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EBay Says Users' Personal Info Could Be Shared in Merger

April 03, 2001|From Associated Press

Online auction powerhouse EBay Inc. is telling users their personal data would be shared if EBay is bought out or merges with another company.

The new privacy policy takes effect May 15, but EBay already has placed notices about it on its Web site, which counted 22 million registered users at the beginning of the year.

EBay asks new users to provide their addresses and phone numbers but does not sell such information to outside parties.

The new policy makes clear, however, that EBay or its subsidiaries "could merge with or be acquired by another business entity. Should such a combination occur, you should expect that EBay would share some or all of your information in order to continue to provide the service."

The notice on the site said the change was being made in consideration of the Federal Trade Commission's objections to's plans to sell its customer records after it went out of business. Toysmart's records eventually were destroyed.

EBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove said the notice in no way indicates the company is considering a merger or is in acquisition talks.

In a separate update to the site's user agreement that also takes effect May 15, EBay noted that it is not an auctioneer in the traditional sense but merely a platform for buying and selling goods.

The statement does not reflect a change in EBay's official stance, but merely seeks to clarify what the company sees as its role. EBay has used that description in defense of suits brought by people who claimed they were defrauded by sellers on the site.

EBay noted in its annual report filed last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission that its "future success will depend largely upon sellers reliably delivering and accurately representing their listed goods and buyers paying the agreed purchase price."

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