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Bricklink invoicing for residual seller fees

Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,438
edited December 2020 in Buying & Selling Topics
Has anyone received this from Bricklink? I haven't sold ANYTHING on Bricklink for years!!!! 
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Comments

  • tomahawkertomahawker Member Posts: 184
    Bricklink recently changed their policies on fee payment.  Previously they only invoiced for fees for amounts greater than $5.  My guess is they looked and saw lots of low volume sellers who had balances like yours and saw a chance to rake in more fee payments.
    Pitfall69andheOldfanSumoLego
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 13,935
    Oh, that looks promising.
    Pitfall69Fizyx
  • BobflipBobflip Member Posts: 605
    Bricklink recently changed their policies on fee payment.  Previously they only invoiced for fees for amounts greater than $5.  My guess is they looked and saw lots of low volume sellers who had balances like yours and saw a chance to rake in more fee payments.
    Not sure that they could do this and legally charge fees on sales made years ago.
  • tomahawkertomahawker Member Posts: 184
    The fees were already charged.  They just deferred payment until the threshold was reached.  Here is the announcement of the change on Bricklink:

    https://www.bricklink.com/message.asp?ID=1235600
    Paperballpark
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,438
    I still don't understand? I haven't sold anything for years and I have NEVER SOLD anything overseas. I know it is a small amount, but it's the principle of the matter. This is very strange to me. 2020 is just a gift that keeps on giving.
    SumoLegoandheReesesPieces
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,645
    Now they are collecting VAT on fees in UK and EU and need to report this yearly. So they have to charge accounts at least once per year. 

    The longest one I have seen so far is 17 years!


    andhe
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,858
    edited December 2020
    I haven't sold anything since 2006 and I was billed for $4.50 yesterday too. I suspect, like me, @Pitfall69, the figure is the residual amount of selling fees you owe from back in the day.
    Pitfall69
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,047
    Yeah I haven't sold anything since about 2016, but I knew I still had outstanding fees which hadn't reached their £10 limit. I saw the announcement the other day, so I guessed an invoice would be coming, and it duly did. I paid it straight away, as I knew I owed it!
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,645
    They have plans for another round of the AFOL sets programme. 
    KungFuKennyFizyxstarwars4ever
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,438
    Thank you everyone for responding to my post. This just hit me out of nowhere and I was wondering what was going on? 
  • FizyxFizyx ColoradoMember Posts: 1,105
    I'm still waiting to see any evidence whatsoever that LEGO's purchase of Bricklink has been good for the fan community, be it buyers, sellers or anybody else.

    There are definite issues with Bricklink that need addressing, and I was hopeful that maybe LEGO would at the very least address a lot of them and modernize the system, if nothing else.  (To be clear, I am absolutely NOT a fan of a company also owning the main 2nd-hand marketplace their product is sold on, but I was hoping as kind of a silver lining at least..)  Anyway, they haven't even done anything with any of that. 

    To be fair, I don't know why I even hoped that a company that is notorious for not putting enough resources into its own main web presence would pay anything to improve a new secondary web presence they just purchased.  Feel kind of stupid even considering it once I think of it that way. -.-
    560Heliportgmonkey76PapaBearCymbelineBumblepantsiwybsPitfall69oldtodd33
  • LobotLobot UKMember Posts: 1,000
    I'm still waiting to see any evidence whatsoever that LEGO's purchase of Bricklink has been good for the fan community, be it buyers, sellers or anybody else.

    There's been a significant lack of communication in advance of a lot of the changes they've introduced which hasn't been ideal; and this has resulted in quite a bit of friction which is highly evident in the community forum.  I'm really surprised LEGO have allowed Bricklink to act in the way they have on several occasions - it can't be good PR for them.

    The one positive is that they seem to have invested quite a bit in trying to sort out the IT issues - and it's certainly far more stable than a few years ago.  The (totally pointless) changes they've made to the catalogue are just meddling for the sake of it.

    And, don't get me started on the addition of VAT to Bricklink fees - despite their assurances that they wouldn't change them.  It reminds me of George Bush's classic speech of 'No new taxes'.... which evolved into 'No taxes for newts!'  If LEGO really had to collect VAT that's fine, but considering their incredible profits in the last few years, you'd have thought they could have eaten the cost themselves and kept it at 3%- but apparently not.

    PapaBear
  • SirBrickalotOfLegoSirBrickalotOfLego WalesMember Posts: 626
    I got billed 89p and I don't recall ever selling anything at all on there!
    andhe
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,645
    As they have a presence in the UK and Europe I think they have to collect VAT on their services. 

    But I agree their communication is awful. I don't think LEGO really cares what they do, as their latest joint LEGO/BL message seems to indicate they are still pursuing Bricklink XP.
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 13,935
    It's not a positive PR move to suddenly send bills out to their entire secondary community.  Perhaps implementing this going forward for new accounts would be better, or perhaps rolling this out in phases based on more recent activity.

    It's a bit ridiculous to ask for deferred fees from 2003.  Are they going to de-activate accounts that don't pay the invoice?  

    I haven't sold anything ever on BL, but I'll have to see if I get the invoice.

    Unrelated - I sincerely hope they don't sync their B&P with the piece inventory for BL.  There are SO many bricks missing from the B&P inventories.  (And replacement parts inventories, as well.)
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,645
    SumoLego said:


    It's a bit ridiculous to ask for deferred fees from 2003.  Are they going to de-activate accounts that don't pay the invoice?  

    Almost certainly for seller accounts. But even sellers that don't pay fees get to keep their buyer account.
    SumoLego
  • teal93mr2teal93mr2 USAMember Posts: 989
    I apparently sold 4 items in 2011 and received a bill for $3.89.  I just decided to pay it rather than deleting my account.  Definitely a bit dodgy, but didn't want any potential negative effects over such a small amount.
  • RakulRakul USAMember Posts: 183
    I just received my $0.16 bill.  They will pay almost as much in PayPal fees as they collected but oh well.
    andhegmonkey76
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,645
    Rakul said:
    I just received my $0.16 bill.  They will pay almost as much in PayPal fees as they collected but oh well.
    I think they will pay the whole $0.16 to PayPal, but it clears the sum off their books.

    Fizyxandhe
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,047
    Personally I knew back when I stopped selling on BL that I still had an outstanding amount that I technically owed them, but I also knew that their policy was that they only collected it if it went over $10 or whatever it was.

    Given that I've always known I technically owed them money, I don't feel I can really complain when they finally change their (rather stupid from their point of view) policy to ensure I have to actually pay them!
    andheOldfan
  • WesterBricksWesterBricks USAMember Posts: 33
    teal93mr2 said:
    I apparently sold 4 items in 2011 and received a bill for $3.89.  I just decided to pay it rather than deleting my account.  Definitely a bit dodgy, but didn't want any potential negative effects over such a small amount.
    You agreed to the fee structure when you signed up to sell on their platform.

    The fact that they deferred the fees and sellers forgot about them doesn't absolve anyone of their contractual obligations.
    andheOldfan1265
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,645
    It depends which country you are in. In the UK, there is the Limitation Act 1980, which says that anything like this has to be done within six years.

    I just checked Nevada (where BL was located prior to the original sale to Jay Kim) and the collection of debt on account has a limitation of 4 years.
    andhegmonkey76
  • prevereprevere North of Bellville, East of Heartlake, South of Bricksburg, West of Ninjago City Member Posts: 2,922
    Rakul said:
    I just received my $0.16 bill.  They will pay almost as much in PayPal fees as they collected but oh well.
    I would ship them 16 pennies by mail. Yeah, you'd pay through the teeth but it would be worth it. 
    560HeliportKungFuKennygmonkey76iwybs
  • 12651265 The Great State of TexasMember Posts: 1,002
    Pay your fair share!!!  LOL!!!
  • samiam391samiam391 A log cabin in PA, United StatesMember Posts: 4,372
    Not going to lie. I'm not sure that the money the #1 toy company in the world is gaining from multiple <$4 invoices is going to outweigh pissing off the AFOL community. 
    Mr_Cross560Heliportgmonkey76iwybsSumoLegodatsunrobbiePitfall69piratemania7
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,047
    You mean the money that those afols legitimately owe them?

    Anyway, it seems to me like Bricklink is still being run at arms length from Lego.
    560Heliport
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,645
    Given the age of the debt, is it legitimate though? They are now saying that BL is a community site and members should pay up. It is irrelevant to me as I am a continuous user, but given how they have threatened others in the past with legal action for using the "community catalogue", this seems very off.
  • daewoodaewoo DFWMember Posts: 524
    From a legal standpoint, I have questions about the validity.  From a PR perspective, there isn't a good way to spin it and they will have a black eye with a lot of people.  Not sure what they really think they are gaining.  They could easily have written it off and moved on, tweaking the current policy to collect all fees on future transactions.
    KungFuKennyAstrobricksSumoLego
  • Blockwork_OrangeBlockwork_Orange ON, CanadaMember Posts: 114
    I can understand why they changed the policy and are now trying to get all past accounts caught up.  It may only seem like a few dollars or pennies, but if there are enough it will add up to a notable sum.  Plus it provides the opportunity to start off with a clean slate in the new year by either collecting the monies owed, or writing off the bad debts.
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 13,935
    It does make me wonder if LEGO/Bricklink is compelled to 'settle' their potential income taxes based on these fees, and whether they are permitted to waive those fees for sellers.

    Regardless, to @samiam391's point - even if it is $100,000 in actual cash, is it work aggravating and/or scaring off users?  

    Sending someone a bill for $0.16 seems pretty petty.
    560Heliportgmonkey76piratemania7
  • samiam391samiam391 A log cabin in PA, United StatesMember Posts: 4,372
    edited December 2020
    You mean the money that those afols legitimately owe them?

    Anyway, it seems to me like Bricklink is still being run at arms length from Lego.
    I'm not saying it's not legitimately owed.

    But for a company as large as LEGO sometimes PR > $. In this scenario I don't think the $ outweighs the PR. 
    Mr_Cross
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,645
    The sums are all under $5 for US and $10 for international. A significant portion will go on PayPal fees. It's not like the fees were made during LEGO's ownership either. Probably from the Jezek days, before Jay Kim. Did they really buy thinking they were going to make money from the old debt, or just come up with this plan?

    How many sets do they give away for reviews and PR. Yet here, tighter than a gnat's chuff.
    cody6268SumoLegogmonkey76Mr_Crossteal93mr2Pitfall69
  • cody6268cody6268 Member Posts: 296
    edited December 2020
    LEGO's really made a mess out of things...

    I'm only a buyer, but I don't really even buy a whole lot of stuff from Bricklink. Just parts I don't have but need for something to turn out right 3-4 times a year. 

    I once got a letter from a collection agency over, of all things, a magazine I didn't renew; and for $30-something. The Better Business Bureau (whom I called the minute I got the letter) said they'd never heard of such a thing happen. I then called the magazine's subscription dept., and let's just say I was ticked. 
    SumoLego
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 13,935
    CCC said:
    ...tighter than a gnat's chuff...
    Prune Juice.
    cody6268 said:
    LEGO's really made a mess out of things...
    I wouldn't characterize this as a 'mess', but a glaringly annoying bit of nonsense.

    Given that LEGO haphazardly discontinued the Osprey on an arguably questionable over-reaction, and severed a strategic partnership with Shell.  This is a company that downplayed their current financial success during the pandemic... their current approach is definitely odd.
    gmonkey76
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 4,147
    It smells of bean counters making a decision that should have been reviewed at a higher level. It would almost certainly have been more cost-effective to just write off all the uncollected fees and start anew.
    iwybsSumoLegogmonkey76drdavewatford
  • AleyditaAleydita BelgiumMember Posts: 924
    I am reasonably confident that Bricklink's actions are illegal in the UK and possibly across the EU. They are retroactively changing their terms and conditions and/or ignoring statute of limitations laws.

    The commission due only became chargeable if certain thresholds were met. They can change that going forward but they cannot apply it retrospectively. It is no different to them saying, "I know the terms said 3% but now we're asking for 30%, back-dated to the very beginning of BL."

    Bricklink may be a US company but they have to comply with UK/EU law when dealing with their UK/EU users. I am amazed this got by their legal people.

    If someone in the EU who received a demand brought it up with their consumer authority, TLG could end up in bother with the very real potential of negative headlines ("Lego company sends out illegal demands for $0.01").
    Bobflipgmonkey76Pitfall69
  • benbacardibenbacardi EnglandMember Posts: 697
    Aleydita said:
    It is no different to them saying, "I know the terms said 3% but now we're asking for 30%, back-dated to the very beginning of BL."
    It's very different to that. The sellers have always known they owed Bricklink the fees, they just weren't going to be collected until they reached a certain threshold. They're not increasing the amount they're owed at all; they're just changing the threshold at which they ask the fees to be paid.

    I can't speak for the legality etc, but it's definitely not the same as them saying they're now asking for backdated 30% fees.
    FizyxericbAstrobricksOldfanrd1899
  • Mr_CrossMr_Cross East Anglia (UK)Member Posts: 1,426
    As billionaires I'm pretty certain they could have afforded to just start a clean slate...

    However, I don't think there's maliciousness or petty minded penny pinching in this. This is probably just automated, I doubt they really want these tiny quantities of extra fees (an accounting headache IMO), I think they want a system that is (in layman's terms) legally accountable. I reckon there were some pretty ugly accounts anomolies and this is just them trying to straighten things out.

    FWIW, debts older than seven years are still collectible, legally too, google informs me.

    Totally agree about bad PR, but there must only be a really small number of folks irritated by this, and I'd suggest those might be people who lost interest in their shop or the hobby in general.

    Dunno, just thoughts, not looking for an argument if I've made ill-informed comments.
    tomahawkerAstrobricksReesesPieces
  • AleyditaAleydita BelgiumMember Posts: 924
    Aleydita said:
    It is no different to them saying, "I know the terms said 3% but now we're asking for 30%, back-dated to the very beginning of BL."
    It's very different to that. The sellers have always known they owed Bricklink the fees, they just weren't going to be collected until they reached a certain threshold. They're not increasing the amount they're owed at all; they're just changing the threshold at which they ask the fees to be paid.

    I can't speak for the legality etc, but it's definitely not the same as them saying they're now asking for backdated 30% fees.
    No. They don't owe because the contractual threshold has not been reached. Commission is only due if (1) a sale is made, and (2) the total commission chargeable reaches the defined threshold. Under the contract in place at the time it is NOT chargeable unless both conditions are met. Retrospectively altering a contract is illegal without the agreement of all parties.

    Changing one contractual term is the same as changing another. The level or value of impact does not come into it.
    andhe
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,645
    I don't think it is automated as such just consequences of decisions that are not really scrutinized due to small staff. They have to bring in yearly billing for VAT / tax reasons and this was one consequence. They don't bother looking into the legality of going back many years, they just do it. And they look stupid. These days, they frequently make policy up on the fly without thinking about consequences. They rarely tell users either, just implement it. There have even been cases where they have complained that users discovered features they that allowed to go live before users were meant to notice them. They don't seem to robustly test, just go live and hope.

  • ericbericb Member Posts: 86
    Regardless of the amount, I'd want to pay the fee in order to fulfill my obligation to bricklink.  They held up their end of the deal. 
    PaperballparkFizyx
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,438

    Look at all the money we can make if we just manipulate the numbers!!! Bricklink users won't suspect a thing...
    jmeninnogmonkey76KungFuKennyBumblepantsprevere
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 4,147
    ^ Billing people what they owe isn't exactly manipulating anything.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,438
    ^There is a statute of limitations for the amount of time that debt is legally enforceable.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,438
    ^ Billing people what they owe isn't exactly manipulating anything.
    You do know that there are time limits that you need to adhere by when billing people. You can't just bill someone for something that was 20 years ago. I haven't sold anything on Bricklink for many years and as some people have mentioned; don't even recall selling anything at all. I'm not even sure what they are billing me for because there isn't a detailed invoice that came with the bill.

    Hey @SumoLego I'm sending you a bill for $4 because you stole a meme I posted on here 5 years ago. My memes come at a price. 
    560Heliportgmonkey76SumoLegoKungFuKennyBumblepantsjason1976andheprevere
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 13,935
    ^  First - Fair Use.  Second - I didn't make an agreement (prior to appropriating your meme) that you would defer my tax liability if the aggregate value my meme appropriation was less than $10.00.  And as memes are worthless, I have yet to accrue any potential liability for said appropriation.  Third - One does not simply Ewok into Mordor.

    ^ And I agree - if Bricklink can't substantiate the purported fees due - I'd dispute the invoice.
    KungFuKennyAstrobricksgmonkey76Pitfall69LobotFizyxjason1976datsunrobbie
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 4,147
    ^ All of which is why I think it’s dumb that they tried this. Sure, some people will just pay it, but many will ignore it, and then what do you (BL/Lego) do? 
    gmonkey76Pitfall69SumoLego560Heliportjason1976
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 13,935
    Maybe they deactivate the account or charge it all when the next sale?  Or if they deactivate the account due to non-activity and assume the liability.

    I also get the impression that BL may need to do their due diligence to try and collect the fees before they either write them off or ignore them.
    Fizyx
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