Auction Giant eBay Make Changes to Fee Structure

Melanie Gross
Jun 30, 2009
Updated • Dec 12, 2012

eBay, struggling to compete with the likes of recently announced a new fee structure in hopes to attract new sellers. Many sellers who have previously left eBay have complained that the fees were too high and when something doesn't sell, it costs more to list on eBay than the money it brings in.

According to a newsletter sent by eBay to its members, eBay will allow sellers to list their first five items each month without having to pay a listing fee. In the past, eBay has offered large discounts to bulk sellers on eBay leaving the burden of cost on the shoulders of those who list only a few items at a time. Former users have said, "because of this, what used to feel like an online garage sale where some treasures can be found has turned into just another online store."

With the new fee structure, eBay hopes to turn around sales on the site. The change allows sellers to list items without paying a listing fee for the first five items listed a month. This is aimed at bringing in new sellers and bringing back many of the sellers who have left eBay because of rate increases. In lieu of the listing fees for the first five items, eBay charges a flat 8.75% commission known on eBay as the final value fee. Those familiar with selling on eBay are probably aware of the final value fee as it is charged on all sales. Because of the flat rate final value fee offered with the first five items sold each month, sellers could end up paying more in fees by using the "first five items listed are free deal" than the traditional fee structure. When a seller surpasses the first five items listed per month, they will be subject to the insertion fees, but will benefit from the tiered final value fee system.

The reaction of the eBay community is mixed with many sellers stating that the final value fee system that goes along with the free insertion fees is "a hidden way to get more money" and "more punishment for the little guy." Following the announcement on June 16th, eBay's stock fell 1% closing at $17.23 per share. eBay stock hit its lowest point since 2001 earlier this year, closing at $10.43 per share on March 6th. The fee change has left many to wonder, will the free listings bring eBay out of its slump or will the change in the final value fee structure drive the auction giant further into the ground?


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  1. Dobie Gillis said on July 4, 2009 at 9:42 am

    eBay – what a bunch of complete morons. Didn’t anyone ever explain to the two-bit idiots that run eBay (listen up, John Donahoe), “If it’s not broken, DON’T FIX IT!”. They had the perfect site, the perfect business model, and then they decided to just flush it all down the toilet a couple years ago. Hey eBay – you stupid sh*ts – stop trying to be like Amazon! You USED TO BE BETTER than AMAZON. I bought almost everything on eBay! Now I don’t even bother, I just go to Amazon. It’s easier to find what I need, and it’s CHEAPER. Oh yeah, and I will NEVER SELL AGAIN on eBay – I’m tired of getting ass-raped of all my profits and I”m sick of having auctions cancelled for NO APPARENT REASON, or for reasons that make NO LOGICAL SENSE. These dolts need to all take some remedial classes. The first one – “Common Sense 101”. Get a freaking clue, because you obviously have NO IDEA WHATSOEVER what you’re doing. The sellers fled, and now the shareholders are bailing like rats from a sinking ship.

  2. Tim said on July 3, 2009 at 1:32 am

    Ebay is done. Time to stick a fork in it. The “good old days” are gone forever as evidenced by the lack of any legitimate competition rising to replace the traditional auction style ebay of old.

  3. a said on July 1, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    People who list on charge a lot as delivery charges. They send products that are different than mentioned and expect me to complain about it to them! They don’t let a negative feedback to be left. They expect first to speak with the seller and then leave a negative feedback!!! They are listed as PowerSeller and call themselves as trusted seller. They list items that are not there in stock and send something else when ordered. Also, they charge more for the items that are listed. One can get it cheaper if bought elsewhere. itself claims that product was sold at a high price!!!!

  4. cybrshrk said on July 1, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    ebay is imploding…and I couldn’t be happier. The original concept was awesome but it went corporate and now it must die. Anything corporate is based on greed and ebay has become one of the greediest. No more fun for the little guy…just tons of import knockoffs straight from China and Hong Kong. Goodbye ebay…I knew you when!

  5. Patricia said on June 30, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    I’m one of those sellers who thinks this is yet another way for Ebay to extract higher fees from small sellers. You don’t mention the five free listings are MANDATORY unless the seller is using a third part in order to do his listings. This ploy, along with the 21 day Paypal holds, the rolling reserves, etc. are holding up Ebay at the present time. Long ago they by passed their duty of selling exposure for a fee so that sellers can make sales and instead went wild with outrageous policies that drove sellers away and buried the remaining sellers’ listings in favor of exposure for their diamond sellers. Their main source of revenue is no longer SALES – which makes sense but now is the selling of ads and the fleecing of sellers! They stubbornly adhere to this brainless path and they are losing business, losing sales and losing sellers. They have totally earned what they are getting right now and they have also earned their reputation as the most hated company on the internet! The sales are stopping but the “noise” continues!

  6. Simone said on June 30, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Hi,this is a very good article.Yes, the listing,etc fees on Ebay,(even though I like the site),can be a little bit much at times.

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