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Ohio law would regulate eBay sellers
Law may require costly, time-consuming auction license for Ohio online sellers; changes vowed.
March 7, 2005: 7:24 AM EST

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Ohio residents selling goods on eBay would have to get a license and be bonded under a law set to go into effect May 2, although authors of the legislation vow to make changes before that date to exempt individuals.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the law, signed by Gov. Robert Taft on Feb. 1, was meant to insure that auctioneers were abiding by the established rules and regulations. The law, as written, requires Ohio residents who sell products online to get a state auction license.

Besides costing $200 and posting a $50,000 bond, the license requires a one-year apprenticeship to a licensed auctioneer, acting as a bid-caller in 12 auctions, attending an approved auction school, passing a written and oral exam. Failure to get a license could result in the seller being fined up to $1,000 and jailed for a maximum of 90 days.

The primary author of the legislation, State Sen. Larry Mumper, told the paper the legislature never intended it to apply to individuals selling items over eBay. But Mumper, while vowing changes, couldn't say exactly who would or would not be exempt from the license requirement under any changes in the pending law.

"It certainly will not apply to the casual seller on eBay, but might apply to anyone who sells a lot," he said. "If someone buys and sells on eBay on a regular basis as a type of business, then there is a need for regulation."

Kathy Greer, senior editor of UnRavel the Gavel, a newspaper covering the New England auction market, told the Plain Dealer that similar regulation efforts are under way in Tennessee and Illinois, but that past efforts have always either been withdrawn or left unenforced due to public outcry over the restrictions.

Hani Durzy, eBay spokesman, said the company has reviewed Ohio's law and is not concerned.

"We do not believe the law applies to people who sell items on eBay or to eBay itself," he told the paper.

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