Feds End eBay Probe

eBay may be an online auction giant, but apparently the government thinks
it’s not enough of a giant to warrant serious monopoly concerns as Justice
Department antitrust officials have closed an investigation of the San Jose,
Calif.-based company.

No action was taken, eBay said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange
Commission. The company had been providing information to
the Justice Department since 2000.

The specifics of the investigation involved eBay’s licensing program and a
now-settled lawsuit eBay had filed against Bidder’s Edge, an auction
aggregator that eventually agreed to stop posting eBay content on its site.
Auction aggregators at one point were seen
as a threat by eBay.

eBay disclosed the end of the investigation in a section of its annual report
filing that discussed risk factors.

Interestingly, the company also said that it believes “that government
regulators have received a substantial number of consumer complaints about
us, which, while small as a percentage of our total transactions, are large
in aggregate numbers. As a result, we have from time to time been contacted
by various foreign, federal, state and local regulatory agencies and been
told that they have questions with respect to the adequacy of the steps we
take to protect our users from fraud.”

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