BY TOM DALTON
---- — SALEM — The decision by eBay to ban the sale of psychic readings and other online metaphysical services is not sparking any curses from the Witch City.
Salem’s psychics either aren’t impacted or seem to welcome the news that the online auction and shopping website will soon prohibit the sale of psychic and tarot card readings, spells and potions.
“It doesn’t affect me,” said Laurie “Lorelei” Stathopoulos, who owns Crow Haven Corner, a witch shop on Essex Street with its own website.
“If they’re going after the con artists, then good,” she said.
“I haven’t sold anything, as far as metaphysics, on eBay in some time,” said Eric Fraize, a self-described psychic, astrologer and founder of The Universal Church of Satan who has marketed his services, including magic spells and Tarot readings, on eBay. “It hasn’t been profitable.”
Fraize said there were too many pretend psychics on eBay offering bargain-basement services.
In a statement, eBay said that while it is banning readings, it will continue to allow the sale of many metaphysical items.
“It’s important to note that items that have a tangible value for the item itself and may also be used in metaphysical rites and practices (i.e., jewelry, crystals, incense, candles and books) are allowed in most cases,” said spokeswoman Johnna Hoff.
“EBay regularly reviews categories and updates our policies based on customer feedback. We are discontinuing a small number of categories within the larger metaphysical subcategory, as buyers and sellers have told us that transactions in these categories often result in issues that can be difficult to resolve. We believe this update will continue to build on improvements within the eBay marketplace, for the benefit of our customers.”
The list of banned items includes “advice; spells; curses; hexing; conjuring; magic services; prayers; blessings; psychic, Tarot, reiki, and other metaphysical readings & services; magic potions; healing sessions.”
The ban, which takes effect next month, was announced in eBay’s 2012 fall seller update.
Fraize said he isn’t surprised to hear that eBay is eliminating psychic services.
“People will come back (to eBay) and say, ‘Johnny so and so didn’t fall in love with me like you said’... and then they want their money back,” he said. “Or the magic spell only half-worked.
“So eBay and PayPal (an online payment service) get hit with charge-backs, and they have a hard time retrieving the money from the seller.”
Tom Dalton can be reached at email@example.com