effectively compulsory for all purchasers. The story has garnered ongoing media attention including a report on Channel Nine’s A Current Affair featuring commentary from APC.

Many users on eBay’s discussion boards and elsewhere have said they plan to complain to the ACCC claiming violation of trades practices laws. Anticipating those kinds of problems eBay last week lodged an application with the ACCC seeking immunity from such prosecution if the plans are implemented on the grounds that using other methods can result in a “bad buyer experience” (or in eBay-speak a “BBE”.) Users can respond to the proposal until May 2 by sending comments to adjudication@accc.gov.au.

eBay confirms global plot

When asked last week by APC if the Australian plan would be enacted elsewhere eBay was non-committal. “This is an Australian initiative but eBay does clearly look at what works in markets and what doesn’t” eBay trust and safety director Alastair MacGibbon said at the time.

However in its post-results earning call this week CEO John Donahoe made it clear that the plan was indeed a pilot and could be rolled out in months if successful in Australia. “Globally PayPal will continue to focus on greater penetration into the Marketplaces business” its financial announcement ominously notes.

Change continues apace elsewhere on the eBay site. In another shift likely to invite controversy eBay will start keeping track of the computers used by regular sellers in an attempt to cut-down on “account takeovers” (where someone logs into another account and uses it for fraudulent purposes).

“From now on the system will be noting the computers members regularly use when buying and selling on eBay” eBay said in an announcement on its site. “Then in June we’ll begin checking the computer you use to list an item to see if it’s one you regularly use.”