eBay to lower sellers' fixed-price fees

The move, to take effect in mid-September, is intended to help eBay compete better with online retail rivals such as Amazon.com.

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eBay will reduce the fees it charges to sellers to list fixed-price items, the online auctioneer is set to announce Wednesday.

The move, which will take effect September 16, is intended to help eBay compete better with online retail rivals such as Amazon.com, as well as reduce its dependency on auctions.

Under the new pricing plan, sellers who offer fixed-price items in eBay's "Buy It Now" format will pay only 35 cents to list an item for 30 days, a 70 percent reduction in upfront fees. The online auctioneer is also expected to announce that most customers will no longer be allowed to pay by check or cash--only a credit card or eBay's PayPal payment service will be accepted to complete transactions, according to an article in The New York Times.

eBay also plans to launch a revamped search engine to give buyers looking for a specific item options to buy at a fixed price or via auction, according to a Reuters story.

"I'd say this is the most fundamental change we've made, ever, to the marketplace," Lorrie Norrington, president of eBay marketplace operations, told Reuters. "It's a huge shift from where we've been."

San Jose, Calif.-based eBay reported in July that second-quarter net earnings grew to $460.3 million, or 35 cents a share, up from $375.8 million a year ago. But the boost came largely from sales growth in the company's PayPal division; transactions at eBay's Marketplace grew only 8 percent, compared with double-digit growth in previous quarters.