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Yesterday I saw a mention in someone's email ezine about a kind person who had an eBay auction with the proceeds going 100% to help victims of the horrible Hurricane Katrina.
It struck a chord with me because I had wanted to set up something similar, but found that the "eBay Giving Works" charity program seems to be terribly flawed for us small sellers. I had researched it the day before, eBay goes through Mission Fish to handle the administrative tasks and distribution.
Here in a nutshell is how I understand it works. You set up an eBay auction and pledge a percentage of the proceeds to go to a charity. You pick the one you like. If the auction sells, the buyer pays you, and Mission Fish charges your credit card, taking out $3.00 per transaction for their fees, plus 3% to cover credit card fees. That's reasonable, they need to cover their overhead and payroll expenses. Then Mission Fish sends the balance to the charity.
The minimum donation per item has to be $10.00. Again, so far so good, I can understand that.
Now, I noticed in the auction that I visited that the seller had set up a dutch auction, with 1000 "lots" available, each for $1.00 each, with the proceeds going 100% to her favorite charity that would get food to the Katrina victims. I was about to place a bid for several $1.00 lots (a dutch auction lets you "win" as many of the item as you like, all at the same price).
Then it hit me, why couldn't I do the same kind of dutch auction, maybe she had found the way to get around the $10.00 per item restriction, and found that it was a minimum $10.00 per auction. It would only make sense that it would work that way, since Mission Fish charges the seller's credit card, if all 1000 lots sold, that would be $1000 for the charity, Mission Fish would take $3.00 plus 3%, the seller would collect (hopefully) the $1000 from the buyers, and all she would be on the hook for would be the eBay fees. Those fees, plus her hard work, would be her personal contribution.
So I went back to eBay and Mission Fish and researched the deal again. I found out that sure enough, in a multiple item auction, Mission Fish requires a $10.00 donation from the seller for EVERY ITEM that sells in a multiple-item auction (dutch auction).
So, if the seller had 1000 lots at $1.00 each, and they all sold, Mission Fish would have charged her credit card on file for $10.00 for each lot, a total of $10,000.00! And they would have taken their $3.00 + 3% fee for each of those 1000 lots, more than $3,000.00 for their trouble!
At that point, I realized the seller either had deep pockets and was matching contributions 10 to 1, or she misunderstood what would happen to her. I sent her an email, and to end a long story, she indeed misunderstood, was obviously fairly upset at the prospect of paying $10,000, and ended the auction early.
Now, I'd like my readers to do one of two things. If you think that eBay and Mission Fish are mishandling the charity program, as I do, please contact one or both and point them to this blog entry, or just write your own letter with your thoughts.
You can contact Mission Fish here:
eBay is always more difficult to contact, but you can try
The other thing you could do is support the eBay seller's
cause, she had to end the auction but she took the trouble to set
up a web page for donations, you can access and support it
Perhaps with enough pressure on Mission Fish, they'll get together with eBay and allow dutch auctions to be counted as a single donation, instead of multiple individual items, and encourage more charity in the future.
For those with homes, families, relatives or friends in the devasted area, my hearts and prayers go out to you. I hope this information will in some small way help someone somewhere.
Dennis Becker is author of a regular blog about different ways of earning money on the Internet, titled appropriately enough "Success On The Internet".
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The Augusta Chronicle
Auction company sues Augusta National over trademark name Green Jacket Auctions
The Augusta Chronicle
The company has conducted about 30 auctions of memorabilia worth millions of dollars, including several green jackets. The jackets are worn by members of the Augusta National Golf Club and awarded to the winner of each year's Masters Tournament. The ...
Auction Central News
Quinn's tracks beauty of 'Natural World' with Jan. 25 Prints Auction
Auction Central News
Maria Sibylla Merian (German, 1647-1717), Cayman with Snake, from Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium, Amsterdam, 1719, 20.25 x 14.25in. Est. $4,000-$6,000. FALLS CHURCH, Va. – On Thursday, January 25, the Waverly Rare Books & Prints division of ...
AppleInsider (press release) (blog)
Apple Macintosh logo by Andy Warhol goes up for auction, valued up to $30K
AppleInsider (press release) (blog)
A rare piece of art history is now up for sale in the form of an Apple Macintosh logo painted and signed by pop artist Andy Warhol. Thought its exact raison d'etre is unknown, the work may be a color study for an Apple advertising commission, according ...
What next for contemporary art auctions?
With auction houses in the news following record-breaking sales, I sat down with Ralph Taylor, Global Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art at Bonhams, to discuss how the contemporary art market is shaping up for 2018. Are auction houses getting too ...
Foreclosure auctions for Keene plazas pushed back
The Keene Sentinel
The foreclosure auctions of two major Keene shopping centers have been postponed until next month, according to an auction company. Riverside Plaza and Key Road Plaza were previously scheduled for sale at auctions Friday. The two centers house some of ...
Classic 'Macintosh' Painting by Andy Warhol Estimated to Fetch Up to $30000 at Auction Next Month
Woodshed Art Auctions has announced it will be auctioning an opaque watercolor painting of Apple's classic logo by the late Andy Warhol next month. The painting is part of Warhol's "Ads" collection from 1985, one year after the original Macintosh ...
Trai holds industry-wide consultation on spectrum auction
Nearly 60 per cent of the radiowaves, including premium 4G bands, had remained unsold in that auction. NEW DELHI: The telecom regulator today held industry-wide consultation on spectrum auction but stopped short of committing a timeframe for finalising ...
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