The Pennsylvania State Auctioneer’s Society is currently pushing for legislation that would force Ebay sellers in the Keystone State to undergo a years training program to obtain a license that would allow them to sell items on Ebay. Similar legislation was being considered in April that would force Ebay’s seller assistants to be licensed, according to Auction Bytes.
The earlier proposed legislation proposed would force many shops currently in operation in the state to shut down for a year or hire a person licensed by the Pennsylvania Auctioneer’s Association in order for them to continue selling items on Ebay in the state.
The Pennsylvania Auctioneer’s Association claims that licensing requirements will cut down on the fraud on Ebay, but the requiring sellers to have a license is more about money than actually worrying about fraud. Making it even worse for the Pennsylvania Auctioneer Association’s position is that many auctioneers benefit from Ebay sellers who attend auctions in order to find items to sell.
Ebay’s own documentation says that it does not recognize the rights of states to license their sellers, according to Burleson Consulting. The Pennsylvania Auctioneer’s Assocation concerns about the fraud that takes place on Ebay, but there are methods in place by the online auction firm to combat it. The difficulty lies not with Ebay but with the nature of the Internet itself. The online auction firm does have procedures in place to combat fraud, but it cannot monitor everything and ultimately relies on the users of the service. (The issue is much the same with Youtube and copyrighted material.)
Many Ebays sellers who live in Pennsylvania received a message in their inbox urging them to write their state representative to stop the proposed legislation. When similar legislation was considered in North Carolina, North Carolina’s Auctioneer Associatoin backed down for fear of not wanting to get wrapped up in litigation and losing a good portion of their funding.
The Pennsylvania Auctioneer’s Association may have a point about fraud on Ebay, but it is not the fault of the online auction house. The problem lies with the individual sellers who use the site. Licensing is not the answer and is merely a part to collect additional fees from a lucrative market. If the Pennsylvania Auctioneer’s Association has learned nothing from how the Recording Industry and Artists Association over their controversial lawsuits, it is that the current attempt to license will hurt a majority of people selling items on Ebay to bring in extra money for expenses around the house.
“Pennsylvania: Latest Battleground in Ebay Consignment Sales Regulations.” Auction Bytes.
“Ebay Fights States Who Enforce Auctioneer License Requirements.” Burleson Consulting.