Hurricane Katrina Donations Could be Many Millions More - EBay Sellers Try in Vain to Help

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:
http://www.missionfish.org/Help/contactus.jsp

eBay is always more difficult to contact, but you can try starting here:
http://pages.ebay.com/help/contact_us/_base/index.html

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 here:
http://www.flipidy.com/secondharvest.htm

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".

In The News:

Auction-pricing NPA sale  BusinessLine

Is Selling On eBay Just A Hobby Or A Real Business?

Q: I made extra money selling things on eBay last... Read More

The Webs Best Online Auction Sites

The best online auction links for buyers and sellers are... Read More

What Ebay Can Teach Us About Success

I flew back to New York from Atlanta a few... Read More

How To Sell Internationally On eBay Without Risk

Many people just getting started on eBay have reservations when... Read More

What to Sell on eBay - 7 REAL Tips for Finding Successful Products

This question has become one for the ages. There are... Read More

Your Auction Headline Or Title - The Most Important Part Of Your Auction

The words you select to describe your item will have... Read More

Tips on How to Profit from eBay Buy It Now Auction Listings

eBay is an online auction site so it stands to... Read More

Make BIG MONEY on eBay - Your Unlimited Cash Cow

Let me be brutally honest; until recently, I had never... Read More

Selling on Ebay-Get Started in 7 Easy Steps

Ebay auctions are definitely the easiest and fastest way to... Read More

Your eBay Username - What Does It Say About You?

Have you tried to register a decent eBay username and... Read More

Maria?s New Lifestyle: Short Story About The Benefits Shopping On The Net Has Given

I've got this strange friend; her name is Maria. Maria's... Read More

eBay: What Should I Sell?

There is an art to picking profitable products. It's not... Read More

Auction and Its Benefits

An auction is basically a public sale wherein any object... Read More

The Quickest Way To Have A Product To Sell On The Internet

Creating a product from scratch that you can sell on... Read More

Attract eBay Buyers Like Crazy!

As an ebay(TM) seller it happens very often (too often)... Read More

When You Need Extra Cash Ebay Fits the Bill

We all have items in our closets and stuffed in... Read More

The International Affiliate Program of EBay

eBay trades in more than 33 international countries with over... Read More

Making Money on eBay is Really Easy

If I can do it you can.Let me tell you... Read More

Dropship Your Way to Success

Many people know they would like to start an Internet... Read More

Hurricane Katrina Donations Could be Many Millions More - EBay Sellers Try in Vain to Help

Yesterday I saw a mention in someone's email ezine about... Read More

2 Step Secret Reveals How You Can Find Wholesale Suppliers

Have you spent hours on the internet searching for a... Read More

Why Ebay Is The Best Place To Make Your First $1000 Online

I'd like to begin with a question ? and I'll... Read More

How to Market with Niche Auction Sites

Online auctions are big business. But they can be big... Read More

Finding Antiques And Collectibles To Sell On eBay

Many people who decide to make a living selling collectibles... Read More

Importing Products to Sell on eBay

The interesting thing about online buyers is they are extremely... Read More