eBay policy states, "You can't try to buy or bid on an item if you're on a seller's blocked bidder or buyer list," which is referred to as a BBL. There are many reasons a seller might add a user to a Blocked Bidder List, so readers may be surprised to learn eBay has a new way of dealing with users who circumvent the policy. Here's the lowdown from a longtime seller.
There have been some changes to how eBay applies a policy that may or may not affect you, but you should be aware of it. The subject is when you block a buyer, for whatever reason you may have, and they use a different ID to get around the block. This kind of action by the buyer normally falls under the eBay policy called the Unwelcome and Malicious Buying.
Longtime eBay sellers will most likely tell you that this is a serious breach of the eBay rules. Sadly it really isn't - or at least eBay doesn't see it that way.
This is an important subject to discuss and understand. Sellers need to know the ramifications behind how eBay is applying this rule. This came up on last week's Weekly Chat
on the eBay boards.
Make sure you follow these guidelines. If you don't, your account may be subject to a range of actions, including limits of your buying and selling privileges and suspension of your account.
What are the guidelines?
Not allowed: You can't buy with the intent to disrupt a listing.
Here are some examples:
- You can't place a bid that greatly exceeds the value of the item in order to prevent a sale without intending to buy that item.
- You can't bid on multiple items listed by a seller unless you intend to buy all of the items.
- You can't try to buy or bid on an item if you're on a seller's blocked bidder or buyer list.
- You can't use another account to buy or bid on an item if you're on a seller's blocked bidder or buyer list.
As a seller, you can report a buyer who bids on a listing without meeting the listing terms.
Important: Buyers who don't respond or don't pay for items are violating the unpaid item policy, not the unwelcome buying policy.
Looks good right, well that isn't how eBay actually applies this rule. Specifically the last example on the list of examples that DEFINES the title of this section "You CAN'T buy with the intent to disrupt a listing."
eBay does not view the 4 bullet points in this policy to actually define real examples of what eBay sees as an "intent to disrupt" even though it says they are examples. While this policy does not state that you have to be able to prove the buyer had the INTENT to harm you or disrupt your listing that is exactly what eBay is telling its CSRs (Customer Service Reps). So somehow you must prove to eBay's satisfaction the state of mind of your buyer. That is a nearly impossible requirement.
This boils down to leaving sellers with a BBL (Blocked Bidder List) that is useless in some cases. All a buyer has to do is to set up or use another ID to purchase from the seller. eBay does expect the seller to follow through with the transaction unless they can PROVE the buyer's intended to do harm. The simple fact they used a different account to make the purchase and to avoid the block is not enough.
With the way eBay is applying this rule, it is in direct conflict with other stated policies on the site as well. Here are a few examples I found, however there may be more.
Unwelcome and malicious buying: We consider bidding on or buying an item when you have no intention of completing the transaction, or circumventing a seller's buyer requirements, to be unwelcome and malicious buying.
Blocking bidders and buyers
- If you don't want to sell your items to certain members, you can add their usernames to a blocked list.
- Members on your blocked list can't bid on or buy any of your items unless you remove them from the list.
- You can block up to 5,000 usernames.
- By default, blocked members are still able to contact you about your listings. You can change this setting in My eBay > Account > SitePreferences > Buyer Requirements. You can also get to Site Preferences from Seller Hub > Overview > Shortcuts.
So while you can put buyers on your BBL, eBay may or may not honor that list, it is completely at their discretion. It is important that those who didn't know eBay would do this to have a chance to review what can happen to them.
Also, be very careful if you call eBay and your CSR is telling you to go ahead and cancel the transaction with the buyer if they circumvented your block by using a different ID. It is bad advice and it will only leave you open for bad feedback from the buyer as well as a defect for the cancellation of the transaction.
About the Columnist
Marie left her corporate accounting job over a decade ago to begin selling on eBay in order to spend more time with her children. She is a frequent commentor on the EcommerceBytes blogs, where she shares her advice and opinions about how to succeed on eBay.