Less than a month after announcing a price increase that enraged small-business owners, eBay said yesterday it would reduce some fees and...

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SAN FRANCISCO — Less than a month after announcing a price increase that enraged small-business owners, eBay said yesterday it would reduce some fees and promised to improve customer service.

The online-auction giant said in a Web posting it would credit $15.95 — the cost of a one-month subscription — to small-business owners who operate “eBay Stores” in April. It also announced it would reduce the minimum fee for inexpensive auction items from 30 cents to 25 cents, starting today.

Bill Cobb, who became president of eBay North America in December, said in an e-mail to buyers and sellers that the company would provide more pricing details in upcoming weeks.

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Although eBay isn’t backing off price increases announced last month, the missive struck a conciliatory tone and might repair bruised relations with small-business owners.

In January, eBay told sellers in a terse e-mail the monthly subscription fee for people who operate “Basic eBay Stores” would rise from $9.95 to $15.95, and the fee for a standard listing of 10 days would double, from 20 to 40 cents.

The price increases — which could dent profits for thousands of small-business owners who hawk clothing, electronics and other low-margin commodities on eBay — are still expected to go into effect Feb. 18.

For three weeks, eBay sellers have peppered executives with angry e-mails, threatening to increase prices that buyers pay, close their stores or defect to auctions hosted by Yahoo!.com or others.

e-Bay also said yesterday it will soon stop sending automated e-mail responses to questions for customer-service representatives. Instead, Cobb promised, customers will hear from “a human being.”