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States Planning to Require License to Sell on EBay 274

Posted by Zonk
from the free-enterprise-never-is dept.
RobMowery writes "CNN reports that North Dakota and other state governments are trying to pass laws to require people who are selling for others on Ebay to purchase an auctioneer license, attend classes (for a fee) and become bonded." From the article: "North Dakota's Public Service Commission is exploring whether people like Nichols, who runs a small consignment store in Crosby, must obtain auctioneer licenses before they can legally use eBay to sell merchandise for others. Regulators in other states are also eyeing similar restrictions or preconditions, moves prompted by the growing popularity of online auctions. To get a North Dakota auctioneer's license, applicants must pay a $35 fee, obtain a $5,000 surety bond and undergo training at one of eight approved auction schools, where the curriculum includes talking really fast ... Commissioner Kevin Cramer said he does not believe the law applies to people who sell their own goods over eBay, but it could cover those who sell property consigned by others for a fee."
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States Planning to Require License to Sell on EBay

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  • by Buzz_Litebeer (539463) on Friday October 14, 2005 @04:26PM (#13793512) Journal
    I think this is a good idea. These individuals are running an auctioning business by taking peoples items for consignment. As long as it does not spread to those just selling their own private goods, this seems like an incredibly good idea.

    It provides protections to the people who give their goods over for sale, as well as provides a link to the individual that is selling, and a person can prove that they are a bonded seller as well.

    Obviously the classes would have to change slightly for internet retailers, mentioning talking fast is sort of moot if this were to go ahead.

    • Obviously the classes would have to change slightly for internet retailers, mentioning talking fast is sort of moot if this were to go ahead.

      Bah, piece of cake.

      "Thankyouforpurchasingyouritemsatourstore, wereallyREALLYappreciateyourbusiness..."

      Thank you, Mavis Beacon!

    • by AviLazar (741826) on Friday October 14, 2005 @04:31PM (#13793567) Journal
      While I agree it is good for those who are doing this as a business (consignments) - it WILL move on to other things. Also, it will be hard to regulate.

      It will also provide a new source of tax revenue, which is the main reason the gov't wants it.

      It will cause some issues:

      That $35 fee does not pay for the classes, which can be hundreds. And that surety bond - unless you are part of a company, you may have to front that money...that is a barrier to entry and not a lot of people can afford it. THe great thing about consignment on eBay is that you could get in for free.
      • by Tackhead (54550) on Friday October 14, 2005 @04:38PM (#13793632)
        > While I agree it is good for those who are doing this as a business (consignments) - it WILL move on to other things. Also, it will be hard to regulate.

        "Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against - then you'll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We're after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you'd better get wise to it. There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens' What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Rearden, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with."

        - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

        > It will also provide a new source of tax revenue, which is the main reason the gov't wants it.

        Close, but not quite.

        > That $35 fee does not pay for the classes, which can be hundreds. And that surety bond - unless you are part of a company, you may have to front that money...that is a barrier to entry and not a lot of people can afford it. THe great thing about consignment on eBay is that you could get in for free.

        Now you've got it. The "great thing" is only "great" to people like the buyers of products on eBay (who want more goods to purchase from a wider array of sellers) and to people who want to get into the business without having to pony up a few grand of protection money (oops, "to take classes on how to talk fast!") to line the pockets of people who are already well established.

        In a free market, anyone can enter. If you give enough money to your politicians, however, you can have him erect artificial barriers to your competition, turning a formerly free market into a cartel, or guild. A capitalist doesn't fear competition -- but sadly, owning a small business doesn't turn you into a capitalist any more than going into a garage makes you a car.

        • `In a free market, anyone can enter'

          In the real world, all markets have barriers to entry, chief of which is capital. The so called barrier of entry you're referring to is, practically speaking, no more a barrier to entry than being required to pony up an equivalent amount of cash to start a vending route or to beer making equipment, or any other business that requires investment.

          `owning a small business doesn't turn you into a capitalist '

          That much is correct. Capitalism is a theory of production, not a th
          • by Anonymous Coward
            Yes, but that decision to put up capital is incredibly voluntary. You're confusing the monetary definition of "Free" with the civil liberties version of "Free", the common mistake of any idiotic conflict theorist/marxist.
          • Every business has barriers to entry, which may include capital and skill.

            However, the poster you responded to was referring an artificial barrier to entry, erected by the government. Building a factory or learning a skill isn't an artificial barrier if the current state of technology inherently requires either in order to provide the intended goods and services.
          • "Capitalism is a theory of production, not a theory of retail or professional services." Capitalism is a method of allocating a resources, that includes all labour, as well as production resources, and even intellectual property. There is no difference whether the resources be "professional services", as you call them, "retail" related activities, cogs, gears or prostitutes. It's all the same crap, resources that need to get from whoever produces them to whoever wants them.

            "Many businesses don't produce

      • "It will also provide a new source of tax revenue, which is the main reason the gov't wants it."

        Exactly. North Dakota's state gov't is one of the most internet-savvy in the entire nation (there is almost no county, town, agency, or department, no matter how small, that doesn't have its own well-managed website). So I find it very hard to believe that this is being done from ignorance of what eBay IS, or how eBay differs from traditional meatspace auctions (which are still commonplace in ND).

        Small businesses
    • by RexRhino (769423) on Friday October 14, 2005 @04:39PM (#13793638)
      How does it provide protections to people who give their goods over for sale? Please explain it to me.

      Just because the state charges a $35 dollar fee and requires some classes (from the same people who are lobbying for the class requirements), doesn't mean that there is any infrastructure in place to protect consumers. All it means is that people have paid $35 and took a class.

      And why are states so concerned about "protecting" people who gives things on consignment for auction (which there isn't a whole lot of), but refuse to get involved when ebay sellers are involved in all out scamming? It seems to me if this was about protecting people, they would go after the biggest and most desctructive criminals first. This just seems like a way to charge a new tax, and to protect the market of established auctioneers.
      • They'd have to be bonded - that's the protection.
        • So now you have to sue a bonding company to get paid, and believe me, they can afford better lawyers than two-bit junk dealers.
          • Read up about "joint and several liability".

            You can sue them both, take the assets of the seller if you can, go after the bonding company if you can't.

            Just like one is still liable for damages in a car accident if one has insurance. The insurance company does indemnify you up to the liability limit, but that doesn't prevent people from suing you. You could get sued and lose, and the insurance company could refuse to pay (for example, if they think you were drunk even if you weren't and there is an exclusion
    • I don't think that most consignment shops in most states have an Auctioneer's License requirement, whether they sell the consigned items directly from a (brick) storefront or online through eBay. In neither case are they "auctioning" anything. I've bought and sold items on eBay, and if any party in the transaction could be called an Auctioneer, it would be eBay itself. Calling an eBay seller an Auctioneer, whether or not they are the owner of the item, is a misapplication of the term Auctioneer ("One tha
    • by rolfwind (528248) on Friday October 14, 2005 @04:39PM (#13793645)
      Are you talking out of your ass?

      Especially if this is a state by state law, it will become a patchwork of licenses here and there, unenforceable and the seller's will just relocate their "location" on ebay to a friendly state. Like a scammers do with Utah or Florida. Or Washington D.C.:-)

      I actually did selling on ebay, as well as buying where I got burned - so I looked into it.

      Most of the fraud done on ebay are by low volume sellers who build up their feedback to somewhere in the double-digits and then pull either a high-priced scam, or probably more likely a dump a bunch of lots (medium priced, say computers for a low price) and never deliver.

      Common sense is the best defense in this case, buying from someone that has an internet presence besides ebay (like a website) and that has a high feedback (over 200) that won't likely jeopardize it.

      If this starts passing left and right, it will kill small business, or they'll move from ebay (I hate ebay, I don't care if they lose money) into their own website and just sell the stuff for a fixed price. In fact, they can do that now on ebay too.

      Nowadays, when government usually do something (and other local governments want to be fast on the heels to follow), it's not for the good of the people, it's about control and increasing the revenue stream. I wonder if this is the first step toward greater taxes applied to internet selling, since they'll get the consignors listed on paper.....
      • Hmm, My ass wasnt particularly making any noise that I know of.

        This will not kill small business, even though it is a blatant attempt at tax revenue, people that give their items over for consignment will have one more avenue to attack those that take advantage of the situation.

        • Hmm, My ass wasnt particularly making any noise that I know of.

          Not even a whisper? :D

          This will not kill small business, even though it is a blatant attempt at tax revenue, people that give their items over for consignment will have one more avenue to attack those that take advantage of the situation.

          How do you figure this? Again, the government has laws on the books (fraud) and the best defense here isn't the badge anyway, it's common sense 99% of the time.

          Besides, those who pull scams aren't consignors an

    • by JesseL (107722) on Friday October 14, 2005 @04:39PM (#13793647) Homepage Journal
      Is there currently a problem with people who are consigning goods on ebay? If there is, is this any better than prosecuting the problem individuals? Just what real protection does it provide?

      The government should stay out of everything as much as it possibly can. Almost every time the government gets involved in something unnecessarily, it is simply because someone sees an opportunity for more graft, the rest of the time it's because they are acting like overprotective parents.
    • I think this is a good idea. These individuals are running an auctioning business by taking peoples items for consignment. As long as it does not spread to those just selling their own private goods, this seems like an incredibly good idea.

      First, these individuals are not running an auctioning business, they are running an ebay consulting business. Where I live, there is no license requirement to have your own business. If I am running a service/consulting type business and not reselling anything, I do
    • Obviously the classes would have to change slightly for internet retailers, mentioning talking fast is sort of moot if this were to go ahead.

      So the equivalent would obviously be a typing test!

      Or better yet, an eBay-auction-snipe-off!
    • I'm thinking if challenged...would this not be struck down as something to restrict interstate commerce? This is on the internet after all...over state AND country lines.

      "As long as it does not spread to those just selling their own private goods..."

      I'm with some of the other posters here...I don't trust the gov. NOT to do something, unless it is specifically written into the bill. This is not only a way to regulate something that doesn't need it, but, just another way to collect a new tax on people trad

    • I'm not going to dispute whether an auctioneer needs a license or not if they take their trade online. However, what they are talking about here - people who take items on consignment to be sold via eBay, or otherwise sell things ofr others on eBay - just doesn't seem to fit the role here. Maybe I'm being too much of a nit-picker, but isn't eBay the auctioneer here? The consignment guy is just acting like a go between, while eBay is running the auction. I can see some wisdom in requiring eBay to registe
    • The USA is supposed to be the land of the free, not the land of the big government or a police state. Thomas Jefferson must be rolling in his grave. No more victimless crimes should be added to the law books, and the one already there should be striken from the books!!! If a person is a victim of a crime then they should have charges filed against that person or sue them, then the defendent can defend themselves.

      Falcon
  • by ChristTrekker (91442) on Friday October 14, 2005 @04:26PM (#13793513)

    Those schools should be required to add "online auctions" as a class.

    Not saying that I agree with this, but if you're going to force the online guys to learn the auctioneer rap, the auctioneers better learn how to navigate eBay and similar systems. If the pretense for passing this law is being fair and equitable, then it had better be.

  • by nate nice (672391) on Friday October 14, 2005 @04:27PM (#13793520) Journal
    It's amazing that we, the people, actually vote for people that are willing to do this. Note to politicians: Learn how to balance a budget like 99% of the country has to! Stop spending on crap and realize you cannot keep quietly taxing us. This is living free?
  • by Puls4r (724907) on Friday October 14, 2005 @04:28PM (#13793529)
    Ok, someone who puts something on ebay ISN'T running the auction. Ebay is. The person placing the good on ebay sets the high price and reserve - but how is that any different than if you hire an auctioneer?

    So does everyone who wants to hire an auctioneer now need a license to auction? How non-sensical is that?

    This is, quite literally, a stab at taxing the internet.
    • Yea someone putting something on eBay is running an auction. They are requiring people who want to be consignment auctioneers. Basically, if you want to sell something on ebay - but you are terrible at marketing it - they will do all the work for you for a fee. So they are not asking Joe Schmoe who wants to sell his old sweater to get a license. They are not asking Joe Schmoe who wants to hire a consignment specialist to get a license...they are asking a consignment specialist to get a license. This is
    • by ottffssent (18387) on Friday October 14, 2005 @04:42PM (#13793672)
      What's particularly irksome is that this represents triple-taxing of the transaction. eBay consignment shops need a POP because people are more comfortable with that, and shipping an unsold item to sell it and then ship it again is just too expensive. So the business is paying taxes in the state in which it is incorporated. And possibly in all states in which its shops operate (I'm not familiar with the tax situation there). And certainly the individuals who eventually receive the shops' profits are taxed on income. The double-taxation of corporate income is reasonable because the corporate tax rate is low and incorporation provides concrete advantages which it is reasonable to pay for. I really don't see how this third layer of taxation is anything but an attempt by the states to suck a little more money out of the population without providing anything in exchange.
    • So does everyone who wants to hire an auctioneer now need a license to auction? How non-sensical is that?

      Nope. Anyone can hire an auctioneer, but the auctioneer needs to be licensed. You don't need the license, the auctioneer does.

      BTW your spelling of nonsensical is, well, nonsensical... still, I bet at least something here's misspelt, so don't take it personally.

      This is, quite literally, a stab at taxing the internet

      No, it's a stab at implementing regulation that already exists in the offline worl

  • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday October 14, 2005 @04:32PM (#13793577) Homepage
    Wouldn't this law be regulating interstate commerce and thus unconstitutional? The only way I could see this as valid would be if they required a license for one person from that state (ND, for example) to sell to another person in that state (intrastate commerce). I can't imagine that states can regulate international commerce either so that same person would be allowed to sell to Canada, etc al.

    Either way, I see it as a stupid idea. This is two things: a blatant attempt at getting more revenue for the state (though licensing fees), and (pure guess here) an attempt by auctioneers (probably a union of some sort) to get more money because their trade is threatened (in some ways) by eBay.

    Why eBay? Why not require it for garage sales? Why not go after silent auctions that all sorts of places run (like many school districts and churches to raise funds). Usually there is a little good a law might do, or you can at least see some good intent behind it. This would do anything but prevent everyone in ND from selling things on eBay.

    If you want to protect people from fraud, go after the NDers that are actually perpetrating fraud on others through eBay. Come up with a way to become a "registered eBayer" in the state so people can guaranty that you can be held accountable if you rip people off (but make it voluntary, and free or nearly so ($5) with no classes our anything like that).

    • Not all regulation of interstate commerce by states is unconstitutional, and enough intrastate commerce involves interstate commerce (e.g. by operating over interstate telecommunications systems, even if only within a state) that it's considered interstate commerce.
    • by Pedrito (94783) on Friday October 14, 2005 @04:56PM (#13793808) Homepage
      Wouldn't this law be regulating interstate commerce and thus unconstitutional?

      No, it's not regulating interstate commerce. The law is regulating in-state businesses. Keep in mind, this is for people who operate business selling OTHER PEOPLE'S things on consignment. This isn't for people operating a business selling stuff they've bought from wholesalers on e-bay or even individuals selling their stuff on e-bay.

      In fact, it's not a particularly onerous thing to ask. Having recently had to get insured to operate my own business as a consultant (a requirement of the company I work for). Getting bonded and licensed isn't very costly. And in the end, the idea is to protect the consumer which isn't a bad thing.
      • In fact, it's not a particularly onerous thing to ask.

        So, you think that all consignment shops ought to be regulated?

        Having recently had to get insured to operate my own business as a consultant (a requirement of the company I work for). Getting bonded and licensed isn't very costly. And in the end, the idea is to protect the consumer which isn't a bad thing.

        So, since your client had the option of requiring that you purchase insurance, consignment shop clients should have that option taken away from them?
    • Actually, what they are requiring is that people who auction things on eBay by consignment get an auctioneers license. So the transaction is actually between the seller and the stand-in auctioneer, not between the seller and the buyer. Still, I don't see where consignment auctioneers should have to be licensed as auctioneers. Like or not, they are STILL not running the auction, eBay is.
    • "Why eBay? Why not require it for garage sales?"

      Well, I found out recently, some places do! I was shocked about a year ago, when I found out in New Orleans, that you are supposed to pay a fee and get a permit to hold a freakin' garage sale. I was blown away.

      Not only that...but, the city actually has a patrol that goes out to check out garage/yard sales, and if you don't have a permit...they fine you.

      Of course at this point in time...most of our posessions are ALL out on the 'yard'...so, not much use of

    • "Wouldn't this law be regulating interstate commerce and thus unconstitutional"

      The Constitution grants Congress that right but does not deny that same right to the States. The States aren't allowed to "lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports," but everthing else is fair game unless Congress passes a law that says they can't.

      It'll likely get struck down by the federal courts anyway, though; they have the nasty habit of going by what they believe to be the implied intent of Congress was as opposed t
    • Why eBay? Why not require it for garage sales? Why not go after silent auctions that all sorts of places run (like many school districts and churches to raise funds). Usually there is a little good a law might do, or you can at least see some good intent behind it. This would do anything but prevent everyone in ND from selling things on eBay.

      There are a lot of good reasons why this law is a bad idea ... but this is not one of them. The examples you gave are private individuals (or groups of private ind

  • See previous /. story from March [slashdot.org].

    Also note that this affects only people who are go-betweens for other customers, NOT your typical homemaker or hobbiest who just discovered that Aunt Ida's prized mathom is going for $5,000 online.

    • "Commissioner Kevin Cramer said he does not believe the law applies to people who sell their own goods over eBay, but it could cover those who sell property consigned by others for a fee."

      In other words, he's not sure exactly what it covers, but he's backing it anyway.
  • My new auction site will be based in Toronto.

  • by blueZhift (652272) on Friday October 14, 2005 @04:39PM (#13793651) Homepage Journal
    This law seems reasonably well intentioned, but as with internet sales taxes it will be hard to enforce via state laws. And of course for sellers outside of the U.S., forget it. Wouldn't it be better for states to make this a voluntary certification rather than a law. Sellers that have gone through the certification process could use it as additional proof of trustworthiness and the state doesn't have to waste resources trying to enforce a law that may be inherently unenforceable for internet commerce.
  • Why pay taxes and licenses to generate revenue for the government to operate. Unless there is a fiscal crisis, there should be no new taxes or licenses levied on the people.

    Governments are not corporations. They are not to thrive of the populace, they only exist to support the populace in whatever limited role the voters decide. I personally would not elect anyone who thinks the government should het "its fair share", or that a new popuilar practice is some untapped revenue stream.

    • It has nothing to do with revenue stream. It has everything to do with auction houses annoyed with small-timers butting in on their business through the interweb. Licenses are simply artificial barriers to entry erected by politicians at the behest of monied, established interests. Why do you think hairdressers have to get a $5,000 license to cut hair? It sure isn't to protect people from bad haircuts.
  • This will probably get slapped down pretty quickly via the interstate commerce clause of the constitution. State regulations still might apply to people selling within the state, but somehow I don't think there's too many North Dakotans selling to other North Dakotans, as opposed to out of state. Large states (CA, NY, TX) simply won't be that stupid, at least, not if governors and state legislators want to be re-elected. Interstate Commerce Clause [wikipedia.org]
  • No, thanks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jdavidb (449077) on Friday October 14, 2005 @04:47PM (#13793711) Homepage Journal

    If I want to hire someone to put my stuff up on ebay, I'll decide whether I want them to have a license or certification or not. Please don't try to represent me by deciding this on my behalf.

  • If you are taking other peoples property and selling it at auction, you are acting as an auctioneer. That some states require autctioneers to be bonded is nothing new.

    Around where I live, we have a number of large commercial businesses that sell stuff for you on EBay. You drop your items off with them, they sell it on EBay for you, and take a 20%-30% cut off the top. There's nothing wrong with requiring bonding for these kinds of businesses to prevent fraud (i.e. seller says item sold for $50 and keeps $10

    • If you are taking other peoples property and selling it at auction, you are acting as an auctioneer.

      I think there's a very good argument that eBay is acting as the auctioneer. The assistant is merely preparing the item to be auctioned. Putting up an initial price and describing an item doesn't take any special skills.

      There's nothing wrong with requiring bonding for these kinds of businesses to prevent fraud (i.e. seller says item sold for $50 and keeps $10 to cover his 20% fee, when item actually sold for
    • Bonding is probably a good idea for this kind of business. I would encourage anyone I knew that was looking to consign something to ebay to seek a reputable and bonded consigner. Caveat emptor.

      I will not agree that the government has any business or hope of improving the situation by requiring licenses and bonds for such a simple business. These requirements don't prevent fraud. Punishing fraudulet behavior prevents fraud.
  • by lobsterGun (415085) on Friday October 14, 2005 @04:49PM (#13793738)
    The Congress shall have Power To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;*

    * Not valid in all areas. Some restrictions may apply. Consult an attorney before attempting trade within the several states. If redness or inflamation appear discontinue interstate trade immediatly and seek legal assitance.
    • No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports(.)

      The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
      I don't see anything saying "No state shall regulate interstate commerce," just a prohibition on the most common way to try to regulate it.

      Heck, not even Congress is allowed to tax exports.
  • .... Governments want to cash in the eBay craze so that they have another income stream.
  • by Alpha_Traveller (685367) * on Friday October 14, 2005 @04:50PM (#13793748) Homepage Journal
    I'd like Congress to consider using an actual advisory panel of random internet business owners (not those appointed by the executive branch) and let them advise congress on what kinds of laws would be reasonable and acceptable by the internet business public.

    Taxing and Regulating EBay or other auction businesses like it is absolutely unacceptable, not just to the potential seller but for the entire business of auctioning.

    You don't do it to live, in-person auctions, you don't do it online. It's just that simple. Get your taxes somewhere else, like oh the real businesses in your own damn states that you're giving tax breaks to. They don't need it and they don't deserve them. Don't make Auctioneers suffer for it.
    • 1) This is a state law. The federal government and congress haven't much to do with it.
      2) The state is not taxing eBay -- it is requiring that those who sell other people's stuff on consignment using eBay be licenced; in effect, it is taxing the third party between the seller and eBay.
      3) This is done in live, in person, meatspace auctions. Meatspace laws are being applied to the internet. Really, it is not much more complex than that.

      In summary, check your facts first, please.
  • by aquarian (134728) on Friday October 14, 2005 @04:52PM (#13793766)
    ...has really killed off the sleazy car salesmen and predatory financing.
  • Regulations like this are just begging to be routed around.

    If my "buy it now" price is the same as my reserve, then it's not an auction and not subject to the law.

    Consignment salesmen may find it easier to just tell their customers "Here are recent ebay prices on that item. Pick a price and I'll sell it on e-bay for that fixed price" than to mess with licenses etc.

  • I don't believe anything of this sort is strictly a "tax" based decision. Especially with the low volume of money the state would be reaping from the decision. I mean, where I am there are a lot of the "I Sold on eBay" places. But not that many.

    I think many are overlooking the less obvious here. Stolen goods. I know here, at least, an Auctioneer and a Pawn Shop are required to be bonded, not for tax purposes, but to know who they are. A "reputable" Pawn Shop must even make inquires and file reports with

  • by Vellmont (569020) on Friday October 14, 2005 @04:57PM (#13793812)
    Step back for just a minute and look at the reasons why it was decided long ago that you needs an auctioneer license. Obviously running an auction takes a bit of skill. Recognizing bid raises, knowing how much to raise the price, knowing how long to wait for the item to be sold, and the whole "talking fast" thing are special skills. The idea of regulating it is to protect the public from unskilled auctioneers who won't get a good price for an item.

    Almost all of that crap is handled by Ebay itself. The person selling the item by proxy only has to set an initial price, describe the item, etc. These are all skills that don't normally require regulation in any other context. Why (other than trying to raise more tax revenue) should the states try to regulate trading assistance?
  • ...a local law on a service run globally?
  • You can argue this to death about "interstate sales", "ebay is the auctioner not the seller" and it really doesnt matter. The government will do what it wants, when it wants because they are in power.

    So be prepared to sign up for an ebay license test.

    The worst thing to do is to sit here any say "ah this will never pass its stupid"

    Have you taken a look at our government lately? :)

    Apparently it wants more money to make up for our trillion dollar debt.

  • I've written many letters of complaint to various orgs (BBB, FTC, Local Police) etc about both Ebay and PayPal, especially PayPal.
    Ebay and PayPal are rife with fraud and do nothing to protect their customers. These companies should be held responsible for the staggering amount of fraud their companies facilitate.

    Write to your local congressman, the FTC and BBB and tell them that you think PayPal behaves like a bank and you believe it should be treated like a bank. Also let them know that Ebay is littered
    • It might be helpful, when requesting that others take action, to actually name specifics. Simply asking everyone on /. to contact the FTC and BBB and make vague statements of fraud is not exactly a precise attack.

      One might, oh, I don't know, suggest people visit various sites ( hey! like this one [paypalsucks.com]!) where the alleged abuses are documented, then also give a link to how to contact the proper organizations if they so choose.
  • by CDPatten (907182)
    Ebay is technically the auctioneer, hosts the auction, etc. Shouldn't they be the only ones that need a license. If not a simple change in their user agreement would protect the "auctioneer's" from needing a license.
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday October 14, 2005 @05:12PM (#13793928)
    It's always amazing to me the rights states feel they have over the lives of their citizens. How long before you need a license to sneeze? After all, sneezing can spread disease if done wrong. I'd say about 4 weeks of classes should be sufficient to teach you how to do it properly. Of course, you pay for this.
  • What need less regulation, not more!
  • State licences are only useful for transactions in that state. Across the state you have to look to the ICC and if not all states even have laws that each other must respect then the whole question is moot.
  • Well, ebay was nice while it lasted.

    Wait, no it wasn't. It's full of con artists and idiots.

    I had one twit who sent me a check, even though I said "Paypal only" in the auction, and hand wrote the shipping address. Thing was, it was too messy to read. All I could tell was that it was a different city than the return address on the letter.

    I sent it back with a polite letter explaining the problem, asking her to send a typed or printed copy of the address.

    The moron mailed back the exact same piece of paper.
  • Not that it's shocking, but it is especially funny because the summary manages to contradict the headline's hyperbole.

    A few key phrases: "consignment" and "selling for others". This is not an attempt to require all eBay sellers to become licensed, as the title implies. It is an attempt to require people who sell things on eBay on behalf of others to become licensed. Your grandma in Fargo would still be able to sell her Precious Memories figurines on eBay without a license.

    Not R-ing TFA is one thing, but ser
  • by Tetravus (79831) on Friday October 14, 2005 @06:10PM (#13794336) Homepage
    In California all pawn brokers are regulated and for good reason. Because they're selling goods on behalf of a third party they are often seen as 'fences' for stolen goods. By regulating the trade the state has an opportunity to educate those brokers who are honest but potentially naive and to have a registry of those who are less honest and may need to be contacted in the future.

    If you've ever bought a used CD in CA. you've purchased from someone who was licensed and bonded (assuming their papers were in order, sig heil!). Having worked at a record shop that did a booming business in legitimate used CDs and vinyl I would say the regulations were not intrusive and worked to assure out customers that anything they bought from us came with a clear title.

    Remember, title on stolen goods cannot be transferred by a third party. If you buy a big ticket item on eBay and it turns out to be stolen, the police will confiscate it from you without any reparation. You are free to file a civil suit against the seller, but good luck getting a payout from Joe Schmoe in NY when you're halfway across the continent. Admittedly, the proposed classes would need to have their contents updated but regulating the trade in potentially stolen goods is not a bad thing.
  • How is it that most Slashdot readers are left leaning, anti-corporate, pro big-government types when it's totally at odds with the thing they're using to read Slashdot? I too think Bush is a doofus and that teaching creationism in schools is bad(it'll never happen) but at some point the luster of Socialism will fade when our online experience is regulated into oblivion.

    Is it hypocritical to complain about corporate greed when you're making a ton of money on Ebay?
  • by ari_j (90255) on Friday October 14, 2005 @06:26PM (#13794436)
    Holy crap, we made Slashdot! Take that, Wyoming!

    If you read the article, you'll see that it's just the state Public Service Commission "exploring" whether this is a good idea. I doubt they'll implement it - the PSC just has nothing better to do this week.
  • Positive spin? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RyoShin (610051) <.tukaro. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday October 14, 2005 @06:34PM (#13794483) Homepage Journal
    I feel this is a horribly stupid idea. Aside from being unconstitutional, the "education" for getting such a liscense when you're only selling on eBay is just utterly stupid. It's like forcing me to take a class on painting when I'm a CS major. There's little point.

    All the states are trying to do is to suck more money from the taxpayers.

    However, there is a shiny side this this horrible idea: by being certified by the state, they can list said credentials on eBay (and various other auction sites.) Then, unless their account gets hijacked, you can be certain that you will be able to have no false listings or other fraud.

    Despite this shiny side, there is no real good reason to put things like this in place. I encourage everyone in the affected states to write to their representatives/governer/etc. and express your displeasure with this. Don't forget to mention the unconstitutionality of it!
  • by MECC (8478) * on Friday October 14, 2005 @08:36PM (#13795126)
    • A license should be required to use a computer
    • A license should be required to fix a computer
    • A license should be reauired to run for public office (should expire weekly, or daily for federal officials)
    • A license should be required to work anywhere near kids or anyone particularily vulnerable
    • A license should be required to be a parent (but not to have sex)
  • by ccmay (116316) on Friday October 14, 2005 @08:40PM (#13795146)
    This is just a case of politically-connected buggy whip makers getting their pals in government to outlaw those newfangled horseless carriages. Economists have a word for it: "rent-seeking" [wikipedia.org].

    All failures of the capitalist system are caused by the involvement of too much government. We need to hack government at all levels into tiny, powerless bits.

    -ccm

"Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing; a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished." -- Goethe

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