eBay updates User Agreement to ban spam

eBay have updated their User Agreement and banned sellers from spamming their buyers. The update includes two points, one around returns and the other concerning marketing.

The changes are effective immediately for anyone that signs up to eBay today and from the 20th of October for existing users. As always eBay say that “If you choose not to accept the new terms, visit this help page for further information“.


eBay have added new terms to the User Agreement covering the changes to the eBay returns process. The terms explain that sellers will be able to automate returns and refunds in certain circumstances. It covers the automatic generation of an eBay return label which in some cases the seller will pay the cost of and authorises eBay to include return postage charges and auto-refunds on your seller invoice as a fee.

Whether this will apply to you will largely depend on what automation rules you set up – if the buyer selects a non-fault return then of course they’ll pay the return postage costs instead of the seller.

Spam aka “Marketing”

Regular Tamebay readers will know how much I abhor spam and whilst the eBay user agreement has always prohibited the use of users contact information eBay have decided to drill the point home. Previously the user agreement stated “distribute or post spam, unsolicited or bulk electronic communications, chain letters, or pyramid schemes” and “harvest or otherwise collect information about users, such as email addresses, without their consent

The additional new spam clause specifically states that you may not “use the contact information of other users for any purpose other than in relation to a specific eBay transaction (which includes using this information to send marketing materials directly to eBay users unless the user has given explicit consent to receiving these materials)“.

In other words don’t grab my email address (from eBay or PayPal) and don’t send me any communications that aren’t directly connected to my purchase. Just because I bought something from you doesn’t mean you can add me to your mailing list and certainly doesn’t indicate any interest in whatever other products you may have for sale (on or off eBay).

Of course you’re probably a reputable eBayer and would never spam people and you probably encourage me to sign up to your eBay shop marketing, add a flyer into shipments offering me a discount from your website and alongside tracking links include an offer on your despatch emails to entice me back. These are all great ways to build your website traffic and email marketing lists and allowed under the rules in the eBay User Agreement.