Congratulations Ebay!

You are...

ASSHOLE OF THE MONTH (...again)

September 2011


Asshole of the Month...eBay

Editor's note: This was a hard decision for me to make. Initially, I was thinking of a person at PayPal who could make a difference and make PayPal a better service, but chose not to (because he or she is an emotionless hack). Then I ran across eBay's "Accepted Payments Policy."

Reading it without rolling my eyes was a challenge. I was insulted that I was being lied to -- straight to my face. And for what? Only to perpetuate a policy that unfairly benefits PayPal (hence eBay) and forces the PayPal service onto eBay users. As of today, ALL U.S. eBay users MUST accept PayPal as a payment option. eBay has STOPPED being innovative and started being protective (like Microsoft). PayPal is a SERIOUSLY flawed company with SERIOUSLY flawed software. To force that crap onto hardworking sellers and valued buyers is a travesty of justice and a slap in the face of all those who believe that "customer is king."

eBay itself has become a seriously flawed and faceless company that screws a lot of good people over. I will say this, however: Overall, eBay is an excellent service and a good idea. However, eBay's unfair practice of stifling competition against PayPal, earns eBay Screw-Paypal.com's "ASSHOLE of the Month" award for September 2011.

I want to take you back with me and introduce you to what I was thinking as I was reading the "Accepted Payment Policy."


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You can see how I arrived at my decision to award eBay this honor. eBay's words are in BLACK and quoted as published on their site. Our commentary is in RED.

After you read this, you won't think this policy is fair (which is why eBay is being sued right now).

eBay Accepted Payments Policy:

So we begin. We arrive at eBay's "Accepted Payments Policy" page. We sit back, sip our wine, scratch our asses and start to read:

eBay wants to ensure that the marketplace offers buyers an array of safe, appropriate, and convenient choices for the marketplace.

(TRANSLATION: eBay wants to ensure that you use what THEY want you to use...there is almost nothing safe and convenient about PayPal when your account is locked and your money is held hostage)

As described in our safe buying guide, eBay strongly encourages sellers to offer payments through PayPal --

(NO KIDDING. eBay makes money off PayPal. eBay makes money off your auction transaction and then makes money off the PayPal transaction. How nice eBay is looking out for our interests...)

PayPal is not only convenient to use, but it also offers buyers and sellers industry leading protection against fraud, chargebacks and theft of financial data.

(Yes, PayPal is very convenient. I loved faxing over tons of documents...three times before they said they got it...having my account frozen for no reason...and over $40,000 frozen in my PayPal account for four years now...did I mention destroying my business? Fraud protection? Raise your hand if you've been burned. Protection from chargebacks? Raise your hand...PayPal normally holds the seller responsible for chargebacks. After a seller sends an item, the buyer does a chargeback and keeps the item. PayPal then debits the buyer's PayPal account leaving the seller with no money and lost merchandise)

...From time to time, as new payment services arise, eBay will evaluate whether they are appropriate for the marketplace.

(TRANSLATION: From time to time, as new payment services try to compete with us, we will evaluate how big of a threat they are to us. Why would eBay accept somebody like hyperwallet.com -- who the hell are they -- but ban a company of high caliber like Google Checkout?)

Payment services not permitted on eBay may, in fact, be outstanding services for consumers in other contexts.

("Go find your own street corner" is what they are saying)

 

eBay's evaluation relates only to whether a particular service is appropriate for the eBay marketplace. (Ya, okay, I'm listening...)

eBay will consider the following factors, among other things (like how much business the better service might take away from PayPal?) , in making its determination.

Here are eBay's "factors" in determining if a payment service is "appropriate for the marketplace." Let's play a game and see if a payment service like Google Checkout meets their requirements:

(1) Whether the payment model offers substantial financial, privacy and anti-fraud protection for buyers and sellers.

(Google has been offering such services for years. Google Checkout meets this requirement -- without the hassles of PayPal phone tag, fax-a-ding-a-ling, scripted, no answer emails and limited accounts)

(2) Whether the payment model raises the potential for confusion among eBay users, or involves incentives that may present fraud concerns.

(Google Checkout is no more complicated than PayPal. Checkout holds your hand and tells you what to do each step of the way. What incentives that may present fraud concerns are they talking about? Sounds like somebody just had to urge to throw some ambiguous bullshit into there)

(3) Whether the payment model involves precious metals, or other non-cash (points, miles, minutes, coupons, discounts) as consideration.

(In my world, gold and silver are good as -- or better than -- cash. I guess they are talking about e-gold. I say if a guy wants to sell you his TV for an ounce of gold, who is eBay to say no? As long as they get their fees, right? Google Checkout clearly passes this test. Checkout transactions are in accepted currencies).

(4) Whether the payment service has a substantial historical track record of providing safe and reliable financial and/or banking related services.

(PayPal doesn't even meet this requirement. If an objective analyst investigated PayPal her or she would find severe problems. Second, this policy itself is hypocritical. When PayPal was first offered to the general public, it was used on eBay without having a "substantial historical track record...". Ditto for eBay's old BillPoint. Google Inc. handles billions in financial transactions per year through advertisers, promoters, services, etc. Google Checkout, while over a year old, by extension is Google itself. And Google has a solid financial background)

(5) The identity, background, and other business interests of the payment service sponsor.

(Alright, eBay doesn't want its customers using a payment service run by the Mafia or the Chinese Triads. Fair enough. Google, again, is upstanding. I guess eBay has a problem then with Google's "business interests." Providing a better service that would draw more customers to it?)

(6) The license/regulatory status of the payment provider in the countries where it provides payment services.

(Again, fair enough: Make sure the payment service is licensed and has meet the strict requirements of licensure as a money transferor. Google Checkout is not licensed? They are in compliance with all license and regulatory issues)

So why doesn't Google Checkout (continuing with our example), meet the requirements? It is because eBay knows PayPal is a bad company and all the complaints and concerns about PayPal are valid. eBay doesn't want to fix PayPal (it costs too much), and PayPal doesn't want to fix itself. Real competition would topple PayPal from it's lofty #1 position.

Here is what IS permitted on eBay:

Permitted on eBay.com: Sellers may offer to accept PayPal (of course), credit cards including Mastercard/Visa/Amex/Discover Network, debit cards and bank electronic payments online for eBay purchases.

(What kind of choice is that? PayPal is the first choice, the other stuff like credit cards, debit cards, etc. are all used with PayPal the majority of the time. John Dubbins in Texarcana is not sitting at home with a Visa card terminal waiting for that payment so he can ship his old tractor tires out...he has to use PayPal!)

Sellers may also accept bank-to-bank transfers, often know as wire transfers or bank cash transfers.

(Oh you mean the ones that cost about $25 each to initiate? Nobody is going to use that. High volume, low profit businesses and their customers won't pay that. Habitual buyers and sellers won't. Ebay knows that. Again, another choice they give you that points you towards PayPal)

Sellers may accept COD (cash on delivery) or cash for in person transactions.

(Again, we are down to tenths-of-a-percent in terms of how many transactions are completed this way. COD? Who's home to pay? Cash for in person transactions? What buyer really wants to meet the seller and seller the buyer?)

eBay then goes on to list 12 other payment services that are "approved" for eBay's market place. However, many of these payment systems are not available for use in many markets and many are costly to use plus fairly complicated to learn. There are a couple of good ones there. However, this "choice" eBay has given us is no choice at all. These "alternatives" are thrown in there to push people back to PayPal.

Then looked at eBay's banned payment services list. Here is a sample:

anypay.com, EuroGiro, paypay, rupay.com, e-gold and Google Checkout.

Many of these services are rightly questionable; many are very good services that could compete with Paypal if given the chance.

But how can you lump Google Checkout with the likes of e-gold, rupay.com and anypay.com? For eBay easy:

If it were not for eBay, PayPal would have remained a tiny, obscure company. eBay's huge, high volume auction platform was perfect for a company like PayPal. PayPal dethroned eBay's BillPoint service because it was the better service at the time. eBay cannot let that happen again. If a service like Google Checkout was allowed on eBay, users would flock to it and PayPal end up in the history books like BillPoint.

It is fair -- and legal -- to protect one's business interests to a point. It is not fair -- or legal -- to monopolize an entire industry. Competition among services is what is needed to improve the market place. If PayPal wasn't such a shitty company, eBay would not have to worry about competition. If you are the best, and KNOW you are the best, you say "bring the competition on." Paypal is a flawed service and eBay knows this. eBay is the 1,000 pound gorilla protecting the glass house that is PayPal from real competition.

 


 

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