eBay Main street? Government relations


May 22, 2006
I got this message from eBay and kind of confused what this is talking about.

Protect your business--get involved in eBay's Citizen Action Network

2009 is shaping up to be a historic year in Washington, DC and state capitals around America. We face the most challenging economy in decades, a new President, and strong majorities in Congress looking to take bold action. Some of the biggest companies in America are lobbying Congress to make their interests known. And make no mistake, not all of their interests are aligned with those of Internet entrepreneurs like you.

Here are three issues you need to be aware of:

Remote sales taxes
Today, eBay sellers are required to collect sales taxes only in states where they're located, not all of the states (and thousands of local jurisdictions) where their customers live. A number of states and big retailers are pushing to impose remote sales taxes on small Internet sellers. Big retailers know increased sales tax burdens will hurt their smaller competitors.

"Stolen Goods" legislation
Representatives of some of the nation's largest retailers recently claimed that many eBay sellers are listing stolen goods, a baseless charge that hurts every honest seller. Big retailers are pushing legislation to prohibit some eBay categories and require sellers to post their personal information and show receipts for the purchase of merchandise sold online.

Price fixing
A 2007 Supreme Court decision reversed the federal law that made price fixing an illegal anti-trust violation. Overturning this nearly 100-year-old precedent has empowered manufacturers and their large retail distributors to aggressively enforce minimum prices on the Internet, which hurts eBay sellers and the Internet as a whole.

All of these threats and more face small entrepreneurial retailers using the Internet to compete and survive in this economic climate. The eBay Government Relations team is working to protect eBay sellers from harmful legislation in both Congress and state capitals. But we need your help--and your voice--to make a major impact.

If you haven't joined Main Street yet, please join 250,000 other eBay users in protecting e-commerce. Together, we can make a big difference.


Tod Cohen
Vice President, Government Relations

P.S. Main Street is free to join. Members receive approximately 4-6 emails per year. We'll only ask you to contact your elected officials on crucial issues. And, of course, you can opt out at any time.


Sep 3, 2006
I think ebay are trying to create a large network of ebayers who will lobby congress on issues (like those outlined above) and by creating a large group there will be strength in numbers.

Big businesses are lobbying congress to make changes that will damage smaller sellers, and by creating this large lobby group ebay will have some power to fight back against changes that would ultimately be detrimental to ebay.

If you were to join the likelihood is that each time one of these types of issues came up you would be sent an email and asked to consider forwarding your objections to your representative in congress (sorry if my terms are off, I am from the UK). They would probably supply you will a template/generic letter, and if you agreed to send it all you would have to do is insert your own personal details (or re-write it to suit yourself if you preferred), or not send it at all if it was not relevant to you.

I think this is what this email is saying.


springtime lavender
Aug 15, 2006
Yes, they are trying to do grass roots organization to fight some of these very harmful possibilities. Can you imagine if we have to start posting all our receipts in all our designer listings or that we can't sell them below a certain $ amount that the designers dictate?


Jan 30, 2008
I got the exact same notice. I'm guessing they sent it to all ebay store owners?
I don't have a store on eBay, just sell and they sent it to me. Maybe it's a PowerSeller thing.

And yes, we do all need to get involved. Imagine having to figure out sales tax not only in every state, but every district in that state.


Mother of Dachshunds
Mar 28, 2006
Montgomery, AL
I got the message and was going to sign up, but I have to allow Ebay to share my records or something, so I changed my mind!