Word on the street is that eBay is trying to be nicer to its customers in order to win some of them back. Ticked off buyers and sellers around the world have made it no secret that things at eBay haven't been good for a while.

One example: eBay has gone "PayPal only" in Australia, and people think that's a sign of things to come in the United States. By allowing only PayPal to pay for auctions, eBay has suggested things will be safer. Customers know better. All that will happen is eBay will make more money.

The latest eBay idea is to offer "more" buyer protection. (I put more in quotes, because that sentence suggests that buyers are currently protected, and there are plenty of unhappy eBayers who might say differently.)
Currently the PayPal buyer protection offers up to $2,000 to eBay buyers who don't get their item from the seller. Now eBay says they'll lift the limit on the protection. And sellers who accept PayPal will also get unlimited protection against the reversal of charges, rather than the current annual limit of $5,000.

That sounds nice, but I'm skeptical. Everything I've heard suggests that the good guy often finishes last with PayPal's "guarantees" and I'm not incline to believe that this is any real improvement. I'd love to be convinced otherwise. If you believe eBay and it matters to you... the new policy will be rolled out in fall.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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