|Thu Dec 6 2012 20:38:07|
eBay Blocks Seller Emails over Fee Avoidance Concerns
By: Ina Steiner
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?