No PayPal mandate at new Trading Post auction site

Sensis announced today that its classifieds publication, Trading Post, has launched an online auction service for Australian users. And, unlike eBay's PayPal mandate, the service will offer a number of payment methods.

Sensis announced today that its classifieds publication, Trading Post, has launched an online auction service for Australian users. And, unlike eBay's PayPal mandate, the service will offer a number of payment methods.

Sensis — Telstra's advertising and publishing arm — unveiled the auction service today, with CEO Bruce Akhurst claiming that users are "up in arms" over the decision by eBay to employ PayPal exclusively for payments, and quoted a recent Newspoll which found that 95 per cent of respondents said it was important to have a choice of payment methods when buying online.

Akhurst told ZDNet.com.au a number of payment methods will be available to users of the auction site, including pay on delivery, cheque and money order payments, Paymate and PayPal.

"eBay is no longer prepared to endorse payment methods that result in a higher chance of a dispute," said Alistair MacGibbon, director of trust and safety for eBay.

"It will be interesting to see if Sensis will be offering any type of consumer protection, considering that security is a major concern for Australian internet shoppers," he said.

According to Sensis CEO Akhurst, the company will be using its standing relationship with Australia Post to create a "verified trader" initiative, requiring a standard 100 point ID check which will exclude those without an Australian residential or business premises address.

"In 2007, Australian eBay shoppers that used PayPal were almost four times less likely to enter into an online dispute than those paying by bank deposit," said eBay's MacGibbon. "So from 17 June sellers will only be able to offer PayPal on listings or pay on pick up."

The online auction giant attracted the attention of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) with the move towards allowing only one payment method on the Australian site, with the watchdog finalising industry and public submissions on the issue earlier this month.

In its response to the ACCC based on the submissions, eBay concluded that an exclusivity agreement with PayPal will not lead to any "substantial lessening" of competition in the Australian marketplace, and that in fact, any "lessening of competition" as a result of the deal "would be clearly outweighed by the significant public benefits that would be likely to result from it".