Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Sept 7 2017 22:20:03

eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay sent a notice to sellers this week warning them that their listings included their contact information, and advising them that the practice would become a violation of its policies beginning in October. The problem? Sellers who received the letters say they do not include their contact information in listings, raising concerns about what would happen to their listings beginning next month.

There are also reports of sellers receiving false-positives - for example, some sellers say eBay's system mistakenly identifies barcodes or other numbers as phone numbers. On this week's eBay chat session, a seller posted, "There have been several threads started about messages from eBay and/or listing issues where the system is mis-identifying text as possible phone numbers or email addresses. Is this being looked into?"

We noticed a Facebook post from a seller who wrote on Tuesday, "Listing in the UK today we had to remove barcodes as we got a warning from eBay that we were trying to display a phone number!"

The notices were not only alarming, but confusing. One reader who received the warning letter wrote to us and said, "Basically if I understand it, buyers are no longer going to be able to contact me (at all? with questions before a purchase?) until AFTER completing a purchase and then only by PHONE. I am NOT providing a phone number on my eBay listings." That doesn't appear to be quite accurate - eBay included this link to a page containing more information.

Another reader forwarded us the warning with a note: "I was told by eBay that this is a spoof. Thought you might find it interesting. With my ever growing eBay paranoia, it really was unnerving!" But there's no indication that the letter is a spoof (though it's best not to sign in to eBay using any links in emails purporting to be from eBay).

Here's the letter sellers received:

We noticed that your listings include contact information. We want to let you know that starting October 2017, you’ll no longer be allowed to share contact information on item descriptions, images, or eBay stores. To help you communicate with buyers, we’ve launched a new feature that allows them to call you after your sale. It’s available in your account settings under "Manage your Q&A with Buyers," and allows your listings to stay compliant with our policy update.

You can update your settings by going to Manage your Q&A for Buyers.
1 Check “Have your phone number” and enter your number.
2 Click Submit.

Be sure to take advantage of this new feature, which will give you an easy, secure way to communicate with your buyers once their sale is complete.

If you have any non-compliant listings, we'll let you know through email, My eBay Messages, and Seller Hub.

All transactions must start and finish on eBay, which makes our platform even safer for buyers and sellers. Read more about our contact information policy.

As always, thank you for selling on eBay.

Notice there's no specifics about which listings supposedly contain contact information.

On the weekly chat, a seller asked if eBay would be actually requiring sellers to include a phone number in the Q&A for buyers - "that's not going to be mandatory, is it," the seller asked.

An eBay moderator responded: "Messages are being sent out about contact information in listings, as this is only allowed for certain items that require it by law (ex. medical equipment). Sellers will have the option of providing their phone number via the Ask a question flow if they choose to, but this will not be required."




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info   eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info

by: Vegasannie This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 7 22:38:41 2017

Yep...also received it. We have zero outside contact information and no "barcodes" within our listings.

Perminate Link for eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info   eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Thu Sep 7 22:41:14 2017

OK, who wants to rat me out?

Under my shipping tab you will find my phone number!

It's been there for 15 years. . .

Perminate Link for eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info   eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info

by: sellerchick This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 7 23:27:44 2017

I got one too! How ridiculous to encourage "phone calls." Nobody talks on the phone anymore. I haven't spoken to a customer on the phone in 19 years!

Perminate Link for eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info   eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Fri Sep 8 00:13:12 2017

''All transactions must start and finish on eBay, which makes our platform even safer for buyers and sellers...''

Sure it does (LOL). They do not want to lose (or cannot afford to lose) a sale to anyone outside eBay / PayPal, so any numbers in the listing will be now construed as contact information.

Reminds me of the old joke about the Wal-Mart clerk who was fired for asking about an onion (because it sounded like he said ''Union'').

Perminate Link for eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info   eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info

by: OnlyPollyPocket This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Fri Sep 8 05:03:02 2017

Amusing that ebay is encouraging sellers to provide a phone number so that buyers can will have an "easy, secure way to communicate" when ebay makes it nigh onto impossible and then fruitless for it's customers (sellers) to contact it.

Perminate Link for eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info   eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info

by: papertrail This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 8 07:12:07 2017

I received an email from eBay yesterday saying some of my listings contain contact information or links. My listings do not and have never done so. I replied to the email asking eBay to give me an example of one of my listings that contain contact information or links. I have not received a reply yet.

This debacle is even worse than the poorly thought out and implemented now defunct seller defect system. Isn't anybody at eBay listening - this implementation is incredibly ill thought out and will cost eBay both sellers and buyers.

Perminate Link for eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info   eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 8 08:01:36 2017

Once again - eBay bucking the trend

Amazon just recently started including a buyers phone number to sellers to that they COULD communicate with them about the sale.

I guess Amazon isnt as insane about loosing sales as eBay is.

Fred Flinstone
1807 Pebblestone Road
Bedrock
Phone : 867-5309

"Customer phone number privacy
This phone number is provided for shipping labels only. Please refer to Amazon Services Business Solutions Agreement and Prohibited seller activities and actions for details on appropriate use of customer personal information. "

Amazon trusts its sellers, eBay does not.

eBay thinks everyones a thief - just because they are .... how sad

Perminate Link for eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info   eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 8 09:12:56 2017

Ebay is run by a group of PARANOID IDIOTS from the state of California. What would one expect from these flakes.

As for the email we also got one of them. The delete button works just fine for this nonsense.

Ebay wants us to update our phone number with them.. We sent them the same number we have used for years. You know ebay the one that is connected to our security alarm system. The one where the phone is on mute and stuck in a cupboard so no one knows if it rings or not.

We practice the same thing you do. WAIT FOR IT. to ring.

The whole Ebay ship is sinking faster than the titantic. On a good day ebay is lost in the fog.

WAKE UP WALLSTREET...

Perminate Link for eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info   eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info

by: b86fiero This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 8 09:46:19 2017

Horrible idea by eBay!!!!

A few years ago I sold a hair styling gel to a young man.  I shipped it the same day I received his payment.  He received it 2 or 3 days later.  

He contacted eBay, said he had a question for me, and eBay gave him my home phone number.

That guy harassed me continuously day and night for almost 2 weeks.  He called all hours of the day and night.  Same question:  "Will you (have sex with) me?"  Only he used the F word.  I notified eBay, the local police and phone company.

My mother-in-law was in intensive care at the time after undergoing emergency heart surgery and my phone number was her primary emergency contact for all of her doctors, the medical labs, family, friends, etc.  I could not change the number until my hubby and I had compiled a complete list of everybody we had to notify.

Perminate Link for eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info   eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 8 10:09:26 2017

Easiest way to solve the problem, buy a burner, use that number, and never turn it on.

Perminate Link for eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info   eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Fri Sep 8 10:35:00 2017

Off topic make you feel good video:

Paul Harvey ~ So God Made a Farmer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UBj4Rbq3ZI

Perminate Link for eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info   eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info

by: lessthanthreerecords This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Fri Sep 8 10:57:34 2017

If the "@" symbol is used anywhere in the listing, that may set it off.  It did for me several years ago, and wouldn't even let me list the item.  I was listing a CD that had the "@" symbol as part of the album title.  So, I used that symbol in both my listing title and description.  I received an automated message about not listing contact information (which I didn't).  I called eBay to find out what the issue was.  They said that their system was programmed to assume that any use of the "@" symbol was an e-mail address (again, this was years ago, so I'm not sure if this is still the case).  My issue was that this CD had 2 different pressings.  The first pressing was extremely limited and very valuable (at the time it was going for about $500 in the rare instance that one came up for sale at all).  The newer pressing was much more common and less valuable (I think I was asking $20 or $25).  The first pressing used the word "at" and the later pressing (which I was selling) used the "@" symbol.  So, if I used the word "at" instead of "@", a buyer may think they're getting a $500 CD for $20.  I explained this to eBay, but as expected, they didn't care.  I sold it elsewhere... eBay's loss!

Perminate Link for eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info   eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Fri Sep 8 11:32:36 2017

TO ADD:

I learned very quickly that selling online and phone calls do not mix. The tone can become combative and accusatory very quickly.

20 years ago, I had a buyer contact me via phone to return an eBay item. It was accurately described, and he insisted that it wasn't. By screaming at me over the phone. I told him he could send the item back if not happy.

He then told eBay I promised him free return shipping and a $10 additional refund for his troubles (this was a remorse return). What a mess.

The lesson here is that while a buyer can ''place words into your mouth'' on a telephone, they cannot do this in an e-mail message. In the very few times since then that I have received a phone call, I have told the buyer (in a professional manner) to please send their questions through eBay Messages for the protection of both parties.

This applies to both questions AND problems with / about an item. In fact, in a couple of cases the buyer never pursued the return any further!

Perminate Link for eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info   eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 8 12:34:33 2017

Funny, it's BEEN a violation of stated policy from the Get-Go. I had to stop selling, or rather, listing, one item b/c a competitor had contact info all over his listings, including email and phone, with specific instructions to 'call before bidding to make sure you're purchasing the correct item.' I reported this guy numerous times over a period of years. The Filipino's did nothing, of course. I pointed them to the seller's numerous spam, redundant listings with the contact all over them. They admitted there were 'violations' and said they'd refer the matter to 'Trust and Safety.' Another worthless bunch of Do-Nothing's. Anyway, I couldn't sell and cover the feeBay/PayPig rake-off and match this scumbag's off-site price, so I had to give up. So much for the 'level playing field' and a 'safe' place to sell, eh?

So, now they're interpreting bar codes in the UK and elsewhere that don't share the US's 10-digit format as telephone numbers? BTW, someone please ask Devil Wingnut if his "artificial intelligence' is doing this. My guess is that it's GENUINE ORGANIC stupidity!

Perminate Link for eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info   eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Fri Sep 8 13:23:16 2017

A blast from my past on this forum:

http://www.ecommercebytes.com/C/abblog/blog.pl?/comments
/2009/6/1245249191.html/5/80

Back
then my handle was: Ebay Pays My Bills

What caught my eye was how I wanted extended auctions back in 2009

Perminate Link for eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info   eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info

by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 8 17:00:39 2017

Stealing is only allowed by ebay. YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO STEAL FROM THE THIEF'S!

Perminate Link for eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info   eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info

This user has validated their user name. by: iBuyers

Sat Sep 9 06:24:48 2017

We sent the eMail to Spoof@eBay.com and got the reply stating it was not sent by eBay.
Regardless, we all should know since this did not come to through Member to Member, it would be false.

Perminate Link for eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info   eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Sat Sep 9 06:26:19 2017

It's not paranoia.  

People really ARE so fed up with the eBay Way (surprise du jour), they would rather deal direct.  Ethically, not necessarilly with any given current offering, but any potential subsequent is unencumbered until launched.  

There was a time when this was not so.  The pre-simian era, before the natural marketplace was trashed to artifically inseminate it with 'intelligence', eBay was a fine place to meet.

Thus, the cherry on top of eBay Way hypocracy, and yet another counter to their justification of increased 'certainty' guarantees in all things transactional, reveals itself in the vast number of false accusations of 'prohibited attempts to redirect buyers away from the venue', followed by immediatly applied sanction lacking due process.  It must be difficult for them to have to lose the ad space on your yanked listings that they used to ...redirect buyers away from the venue.  

It must also be difficult for them to realize they can't stop a seller from adding contact data to any 'receipt' accompanying a shipment, with invitation to peruse options.

That's assuming new-normal eBay obfuscation - or this latest self-defeating 'enhanced security measure for your own good(s)' - hasn't precluded the sale in the first place.



Perminate Link for eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info   eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info

by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Sat Sep 9 10:21:10 2017

I received the same notice and I do all communication though ebay. I always insist all messages go though ebay and even when sending buyers an offer I use the "send buyer an offer" though ebay message feature. If someone wants to call me it is usually to ask for a better deal outside ebay and I would never do that.

Perminate Link for eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info   eBay Alarms Sellers with Warning about Contact Info

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Sat Sep 9 12:18:44 2017

ha ha, too funny,,,

We ship all ebay items, with loads of our company info, phone number, address's, website links, and discount coupons for ordering direct , our new customers love it, and they never return to ebay.

I have no loyalty or respect for ebay, just like they have none for me.

and quite frankly if they are so bent on hiding  sellers from the customers, then maybe they should actually stock something and ship it out themselves. problem solved.


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