The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission welcomes the announcement by eBay that it will change the ebay.com.au website and payment policies to remove the requirement that sellers offer PayPal as a payment option.
The ACCC had been investigating complaints that eBay and its Australian subsidiaries, eBay Australia and New Zealand Pty Ltd and PayPal Australia Pty Ltd, may have been engaging 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. By forcing sellers to offer payment for goods via PayPal it was potentially forcing out potential alternatives through ubiquitous use of the payment system. market for competitors to offer alternative systems by making PayPal.
While the ACCC had not formed a final view, following meetings with senior eBay staff eBay has introduced and brought forward changes to its payments policy which the ACCC considers will give its members greater flexibility in choosing payment options.
“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 today.
It is not customary for the ACCC to refer to investigations that are not in the public arena, however a substantial number of complaints have been received about certain eBay policies which affect the offering and acceptance by eBay traders of online payment services. The ACCC considered a large amount of information as part of its investigation and considers this is an appropriate outcome.
“The ACCC acknowledges eBay’s cooperation with the ACCC’s inquiries and appreciates the work done by it to address our concerns,” Mr Samuel said.
The ACCC has decided to discontinue its current inquiries into eBay’s payment policies. However, this does not restrict the ACCC from reviewing the effects of eBay or PayPal’s conduct in Australia if it raises competition concerns in the future.