Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New PayPal Fees - What Next?????

PayPal Adds Fees, Sneakily

By Jared Newman

Aug 7, 2009 12:22 pm

When it comes my personal finances, I like to stay informed, so imagine my dismay when PayPal quietly tacked on fees for a service I'd previously enjoyed for free.

As a writer, a significant chunk of my earnings come through PayPal. For all parties involved, it's faster and more convenient than sending a check. I hold a personal account, rather than a premium one, which means I previously didn't have to pay any fees as long as the money was transferred directly from another PayPal user's account balance.

But when money started rolling in last month, I noticed that a fraction of it (2.9 percent, plus 30 cents) wasn't making the jump from my employers' accounts to my own. In June, PayPal had started charging for payments classified as "Goods" or "Services," even if you have a personal account. It's possible to send money for free as a personal transfer, but this is only intended for friends and family.

As I explained to Charlotte Hill, PayPal's PR manager, the fees themselves don't really bother me. PayPal can run its business as it pleases, and I have every right to take my business elsewhere. What's really infuriating is that there was no warning about the new fees, and no notification once they were instated.

Hill protested. An e-mail did go out, she said, and there were news articles and a post on PayPal's official blog.

Well, not really. Coinciding with the new fees, PayPal started allowing people with premium accounts to make personal transfers for free. That's great for users who do a lot of business on eBay, for instance, because they no longer have to pay for transfers to friends and family. Thing is, that's all PayPal talked about when the changes took place. The news articles Hill cites make no mention of new fees.

I did get an e-mail along the lines of what Hill showed me, but it says nothing about changes to the fee structure for the sale of goods and services. If you want real confirmation that the fees changed in early June, you'll have to look for grumblings on random Internet forums. (Of course, this is nothing compared to some of the previous controversies PayPal has stirred up among customers.)

"We didn't want to make a huge formal communication out of this pricing change, because we weren't really adding any fees, and we were hoping it would be a more useful experience for people," Hill said.

Maybe, but in any situation where you're taking more money from customers - even if it's a small amount - a formal communication is what they deserve. Otherwise, you're just being underhanded

Thursday, August 20, 2009

EBay's New Photo "Theft" Policy - Good Grief

Here is an article I read - verbatim. Here is the link if you would rather look at it directly:


Starting on August 31st, eBay is going to institute a new policy where photos you upload to any listing are put into a "catalog" of online images that any eBay user can then use for their own listings. The default setting for this is opt-in, which is a problem if you, like me, consider your photographs your property and want to control how they are used and by whom. A copyright notice is posted with a link to your user profile, but no additional information is given, and the link is quite small.

Since the default setting is opt-in, and eBay has not sent messages out about this, a lot of people are going to be caught flat-footed by this new policy.

Again, the default for this setting is YES, you have opted in. Meaning "Yes, I will allow eBay to make my photos available for anyone to use."

If you do not want eBay to make the photos you upload to all of your future auctions available to other users in a sort of catalog process, you need to go change your settings now, before August 31st. If you opt out after then, any photos you upload between the 31st and when you opt out will still be eligible for inclusion in their "catalog."

In order to opt out of this so-not-okay process, do the following. I've broken it down exhaustively. Hopefully your eBay pages look like mine.

1) Go to your eBay summary page ("My eBay").

2) On the left-hand side, there are three tabs that say "Activity," "Messages," and "Account." Hover over the "Account" tab.

3) A drop-down list will appear. Move your mouse down to "Site Preferences" and click.

4) You will be taken to a page with a list of site options for selling, shipping, and listing. About the sixth from the top is "Share your Photos." Click on the word "show" on the right hand side next to this option.

5) The box will expand, and if you are opted in, "yes" will appear. If you are opted out, "no" will appear. A small "edit" link will appear below the "show" link. If you want to change the settings, click "edit."

6) You will be taken to a new page with the following text: If you'd like to opt-out of this program, please do so by checking this box and clicking the "submit" button below.(If you opt-out before August 31, 2009, none of your photos will be considered for inclusion in this program unless you opt back in at a later time. If you opt-out after August 31, 2009, any photos we select for inclusion in this program prior to your opt-out may continue to be used in the catalog)

7) If you want to opt out of the program, check the ticky box on the left-hand side next to the text, then go down and click the "submit" button.

8) You will go back to the settings screen you were just on, and there will be a green checkmark and a confirmation message. Go down to the "Share your Photos" option again and click "show." Your setting should now appear as "no."

I am sure that this will be a useful feature for some people, for some items, but the automatic opt-in is not okay with me at all, as I don't want my photographs used to illustrate someone else's auction for a different item, not for any reason whatsoever.

I thought you should all be warned. Please spread the word. This is a slimy, underhanded thing to do, and I hope it bites them in the ass.

ETA: It appears that this might not be affecting everyone, but I urge you to go check your settings anyway. Mine was defaulted to "yes." Maybe it's a browser thing, I don't know, but y'all should probably go make sure.