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eBay Seller Hampered from Vetting Buyer of a $7,000 Item

It’s reasonable to expect a retailer of any size to vet buyers in an effort to avoid fraud, especially those customers purchasing high-ticket items. But one seller said eBay doesn’t provide the tools to let them do that.

The seller said he was happy when he recently made a $7,000 sale on eBay – until he took a look at the buyer. “Not only was it a 0-feedback buyer, but the buyer had only been on eBay for an hour or so, let alone International.”

Those characteristics raised red flags about the buyer, and he worried it could be a scammer.

That transaction made him decide to get stricter with his automatic eBay screening settings, particularly for his high-end items. “But then,” he said, “I realized how useless a lot of eBay’s Seller settings are. For example, the only blocking I can do based upon feedback is NEGATIVE FEEDBACK and only given the option of -1, -2, or -3.”

eBay explains on its website how to manage bidders and buyers by setting up buyer requirements. For example, eBay writes, you might not want to do business with buyers who:

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  • Don’t have a PayPal account;
  • Have unpaid items recorded on their account;
  • Are registered in countries you don’t ship to;
  • Have reportedly violated eBay policies;
  • Have a negative Feedback score;
  • Are currently winning or have bought a large number of your items in the last 10 days.

The seller said those restrictions made sense 5 years ago, when a seller could leave negative feedback. “But today, it is IMPOSSIBLE for a buyer, regardless of how poorly they buy or pay to have anything but 100% feedback. This setting made sense when you would have a new buyer and within a week they were at negative 3 because they bought 10 items, paid for none of them and things caught up quickly, but today???”

He’d like to see eBay give him the ability to filter buyers based upon:

  • Length of time on eBay;
  • Feedback Score;
  • Highest or Average purchase price.

For example, he said, for his item priced at $7,000, he’d like the ability to exclude users who have been on eBay for less than 180 days, those with less than 25 feedback, “as well as those who have never made a $2000 purchase that has been completed.”

While those restrictions might exclude many buyers, they could always contact him and ask to be manually added to his bidder list.

“A seller of a $10 used DVD must go through a ton of hoops before they receive their payment, including verifying bank information, identity, shipping and receipt information and waiting for feedback,” he said. “Yet a person can place a $7000 bid within minutes of setting up their account.”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.