eBay Australia making even fewer friends over forced PayPal

eBay Australia isn’t exactly making friends by requiring its sellers to use eBay-owned PayPal to receive their money. No more direct bank deposits, cheques, money orders or your own card merchant account. I’ve written about this twice for Crikey [1, 2], but today there’s more news: the Reserve Bank might weigh in against eBay.

Here’s how I first described the scenario:

Imagine that you’re Alice, proud owner of the new shoe shop at your local Westfield. Bob is buying a pair of brogues. As Bob opens his wallet, suddenly Frank Lowy appears. “There’s some terrible con-men around,” he intones gravely. “Let me handle that.” He grabs Bob’s cash and pockets a fiver. “I’ll give you the rest next Wednesday,” he says, and disappears.

Alice, understandably, is mightily pissed off.

Sellers on eBay have been mightily pissed off overnight too, because the world’s biggest online marketplace has just pulled the same stunt. From 21 May, all eBay sellers must offer PayPal as a payment method. And from 17 June — unless the buyer is physically collecting the item from you or for a few big-ticket categories like real estate and motor vehicles — they must pay you via PayPal.

Now as Alex Willemyns pointed out, Alice could just set up shop elsewhere. Bob could choose another shoe store. However since Westfield and eBay both dominate their respective markets, that could well be a poorer choice.

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I have not disappeared

No, there is no technical error. I really haven’t posted anything since Monday. Been otherwise occupied. I intend to fix that this afternoon with a mashup of my recent Crikey pieces about eBay Australia forcing its sellers to use PayPal — which they own. Meanwhile if you’re desperate for your daily dose of Stilgherrian, you could always follow my Twitter feed.