Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed June 28 2017 21:00:51

eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders

By: Ina Steiner

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Think you can accept checks and money orders on eBay? Think again. eBay banned paper payments in 2008. Nevertheless, many sellers believe the policy only applies to the payment methods the seller advertises, believing sellers can accept a check or money order as long as it is the buyer making the request.

The issue arose on Wednesday's weekly chat session when a seller asked moderators to provide some examples of a proper response to a request from a buyer who "makes a request to buy products and then tell you they will send you a check or money order," and "who more than likely does not know the policy."

A moderator responded with the following:



With limitations in protection options when checks or money orders are used, there are only specific situations where they'd be allowed on eBay. Unless you're listing in a category where you can advertise those as forms of payment, I would suggest responding to your buyer's question with something like this: 
 
Thanks for your interest in this item! We aren't currently able to accept checks or money orders as a form of payment. We do, however, offer (enter payment method you offer here). Let us know if you have any other questions and thanks again!
 
Or something like:
 
I'm happy you're interested in this item! We currently are only able to accept (enter payment method you offer here) and wouldn't be able to take a money order or check. 
 
Something short and sweet like that should suffice. Since we do have very strict policies regarding those forms of payment, don't hesitate to report a buyer who may be pushing the issue after that. You can also include this link for your buyers to reference.



Another seller responded to the moderator, "Are you sure about that Heidi. To my knowledge as long as the buyer brings it up first without any prompting from the seller, the seller can agree to take a check or MO if they want to. Sellers just aren't allowed to solicit it."

But the moderator responded, "I just double checked on this policy and you're more than welcome to accept the payment method the buyer wants to use as long as it's covered through eBay's accepted payments policy. Checks and MO are only covered in specific categories."

This has been a controversial issue from the beginning. There are plenty of buyers and sellers who are happy to conduct business with checks and money orders (one of the appeals of Etsy, though they're now requiring sellers to offer Etsy Payments.

What do you think?




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders   eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 28 21:25:16 2017

It's all about CONTROL.

eBay can't direct PayPal to harm you or hold your funds if they aren't in PayPals possession.

It's easier to just make an off eBay sale and thumb your nose at eBay altogether.


Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders   eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 28 21:33:24 2017

It's bad business to dictate or deny any customer preference that there's no reasonable cause to reject.  And bad ethics if the only motive for doing so is profit padding.

Prior to eBay instituting their NOYB payment 'ban', I was depositing over 20% of my apx 5K weekly sales in paper payments.  One bad check in all that time which was made good.  Never a complaint from those customers regarding reasonable time for payment to be deemed valid prior to shipping.  

Of course, those payments didn't generate fees, nor could they be 'held' hostage at a whim or unfounded accusation.

Once their ban was enacted, those sales made to buyers who preferred to make their own payment choice evaporated overnight.  

One of a thousand cuts to come.  And not just on my disrespected carcass.

I also have a suggestion for what eBay can do with THEIRS that civil decorm precludes detailing here.

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders   eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Wed Jun 28 22:39:33 2017

Follow the money.

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders   eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Wed Jun 28 23:04:44 2017

Pace is correct. EBay wants their (and PayPal's) fingerprints all over every transaction.

I remember 20 years ago when ALL payments were via check or money order. You as a seller did not know how many packages to ship until your postman came with the mail.

Then PayPal came along (true fact- Elon Musk was one of the founders). And, unbelievably, it was FREE! They even deposited $5 in your account for signing up, and, I believe, $1 or $2 for each friend you referred.

Then, of course, FeeBay earned its reputation when they bought and took it over. Will checks and money orders ever be used for payment again? Probably not- does anyone use them anymore?

The only M.O. requests I get are from those who have had their PayPal accounts hacked or compromised in some way. The question here is whether other forms of payment (Google Pay, Apple Pay, etc.) will ever be able to be accepted, even after the sweetheart agreement eBay and PayPal agreed to upon the separation of companies.

In any event, one would think consumers on any e-commerce site should have a choice of how they would like to pay for their merchandise!!

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders   eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders

by: brentandbecca This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 29 00:08:46 2017

eBay called me just last week because I marked a payment as received. I did not mark money order, but they called and asked me what form of payment it was then gave me a strict warning. I've been on ebay almost 20 years, and 99.9% of payments are paypal, but I have a few long-time customers that either A) don't have paypal BUT not by their choice, but due to credit issues or B) are in their 80s/90s, and don't use electronic payments but checks. I was warned and told I could no longer accept payments off ebay even from those customers without paypal, but I said, ok, well I can't stop them from bidding unless I knowingly block them first. Unreal. You'd think they still owned paypal and wanted more fees.

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders   eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders

by: lamplady This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 29 00:15:58 2017

This is one of the reasons I left eBay after 12 years and went to Ruby Lane where I have been for over 5 years. My business, not eBay's. It's all about the money, not the supposed protection.  I've taken hundreds of checks and money orders over the years with no problems in my antique business.  

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders   eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders

by: 1st Armored Div. 1971-1973 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 29 00:17:15 2017

I have had more Paypal e-checks go bad than I ever had in real checks. Go figure that one out?

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders   eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Thu Jun 29 00:41:12 2017

I'm more than happy to pass along PreyPal fees if customers ask, however, they never ask.  

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders   eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders

by: macsbaby This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 29 01:33:13 2017

This was the beginning of losing customers. I remember how many of my customers said they would never pay with paypal.....and eventually I quit seeing them. I left ebay permanently in 2012, but started ruby lane in 2008...fantastic move. My net fees are about 4.8%....including payments which I receive about half with checks. In 20 years, literally...I took 1 check that bounced....and was made good. No jokes. We consistently sold 300K over ebay every year....boy do I miss those days. Folks want my best price....well that is check, money order, or bank wire. Next best price by cc/paypal is 4% extra if domestic, 5% if international. Their choice.  

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders   eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 29 03:13:32 2017

Why would anyone want to accept a check or MO unless it's certified!!!!!  The only way I see this is for a big item like a car that cost thousands of dollars vs. cash.

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders   eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Jun 29 03:43:09 2017

It is another one of those unannounced changes.  It DID use to be that we could not advertise paper payments, but if they buyer asked us via M2M we could make the choice whether we wanted to accept a check and/or money order.

So sometime or another they changed it without telling the sellers.  They just prefer to wait and either catch us a doing something they perceive as wrong and then sanction us.  Or slap our hand with a warning.  

Why Ebay treats sellers like this is really unknown and certainly unnecessary.  Simply announcing the change would save the animosity that it makes sellers feel when they do this.  I have no idea why they just keep blowing us off like this.

They probably changed it years ago and many of us are just discovering it now because someone brought it up.

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders   eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders

by: frustrated This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 29 06:07:21 2017

So if you mark a payment as made, and they ask you how the customer paid (never EVER heard of them calling to ask this BTW)  tell them he paid me CASH.  Let's see if they can ban CASH.

OR you could tell them he used SQUARE UP which almost everyone has now.

Don't ever tell them anything, it's NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS ANYWAY.

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders   eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders

This user has validated their user name. by: Don Wagner

Thu Jun 29 06:10:32 2017

At least in every category I list in, You can manually mark a sold item awaiting payment as 'Payment Received' and the pulldown list of payment methods includes Money Order, Personal Check and Cash on Pickup (try it and see). That particular CSR had good intentions but the end result was panic and confusion. It seems doubtful that anyone at eBay truly sees the total picture.  

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders   eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 29 08:28:54 2017

There are really 2 issues here:

1) is this legal? Can you force someone to ONLY accept the payment method YOU want them to ?

AND

2) like the last issue with the timing of the forced refund (earlier then it should have been) ... is this REALLY what eBay should be concentrating on?  With all that needs/could use improvement on the site, are a few sales with checks/MO really some kind of priority to concentrate on?  Like the last issue - the buyer wsas going to get their refund ANYWAY, so why make a big deal about it and start a fight with your sellers? "just 'cause you can"?


Its just bizarre behavior. Nero fiddles while Rome burns.

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders   eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders

by: dmg61 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 29 08:31:50 2017

That's all about control. That's why I am phasing out eBay and just moving to Ruby Lane. I prefer checks. Actually, cash is king. eBay wants their fees and they want to be the government, watching and controlling everything you do there. No thanks.

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders   eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders

by: Jim Y This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Jun 29 10:14:01 2017

I thought the original reason that the ban on checks, money orders and cash was so that eBay can collect Paypal fees.  Now that Paypal has broken off from eBay as a separate corporation, it would make sense to bring back those payment methods. They may have a contract where they can't, or since eBay is a large corporation, just like any bureaucracy, once a decision is made, they arent' able to reverse it.

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders   eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders

by: epuise This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 29 10:23:29 2017

Does EBAY "ban" CHECKS and MONEY ORDERS to PAY SELLING FEES ?

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders   eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders

This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Thu Jun 29 10:37:34 2017

@Chicago48, fake MO's (even certified) are easy to make.  That's what the waiting period is for, even on certified.  But USPS MO's can be verified at the window.  We'd use one USPS MO to cover the postage that week, get the others verified before depositing them, ship EVERYTHING, and  EVERYBODY was happy!

@eXtinctBay said: “I remember 20 years ago when ALL payments were via check or money order. You as a seller did not know how many packages to ship until your postman came with the mail.”

True, but you could go ahead & pack everything up.  Back in the days before instant payment, we LIESURELY packed all our sales.  Sometimes the day they sold, Sometimes days later.  Took days, maybe weeks to get a check. 1-2 weeks to clear.  They just sat there with the tops open, 'till the USPS MO's came, or the checks cleared.  Pre-packing time was never wasted.  AFTER ALL, you knew the money would come.  I never had EVEN ONE bad buyer back then.  NEVER EVEN ONE bad check.   Postal MO's were gold, & shipped same day.

Those were the days my friend.........

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders   eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders

by: timeaftertime This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 29 10:41:54 2017

I also sell on Ruby Lane and probably for every 2 PP payments, I receive a check. I also will get an occasional MO.

I am lucky - since 2000 I have received only ONE bad check and I think it was a math mistake on the buyer's part; quickly rectified. But I can't be the only one.

Paper payments are not limited to old folks, anyone who likes physical records uses them. The only annoyances with paper payments are the file drawer space they require and having to do a hand tally for tax returns.  

Personally, I prefer checks myself. I use the duplicate ones so I have an authentic copy of EXACTLY what was written.  That said ,I DO really like the anonymity of PayPal (the best feature IMHO). And I have not incurred any of the horror stories I have heard about PP hacking.

I dumped the calendar function in my new email client -- I have an actual large paper one right beside my monitor and all I have to do is flip through pages instead of trying to click-click-click.

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders   eBay Clarifies Ban on Checks and Money Orders

This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Thu Jun 29 10:43:26 2017

Oops better correct that one to ''LEISURELY''

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