Thursday, May 05, 2005

Why I am still Boycotting Ebay

Yes, I signed the petition in protest of Ebay's policy which permitted the sale of the Eucharist. I sent them letters. I called them. I have cancelled my Ebay and Paypal accounts (Paypal is a affiliate of Ebay).

Then I got the following letter:


Thank you for your email regarding the sale of the Holy Eucharist by oneof our community members. We are sorry to hear that you want to close your account due to this issue. We respect and appreciate your comments regarding this sensitive matter.As you may know, eBay does not sell items itself. Rather, we are a global marketplace for sellers and buyers who transact directly with oneanother. Each day eBay's sellers list 5 million items on the site, andthose sellers decide what items they want to list. eBay did not possess, list or approve the sale of the Eucharist. The buyer and seller completed the Eucharist transaction on April 11th, before eBay even became aware of the listing. As a marketplace, we strive to respect the diverse perspectives of our sellers. We also work hard to promote an open environment for trade. That said, eBay has policies in place to remove listings for illegal items as well as highly offensive listings that promote hate or intolerance. We understand that the listing of the Eucharist was highly upsetting to Catholic members of the eBay community and Catholics globally. Once this completed sale was brought to our attention, we consulted with a number of our users, including members of the Catholic Church, concerning what course we should take in the future should a similar listing appear on our site. We also consulted with members of other religions about items that might also be highly sacred and inappropriatefor sale. As a result of this dialogue, we have concluded that sales ofthe Eucharist, and similar highly sacred items, are not appropriate on eBay. We have, therefore, broadened our policies and will remove those types of listings should they appear on the site in the future. As always, we welcome and appreciate the assistance of the community in upholding the rules of our site. Should you see another Eucharist listed on our site, we encourage you to notify us so we can take appropriate action. Further, we encourage you to directly communicate with the seller. Members are often unaware that a particular item is offensive to others. A respectful e-mail to the seller is often all that is needed for the seller to voluntarily remove the item. We believe this modification strikes the appropriate balance between respect for our community's values and our goal of providing an open marketplace offering practically anything on earth. Again, we sincerely appreciate your concern and thank you for communicating your views with us. Your input has helped us frame a policy that will enable us to better serve our diverse community of users around the world." However, if still you want to close your account then please be aware that closing an account is a serious step. This account will be blocked,the contact information will be concealed, and the member profile will no longer be available. It is also important to realize that, once an account is closed, the email address associated with this account cannotbe used to open a new eBay account. You can read more information about canceling an account at the following web address: If you have a selling account, you should check your balance and pay anyamount due in full or request and receive a refund if one is due. You can reach your Account Status page by following the steps below:1. Click the "My eBay" link at the top of any eBay page. You may be asked to log in.2. From your My eBay page, click "Seller Account" link located under the"My Account" heading.3. On the Account page, click the "View Account Status" link in the "My eBay Seller Account" box.Please be aware that closing an account does not relieve you of your obligation to pay a balance due. eBay will attempt to collect any unpaidbalance through all available legal means, i.e., professional collectionservices, attorneys, and credit reporting agencies.If you definitely want to cancel your eBay membership, reply to this email and restate your request. Please also let us know why you want to close your account. Once we receive your reply, we will review your email and begin the account closure process.IMPORTANT NOTE:Your request to cancel an account will not be processed unless you replyto this email and clearly restate your request.I wish that you continue to be valuable member of eBay community. Thank you for choosing eBay.


Mark R.eBay Customer Support Representative

Now that sounds all well and good. I know many Catholics perceive this to be a victory. But for some reason it still made me unsure. The letter does not explicitly state that they will add the Eucharist to the Banned Items List. I have been checking for that "policy change" and for some kind of Announcement on Ebay every day now since I received this letter on Monday, May 2. There has been no announcement nor any change in their policy section regarding this. Nor have they listed the Eucharist on their banned items list as they have done for Native American spiritual items.

I don't think I'm nitpicking, nor do I want to rain on anyone's parade. But I don't consider this a victory until Ebay FORMALLY makes this change so that EVERYONE is aware of it. We Catholics should expect Ebay to treat the sale of the Eucharist as grievous a matter as they did the Native American issue. Nothing less than that will satisfy me.

I wrote to Ebay immediately after receiving this letter asking them if they will make the changes in their Policy so everyone will know it. I have yet to receive a reply.

I ask that all concerned Catholics continue to boycott Ebay until they resolve this issue in an above board manner. The Holy Eucharist deserves it.