EBay offering ‘free’ listings to lure more sellers

Follow us on Twitter @AJCBiz

EBay is taking a page out of the wireless phone competition playbook and simplifying its rate structure in an apparent bid to be more competitive with Amazon.com.

A big part of what’s different is the word “free.”

Currently, eBay charges sellers a listing, or insertion, fee per listing, per category, regardless of the quantity of items being sold. If the item sells, you’re charged a final value fee. The value fees are calculated based on the total amount of the sale and are charged per item. Fees for eBay Motors vehicle listings and eBay Real Estate listings are calculated differently.

Starting May 1, eBay is offering up to 2,500 free listings a month if you have an eBay Stores subscription. Subscriptions cost from $16 to $200 a month depending the plan, and final fees will range from between 4 percent and 9 percent. Without a subscription, starting April 16, sellers will get 50 free listings a month and pay one flat 10 percent fee when an item sells.

CNET.com notes the fees are designed to be more competitive with Amazon.com, which sells merchandise directly to consumers and also lets anyone – individuals, small businesses or larger retailers – sell almost anything on its platform. While eBay charges insertion fees, Amazon takes a small percentage of the sale price of items sold on its website, usually between 6 percent and 15 percent, according to CNET.

An eBay rep told CNET its new pricing structure “is part of eBay’s ongoing commitment to be the most competitively priced commerce platform in the U.S. today.”

What’s been your selling experience on eBay, and will the new push of “free” listings prompt you to do more business on the auction site?

15 comments Add your comment

Just me

March 20th, 2013
10:30 am

While this change is better, its not much. I do not have a store with ebay, but I have had up to 20 items listed at one time. The listing fee is usually just 50 cents anyway, but there’s often promotional periods where that is waived. So no big deal there. I do however appreciate the new flat rate fee of 10% since I have sold items that can result in up to 15% in fees. The real kicker is that for certain protections, most buyers want to use Paypal (which I also love) however Paypal also has it’s own set of fees. So to sell something on ebay, you pay ebay AND paypal even though ebay owns paypal. Its the cost of doing business in this manner so I get it and I’m not complaining because I refuse to turn to craiglist or something of that sort in order to run my side business. But, under this change, I would still consider it expensive to do business with them.


March 20th, 2013
12:05 pm

I sell on ebay regularly . You can already list the first 50 items per month for free. 10 percent final value fee is a decrease in certain categories and an increase in others. Ebay has tried to spin this as lowering fees to become competitive. I’m sure their analysts have done the math in advance and they are probably going to increase profits.


March 20th, 2013
12:11 pm

Christopher, I wish you would get your facts straight. eBay has been offering 50 free listings a month to non-store sellers for years. Free listings are NOT new.

Amazon only allows most sellers to sell items that are ALREADY IN THEIR CATALOG in a few select categories. The idea that “anyone can sell almost anything” on Amazon is so misleading, it’s a lie.

The truth is that eBay lowered its final value fees on fixed-price listings from 12% to 10% and increased the fees on auction-style listings from 9% to 10%, so they cost the same now. Yawn. The idea that eBay did this to compete with Amazon is pure speculation, and probably not even the main reason. Sellers have been diversifying their platforms to include sites like Etsy and Webstore, and even leaving eBay entirely for years. This and other changes announced at the same time are part of a long overdue effort to stop sellers from going anywhere else, including Amazon.


March 20th, 2013
12:33 pm

Any Amazon.com online purchase can be paid for with a credit card, not so on EBay. Many people don’t or won’t use Pay Pal for different reasons. Until EBay understands that they’ll play second fiddle.


March 20th, 2013
1:05 pm

@Funkisha, I just got off the phone with paypal and you are sooo right. I have shopped on ebay for years, but its just getting to be a headache. I am getting on the Amazon train, after all, they are just across the bridge from where I live!


March 20th, 2013
1:08 pm

It’s really a tight profit margin on Ebay. You pay at least 10% to Ebay, and at least another 10% to Paypal. Add your shipping costs and time, you need to be at 200% to clear at profit. Not easy when the reason everyone goes to Ebay is to buy things cheap.


March 20th, 2013
1:16 pm

Ebay sellers also have to pay a percentage of their shipping charge also. There was not any mention of changes to that in the newsletter to sellers. Ebay sellers pay a percentage of the selling price and a percentage of the their shipping charge to ebay. Sellers are required to accept Paypal payments and pay a percentage to Paypal on both the selling price and the shipping charge.

john rofrano

March 20th, 2013
1:52 pm

something about the goose that laid the golden egg. ebay is trying really hard to kill it.

their whole model is so geared to the buyers’ favor and the sellers’ detriment already. bottom line on this is that the final value fee increases from 9% to 10%. add another 2.9% for paypal [mandatory] and one wonders if there is not a better alternative to ebay. as an aside, the 12.9% is also paid on shipping fees.

free listings are nothing new. i list about 200 items each month and i don’t pay any listing fees.

start a discussion on the feedback system if you want controversy. sellers can only give buyers positive feedback. buyers can give sellers positive, neutral or negative feedback. the five star rating system is a joke. many sellers do not understand it and many others don’t care how it impacts the buyer. report abuse to ebay and they do nothing. report buyers who don’t follow up by paying for purchases that they made and ebay ususually does nothing. i had a situation where i said in my listing that i would pay any actual shipping cost over $8. actual shipping came to $12.08 so i paid $4.08. The buyer gave me 2 stars out of 5 possible. one more idiot like him and i can lose my top seller status.

i hear that golden goose being slaughtered.


March 20th, 2013
2:33 pm

I used to sell regularly on eBay – that ended they day they began to take a cut of my shipping charges. I’ll never go back, ever.


March 20th, 2013
3:25 pm

I used to sell on Ebay but just got fed up with sellers having little protection from repeat bad buyers. Buyers can give sellers negative feedback but sellers can’t give buyers negative feedback anymore. That is when things really got bad. I have had some bad experiences with buyers and all they get is a strike that no seller can see beforehand. It is just not worth it to deal with all the hassle of Ebay and there crazy policies.


March 20th, 2013
3:30 pm

Selling old junk that cost me nothing is still better on Ebay. You have to be a pro-seller (cost more $$) to sell items on Amazon that are not already in their catalog. So what if Ebay takes a cut – most of the stuff I’m selling cost me nothing anyways.

Rick James

March 21st, 2013
8:40 pm


If you dont want to use PayPal just go to Kroger and buy yourself an Ebay gift card.Things would be different if Ebay didnt own PayPal.


March 22nd, 2013
10:16 am

I finally closed my little eBay business, even though I enjoyed it and had a 100% rating. When you are trying to sell little nickel and dime items as I was, the associated fees became prohibitive for me. I just kept getting zapped everywhere I turned—by the low winning bids (that ‘no reserve’ will get you every time), by the fees, by my postage calculations, by Paypal fees, it just seemed there was always more going out than coming in.


March 22nd, 2013
4:54 pm

RC is correct. Ebay is all about taking care of buyers at the sellers expense. Buyers can post negative feedback and the seller has no recourse. In addition, I have listed many items that other sellers have up on Ebay and my listing is removed because it violates Ebay listing rules. I go back to the category and those sellers still have the same item that I was selling. I listed an authentic, appraised autographed sports item 3 times and it was removed for being fake. Obviously some seller would turn me in for a violation they had no knowledge of. I hate ‘em but still use them for items I have no money in, so it’s all profit.


March 24th, 2013
10:02 am

Sounds like a good idea! Hope the majority benefits. Seems that it will help most ?