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eBay sellers start weeklong boycott

eBay sellers start boycott of auction site to protest higher sales commissions and a policy that prohibits them from commenting on buyers.

You might see fewer items on eBay this week. Sellers angry over higher fees and other policy changes are launching a weeklong boycott of the auction site in protest.


EBay recently announced plans to raise the commission sellers have to pay for items they sell, which goes into effect on Wednesday. The company also is banning sellers from offering any feedback on buyers, good or bad.

eBay says some sellers were abusing the system, retaliating against customers who leave them negative feedback and making some buyers afraid to leave honest comments. Sellers argue that the change means they can't keep track of scammers.

These changes have sellers up in arms. They say raising sales commissions and silencing feedback shows how little they are valued, according to a video an eBay seller posted on YouTube advertising the boycott.

Despite 41 consecutive quarters of revenue increases, sales growth has slowed at eBay. Last month, long-time Chief Executive Meg Whitman announced she was stepping down at the end of March to make way for fresh leadership; John Donahoe, head of eBay Marketplaces, will replace her. The company faces stiff competition from and other sites.

This isn't the first eBay protest, and it won't likely be the last.

"We're not surprised (by the boycott). We made a lot of changes to the site that impact a lot of the sellers," said eBay spokesman Jose Mallabo. "We've been through a lot of cycles of things like this. (Sellers) are as impassioned with the things they're not happy with, as they are the things they are exuberant about."

Mallabo says the changes the sellers are protesting are good for the company, and sellers too, in the long term.

eBay doesn't outright dismiss all customer complaints. In response to seller complaints, the company last week cut the listing fee imposed on books, movies, music, and video games offered on the site.

The boycott is scheduled to run from Monday to February 25.