Are you being over charged on eBay?

Are You Being Overcharged on eBay Too?

Just like most of you, I bet it was quite a while ago when was the last time you dug in to your eBay invoices. Digging into the transaction history in one eBay account identified an expensive flaw with eBay’s billing when it comes to multiple eBay categories resulting in the account being heavily over charged.

Read on and let’s see if you’re affected too by this.

2nd Categories

There is a flaw in the way eBay handles the billing for fashion categories on the eBay UK site with second eBay categories, this results in your account being over charged, £2.70 every time or if you’re lucky just 36p a pop.

When you list into the eBay fashion categories on eBay UK, you are given a free picture pack.  This is great, you can add lots of images (12 of them, “happy days” springs to mind) which are especially important in fashion related categories. 

You don’t ask for this on the sell your item form or via the eBay Trading API, you are given it for free whether you want or actually use it

Remember this point, it’s important.

The problem occurs is when you list into a fashion related category as your primary category and then add a second eBay category that isn’t a fashion category. This second eBay category may not have a “free picture pack” and because you were given this without choice on the 1st category, your listing is imposed the upgrade fee of £2.70 per listing for the picture pack.

But it doesn’t stop there… as we’ve found you can also be charged 36p “Picture fee” on other items per listing that is listed into secondary categories, although the listing only has one image and there are no additional images. Oh and to top this off, on the account we found this on, the images are externally hosted as well. So that means anyone using 3rd party listing tools are also affected.

Ouch This Hurts

This is the direct feedback from a eBay UK business owner that is affected by this, I’ve checked their account this morning and the fees are there in their billing history exactly how they describe:

Hi Matt

Over the last few days I’ve revised some listings into different categories. Big mistake if I’d have deleted the listings and reuploaded I think I’d have saved £400 ish.

So I’ve uploaded an item into Clothes, Shoes & Accessories >Womens Clothing >Activewear (category ID 137085) and ebay have by default added a free picture pack (we didn’t set it).

Then I have revised the item and added a second category

Sporting Goods >Exercise & fitness>Exercise Clothes & Shoes>Womens Clothes (category ID 79758)

When adding this second category it has picked up the free picture pack on the original category that ebay has added and charged. £2.70.

It’s also charged for picture upgrades on some at 36p & I have listings that are the same as above moved into identical categories and have been charged the correct amount 1p. (anchor store listing with 2 cats).
eBay have recommended two options to stop being charged in the future

a) Remove the second category from any listings.

b) Upload blank images to delete all images from the live listings. Then re-upload the correct images back onto the live listings. But can’t give me any guarantee that this would work.

the option they didn’t say was to delete all listings and re-upload as this would cancel any future issues. But I think this recommendation would be too close to admitting there is a bug in their system. It should have dropped the picture pack when I added the second category.

I have been told that the picture pack charges are down to me as they are advertised clearly on the fees page. I have told them that at no point did I ask for a picture pack to be added to the first category so it can’t be my responsibility.

Unfortunately moving forward there is no setting in ebay to stop additional images charges.

Now there’s not much option but to remove any second categories from my listings resulting in me not using ebay properly and giving my competitors a massive advantage.

We’ve worked out how much this has cost this business this month, it wasn’t pretty as it came in at over £400.

Penalised for Playing Fair

This really does feel we’re being penalised for playing fair.

I know many of you use 3rd party tools and to duplicate your entire inventory, switch a few titles around wouldn’t take more than a few hours, but we generally don’t (most of you anyway, *coff*) and could easily list products into other categories, but in this case we’re adding the second category to play fair and not duplicate list everything.

After all, eBay has gone to such lengths to remove duplicates from the site such as the August 2012 where the a single fixed price listing was imposed, a duplicate listing tool back in 2001 to identify duplicate listings and I’m sure you’ve received them, the bot that scans eBay and slaps you for having duplicate listings with policy warnings.

Are you Affected Too?

A serious question, when was the last time you scanned down your eBay listing fees? Quite a while ago like the rest of us I’m betting.

Take a look at your eBay “Account Activity”, you can access this page from My eBay > Account > Seller Account > And clicking on the “View All activity” link at the bottom or  a direct link is here

Tip: A download option to CSV files is also available on this page too for those of you that have a large amount of transaction history and you can filter the charges using the data filter option in Excel.

My questions for you:

  • So are you affected by this as well?
  • Do you agree with me that this really is not fair for playing fair?

Let me know in the comments box below.

10 replies
  1. Gill McArdle
    Gill McArdle says:

    Hi Matt – if I was a bit closer to Bristol I’d be buying you a few pints of cider tonight.

    I read your article yesterday and this morning went through our latest bill – we are being overcharged to the tune of £65.00!

    I will be more careful in future when selecting that second category – or not!


    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Howdy Gill,

      We got the fees refunded thankfully.

      It was the part where it was implied that it was the sellers fault and they made the seller change all their items and screwed up best match on a load of existing listing. put them a month behind :(

      On the bright side, the seller moved to Amazon and sold more in a week than in a month on eBay. At least there was a silver lining! Plus eBay moves to free images on the 1st Aug and this should resolve it properly :)


  2. Silver Price
    Silver Price says:

    When I upload my images to ebay from magento the images dont show up very big in the ebay image gallery. This is a problem for me as my customers can’t get close up views of the product. I think the free picture pack option should be available in magento. This would make my pictures larger, although I don’t understand why they so small in the first place.

    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:


      It was via M2Epro where we noticed this. The gallery settings are set to use image 1 only, but were still overcharged.

      If you’re not getting the gallery/zoom then that would indicate that you’re either not using large enough images to trigger the zoom or the category you’re listing into doesn’t support this. Most likely the images are not big enough :)


  3. steven L
    steven L says:

    Hi Matt
    We aren’t affected by this as far as i can tell from a quick scan of our latest invoice, (we dont actually list in fashion catagories so would be surprised if we were effected) But surly this extra cost would spring up at the time of listing? or if through a third party software tool, the software tool should also flag this? i believe a few software tools, eseller, channel advisor, dont do much in the way of advising on costs of listing and future costs of sales (variable selling fee’s) i think this is a major floor for most. retailers really need to see the bottom line

    Steven L

    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Howdy Steven,

      These tools only flag the insertion fees if you manually put a listing on, if you’re using eSellerPro for example, then if the channel profiler lists an item, you do not see the listing fees (whioch generally is a good thing as there are too many listings to be notified about).

      Agreed on such tools not working out the true costs of sale, although some are much better at it (ChannelAdvisor is of worthy note here) than others.

      On a side note, have you seen ? Not a bad job at all, for free!



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