Antiques and the eBay problem continued

Had an interesting conversation with Bob Clements, one of the principal founders of UK auction site www.specialistauctions.com.

This is a site that started in direct response to the eBay model. Bob and his company place expert moderators to oversee paticular subsets of collecting, making an effort to make sure that their auctions are “vetted” and discussed if questions arise. They’ve done well for themselves in the European market, with significant gains in this country, as well. SpecialistAuctions is especially well known for its strong vintage fashion component, which can generate a huge amount of hits for its auctions.

The long and the short of it in the U.K. is this: Just like Americans, the British are made about these changes, but even more so. Everything applies the sameas far as the changes, except that in Britain eBay isn’t eliminating the gallery fee – which users pay for posting pics of items for sale – which costs them about .30 cents. Ouch.

“People are very upset,” Clements said. “Here in the UK they don’t even have the benefit of the removal of the cost for gallery images.”

The “Final Value Fee” hike is also a big deal. Clements was able to bottom line the increase, one that equals more than a 50% hike.

“(EBay is) reducing the cost of actually creating the listing,” he said, “and then they’re moving the final value fee amount from an average 5.5 percent to an average 8.7 percent.”

Ouch again.

The real kicker is that those things aren’t even what Clements sees as what’s got people riled up.

“What’s really got to people is the fact that sellers will no longer be able to give buyers neutral or negative feedback,” he said. “But buyers will be able to give sellers neutral or negative feedback.”

Besides be a keen gage on the sentiment across the pond, SpecialistAuctions is also hosting it own VBOE sale, or Vintage Blow Off Sale, with a huge amount of dealers and a more hospitable atmosphere.

Check them out above if you wish, if only to see an alternative that many are considering in the wake of these changes.

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