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eBay Inc.

legal form Corporation
ISIN US2786421030
founding September 3, 1995
Seat San Jose , California , United States
United StatesUnited States 
Number of employees 13,300 (2019)
sales 10.8 billion US dollars (2019)
Branch Online marketplace
Website www.ebay.de ,
www.ebay.at ,
www.ebay.ch ,
(main page, English)

eBay Inc. is a US company that operates one of the largest online marketplaces . It was founded on September 3, 1995 by Pierre Omidyar in San José (California) under the name AuctionWeb . The company also offers its services in Europe, for example in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The payment service PayPal was also part of the company until July 17, 2015 .

Over the years, the range has expanded from a consumer-to-consumer marketplace with a flea market character to a business-to-consumer platform, which means that new goods are offered by commercial dealers, as opposed to second-hand goods from private suppliers.



Company logo until 2012
eBay headquarters in San José (2018)

After founding in the USA in 1995, eBay expanded rapidly. In 1997, Benchmark Capital invested $ 6.7 million in what became the best investment in Silicon Valley history. Two years later, those shares were worth $ 5 billion. In the summer of 1999, eBay bought the German auction house Alando for $ 43 million from the three Samwer brothers . In 2001, the company bought the South Korean auction house Auction , in 2002 the Internet payment service provider PayPal and in 2003 the auction site Eachnet for $ 180 million. In 2003 the European headquarters was opened in Bern . In January 2004 eBay took over mobile.de (advertising market for vehicles in Germany) for 121 million euros. In the same year, the Indian platform Baazee.com (June, 50 million US dollars), the Dutch online marketplace operator Marktplaats.nl (November, 225 million euros) and the real estate portal Rent.com (December, 415 million US dollars) Dollar). In March 2005, eBay founded the trading platform Kijiji, which specializes in regional classified ads . In June, the company acquired the Shopping.com listing search engine for $ 620 million and in September 2005 Skype for $ 3 billion. In April 2006 eBay took over the Swedish Internet auction portal Tradera.com. The purchase price was put at the equivalent of $ 48 million.

On August 22, 2006, eBay launched the German online marketplace eBay Express with new services for commercial eBay sellers, which was switched off again on April 23, 2008.

In 2007 eBay received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences at the 11th Webby Awards . On October 4th, the company took over the auction processing tool Afterbuy and acquired the South Korean dealer portal Gmarket in 2009 .

On September 1, 2009, eBay announced that it would sell 65 percent of its Internet telephone subsidiary Skype to a group of investors for $ 1.9 billion. Shortly thereafter, the two Skype founders threatened legal action against eBay, Skype and the investors. In November 2009 the parties came to an agreement. The Skype founders received 14% of Skype (the package was worth $ 385 million at the time).

In December 2010, eBay bought the Milo local shopping search engine for $ 75 million. Milo.com makes the inventory of stores in US cities searchable so that its users can see in real time on the web whether the products they want are available in a store in their immediate vicinity. In the USA, participating local dealers offer a one-hour delivery service through this service called eBay local . In the same month, eBay took over the Berlin shopping portal brands4Friends for around 150 million euros.

On May 10, 2011, eBay sold its shares in Skype to Microsoft for around US $ 2.3 billion . On June 22, the $ 2.4 billion acquisition of e-commerce company GSI Commerce was completed. In 2011, the Turkish company GittiGidiyor.com was also taken over for $ 217 million.

Since October 2012, the company's website and services have had a revised appearance, in the course of which the eBay logo, which had not changed until then, was redesigned for the first time. While the colors have largely been retained and the letters are still connected, a clearer typeface can be achieved by using the Univers Extended font.

In October 2013 the company's homepage was redesigned. EBay built so-called feeds into the page, with which customers can follow manufacturers, dealers and product categories and thus always receive current offers. This function increased customer loyalty and the frequency of site visits. The update is one of the innovations with which John Donahoe increased eBay's market capitalization by more than $ 50 billion between 2009 and early 2014 .

On September 30, 2014, eBay Inc. announced that it was planning to separate eBay and PayPal into two independent listed companies from 2015 . The spin-off was completed on July 17, 2015. At the beginning of February 2018, eBay announced that it would restrict its cooperation with PayPal. The internet auction house will establish Adyen as the new primary payment service provider by 2021 . eBay claims to have taken this step because of the lower fees and simpler pricing model.

In June 2019, it was announced that eBay had acquired a stake in the Internet currency Libra . In July 2019, eBay announced its cooperation with Authorized.by, a Munich-based provider of dealer authorizations on the Internet.

In July 2020 it was announced that eBay will sell its advertising portals EBay Classifieds and Mobile.de to the listed internet group Adevinta by the 1st quarter of 2021 at the latest, which operated advertising portals in its home country Norway and 14 other countries. The purchase price was 9.2 billion US dollars. Adevinta paid $ 2.5 billion in cash to Ebay. For the remainder of the purchase price, eBay received shares in Adevinta with a total face value of $ 6.7 billion. With 44 percent of the shares and 33.3 percent of the voting rights, Ebay became the largest shareholder in Adevinta.

facts and figures

Business figures eBay worldwide
year Sales
in million USD
in million USD
2018 10,746 2,530
2017 9,927 -1,017
2016 8,979 7,266
2015 8,592 1,725
2014 17,902 46
2013 16,047 2,856
2012 14,072 2,609
2011 11,652 3,229
2010 9,156 1,801
2009 8,727 2,389
2008 8,541 1,779
2007 7,672 348
2006 5,970 1,120
2005 4,552 1,082
2004 3,271 778
2003 2.165 442
2002 1,214 250
2001 748 116

According to the company, the provider of Internet auctions with the highest turnover is said to have around 276 million registered members worldwide who buy or sell goods online. According to eBay, the global trade volume in the fourth quarter of 2008 was $ 13.646 billion. The trading volume for the whole of 2011 was $ 68.633 billion.

According to eBay, there were around 516,000 eBay shops worldwide in 2008 (around 294,000 eBay shops registered in the USA and 222,000 from other countries).

The company is present in 38 nations with a country-specific presence. There, over 83 million active users in more than 50,000 categories are expected to trade with one another.

The most expensive item sold worldwide on eBay was a mega yacht for $ 168 million.


There are around 1.224 billion shares in total, 86% of which are in free float . The market value of eBay on July 20, 2015 was around 30 billion euros. The stock hit a low in February 2009 at $ 4.39. In September 2016, the price peaked at $ 32.90. The largest shareholder is currently the founder Pierre Omidyar with around 7% shares.

Because of the spin-off from PayPal, the price of eBay shares fell 59% on July 20, 2015, falling from $ 66.29 to $ 26.92. EBay was also replaced by PayPal in the S&P 100 .

eBay Germany

The German forerunner of eBay was founded in 1999 in Berlin under the name Alando by six entrepreneurs, including the three Samwer brothers . Just six months later, the American Society eBay bought the company for 43 million dollars . In the middle of 2000 the company headquarters was relocated to Europarc Dreilinden in Kleinmachnow . Contractors of eBay members residing or established in the EU, according to eBay's terms and conditions of the Luxembourg eBay Europe S.à rl was that on May 2, 2018 eBay to the German GmbH, Kleinmachnow (HRB 13754 P), merged outside the In the EU and the USA, the Swiss eBay International AG based in Bern, which had a branch in Germany until July 21, 2017. Frerk-Malte Feller was Managing Director at eBay Germany from March 1, 2008 to around July 2009 , then Feller moved to eBay Australia. His successor was Stephan Zoll, previously managing director of eBay Advertising GmbH . Zoll changed professionally towards the USA in April 2016. The previous Senior Director of eBay Fashion and Managing Director of brands4friends , Stefan Wenzel, took his place.

eBay Germany headquarters in Kleinmachnow

EBay is financed in Germany

  • via a so-called offer fee, which has been between EUR 0.01 and EUR 4.80 per item since September 2008 (depending on the selected auction format and starting price - in some cases the offer fee has not been applicable since February 2008)
  • as well as a commission of 2% up to 12%, which is charged to the seller in the event of a successful sale.

A significant proportion of the group's turnover is generated by the so-called eBay partners (also known as affiliates ). They refer potential buyers to eBay and receive commissions in return. In order to introduce interested sellers to eBay, sales agents (dealers on a commission basis) were established. Most of these dealers are sole traders, but there are or were some larger companies (Dropshop.de, Clevereasy.de, both discontinued today) that work nationwide or even Europe-wide (auktionsbote.de, also discontinued according to the website). The model for this corporate concept is Auctionsdrop from the USA. In 2005/2006 many of these sales agents disappeared again. Particularly active dealers (minimum sales of 3000 euros / month or 300 articles sold / month) receive the PowerSeller status . The turnover of eBay Germany in 2016 was 1.34 billion US dollars.

eBay Germany had around 20 million members in the first quarter of 2006, making it the market leader in electronic commerce . More than half of the members are considered to be members of the card who have not made any sales or purchases for over twelve months. In May 2009 eBay reported over 14.5 million active members in Germany. On average, more than 30 million items should be on offer at all times. According to eBay, two thirds of this can be paid for with PayPal . The proportion of items sold by commercial and private sellers should each be around 50%.

The commercial dealers on eBay Germany (around 159,000) achieved a trading volume of 3.1 billion euros from April 2008 to March 2009, 435 million euros of which were exports.

In 2005, more than 64,000 people in Germany earned a significant part of their livelihood through eBay.

According to current jurisprudence, no auctions in the sense of the German Civil Code are carried out on eBay in Germany , but purchase contracts are concluded (possibly after an auction-like bidding process) . As a result, many laws to protect consumers (for example, regarding withdrawal periods and liability in the event of loss of goods) apply. In this respect, eBay is not an auction house, but an intermediary for sales.

From May 2007 to the end of 2009, the Gruner + Jahr publishing house in Germany published the eBay magazine .


In fact , eBay is unrivaled in most regions . As auction houses, there are various and consistently much smaller providers, each specializing in one country and often also in certain specialist areas. In some cases, they try to win customers through lower fees or other auction concepts (such as a remaining duration depending on the number of bids).

Such providers in Germany are, for example, Hood.de and Booklooker .

In Austria, willhaben operates a “marketplace” that is free of charge up to and including illustration, on which a provider proposes a price, which, like the sale itself, is freely negotiable via mediated e-mail.

In Switzerland Ricardo is the largest internet auction marketplace, which also took over the former market leader in Austria OneTwoSold in September 2008 and which was then renamed Ricardo.at; Ricardo.at was closed at the end of 2010.

Allegro is the market leader in Poland , while eBay has been replaced by Taobao in China .

As a trading platform, Amazon.com is above all a competitor. There the prices are traditionally set by the seller.

EBay has been cooperating with the Latin American competitor MercadoLibre from Argentina since 2001. eBay is not present in the countries in which MercadoLibre is active and vice versa. EBay has also been involved in MercadoLibre since 2001 .

Business processes

The business idea of ​​eBay is to provide an internet platform for the sale of any goods. The eBay company itself acts as an intermediary for a sales contract between seller and customer . Buyers can register an unchecked account, whether under their own name or under another name; Sellers must confirm their identity.

The use of the platform costs the seller a fee, but it is free for the buyer. At the same time, eBay tries to constantly expand the automated process and thus the loyalty of the seller: The announced payment for auctioned items via eBay failed for the time being, as it was determined that a banking license is required for this. Private sellers will have to wait seven days for their money with the planned system.

Three concepts are still offered for sale:

Sale against the highest bid

This is the sales process that made eBay so successful. The seller of goods specifies a starting price (in Germany at least 1 euro, no upper limit) and a duration (currently for up to 10 days) for the "auction". Interested parties then have the option of bidding only the starting price (for a first bid on a lot) or a higher amount on the respective item. You can be outbid by competing interested parties at any time. The current status of the bids can be viewed by everyone involved at any time.

The bidder who has bid the highest amount at the end of the auction accepts the binding offer made by the seller. An "automatic bidding system" increases the previous bids in defined increments. These steps depend on the current price and amount to, for example, EUR 0.50 for a value below EUR 50 on the German eBay site.

The seller will not accept a bid. Because a knockdown is a declaration of intent by the auctioneer with which he accepts the bid of a bidder and not a mere passage of time. The term "auction" is also not to be understood technically in the sense of § 156 BGB . Rather, it is a purchase contract with the peculiarity that the acceptance is submitted by the bidder who has submitted the highest bid by the time specified by the seller. The price is not identical to the maximum bid, but one currency unit (for example euros ) higher than the second highest bid. It is therefore (apart from the slight surcharge compared to the second bid) a so-called English second-price auction, which combines the second-price principle of the second-price auction with the multiple mutual outbidding known from hall auctions (the so-called English auction).

A prospective customer only has to pay the maximum price offered by him if there is a second interested party whose bid is just below that. If there is no further bidder at all, the starting price given by the seller remains as the total, even if the interested party should raise his own bid - even several times - as a so-called "invisible bid" during the term.

Furthermore (with the exception of Switzerland), especially for high-priced product groups, there is the option of setting a minimum price that is initially invisible to the buyer and that must be exceeded by the highest bidder in order for the purchase to be concluded.

Sale at a fixed price

The seller offers goods for a period specified by him at a fixed price. The first interested party who is willing to pay this price will be awarded the contract. The offers at a fixed price are listed on the eBay pages parallel to the auctions. This type of setting is called "Buy Now" by eBay. There is still the option for the seller to offer the articles in variants to be selected by the buyer, different features or in higher quantities.

The goods can be auctioned against the highest bid and offered at a fixed price at the same time . If a prospective buyer accepts the advertised fixed price before the end of the auction, the current offer will be terminated. However, if an interested party first bids a price and thus starts the auction, the "buy now" option expires at the same time.

In the case of fixed price offers, the seller also has the option of having the interested party suggest a price. In the setting form, it can be determined in advance from which price limit the suggestions will be automatically accepted or a counter-suggestion can be submitted several times. Buyers have up to three attempts to suggest a price for an item.

Permanent offer

A seller can offer his goods permanently on an eBay website that only contains his offers. Goods can be offered permanently and without an expiry date on these pages called “eBay Shop”. In addition, goods are listed there that the seller is offering according to auction rules or at a fixed price.

Membership / usage

In order to be able to buy or sell goods on eBay, you have to be a formal member. With this membership, which is secured by a password, a profile is created in the eBay database that provides access to other functions in addition to the data required for shipping. The respective member can see the status of his auctions there or send messages to other members. This area, called “My eBay”, thus serves as a customer loyalty system for eBay . With the changes to the General Terms and Conditions (GTC) for the use of the German-language eBay services that came into force on March 12, 2014 , eBay converted membership into a user relationship; instead of members, the terms and conditions now speak of users.


According to a ruling by the Federal Court of Justice, eBay auctions in Germany are not auctions in the legal sense, but purchase contracts that become legally effective at the end of the offer. The seller must therefore also deliver if the auction - for whatever reason - ends prematurely. The only exception: he is entitled to withdraw his offer after the auction has started due to the loss or destruction of the purchased item or due to an error. Another consequence of the classification of the eBay auction as a sales contract is that the reason for exclusion of Section 312d Paragraph 4 No. 5 BGB (old version; since June 13, 2014: Section 312g Paragraph 2 No. 10 BGB) does not apply and thus a right of withdrawal is not excluded.

It is important to distinguish between the sellers whether they offer goods commercially or privately. Commercial sellers - unlike private individuals - must grant buyers a right of withdrawal and return . In addition, they can not effectively exclude the guarantee ; this is at least 12 months for used goods and 24 months for new goods. Since 2009 (fifth regulation amending the packaging regulation ), commercial sellers have also been obliged to take back packaging or to participate in a take-back system ( dual system ). It is currently difficult to establish a precise limit to commercial providers, and the courts will decide differently in disputes. However, features such as more than 40 sales in a few months or the PowerSeller status indicate commercial activities, as do intensive advertising messages .

Commercial trading

Example cases in which the courts decided on commercial action:

  • Sale of 39 articles in 5 months, LG Berlin , Az. 103 U 149/01
  • Sale of over 40 books in 6 weeks, OLG Frankfurt am Main , Az. U (Kart) 18/04
  • Sale of clothing as new goods in various sizes, LG Hannover , Az. 18 O 115/05
  • Sale of 42 items that are as good as new or of the same type in 4 weeks, OLG Zweibrücken , Az. 4 U 210/06
  • Sale of 10 new branded articles, LG Frankfurt am Main , Az. 2/03 O 192/07
  • 154 reviews from buyers and advertising “Sell everything that is no longer necessary in the household”, AG Bad Kissingen , Az. 21 C 185/04
  • Average of 26 buyer reviews per month (over several months) BGH
  • The seller with 500 auction offers in six weeks is a commercial offerer, OLG Hamm
  • On the other hand, a collection of 680 articles on offer would not necessarily be commercial, OLG Hamburg , Az. 5 W 22/11

Rating System

An auction platform on the Internet basically has the problem that buyers and sellers have no personal contact and both groups are unmanageably large. A seller who delivers defective goods would have a chance of repeatedly finding buyers in good faith without a rating system; the same applies to a customer who does not accept or pay for the goods purchased.

To reduce this problem, online auction houses like eBay have introduced a rating system that allows both sides to rate the process after each purchase. On eBay, buyers can use the label “positive”, “neutral” or “negative”, and since May 22, 2008 sellers only “positive”. The evaluation can be provided with an additional comment. The total number of points (positive ratings received minus negative ratings received during the entire duration of the membership) is shown after the user name together with a percentage (calculated from the number of all positive ratings divided by the sum of positive and negative ratings received within the last twelve months) .

Since May 2007, a more differentiated seller evaluation of the criteria items as described, communication, shipping time and shipping and packaging fees has also been possible: a maximum of five stars can be assigned for each of these criteria. The average values ​​are shown in detail in the member profile and - unlike the classic rating - cannot be assigned directly to the evaluator even by the evaluated member.

The ratings, comments and, within a certain period of time, the underlying offers can be viewed by everyone. eBay members can also hide the comments they have made and the auctions they have been involved in.

The average rating of a seller has different effects on their offers. eBay reserves the right to oblige sellers with many negative ratings to use the PayPal payment service . Below-average ratings can also lead to the restriction of the permitted trading volume. On the other hand, offers from sellers with very positive ratings on average are preferred in various ways. Their offers are sometimes shown before the search results of competitors, and eBay also offers so-called sellers with top ratings discounts on sales commission.

In the event of disputes, or if insults have occurred, the deletion of mutual review comments can be requested on eBay. It is also possible to comment again on the comment made by the other side. Reviews on eBay with the argument of damage to their reputation were already the trigger for legal disputes.

Other services

In addition to the actual auction, eBay offers services related to the processing of the purchase. Payment can be made via the online payment system PayPal (a former subsidiary of eBay) and is binding, for example, when selling to certain countries. For the dispatch of the goods, advertising links to various dispatch companies are provided on the website . Alternative offers from potential competitors, such as Google Wallet or Bitcoin , are not permitted.

"EBay Express" was an online shop founded by eBay. In contrast to eBay itself, there were no auctions, only new goods from verified commercial sellers were offered. All goods were sold using "Buy It Now" so that the bidding was for one item. As in other online shops, customers had a virtual shopping cart . You could fill this with different articles from different providers and pay for everything at once. Furthermore, all offers were guaranteed unlimited by a buyer protection offered by the eBay subsidiary PayPal. In 2008 the “eBay Express” service was discontinued, justified by eBay with “reactions from our buyers and sellers”.

Since October 2011 there has been instant sales for electrical devices and cell phones. Private customers send their item to eBay and receive an offer immediately. The service is now called eBay Comfort and also includes women's fashion.

From 2007 to September 1, 2015 there was an eBay credit card (MasterCard) with which eBay bonus points could be collected. If the credit card holder has collected enough points, he automatically received an email with a PayPal voucher, which the card holder had to have a PayPal account to redeem. The voucher value could be redeemed for the next eBay purchase ( cashback ). The eBay credit card was issued by Commerzbank AG. As a contractual partner, eBay designed the associated bonus point program.

At the end of February 2012, eBay announced the conversion of the payment system for Germany and Austria. For example, buyers should pay directly to eBay in the near future (introduction originally planned for late summer 2012), while sellers only receive a payout from eBay after they have confirmed the shipment in the system. eBay thus acts as a trustee who provides different payout periods depending on the sales history. Payment transactions are processed by a payment service provider that belongs to the eBay group and is based in Luxembourg. With the introduction a change in the eBay fee structure is planned, which will partly be expressed in the increase of the sales commission. In return, there should be no additional fees for payment transactions (PayPal). eBay hopes this change will result in greater buyer satisfaction through greater reliability on the part of the seller when it comes to shipping and describing the items. Due to differing legal opinions, there were disputes with the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority in June 2012 , because eBay, unlike PayPal, does not have the corresponding license as a payment service provider. As a result, the introduction was postponed to 2013.

In July 2013 the test phase of the new “sub-platform” eBay Hire started for the first time in Great Britain. This platform is intended to make local services easily and conveniently accessible for end users via the Internet; operation is kept very simple. Consumers use a form to enter which services they need, and a little later the customer either receives an offer by email or a call from the respective service provider.

The Kijiji service, which has been operating under the name of “eBay Classifieds” in Germany since 2009, can offer classified ads free of charge. In principle, the provider may not rule out that the buyer picks up the goods himself. An additionally offered shipping is allowed. “EBay classifieds” is therefore mainly aimed at interested parties who are in close proximity to the provider.

In August 2019, eBay launched its “eBay Fulfillment” logistics service. The service had been tested with selected dealers in Germany and the USA since the beginning of 2019.

Third party tools

Suppliers of special tools for buying, selling and analyzing auctions have set up around eBay. One of the first German programs for the automatic management of offers and bidding processes is Biet-o-Matic , developed by Joachim Schlesmann in 2001, which is now available as free open source software for Microsoft Windows. Since ebay has changed the login process, the software has not been functional for a long time (as of February 26, 2020). Schlesmann had several legal disputes with eBay Germany because the program allegedly disrupted auction operations, especially if it automatically bids a few seconds before the end of an auction. In the USA and other countries, such sniper programs (from English sniper = sniper ) are tolerated by eBay.

Comprehensive statistics services for eBay transactions are another market. For example, the prices achieved for a certain product can be determined depending on the day of the week and the time of the end of the auction. The customer can also find product types and thus market niches for which there is demand but hardly any offers. The largest portal for market analysis, including Amazon traffic, is the American company Terapeak.

Major incidents

On May 21, 2014 eBay called on all 145 million users worldwide to change their passwords due to a hacker attack. The attack took place in late February / early March 2014, but was discovered two weeks before the announcement. However, passwords and other data were encrypted using Salt technology.


There are always strange auction offers on eBay. The company itself takes a distant position in relation to such auctions and usually deletes inadmissible auctions before the suspension period expires. Such auctions find great media interest when they take up current affairs or receive particularly high bids. Among other things, a VW Golf IV became known in the spring of 2005 , which formerly belonged to the later Pope Benedict XVI. had heard and was auctioned for almost 190,000 euros.

The first item ever sold on eBay was a broken laser pointer for $ 14.83. Amazed, the founder Omidyar contacted the highest bidder to ask him whether he understood that the laser pointer was not functional. In response to his e-mail, the buyer stated that he was a collector of defective laser pointers.

The oft-repeated story that Omidyar founded eBay to help his fiancée deal in PEZ dispensers was invented in 1997 by a public relations manager.

The British band Chumbawamba processed the criticism of consumerism and capitalism typical for them in the single On Ebay (album Un , 2004).



One criticism that is often expressed is that eBay has tended to increase the fees and sales commissions for sellers since it was founded, thereby exploiting its dominant monopoly position . Currently (as of July 2018) the sales commission in Germany is 10% of the sales price, a maximum of 199 euros, in 2003 it was between 5% (for a sales price of up to 50 euros) and 2% (for over 500 euros). Since May 2015, a 10% commission on packaging, shipping and other costs has also been charged after the buyer had selected the desired shipping method and, if necessary, special packaging or additional insurance in the checkout process. This commission rule was withdrawn in March 2016.


The rating system is intended to provide information about the reliability of an eBay user. Users point out that the publication of the evaluation could only create more transparency after the counter evaluation has been completed. A differentiated seller evaluation has been possible since May 2007, which partially fulfills this requirement (see paragraph evaluation system ).

In June 2007, cases became known of eBay removing negative reviews from sellers after sellers claimed their eBay account had been hacked. In fact, however, the sellers were fraudsters who could further damage bona fide customers, so that in the end there was damage of 130,000 euros.

Since mid-2008, sellers have been unable to give negative ratings for buyers.

Vulnerabilities and quality management

Security deficiencies in the eBay software also repeatedly come to light, some of which are only reluctantly corrected.

Furthermore, the magazine Stern noted in 2006 that eBay reacts only slowly or not at all to fraud reports from sellers, such as plagiarism of sound carriers and the like.

Trade Restrictions Under US Law

When trading in goods from Cuba , according to US law, eBay Germany - as well as eBay Austria and eBay Switzerland - as a subsidiary of a US group “is subject to the same trade restrictions as the parent company”. Conclusion from eBay: "Therefore, in principle, only those Cuban items may be offered on eBay that are 'informative' or 'licensed' or that came onto the market before the US trade embargo against Cuba came into force on July 8, 1963." For example, it is not possible to sell Cuban cigars on eBay.

According to experts, this handling, which is also used for the eBay subsidiary PayPal , violates Regulation (EC) No. 2271/96, the so-called EU Blocking Regulation . This expressly forbids European companies, including European subsidiaries of non-European parent companies, from complying with the US sanctions provisions against Cuba and various other countries.

Restrictions on Sellers

From October 2009 to February 2010, sellers were no longer allowed to charge shipping costs for their items in certain product categories (e.g. books). eBay justified this requirement with the fact that shipping costs prevented many customers from buying online. In addition, in the past there was often a cause for annoyance among customers when retailers tried to earn extra money by incurring inappropriately high shipping and packaging costs. The new regulation should ensure more "transparency and fairness". This met with criticism from the sellers, because eBay auctions in the categories concerned were less lucrative, if not - for low-value goods - a loss, especially for private dealers. But many buyers also feared higher costs, as the previous practice of being able to reduce the shipping costs when buying multiple items from one seller was no longer possible. The private seller only had the choice of offering the item free of charge for a starting price of 1 euro with the risk of being left with part of the shipping costs, or choosing a higher starting price in order to at least secure the shipping costs in advance, which, however, is associated with higher listing fees .

The obligation to offer free shipping in certain categories was replaced on February 8, 2010 by fixed upper shipping limits. In Germany, these upper limits are based on the prices of shipping companies such as DHL and Deutsche Post AG .

Tax avoidance

In November 2017, eBay was listed in the Paradise Papers publications . In December 2018 it became known that Ebay Holding GmbH , based in Bern, Switzerland , was dissolved and that the profits have since been transferred to the parent company in the USA via a holding company in Holland . This was possibly to avoid double taxation of 5%, which has been offset since a tax reform (compare with the sections Survey and Economics in other articles).

In the media

Features and documentaries


Web links

Commons : eBay  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
 Wikinews: Category: eBay  - in the news

Individual evidence

  1. presse.ebay.de: Press material 20 years of eBay. Press releases, September 3, 2015, online at Presse.Ebay.de, accessed on January 19, 2017.
  2. Our Leaders - eBay Inc. Retrieved May 21, 2020 (American English).
  3. Statistika, statistics on Ebay employees worldwide, accessed on June 27, 2020
  4. Statistika, statistics on Ebay sales and profit, accessed on June 27, 2020
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  7. ^ Peter Haber, Jan Hodel: Internet. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland . December 20, 2018 , accessed March 4, 2020 .
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Coordinates: 37 ° 22 ′ 37 "  N , 121 ° 55 ′ 22"  W