Sellers Boycott eBay over New Policies

Online auction site eBay has changed the way it charges sellers a percentage of their take and will no longer allow sellers to rate buyers. A group of sellers began a weeklong boycott of the site on Monday.

STEVEN INSKEEP, host:

Now, if you buy your oil on eBay, you've got this to worry about, too, because eBay is changing the fees that it charges people to sell goods. This is part of a larger overhaul. EBay sellers are not happy about the changes, and some are so mad they are boycotting.

Cyrus Farivar reports.

CYRUS FARIVAR: EBay's own forums and sites like MySpace and YouTube have lit up over the past few weeks with angry vendors who are livid over new changes to eBay's auction practices. These include an increase in the cut eBay takes every time an item is sold. Other changes, which will take effect in May, include preventing sellers from leaving negative comments about buyers.

One of the organizers of the boycott, Valerie Lennert, who sells doll clothing on eBay from her home in Southern California, hopes that this boycott will get eBay's attention. She says she's already started to branch out to competing auction and online shopping sites, and she's pulled the bulk of her wares off of eBay in protest.

Ms. VALERIE LENNERT: Previously my inventory was 100 percent eBay. And now it'll be more like 5, 10 percent eBay. But I'm hearing the same thing from other sellers.

FARIVAR: So far, eBay stands by its changes and says it has seen no impact to its listings. However, the boycott has led other sites like Overstock auctions to try to draw away some of eBay's customers. Overstock has instituted a weeklong promotion of discounted listing fees.

While this boycott isn't the first in eBay's history - there was one as recently as 2005 - it may turn out to be the largest.

For NPR News, I'm Cyrus Farivar.

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