I was sent this media statement this morning. I was so startled I dropped my cappucino. One believes it originates from Ebay Australia, although I will check to make certain I am not passing along misinformation. This could set a precedent, dahlings, so do try to plow through it!
Media Statement – 5.00pm 13th July, 2008
Ebay Members to Seek Recourse Through the Courts
Early last week a well co-ordinated group of ebay members was instrumental in facilitating large numbers of their peers, nationally, to write to their local Ministers, Senators, The Banking Ombudsman and to ASIC and other relevant organisations to register complaints over the aggressive manner in which ebay continues to promote PayPal as its preferred payment method.
The complaints are well documented and numerous, and ranged from : ebay’s misrepresentation, suppression of other payment methods, deletion of sellers’ listings without cause, refusal to allow sellers to pass on PayPal charges and the issuing of misleading statements to further the illusion that PayPal is more secure than other established and proven payment methods.
Other complaints included PayPal’s freezing of member’s accounts, the inequity of the PayPal User Agreement and PayPal’s refusal to sign the EFT Code of Conduct - therein denying ebay members the same protection which banks and other financial institutions provide to their customers. Later in the week the group again led their peers to write en-masse, but on this occasion to their respective banks, to air concerns over ebay’s public statements that PayPal is the safest product in the EFT marketplace, implying that all other EFT transactions – and in particular Direct Deposit – are unsafe by comparison. On the basis that the ACCC concluded in its draft Notice : "The evidence available does not support the view that PayPal is the most secure method of payment or offers the best service for all transactions", ebay members sought reassurance from their banks that ebay’s assertions are incorrect and that Direct Deposit is a safe transaction method. This week the group will launch a further series of initiatives.
Mr Tony Green, the group’s spokesman on legal matters, announced today that “… as ebay’s response to member’s legitimate concerns is woefully inadequate it is now time to commence our next offensive which will be to seek remedies through the courts”. Mr Green went on to say ”Ebay’s recalcitrant behaviour has pushed us to the point that we must now use the legal system to bring ebay into line with decent trading practices.”Mr Green said, “In a conference last night the group decided unanimously that it would use legal due process to stop ebay from destroying its own site and, in the process of this, destroying the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of loyal ebay members”. He added, “We are ebay’s customers and to date they have refused to listen to us. Ebay has left us no alternative than to appeal to the courts to right the wrongs that ebay has forced upon us.”In anticipation of this offensive the group has had a team of researchers looking at legal precedents, similar legal actions and the various legal alternatives available to it.“We discussed several options available to us in prosecuting these actions,” said Mr Green “… and the possibility of a major legal firm doing the work on a no win no fee contingency basis is being examined.”
“The principles at issue here are of vital importance to the largest consumer group in Australia – 5 million people according to ebay’s own figures – only a few of these are commercially scaled businesses, most are mums and dads striving for a modest supplement to the household income, and these people do not have the financial resources to pursue fair and just treatment at the hands of ebay”, said Mr Green. “It appears that political leaders and regulators have yet to fully comprehend the significance of the issues and have not yet commenced the required corrective actions, and thus the group has stepped up its activity to rally ebay members together and to take ebay on as one. Ultimately, ebay will be made to comply with all of the laws of our country.”
Contact has been made with a University Law School as the group are exploring the possibility of engaging law students – ironically, many of them also disaffected ebay members – to research this area and begin cataloguing the huge volume of accumulated evidence assembled by ebay members. Further, there are a growing number of other ebay members offering to contribute to a fighting fund to pay for the planned actions.
“Ebay members are delighted to learn of Paymate Pty Ltd’s announcement on 11th July of it having lodged a formal complaint to the ACCC concerning ebay’s alleged breaches of s47 and s52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974,” said Mr Green, ” … and our group will now examine the merits of approaching Paymate with a view to the pooling of evidence and conducting a joint legal offensive against ebay.” “Our research to date is moving us on from the Trade Practices, and other Acts, competition sections to those sections dealing with unconscionable conduct, and breach of contract “, said Mr Green.“We need to do something dramatic, and quickly, to protect ebay members – mums, dads and businesses – from being destroyed by a company that can see no further than its own profit figure. If the anger of its loyal customers means nothing to ebay we intend to look to the courts to uphold Australian Law and to give us respite from the excesses of ebay”, said Mr Green.“Ebay believes that ebay members are isolated from each other, largely ignorant of ebay’s actions with regard to PayPal and are therefore ineffectual in complaining about or opposing ebay’s deplorable practices. For the average ebayer being channelled into paying by PayPal may seem to be a risk free and temporary thing rather than a calculated deception by ebay”, Mr Green said. ”Most ebayers are unsure how and where they should complain, and ebay are counting on this to push its policies through. We intend to expose this tactic to all ebay members.”
“The discussion boards on ebay are a good indicator of the level of anger at ebay’s new policies. There is no flocking to the boards by people who support the new policies. To the contrary they are full of horror stories and tales of anger and frustration from people who are violently opposed to them”, said Mr Green.“Between them the co-ordinators of the group have a data base of over one hundred thousand email addresses of ebay members who have purchased from us, and through other supporting sellers access to many hundreds of thousands more. If necessary we will contact every one of them to alert them to the full consequences of the disastrous policies that ebay have introduced. We will do the job that ebay is morally obliged but too frightened to do – to keep ebay members informed,” said Mr Green.
The group will conference again this evening to make decisions on its first legal offensive against ebay and to decide on a timetable.
Meanwhile, activity on the ebay site from both buyers and sellers has taken a nosedive, member’s anger and frustration continues unabated, and the level of disaffection with ebay is growing. Ebay’s only response has been to temporarily discount listing fees – again – the third such promotion in the past six weeks in a desperate move by ebay to arrest the steady decline in the number of listings.
----- Statement Ends ------
Media Enquiries : Mr Robert Vandermeer
Well, well, well.
Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog