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eBay, PayPal Aid Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

Sites open donation pages; eBay says it will protect affected sellers.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect that Hurricane Sandy also affected North Carolina and Ohio.

As people in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast United States deal with the floods, power outages and devastation left by Hurricane Sandy, PayPal and eBay are trying to help those affected.

The companies have set up dedicated Web pages, where people can donate money to help fund relief efforts. eBay sellers can also list items through eBay Giving Works and donate a percent of their items’ selling prices—from 10 percent to 100 percent—to organizations helping with relief efforts. eBay will credit back listing fees for merchants who do this in proportion to how much they donate, the company says.

eBay Ink, eBay’s corporate blog, reports that about 1,900 sellers were offering products through Giving Works as of Wednesday, posting 17,700 items to help victims of the storm that hit the U.S. Monday night, leaving more than 40 people dead, millions without power and heavy flooding.

PayPal notes it will also credit back transaction fees for donations made on its Hurricane Sandy page through Nov. 19. On that site, customers can donate to the American Red Cross, The Humane Society, Team Rubicon and The Salvation Army, organizations helping storm victims.

“Our thoughts are with all of the families affected by Hurricane Sandy,” says Clam Lorenz, director of Nonprofit Engagement at PayPal.

“We hope these measures are helpful in this difficult time. Our thoughts are with you.”

eBay will protect affected sellers

eBay will also do its best to guard sellers affected by the storm from undeserved low ratings. eBay announced it will remove any low Detailed Seller Ratings given in the Communication and Shipping Times categories if eBay officials find the low ratings were the result of the hurricane.

Hurricane Sandy affected areas of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. One reader in Ohio notes she was without power for six days.

It adds that buyer protection cases opened because shoppers did not receive items as a result of the storm will not be counted toward seller performance, either.

“We’re noting in your account with eBay that you may be affected by these events,” a General Announcement post tells sellers, adding that “affected eBay Top-rated Sellers will be protected from any changes in status based on a temporary inability to upload tracking information.”

eBay reports it will email shoppers who bought something within the last seven days from merchants in affected areas to let them know about possible delays. Buyers will also get a message when leaving feedback, informing them of the situation and asking them to be patient.

The marketplace advises affected merchants to contact buyers, when possible, to let them know of possible delays, to upload tracking as soon as they can, and to put their eBay Stores in vacation mode and tell buyers why they’re doing this.

“We hope these measures are helpful in this difficult time,” eBay says. “Our thoughts are with you.”

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About the author

Olga Munoz
Olga Munoz is editor of In addition to writing news and feature articles about e-commerce, selling trends, online marketing and other topics of interest to online sellers, Olga manages the site's social media efforts. A journalism graduate of Chico State, Olga says her favorite part of being a journalist is learning interesting facts that help put stories into perspective, attending industry events and meeting interesting people "that leave you smiling, even in tough situations." Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

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