on 15-06-2017 2:02 PM
I'm a member of the Federation of Small Business but they are a bit behind the times with e-commerce and when I spoke to my local rep he couldn't understand the issues I was addressing.
Has anyone joined BritORA? The British Online Retailing Association?
on 15-06-2017 2:34 PM
Has anyone joined BritORA? The British Online Retailing Association?
Judging by the state of their website, I'd say that they've been closed since 2013.
on 15-06-2017 6:28 PM
Many many moons ago I did try and start an Ebay sellers collective but within hours I was shot down in flames and gave up the idea - I do think that there could be value in joining together with one voice to approach Ebay with problems, I would consider joining such a group but there's no way I would organise it myself.
on 15-06-2017 11:11 PM
Probably the biggest problem is how diverse sellers are. Some want ebay to be a cuddly community where buyers and sellers chat, while others want it to be impersonal and efficient where people just buy stuff. Some think every change made since about 2003 has been bad, others think we need to get more modern. Some sellers seem to dislike buyers having so many rights, others accept that we all get more sales as a result of buyers knowing that they won't get conned. Every discussion would become horrendous, and there's a high probability it would just become a giant moan-fest.
There's also the problem that, however big it got, ebay would probably just refuse to talk to it. They'd know that by talking to it they'd encourage others to join, making it bigger and more powerful. They'd certainly fear some kind of seller's strike if it got any kind of momentum going and there was a big disagreement. For example, wouldn't the AoEBS have something pretty strong to say about the forthcoming VAT rise, and the messaging and listing restrictions? There've been some pretty major shake-ups almost all the time for years - they seem to like that they can show us zero respect and yet we all keep selling - let's face it, almost no sellers are actually quitting in spite of some pretty disrespectful treatment by them. Why would they want to change this?
I'm sure they prefer us all to be powerless against them and to divide and conquer by letting us all pull each other apart on here instead of uniting as one. US corporate culture doesn't have much time for unions, which is what it pretty much would be.
on 16-06-2017 10:25 AM
on 16-06-2017 10:39 AM
on 16-06-2017 11:53 AM
I'm pretty sure that the last time I checked, the FSB wanted a pretty hefty chunk of cash as a membership fee. I'd look at what their chief exec's salary is before going any further.
on 16-06-2017 12:39 PM
I just had a quick look at their accounts, and they say that the highest salary they pay is £54k. They paid £8m in salaries to their 211 staff (just over £40k each on average).
But... there's another section stating that various people received "honoraria" payments, which are basically a tax-free bonus. Over £50k each was paid to two, plus other amounts to others.
They charge a small business with zero employees £172.50 plus VAT (£207) for the first year's "Essentials" membership.
Perhaps I'm just a mean old tightwad and don't know what I'm missing out on, but I really don't get what they could do for us to justify this kind of money. I can always find out what I need to know from google - perhaps there was a point in being a member when they were founded back in 1974 but I really don't get their purpose these days.
on 16-06-2017 4:44 PM
I too suggested a form of union. But wasnt shot down in flames as badly as fastcakes.
am i not right in suggesting that because we are operating on ebay uk any 'union' we set up would have to be acknowledged by the employer.. however, is ebay our employer? However I guess we could establish under 'working conditions' and 'inform and consult over changes at work such as... "
Legal status of trade unions
Trade unions have a special status in law which gives them special rights that professional associations don’t have.
Employers have to work with recognised unions to:
Union reps have the right to consult their members and employers. This means that, as a worker, you can have your say about workplace issues.
You cannot be punished by your employer if you join – or don’t join – a trade union.
I'm happy to check some of the legalities out.
on 16-06-2017 9:17 PM
Ebay is definitely not our employer, without a shadow of a doubt. It's a supplier of business services and we are its customers.
Employment law is completely irrelevant to any of this - if they decided that they wouldn't talk to the Association of Whatever then that would be the end of it.
The one and only way to get ebay to listen would be to bully it into submission by having a sellers' strike. But I'd guess that you'd be lucky to get 1% of sellers to actually do it, in which case ebay would not care in the slightest and ignore it.
Big business is never going to welcome any kind of union, especially not a US-based one, and there are no laws that require them to care in the slightest about any of it.
I just accept that big businesses will always bully the small ones. This will never change, at least until the communist revolution, in which case the government bullies everyone. The concepts of freedom and fairness are just concepts, just accept that life isn't always fair.
If anyone wants to seriously challenge ebay they should start an alternative marketplace website, not try to bully them into being what they want them to be.
on 16-06-2017 10:01 PM
on 16-06-2017 11:02 PM
I'm sure they get around it by saying in the T&Cs things like "This service can be withdrawn without notice at our discretion" or "we will provide this service to the best of our ability but paying a fee does not guarantee that we will provide the service".
Basically these days any contract you sign with a big business says "We will charge you as much as we can screw out of you. In return we will supply you with what we want to, when we want to. We can change the contract you signed in any way we feel like at any time. If you don't like that arrangement, s*d off.
on 17-06-2017 11:14 AM
That's pretty much it. I remember a couple of years ago, ebay updated something in its terms and sent a message saying something like "We'll assume that you agree to it, but if you don't please click here". Clicking the link took you to the "Close my account" page!
To be fair, if my customers all got together and decided that I must do what they required or they'd do whatever I'd tell them all to sod off too. But ebay does have a clear monopoly, so it's position is pretty much one of a dictator.
Hopefully they'll get what they deserve one day, but it will only ever be competition that changes things, not some kind of revolution from their customers demanding things with threats.
17-06-2017 11:35 AM - edited 17-06-2017 11:36 AM
all big corporations bully their customers
not only business customers, but also private customers as well
not because it is legal, but because they have government protection
and because the profits are so big that they can afford to pay a fine and still have a huge profit at the end
so forced unwanted services is very common now days, legal or not
mobile company in UK - pay as you go card with 5 pounds (which should last for 1 month if not talking) begin to receive paid text messages every day, 1 pound charge to receive this message, with no option not to receive it, so in less than a week you loose your 5 pounds, and you have to top up again
same mobile company - contract, on the first page - 1000 inclusive minutes, 890 used, now you have to pay for 90 minutes used over your plan, if you complain they will appologise, but if you dont notice it, they will collect the money with the next direct debit
bank in UK - charge all their customers with balance of less than 10 pounds with a 10 pounds made up charge, which result in unarranged overdraft, which result in penalty, but the penalty is not charged immediately, it is charged after 1 full month, so when the penalty is charged you most likely will go again in unarranged overdraft, and another penalty will be charged after 1 full month
later this bank received 250K fine for this activity, but if they charged only 50K customers with 10 pounds made up charge and 10 pounds overdraft fee, that mean they left with 750K profit after the fine is paid, where many customers had been charged twice for unarranged overdraft, that mean the profit is much larger
on 17-06-2017 11:43 AM
There's also the problem that, however big it got, ebay would probably just refuse to talk to it.
This is a wonderful point.
Ebay is not an employer and so a union would not work.
Ebay is not obliged to listen.
Ebay is not in the UK, you are listing on a luxemburg website (so consider setting up an association in Luxemberg).
However, you must picture yourselves in ebays shoes, which is neglected here:
- your on my website, I provide 2 million customers each month and 19m users registered.
- you can sell on MY website, but you must abide to my rules that protect me from 'nuisances and too many costs'
- I want to make money from my website.
- I set the rules, if you dont like it and start talking like this I can kick you off or ban your account.
- I want to grow my website against Amazon and this means competing with what we both feel are what attracts the new demanding customers of this millenia.
- this means I set up rules and change things to keep up
There is a negative to this and they probably know it:
- we will sometimes make changes that some of our customers (business selling side of our customer base) dont like.
< it is this last point that we need to have a voice against, where it pushes sellers to the brink of 'stress and depression'.
And I know some things do that to people on this forum and to many that dont have a voice or silently dissapear.
It is this that we need to stand up to and the only way I see you can do that is to use the forums.
The forum is our union, rep, voice. There will come a day when something is too much and the amount of complaints will affect policy at ebay.
There has been an incident of this recently: ' the removal of the 'feedback left to others' tab. We all knew this was well used by us and the 'silent' sellers that dont use the forum. The day it was removed, we all went ballistic on here. That voice helped put it back.
So this forum did work.
I think if something like that or worse was to happen again, a thread would start and the extreme would be to file class action lawsuit.
So we should all go away thinking about these points but consider the steps we take, 'complian, call them and complain, a major thread on these forums and then class action lawsuit if it was a major conflict of interest.'
We dont have to even set this up, it would happen naturally.
on 18-06-2017 6:31 PM
You get lots of benefits being an FSB Member but the main one is Tax Investigation Insurance which can run into thousands if you are unlucky enough to be plucked out at random.
Our Accountant charges more than the annual FSB membership for this alone - so I feel it's worth it just for that.
They represent small businesses at Parliament giving us a voice on issues that we feel need to be heard.
Along with lots of other services, they also have telephone advice lines for all sorts of things from Employee issues to Taxation (this is given by experienced ex-Tax Inspectors), I've found them really helpful - especially when I was setting up, it's worth it just to be able to talk to someone and blumin get through!!
Both myself and hubby (who has a different business) are members and have been for a few years.
The FSB is a non-profit making organisation too and there are lots of networking events and regional workshops.
Its definitely worth it for us.
on 18-06-2017 7:03 PM
I can understand why people might feel the need for some hand-holding. I felt a bit baffled when I had to do my first year's accounts (DIY, not using an accountant), but google and HMRC (yes, they do tell you what to do if you ask) will help lots. My experience of accounting is that it's pretty simple maths shrouded in a load of smoke and mirrors to make it sound complicated.
An interesting thread I found from a quick google...
I had to reply to the entery recommending to join Federation of Small Business to gain Tax Investigation Insurance. I was a member for 11 years so thought I was covered but when I was investigated the inland revenue dont just check your company accounts but also ALL your accounts and the FSB flatley refused to assist with the private account investigation which cost me almost £4000 in accountant fees to prove I was all above board. The FSB were very offhand with me and could not care if I was a member or not so needless to say I am nolonger.
hope this helps but its buyer beware.
I'll pick up some Tax Investigation Insurance while I'm buying the Volcano Insurance then. Actually I'll just hand HMRC the box of receipts if/when this ever happens. I've got absolutely nothing to hide and every penny spent is completely documented, so there's nothing to fear or cover up. My understanding is that investigations are targeted, not random. So if you pull every tax-dodging stunt going and pay little or no tax you'll be flagged up. Keep things simple, it will never happen and shouldn't be a big deal if it does.
on 19-06-2017 2:04 PM
on 19-06-2017 2:05 PM