Sellers have been frustrated by eBay's handling of buyers who, against its policy, bypass sellers' blocks against bidding or buying from them again. Last week, an eBay moderator weighed in on the problem and provided new information.
In a thread on the eBay boards, a seller wrote, "eBay recently announced that blocked buyers are now allowed to bid under another account as long as they are not doing it maliciously. I kid you not." The seller was not wrong - last year, AuctionBytes blog contributor Marie wrote about
eBay's change in how it enforced policies around blocked bidders.
An eBay moderator responded to last week's thread with the following reply:
"Hi, we may have misspoken about this topic in the past and I want to take this time to be more clear - while a seller is expected to ship an item to a buyer who has successfully paid, if there is reason to believe that a member of our Community is working to circumvent a block on a related account we would like to hear the details so we can investigate. Circumventing the blocked bidder/buyer list is a policy violation and can lead to a loss of eBay privileges. We are happy to look into this and take appropriate steps, but would be unable to divulge the result of this investigation. Since we are cannot share private account details of another member, you would not receive an update or an indication from eBay that the accounts are connected. Review our help page on this topic for more details and steps to report concerns to us."
Marie had pointed out last year that sellers should be careful about the information provided by eBay customer service, so it was interesting that later in the thread from this week, the moderator told a seller they had been provided with incorrect information from a customer service rep:
"I apologize but the guidance you received when you spoke with Customer Service is incorrect. Additionally, under no circumstances should we ever discuss the details of another member's account, which includes whether they are linked to one another. I will make sure that appropriate coaching is provided to the agent you spoke with recently and apologize for the confusion this has caused. I have discussed this topic at length with our policy experts internally and can confirm that the details I have shared here are our stance at this time.
"If you have concerns with someone attempting to circumvent your blocked bidder/buyer list, we can definitely review and take appropriate action, but we would expect the item to be shipped. We can review feedback related to a purchase if we confirm a buyer has violated our blocked bidder/buyer policies, but do not not advise cancelling the order or otherwise avoiding shipment."
It's odd the moderator emphasized that eBay reps are not allowed to reveal whether two accounts are linked - sellers can see if it's the same person when they get the subsequent order, which includes the buyer's name and address!
Do you encounter many cases of buyers trying to get around your blocks - and how many of those are cases of buyers trying to exact revenge?
Should eBay really expect a seller to ship an item to a buyer who is breaking eBay's own rules?