eBay bows to ACCC pressure

The Australian version of auction website eBay will change its website and payment policies in July, removing the rule that sellers must offer PayPal as a payment option.

The Australian version of auction website eBay will change its website and payment policies in July, removing the rule that sellers must offer PayPal as a payment option.

The decision was made following an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) investigation into complaints that the auction site's mandate might be reducing the level of payment method competition in the market.

In April 2008, the online auction site notified the watchdog that it intended to enter into an exclusivity deal with PayPal, omitting most other payment methods for customers. Following this, the ACCC issued a call for submissions on the proposed move.

eBay backed down from the mandate after numerous companies objected to the idea. However, since that time eBay has required sellers to offer PayPal as one option for payment by buyers.

The ACCC today said in a statement that, following meetings with senior eBay staff, eBay had decided it would revise its accepted payments policy from 14 July, giving sellers more choice in the payment methods they can offer buyers. The revised policy requires eBay sellers to offer at least one of the following three accepted payment methods: PayPal, Paymate or merchant credit cards.

"Increasing the number of accepted safer payment methods will help eBay develop an enhanced check-out experience in line with industry best practice," eBay said in a statement on its site. "The introduction of the two new accepted safer payment methods have been discussed with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which has welcomed the initiative."