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

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Nov 21 23:31:16 2015

If feeBay and especially PayPig didn't stick their noses in sellers' business, and the fees were reasonable, there wouldn't be the temptation to deal off-board.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sun Nov 22 03:20:22 2015

I've received requests to do business off Ebay.  I don't do this with a stranger.  It is not worth the risk involved.  To me it is silly to risk my business for something like this.

I do sell things I sell on Ebay to others without getting Ebay involved [no Ebay transaction].  But that is reserved for people I know, friends, family, customers from other venues, etc.

To do business off Ebay with a buyer that writes you through Ebay is to invite problems.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Gets Propositioned   eBay CEO Gets Propositioned

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Sun Nov 22 04:34:31 2015

If an item doesn't sell on ebay (shocking I know), and someone messages me they missed the auction or ebay wasn't working right (shocking again), I have no problem selling to them directly. Ebay did nothing to earn their FVF.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Gets Propositioned   eBay CEO Gets Propositioned

This user has validated their user name. by: White Rabbit

Sun Nov 22 07:07:10 2015

I think the main reason a buyer wants you to close an auction and sell direct-- either Ebay legally or otherwise.. is because the want to get the item for more than it will close for. :-) Most sellers are certainly savvy to this scam.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Gets Propositioned   eBay CEO Gets Propositioned

by: Donkey This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 22 09:01:40 2015

What's the problem?

Ebay puts ads right on my listing to take potential customers off of ebay to make a sale.

What a bunch of hypocrites.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sun Nov 22 09:35:27 2015

I get these constantly. Is this the first one he has gotten?  Just shows how little he sells on eBay.  

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by: redruben This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 22 09:42:51 2015

i do it regularly, but have opened an etsy store as well, so some of my ebay inventory gets transferred to etsy and sold at a lower price than on ebay

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Gets Propositioned   eBay CEO Gets Propositioned

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 22 09:46:00 2015

Id be abit more impressed if the (fake?) story said he had an item pulled VERO, or he was forced to take back a broken non resellable item (returns fraud).

Alas this is just a common occurrence and barely mentions an article.

DW has an eBay selling account - just to prove hes "one of the boys in the trenches". Pardon me if I call BS.

1) he makes enough that he can give those items away to charity and write them off

2) if they ended up in the trash, based on is salary - he wouldnt even notice

3) does anyone SERIOUSLY think he has to play by the same rules that every one ELSE does?  I know plenty of accounts that have THEIR OWN rules - Im sure he does too. (Any of the outside Auction houses on eBay ("still on eBay") all have their own rules - and if you mention it on eBays boards - they remove the post and ban you for 30 days)

As Donkey so correctly said - theres ads in 2 places on my listings - if they can cheat and steal from me - why cant I do it to them?

And btw - in fact I do. I data mine and email ANY company that buys something from me and email them. Ive gotten a few good accounts that way. Alls fair in love and war ... and on eBay who would screw you in a NY minute - so why not do it to them?

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Gets Propositioned   eBay CEO Gets Propositioned

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sun Nov 22 10:39:55 2015

I only do off eBay sales for past or repeat customers that ask to do so.

If eBay found me the customer they DESERVE credit for doing so.

The only other way I take deals off eBay is if the customer lives close by and wants to pick the item up in person.

eBay is my business partner and I want to keep them happy like they keep me happy.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Gets Propositioned   eBay CEO Gets Propositioned

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Sun Nov 22 10:52:36 2015

My best customer is one I acquired through an eBay transaction after I issued a shipping credit for a multiple item purchase. The buyer purchased all I had of a particular item, so I calculated the difference in shipping costs for his combined order and issued a credit for the difference.

After the buyer received their order, they contacted me to say they were interested in as many of this particular widget as they can get their hands on - as long as I contacted them directly and made the sale without eBay. Apparently, the buyer had enough of eBay after an issue between himself and eBay customer service over fraudulent returns.

Over time, I have acquired additional inventory, emailed the buyer to confirm their continued interest and sent him an invoice directly for the latest transaction.

Thus far, I have sold over $3,000 in goods to this buyer and have another $1500.00 order ready to go after the first of the year.

This customer could not be nicer. There are no hassles, no games, no complications, and best of all for me - NO EBAY fees.  

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Gets Propositioned   eBay CEO Gets Propositioned

by: JQ This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 22 10:57:45 2015

This whole issue would seem more complicated if in fact eBay did provide its sellers with any meaningful form of seller protection for transactions that happen on the site through Paypal.

There is no need for a petty scammer to encourage sellers to complete transactions off eBay in order to take advantage of them. If they complete the sale on eBay they have very little fear that eBay and/or Paypal will do anything to police the scams taking place on their watch.

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sun Nov 22 11:12:29 2015

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!

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by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 22 11:20:35 2015

Why would anybody have any Loyalty to eBay? They don't deserve it.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Gets Propositioned   eBay CEO Gets Propositioned

by: Frank F This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 22 11:27:46 2015

Tell Wenig that this is a minor issue at best on ebay..

If he wants to truly make a difference and do the right this, the he should focus on the cesspool of fake counterfeit trademark infringing items being sold on the site, and all the unethical and criminal Chinese and US sellers that are selling this fake stuff.

This is by far ebays biggest problem and not only is it an ebay policy violation, its breaking the laws of our country!

Denig, if this was done, it would generate amazing results on the platform, as every law abiding small, medium and large seller would be successful and SO WOULD EBAY!

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sun Nov 22 11:38:28 2015

The most outrageous was as a potential buyer. I had been bidding on a doll I collect (which ended production in 1986), and I lost the auction. I received an e-mail from a person located in Transylvania (no joke) who said he had a doll identical to the one I was bidding on for sale. I envisioned Dracula sitting in his castle holding one of the dolls! After exchanging several e-mails, and me insisting I would not consider buying the doll unless he supplied a photo (which, for some reason, he was unable to provide), he stopped communicating.    

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sun Nov 22 12:03:10 2015

@iheartjacksparrow

So the seller in Transylvania had a second doll for sale and offered it to you off eBay?

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sun Nov 22 12:46:04 2015

@bitbybit

"...someone messages me they missed the auction or ebay wasn't working right (shocking again), I have no problem selling to them directly. Ebay did nothing to earn their FVF."  That is not really accurate.  While I respect your right to run your business as you see fit, if you had not of had your item posted on Ebay for sale, then this buyer would not have seen it or known to write you about it.  Ebay brought you the customer.  I'm NOT defending Ebay in any way.  Sales are beyond slow and there are many problems on Ebay.  I'm simply stating I see what you said a bit differently.

And then there is what Donkey says.  I completely agree with that.  And not only do they put the ads at the top right of the listing [which is typically for something different than I'm selling], there are the ads that run across the bottom of the listing that are many times my Ebay competitors.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sun Nov 22 12:54:33 2015

@Marie

You can get rid of those pesky ads at the bottom from other eBay sellers by opting out of the cross promotion program.

The sponsored links at the bottom cannot be removed, and yes some of those are competitors of mine.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Gets Propositioned   eBay CEO Gets Propositioned

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Sun Nov 22 14:17:59 2015

OT, nice photo by the way. So much more pleasant than looking at the pasty face of the previous CEO.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Gets Propositioned   eBay CEO Gets Propositioned

by: moto-science This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 22 14:58:59 2015

If buyers want to save on Ebay 10% fees....
just google the item and buy it on my website. Google is the future.....Ebay is in the past.  

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