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What a Day for eBay: Understanding all the Changes

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eBay’s making more than its share of news today. The online auctioneer already announced it’s cutting 1,000 jobs, plus “several hundred” other temporary positions and numerous as-of-yet unfilled positions — oh yeah, and also spending more than a billion dollars on new acquisitions at the same time. Drawing less headlines, though, is the announcement that eBay is also revamping its buyer protection policies.

First, a little more on the purchases and what they’ll mean: eBay is shelling out $820 million plus $125 million in options to buy online payment service Bill Me Later, and another $390 million to snag two Danish classifieds sites, dba.dk and bilbasen.dk. On the bright side, I guess the 10 percent of eBay employees getting laid off can at least see where their salaries are going.

Bill Me Later will work in conjunction with eBay-owned PayPal, the company says. The service lets you set up an account without a credit card, then gain an option at participating sites to complete your purchase without actually paying. Bill Me Later, as its name suggests, then sends you a bill after the fact. It’s already partnered with online retailers such as Amazon, Borders.com, SkyMall, and dozens of others.

As for the Danish properties, eBay says their addition will allow for the expansion of eBay’s classified services in a previously untapped region. eBay already claims the title of “global leader in classifieds,” citing top spots in Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, and the U.K.

Amidst all this, eBay recently agreed to increase buyer protection for auction-based purchases made with PayPal. Basically, it’ll now offer full refunds to anyone who uses PayPal and gets defective merchandise. British media describe it as the company giving in to “consumer demands.” The Times says U.K. PayPal customers have been calling for the changes for years, flooding sites such as paypalsucks.com and paypalwarning.com with complaints. The new protection plan does still have its limits: “intangible goods” and things purchased from non-eBay sites will not gain additional coverage.

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