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Fri Sept 7 2018 13:59:42

Should eBay Be Allowed to Override Blocked Buyer Lists?

By: Ina Steiner

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A seller reported that an eBay customer service rep greatly overstepped his or her bounds by allowing a blocked buyer to purchase an item from them last night.

Blocking buyers is not uncommon on eBay, and overriding a block can result in consequences ranging from the annoying, to the costly, to the dangerous.

The seller in question said returns had exploded since June, costing them time and money. But he or she also said the incident was disturbing given the fact they had experienced an abusive buyer this year who called and left violent homophobic telephone messages.

Referring to Thursday's incident in which eBay unblocked a buyer, the seller wrote, "It made me sick to my stomach. This is my store and I pay a lot to do business here.  I follow eBay's rules even when they are getting really bad. Apparently I don't have the right to protect myself from harm in one of the last ways that exists."

The seller wondered if it was a one-off, or if it was a new eBay policy. Last year, we published a column about an eBay change in the *enforcement* of its BBL policy, well worth reviewing.

Thanks to the reader who sent us a link to the eBay discussion board post where the seller reported the incident. Have you ever had a case where eBay Customer Service unblocked someone you had added to your blocked buyer list?

UPDATE 9/11/18: We noticed that eBay's Brian Burke went into the thread and indicated it was not eBay's policy to allow buyers to override sellers' blocked buyer lists (BBL). Here's his response (page 4 of the thread, message number 66):

We do not intentionally remove active buyers from seller blocked bidder lists.

Please send me the User ID of the buyer who is on your BBL and the confirmation from the buyer that this occurred. I'm making the assumption they stated this occurred via email. And if you have it, the agent who spoke with the buyer. If not, I'll get it from the buyer when I speak to them.

You can message me or email it to me at bburke@ebay.com
Thank you.
Brian Burke, Director Community Development

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Readers Comments

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Sat Sep 8 12:12:25 2018

As the years go by, I question whether even Derpy Weiner can be this legitimately stupid and consider that it really is a conspiracy against sole proprietor type small businesses.

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This user has validated their user name. by: CanBrit

Sat Sep 8 16:30:13 2018

Today I wanted to block a buyer. Sometimes I get so frustrated with offers that come through, even though I don't have best offers, if someone is within the ballpark, I will consider it. This offer was not one of those. I get so fed up of people wanting something that is clearly high quality and want to pay nothing for it.

I saw a new line in the account preferences where is said. " List of buyers you blocked in the past 60 days using Buyer Requirements" and clicked on it. It comes back with the message "There is no information to display at this time"

Now I know I blocked a customer last month and the one day and they are telling me there's no information for the past 60 days. Thank heavens I can see the correct blocked list. But even sillier, at the top of the page it says " To allow specific eBay members to bid on or purchase your items regardless of any requirement(s) you select, add them to your buyer requirements exemption list"

Oh heavens, help us all. It's a sham, scam, spam, wham, jamb....damn I'm going to scram.

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by: nuggets This user has validated their user name.

Sat Sep 8 21:00:51 2018

The post is no longer showing on the ebay discussion board....hmmm

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by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 9 14:21:47 2018

first of all I have no clue after 20 years on ebay who exactly is on my danged BBL. So being dependant on ebay to do the right thing - I have to protect myself.

how about this one - ebay unblocks so seriously deranged mental patient who you then ship to - buyer gets your address off the package  then drives across the country to kill you. Quit laughing - stranger things have happened. Remember the astronaut that drove across the country wearing diapers so she wouldn't have to stop? Anyway - the deranged buyer with the aide of ebay accomplices their task and your dead.  Well when your family sues ebay perhaps we will end up with a sane new CEO - remember I said worst case

NEVER use your home address on your shipping labels - a secure PO box is a cheap price to pay to keep the nut jobs away.

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by: notfunanymore This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 9 14:53:51 2018

Why would this come as a surprise to anyone?
You have ZERO, NADA,NO, control of your business as long as you are selling on their platform, which is more like a  rotting deck than a platform.. I used to go to sleep wondering what is going to happen tonight, will I wake up in the morning and my stores be shut down for some dumb reason? Each morning when I turned on the computer,I had a knot in my stomach.. I liberated myself in April. Best move ever! I can guarantee that you pay far more in fees than you NET monthly. So, who works for who? (you dont really work for yourself). Who controls what you do? (they do of course). Who owns the liability if something goes wrong? (YOU)

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This user has validated their user name. by: Lightning

Sun Sep 9 19:32:11 2018

@CanBrit
The link you refer to displays buyers who were blocked BY EBAY as a RESULT of your requirements.  Here you can see who attempted to bid or buy but was blocked.  It's not a log of your activity blocking buyers.  

The Exemption List can be useful.  I use it to let a couple of specific International buyers purchase from me, whereas all other International buyers are blocked.  I just add their usernames to the list and I don't have to disrupt my general settings.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Lightning

Sun Sep 9 21:10:02 2018

@Whatever
If you want to see who is on your BBL, just click on ''add a buyer to the list'' here:

https://pages.ebay.com/services/buyandsell/biddermanageme
nt.html?

The
page will have a box with any previous blocked bidders for you to add to.  If you just want to view it, you just don't add anyone.  You can copy the text file in case ebay ''loses'' it.  Then you can just paste it back in.  I don't think they have lost it in recent memory, but about 15 years ago, they all reset (whoops).  You can bookmark the page for quick access at a future date.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: thehosst

Mon Sep 10 07:39:56 2018

Of course, we are all tired of the dropshipping scammers from out of the country and their cousins working inside eBay are just helping them to keep playing the usual scams and abuse. Who are they to decide who gets blocked or unblocked! If someone is blocked, it should be with very good reason. I think someone should build a list of nasty accounts which can help others to prevent issues with those parasites  

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by: twsiwg This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 10 12:19:24 2018

Thank you to the commenters who encourage backups of all preferences including the eBay Blocked Buyer lists.

We have more than one eBay selling account and actively integrate each to a shared backup just in case of an infamous ''glitch.'' If your blocked on one account your blocked in all. (Thanks for the reminder to update.)

We generally don't accept sales to buyers with PRIVATE FEEDBACK or with questionable FB records. This is due to experience and evidence. While statistically speaking its near 55/45 that flagged buyers are trouble its significantly less for unflagged buyers. Our blocked buyers list is largely a scale of prudential risk. Buyers with Private Feedback are always given the option to allow us to view their feedback temporarily and then switch it back to private, in the name of transparency and good faith. And we often forgo our general block rules given intuition, chance, and most often supporting evidence. Often when one looks further into negatives and neutral one finds possible valid reasons - we've all experienced legitimate bad sales or purchases.

In the end it comes down to the legal right of a seller to make a sale or not given their own discretion. We NEVER discriminate against our buyers (there are all types of people out there - it is not our position to be judging, discriminating, or biasing against diversity). Our only weight is feedback - if its questionable it is not a chance we can take given eBays own reputation and our experiences with them.

As owners of our own business this is our discretion. <--- note the period. We reserve the right to cancel or not accept a sale for any reason at any time. The same as we do in our physical storefront. We are the owners of the object in question to be potentially sold and thus it exists under our discretion.

How many people here think feedback should always be shared between a potential buyer and seller? Not publicly but discretely between those making a potential sale?

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Tue Sep 11 10:22:48 2018

FYI, I updated this post to call out the response from eBay's Brian Burke on the thread (which is still available).

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