Pennsylvania Sues Woman For Selling Goods On eBay Without A License

from the if-we-don't-understand-it,-it's-probably-illegal dept

A few years back we wrote about states that were passing inexplicable laws requiring anyone selling goods on eBay for others to get an auctioneer's license, something that can be quite costly and sometimes requires a long-term apprenticeship. It appears just such a law is being used in Pennsylvania to go after a very successful eBay seller (via the Agitator). The story in that case is even more ridiculous, since the woman in question only began selling goods on eBay in order to be able to stay at home with her young daughter who was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Even though the woman stopped (and got a job outside the home) as soon as the state notified her that she was illegally selling goods, the state is still moving forward prosecuting her. While the state told the reporter that the maximum fine the woman faced is only $2,000, her lawyer read the charges in a way that suggested she could be on the hook for up to $10 million. The whole thing seems pretty pointless. Selling on eBay is quite different from running an auction house. If anything, laws like these seem designed to limit competition in an effort to protect an incumbent industry. As another eBay seller facing similar charges notes in the article: "It's like the buggy-whip manufacturer's deciding whether these newfangled automobile manufacturers can do it without a buggy-whip license."


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Hellsvilla, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 6:19pm

    hrmm... nope

    I think ebay gives people a false business license in resale. Some who thought ebay was revolutionary later realized it was mostly scams and nothing they could do about it. If your in the business of reselling via ebay, then you should need to be registered as a business, pay business licenses, and most importantly, pay business taxes. Theres a reason those laws that regulate companies exist, and there's no reason for a lack of continuity in those laws when the sale takes place online.

    Now a hobby auctioneer... that's totally different, and completely exemptable. And there are already laws in place to define that fine line. No need for me to try it.

    Anyways, the courts have largely ignored ebayers, and that is to the greater detriment of the public. It would be nice if SOMEONE started adding accountability back into online sales. I don't like ebay anyways, so I don't really care that it would kill them off.

    ebay is an enabler for bottom feeders. It is not a healthy thing.

     

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  2.  
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    SilverWolf, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 6:32pm

    Ebay

    I've used ebay many many times, saved alot of money, sold some old stuff that was taking up space and have nothing whatsoever to say negative about it.

    This lawsuit is BS, and the laws you mentioned are clearly not in the public interest. They are designed to protect retail industry at the expense of the people

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 6:32pm

    Re: hrmm... nope

    You are an idiot.

     

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  4.  
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    Hellsvilla, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 6:34pm

    Re: Re: hrmm... nope

    yes, of course, anyone with a differing opinion from yours is clearly of inferior intelligence.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 6:55pm

    Re: hrmm... nope

    You really are an idiot.

     

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  6.  
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    AZ, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 7:05pm

    Re: hrmm... nope

    Mostly scams?
    Hey look everybody its another person talking when he/she knows nothing about the topic. I bet you have never even used ebay or not enough to know that "they are all scams"...

    I have sold thousands on ebay and have bought thousands more and have only been scammed once on a 6 buck cd!

    Paypal has coverage....free

     

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  7.  
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    BlogMack, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 7:18pm

    Amazing

    It is amazing how everything is set up to keep the little guy down. It's everywhere including right here in this article!

     

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  8.  
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    WhoBeThere, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 7:23pm

    Re: Re: hrmm... nope

    Hellsvilla:

    I don't agree with AC's "You are an idiot", but you certainly seem to make a compelling argument that you are grossly ill informed and perhaps even lack some critical reasoning skills. I simple Google for “eBay Fraud Statistics” will help you see the err of your logic (one would hope).

    The vast majority of eBay sales are legitimate. According to fewer than 1 in 10,000 sales are “frauds” (~13,000 in 2005 out of many millions). eBay, it turns out, has a much lower fraud rate than newspaper ads had. Please note, I'm not much of an eBayer, I generally prefer other means to purchase and/or sell on-line, but requiring auction licenses is truly indefensible.

    As for taxes, you already have to pay taxes, whether you sell one item for profit, or 500,000 on eBay or in a yard sale. There is no IRS exemption on income from sale of goods or services. It just so happens that the IRS will probably not come after you for selling lemonade at your lemonade stand, but by law, that is taxable income (if your total income exceeds the blah blah blah).

    As for stating that they should have to pay Business Taxes, I say: what planet do you live on? I have owned or been a partner (or still own/am) in 3 LLCs, 1 LLP, 1 PLLC and 2 S-Corps. The 2 S-corporations paid business (read "corporate") taxes, but they were pre 1996. All 5 of my other companies paid zip, nada, nil in taxes. Individuals paid on the distributed income, but there were no business taxes. What have you been smoking for 10+ years? If your business has

     

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  9.  
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    WhoBeThere, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 7:27pm

    Re: Re: hrmm... nope

    Darn, my rant got cut off...

    "If your business has

     

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  10.  
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    lady, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 7:33pm

    Its sad to where our country is heading. Its seems likr more big businesses are stomping out the little guys. And they are looking more and more like big bullies that we had to face while in grade school

     

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  11.  
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    inc, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 7:39pm

    If anything eBay would be the auctioneer. Persons taking their goods to be auctioned do not need a license why does someone all of a sudden need one for eBay. That law is a crock of shit. So much for stimulating small business economy.

     

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  12.  
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    Blackie, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 8:25pm

    read the article please

    After reading the actual article it appears that she was accepting commissions of 30% from selling other people's goods (by the way she was a registered business). Just b/c you are online, it does not exempt you from local laws.

    This was way beyond a hobby and small businesses still have to obey the law...

     

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  13.  
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    Rose M. Welch, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 10:00pm

    I work for the so-called 'little guy' and it's not eBay. It's a very small family-owned and operated business that's been in business for sixty years. We collect sales tax for the our state, and we pay local, state, and federal taxes so that we can operate a business, and make profit to pay our bills, like our owner's daughter's cancer treatment.

    Our money pays for our roads, libraries, police force, and so on up the line. I have no problem with people getting rid of things they don't need, selling a regular inventory over a long period of time is not like having a yearly Internet garage sale. Even if it was, in Oklahoma, you have to pay five dollars for a garage sale permit. In most states, once you start selling over a certain monetary amount, you are in business and you must pay taxes, just like everyone else.

    I'm not saying that the case mentioned in the article is great, but the roads and services that we all use will be out of business if the little tax-evading guy has his way.

     

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  14.  
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    Mike (profile), Feb 1st, 2008 @ 10:19pm

    Re: read the article please

    After reading the actual article it appears that she was accepting commissions of 30% from selling other people's goods (by the way she was a registered business). Just b/c you are online, it does not exempt you from local laws.

    I did read the article. As stated in the post, the problem was that she was selling goods for others.

    That still doesn't explain why she needs a special auctioneers license.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 10:26pm

    that's funny

    I see so many people jumping on the bandwagon to defend the ebay and its mob-rule tactics.

    ebay is for bottom feeders. It is not healthy.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 10:34pm

    i sell pornon ebay and make a boatload of cash

    and yes you are all stupid

     

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  17.  
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    Danny, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 10:41pm

    No need to worry...

    As long as ebay does not operate like an actual auction house (mainly in the sense that instead of a time limit an auction house auction goes on until someone makes a bid that is not challenged for several seconds) there shouldn't be any worry. Ebay is my last resort for buying items (usually something that is no longer in active production) anyway.

    Say what you want about Hellsvilla but I think she/he has a point about regulating people that operate full on businesses on ebay. If I open a brick and mortar store I have regulations to follow so why not for an online store. I'm not saying that the regulations can be copied verbatim mind you.

     

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  18.  
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    Starzz, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 10:58pm

    Re: Re: hrmm... nope

    No...you a cowardly idiot.

     

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  19.  
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    mike allen, Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 12:54am

    keep on subject

    you are all talking about local taxes when the articleis about needing a auctioners licence for ebay. Ive heard of protectionism but this is stupid. she sold on ebay to stay at home to look after her child with a brain tumer. Something to be praised not stopped by some BRAINLESS IDIOT IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT.
    if it were me in that position ID CONTINUE AND SELL EVEN MORE JUST TO P***S THEM OFF. Ebay is the auctioneer not the seller.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 1:09am

    doesnt make sence

    i don't know about an auctioneer's license, cause as far as i know its not the person who's selling goods over an auction that needs a license its the person running it that needs one, so that law suit should be thrown out of court pretty fast.

    but i do agree that if her business consists of selling good on ebay that she (or any one else) should have a business license, not because its over ebay just because its a license.

     

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  21.  
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    JoeHark, Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 2:17am

    eBay is not a "real" auction

    In a real auction the seller must complete the sale once bidding starts. Not on eBay.

    I recall one "auction" in which I tried to participate for a high-end Sony ultra-lightweight laptop. The seller had put up six of them, each scheduled to close on the same day and none had a reserve price.

    The result, he flooded his own little market. There were too few bids and weak, as well. Bidding stalled at $1,500 for units that retail list for $2,300. None of the items had more than three bidders and two had none.

    They were all pulled from sale less than 24 hours before bid closing. That was a so-called Power Seller. Guess who eBay supported when bidders demanded that the sale be completed? So much for eBay's rules that say a bid is a contract.

    I'm amazed anyone will buy there.

     

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  22.  
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    dijital, Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 2:27am

    Re: Re: hrmm... nope

    Interesting how you say this person is unable to check every item on ebay, and then you go on to claim having both sold and bought thousands (a claim that would involve you having bought AND sold nearly everyday since the founding of ebay in 1995).

     

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  23.  
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    Anon, Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 6:05am

    Re: Amazing

    Very true. Wish someone in Washington would realize that the only thing that will stimulate our economy is to make business easy for the little guy.

     

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  24.  
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    Anon, Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 6:07am

    Re: Re: Re: hrmm... nope

    Have you used ebay much? Some sellers sell a hundred items per day. There are many users in the "thousands" category.

     

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  25.  
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    Doc, Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 6:37am

    State Laws

    PA is a PitA (Pain in the Ass). First, they're not even a State -- they are a Commonwealth, police state. PA shares the same nonsense laws as Virginia. They are both trashy Commonwealths.

    What to excpect next? How about throwing people in jail for having garage sales! It's next.

     

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  26.  
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    Random made up name, Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 6:48am

    Re: Re: Re: hrmm... nope

    And you're a cowardly idiot with a made up name......

     

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  27.  
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    astonished, Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 6:58am

    Re: hrmm... nope

    #1 idiot
    #2 anyways is NOT a word

     

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  28.  
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    Chris Curtis, Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 8:52am

    Having an auctioneer license is irrelevant since the auctioneer is eBay and not the seller. eBay is the auction facilitator - at least thats what we've been hearing for the past 13 or so years.

    If PA wanted to take an aggressive approach, they would require a business license which would do a few things:

    a) It would encourage entrepreneurship.
    b) It would present better remedies for buyers.
    c) Sellers could be more easily held accountable for their sales transactions.

    I understand how and why PA did this, but I do not agree with how it was done. Hopefully, they will revisit the strategy and implement something that will motivate people instead of stressing them out.

     

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  29.  
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    tax questions, Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 10:19am

    If you keep your receipt and sell an item on ebay, but don't make a profit, you are able to prove it, does that mean you don't pay taxes because your net worth has not increased?

     

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  30.  
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    Mac, Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 10:30am

    Scandalous

    As an outsider this looks absolutely ridiculous. The people prosecuting this woman, in my opinion, aught to be ashamed of themselves going after a woman who, if the posting is correct, only wanted to stay home with her child.

    As for scammers on ebay; yep there's plenty of them. Every ebay I know has been scammed at some stage,including myself. Just check the ebay forums for evidence.
    The scammers who scammed me continue to operate on ebay while ebay apparently ignores them (yes I have lodged complaints, the only action they took was a *temporary* suspension).

    Ebay is great for CHEAP hard to find items but they badly need to sort themselves out.

     

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  31.  
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    Yard, Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 10:42am

    Do I need a yardsale license

    ebay is my yardsale replacement - would i need a license for my front yard?

     

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  32.  
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    Hellsvilla's Disciple, Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 10:44am

    Re: hrmm... nope

    Its wonderful to find someone that dislikes eBay as much as me! Wouldn't you just love to see it destroyed by legislature?

    I was so sorry to hear that you got sniped while trying desperately to acquire that last beanie baby for your collection. This is a perfect example of the unfair, competitive attitude that is so prevalent on that electronic den of iniquity! Even had you won, I'm sure that the item in question, one "Romper" the puppy, would never had been delivered in the first place.

    Let me ask you, what SHOULD people be allowed to do without a license? Apparently you are the authority, please, correct all of societies ills for us.

     

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  33.  
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    hellsvilla guy (I lost my cookie!), Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 11:49am

    Nope again

    For all those stating that the auctioneer is ebay, you are very mistaken. ebay is the platform provider. the seller is the auctioneer. However, ebay studied the law before they went live with their business model. They escape regulation as an auctioneer (and/or as an auctionhouse) with completely immunity because they do not meet the legal definition of either.

    They do the same thing with their pet bank, paypal. By very carefully studying the law for loopholes, they manage to evade all forms of financial institution regulation by ensuring that they do not meet the legal definition for one.

    The entire business model of both ebay and paypal is built upon evading legal responsibilities. But by all means, be a lemming, support their right to rebel against the man using technicalities that go against the intention of the law. Have a blast at it.

     

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  34.  
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    jdragon, Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 12:26pm

    Another waste of taxpayers' money

    Glad I don't live in PA (PainAss).

     

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  35.  
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    SuperSparky, Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 2:15pm

    Another example of an outdate, misapplied law.

    Ebay may be in the loophole zone, but only because the laws governing businesses and auctions are very out-dated. Selling on Ebay may be an "auction", but the actual auctioneer is the server, a machine. The server is also a salesperson (salesmachine?) too. If the Ebay seller is an "auctioneer", then the same claim can be made that the server is a "sales employee" too. This "employee" besides acting as an auctioneer, also acts as a price negotiator for those sales with "buy now" etc. etc.

    Lawyers love to argue things which clearly have no application to the laws as they were written, but some self-righteous judge out there will legislate from the bench to solve such a case instead of sending it to the legislature to fix. There's also some egotistical bureaucrat out there refusing to allow someone to not pay for something even if it doesn't meet with the intention of the current laws. SO much for "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness," unless of course you have a license to do so.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 2:47pm

    #1 is a complete moron. That is all.

     

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  37.  
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    diva, Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 3:39pm

    Re: Ebay

    I totally agree with SilverWolf, for some of us it is nothing more than an online car boot sale.

    There are others who take advantage of the service and it's their corruption that has spoiled it for us. We need to punish those devious people, not the innocent people who are just putting their used items to good use - by recycling them on ebay.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 6:52pm

    Why do there need to be laws about this? People shouldn't not be allowed to sell their own things! Will people who want to have a garage sale need to get a license as well?

     

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  39.  
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    jonnyq, Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 6:55pm

    Sue?

    This has been bothering me lately.

    TechDirt has been using the word "sue" when it means "prosecute". Doesn't "sue" mean civil litigation?

    Even if "sue" is technically correct, it would make a lot more sense if TechDirt could use "prosecute" when it means criminal litigations.

     

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  40.  
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    JOE, Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 8:16pm

    GET LOST Pennsylvania YOU ARE A RETARD STATE

     

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  41.  
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    Luci, Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 11:12pm

    Re: Re: hrmm... nope

    #1 idiot #2 anyways is NOT a word
    It isn't? Funny, it's in the dictionary... http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/anyways

     

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  42.  
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    al, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 12:37am

    Re: hrmm... nope

    hey, i bought stuff from ebay and it came in exactly as described. what scam? lol

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 2:16am

    Re: State Laws

    That's stupid to say. Most states's official name is commonwealth. Look it up.

     

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  44.  
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    Happy occassional ebayer, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 5:19am

    Re: hrmm... nope

    You, sir, are an idiot. "Most...are scammers" NO WAY. Some are, sure. But nowhere near most. I've been ripped off more by people around me than by those onlne.

     

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  45.  
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    Thomas Crescenzi, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 5:29am

    auctioneer's license... who's the auctioneer?

    Actually, the people selling their goods through an auction house never require a license... it's the auction house that requires a license. So shouldn't Pennsylvania be going after Ebay instead of this woman?

     

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  46.  
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    Frogpond, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 6:40am

    eBay

    I'm not a power seller but I have resold many items on eBay. Never ripped anyone off nor have I ever been ripped off on eBay. I have a sales tax certificate and DBA which is all that is necessary in my jurisdiction. Do I pay taxes on on income generated through eBay sales? Damn right I do!
    It is becoming very annoying to hear the so-called brick and mortar businesses decry the success of online market places. Most of my largest eBay purchases have been from B/M business who have joined the online sales community. As far as I know, there are no restrictions that prevent any retail establishment from selling online as well as face-to-face. With gasoline prices over 3 bucks per gallon, is it any wonder people shop online?
    Not saying that there are never any scams online b/c there are. Is eBay a great, caring institution? Of course not. It is a heartless corporation with profit as its bottom line. EBay did not invent this. It copied it from the oil companies and other corporate giants. Big government is equally heartless and corrupt. The online market model does work and its probably here to stay. Consumers, businesses and governments need to realize this and learn to deal with changes.

     

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  47.  
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    Andrew D. Todd, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 6:51am

    Amazon Does It Better.

    RE: #1, #32, #33 by Hellsvilla's Disciple

    Hellsvilla's Disciple is of course correct. I use Amazon Marketplace, mostly to buy used books, and for various other odds and ends. Amazon does make an explicit linkage between sale transaction and money transfer, and thereby becomes the reseller of record. In effect, Amazon gets paid for assuming legal responsibility. Amazon's model is not technically an auction. That is, the Amazon seller is expected to have a fairly good idea of what goods are worth, and quote a price accordingly. If the goods do not sell, they can go back later and quote a lower price. E-bay allows this as an auxiliary mode ("Buy it Now"), but it is less widely used. Implicit in Amazon's thinking is that used goods are generally not worth very much, and may even be worthless. If an out-of-production item were truly valuable, the manufacturer would have resumed production, ergo, an out-of-production item is not likely to be worth very much. E-bay, on the other hand, is designed around the assumption that yard sale items are potentially worth a lot of money. Predictably, that kind of model attracts con-men.

    Now, of course, there are improvements which Amazon could, and should, make. For example, Amazon could purchase "indicia" postage from the post office on behalf of the seller, and Amazon could lobby the post office to improve its tracking system. This would give Amazon independent knowledge of when goods had been shipped. Similarly, Amazon could furnish the seller with a supply of envelopes, boxes, etc. bearing a distinctive Amazon Marketplace logo ("Smith & Jones, an Amazon Marketplace trading partner," or words to that effect). These kind of things have no "street value," and the dishonest seller would have less opportunity to get his paws on actual money, while, at the same time, it would be possible to reduce the honest seller's out-of-pocket expenses, save him paperwork, etc.

    Amazon is rather like Google. They are both companies which succeed, not because they are so talented, but because their competitors are so dumb. "Don't be Evil" is such a simple idea, but it seems to be beyond the comprehension of most dot-com businessmen.

     

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  48.  
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    bored, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 8:11am

    Re: hrmm... nope

    hrmm... nope,,,, you are an ASSHAT!

     

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  49.  
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    Jordan, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 9:20am

    Re: Re: Re: hrmm... nope

    No, anyone with an opinion like yours is clearly of inferior intelligence.

     

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  50.  
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    Jordan, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 9:23am

    I wouldn't rely on Paypal to help you.

    I got screwed by Paypal twice. Once was when a guy sold me a $900 computer setup and a 8800gtx was supposed to come with, but didn't. And the other time was when I won a listing for 3 phones, but only received one.

     

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  51.  
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    AG, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 10:36am

    Re: Hmmmm..... Nope

    #45 - Your right the auction house is held responsable, BUT that is because people GIVE them things to sell. In regards to EBay, we do not give anything to EBay to sell, we sell it ourselves.

    What the woman was doing should be commended, but their is no excuse for being ignorant. She is selling things FOR OTHER PEOPLE FOR A PROFIT, therefore she is a business. You can not use the excuse "I did not know I was speeding officer" they would slap you with a ticket no matter what.

     

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  52.  
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    Rosanne, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 11:19am

    Wrong

    I've bought and sold on Ebay almost since it was conceived.
    I have been duped a few times, but paying attention to seller feedback is worth its weight in gold. I've made lots of money and saved lots of money buying new things that would be twice as much in the stores. Unhealthy? Now that is just sick.

     

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  53.  
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    Rose M. Welch, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 12:36pm

    Re:

    Yes, in most states, you must have a permit to hold a garage sale. In Lawton, Oklahoma, it's 5 dollars for three days and it covers your three-day business liscense and the sales tax on the things that you sell. So you people that are arguing that it's like selling from home are correct and idiotic. Yes, it is like selling from home, but yes, you must have a liscense for selling from home.

    Part of your liscencing requirement covers knowing your legal responsibilities. Like not being able to sell a CZ ring as a diamond ring, which happens all the time on Ebay. People come in with thier Ebay receipts for gold and diamond jewelery and want insurance appraisals and we have to inform them that they got ripped.

    If the sellers held business liscenses, they would be subject to prosecution by the state, not just civil suit by the injured buyer, and, in some places, would have to have a bond covering their sales that would be forfeit to the cheated buyer in the event of a decietful or fradulent sale.

    In addition, state prosecution does not cost the injured buyer any additional money, whereas a civil suit would cost quite a bit of additional money, and in some places, the injured buyer would have to prove that the seller *knew* that the item was fake before selling it.

    So keep complaining about the greedy government, guys. Just keep on...

     

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  54.  
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    Astrid, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: hrmm... nope

    Interesting how you say this person is unable to check every item on ebay, and then you go on to claim having both sold and bought thousands (a claim that would involve you having bought AND sold nearly everyday since the founding of ebay in 1995).

    You're wrong. My feedback is around 5000, with about 4k from selling and another 1k from buying, and I have a second buyer's only Ebay account with 2000 feedback. Neither account is used much anymore, and I started with Ebay in late 1998, which blows both your theories out of the water.

     

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  55.  
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    Rekrul, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 1:05pm

    Protecting consumers is one thing, but this country is drowning in a sea of red tape. There are so many laws and requirements for businesses that unless you're a large corporation, it's not worth it to even try to own your own business.

    Any time the government (local or federal) sees that someone, somewhere is making money, they come up with some new license requirement, or tax that will ensure that you can't make a profit.

     

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  56.  
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    Rose M. Welch, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 1:25pm

    And you know this because...

    ...you tried to open a business and couldn't? Or what? I guess I'm confused since I buy my doughnuts for the small family-owned business at a small, family-owned business and we use a small local web designer for our website, my husband works for a small local IT business that services small to medium businesses in our local area and so on down the line. I purchased my last two vehicles from the same small car lot in OKC, OK that's been there for years... And I don't see my store or any of the other business exiting the market anytime soon...

    Please provide some back-up of you opinion.

     

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  57.  
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    PeopleGeek, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 1:55pm

    Hmmm..nope

    1) I sell a few things on EBay. 250+ 100% Positive.

    I buy a few things on EBay too.

    I am both an idiot and a bottom feeder BIGTIME. However, I have yet to be ripped off. That means I am one of the brighter idiot bottom feeders.

    2) A consignment business obviously should be licensed and taxed.

     

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  58.  
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    Ken, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 2:23pm

    What is this coming to?

    There is a major difference between people selling new goods (without resale licenses) and those selling older goods as a garage sale. For many of those items, people have already paid their sales tax -- unless we bought from Amazon.com. :-)

     

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  59.  
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    Bonzo, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 4:32pm

    E-bay

    Come on, folks. Let's have government telling us how many Big Macs we can eat, cameras on every street intersection reading our license plates. What's really at stake is what big brother is supposed to be doing and how much of your tax money you want spent micro-manageing your lives. Get a life. Buyer beware. Get the fuck out our faces. Try protecting yourselves, idiots, if you are getting scammed. Every subscriber to e-bay has a performance rating. Use it. Same applies to stores, gas stations, everywhere you go to spend your hard-earned cash. All this whining about how every social woe can be saved by another burecratic regulation. It should make you puke.

     

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  60.  
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    Hisham, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 6:59pm

    I have one question

    I have one question, How will this affect craigslist?? Will companies sure sellers on craigslist next?

     

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  61.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 8:35pm

    Re: Do I need a yardsale license

    In most states, yes, in fact, you do.

     

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  62.  
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    Bite Me, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 10:16pm

    Re: hrmm... nope

    Your nothing but an ass and it shows.

     

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  63.  
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    Celes, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 10:37pm

    Re: What is this coming to?

    Perhaps the confusion comes from the phrase "sales tax". In my state that is not the case; it is a "sales and use tax". So the tax covers things that are sold in the state and also things which are used in the state (a used car would be a good example; just try to get out of paying taxes on it). And just like it applies to used items, it also applies to all those lovely online purchases for which you weren't charged sales tax at the time of purchase.

    Is it right? Debatable. Is it enforceable? Not in most cases. But it is the rule, at least in my home state.

     

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  64.  
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    Confused By You, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 11:14pm

    Re: hrmm... nope

    Wow, you really seem upset with ebay. How are they an enabler for bottom feeders. Caveat emptor is as true in online purchases as it is in brick and mortar ones. Why would you want to stifle innovation by regulation and taxation?

     

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  65.  
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    Tax Shafted Again, Feb 4th, 2008 @ 12:05am

    Yes another example of the Gov't double, triple, q

    ...dipping.

    If I sell something I own, without a business license, that means that I paid sales taxes on it already. I also paid income taxes on the money that I made so that I could purchase said item. So by the time I own it, I've already been taxed twice on that money.

    Now, if I want to sell it, I'm being told that I should for out for taxes AGAIN? I thought this country stood for FREE TRADE.

    Make no mistake, requiring me to get a license, pass a test, take a course, or anything of the like is a TAX like any other. The state doesn't use licenses to regulate garage sales in Oklahoma, they use the $5 to line the pockets of state government as another TAX.

    What it all comes down to is how much are the American People willing to be nickel and dimed by their own government before they speak up and say "TAX ME ONCE SHAME ON YOU, TAX ME TWICE, SHAME ON ME."

     

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  66.  
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    Thomas Crescenzi, Feb 4th, 2008 @ 3:45am

    Ridiculous overtaxation and regulation

    ...And people wonder why Ron Paul gets so much popular support... We as citizens and as voters need to send a clear message that the government needs to find better ways to raise revenue for services. The mistake that the Ron Pauls of the world make is that they want to take away the taxation and regulation and the services. You don't need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. What needs to happen is the government needs to come up with a straight tax code with no loopholes or paperwork and replace the income tax with a VAT. That would do wonders right there. And one more thing, let the government take a cut of patent royalties. If people want to be profit barons on their patents and stifle competition, at least let them contribute to the welfare of the nation.

     

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  67.  
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    Rose M. Welch, Feb 4th, 2008 @ 5:51am

    Caveat Emptor? I think not.

    Caveat emptor (or buyer beware) is the rule with in-store purchased. It is *not* the rule with online purchases. There are very strict laws about on-line sales, and the FTC, which prosecutes such claims, takes the view of a *reasonable consumer* and decides all cases with a serious slant toward the consumer, in response to the serious number of Internet scams. They wish to encourage the on-line marketplace by making the Internet a safer place to shop. Nowadays, even having a disclaimer with all the fine print (What the big print giveth, the little print taketh away,. rofl.) is not surety that you are in compliance and will avoid prosecution. Granted, though, the FTC readily admits that they prosecute products that cause bodily harm *first*, such as diet pills with outrageous claims, fake Viagra, etc. So you probably won't ever be fined for your fake diamond scam without help from the state that you or your victims live in.

     

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  68.  
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    Boring fence-sitter, Feb 4th, 2008 @ 6:04am

    On the one hand this on the other hand that

    Actually seems to me the truth is probably somewhere in between. There are arguments for regulating ebay, but regulators seem to often get captured by the big players as a means for stifling competition (see also much of intellectual property law). Requiring folk to take an expensive course to sell stuff on ebay seems to suggest this is a case where that may have happened.

    But my gripe with Ebay is that its chock full of obsessive-compulsive bidders, who will always 'snipe' you at the last moment purely for the pleasure of 'winning' - even if it means them paying more for the item than it costs new.

    I've several times been outbid for something by someone who clearly doesn't care that its available cheaper than their bid from normal retailers.

    It makes it great for sellers but quite useless for sane buyers. Most of the time I find items are available cheaper, often new, e.g. on Amazon marketplace (where its the sellers who compete to undercut each other), than they go for on Ebay. Sometimes Amazon itself is cheaper than the ebay reserve price. At least for cds and computer games. Consequently I haven't bought anything on ebay for years.

    I mess the old yahoo auction site. There sellers seemed to outnumber bidders, so you rarely had to bid against anyone!

     

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  69.  
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    Ima Fish, Feb 4th, 2008 @ 6:08am

    Re: hrmm... nope

    "it was mostly scams and nothing they could do about it"

    "Mostly" implies at least 51% of the sales are scams with no resolution. That's complete BS. I have no doubt that some scams are occurring and that some of those scams are unresolved. But to claim that the majority of sales on ebay are scams is ignorant. I think Coward is right, you are an idiot.

     

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  70.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2008 @ 9:07am

    YOU FOOLS!

    Sniping is a scam too. Since most auctions are won by snipers, ebay is mostly full of scams.

    If you don't think sniping is a scam, then I pity you.

     

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  71.  
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    Mrs. Specter, Feb 4th, 2008 @ 9:22am

    PA Is Where ......

    Arlen Specter is from. The fact he's sticking his nose into NFL business is no different then the state suing over an eBay sale.

     

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  72.  
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    unknown afraid person, Feb 4th, 2008 @ 10:35am

    Re: Nope again

    "support their right to rebel against the man using technicalities that go against the intention of the law. Have a blast at it."


    Just like we allow telcom, oil , pharmacorp and HMO's. They all do the same things ( legal loopholes , off shore financial holdings, avoiding patent expiry by using the same drugs to treat different ailments thus being granted a new patent on the same drug to keep a monopoly going etc)

    Almost all industries use the same tactics to keep profits up.


    Don't hate the player ( ebay ) hate the game ( making more money by any means available ) The whole system is skewed so that those with the most money and therefore the most power have the biggest say in what goes on in our lives. Ebay is not taking money out of the big business of high end auction houses. They are giving average people the ability to shill their still useful but unwanted goods. And yes there are people who make a living at it but hardly the kind of cash that the big guys make.( Christie's , Sotheby's etc ) This is just another attempt to make a mountain out of an anthill.

    Now if she was selling ten of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise a quarter then yes she should start paying taxes on that money but there is hardly a precedent for requiring a license to list an item whos auction is then carried out by a computer unless of course you can issue a license to the machine.

     

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  73.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2008 @ 10:43am

    Wench breaks the law, her kid gets a brain tumor.

    Karma is a bitch.

     

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  74.  
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    Cath-fach, Feb 4th, 2008 @ 7:41pm

    Re: read the article please

    She was indeed accepting commissions. She was also registered as a business and paying taxes appropriately. She just happened to be selling online. In what way does her business differ from any consignment store or flea market, other than being online?

     

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  75.  
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    Rose M. Welch, Feb 5th, 2008 @ 8:45pm

    Um... Being on-line is a very valid difference...

    Because on-line sales and in-store sales operate with different laws. They are not the same. So, yes, you can get pegged for one and not the other because on-line sales and in-store sales are governed by different groups with different laws. Sometimes it's a bit confusing to comply with them all, but that's what attorneys are for. Before we started selling on-line (I manage a jewelery store) we consulted an attorney who prepared a big folder of info for us on the differences between the two fields, right down to how we are allowed to sell and even to describe the jewelry on-line.

    On-line is not the same as your home or yard.

    On-line is not the same as your brick-and-mortar store.

    Because it's not your home or yard.

    It's not a brick-and-mortar store.

    And there are different governing bodies.

     

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  76.  
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    Overcast, Feb 6th, 2008 @ 6:22am

    I just LOVE when the government gets so heavy handed!!!

    Don't think... just OBEY! (and pay your tax)

     

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  77.  
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    Armchair Lawyer, Feb 6th, 2008 @ 11:40pm

    Re: Yes another example of the Gov't double, tripl

    "Now, if I want to sell it, I'm being told that I should for out for taxes AGAIN? I thought this country stood for FREE TRADE."

    No, you are not being told that. The buyer is the one who is responsible for paying the sales tax. When you buy from a brick and mortar store they COLLECT the sales tax from you and pass it along to the state, they don't pay it themselves. When you buy something online "tax free" (such as from Amazon, Newegg, etc.) you are legally required to report your purchase and submit the appropriate sales tax to your state (of course none of us do that but it is the law).

    Also, the term "free trade" does not mean that trade is free of charges, it refers to the freedom to engage in trade.

    Also your argument about double dipping is flawed, have you ever bought a used car? When you purchase something that is new to you (even if it's used) sales tax is still owed to the state (it is a tax on the sale of goods, hence the name). Maybe this doesn't seem fair but if you use cars as a simplified example to deconstruct it, the manufacturer paid sales tax on the materials used to make the car so does that mean you shouldn't have to pay sales tax?

     

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  78.  
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    Alan, Feb 7th, 2008 @ 1:58pm

    In this case isn't ebay the auction house and the seller is just providing the items?

     

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  79.  
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    Mike, Feb 10th, 2008 @ 12:56pm

    So when we pay to get our items shipped, there's no tax on that? I doubt it seeing how the government taxes us on everything else. And I'm sure the Government taxes ebay every year to run their business in our country. If I was running a major business making millions in profit I could understand it but why go after people selling a few things? It seems pointless and greedy. Way to go after the little guy.

     

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  80.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2008 @ 11:03am

    Re: hrmm... nope

    God forbid some folks would rather work at home because there daughter has a brain tumor!! Bottom Feeders? Are you joking, pal?! Get over yourself, people like you make me sick. Do us all a favor and go jump off a bridge. The world would be better without scumbags like you.

     

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  81.  
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    ebay-er, Mar 2nd, 2008 @ 10:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: hrmm... nope

    Interesting how you say this person is unable to check every item on ebay, and then you go on to claim having both sold and bought thousands (a claim that would involve you having bought AND sold nearly everyday since the founding of ebay in 1995).

    You're wrong. My feedback is around 5000, with about 4k from selling and another 1k from buying, and I have a second buyer's only Ebay account with 2000 feedback. Neither account is used much anymore, and I started with Ebay in late 1998, which blows both your theories out of the water.
    *******************************************************

    Not to mention the auction and turbo-list software available. eBay sellers who make any amount of money list hundreds of auctions daily. ....In addition, the vast majority of powersellers run legitimate businesses on eBay and DO HOLD business licenses.
    In my ten years on eBay, I've been scammed once... by a minor who had no business on eBay, and had used his parent's account.

     

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  82.  
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    reallllly now!, Mar 2nd, 2008 @ 10:52pm

    Re: YOU FOOLS!

    >>>
    ...........................................................

    Most 'snipers' only bid the highest price they are willing to pay for a widget. Some bid at the last minute, some use software.

     

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  83.  
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    Ryan, Mar 3rd, 2008 @ 9:26pm

    A change is coming

    Swaparoo.com is going to take them by storm.

     

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  84.  
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    Concerned Citizen, Jul 13th, 2008 @ 7:30am

    Ebay

    People who are licensed to broker any transaction go thru rigorous training to become licensed and are also required to be bonded by the Commonwealth. Reason being is to prevent fraud which is what the majority of all complaints to law enforcement are from regarding eBay uses both buyers and sellers. Buyer and Seller beware on Ebay!!! Ebay makes buyers and sellers hold them harmless for providing the forum for commerce. Ebay always gets their money but never takes care of any victims. My advice is to trust a licensed and bonded Auctioneer if you have things you want sold professionally, legally and with your interests required by law to come first.

     

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  85.  
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    LQ, Sep 18th, 2008 @ 12:21am

    Re: Re: Re: hrmm... nope

    You idiot...I've listed 2,000 pcs of one item at once..I carry a line of somewhere around 30,00 items and much more is available anytime I want it . You need to read up son...

     

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  86.  
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    LQ, Sep 18th, 2008 @ 12:31am

    Re: YOU FOOLS!

    Sniping is a methodolgy you fool....A sure way to assert your maxium bid at the last minute. Ofcourse that is only for savy buyers. "A Kinda put your money where your mouth is technique".. Ebay is only a vehicle to others around the world. Sellers are only a part of the vehicle. Scammers are the shit-Heads kinda like you that sit around talking about subjects that they have no real knowledge of, "Not to mention - Way off the subject".

     

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  87.  
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    LQ, Sep 18th, 2008 @ 12:43am

    Re: Just a Number

    Absolutely right.
    Those that think that they are above what you say here,.. are surely kidding themselves. We are infact just a bunch of numbers out here. Not much less than slaves to our politicals and servents to our states. We can say what we want about all that is expected of us...while where moving in their prescribed direction shaking our heads, and bitching about it.

     

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  88.  
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    LQ, Sep 18th, 2008 @ 12:50am

    Re: Re: hrmm... nope

    Who-ever you are. Your absolutely correct. The above writer is a idiot. 6 points below plant life somewhere.It's clear to see that this writer is a High-Ender Huh?

     

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  89.  
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    LQ, Sep 18th, 2008 @ 1:19am

    The suit

    For those whom are interested in the actual facts. Look it up... Pennsylvania is amoung the highest Taxed and Licensed State in the nation. The masters here, believe firmly in
    " TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION "
    " THE ALL KNOWING OF LICENSE's"
    Our very movements, interests, decissions, plans, achievements, goals, life styles, ownerships, and more are their security.
    This lady is clearly being made an example of by the order,for all to see.
    GREED
    is the force punishing her.
    Total and complete dis-connection between those that are able to really LIVE their lives and those of us who try to make a life is the reality

     

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  90.  
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    I wish people knew what they were talking about be, Jan 10th, 2009 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Do I need a yardsale license

    In Ohio, you do need a license to hold a garage sale. It's only $.50, but you do need one. They tend to "look the other way" for people who don't, but if you are selling your junk every weekend, they can close you down.

    Same goes for any business. No, Ebay isn't a real "auction" but people who sell on Ebay are sellers. That means they own a business and should pay taxes on it and (depending on the state) should have a vendor's license to do so. Just like the garage/yard sales, if you only sell one or two things the government won't say much, but if you are selling daily then you should be paying taxes and have a license.

    I buy and sell occassionally on Ebay, so I know how they work. Ebay cannot legally send out forms to the IRS (or anyone else for that matter) from sellers, because they don't know how much money is exchanged. There is no way for them to prove that money was received or sent. That is the way they stay out of any legalities regarding licenses.

    I do have a problem with Paypal, though. Ebay is now demanding that buyers and sellers only go through Paypal and the fees are outrageous. There is no way that sellers can even make money without charging huge fees to the buyers because of all of the fees. Ebay also likes to raise their fees every now and then, so I'm sure eventually we will no longer have to worry about Ebay because noone will be able to make any money because they will be paying too much money in fees.

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it! :)

     

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  91.  
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    Greg, Jan 14th, 2009 @ 5:06pm

    Ebay

    #1 is so stupid !!! Ebay has feedback ratings that tell you who is a good seller and who is not! I have been buying and selling for over 8 years I have 100% positive feed back. I have never ripped anyone off nor have I ever been ripped off. Plus if you use palpay you are completely protected. I can't stand these people that think we need government in everything. Have you ever been to a government office? The government is the most inefficient business model ever. in every case ever tested the private sector always runs better when government stays out of it. Just like most things with the government you give up one right for the common good and before you know it the its out of control. An auctioneer licence requires one to even learn the fast talk of a traditional auctioneer. How completely stupid is that. What next will we need to offer a handicap parking space in order to have a yard sale? Or offer a 30 day return policy? Regulation is what keeps the little guy from ever becoming a big guy. Where do you think most mom and pop business are going. You may want to blame walmart (another misconception) Truth be known a lot businesses are regulated out of profitability. Or just become to costly for the average person to afford to start up. Case in point when people complained about some massage parlors selling sex big brother came up with the idea to require all massage therapist to need a 12,000 education. Instead of just raiding the whore houses they are threatening the lively hood of thousands of legitimate massage therapist. Even when the studies have not produced 1 record ever of an injury from a therapeutic massage! Thanks big brother for watching out for me!!

     

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  92.  
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    david, Jan 30th, 2009 @ 7:37am

    Re: hrmm... nope

    Ebay is an online garage sale and I for one don't want to see this kind of ridiculous governement intervention into people's lives. Yes there are many seedy dealers, but it is still a fairly good example of commerce/economics in a world where almost perfect information is exchanged in a sales transaction. In economic models perfect information means everyone has equal information regarding value, rarity, demand etc. So I for one think the government should stay out.

     

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  93.  
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    Funny, Jan 31st, 2009 @ 6:13pm

    Funny

    She was running a PAWN show out of her home. Pawn shops have to pay taxes, hold every item for 30 days, can't sell on Sunday, etc. One thing to sell your old panties, anothet to start a business and think you can charge people and not get snapped. me says - sell your own stuff - freebie. sell others - you are a business. then you are either legal or illegal - your choice.

     

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  94.  
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    Frank, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 11:24am

    Pa wants to hurt small business, not help.

     

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  95.  
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    Herbert Lubitz, Jun 8th, 2009 @ 6:18am

    Re: Re: Re: hrmm... nope

    Why are you calling people names? What are you afraid of anyway? Some poor guy trys to make an honest living and right away you critisize them. At least they are not robbing your home. Only brainless people call others names. You on the otherhand are actually the Idiot.

     

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  96.  
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    blahblah, Sep 14th, 2009 @ 7:25pm

    why get a license is not collecting tax?

    Why should the lady have a reseller license if she is not collecting local sales tax?? A reseller license is good for two things: for buying wholesale so you don't have to pay tax when buying materials to sell and to use when submitting local sales tax payments.

    If she was selling on consignment, she had no upfront expense since the items were still the property of the owners and not her (that's what consignment is). and since she was selling online, the chances are slim that she had many (if any) sales in PA, not to mention that she could have just denied any PA sales altogether.

    This is illogical - almost as bad as many of the rediculous comments on this post.

     

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  97.  
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    msitalianbutterfly, Feb 19th, 2012 @ 1:48pm

    Re: Ebay

    I have to agree. As a single mother, selling odds and ends on eBay to make extra gas money is hardly a business. To have to pay all this extra money out we might as well just had over what we make? The only time I sell is if one of my child out grow something or it is just laying around the house. I would hardly call it a business when you are only making maybe 30-50 a week if that? There are times I do not even list. This is such a stupid law that will only hurt the lower income people trying to get ahead.

     

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  98.  
    identicon
    zingmoon, Dec 7th, 2012 @ 10:14pm

    Re: hrmm... nope

    I think you're highly delusional, an over exaggerator and likely related to the inbred thieves, posing as law officials, that decided to go after the woman. It's yet another over zealous attempt to make inappropriate usage of laws to extract and black mail individuals for profit. This is similar to the RIAA using threats and a loophole in the law to improperly apply that so they can take peoples homes, and life savings because they copied less than $10 worth of music. And yes, there are articles about it. The RIAA, as some artists have eluded to, are not helpful, and they don't want their help.

    If it were highly illegal, Ebay wouldn't be allowed to allow mass individuals to participate in that activity. Also they'd be liable for an accomplice. Either way, the courts as you've pointed out, have largely ignored ebayers. Therefore, since this is known, it's improper to suddenly go after some lone woman trying to save money to help her dying child. The way it works is you change the system at the upper end. Not pick on the woman selling from her apartment. But the fact that you want "accountability" presupposes that she was doing something wrong to begin with. As if you are some low life law official eager to fry her. Well if you are, you need to stop being a bottom feeder your self and stop trying to be part of a movement that condones twisting laws in order to take advantage of the weak, elderly or sick or anyone for that matter. And you don't like ebay. Well no surprise there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  99.  
    icon
    zingmoon (profile), Dec 7th, 2012 @ 10:22pm

    Re: hrmm... nope

    You're highly delusional, an over exaggerator and likely related to the inbred thieves, posing as law officials, that decided to go after the woman. It's yet another over zealous attempt to make inappropriate usage of laws to extract and black mail individuals for profit. This is similar to the RIAA using threats and a loophole in the law to improperly apply that so they can take peoples homes, and life savings because they copied less than $10 worth of music. And yes, there are articles about it. The RIAA, as some artists have eluded to, are not helpful, and they don't want their help.

    If it were highly illegal, Ebay wouldn't be allowed to allow mass individuals to participate in that activity. Also they'd be liable for an accomplice. Either way, the courts as you've pointed out, have largely ignored ebayers. Therefore, since this is known, it's improper to suddenly go after some lone woman trying to save money to help her dying child. The way it works is you change the system at the upper end. Not pick on the woman selling from her apartment. But the fact that you want "accountability" presupposes that she was doing something wrong to begin with. As if you are some low life law official eager to fry her. Well if you are, you need to stop being a bottom feeder your self and stop trying to be part of a movement that condones twisting laws in order to take advantage of the weak, elderly or sick or anyone for that matter. And you don't like ebay. Well no surprise there. And yes, as others have pointed out. You're an idiot, and not because peoples opinions differ from yours. The reasons supporting that are glaringly obvious.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  100.  
    identicon
    N/A, Mar 29th, 2013 @ 10:02pm

    Re: hrmm... nope

    Happen to disagree my other half bought me some vitamins and it saved me a huge amount of cash. Please don't knock' e-bay/auctions until you try them. If you feel frustrated with the auction aspect do the buy-it-now portion. You can get some unique items, including kids toys for Christmas, you cannot find elsewhere. I know people who have saved hundreds shopping on there. Many items get marked-up, this way you can save money.

    If the people bought the item(s)they are selling why should they be penalized.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  101.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2013 @ 8:11am

    Re: hrmm... nope

    A business license is much different than an auctioneers license. You are not arguing the same point as the article.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  102.  
    icon
    Bah (profile), Jan 30th, 2014 @ 2:04pm

    Re: hrmm... nope

    Are you serious? If so, don't forget your helmet when you leave the house. I mean, seriously.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  103.  
    icon
    Bah (profile), Jan 30th, 2014 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Ebay

    It's for the children. Remember, you can't freely earn a living without the assistance of the omnipotent state. If so, it will be illegal.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  104.  
    icon
    Bah (profile), Jan 30th, 2014 @ 2:30pm

    Re: Re: hrmm... nope

    AC, it's frightening out there, isn't it? I used to sell batteries on eBay. It's amazing that an idea that gives power to people can be bashed with so much derpity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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