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The Almighty Buck

Ohio Wants eBayers to Post $50k Bond 841

MacDork writes "CNNMoney posted a short article this morning about new Ohio regulations set to become effective May 2 this year. If you are in the state and selling on eBay, you will need to pay $200 for a license and post a $50,000 bond or face possible fines and jail time. Getting the license also requires a one-year apprenticeship. When asked to which eBay users this bill applied, the bill's author, Larry Mumper responded with these very specific guidelines.... "It certainly will not apply to the casual seller on eBay, but might apply to anyone who sells a lot.""
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Ohio Wants eBayers to Post $50k Bond

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  • Mumper (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @09:36AM (#11876143)
    is also the jerk who is responsible for the so called "Academic Bill or Rights" and has called college professors communists. What a jerk.
  • by museumpeace ( 735109 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @09:43AM (#11876194) Journal
    IANAL but isn't one of ICC's or FTC's jobs to see that there is not, in effect, tariffs imposed in one state blocking commerce from another state? That parity of states in matters of commerce was a problem facing the nation when the constitution was drawn up. This proposed legislation seems to come rather close, in its effect if not its intention, to a unilateral barrier to trade imposed by one state on commerce that may go on between states.
  • Re:rediculous (Score:3, Informative)

    by Deusy ( 455433 ) <{gro.ixev} {ta} {eilrahc}> on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @09:44AM (#11876215) Homepage
    They're not expecting most average sellers to, but rather hoping that people like you who don't even RTFS (Summary), let alone legislation, will pay up and make them some free money.

    And in the interest of high standards, it's rIdiculous. That has to be one of the most mispelt words on Slashdot.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @09:45AM (#11876219)
    Fucking Christ on a snack cracker, people. Maybe you fuckers should learn to spell shit right instead of making yourselves look 'rediculous' [sic]...
  • by anum ( 799950 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @09:45AM (#11876221)
    Governments so often believe they can wave a piece of paper and behavior stops. Just like gun control, this will never stop a scammer but will punish the honest.

    No, Governments (read: elected officials) believe doing this will get them reelected. It seems to work...
  • Ebay is only a venue (Score:4, Informative)

    by way2trivial ( 601132 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @09:45AM (#11876222) Homepage Journal #3 []
    Frequently Asked Questions about the User Agreement:

    Why is there a User Agreement?
    Will the User Agreement change again?
    What does "eBay is only a venue" mean?
    Why can't I bid on my own item?
    If I place a bid, how exactly am I obligated to the seller?
    Why was one listing removed, while other similar items remain on the site?
    How do I know if an item is potentially illegal or not?
    What happens if someone violates the User Agreement?
    How do I report a potentially illegal, infringing or fraudulent item?
    What does Section 6.3 of the User Agreement regarding Your Information mean?
    Does Section 7 prohibit me from using auction management software to track my personal transactions on eBay?
    Does Section 7 prohibit me from discussing or linking to eBay on other websites?
    What does Section 17 of the User Agreement regarding arbitration mean?

    Search the Help System
    Search for help on:

    (e.g., what is a Reserve Price Auction?)

    If you can't find an answer to your question here, Ask eBay.
    Why is there a User Agreement?
    A. The User Agreement is a legal document that spells out the relationship between you and eBay. It outlines the services, pricing, Privacy Policy, and the buyer and seller relationship for listing and bidding on items in eBay's auction format.

    Will the User Agreement change again?
    A. It may change periodically. When revisions are needed, changes will be posted on the site 30 days before taking effect. You also have the option to receive email notices of any revisions as they occur. To select this option go to the preferences page, by choosing Change my notification preferences under My eBay at Services.

    What does "eBay is only a venue" mean?
    A. eBay is an exciting electronic marketplace where you can buy and sell to your heart's content. However, eBay does not ultimately participate in the transaction between buyer and seller, verify that items are genuine, or guarantee that you will receive payment or auction items. eBay is very concerned about your safety and offers the services of third parties that can provide authentication, insurance, and escrow for your transactions.

  • by crow ( 16139 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @09:46AM (#11876234) Homepage Journal
    Not exactly.

    With a traditional auction, the auction house does some verification of the merchandise, and the items are in the control of the auctioneer, not the original owner. On eBay, it's much more like the individual sellers are running their own auctions with eBay simply providing technical services.

    So it is different.

    As to how the law sees it, that may be several different matters.
  • calm down (Score:5, Informative)

    by the_mighty_$ ( 726261 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @09:46AM (#11876238)

    Read the article:

    ...The primary author of the legislation, State Sen. Larry Mumper, told the paper the legislature never intended it to apply to individuals selling items over eBay....

    In other words, the lawmakers are NOT attempting to target eBay/eBay users with this law. The law is there only to make sure auctioneers are obeying other Ohio laws regarding auctions. eBay already attempts to enforce the law by shutting down illegal auctions or whatever, so it is VERY unlikely that Ohio lawmakers will need to empose this law onto eBay sellers.

  • by RaZ0r ( 145723 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @09:47AM (#11876241) Homepage
    The headline is an outright lie. Ebay was not even considered when this law drafted. It is not designed to affect ebay or ebay users. In fact, this law couldn't affect ebay users, as they are not the ones doing the actual auctioning; that is left to ebay.

    Would this law make it illegal to have an auctioneer auction off some of your property for you? NO! This would only affect someone acting as an auctioneer.

    It will, however, be interesting to see if they try to apply this law to ebay, as they (their software) does act as an auctioneer. A $50,000 bond would be a drop in the bucket for ebay, but I'm not sure if the $200 is per auction or a one-time fee for the license.... That could be interesting.

  • by PyWiz ( 865118 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @09:49AM (#11876266)
    While the sellers might be in Ohio, anyone in the whole wide world can purchase their items, right? Perhaps even someone in another state?

    A little while ago there was a supreme court case by the name of Gibbons v. Ogden. Aaron Ogden had filed suit in New York against Thomas Gibbons for operating a rival steamboat service between New York and New Jersey ports. Ogden had exclusive rights to operate steamboats in New York under a state law, while Gibbons held a federal license. Gibbons lost the case and appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which reversed the decision. The Court held that the New York law was unconstitutional, since the power to regulate interstate commerce, which extended to the regulation of navigation, belonged exclusively to Congress.

    Now, you can see how Ohio issuing "ebay licenses" is quite similar to New York issuing steamboat licenses. While the commerce does take place in their state, it also crosses state lines, and is therefore interstate commerce.

  • Re:rediculous (sic) (Score:2, Informative)

    by bcmm ( 768152 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @09:54AM (#11876317)
    t certainly will not apply to the casual seller on eBay
    You didn't even Read The Fucking Summery, let alone TFA. You were just trying to get first post. Boring.

    Furthermore, there is a forum spellchecker [] available for free for Mozilla and Firefox. Use it for your next Slashdot post, or at least for the subject of your next Slashdot post.
  • Re:rediculous (Score:2, Informative)

    by BroadwayBlue ( 811404 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @09:54AM (#11876322)
    I live in Ohio and this was covered on local NPR or some other newsource a few days ago. As written, it can be interpreted to apply to casual sellers on Ebay. But the authors state that it is not the intent, and that it will be modified to exclude casual sellers before it goes into affect.
  • by hesiod ( 111176 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @09:58AM (#11876352)
    Whereas you are the bastion of sanity? I don't know what you were reading, but it was logical to me. Maybe you just don't know what logic is?

    Or just maybe you were trying to put down something that you don't agree with but aren't smart enough to retort or even research a bit?

    Before anyone gets the "bright" idea that I'm a troll or something, I live in Ohio, where this bill is. Legislators have already said that the eBay thing was an unintended side-effect and would be fixed before it became law.

    NO ONE SEEMS TO GET THAT POINT! IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! The ones that are trying to explain why you will have to pay 50 grand are the ones who didn't want it to pass in the first place. It's like taking a Republican at his word on what a Democrat-sponsored bill would do. IT'S POLITICAL BULLSHIT & DICK-WAVING.
  • by sysadmn ( 29788 ) <> on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @10:17AM (#11876511) Homepage
    Nope. What surprised everyone is that it was pointed out that anyone using eBay could be considered an auctioneer. eBay is just providing the soapbox - you're the one doing the auction.
  • It already passed (Score:5, Informative)

    by voidptr ( 609 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @10:24AM (#11876578) Homepage Journal
    But all is not despair. Do you smell that? I do, it's the smell of legislation that will never be passed. This is just another one of those bills we keep seeing that has absolutely no chance of ever becoming law, serving the sole purpose of allowing the senator to say "LOOK I WAS AGAINST EBAY SCAMMING!!!!111" Honestly, it's sad that this is what our "representatives" spend most of their time doing, but hey, at least they have the sense not to actually pass it, right?

    The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the law, signed by Gov. Robert Taft on Feb. 1
  • by gozar ( 39392 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @10:30AM (#11876648) Homepage
    This was in the paper a couple of days ago. The lawmakers realized that the wording could apply to individuals selling on Ebay, and are going to amend the law to fix this problem. The Internet provisions in the bill are supposed to pertain to Internet auction houses, not individuals. More info here [].

    Nothing to see here, please move a long...

  • FOR VOTING OHIOANS (Score:5, Informative)

    by MisterSquid ( 231834 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @10:33AM (#11876684)

    I have somehow found myself stuck in this godforsaken swing state and am subject to the inaninties of Ohio's brand of Midwestern legislating. That said, I still vote and I pay taxes.

    Not 5 minutes ago, I phoned Senator Mumper's office to let him know that I am EXTREMELY displeased with this piece of legislation. The person on the other end informed me that changes to Senate Bill 209 were being introduced today (Tuesday, 8 March), but I continued to explain the reason for my feelngs.

    My two objections were that 1) this legislation on the face of it appears to conflict with Congress's Interstate Commerce Clause which prohibits states from enacting legislation that will impede commerce between the states, and 2) the software on eBay is what does the auctioning, not the seller, and so the seller is in fact a client of an auctioneer, not an auctioneer him or herself.

    I also provided the receptioninst with my name, address, and phone number, and indicated that I will be writing a carrier mail letter to express my EXTREME DISPLEASURE with Senator Mumper's role in authoring this legislation.

    Oh, and if you came to this post because of its subject line, here you go:

    Senator Larry A. Mumper
    Senate Building
    Room 222, Second Floor
    Columbus, Ohio 43215
  • by ReadParse ( 38517 ) <`john' `at' `'> on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @10:59AM (#11876977) Homepage
    That's an excellent point, though there's no evidence that the headline is a LIE -- but it's certainly inappropriate, inflamatory and incorrect.

    Turns out this law is an expansion of existing auctioneering law, applying to auctioneers who only do business online. It makes sense that people who didn't want to go through the licensing process would just get some auction software and make a website, telling their seller and bidders, "sorry, I can't auction in person, or I would have to get a license". The internet has become a loophole for them and this law was intended to close that loophole.

    Why license auctioneers in the first place? Well it's all about trust. The auctioneer markets himself as a liasion betweeen buyer and seller -- he doesn't buy your property from you and then sell it as his property. He represents you as an agent while the property is still yours. This is a legal relationship and it's important for auctioneers to understand their legal responsibilities to buyer and seller. I could understand unscrupulous people seeking to take advantage of that position of trust getting around licensing and bonding laws by conducting business only online.

    Ah, but wait -- as is sometimes the case with laws, it might have had an unintended side effect -- the eBay seller. Are they or are they not an auctioneer. Well that depends. Most people selling on eBay are not an intermediary, but the seller. eBay is the auctioneer, bringing buyer and seller together and controlling the bidding.

    But then there are those people who have found that they are pretty good at selling things on eBay, and there are people who will pay them to sell their stuff on eBay for them. eBay consignment shops -- you may have heard of them. Many of them have had a certain amount of success. And some of them have heard from their local businessmen and/or governments, who are upset that their business is being infringed upon and these eBay kids don't have to get licensed or bonded.

    And obviously their relationship in the eBay picture is different -- they're not the seller and they're not the auctioneer. But they're definitely an agent of the seller and they can have significant impact on the result of the auction based on their actions. Hence they have similar legal responsibilities and perhaps licensing for these people should be looked at.

    Then there's the obvious public reaction -- $50,000 to sell on eBay? Madness! And inflamatory headlines don't help, either on slashdot or in the mainstream media.

    Any way you slice it, it's an interesting story.

  • Nothing unusual here (Score:3, Informative)

    by confused one ( 671304 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @11:14AM (#11877152)
    They're simply requiring people to register and license their BUSINESS. This is a normal practice for all states. Nothing new to see here. Move on.
  • Re:rediculous (Score:3, Informative)

    by alsta ( 9424 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @11:14AM (#11877158)
    I disagree. According to Merriam-Webster;

    Main Entry: auctioneer
    Pronunciation: "ok-sh&-'nir
    Function: noun
    : an agent who sells goods at auction

    That seems to me that if you sell stuff on eBay, you are an auctioneer.
  • by Aumaden ( 598628 ) <(Devon.C.Miller) (at) (> on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @11:23AM (#11877260) Journal
    First, a link [] to the law in question.

    Under Sec. 4707.01. in reads (in part):

    (B) "Auctioneer" means any person who engages, ... in the calling for, recognition of, and the acceptance of, offers for the purchase of real or personal property, goods, or chattels at auction either directly or through the use of other licensed auctioneers or apprentice auctioneers.

    Under Sec. 4707.02. it reads (in part):

    No person shall act as an ... auctioneer, ... within this state without a license issued by the department of agriculture.
    This section does not apply to:
    (B) The owner of any real or personal property desiring to sell the property at auction, provided that the property was not acquired for the purpose of resale;

    Now, IANAL, but to me this says that Ebay need to be licensed and to post the bond, not the seller. The seller is contracting Ebay's services as an auctioneer.

  • by skaffen42 ( 579313 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @11:28AM (#11877320)
    Regarding the Swiss... isn't this because pretty much every male in the country is part of the national defence force and is required to have a rifle and ammunition at home?

    If you are Swiss you have had a lot of training in using your weapon. Unlike the US where guns seem to end up as toys for shooting at beer cans when you get drunk in the trailor park. Which points to an easy solution for the whole gun issue. The US does the same thing the Swiss has done. Bring back the draft and have everybody spend a year in the army. After that they can have all the guns they want.

  • by Sir Tandeth ( 543411 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @11:50AM (#11877574) 5_SB_209 [] Sec. 4707.02. No person shall act as an auction firm, auctioneer, apprentice auctioneer, or special auctioneer within this state without a license issued by the department of agriculture. No auction shall be conducted in this state except by an auctioneer licensed by the department.
  • by HerbieStone ( 64244 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @11:58AM (#11877665) Homepage
    If guns in personal possesion are such a problem, how do places like Switzerland, where there are more guns per household than in the US manage to have less violent crime? [...] And, of course, violent criminals there know that there is a strong possibility of getting shot down like a dog while being a violent criminal: that has a wonderful impact on career choice.

    I'm Swiss and you are wrong on the second account of your argument. The first part might be right. Because every male citizen automatically serves in the military and all them need to have their gun and ammo at home. So because of that we got a lot of guns per household.

    The second argument is wrong, because if you open up the ammo-can without an order, you go straight to jail. The gun and the ammunition can only be used in case of war. I can't be used as you deem necessary.

    Still sometimes someone gets insane grabs his gun threatens to kill his family and himself. Thankfully, this happens very rarly. Thankfully most parents hide their guns and ammo well and in a separate place, so I can't remember when an accident with kids finding this stuff and hurting themself happend.

    Still, we are discussing, if we really need the risks involved having a gun at home.

  • by swv3752 ( 187722 ) <swv3752&hotmail,com> on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @11:59AM (#11877680) Homepage Journal
    The point of this was to regulate auctioneers. An unintended effect was that due to broad wording, any auction including online ones are subject to the regulation. This sort of things happens everywhere.

    The legislature surely was not intending to try and push this on someone who sells something once a year online. It is like requiring a business license to hold a yard sale.
  • by surefooted1 ( 838360 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @12:14PM (#11877798)
    This article not completely accurate and current...

    It was an oversight when the law was written and will be amended. []

    And for the lazy...

    Ohio Lawmakers Promise To Fix Internet Sales Law Law Could Regulate eBay Users POSTED: 6:30 am EST March 4, 2005 COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Lawmakers promise to change a state law that would force some individuals to get an auctioneer's license in order to sell items over the Internet.

    The law, which goes into effect May 2, was intended to regulate auctioneers, but ended up applying to sales through an Internet auction house.

    "We never intended for this to apply to people who sell things on eBay," said state Sen. Larry Mumper, a Marion Republican who was primary author of the bill. "This was to insure that auctioneers were abiding by the established rules and regulations.

    "The bill is flawed. We will amend it and correct the problem before it goes into law."

    The law would allow Ohioans to sell their items on eBay as long as they didn't buy the items intending to sell them.

    "What does that mean?" said Brenda J. Grolle, an Elyria resident who buys used books for $1 and sells them for $4 on eBay. "If I buy something, it's mine. I own it."

    As written, the law would subject Grolle to a maximum $1,000 fine and up to 90 days in jail unless she gets a license.

    A person has to serve a one-year apprenticeship to a licensed auctioneer, act as a bid-caller in 12 auctions, attend an approved auction school, pass exams, pay a biannual fee of $200 and post a $50,000 bond in order to get an auction license.

    Erin Davis, an aide to Sen. Tom Roberts, a Dayton Democrat, said the legislation wasn't intended to regulate eBay users.

    "It is a complete, unintended consequence," Davis said. "We did refer to Internet auctions in the bill, but we were talking about Internet auction houses, not individuals. It is important that the law be changed before it goes into effect."

    eBay spokesman Hani Durzy said the company isn't concerned about Ohio's law.

    "We do not believe the law applies to people who sell items on eBay or to eBay itself," he said.

    Gov. Bob Taft, who signed the bill on Feb. 1, has asked for a clarification, an aide said.
    Although, take note of the last sentence.
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @12:46PM (#11878112)
    A law that tons of people technicly break, but the government says it "never intended to enforce" or "wasn't meant for these kind of people". Ok, great, if that's the case, modify the law such that they aren't covered.

    The thing is, with vague laws like this, it's ripe for abuse. If someone in the government who can sway the DA gets mad at you, they can bring it selectively down on your head. For example let's say you are protesting some corrupt politician and they get mad, so they get the police to arrest you, and they tell the DA to give you a tough time. Little investigation turns out that you regularly sell things on eBay, just little trinkets and shit, but still. They then charge you with violating this law.

    No laws need to be clear, and consistently enforced. None of this "Don't worry about breaking the law, it wasn't meant to apply to YOU" shit, because that's just an excuse for abuse. If they want the law to apply to real auctioneers, it needs to be written as such. If they want it to apply to eBay, they need to make that clear, and enforce it in all cases.
  • Swiss and guns (Score:4, Informative)

    by Aexia ( 517457 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @02:29PM (#11879341)
    They also get training and their ammunition is *closely* monitored. If even a single round is missing, they'll get in trouble.

    Still want to pretend this is less restrictive than the US?
  • by Simonetta ( 207550 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @02:40PM (#11879476)
    To my knowledge, it is extremely illegal to sell heroin in the Netherlands, where Amsterdam is the most important city. Perhaps you are confusing heroin with marijuana, which makes you an honorary Republican.

    It is possible to get a license to sell marijuana in Amsterdam. It's a long and painstaking process. Marijuana gets sold in small outlets called 'coffeeshops' (English word) and coffee gets sold in a 'koffiehuis' (Dutch word). Sex shops are sometimes openly advertised as 'Fuck Houses' (public display of vulgar words in foreign languages is frowned on, but not illegal).

    Some psycedelics like peyote and other sensitive drugs like organic Viagra (yohimbe) or intelligence-enhancers can be bought legally at 'Smart Shops'.

    Nowhere in the Netherlands can a person just walk off the street and buy highly addictive drugs like crack cocaine, crystal meth, or heroin. There MAY be government programs to provide heroin to addicts under controlled conditions and monitoring, but no one legally sells it in licensed shops.

    Thank you,

Torque is cheap.