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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



Comments (30) | Permalink

Readers Comments

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by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 7 14:47:21 2018

This is a total and complete violation of trust.
Why would a CSR even have that option?

I hope the seller didn't ship...

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by: Deacon Blues This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 7 15:14:22 2018

(Related?) I checked my Buyer Requirements Activity Log and there has not been a single entry since June 16th. This leads me to believe that eBay has either bypassed our ability to block buyers with a history of non-payment, or the the log is simply no longer working. I have noticed an increase in non-paying buyers though. Ebay may be pulling out all the stops in order to get those booking numbers up. Perhaps things are worse than we immagined.

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by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 7 15:43:42 2018

I will not ship to anyone on my blocked list regardless of eBay actions or demands.  I keep track of my blocked list to include names and addresses and I will not ship to anyone on MY list.

Any actions eBay may take in the matter would be practically meaningless to me since they provide so few buyers to my business these days.

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by: Grady This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 7 16:16:37 2018

Ebay, Liars and bandits

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by: sellerchick This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 7 16:22:56 2018

I have my own blocks as well based on name and address (shipstation automation rules are awesome) to catch buyers who create new userids to get around being blocked.

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by: Grady This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 7 16:23:31 2018

Increasingly, I find myself wondering if this Ebay is not really a business venture at all, but rather a bizarre social experiment in which a handful of sociopaths are slowly piling abuse onto customers just to see how much abuse they will put up with. Apparently, their customers will put up with just about anything. My original hypothesis would have been that the last customer bailed for good a few years ago. Never underestimate the capacity for humans to put up with massive abuse and violations of their rights.

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Fri Sep 7 17:07:57 2018

Should eBay Be Allowed to Override Blocked Buyer Lists?
No. Absolutely not.
Sue Ebay.

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Fri Sep 7 17:54:24 2018

I never had eBay unblock a buyer while I was selling there, but I remember one occasion where most of my BBL went missing because of a "glitch." I was lucky that none of those people tried to purchase something from me after that.

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by: Deacon Blues This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 7 18:04:56 2018

Perhaps it would be good to copy your BBL into a text file for easy recovery in case it gets deleted.

Grady, it sounds like a great premise for a video game - lol.

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Fri Sep 7 18:54:21 2018

Funny this subject came up!

Just the other day I removed everyone from my blocked bidder list.

On both accounts!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Lightning

Fri Sep 7 21:06:55 2018

@toolguy
I'm curious why you would add buyers to your BB list over time, and then purge the whole list.  It's like releasing all the criminals into the wild.

I've kept a copy of my BB list since I joined in 1998.  Update it each time I add to the online BB list.  I'll have to check out shipstation.  That sounds like a great weapon to have handy.  I have been relying on ebay to keep the losers away, but I have no defense if they let them through, except to recognize a username as being a blocked one.  And that's really not likely after so many years.

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by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 7 21:39:59 2018

very creative, and devious at the same time, think about it.......

ebay actually makes MORE MONEY from scam / bad buyers, so it would seem logical they would do it, they most likely are ignoring the BBL

More Sales, More returns, more profit from return labels, and higher fvf's for sellers, who get too many, plus. they keep the original fvf.

As i mentioned , sellers beware, ebay is in desperation mode, and sellers are going to pay,

I have to give them credit, it will bring in millions for ebay, unfortunately sellers will get reamed

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by: Vernfern This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 7 22:27:34 2018

No doubt in my mind this is due to eBay's drive to become the Merchant of Record. If eBay has sellers become unpaid fulfillment agents, the BBL would be a problem in the event an item listed is only offered by a seller that has the buyer blocked.

As it is now, the huge list of blocked buyers I have in my list are there for a good reason. They are problem buyers. I do not want to do business with them. Ever.

However as food for thought as to eBay's motives, let me share a real world example that just happened with me as a buyer. I buy a lot of a turntable styli (needles) and a higher volume seller of them blocked me and countless other people for the silliest of reasons. In my case, I simply asked if he would combine multiple items together, this back when charging for shipping was the norm. Instead of answering, he blocked me. I am fine with that - good reason to give a lot of business to his competitors. If eBay became the MOR, this would not work.  

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by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 7 22:37:28 2018

If Ebay is now allowing blocked buyers to make purchases from those sellers who have them blocked they must really be desperate for sales.  I have heard that Sellers are closing stores right and left since they no longer work properly which is cutting into the revenue that Wenig was counting on until he had the Page Display platform working perfectly (which we all know will never happen because he won't pay the right people for the information as he wants all the money for himself).

I also keep a copy of my BBLs in a text file that I can easily copy right back if and when there is a glitch, which i am sure is going to happen sooner rather than later.  Truthfully I would not be the least bit surprised to see the entire option just disappear as EBay becomes more and more desperate for revenue.  They will not think at all about the ramifications when the Sellers start running away from their site so fast its not even funny and then will wonder once again why the Sellers are screwing them over.  If they ever process a buyers purchase that I have on my block list I will cancel the order for bad address and that will be the end of it and if they give me a defect for it, although i am sure it will do no good, i will fight it all the way up the ladder and then to the media just out of spite for them taking the last piece of my control of MY BUSINESS from me.  I am sure they will once again change the UA to cover their rear ends for these changes but at some point the shareholders are going to finally wake up and realize that they are losing to much money for this guys idiotic ideas and his Disruptive Technology.  Or their investors will dump those groups for losing all their money.

I have seen threads put up that encourage Ebay Sellers to buy Ebay stock so that they can have some say so at the shareholders meeting through proxies or whatever method possible and those threads are taken down within minutes of being posted, but the OP is NEVER given a policy violation notice because it is not one, just Wenig doing all he can to cover his rear end come next Shareholders meeting.

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by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 7 23:47:01 2018

It is important to know if this was a rogue CSR of if this is standard practice.

I have some very bad people on my block list and I gave all consideration before deciding I have no other option but to block.

Ebay crated this toxic environment with return defects and we have several return abusers that feel the need to justify all returns as SNAD. Since there is no dispute process the only method of self preservation is after the fact blocking for future prevention. It would be a shame to take that away from us simply to help maintain this toxic environment.

I also have buyers on my block list that have extorted me. Negotiated after receiving the item for a partial refund with the threat of otherwise return of a multi thousand dollar item.

I have buyers who buy items return them and buy them again and again and again.....why someone would do this is beyond me but the only way to prevent it is with a block.

I have buyers who curse at me and other buyers who threaten me for not giving them the price they want.

I have had buyers try to steal my items multiple different "creative" ways.

I have pro cheap item buyers who refuse to return items to get to an escalated case they know they will win the default "no fault" refund and keep the item from ebay.

I have had drunken emails from buyers with various threats of harm, malicious buying, and even to come find me.

I have had threats from competing sellers when my prices are lower.

In fact the vast majority of the buyers on my block list are now NARU indicating that ebay has confirmed how bad some of them actually are or through their repeat offenses to other sellers.

I only block bad people. It would be a shame for ebay to over ride these blocks especially when they can't possibly know the reason or offer protection when the buyer reoffends.

Bad buyer reporting is more like a message in a bottle cast out to sea......We need SOMETHING....

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sat Sep 8 02:30:48 2018

I think this was a customer service person that seriously overstepped their authority.  Something like this would prompt me to raise as much attention to this matter as is possible and voice my utter disbelief that a customer service rep somehow thought this was an appropriate thing to do.

I do not believe this is a policy change on Ebay's part but a employee of Ebay overstepping their authority.  But that does not excuse this from happening.

And if this were my sale, I would cancel the sale, refund the payment and block the buyer again.  I realize I risk a defect and possible negative FB.  But it would be a fight as I would make sure that my issue was heard everywhere I could think to bring it up.  

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by: SANT1N1 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Sep 8 09:10:26 2018

Ebay violate their OWN policies? Never in a million years!

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by: Junkyardog This user has validated their user name.

Sat Sep 8 10:44:08 2018

They wont allow me to use my $50 ebay shipping supply coupon as I'm blocked due to leaving negative feedback on defective boxes. Made 5 calls in past 6 months, each time they said they would get back to me...never did.

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by: iSueBuyers This user has validated their user name.

Sat Sep 8 11:25:35 2018

I would not ship to anyone on my blocked list under any circumstanced. Immediately cancel the order.

If they decide to leave negative feedback? SUE EM

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by: thievesBay This user has validated their user name.

Sat Sep 8 11:48:26 2018

If some of you didn't know, some time ago maybe around the Spring Update, eBay totally removed one of the buyer filtering specifics. There used to be an option to block buyers with X number of policy violations over X period of time. It disappeared which in my thinking it means that eBay is now allowing buyers that many sellers would normally would have blocked to bid or buy. Yes eBay is that desperate for any sales that they knowingly allowed problem buyers. And with that comes more problems, more returns, and more seller punishments. All for eBay's profit. You have to remember that anything and everything eBay does is to take your money. Period.

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