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eBay Best-Offer Problem Leaves a Halloween Shopper in Limbo

eBay Best-Offer Problem Leaves a Halloween Shopper in Limbo

An eBay shopper made an offer on a Halloween costume, but the seller said they were unable to decline the offer because the item was not in-stock, and they said they have no way of letting the buyer know.

“Hopefully someone sees this that cares to fix it,” the seller wrote in a post on the eBay discussion boards. “Best offer cannot be declined when item is out of stock. This buyer won’t know it is out of stock until the offer expires because I cannot decline it. This is Halloween costume and so time is important to this person.”

The seller has apparently had other shoppers make offers on their out-of-stock items, writing that they used to be able to let the person know the item was sold – “now it is broken, it worked last week.”

“I must be missing something – if the item is OOS (out-of-stock), why is the listing available for the buyer to make an offer,” a colleague replied.

But that’s how eBay’s out-of-stock option works. As we wrote when eBay launched the feature in 2014, a GTC listing with a quantity of 0 is still live (where the out-of-stock feature is enabled) even though hidden from search (and – as we noted at the time – the listing will automatically renew and incur a listing fee).

As eBay’s help page describes it:

“Your bulk listing will be shown to buyers until you’ve sold all your items. When the quantity runs out, the listing will end. However, if you regularly restock that item, you can use our out-of-stock option to hide your listing from search results until you refill the quantity.”

The advantages of using eBay’s out-of-stock feature are also described in the EcommerceBytes article from 2014: The listing keeps the same item number, so that links to the listing won’t break; and it saves the item’s sales history on sold-out items, including the number of items sold and number of watchers. (And the obvious reason for using it: “Using the out-of-stock option on your Good ’Til Canceled listings may help protect you from receiving a transaction defect for running out of stock.”)

Another seller curious about making offers on such listings said they checked an out-of-stock listing that was in their Watch List – “I could not place an offer on it,” they wrote.

If you’ve got suggestions on using eBay’s Out of Stock feature or workarounds for the problem the seller described with Offers, feel free to chime in on the comments section below.

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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. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.