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Class Action Over EBay Fees Settles for $95,000

(CN) - EBay will pay $95,000 to settle a class action alleging that it charges sellers optional fees for additional features they did not select, a federal judge ruled.

Lead plaintiff Tasha Keirsey said she incurred the improper charges while trying to sell items on her mobile device using the online auction giant's eBay application.

The March 2012 lawsuit in San Francisco brought claims for breach of contract, bad faith and unjust enrichment.

EBay countered that it "properly disclosed all fees and that plaintiff was aware of all fees she was charged," according to the ruling from U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar. "Defendant particularly maintains that there can be no liability for any user who chose additional features and incurred the optional fees when placing an item through the eBay website, and then subsequently re-listed or copied the same listing using the eBay App."

After the court dismissed only the claim for unjust enrichment last year, the parties began negotiating a settlement.

In an interview, class counsel, Keith Verges of Figari & Davenport, said the amount of the settlement is $95,000.

"Part of the driving factor is that eBay was so prompt to provide us the fees at issue and we learned the amount at controversy was very minimal," the Dallas, Texas-based lawyer said. "It wasn't terribly large and both of us [attorneys for both sides] were interested in getting this promptly resolved."

Noting it would have been costly for both sides if the litigation had been prolonged, Verges added, "There just were not a lot of fees."

"We will seek $30,000 in our fee application, but we have actually spent about four times that," the lawyer said. "We are upside down in this, but that's our duty as counsel for the class."

EBay's attorney, Whitty Somvichian wit Cooley in San Francisco, did not immediately return a request for comment.

Tigar approved the preliminary settlement, which carries the unusual provision of providing class members with credit instead of cash.

"In this case, given the small amount that any individual class member would be likely to receive weighed against the cost of mailing individual checks, the court concludes that an account credit is an appropriate way to distribute the settlement," Tigar wrote last week.

He said class members who prefer to receive a check could still do so under the provisions of the preliminary settlement.

"Given eBay's potential defenses, and the cost of litigation, the amount of the settlement is reasonable," Tigar wrote.

A hearing on final settlement approval is scheduled for Feb. 13, 2014.

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