eBay hires Direct Line’s Scowen for review of PA

Internet auction giant eBay has poached Direct Line’s public affairs chief Alison Scowen to become its first dedicated UK lobbyist and review its PA account.

Scowen joins eBay next week as UK public affairs manager reporting to head of legal affairs Robert Miller and will make the hiring of external support an immediate priority.

‘One of my first jobs will be to recruit an agency,’ said Scowen, which she expected to complete within six weeks. The company has used LLM Communications on a project basis in the past year.

Scowen said key issues include ensuring eBay complies with the DTI’s distance selling and e-commerce regulations, which insist merchants provide consumers with clear information, a right to refund of goods and protection from credit card fraud.

Recent press articles have reported the phenomenon of sellers on eBay setting up false email accounts and bidding up the price of their own items with fictitious offers.

Scowen joined Direct Line in August 2000 from Central Lobby Consultants, where she was an account manager. She has been on maternity leave from the insurance company for the past six months.

eBay’s consumer PR account is held by Joe Public PR. The company this week also announced it has hired Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners as its first UK advertising agency.

There are an estimated 42 million registered eBay users worldwide, with one million in the UK. Global sales for 2003 were $2.165bn (£1.175bn).

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