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Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Dec 6 2012 20:38:07

eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns

By: Ina Steiner
Sponsored Link
Reports are coming in from sellers who say eBay is blocking them from communicating with buyers because of what could be called "gray market" worries - concern that sellers are trying to take transactions off eBay, thus avoiding paying eBay fees.

A reader by the name of Jim said six times in the past 10 days eBay has blocked him from sending an eBay message to the winner of one of his auctions. Each time, eBay presents him with a message that starts off, "Your message wasn't sent because we've noticed that it might suggest a purchase outside of eBay." The messages point sellers to its "Offers to buy or sell outside of eBay" policy.

According to Jim, he's sending message to winning bidders along the lines of,  "I sent you a PayPal invoice on (insert date). Can you give me an update on the status of your payment," or "Can you let me know when you will be paying for this auction?"

Another reader said she has found eBay has "started cracking down hard in eBay messages." She includes her contact information in shipping-notification emails to buyers inviting them to contact her if they have any problems ("because eBay Messages can be glitch," she said). She was sent to a page with a large warning message about not including email addresses.

She also got the warning Jim received: "I also got a different warning message the same day when eBay thought I was trying to set up an off-eBay sale through Messages," she wrote.

Sellers also discussed the issue in November on the eBay discussion boards.

Multi-channel sellers often note that selling on eBay requires much more hand-holding of buyers than marketplaces like Amazon.com. Sellers may rarely communicate with buyers on Amazon, while on eBay, there's much more back and forth, often correspondence that's initiated by the buyers themselves.  

Do you think eBay requires too much or too little communication between buyer and seller, and how does that compare to other marketplaces?

Reading EcommerceBytes Blog: eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns
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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns   eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns
by: happyharry This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu Dec 6 23:23:21 2012
EASY WORK-AROUND JUST MAKE A .JPEG of your email, website, phone and any other info you want to send the message sender via ebay message LOL ……/ebay are really too dumb.

I receive at least 1 message a week requesting wholesale bulk purchase off ebay..BUT they all ask for Paypal details to forward me payment, so ebay are getting a cut anyway.

ebay are getting too intrusive, to be truthful they are getting less and less relevant as our Amazon sales totally destroy ebay, I know Amazon dont allow emails in messages but that’s not a problem as we are getting much larger sales volume on Amazon plus the Amazon messaging service works fine...
Perminate Link for eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns   eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns
by: spirit-of-shiloh This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu Dec 6 23:28:37 2012
Big Brother at its finest. When I make a sale I receive the notice also in my personal email along with the buyers email. I email them at their personal email when I will deliver,a thank you,etc. Now that eBay snoops in our personal email it probably won't be long before they block that too. They need a good rude awakening. They are too power hungry and it will bite them in the end.
Perminate Link for eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns   eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns
by: blaumann This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri Dec 7 00:37:17 2012
I communicate using the email address ebay sends in the sale notification.
There is NO WAY ebay can look at my personal email accounts.  
Perminate Link for eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns   eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns
by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri Dec 7 00:47:14 2012
Just shows that they are really hurting for the $$$$$$. Afraid to loose a sale. Need all the fees they can get.
Just like deleting the completed sold lists.  Do not want it toooo public on how many sales they are not getting..
Kind of reminds me of Enron, or Bernie.... You can only go so far then it comes tumbling down. But some people honestly believe they can get away with anything forever.
Ebay is scratching now for every FVF they can get.
Perminate Link for eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns   eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns
by: bitbybit This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri Dec 7 01:12:43 2012
If ebay really wanted the final value fees, they could get a lot more if they would make the sellers listings visible. It seems they do everything in their power to degrade sellers listings. Relist after relist, if a buyer contacts me after a listing has ended without a sale, I see no reason why the sale couldn't be done off ebay. With few views and watchers, making a sale on ebay seems to be a very uncommon occurrence.  
Perminate Link for eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns   eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns
This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow
       
Fri Dec 7 01:15:21 2012
eBay must really be getting terrified of losing some of their fees if they are becoming that paranoid about sellers and buyers communicating. Have sales dropped so much that every single penny counts?  
Perminate Link for eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns   eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns
by: bitbybit This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri Dec 7 01:25:04 2012
Over the years ebay has done everything to keep those pennies but in the process has lost millions due to all this disruptive innovation rhetoric.
Perminate Link for eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns   eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns
by: jilly This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Fri Dec 7 01:29:46 2012
ebay...what 'are' they thinking possums. They have always censored emails. Fascism is alive and well there. Just leave. Dont buy or sell there. It's had it. And yes I think they are exceptionally intrusive regarding emails between seller and buyer. To circumvent I had to put a little dot between each letter, if I wished a buyer to email me privately.

Etsy is queen....if sell vintage or handmade or art....go to etsy. I love it...no nazis...nice people...and selling as much as I did in ebay towards their decline. Which wasn't much, but being used to it now...:) jilly

Hi jack sparrow
Perminate Link for eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns   eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns
by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri Dec 7 04:50:42 2012
If the ebay marketplace was a healthy place to do business they wouldn't have to worry about people making off ebay sales.  These dopes don't seem to understand that it's their own policies that are driving business elsewhere.  
Perminate Link for eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns   eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns
by: go-figure This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri Dec 7 06:07:37 2012
@Bloggo

Well said! That sums it all up in 2 sentences!!!!!
Perminate Link for eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns   eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns
This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford
       
Fri Dec 7 07:46:16 2012
Love the photo Ina.  Can we get zippers for the rest of the senior management and the disruptive innovation team?   Oh and don't forget to get them for the overzealous twenty-something MBAs.
Perminate Link for eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns   eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns
This user has validated their user name. by: Al G
       
Fri Dec 7 08:45:27 2012
To quote Rocky Rocco - "Those stew-pid fuels!"

Mention invoice in a message & you get a notice. Mention bill/enumeration/accounting or any other euphemism & you are golden.

Give it up, what is the % of off site sales anyway? 1%? Much better that the 5-15% being shoplifted from Wal-Mart & other retail stores. It's the price of doing business.

Anyway you can contact me directly at XYZZY (at) ADVENTURE (dot/period)GAME .

Works like a charm.
Perminate Link for eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns   eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns
by: HereInMinnesota This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri Dec 7 08:47:25 2012
eBay's policies on ''offers to buy or sell outside of eBay'' and use of their Messaging system are spelled out clearly (whether you like them or not.)  That gives them the right to enforce their policies (like it or not.)

I personally don't want eBay messaging to become another email system.  As a seller, I get unwanted solicitations to purchase merchandise and immediately report them to eBay.
Perminate Link for eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns   eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Fri Dec 7 09:28:19 2012
@Rexford: Yes! I too! David could have chosen any random face to Photoshop a zipper onto... but selecting JD was brilliant!

-----

@Go-Figure: Agreed!

-----

@Bloggo: BRAVO!

-----

@Jack: You're correct! When a company starts to fret over nickels and dimes in this manner, it's a symptom that something is wrong... very wrong.

-----

@HappyHarry: I like your idea of including an image with the contact information. This would certainly defeat the ''bots'' that may be scanning messages for suspicious wording.

I wonder if the apparent spike in enforcement is due to more active human involvement? Or has eBay tweaked the settings in their detection software?

For me, I continue to have success with the old obfuscation technique. When needed, I'll include my web address or email address in non-standard form. Of course this requires the reader to manually ''reassemble'' or ''decode'' what I typed... but it generally works well.

The bots overlook it, and the customers easily figure out what I meant by:

annie at annies web site d0t com
annie (@t) anniesweb site [dºt] c0m
Perminate Link for eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns   eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns
This user has validated their user name. by: permacrisis
       
Fri Dec 7 09:40:16 2012
Eventually when the site is on the brink of collapse they will beg pierre to come back in and code up an  'ebay lite' and expect all the little people to save them, the question is "Hmmm, what then'
Perminate Link for eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns   eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns
by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri Dec 7 11:34:58 2012
If a buyer supposedly is a thief, shoplifter or non payer and a seller reports the buyer ebay invokes the privacy act as a reason the sellers cannot see what supposed action ebay claims they have done to the buyer. If a seller is subjected to a bad buyer's criminal and fraudulent acttions the negatives, the buyer protection and the trs ratings are shown to everyone. The big elephant in the room is, if you are primarily a buyer is ebay monitoring or controlling a buyer's private email? What about the privacy of sellers or does the law specifically state the buyers are the only party that has privacy?
Perminate Link for eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns   eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns
by: bitbybit This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri Dec 7 12:54:33 2012
Don't you know ebay is above the law
Perminate Link for eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns   eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns
by: JusMe This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Fri Dec 7 13:10:58 2012
A picture (.jpeg) with e-mail addy or Web URL works perfectly.

I did it before!  
Perminate Link for eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns   eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns
This user has validated their user name. by: Ric
       
Fri Dec 7 13:38:20 2012

The desperation is becoming obvious, eBay's paranoia is apparent with this move to censor and block buyer - seller communications.

eBay continues to interfere with transactions and sacrifices goodwill with their sellers at their own risk.

First, eBay makes the incorrect assumption that any post purchase communication is indicative of a transactional problem.

Then, they assume that certain post transactional communication is an attempt to complete a transaction outside eBay.

If management actually bought and sold on eBay they would gain the knowledge that post transactional communication is not always detrimental to eBay and does not indicate a problem.

Of course, expecting that management would actually have experience buying and selling on eBay is asking too much as management is too fixated on watching the stock market instead of understanding what really takes place between buyers and sellers.

This is why I conduct almost all communication with buyers outside the eBay message system and prevent their interference in good business communication practices.
Perminate Link for eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns   eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns
by: Quality First This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri Dec 7 14:12:39 2012
Like a previous poster, I use the email address in the item sold notice for further correspondence.

When it's needed to bring someone else in on a correspondence the BCC line does a great job.

We also do a service to our customers by providing for sale accessories and add-on's to the items they buy.  If they are listed on eBay already I'll sell them through their channels.  IMO, only fair.  Just because they're slimy thieves who should be publicly prosecuted and held accountable, doesn't mean I should use their service without paying.

For items not listed, FU eBay, you're not entitled to a single penny.  And if I have anything to say about it, they won't get it.  But, to facilitate these sales I don't use their message system.  At that point they're providing a service to facilitate a sale and have (IMO) a semi-legit claim to some compensation.

Here's something that works for me that might be of some help.  For all you out there in the Trading Assistant (TA) program, you can always point other eBay members to your TA page in the eBay system.  It has your personal email address, street address and phone number.  If people contact you through eBay's ''click through'' you also capture their personal email and other info to do legit business outside their site.

Just my $.02.  

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