An ABC News report is calling into question when it is appropriate for eBay to release a seller's identity and contact information to other users. There are several instances where eBay reveals such information, but the news report focused on only one.
describes the ABC investigation into eBay's practice, which the company now says it will change. To recap, eBay currently allows bidders to request a seller's information - including name, city, and state - something ABC News
found disturbing. eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore confirmed that it will end that practice.
But one seller who contacted EcommerceBytes said the report that aired on Good Morning America was a typical "the sky is falling" news story trying to alarm viewers about privacy risks and disagreed with eBay's decision to change its practice.
"I feel that a buyer should have the ability to access the sellers contact information to facilitate communication," he said. "I use that feature quite often when I want to conduct additional transactions with sellers that I bought from on eBay without involving eBay. I have only used this feature to request contact information after I've made a purchase, the story implied that bidders can request contact information as well and I'm not sure if they can."
What ABC News failed to report was the fact that eBay publishes sellers' name and complete address on email blasts - and Moore told me eBay will not be changing that practice.
For example, here's a letter we received
in June from a seller who discovered eBay was publishing their home address in emails to her dismay:
I just discovered a privacy issue that can tag along with the follow/followers privacy post. I find this issue extremely disturbing.
I frequently send out announcements when I set a sale or promotion. I decided to look at my complete announcement that went out and I scrolled all the way to the bottom. To my shock, my complete address was listed beneath eBay's address!
Why in the world does eBay need to print my complete address? The city and state would suffice if need be. So, people who follow me and may have never bought anything from me, now have my personal home address! I'm sure many other sellers work from home too.
All a follower has to do is mail something to my store name at that address and it will be delivered!
Please everyone, tell eBay to implement privacy. It's one thing if I decide to show my personal address on a packing slip or return address to someone who is actually buying something from me but a completely different issue when eBay volunteers my address to anyone who chooses to follow me by signing up to receive newsletters and promotion/sale notices.
What do you think of this issue, and how do you protect your privacy as a seller on eBay?