eBay offers private sellers 20 free listings per month

But new pricing structure is bad news for some

Updated: 

AM6K5F keyboard with the letters of the word ebay on it

There's good news for anybody planning to clear out the attic over Easter - eBay has announced that it will soon give every private seller 20 free listings per month.

The online auction site is simplifying its fee structure from 13th May. The 20 free listings apply to any category apart from motors, and can be for auction or fixed price items, with any start price. After the freebies, further listings will cost 35p each.

The new structure replaces a system of fees that many people found over-complicated. Depending on the price of the item, the seller's fee ranged between zero and £1.30 for auction items, or 20p to 40p for fixed price items. Property listings cost £35.

Many users are delighted with the changes. "It's about time they did something to help the small sellers like me, who might list 100 items over the whole year," writes one member of the company's community forum. "For too long it's been all about the big sellers."

However, the changes are bad news for some. Previously, private sellers advertising items with a start price of £1 or less were given 100 free auction listings - a number that's now restricted to just 20. Many sellers are deeply unhappy as a result.

One describes the move as "just another way for eBay to fleece small sellers", while another calls it "another money grab". Several point out that there's little incentive to sell items for £1 if eBay is going to take a 35p cut.

And while having 100 active listings might seem like a sign of a business rather than a private seller, this isn't always the case. One concerned seller, for example, is getting rid of a family stamp collection piece by piece - and is now looking at alternative sites.

Another is attempting to shift university textbooks, explaining: "I list 100 items every time of which maybe three sell. So I add another three items the next month. This means I sell less than 100 items per year but use my 100 free listings every time."

The answer, according to eBay, is to become an eBay Shop. "We're confident that most sellers will be better off under the new pricing structure," it advises. "If you believe you are worse off, consider moving to a basic Shop."

However, while this offers sellers 100 free listings per month, 100 free scheduled listings and a reduced final value fee, it costs £19.99 per month.