PeSA Australia has released a press release today, in light of yesterday’s announcement from eBay Australia regarding the move to Paypal payment options on the site eBay.com.au.

Seller anger as eBay narrows payment options

Australian eBay sellers are angry at a policy change by eBay that will push transaction costs onto its sellers.

The new policy requires all sellers to accept Paypal as a payment method, whereas payment methods until now have been at the discretion of the seller.

Phil Leahy, President of the Professional eBay sellers Alliance (PeSA) said:

“PESA appreciates that eBay is focused on improving buyer activity in the marketplace. However, we believe that the current changes are at the expense of sellers in the short term. Paypal payments will reduce the friction of completing transactions, but the limitation of payment choice, higher cost of payment processing and limited real integration between eBay and Paypal far outweighs this benefit.

The change will result in increased transaction charges, as Paypal charges are higher than some other payment methods, such as bank transfers. There are also buyers for whom Paypal is not a preferred online payment method, causing concern that this change will reduce buying activity by such buyers.

The Paypal system is owned by eBay, so eBay will realise an immediate increase in its revenue. PESA says this also raises the question whether the change may be a breach of the Trade Practices Act prohibitions on anti-competitive conduct.

Mr Leahy said that eBay should be making the changes more palatable to its key customers by using this change to improve the system:

“We believe that eBay is serious about improving buyer activity and are committed to helping sellers navigate the rapidly changing marketplace.

However, as an organisation, we believe sellers would be more encouraged if eBay provided a positive impact to these changes. For example, eBay should be able to eliminate all non-paying bidders, which are a real cost to sellers. Such a change would help offset the higher costs that sellers will incur with the new policy, and could be funded by the extra volume of business eBay will push to Paypal.”

PESA has called on eBay to announce a timetable regarding fee reductions for Australian sellers, which it believes should be put in place before the new Paypal policy takes effect on June 17, 2008.