Here in the UK, I’ve frequently made a purchase on eBay just for it to arrive in Amazon packaging when the seller has put their stock into fulfilment. I’ve even been sitting in reception at eBay’s London HQ and seen parcels arriving in Amazon’s branded packaging. This is something eBay are obviously keen to nip in the bud in Australia.
eBay Australia ban Amazon FBA
eBay Australia have said that they are banning all third party fulfilment when it could be “confusing for eBay customers”. It’s not just Amazon, but it’s surely no coincidence that the edict comes out just as FBA becomes available in Australia?
You may use a third party to fulfil eBay orders on your behalf, when authorised by eBay or when:
- You are clearly identified as the seller on all packing slips and invoices, and
- You ensure the safe fulfilment of the item within the terms stated in your listing, and
- They do not fall within the “Not allowed” section below.
You may not use a third party provider to fulfil eBay orders on your behalf, when:
- The third party is another retailer or marketplace, such as Amazon. This includes third parties that are owned, directly or indirectly, by another retailer or marketplace; and
- The order is being fulfilled from within Australia.
– eBay Australia
eBay Australia ban Arbitrage
While this is clearly aimed at banning using Amazon as a fulfilment service, there is an additional hidden implication in the new eBay Australia policy – effectively banning arbitrage.
Arbitrage is when a trader spots a product on one site at a low enough offer price that they can buy it and resell on another site at profit. Often this will involve buying from a retailer or marketplace to sell on eBay. The problem is that the arbitrager often arranges a direct shipment from the retailer to the eBay customer which has a number of unwelcome effects: The consumer receives a package from an unknown retailer and the retailer could get support or returns requests from a customer they’ve never heard from… and if the retailer sells on marketplaces, if the product isn’t exactly as described and received on time this can include negative feedback and reputational damage.
It is of course totally unfair for a marketplace trader to have their reputation damaged because an arbitrage trader couldn’t cut and paste or has software which is less than optimal, but this happens on a surprisingly regular basis.
Often, these arbitrage traders won’t even reside in the countries where they trade and so avoid all local taxes and duties on the products they ‘sell’. Tax authorities around the world don’t like them and frankly marketplaces take a very dim view of arbitrage too.
eBay Australia’s new rules would appear to ban arbitrage, it will be interesting to see if this and the ban on FBA rolls out to eBay countries around the world.