Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Fri Mar 16 2018 22:00:03

eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders

By: Ina Steiner

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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?




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders   eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 16 22:27:55 2018

Wait...they can't tell us the results so expects us to ship the item? No way!

These middle men companies love criminals. They do everything to keep thieves frauds and embezzrso on their site.

stop using these sites

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders   eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders

by: aim04744 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 16 23:09:12 2018

I am do glad I am not selling (or buying) on EBay any more. This company is a joke.  

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders   eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Fri Mar 16 23:32:36 2018

eBay doesn't care if a liar buyer circumvents a BBL. That just means more fees they can collect. And of course they aren't going to reveal what the results of the investigation are, because that would mean they'd have to tell you they did nothing.

So in eBay's world, when a buyer tries to scam a seller, or extort a partial refund, and ultimately gets put on the seller's BBL, and then the buyer opens a new account so he/she can try the scam/extortion again, the seller is still supposed to ship? It would be nice if eBay would contact the buyer and indicate there is a dispute with the sale, and until the investigation was complete the seller was unable to ship. But then, eBay would actually have to investigate. We can't let those buyers have a bad experience on eBay.  

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders   eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders

by: dans parts This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 16 23:54:06 2018

I have an idiot who's been chasing after miscellaneous items of mine (every once in a while) for almost 10 years now.

He's had at least 10 accounts NARU'd by eBay in that time (that I know of), but I've usually managed to stay ahead of him for the most part.

The account always has very few feedbacks or zero.  Always buys the exact same type of thing.  Most often snipe-bids at the last second.  Always shows one address at auction end, but when (~if~) payment comes, it's a different name/address that's fairly easy (for me, at least) to tie into his original address/location.

Had a problem with him on another of my accounts last year (first time I'd heard from him in about 3 years), and it must have been after they instituted this new policy.

Since it'll be a cold day in you-know-where before I ever ship anything to him, I canceled and refunded.

This time, when the Neg came, I managed to get eBay to remove the comment on the Neg, but they left both the Neg stand and the Defect (out of stock).  So, of course, my reply comment on the comment-less NEG had to be to inform that he'd been NARU'd many times by eBay.

When I'd reported him in the years before, I always tied things up in a nice, neat little package for eBay with all the evidence to prove it was him.  This time, the attitude to me providing the evidence was significantly different.  Like, we don't believe you (and in not so many words "we don't care"), so ship the da*#ed thing anyway.  Even though this time he was not hardly trying to cover his tracks, and it was absurdly simple to point directly to him.

I wondered if it was just me, or not, and I guess not.

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders   eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 17 00:11:18 2018

Interesting since the last time i had this issue come up late last year, I contacted Ebay as the buyer was threatening to leave negative feedback, report me to Ebay and do everything in their power to make sure I had to pay the FVF on a four figure sale as there was no way I was going to send this item to the scammer. I had blocked his ''wifes'' account from buying the item and woke up the next morning to the item having been purchased by this buyer at the full price and already paid for.  He also had stated that he would not agree to ''buyer cancelled the sale''.    I had already done some research on this buyer including running credit and background reports only to find many negative issues on both  credit and background reports, including fraud under both names.

When I reported this to Ebay i received a nice email from the head of Trust and Safety's office assuring me that Ebay would have my back on this issue and advised me on how to cancel the item and process the refund.  The buyer had also been contacted by Ebay and was now panicked that I was going to take to much time to refund their money as they now suddenly needed that money desperately. This person was now emailing me every hour needing their money refunded immediately and suddenly went from being the scammer to worried about being scammed.  I must admit I was enjoying the show immensely !!

The end result was I finally cancelled the order and refunded the money.  But another side issue I noticed was that this buyer/seller who had just started purchasing very high end items on Ebay to resell on Ebay stopped buying the high end items as they were not able to resell them but also were not evidently able to return them to the original sellers for refunds as I had contacted the other sellers regarding the issue and followed up with them on their deals with this buyer at a later date.

So now Ebay, who has no skin in the game, expects us to send our items out to buyers that we had blocked??  ROFLMAO  

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders   eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sat Mar 17 02:58:33 2018

This is a real problem on Ebay, I can certainly attest to that.  Granted it doesn't happen frequently, but it does happen and when it does it can be very problematic.  

While it appears Ebay is backtracking a little bit on what I reported last year, the end result is the same.  The seller is still suppose to honor the sale and trust Ebay is looking into the matter.  I don't know why they would think this would be OK with sellers.  They have done nothing on this specific subject to gain our trust and everything to blow it up.

It is a process that needs some serious improvements.  And if a seller puts a buyer on his BBL, then that should always, without question be honored by Ebay.  It would be within Ebay's powers to but any account linked to accounts we have in our BBL together so that none of them could purchase from us, but sadly they don't.

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders   eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 17 04:39:22 2018

Fleabag will protect their " DO NOT WRONG BUYERS " from any and all attacks coming from the misguided, poor threatened sellers.

Fleabag is the home of the new type of thief, protected from the dreaded seller at all costs.

It would be a very cold day in that hot place before I would send anything to a buyer who I suspect of being a scammer. Fleabag could do me a favor and ban me as I refuse to cater to the scammer even if it does have 100 percent feedback.

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders   eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 17 07:25:48 2018

Instead of all the machinations needed to address and 'maybe' correct these occurrances after the fact, this is easilly able to be prevented at the root.  And eBay need never reveal any 'details' either.

Whenever one of these scammer buyers has been deemed so by an attempt to defraud a transaction the first time, eBay could simply deny them an opportunity to open another account.  Of course that would lower both 'membership' count and GMV 'growth' metrics which they use to brag to the street.  And while this shouldn't be expected simply due to a given seller's 'block' due to a 'PITA' determination of course, true fraud and abuse is certainly able to be defined and buyer identity determined, especially when identical registration addresses and/or ISP's match - the same way they determine seller eligibity (too often in error at that) denied for allegations like 'previous past due accounts' for example.

The fact they refuse to even try to enact that simple preventative solution ''clarifies'' all one needs to know about how serious and 'trustworthy' eBay actually is in preventing buyer fraud and subsequent seller loss.  Especially when it might impact eBay's own 'concerns'.

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders   eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Sat Mar 17 10:03:30 2018

I had a prospective (low feedback) buyer ask silly questions, which earned him a place on my block list. The questions could have easily been answered if he simply read the item description, so this raised a red flag.

After 24 hours of not responding, this person decided to go ahead and purchase. Of course, he couldn't with his User ID, so he created a new one to buy the item.

I knew it was the same buyer since both the question and the purchase were from the same small town. Rather than get penalized for non-fulfillment of the order, I explained in an e-mail why I blocked him. And also copied and pasted the eBay rule which states that a buyer cannot circumvent a block and buy with another ID.

Did not have any problem, at least this time. I see eBay, in their attempt to copy everything Amazon does, eventually ridding themselves of block lists altogether, since there is no such option on the River- you must deal with every Amazon kook buyer, no matter what the circumstance.

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders   eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders

by: Ephemera Dealer This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 17 10:39:24 2018

I had a buyer who had two unique, one of a kind items ''lost'' in shipping. I queried the mail person who delivered them (spoke to him on the phone) and he said he remembered doing so due to my branded packaging materials (I include my own marketing stuff on each package.) So I knew she was a liar, and I was out two somewhat expensive items.

After that I blocked her. She tried to buy a third thing, and then emailed me asking why. I didn't reply. She kept emailing getting more and more abusive.

She then had her son buy the thing she wanted. I did a little digging (it was odd someone bought something exactly the same as the thing she wanted), and found out it was her son.

I called eBay and asked if I had to ship. At that time, they said no I didn't (this was five or six years ago.) And the CSR said they'd give the buyer a ding for attempting to circumvent a block (I don't know if they did or not but I did get a rude email from him once eBay told him I didn't have to ship.)

So it seems they've changed the rules once again, making us ship even if the buyer circumvents our blocks.

What's the point of being able to block then? More seller-hating behavior from eBay.  

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders   eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sat Mar 17 13:11:29 2018

@Ephemera Dealer

The BBL does have a point.  Most buyers that realize they are blocked from purchasing from you will just move on.  It is a minority of buyers that get persistent or creative so they can purchase whatever it is they deem they want.

I agree with everyone here.  Ebay needs to be more forthcoming about this and they need to be willing to enforce the rule.  They are allowing a certain segment of the Ebay community to knowingly, willingly and with Ebay's assistance to BREACH a published ruled.  That just shouldn't happen period.

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders   eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Sat Mar 17 14:09:50 2018

@Marie

I agree that there should be no breach of eBay's published rules.

But, sadly, it happens all the time.

JUST ONE EXAMPLE- Under ''Rules For Buyers'':

''Make sure that you read the listing description before you bid. Many of the problems buyers and sellers encounter are the result of simple misunderstandings about what is for sale and the terms of the sale. For example, some sellers only want to sell to bidders who live in a certain country, or who will pay using PayPal. Only bid on or buy an item if you can meet the requirements described in the listing. If you bid on an item and you don't meet the seller's requirements, we consider that unwelcome and malicious buying''.

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders   eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders

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

Sat Mar 17 14:16:58 2018

It should surprise no one that a gaggle of corporate criminals enable theft and fraud by another subset of criminals.

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders   eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sat Mar 17 14:22:53 2018

@eXtinctBay

In regards to the specific policy you posted, that one is a bit more complicated than it appears.  While I know it sounds good and many might think it would be something Ebay should enforce, it just isn't that simple on this one.  

Some sellers state TOSs that are NOT within the Ebay rules or published policies.  Ebay can't nor should they force a buyer to adhere to such a seller TOSs.  It is Ebay intention that all sellers TOSs need to meet or exceed stated policy and rules for selling on Ebay.  That just isn't always the case.  Therefore blanketly enforcing the portion of a policy you stated above can be problematic.

Just as there are buyers that don't operate within the rules, there are sellers that don't either.  I just had an incident with two different sellers [however linked] that was a bit unpleasant.  I was able to get Ebay to step in and educate them a bit as Ebay could see the issue and what the two sellers were attempting to do.

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders   eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Sat Mar 17 14:50:37 2018

@Marie

There are definitely sellers who do not follow the rules as well.

It seems, though, that sellers are much more often penalized than buyers for their transgressions. A seller can be suspended for merely including numbers in an answer to an eBay message / question (for instance), whereas buyers who blatantly break a rule most often are not punished.

I agree that both buyers and sellers should be responsible for their actions. The problem here, just as with eBay as a whole, is that these rules are not consistently enforced.

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders   eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sat Mar 17 18:05:29 2018

No argument here at all.

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders   eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 17 23:27:11 2018

When it comes to eBay (in specific), what ever the topic is - you can ALWAYS count on eBay's position to be the immoral, obscene, illegal, obtrusive and illogical one.

When it comes to BBL (and thankfully Ive been spared on this one), what is the big deal? (with eBay just doing the right thing?)

Its not like sellers (whomever they are) HATE making money, its not like eBay sellers have vendettas against buyers - its simple protection - 1) from the buyer him/herself and 2) (of course) from eBay and its vindictive behaviors.

Why the "clarifications"? Why are notations needed? Why cant eBay tell you who these people are and the outcome(s)???

"All of a sudden eBay is worried about privacy issues?" They didnt when there was an issue last year and they got hacked? Did you see them run and act with any type of zeal?? No you didnt.

Buyers on eBay get some kind of carte blanche. They can do as they please - good, bad or indifferent and get away with it?

Why force a seller to ship once the bad buyer "gets caught"? are they that hard up for the few dollars? Will the groundskeeper over in San Jose not get his paycheck? Will they run out of TP in womens 3rd floor bathroom? or will DW's private jet run out of cold sodas?

Cant eBay FOR ONCE be the grown ups, put their big boy lawyer pants on and say "harassing our sellers IN ANY WAY is grounds for termination of your eBay account" ???

Aparently NOT.

Another case where eBay double talk, eBay bad behavior once again proves how 3rd rate they are as a company.

Shame on you eBay.

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders   eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sun Mar 18 02:08:59 2018

@pace

When was Ebay hacked last year?

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders   eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 18 02:54:57 2018

''...The problem here..... is that these rules are not consistently enforced.''  

Indeed. ''Problem'' is an understatement however.

eBay has instituted a decade long series of ham-handed, overreaching and intrusively limiting rules and policies that they justify by declaration of need to compel sellers to provide a ''consistent buyer experience''.  

Compliance enticements are sprinkled throughout that promise a consistent application of seller 'protection' from buyer abuse, fraud and disingenuous behavior.

Yet eBay's practice and practical application since has ranged from civilized irony to being no less than the epitome of hypocrisy.  They either don't get that, or they don't care.  

And THAT is the only thing consistent about eBay now.

Perminate Link for eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders   eBay Clarifies Position on Blocked Bidders

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 18 09:46:07 2018

Sorry - wasn’t last year - it was in 2014 - but you are splitting hairs no????

eBay is urging its 145 million customers to change their passwords following a cyber-attack that compromised encrypted passwords and other personal information.

Compromised information includes encrypted passwords, customer names, e-mail addresses, mailing addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth, eBay says.

So the issue (that you honed in on)  is eBay’s STRICT security protocols?

The issue is eBay throwing sellers under the bus AGAIN, not eBay’s security/privacy issues  

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