Have you heard about eBay’s war against psychics and other healers?
The online auction site is taking the unprecedented step of banning many supernatural items from being sold on its site. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, eBay is banning such services as “advice; spells; curses; hexing; conjuring; magic services; prayers; blessings; Psychic, Tarot, Reiki, and other metaphysical readings & services; magic potions; healing sessions.”
So why is eBay taking such drastic measures? Apparently customers have complained that some of these services haven’t worked for them. Maybe someone got a psychic reading they didn’t like, so they complained to eBay that the service provider was a fraud. An eBay spokeswoman says that it is difficult to measure the effectiveness of such products and services so such buyer/seller conflicts are difficult to resolve. Rather than come up with a policy to deal with such incidences, eBay is just banning a host of metaphysical services so they don’t have to worry abut it.
Those who make a living selling metaphysical products and services should, however, rejoice, according to eBay, because items such as jewelry, incense, candles and books — which can be used in metaphysical rituals — are still available on the site. The difference between these items and the former is that jewelry, incense , candles and books have a measurable value and effectiveness can’t be questioned.
There are many problems with this line of reasoning. If eBay is banning a type of service provider because customers can complain about the quality of the service, what about all of the other service providers that have listings on the site? A quick glance found that eBay features listings for credit repair, financial advice, cleaning services, and tutoring. So if I complain to eBay that a financial advisor I found on eBay gave me bad advice is that eBay’s fault? Likewise, if I disagree with a housekeeper hired on eBay about the meaning of clean, is eBay responsible and should they then give all housecleaners the boot?
For psychics, healers and others whose work is judged subjectively, this is a dangerous precedent. Here’s hoping that other online retailers don’t follow suit. Since I won’t be able to buy my metaphysical products and services on eBay, I’ll refrain from buying other products from there as well.