Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Then eBay . . . Blinked

eBay Australia has announced that it is withdrawing its application for a waiver from the Trade Practices Act 1974. eBay has apparently realized that despite all the bluster, threats and arrogant statements, in Australia the law is the law and it applies to eBay too.

It is my opinion that eBay is concerned that the current accepted payments policy

eBay requires all sellers to offer PayPal as a payment choice on along with other permitted payment methods of their choosing.
together with the Misleading and Discouraging Payments Policy might be ruled contrary to the Act and is hoping to avert this unintended consequence by withdrawal.

On calling the ACCC Thursday afternuoon (their time) I was informed that anyone can file a complaint and that the ACCC will investigate. The ACCC has the power to prosecute when it finds violations. The complaint form is here

Any complaint should reference:
1. eBay supplies services (listings) on condition that the purchaser (eBay seller) buy financial services from a third party (PayPal) and refuses to allow listings if the seller will not agree to that condition.
2.This appears to be third line forcing contrary to Section 47 of the Trade Practices Act 1974

eBay originally stated that the PayPal only in Australia Plan would be implemented in two stages. From their notification:
Specifically, under the Project it is proposed that:
(1) effective on and from 21 May 2008, eBay will amend its User Agreement and alter the functionality of the eBay Site such that all sellers (including both new and existing sellers) will be required to offer PayPal as one of their accepted payment methods;

Here is the definition of third line forcing from Section 47 of the Act:
Third line forcing is a specific form of exclusive dealing prohibited outright by the Trade Practices Act. It is not subject to the substantial lessening of competition test. It involves the supply of goods or services on condition that the purchaser buys goods or services from a particular third party, or a refusal to supply because the purchaser will not agree to that condition.

What do you think?

Y'all come back

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OT: Happy Independence Day to you.

On Topic: The Aussies, I'm sure see the signficance of the differences in the hide-the-nut shell game eBay is trying to pull with their withdrawal and part statement of fact. Hopefully significant players local to Australia will point out the fact as reinforcement to the ACCC.