Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sat Nov 21 2015 22:13:06

eBay CEO Gets Propositioned

By: Ina Steiner

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Earlier this month, eBay CEO Devin Wenig received a proposition from an eBay user. He was asked to close a transaction off-eBay in order to save $20. (Clearly they weren't familiar with his compensation package.)

Revealing the incident on Twitter, Wenig added, "You my friend win the lottery (1/160mm) for worst choice of co-conspirator."

But how common an occurrence is it for sellers to try and conduct transactions off the eBay platform in order to either a) save on listing fees, or b) engage in a questionable or scam transactions? (eBay doesn't protect buyers if the transaction doesn't take place on its platform using PayPal for payment.)

As it happens, I had just received an email from a reader who wrote:

"I am just writing to let you know that (beginning recently) I have started getting messages from buyers who are including their email addresses inside the message.

"As you probably know, eBay prevented this before in their messaging system. Now I am getting messages from people wanting to do business outside of eBay after leaving the email addy."

Sellers are wise to be wary of buyers wanting to take transactions off platform, since they're just as vulnerable to scammers as buyers.

Have you seen a change in eBay's messaging system, and have you seen an increase in off-eBay propositions? What do you do when you receive invitations to go outside the marketplace boundaries on which you sell?

And what's the strangest or most outrageous proposition you've ever received as an online seller?

Comments (58) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Gets Propositioned   eBay CEO Gets Propositioned

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Sun Nov 22 16:20:29 2015

@toolguy says: " Do you consider yourself a thief when you take deals off eBay? eBay found the customer so they deserve a "finders fee" for finding you that customer. Taking eBay's rightful money is WRONG! "

eBay does not find buyers.... buyers find eBay.

Taking eBay's "rightful" money is the last thing on my mind when I take transactions off eBay.

Ask yourself...

Does eBay have a fully functioning, reliable marketing platform?   NO.

Does eBay search treat every seller as an equal?  NO

Does eBay surface every listing available based on a buyers search inquiry?  NO

Does eBay guarantee that my listings will be visible 24/7 from the time it is listed until the time it expires?  NO

Does eBay offer sellers protections against fraudulent returns?  NO

When eBay systems break and fail, do they provide timely and accurate information regarding the nature and duration of each and every outage?  NO

Does eBay provide customer service that is available in a timely manner and provides consistently accurate information as to how to resolve an issue when you finally are connected to an agent?  NO

Does eBay feel guilty when they place competitors ads on listing pages?  NO

As a matter of fact, eBay allows advertising on their site which will take buyers to off eBay to complete purchases.... this is essentially no different than transacting off eBay with a buyer who found the item on eBay.


Given the unrealistically large number of issues and roadblocks to success eBay erects, it is not possible to feel eBay is in any way cheated if and when transactions are conducted off site.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Gets Propositioned   eBay CEO Gets Propositioned

by: demitcher This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 22 16:57:32 2015

Very well spoken, Ric. Excellent.

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by: DZT This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 22 17:58:49 2015


Taking full advantage of eBay's free listings.... we are able to advertise our items to millions of buyers & we steer them off of eBay to conduct discounted transactions all the time.

The buyer still pays us with the safety of Pay Pal so they still have buyer protections.

Taking into consideration the crappy way that we have been treated as a seller on eBay for 15 years now.... we find it only fair that we use their system for free advertising & pay them nothing at all for the items we sell..... every chance we get.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Gets Propositioned   eBay CEO Gets Propositioned

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 22 19:12:52 2015

What RIC said !!!! :)

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Sun Nov 22 21:36:10 2015

Unfortunately, my experience has been that buyers have great difficulty finding me outside of eBay.  Since eBay does no advertising or search visibility, I post links to my auctions on collecting forums.  I always advertise 10% lower prices at eCrater.  Sales are a trickle and I think they're from Google searches more than the forum posts.

However, I also advertise 20% off if they go to my site and do e-mail/Square.  It's just my eBay handle with a ".com" at the end so that's not rocket surgery.  eBay won't allow TLDs in handles because, from what I've seen, it looks like shoppers can't put two and two together without it.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Gets Propositioned   eBay CEO Gets Propositioned

by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 23 00:27:19 2015

That happens to me all the time. It is not worth doing for me and I decline. But usually if someone sends me a request for outside sale ebay but I do want the sale I just use the send buyer and offer feature ebay has added to the emails and I ignore the off ebay part.

That "send buyer and offer" ebay added to email is one of the greatest and most innovative additions to the site since "best offer".

But yea I get email offers all the time from new ebayers all the way up to shooting stars with 10K plus feedbacks. I only transact on ebay and in my category I think the fees are pretty fair with store and TRS discount of course.

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by: gramophone-georg This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 23 00:33:37 2015

"Sellers are wise to be wary of buyers wanting to take transactions off platform, since they're just as vulnerable to scammers as buyers."

Say WHAT?

I'd take a deal off of eBay and PayPal as a seller precisely to AVOID getting scammed!

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Gets Propositioned   eBay CEO Gets Propositioned

by: dsimporting This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 23 00:35:35 2015

For starters Ebay is allowing sellers to post contact info in adds. Whats the big deal about emails? heres a example eBay item number:

291548432665

PLEASE CALL 810-348-8503 WITH INQUIRIES OR TO PAY W/ CC BY PHONE


This is why Ebays losing sales not that silly email the CEO received LOL  This practice is common on ebay.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Gets Propositioned   eBay CEO Gets Propositioned

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Mon Nov 23 00:47:39 2015

I, too, am solidly behind @Ric. Do I get offers to transact sales outside of eBay in order to pass FVFs to the customer? Often. I will then do a risk-benefit assessment. How long has the customer been with eBay (longer is better)? What kind of feedback do they leave (all positive is better)? What is their purchase history? Sometimes I bite and sometimes they reciprocate the bite. I haven't had a negative experience or return yet—unlike eBay.  

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Gets Propositioned   eBay CEO Gets Propositioned

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 23 01:18:34 2015

I dont consider it stealing from ebay I.consider it fair play since they steal from us constantly, like stealing listing fees with no intentions of showing the listing to anyone.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Gets Propositioned   eBay CEO Gets Propositioned

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 23 01:23:15 2015

Here is more ways ebay steals from you:

Putting offsite ads on your listings

Emailing people watching your items with cheaper items someone else is selling

Charging listing fees yet having a hidden limit on income you can make

Refunding buyers your money without them giving a tracking for return

Forcing you to use paypal when you can use a cheaper transaction fee service

Changing your 30 day listing to 7 days

Shall I go on


Perminate Link for eBay CEO Gets Propositioned   eBay CEO Gets Propositioned

by: Paul W This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 23 03:06:07 2015

Every order I ship includes a packing slip on which I do my best to direct my buyers to one of my eCRATER stores.  It's not eBay money yet, but over 1600 sales to date is a nice addition.

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by: Skip This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 23 04:42:29 2015

Think about it folks.

My item is listed, I paid for the listing. I sold the item, I paid because the item sold. The customer is my business. I paid for that customer.

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

Mon Nov 23 05:21:22 2015

Being able to directly email my sellers and my buyers (in the Old Ebay Days) created a close knit family atmosphere. It fostered trust, and bolstered the "Americans for America" feeling of cohesiveness.
Losing this ability was a major reason I left Ebay.
One of my Best Friends was CanLaugh out of Cananda. A great model maker and mentor.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Gets Propositioned   eBay CEO Gets Propositioned

by: elystoys This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 23 05:24:32 2015

I used ebay mail the other day to send my email address to an ebay user.  I used the format: "xxxxxx at gmail dot"  The mail was not sent and I got a email from ebay advising the policy prohibiting email sharing.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Gets Propositioned   eBay CEO Gets Propositioned

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 23 06:12:43 2015

Probably another glitch as they try to retool their site.  OT:  I've been selling from Craigs and lo and behold, been getting some out of state sales.  And they pay for the shipping.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Nov 23 07:43:43 2015

Ric, that was brilliant as usual. Well said.  

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by: GotToGetOut This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 23 07:49:24 2015

I feel once I have made a sale through Ebay, that customer is mine -- not Ebays, and I can sell them anything I want, whether it's on Ebay or another item I haven't listed. It's just another venue -- mine. Once an item is sold on Ebay, I have the buyer's email and I can write directly to that email address and offer an immediate discount or a discount on future purchases if they contact me directly at my email address.

Many customers, though, are concerned that their purchase isn't guaranteed. This is what Ebay leads them to believe since they say it's risky to purchase something outside of Ebay (when they are actually just trying to ensure they get a final value fee). I reassure customers that this isn't true since the credit card used with the purchase actually ensures their purchase and they will step in if there is any problem.

Just because I don't have a website for selling doesn't mean I can't sell directly. Like moto-science, if the customer doesn't want to save 10% or more by buying directly from me, let them pay the additional 10% through Ebay. It doesn't affect my bottom line but I prefer to have the customer save money than to give it to Ebay. If I weren't so stuck in paying $180 a month in Ebay anchor store subscription fees for the next 8 months when I only sell $1000 a month, I wouldn't feel like Ebay gets enough of my money. 9% in selling fees is reasonable for a sale but then add in the 18% in subscription fee (another selling fee no matter how Ebay wants to spin it) and the Paypal fees and that total 30+% in fees is userous!

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by: VJ This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 23 08:54:00 2015

FYI Ebay, Paypal, Google, Amazon etc all share information with each other. Therefore if you communicate with a buyer on ebay and then a monetary transaction happens on paypal, ebay knows about it and dings your account accordingly (though you never get to see it on your dashboard). It's been like this for a very long time. It's these types of bad practices that get you kicked off the site for no reason. Hence why so many people with great feedback got kicked off the site for "apparently" no reasons....  

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Nov 23 09:47:00 2015

@ mcposty

"Putting offsite ads on your listings" ~ Yes they do

"Emailing people watching your items with cheaper items someone else is selling" ~ I don't get these emails on items I'm watching

"Charging listing fees yet having a hidden limit on income you can make" ~ I don't pay listing fees and my account has no hidden limit.

"Refunding buyers your money without them giving a tracking for return" ~ I've never experienced this.

"Forcing you to use paypal when you can use a cheaper transaction fee service" ~ What service is cheaper?

"Changing your 30 day listing to 7 days" ~ Never had this happen

"shall I go on" ~ Sure why not!

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