You are receiving this email as a customer of the ******* ebay store

By Chris Dawson July 19, 2013 - 8:58 am

I’m fed up with spam from eBay sellers. Yet again this morning I’ve received an email from an eBay seller in direct contravention of The Privacy and Electronic communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003.

When you buy or sell on eBay you’re agreeing to which states unequivocally: “You may not add other eBay users, even a user who has purchased an item from you, to your mailing list (email or physical mail) without their consent“.

These companies know that they’re breaking the law. That’s why invariably their emails state “You are receiving this email as a customer of the ******* ebay store”. They’re trying to justify sending you the email as a previous customer. However both you and they signed up to the eBay User Agreement by opening an eBay account.

There is no room for negotiation. If a buyer wants to receive your emails they are perfectly able to sign up to your eBay shop email marketing.

Sadly the biggest offenders are the biggest companies who appear to ignore the law and only act when they receive complaints. I’ve had one company whose “eBay Manager” added me to their mailing list last year. Six months later their excuse is “A junior member of their marketing team” added me back to their spam list. Junior members of staff shouldn’t have the ability to handle spam email lists.

It’s not an uncommon occurrence either and don’t think it’s just me who’s being added to numerous eBay seller’s email lists. When my email address gets added 10s or 100s of thousands of other eBay buyers email addresses are being added in bulk.

If an eBay seller adds you to their mailing address I suggest you do two things. Firstly write to them to complain demanding compensation for your time and inconvenience. If they don’t pay a reasonable compensation for your time and inconvenience, I suggest causing them maximum hassle by reporting them to the Information Commissioners Office.

I don’t charge companies for my time to make money. I do it because I know how inconvenient it is for the company and how much trouble it takes them to get someone to authorise the payment. Raising a payment gets enough senior manager’s notice that their spam is highlighted at a senior level. I want the companies to realise how serious their crime is (and let’s not beat about the bush, it is a crime and they are breaking the law).

I hate spam. I hate companies that send me spam. They deserve to be inconvenienced and learn from their mistakes. Sadly some don’t, but if enough people complain they might start to realise they can’t simply get away with ignoring the law and brushing complaints under the carpet.

  • RK
    4 years ago

    I think this is a rather large over-reaction. With Spam filters as advanced as they are now, it’s not difficult to ensure future emails become “invisible” to you. A couple of clicks and you’re done. Worst case scenario it’s a quick delete on your mobile device or PC and a quick click of “unsubscribe me”.

    Yes Spam is annoying but unfortunately it’s now more the norm than not and is certainly not worth crying about. There’s a lot worse malpractice going on than a couple of emails a day which you didn’t invite.

    • 4 years ago

      So are you saying that it’s ok to break the law? Are you saying companies should quite happily break the law and get away with it?

      Plus eBay would say eBay sellers shouldn’t be diverting buyers to off-eBay sales.

      Personally I don’t care if it’s a big eBay Outlet or a small eBay seller I don’t want their spam. That’s the user agreement I signed up to and equally sellers can’t pick and choose which bits they want to abide by.

  • John Pemberton
    4 years ago

    Here here Chris, 100% agree with you on all levels

  • 4 years ago

    It is regrettable that we all receive vast quantities of Spam. Even accepting that a significant proportion of what we receive may in fact be Illegal. However could some of it have a value?

    Years ago when I was Company Accountant for one Company I had on my desk a cartoon. It showed a King in his armour on a horse just about to go into battle. A squire was pulling at his leg and the King was saying “I can’t see any crazy salesman. I have a battle to fight”. The “Crazy Salesman” was selling Heavy Machine Guns.

    In that Company due to various priorities and pressure of work I had taken over some responsibilities from the Production Manager. One was to see Salesmen who called at the factory on spec(This was way back in about 1978-long before Spam etc).

    I invited him into the Office and showed him the cartoon and told him that I was looking for the Heavy Machine Gun. After looking at his products and trying one out on the shop floor we placed an order.

    A long time later, way after I had left the Company, I discovered that that Salesmans Company was now a major supplier to my old Company. Yet at the time he had told me that he had called on so many companies that day and I was the only one who would see him.

    So perhaps instead of just deleting all your spam you should at least look at it. Most is garbage and should be deleted. But just once you might find the Heavy Machine Gun that makes it all worth while. I know that I do have a look and am still hoping to find a Heavy Machine Gun that will make my life much easier.

    • 4 years ago

      The salesman who called your company on spec was operating within the law.

      The disreputable companies sending me spam are breaking the law.

      Big difference. Or do you think it’s perfectly acceptable for companies to flout the law? In which case which other laws is it ok to break?

    • 4 years ago

      I do not think that it is right to flout the Law. However if I am looking for a particular product or service and am having no luck in tracing it and a bit of Spam turns up advertising that product or service why should I not take advantage of it?

      As I said before the Heavy Machine Gun is something that I think that most of us are looking for. Certainly in my earlier life as an Accountant I had reason to look for several over the years. On the whole I have found most of those that I was looking for. In every case they have made my life easier. So why not take advantage of any lead to track them down including some legally dodgy ones.

      Let us imagine that I rejected the Spam lead just because it was a Spam lead. How would that ease the problem that I was looking for an answer for?

    • 4 years ago

      Knocking on a company door is legal.

      Sending me emails when we specifically have a legal and valid user agreement not to which we have both agreed to makes it spam and illegal.

      I don’t care if you have the greatest product in the world, I don’t want to trade with criminals.

  • Fb
    4 years ago

    i have to agree with rk – a simple millisecond delete or unsubscribe me and its done. your “time” would be taken up with compaining rather than clicking delete, pus contacting the company to complain could also be considered “spam” as it would be unsolicited. plus is it ok for ebay to keep sending me crap emails i didnt ask for….
    for us as a seller its a valuable source of repeat business, and the sad truth is that the “subscribe to list” that ebay want you to go through is just not visible or utilised by buyers enough

    • 4 years ago

      Sending a company a letter to complain through the post is certainly not against the law.

      eBay only send you emails you’ve agreed to and you’re perfectly within your rights to opt out of all marketing (although you’ll also be opting out of communications you potentially might want). Here’s a helpful link for you

      If you as a seller are spamming your customers I’ll do my best not to buy from you if you care to publish your User ID.

      I agree with you that eBay’s email marketing ain’t that hot. However if you want me to receive your marketing then it won’t be spam if I opt in.

      Send me a one off thank you email with a link to which I can subscribe to your offers (if I choose to) and that’s email marketing. Add me without my express consent and you’re a spammer, breaking the law and likely to receive a call you won’t want from the ICO if someone complains (and it may only take one complaint for them to investigate if they hear that you’ve added an illegal database).

      As for my time…I bill companies that send me spam for my time, phone, paper, envelope and stamp costs at the same time as asking for an assurance that they’ll never contact me again. Been doing it for years for both text spam and email spam.

    • A+
      4 years ago

      Hello Chris

      In the article it says there is a copy of the letter on tamebay, can you give me the link please?

      It reminds me of this guy, he’s quite entertaining.

      What is the proportion of successful claims? Do you take it further if they ignore you?


    • 4 years ago

      Sure thing, it’s been on Tamebay since 2009 linked from

      I have a fair proportion pay up, charge for second letters and second offences and report non-payers to the ICO. That’s not done as a threat, it’s simply if companies don’t take any notice of me I send them through to someone that they have no choice but to take notice of.

      Love the video. Looks like I’m undercharging!

    • A+
      4 years ago

      thank you 🙂

  • Scott McD
    4 years ago

    Yawn….click junk and move on!

  • Jane
    4 years ago

    A friend of mine does the same thing as Chris – contacts the company with a bill for his time, etc. It’s his hobby and he actually receives a surprising amount of money in recompense, though like Chris, it’s the principle that annoys him.

    However, I also have a personal bugbear about sellers who break the law and I think mine is more significant: It drives me absolutely bananas when sellers state a return policy that is in breach of the Distance Selling Regulations. If a buyer cancels their order in writing, within 7 days of receipt, and returns the item, they are entitled to a full refund including original postage. Yet just about every seller on eBay says they won’t refund postage and/or that they don’t accept returns unless an item is faulty.

    All this is against the law, as is misinforming buyers about their legal rights. I think eBay should remove all listings with non-compliant/illegal returns policies.

    This is a really important issue and it’s about time sellers – and eBay – addressed it and stopped trying to wriggle out of their obligations. I’m a seller too (TRS, Powerseller, 100% FB over 13,000) and I think the law is totally unfair on this….however, it IS the law so we ALL have to do it.

  • 4 years ago

    It could be worse. There is a 3rd party developer I’m aware of who, based on complaints I’ve read, email reputation metrics of his servers, and the titles he gives his email lists that grabs the emails from his subscribers’ buyers, profiles them, and if they appear to be sellers adds them to be spammed with offers for his services.

    • 4 years ago

      If they’re based in the UK and add me then they’ll be having a very interesting chat with the ICO if they happen to add one of my private email addresses instead of a business email. I hate people like that and hope they get sued.

  • simon
    4 years ago

    Well the laws the law and you have a problem with an email.

    Do you ever go over 30mph in a 30 zone.
    If yes then your doing something unlawful and you shouldn’t be complaining about a little email compare to something that might kill someone (and you should report yourself to a police station immediately). And if you say you have NEVER driven above the speed limit than your a liar and Hippocrate.

  • Glenn
    4 years ago

    My primary AOL user name receives so much Spam that I no longer use that email address. I log into that account every month and delete everything within it. I avoid using my Amazon email account for anything other than Amazon, and the email account I give when commenting on Tamebay is my regular daily account which receives some Spam, but is manageable.
    My point is Spam has made my primary account unusable and the sending of Spam to it is pointless because I,m never going to read any of it.
    With the magnitude of available links I’m genuinely interested I don’t have the time or desire to read unrequested emails and believe that Internet providers should be required by law to monitor mailing lists and close down offenders.
    The correct use of mailing lists is fine and I am on a few, but the number of emails I receive on subjects or advertising products I don’t want is ridiculous.

    • Gerry007
      4 years ago

      I have accounts [the last bit is important] and they have excellent spam filters. we have 1 account that attracts spam. This AOL is run by talktalk….

      Most of my AOL account are years old & over that time I’ve block so many spams they just do not bother anymore…

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