Yahoo! To Offer Purchase Protection


Monday, October 16th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


NEW YORK (AP) — Yahoo! Inc. is launching Monday new initiatives that protect purchases made on its auction and shopping sites.

The program is backed by insurance obtained from Lloyd's of London, one of the industry's leading insurance carriers.

Yahoo!'s moves are designed to ``add another layer of confidence for consumers during the shopping season,'' according to Brian Fitzgerald, producer for Yahoo! auctions. ``Fraud is very low,'' he said, noting that it represents less than one percent of all transactions on the Yahoo! commerce site. For the first three quarters, Yahoo!'s transactions totaled $3 billion in sales.

For its auction site, called auctions.yahoo.com, the protection targets transactions, whose closing price is above $25 and below $10,000, and is either paid for and not received, or ``materially'' different from what was described by the seller. Consumers will be protected for up to $250 with a $25 deduction. For those using direct payment, coverage goes up to $3,000. with a $25 deduction.

The protection does not apply to those where the bidder or the seller has a negative rating, Yahoo! said.

As for its shopping site, called shopping.yahoo.com, shoppers are protected free of charge for the full value of any item up to $750. Protection up to $1,000 is available to consumers who store their billing and shipping information on the site.

Yahoo!'s protection is similar to what Amazon offers on its auction site, which covers transactions up to $250. For those using a direct payment method, coverage increases to $2,500. However, there is no deductible.

``Christmas is coming, and Yahoo! needs to do everything they can to relieve some of the pressure,'' said Elliott Ettenberg, chairman and chief executive officer of Customer Strategies Worldwide Inc., an Internet marketing consulting firm, based in New York.

``But, it's really meant to protect them, since consumers don't bear the financial costs for fraud. It's the merchants themselves.''