eBay drops PayPal requirement after ACCC talks

Consumer watchdog welcomes decision by popular e-commerce site

An investigation by the consumer watchdog has led to popular online shopping website, ebay.com.au, backing down from forcing sellers to offer PayPal.

After receiving complaints from eBay users the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) launched the investigation to examine whether the e-commerce site's Australian and New Zealand operations had "engaged in conduct that had the effect of, or was likely to have the effect of, substantially lessening competition in contravention of section 45 of the Trade Practices Act 1974".

Following meetings between the ACCC and senior eBay management the requirement to make sellers offer PayPal was dropped. The ACCC had not made a decision prior to eBay taking this action.

"The ACCC welcomes the action taken by eBay which gives eBay sellers further choice as to the payment system they use, while ensuring consumers are offered safer payment options by all eBay sellers," ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said in a statement.

Notably, the ACCC also said it was making the decision public because of the "substantial number of complaints" it had received about the policy.

"The ACCC acknowledges eBay's cooperation with the ACCC's inquiries and appreciates the work done by it to address our concerns," Samuel said.

The ACCC has now closed the investigation.

In mid-2008, eBay pulled the pin on a controversial plan that would have forced all Australian users into using PayPal, which it owns.

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