Ethical Consumer viewed the Center for Responsive Politics website, www.opensecrets.org, in August 2018.

Ebay and its employees had given $176,606 to US political parties in 2018, with 58% going to Democrats.

It had also spent $830,000 on lobbying.

Reference:

Open Secrets website 2018 (2018)

In February 2015 Corporate Europe Observatory published a stakeholder map put together by the UK government, released under Freedom of Information rules. The stakeholder map listed businesses, civil society groups and corporate lobby groups position on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

eBay was listed as being supportive of TTIP. It was listed as having an interest in the customs and trade facilitation chapter, and alternative dispute resolution.

TTIP was said to became the biggest trade deal in the world if it was to succeed. The deal aims to remove ‘non-tariff barriers to trade’ which would benefit big business, but threatens to undermine safety regulations, workers’ rights, environmental protection rules and food standard regulations.

Companies supporting TTIP therefore lost a mark under Ethical Consumer's political activities category.

Reference:

TTIP Stakeholder Grid (February 2015)

In 2018 Ethical Consumer consulted its list of the members of groups it considered to be free trade lobby groups, updated in March 2018.

Ebay was listed as a member of World Economic Forum, Coalition of Service Industries, National Foreign Trade Council and US Council for International Business.

Ethical Consumer considered these to be groups that campaigned for free trade to the possible detriment of people, plants and animals.

Reference:

Ethical Consumer Lobby Group member list (8 March 2018)

According to eBay's 2017 form DEF14a filed with the US government, four directors received more than £1 million in 2017, the amount that Ethical Consumer considers excessive. The highest paid received $17,670,591.

Reference:

Form DEF14a 2017 (21 August 2018)

According to and article published on the Telegraph website on 13th November 2015, the consumer group Which? had discovered that tickets to popular events had been appearing on resale sites as soon as, or even before, they went on sale to the public. This meant that customers were obliged to pay tickets for a much higher price as soon as they were released for sale. Which? found that four of the biggest secondary ticketing websites, including StubHub, had engaged in a number of anti-consumer tactics. These included tickets going on sale before or immediately after the official pre-sale began on the primary site. This happened in cases even for venues with strict resale restrictions, including asking for photo ID on the door.

One site listed re-sale tickets costing up to £1,500 despite having had an original value of £62.50. The report said that under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, consumers had to be notified of any restrictions on the tickets, all seating details and the original face value of the ticket. Which? claimed to have found these rules being repeatedly flouted on all the major secondary ticketing sites.

A statement from the owner of two of the sites said, "We are concerned that Which?'s statement and advice risks confusing consumers at a time when we, the industry, are working to educate consumers on how to avoid websites which offer little or no protection."
The manager of another site said: "If we are made aware of speculative selling on our site for specific events, we will investigate and remove the listings where appropriate.

Reference:

Watchdog reveals secondary ticketing 'stitch up' as event tickets go on sale before official release

In August 2018 Ethical Consumer veiwed eBay's family tree on the website hoovers.com.

Ebay had many high risk companies in jurisdictions considered to be tax havens by Ethical Consumer at the time of writing, including eBay International AG and eBay Holding gmbh, both holding companies based in Switzerland, with subsidiaries in other countries.

Ebay's Annual Report was checked but contained no country-by-country tax reporting. It was also notable that ebay was registered in Delaware, also considered a tax haven by Ethical Consumer at the time of writing, although its head office was in California.

As a result ebay received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for likely use of tax avoidance strategies.

Reference:

Generic Hoovers ref 2018 (2018)

According to the Guardian, in March 2016, eBay were to be held liable, in some cases, for VAT fraud committed by overseas sellers using their websites – and costing Britain hundreds of millions of pounds a year in lost tax receipts.

The chancellor of the UK was giving tax inspectors new powers to warn high-risk overseas sellers active in the UK through eBay and other online market places. If, after those warnings, sellers do not correctly collect VAT within 30 days, eBay and Amazon coulc be held liable for the missing tax.

The Treasury estimated that this measure woulc recoup £875m in lost VAT receipts over the next four years – though it is not expected to halt tax fraud altogether. The total cost to the taxpayer of this abuse was officially estimated at £1bn to £1.5bn a year.

Reference:

amazon-ebay-liable-vat-sellers-budget-2016 (31 March 2016)

A report by Citizens for Tax Justice on 6 October 2015 criticized US tax policy on large multinational corporations. Many multinational corporations used accounting tricks to pretend for that a substantial portion of their profits were generated in offshore tax havens, countries with minimal or no taxes where a company’s presence could be as little as a mailbox.

The study examined the use of tax havens by Fortune 500 companies in 2014. It revealed that tax haven use was ubiquitous among America’s largest companies and that a narrow set of companies benefited disproportionately.

Amongst these companies eBay was found to maintain 38 subsidiaries in the following tax havens: British Virgin Islands(1), Cayman Islands(1), Hong Kong(2), Ireland(5), Luxembourg(18),
Mauritius(1), Netherlands(2), Singapore(4) and Switzerland(4). The amount held offshore was $7.9 billion. Neither the overall rate of the tax paid on this overseas cash, nor any estimate of the US tax avoided, were disclosed.

Reference:

Offshore Shell Games 2015 (5 October 2015)