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eBay Messages block can make 7 day selling restriction even worse

By Chris Dawson August 29, 2017 - 10:42 am

Here at Tamebay we’re hearing from an ever increasing number of sellers being hit with eBay seven day restrictions. It would appear that eBay are very very serious in their efforts to stamp out off site deals and members passing contact details between each other.

It’s worth emphasising that any attempt to communicate that could be interpreted as an attempt to arrange an off-eBay deal is likely to result in an immediate suspension however innocent.

Not only are eBay clamping down on sending contact information in emails but we’ve also heard of instances where sellers received a ban simply for telling their buyer to send images or text for printing to the “email address in the listing”. Any language like this appears to be enough for a listing ban.

The Secondary Problem

As well as a 7 day listing ban and associated demotion of listings, eTRS demotion and any other limitations eBay deem appropriate, there’s also a secondary issue of communicating with buyers who have completed a transaction. It would appear that part of the ban is blocking messages and unfortunately (whether by design or intention) buyers who send you a question aren’t being informed that you’re banned from replying.

This means innocent questions from buyers such as “Do you have a tracking number for my parcel?” or “You short shipped the order, could you send the missing item please?” will remain unanswered and buyers won’t realise that eBay are preventing you from responding. This can only lead to further defects on your account if you don’t take alternative action.

The Solution

Whilst all best advice is to keep communications on eBay so that if ever there’s a problem eBay Customer Support can see the email thread, it would appear that if you need to request images or text for custom made items or if you’re already serving a 7 day suspension and need to answer customer queries you have to take the emails off eBay. It’s not something we’d normally recommend, but drastic action is the only way to keep your account safe (or if you’re serving a ban preventing further issues escalating).

How to get contact information for eBay buyers

  1. From the eBay Sales Record

    If you click the sales record for any completed transaction on eBay you should be able to see your buyers full contact information including their email address. This is probably the best email address to use as it’s the one eBay communications will be sent to. The downside of emailing direct is that there will be no record for eBay customer service to see. However if you need to request contact information to print or an image that’s not compressed, sending a direct email appears to be the best advice. Plus if you are serving a ban then at least if you receive a message that requires a response there’s a chance that the buyer will get your reply.

  2. From PayPal

    Assuming your buyer paid with PayPal then you will have their email address in the PayPal transaction. If you need to get content for custom made items or if you have post sales questions while serving a ban then use their PayPal email address as a last resort

  3. Make a phone call!

    For some reason many eBay sellers absolutely hate using the telephone and prefer to keep all communications online. If this is you then employ someone who isn’t scared to use the phone and instead of emailing buyers who have made a purchase to ask for customisation information call them.

To ensure that you always have the option of telephoning buyers, under your eBay Site Preferences in the Postage and packaging preferences section there is an option to “Require phone number for delivery”. Most times a buyers telephone number will be up to date although it’s not guaranteed but at least give yourself the chance of a last ditch safe way to communicate in an emergency!

  • Jamie
    2 months ago

    Unauthorized use of your account — action required

    Had my account hacked into Ive Lost £1000’s and Ebay wont give me money back nor Paypal.
    They are a Law to there own ***kers

    Hello
    We have reason to believe that your eBay account has been used fraudulently without your permission. We’ve reset your eBay password. If you had your PayPal account linked to your eBay account, we’ve disabled your PayPal link to protect your funds. Any unauthorised activity, such as buying or selling, has been cancelled and any associated fees have been credited to your account. Any listings that we removed are included toward the end of this email. We assure you that your financial information is securely stored on a server and cannot be seen by anyone.

    Although we’ve taken steps to secure your eBay account, your personal email account or third-party listing tools may have also been accessed without your permission. Please change these passwords as soon as possible.

  • 2 months ago

    It may be interesting for you all to know that ebay have told us that we’re not allowed our business name within our logo on our listings.. That counts as contact info.. apparently

  • Toby
    2 months ago

    Once the sale has taken place, all communications is now being done via direct email.

    Weirdly our eBay message signature has our email in it & they’ve not mentioned it, even though we’ve had a 7 day suspension for supplying our phone number for a customer requiring adive before purchasing.
    Both of us [Buyer & Seller] got a 7 day suspension & the buyer has told he will never use eBay again.
    eBay are only going to f**k themselves with this one & they’re not going to be backing down on this one.

  • 2 months ago

    me too, I only asked to a seller if he could make me a commercial invoice, see below

    Violating Text: can you make an invoice ?
    Negotiating deals outside of the eBay platform is against eBay rules as well as providing or requesting any contact information including but not limited to: PayPal information, phone number, email address, home address, and social media before the transaction has been completed on the eBay platform.

  • 2 months ago

    My customer needed to speak to me ref a custom design ( we do hand painted glasses) he tried to give me his phone number he has been suspended for 7 days I’ve had a warning . Customers like to speak to a real person I am very happy for Ebay to have the commission I wouldn’t have had the potential sale otherwise. He has now found my website ( thats why I know he was suspended) honestly we are going around in circles!!! What on earth are E Bay up to?

  • Dave
    2 months ago

    Make a phone call………..

    More and more increasingly eBay hides the phone numbers, even though I have checked the “require phone number” box. I use couriers and they need a contact number, but ebay hide it……..even after the buyer has paid.

    If I am quick enough I can grab the buyer phone number off the “send invoice” preview rather than having to apply for contact info.

    But more often than not, I am finding buyers have put in “wrong” numbers or transposed numbers (possibly to prevent marketing calls / numbers being sold on to others).

    Recently I have had to resort to google and the online BT phone book to get contact numbers, luckily the people were not ex-directory….but more and more are.

    And one chap in the EU sent me his contact number 4 hours after I had booked the courier using the ebay supplied mobile number, he had the transposed numbers! They were not 7 / 8 it was 2 and 9……..so not a entry error / typo, but an attempt to stop marketing calls etc I think. Too late, the booking was made, but it got there okay.

  • Chris
    2 months ago

    eBay need to get a grip on this. This massive crackdown in a way is required but having it automated is damaging genuine sellers. This is actually encouraging people to contact outside of eBay more than before.

    Also, can somebody clarify if having the logo in the description is now not allowed?

    Is that a rule similar to the not watermarks or logos on images rule which has been completely disregarded for years and the place still looks like a cheap jumbo sale?

    • 2 months ago

      We were told that we are not allowed our logo within our descriptions as it contained our business name.. so we’ve removed it!

      Shocking really

    • 2 months ago

      It is shocking, and exactly how Ebay flip-flops continually- remember when they brought Skype and our numbers were plastered everywhere with the Skype call button to make contact seemless and effortless lol. That was when we deleted our phone number. Also interesting what they will do with Argos and Currys PC World whose logos / insignia is plastered all over their listings ? Does no one from ebay read these threads to comment on the dual standards been imposed ??

  • 2 months ago

    eBay must have lost their marbles over this appalling misuse of their “ultimate powers”, they really can’t see that they are going to drive sellers elsewhere . . even the “take it or leave it” attitude from Amazon is beginning to look good now!

    I’m not effected . . . yet . . . by this “system fault” but I am going to say that it is acting as a brake on what I would LIKE to do with future products and whether I want to take a risk on using eBay.

    . . . and what I simply cannot understand is that FULL contact information is being shown on so many listings from pukka business sellers at this time? For those instead effected by these unfair restrictions that fact must be salt in an open wound!

  • Ian A
    2 months ago

    I think ebay legally have to display business seller contact info under eu law ?

    They can make it hard to find and punish sellers for even stating their business name in a listing but ultimately it has to be there.

    I think there’s a danger of some sellers taking their entire business ‘off site’. Clearly ebay have enough sellers to risk the crackdown.

    • J
      2 months ago

      I believe so but it’s not something that is enforced.

  • J
    2 months ago

    I have a product listing on Amazon and eBay which includes the phone number for the technical support team. Recently eBay wouldn’t allow this number to be mentioned.

  • 2 months ago

    So many sellers annoyed with ebay for many different reasons, how about a massive 24 hour ebay ban – everyone puts their listings on a coordinated 24 hour holiday setting, if enough sellers participated, it would cause a massive drop in their 24 hour figures while we sellers would each only sacrifice 1 days sales, if enough participated, it would show eBay its sellers have muscle and shouldn’t be so taken for granted. Any takers ??

    • Alan Paterson
      2 months ago

      @ charles

      [begin sarcasm]

      What a fantastic idea! While we are at it we could all by guns and at a co-ordinated time we could all simultaneously shoot ourselves in the foot!

      [end sarcasm]

  • 2 months ago

    Alan, apologies I obviously wasn’t considering that 1 days takings would be so critical to some sellers, personally I’d be happy to close it down for a week if it had the desired result, yes I’d be down a few k in turnover, but sometimes principles matter more, and i am sick of Ebay taking its sellers for granted, forever implementing new hoops we have to jump through, hitting their numbers and $ is the only tool I can see we sellers have.

    • Alan Paterson
      2 months ago

      @ Charles

      Its the principles I am talking about Charles – don’t make assumptions. You are acting like a petulant child. i know! we will throw a tantrum!

      Have you ever heard os a symbiotic relationship?! Why on earth would you damage or try to damage the host? (thats ebay incase you are not getting it).

      And then you have the short sighted arrogance to presume I am talking about my own turnover. jeeeez.

      I wont be revisiting this post……its just one of these threads that has reached a level of stupidity that puts my blood pressure up to dangerous levels. I am off to get my valium……..

      There really are some idiots on here…… (am i allowed to say that or will my post be blocked?)

  • lotus nut
    2 months ago

    Is this only applicable to UK sellers?, do US and other countries also have this problem?

    • Alan Paterson
      2 months ago

      No, I am sure other countries have idiots too , its not just UK.

  • 2 months ago

    Lol, certainly tablets of some sort required Al !! You didn’t mention turnover, I did, and having been in retail for 40 years and trading on ebay since the start I have had plenty of experience of business relationships and one word I would never associate with ebay would be symbiotic !!! Parasitic maybe. As mentioned here many times, how many other trade accounts do we have where you pay a supplier tens of thousands of pounds a year yet do not have direct access to a dedicated rep responsible for your account ?? Ebay is great, but it is on the wane, and unless they are made to realise the depth of anger amongst its selling account customers they are lost, after all what is ebay without sellers filling its ‘virtual shelves’ as it now likes to think. On the other point – plenty of idiots in the US, we exported them to most of the colonies lol eeeee

  • Rob
    2 months ago

    Hope this helps. Whilst you can not reply to emails directly via the eBay messaging page, if you have sold an item to a customer, you can go back to the listing and reply from there. If only works if you have actually sold an item to them but at least you are able to offer a follow up service if they contact you and saves having to try to find an email address. My suspension cost me £3,000 turnover and despite customer services confirming the ban was wrong and they would remove the suspension it remained in place the full 7 days.

  • 2 months ago

    So, ebay are using automated bots to check for the presence of contact information inside an email, resulting in a 7 day ban.

    Meaning that, simply un-informed customers, who may be attempting to help things go smoothly by providing contact information when it wasn’t requested in the first place may result in the banning of both their own and the sellers account?

    If that is the case then it opens up a world of pain for unscrupulous people to effectively ban competitors by purchasing a cheap product from them via ebay. I hope that isn’t the case.

    • Andy
      2 months ago

      Automated bots who pull information out, assess that information with no context applied, and then bans come out.

      I received a 7 day ban for replying to a chap asking if he could collect. I gave his my geographical area and the first half of my post code. When he asked about off site deals, I replied that I would not do such a thing.

      A week later, I received my ban for trying to solicit an off site deal. Well played, Ebay, well played.

  • james
    2 months ago

    Had a customer today ask if he could come view some of our wardrobes and beds, before he committed to such a large purchase.

    we explained yes, we’ve recently installed a small showroom onto our warehouse, with the very wardrobes he want to view on display, which i’d be happy to show him, but i can’t tell him where the showroom is.

    feel like I’ve provided some proper ebay-level service right there.

    • northumbrian
      2 months ago

      the same customer would then go away and buy via ebay .
      you would of course be highly delighted to give ebay their cut

  • caz
    2 months ago

    i had a ebay warning, i sell posters, other people send me their images, a customer asked me if it was good enough quality, ebay reduce the quality sending via their message service and i could not check it.
    i have been told via ebay now, that once they have bought a item, i can send my email address too them and get them to send the image after. very complicated but this seems the best solution .
    but very scared when communicating with customer that i’m doing anything wrong

  • 2 months ago

    Interesting, not surprisingly ebay figures are down quarter on quarter, and they say this today:
    “Spending millions of dollars on marketing campaigns, Ebay is working to distinguish itself as a haven for unique items online rather than commodity products.”

    Really ?? Unique items that don’t have IAN numbers or fit their exact catalog match ? Seems to me EBay’s left hand doesn’t know what EBay’s right hand is doing !!

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