eBay has been severely limiting buyer-seller communications to the point that in some cases, it is hampering sales. This, in spite of the fact it announced a forthcoming policy that makes its messaging system even more vital.
eBay announced a surprise Summer Update. In it, eBay included the following policy provision
: "Buyers and sellers should use eBay Messaging to communicate. Listings and other eBay pages can no longer contain contact information such as email, phone numbers, and social media links effective September 2017."
But reports are coming in fast and furiously that eBay is sending warnings and in some cases issuing restrictions for sellers whom it thinks are violating its "Offers to Sell Outside of eBay" policy.
Sellers have reported problems being able to quote the cost of freight (or send the phone number of a shipping carrier as is common among furniture sellers), serial numbers or manufacturer part numbers, and even eBay's own item numbers. The problem has been occurring since May.
One lesson: don't assume your messages are getting through. Here's what one buyer told us:
"I requested to purchases one of two items that were being sold together. Seller requested my email address and wrote she would then send me a PayPal invoice. I responded that eBay blocks messages with GMAIL. First a warning message came up about completing purchases on eBay. Then the usual "send message" came up: Your message has been sent." But it was not in my send box. I notified seller in another message of this occurrence, received the same notification: "Your message has been sent" but it too was not in my sent folder. So now it appears I am permanently blocked from this trader. eBay is now lying to us by claiming they actually sent a message when they did not. Traders who do not check their sent folder will think the respondent is just ignoring them."
There are numerous threads about eBay bots being overly aggressive when it comes to buyer-seller messaging, and of some longtime users who are frustrated eBay is targeting them when they are in compliance with its policies.
One seller told us that they read of a case where a seller was suspended for 7 days for ending a listing that a potential buyer had asked about a week earlier; "the problem is the buyer sent a phone number, seller never answered but when they ended their item a week later for lack of sales they were suspended."