AT Inbox: What effect will eBay’s paperless payment policy have on you? (Part 4)

It is too bad you can’t short this stock right now. When this hits ever body’s radar screen in late October, I forecast the volume on E-Bay will drop significantly. I used the Pay Pal system until I went over their arbitrary dollar limit, then I couldn’t use it without being "verified". I wouldn’t trust these people with an ice cube in Antarctica. I will not give them my bank account information. Someone will take their place or I’ll go back buying at shows and contacting people I have dealt with in the past.

After October, it’s "Goodbye E-Bay" for me.


Hi, I have been a faithful "eBayer" for years and I tell everyone that is inquiring or interested in getting started the same thing. Set up ONE bank account that is COMPLETELY SEPARATE from all your other household accounts with NO link of any kind to any checking, charge cards, debit cards, etc. ONLY use that single checking acct. for your PayPal. Once you get selling and accumulate funds into this new account NEVER let the PayPal balance exceed $150.00 (or whatever is your comfort level). This way if there is ever a problem with security, etc. there are NO links to any of your other accounts and if ever a problem with PayPal you can never lose more than your LOW balance. It has worked great for me and is the ONLY way I do it!!

Buffalo, NY

As a SMALL eBay seller, this is GREAT!!  Checks and MO’s are time consuming and because of the check holds, the receipt of the actual funds are considerably delayed.  I don’t mind paying the fees to receive my funds promptly.  Although some of you might not understand – cash flow is important.  For all of you who don’t like it and are complaining – go to Craig’s list.

As a buyer – I ONLY buy through PayPal.

Hi, I am a seller and buyer on Ebay.  I don’t like this at all.  Some of my winners will only pay by check.  Plus, sellers have to pay a fee, for taking paypal.  They are the real winners and it seems like people that only want to use checks, or money orders, will be out of the game.

Thank you,

Hi – at first I wasn’t too happy about this decision, but if I put just one of my credit cards aside for use on eBay only, that would make sense for me.  I never ever am at "my limit" on my credit cards and don’t intend to change.  My only collectables are antique postcards for a certain section of LI NY so I’m not the typical eBay buyer. 


Thanks for the notification on this – I hadn’t heard anything about it. 


As a seller and buyer on eBay for 10 years I think this new idea of paypal only as payment is as bad as the no negative feedback idea already in use.  I find it a conflict of interest as eBay owns paypal.  Paypal definitely speeds up the transaction but I have also found that they can refund a buyers payment without the seller consent. 

I had an overseas purchase and had the copy of the customs slip as proof of mailing but they still pulled the money out of my account.  I was out the money and the item.   I had online repeatedly tried contact someone about it and got generic automated responses.  Even tried phoning but we all know that is a waste of time.  Last time I checked,  other forms of commerce take cash and checks.  Welcome to the world of Ebay!

Gibson, NC

I have a PayPal account that I use to pay for eBay purchases, and I also accept PayPal in my online shop on Ruby Lane.  I like the ease of making PayPal payments for my Internet purchases, however as a shop owner, I know that I would lose sales if PayPal was the only form of payment that I accept.

My monthly sales are not sufficient to warrant a merchant’s credit card account, so if I want to accept credit card payments, PayPal is my only option right now.  I have many customers who don’t trust PayPal and many of my male customers use Money Orders for some reason.  I still accept checks, MO and well concealed cash in my online store in addition to PayPal and feel that offering a variety of payment options is a smart tactic for any business owner.  In fact, I do better from buyers who pay with the old traditional payments because there is no fee taken out for processing the payment, so it helps my bottom line.

I understand that eBay is directing money into its coffers by this move, but it is penalizing sellers with more fees that undercut any profitability left in the eBay marketplace.

Carolyn Martin

I hate it.  The Paypal fees are quite high, and keep in mind that you pay ebay/paypal a percentage of the total amount received, not just the sell price.  So, we are paying a % of the shipping cost, also.  I’ve been selling on eBay since April of 1999, and have generally enjoyed the experience.  But their greed keeps increasing.  I hope an alternative auction site grows large enough to be of real value to us sellers. 

Thanks for hosting this.

Steve Fry
Bedford, NH
21jewels on eBay

As a buyer and seller, I have set up a checking account at one of several local banks that offers free checking with a $25. deposit. This way, Paypal does not have access to any of my personal accounts.
From the seller perspective, accepting Paypal is easier than having to run to the Post Office every day if I am expecting a check (with high gas prices, usually only go two times per week), then having to wait for the personal check to clear (most banks post it immediately to your account, so when you check on-line you have no idea if it has "really" cleared, which means you have to wait 4-5 days and then call the bank directly. Additionally, some non-Paypal customers never leave you check out information, so you do not know if they will pay or not, or if the check got lost in the mail.
From a buyer perspective, it is easier for me to use Paypal, once again with that dedicated eBay checking account. I will not send a personal check because I do not want anyone to have my banking information, so if I buy from someone who does not accept Paypal I have to go to the Post Office and spend extra to get a Money Order.
In the end Paypal is easier for me both as a buyer and seller-just make sure you have a separate account for your transactions.
I will admit it is not a perfect system especially from the seller’s perspective, they usually take the buyer’s side no matter what the circumstances.


Hi Robyn,
I do not use Paypal, and have no intentions of doing so. If I am unable to pay via check or money order, I will not bid or buy the item. Ebay has one hell of a nerve to try and force buyers to use Paypal. It will prove to be yet another failure and disaster for eBay. I am sick of their greed and stupidity. It is a great time now to short Ebay stock going forward 6 months, as Ebay business is going to fall off a cliff. In this economic climate especially, sellers should be willing to take payment in pennies if necessary to make the sale.

Many people who shop Ebay do not have credits cards or have bad credit issues where the use of Paypal is impossible. There is a large segment of the population who cash their weekly paycheck and only use money orders to pay bills, etc, and who do not have bank accounts. This is just one more example of Ebay screwing the people who make it money.

I for one will no longer buy anything on Ebay once the Paypal only system is implemented. I would estimate that over the past year I have spent a few hundred thousand dollars on Ebay, and bid up other items that I did not get, by many many thousands of dollars. NO MORE! 
George K. Arnold

Hi, Ebay hasn’t yet informed me of any new policy to disallow checks, money orders, and cash as payments, but even if your report is accurate, such a policy cannot possibly be enforced, and most buyers and sellers will continue to transact by whatever method they find appropriate. 


I totally agree with your article and can’t bid on paypal items since e-bay blocked my account several years ago when I couldn’t remember my password. In this day and time of credit problems and bankrupt- ices, I think it is absurd to require buyers to incur more credit so paypal can make more money. Since E-bay is basically a monopoly, are they governed by any antitrust or other federal laws. Could a class action lawsuit be filed to prevent implementation of the paperless policy?

Richard Hawkins
Altoona, Pa.

I, for one, have reached breaking point with this latest tactic from Ebay to suck any profit I may make away from me, with this new policy regarding no checks or money orders.

 After the end of October when this outrageous new policy comes into effect, I will no longer be offering anything on Ebay.

EBay’s fees, which currently amount to between 8 and 9% of my gross all told, will now increase due to Paypal costs to between 12 and 13% of the GROSS including shipping.

 I supposedly live in a Country that prides itself on freedom of choice-apparently this does not apply if you are an Ebay seller. For a mere 10% I can have my local auctioneer come to my house and take my stuff, and send me a check in 2 weeks-no photographing, listing, dealing with stupid emails, no hours spent in my basement packing and shipping.
Ebay tried this move in Australia where it was firmly squashed by the equivalent of the Federal Trade Commission there its was ruled on and declared as "anti-competitive".
I have watched with interest as Ebay shares have sunk into the toilet-I predict in the first quarter of next year they will wish they could reach as HIGH as the toilet, once the effect of Sellers leaving in droves reflects itself in the quarterly reports.

Paypal is nothing but a nightmare for a seller. People pay at auctions end and the next day are emailing saying "where’s my stuff? I paid immediately!!". Never mind the fact you may have had 50 items close that night. Let’s also not forget the possibility of chargeback’s for up to 6 months later, and Paypals legendary refusal to stand behind sellers in times of controversy. I personally have experienced Paypal wriggling out of covering me when there was an issue once.

 Let’s examine the "buyer protection for up to $2000!" that Ebay pushes at every buyer. What the fine print says that they will attempt to recover funds on your behalf as long as there are still funds in the sellers account to retrieve! And forget any notion of them kicking in the extra, up to the $2000 mark. The reality is that Paypal doesn’t cover you one little bit.

 I only wish that ehammer had picked their time to go against Ebay a little more wisely. If you read the Ebay forums, in particular Seller central, sellers are scrambling to try and find an alternative site to Ebay. The buzzword at the moment is can only hope that they jump right on this golden opportunity.

 I personally am done, done, done! with Ebay-I refuse to be bullied into accepting Paypal only. It adds insult to grievous injury bearing in mind this nonsensical DSR system and the taking away of a sellers right to rate a transaction with honesty.

Sue Mesick
soon to be former Ebay seller

I was interested to read your column regarding eBay’s policy change concerning forms of payment. Since 1999 I have been selling on eBay and have a 100 % positive feedback of 1052. I’ve never accepted payment other than personal check or money order as I have never liked their heavy-handed tactics regarding PayPal. They have presented their payment policy change as protecting their buyers which is a dishonest reason. They own PayPal and this is solely a move to increase their revenues and enhance the bottom line.

As my own personal protest I have ceased to buy or sell with them. In these nine years I have never had a problem with customers paying by personal check or when I have paid for an item by check. I feel as if we have saved money; although I am amazed by the number of winning bidders who have opted to pay by money order.

In this Sunday’s paper under the caption of MAIL VOLUME FALLS AS ECONOMY SAGS there appeared the following, "The economic slowdown means business is off sharply for the post office. Postmaster General John E. Potter said mail volume could decline by as much as 9 billion items this fiscal year. Potter thinks the Postal Service could face a loss of more than $2 billion."

We know they have been impacted negatively by the increase in gas prices and I was told by a knowledgeable postal employee that they were seriously considering eliminating Saturday delivery. I’m sure they are probably not aware of eBay’s policy change and what a negative effect that will have on their money order sales. Perhaps we should all let the postmaster know? With their clout they may be able to discourage eBay from putting this change into effect in November. You might want to advise your readers to contact their local postmaster and also the Postmaster General.

Hi, I agree with your feelings about Ebay.

I’ve long seen them moving in this direction and I’m surprised they aren’t breaking some sort of trade law seeing as they are getting money from so many directions. It’s sort of like owing your soul to the company store.
I stopped shopping or selling on ebay 2 years ago when I needed more than just my checking account to back up my account there through Paypal. I had to have a separate bank account that they would have the direct ability to take money out of . Sort of a reverse direct deposit! (supposedly if they felt an issue was unresolved with payment somewhere). And I was only selling a few used books for a few bucks!
I felt this was way too nosy and gave them way too much power.
Good luck with this endeavor. I’ll be interested to see how others feel about this.
Meredith Peters

While I dislike that fact the Ebay is going to control the way buyers pay for their purchases and I feel that many people don’t trust paypal or electronic payments the fact remains that paypal and elecronic payments are safer then sending money or checks in the mail. You said that you don’t like giving someone the fast track to your checking or savings account. That is exactly what you do when you send a check to someone you don’t know. All checks have your name, address and the account number on them.  Paypal on the other hand only gives them an email address, they still need a password and if your smart they still need the ID protection number if you have this activated on your account.
Times change, I remember the days when you could pay for you items at the local store by picking up a blank check off the counter and filling in your information. We must change the way we do things as the times change.
Kevin Henry

I have been a seller and buyer, mostly seller on eBay for almost 7 years. I have seen fees go up and changes I didn’t like. But as the price of everything else goes up I guess eBay has to also.

I am not sure about last year, 2007, but I know that eBay made over $3 Billion in 06.I don’t know if they ever published last years income. You would think that they could be satisfied with that income, but over the last 2 years fees have gone up on eBay as well as their sister organization, PayPal. With a combined percentage of close to 15% you have to sell something that is profitable. I guess it is a way of keeping the junk off of their site.

This thing of not excepting money orders or Cashier checks is a small problem, at least for me. I don’t get very many of them, maybe 5% of my sales. Most people like the PayPal system because they want what they buy ASAP. If sending a cashiers check or money order it can take awhile because although the Postal Service keeps going up on their fees they sure aren’t delivering any faster. As far as personal checks I haven’t taken them for a couple of years. I got burnt a couple of times and stopped that junk.

The best thing to do and I tell the people that I set-up on eBay that they should create a separate account for their PayPal business. I have never had a problem with it but it better to be safe than sorry.

Have a great day.


I agree that eBay is making an error in judgment. I was head of operations for a smaller catalog company for 7 years. A catalog runs mainly on credit card transactions, however, we also processed over 100 purchases daily that were check and money order. Our small company would have lost revenue had we eliminated this avenue of payment choice. EBay will lose revenue, in my opinion.

I have been a buyer and seller on eBay since late 2003. I don’t agree with their fees either, they have become excessive over the years. They want us all to start with a low opening bid "to generate interest and competitive bidding" so they say. I have lost money on several items by the time eBay and paypal have finished with my transactions using the "low opening bid" they promote. I have a few more items from closing my area in an antique mall to dispose of and then I’m done. I don’t see any problem being a buyer if I really need the item and this is the only place I can find it.

When eBay decided that sellers had no ability to leave negative feedback on a buyer that was bad enough! If a buyer opens a dispute in paypal for non-receipt of item, the seller has no way of responding to paypal to give shipping and tracking information. We lose the money, and only can hope the buyer is honest and closes the dispute when the item is received.

EBay is taking a thriving business and "fixing" it into the ground.

Betty Rader

It is just another way for e-bay to scram more fees from all who use the site.  By time all fees are paid e-bay is the only winner in the process.

I sell on eBay and have always taken check (cashier), money orders and of course paypal.  Given the economy, many people will not do business with credit cards and do not desire to use Pay Pal. This will cost the seller more $’s in fees, so they will have to raise their prices and will probably have less sales.  Feel this is just another way for Ebay to rake in more dollars. If I am shopping and a store does not take my check, there are 10 more down the street that will.  Think the whole structure of Ebay has gone downhill in the last few months with the constant changes which I do not feel have any benefit or protection for the sellers.  I don’t think you’re over reacting.

I have been selling American pottery on eBay since 1978. Mostly McCoy, Shawnee or Hull. I consider myself a collector first and a dealer second. EBay has been useful and helpful to enable me to buy at auctions or buy out other collection and sell what I don’t need or duplicates. I have accepted money orders or personal checks and have never lost a dime doing so. I cannot believe that a major company traded on the stock exchange would even think of dictating how its customers can pay for items generated by their services… It’s sheer insanity… Since eBay owns pay pal I also wonder if some kind of trading laws are involved… EBay has forgotten where their revenue comes from. No matter how many buyers they have what will they sell them if they don’t have sellers? . They will lose millions of sellers like me… low volume but loyal and dependable
They have good reason, of course, to work to increase pay pals income. But to force it on those who don’t want it is…. I can’t think of the word. Where is Meg when we need her?

Larry McKinley

I have always accepted personal check or money order only for what I sell on e-bay.   Will I be forced to use paypal now as a method of receiving pmt?


E-bay has provided me the luxury of shopping of hard to find items without leaving the house. When they change to an entire electronic payment system they will lose me as customer.