eBay fights back over ACCC's PayPal proposal

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eBay fights back over ACCC's PayPal proposal

eBay has challenged the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) proposal to oppose the auction site’s PayPal-only policy.

Claiming that the ACCC’s proposal “undermines online consumer protection”, eBay has announced that it will delay the removal of other payment methods from the site until 15 July.

In a draft notice that was announced yesterday, the ACCC revealed concerns that a PayPal-only policy would substantially lessen competition in the provision of online payment services.

Noting that the proposed policy could benefit users through increased buyer protection insurance, ACCC Chairman Graeme Samuel said consumers should be allowed to choose which payment method is most suitable for them.

“The notified conduct denies them that choice,” he said in a statement. “Accordingly, the ACCC considers that these benefits do not outweigh the anti-competitive effects of the conduct.”

According to Inessa Jackson, who is the Public Relations Manager of eBay Australia and New Zealand, eBay believes that it is usually sellers, not buyers, who choose the payment method.

Describing face-to-face meetings that were conducted a few weeks ago between eBay, its subsidiary Paypal, and more than 400 members of the eBay community, Jackson said users have expressed “a range of views” about the proposed policy.

“Our experience tells us that buyers tend to pay the way sellers want them to,” she told iTnews. “If sellers aren’t aware of the risks of methods such as bank deposit, then they may encourage buyers to pay in ways that are proven to be less safe than PayPal.

“The changes have been designed specifically to improve members’ experiences when trading on eBay and to improve eBay’s and PayPal’s ability to protect their users during the transaction process.

“This is a step forward to strengthen consumer safety on eBay,” she said.

eBay currently is working with the ACCC in the lead up to a decision on whether or not to revoke immunity on the PayPal-only policy.

The ACCC also has invited interested parties to lodge submissions in response to the draft notice.

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