Says manufacturers must wake up to modern world instead of wanting return to 1950s

Ebay seeks to end regional pricing

Ebay has lobbied the European Parliament over trading laws that it describes as ‘last century’ and that are preventing EU consumers from making further savings.

It blamed manufacturers who it claims are exploiting trading rules that prevent cross-border trading for example, to push up prices and enforce pricing blocks from that belong in the 1950s, not 2008.

Speaking to the BBC, eBay’s head of EU liaison Paloma Castro said: "Entrenched manufacturers want to continue making money as they did in the 1950s, but the business models have to adapt for the new economy."

The online auction company has identified four bottlenecks it claims prevent consumers from making further savings; bottlenecks it says allow manufacturers to maintain pricing segmentation – pricing models for different regions – a practice much derided, but prolific in the gaming and entertainment markets

Castro believes that with the credit crunch hitting EU consumers’ pockets even harder, she believes now is the time for MEPs to change the law, with the firm already securing the support of two parliamentary commissioners and four of the main political group in the parliament.

"Currently it is estimated that online shopping put 17 per cent of saving in the average household basket. Looking at these rules could make those savings even better," she added.

It wants to see an end to regional pricing and replace it with one global pricing scheme for goods. "With the weak dollar, loads of people are looking to buy goods online from the US, but, in most cases, you can’t do it."

She also lambasted manufacturers who actively seek to shut down online distribution of their goods by selling to bricks and mortar retailers for less than they do to etailers. "Certain brands want to close down online distribution channels," she added.

However, she was realistic that breaking down the trade barriers that allow regional pricing may take a long time to break down, though she is hoping that the etailer can build up a coalition of online retailers to lobby the EU before the end of the year.

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