Buyer email addresses hidden by PayPal say sellers

By Chris Dawson April 25, 2018 - 10:10 am

Tamebay readers are starting to notice that eBay buyer email addresses are no longer appearing in PayPal payments – not in email notifications nor when you log into your PayPal account. This appears to be a recent change and is rolling out to some seller’s before others. If you rely on buyer email addresses in PayPal payments then you may have to rethink the way that you manage your service.

PayPal are saying that this is a change that eBay have asked for. What we don’t know is the reason for the change – is it part of eBay’s programme of reducing the availability of contact information, preparations for the roll out of eBay Payments with Adyen, or whether it’s as a result of their preparations for GDPR.

This could impact sellers in a number of ways, for instance if you don’t have the buyer email address then you’ll no longer be able to pass it to your chosen carrier so that they get tracking notifications. Of course you could and should be uploading tracking information to eBay, but there are two issues with this. Firstly not all couriers are integrated within eBay so tracking won’t be linked. Secondly the courier won’t have a facility to automatically collect the email address from eBay and so shipping updates won’t be relayed to customers.

For many eBay sellers, you may hardly ever log into your PayPal account and may not rely on PayPal dispatch emails in which case the change won’t bother you in the slightest. If you do rely on gathering your buyers’ email addresses from PayPal then you’ll have to change your workflow.

Personally, one reason I’ll welcome the change is that it’ll stop disreputable spammers from adding my email address to their wretched mailing lists against the eBay User Agreement. I might make a purchase from you but in reality I’m purchasing from eBay and have no interest in being added to your spam list. At least it’ll keep the spammers a little bit more GDPR compliant if they can’t see buyer email addresses in the first place.

  • Dave
    9 months ago

    ‘ I might make a purchase from you but in reality I’m purchasing from eBay ..’

    I’m not sure that I agree with that. eBay don’t sell anything, it’s the seller who is paying for eBay’s service and the seller who is eBay’s customer.

    • james
      9 months ago

      “one reason I’ll welcome the change is that it’ll stop disreputable spammers from adding my email address to their wretched mailing lists”
      No it won’t, they still get it from ebay, if they don’t get it from paypal.

      “…in reality I’m purchasing from eBay”
      when you go to the Shopping centre in town, and go into the Argos inside, did you still buy from Argos, or did you buy from the shopping centre, that doesn’t actually stock any products themselves?
      you may still say “i’m off to Silverburn”, you may have chosen that location specifically for it’s benefits or proximity or any number of reasons, but unless you’re an absolute drivelling moron, you should realise you’re still buying from Argos, not Silverburn.
      like i need to explan this to someone who really should know better.

      “At least it’ll keep the spammers a little bit more GDPR compliant”
      Yeah, totally, cos they’re concerned about the GDPR in the same way serial killers are concerned about being fined for littering.

      if you have a problem being spammed by a particlar seller, address the seller and the issue, don’t tar us all with your nasty brush, or we’ll start blaming tamebay for what facebook’s been up to.

    • 9 months ago

      “…in reality I’m purchasing from eBay”

      Seriously yes. Pop out of your front door and ask the first half dozen people you bump into if they’ve recently purchased something on eBay. Then ask any that did what the name of the seller they purchased from was – all they’ll know is that they bought something from eBay.

      Both buyer and seller agree to the eBay user agreement and that trumps any terms and conditions a seller might try to add or chooses to ignore.

      As for taking up the spam issue with sellers, I’ve done so many times over the years including making myself a right nuisance to a very large retailer who then had to go through their database and remove all the mail addresses they’d harvested illegally from eBay customers.

      GDPR will expose (accidental or intentional) spammers who email eBay customers to fines of up to 4% of their turnover and with the eBay User Agreement there’s a watertight case against them.

    • james
      9 months ago

      just because the first half dozen people i ask might be blisfully ignorant, doesn’t mean you, in a position to know better, writing in a professional blog, should repeat the lie as if fact.
      the first half dozen people i bump into probably don’t have a clue how the internet works and are barely computer-literate, you can forgive them being wrong, the educated minority are no doubt well aware what sellers they’re purchasing from, probably even have a few favourite sellers saved (because that service they received from ebay was infinitely better than that service they received from ebay?).
      yes you agree to ebay T&C’s, before you ever see ebay, you agree to your ISP’s T&C’s to get online, so the first person i ask could say “i don’t buy things on ebay, i buy things on the internet”. does that mean a learned person in a professional setting, speaking to other informed people, should proclaim the same, because a confused old lady may make such mistakes when outside their area of expertise?
      the shopping centre analogy stands, Argos agree to the shopping centre’s terms before they can open a store there, you agree to their terms by setting foot on their property, yet “in reality” you do still buy from Argos, not the shopping centre.

      well done on stopping an illegal email racket, sounds like you do know how to deal with spam, and that your spam issue was not with joe-ebay-seller, but a large national co? so why now address your complaint directly to your joe-ebay-seller readers, with choices of language like “…being added to YOUR spam list”?
      your spam anger seems mis-directed. tarring the decent majority of your readers with the nasty brush deserved for a malicious or unethical minority hardly seems fair, much like me blaming tamebay for what facebook does. or how ebay treats us.
      I don’t send spam, it bugs me too, but i buy lots on ebay and amazon, and i don’t receive much spam at all from that these days, i’m easily able to address my spam anger at the small minority who deserve it.
      if you continually receive spam from ebay purchases to the point of misplacing spam rage, maybe you should (and encourage others to) be aware which seller you’re buying from, rather than just “getting it from ebay”, as not all ebay sellers are the same.

    • 9 months ago

      Maybe my language was a little unclear, but the fact remains I signed up to the eBay User Agreement and so did every seller on the site. Sellers (large or small) who either don’t read eBay’s policies or blatantly ignore them are disreputable.

    • Dave
      9 months ago

      From the eBay User Agreement:

      ‘About eBay

      eBay is a marketplace that allows users to offer, sell and buy just about anything in a variety of pricing formats and locations.

      eBay does not have possession of anything listed or sold through eBay, and is not involved in the actual transaction between buyers and sellers. The contract for the sale is directly between buyer and seller. eBay is not a traditional auctioneer.’

      They are our customers, not eBay’s 🙂

    • 9 months ago

      @ Chris Dawson – As others have said I am also suprised that you would say something as stupid as “…in reality I’m purchasing from eBay”.

      What you claim people may believe and stupid people will believe a lot of rubbish is not actually correct, regardless of you signing up to the eBay User Agreement.

      All our orders are sent with a VAT invoice bearing our business name and company details (NOT eBay’s) to ensure customers know we delivered it. This helps re-enforce our brand across all market platforms. This is one reason that we do not and will not use Amazon FBA, as you have no brand identity at the point the customer opens the box. Nor would we use eBay branded packaging.

      Whilst you may not wish to be signed up to newsletters, you have mentioned your annoyance of this before, but the two things are completely separate.

      Yes we are guilty of doing the above, all that will now have to change with GDPR, but we give clear instructions of how to opt out of our infrequent newsletter and respect customers who do.

      Ultimately as a regular customer you miss out on any direct discounts we are able to offer. Some of our customers seem to enjoy paying more through eBay and up to RRP+20% on Amazon, rather than pay RRP less a discount direct through our own web site.

    • 9 months ago

      Tyler you make a good point that there are convenience driven customers who will use the eBay or Amazon app and there are cost driven customers who will shop around and appreciate discounts/lower prices on your own website.

      The crux of the matter isn’t who legally sells the product – there’s no argument there. It’s an emotional question of who the customer believes they’re buying from and in many cases they do think of themselves as a marketplace customer, not an individual seller’s customer and as such agree to the marketplace Ts and Cs and expect the seller to respect them.

    • 9 months ago

      @ Chris Dawson – Personally, I believe that customers who buy from us know they are buying from us and NOT eBay or Amazon.

      I would also like to think that the population of buyers is not as stupid as you would like to make out, although experience tells me that with some that is not so.

      With Amazon I can see how they could be confused if sellers use FBA, the item arrives from Amazon with no details of who the seller is / was. Especially as Amazon do sell items as well.

      Some sellers on eBay also do not believe in sending a packing slip or VAT invoice with the items.

  • 9 months ago

    If ebay want to do that, they need to upgrade their messaging system, adding an attach file option, not just attach and shrink a photo. We often get customers asking for a copy VAT invoice from weeks, months or even years ago. Currently the only way to send this as a PDF file, is to search through email logs for the address the paypal payment came from, then send it there. With Amazon messages, it can just be attached.

    Then there is the tracking details experience. For the heavier courier only items, we use DPD, so we can offer 1 hr delivery slot windows. If we add the email address, DPD will send an email notification of when they expect to deliver. This can be useful to the buyer, but without an email address, they will have to rely on the ebay integrated tracking system, which currently, is not exactly brilliant.

    As an example, when using DPD and adding the tracking number, it will either autofill as DHL, or it will autofill as USPS. WTF? Yes, these can be deleted and DPD selected, but the fact it comes up with the United States Postal Service as a pre-filled option just goes to show the laziness and sloppiness of the programmers and checkers.

    Additionally, the DPD proof of delivery when shown through ebay will sometimes show the depot address it left from as the delivery address. Funnily enough, this confuses buyers!

    Both these things need sorting out before they finalise removing email addresses.

  • SAM
    9 months ago

    This is all getting a bit silly now from eBay. One of the biggest signs you get of an ebay fraudster is if the PayPal email is different from the eBay email. We have used this check for many years, and if our gut tells us something is fishy, it normally is. Of course this is not always the case but it does let us do additional checks.
    It has paid of many times.

    Just dealt with one, scammer using multiple eBay accounts from the same paypal address.
    The whole thing is getting stupid now.

  • SAM
    9 months ago

    Also another issue which eBay is already well behind,… Digital Delivery….many people will buy a DLC or code and have this delivered to their PayPal email instantly like we do on our website. So am unsure how this will now work with eBay (you can do the same). Maybe some upgrade on eBay itself, and defo an upgrade of that internal message system is long overdue

    Amazon have been pushing DIGITAL for sometime and we know some of the Game retailers markets are going to be doing this. System is already in place with Mirkal with some retail markets. Some are dilly dallying but we know one who is all over this.

    We are selling more digital and less physical all the time (not my preference I prefer tangible goods) but I do not dictate the market (must have generation)

    This is large part of business eBay will be missing the boat on (Amazon defo are not)…

    As well as the above issue in previous post , this is another issue for us, I doubt this has even crossed their minds. It is all a bit OTT..

  • Toby
    9 months ago

    The “Reply-To” has the buyers email address

  • Toby. L
    9 months ago

    Omg… does that mean we all have to reply on the ebay mesaging system? God help us all. the desktop version is bad and unreliable, try using it through the app and you have no idea if something has sent or whatever. reply via the app and it doesnt even show as read or replied to on the desktop site most of the time.
    More headache, more shambles, more avoiding the big issue by creating a non existant small new one!
    Ebay seems to view its sellers as devil spawn… why doesn’t it just save itself the worry and hassle and shut down as we areobviously all raving scammers.
    I smell the stench of desperation from a business that is so blind to the truth that it is drowning in its own fallings.

  • 9 months ago

    “I might make a purchase from you but in reality I’m purchasing from eBay ”

    When you sell on Amazon, you sell to and get paid by Amazon, When on Ebay, you sell to and get paid directly by the customer, Ebay only take a fee. Might be picky but think there may be a lot of legal issues in there somewhere. Perception and reality are very different.

  • Dan
    9 months ago

    This selling on ebay malarky is getting ridiculous now. This latest move is just another example that shows ebay treats its sellers like shite. The next move will be that Paypal will stop providing delivery addresses and sellers will only be able to get delivery addresses from ebay. They’re ultimate goal is to completely isolate and stop any buyer and seller interaction. That way sellers will become just puppets with no rights at all, just doing the complete bidding of anything they are told, and content they have been granted the privilege to sell anything by the great god ebay.
    The idea the buyers buy from ebay and not the seller is a laugh. Does ebay sort out delivery issues? Does ebay deal with warranty issues? Does ebay deal with buyer custom requirements? No.
    People might say “ I got this great widget from ebay” but if they want to make repeat purchases they look for a specific seller.
    I very rarely sell on ebay now because it is not a safe place to sell, but I do still buy on ebay, for now, but if I dont have the reassurance of a seller’s email address I will probably shop elsewhere.

  • 9 months ago

    Have noticed this absence of buyer email / account name on paypal several times recently. Makes it difficult to refund the return postage costs if buyer returns a faulty item.

  • 9 months ago

    Just on a practical note, although eBay will send Tracking information to the customer initially, what about companies like DPD who send follow up emails to allocate a 1 hour time slot on the day of delivery, how will ebay be dealing with that?

  • Geom Thorsbaq
    9 months ago

    I’m sure EBay put the squeeze on Pay-Pal (this is a Cain and Able story) to stop placing contact info on their receipts. I’ve been with Ebay since 1997 and found them to be arrogant, controlling, and greedy – wanting the whole pie and that extra piece too. PayPay was just the opposite. Since EBay is dropping PayPal as their primary pay source, EBay has probably threatened to offer them even as an option if they did not conform. Don’t kid yourself, this has little to do with scrammers and much to do with greed and control. And EBay is ruthless.

    • 9 months ago

      @Geom Thorsbaq – The world is full of (negative) conspiracy theories…

      It may be something to do with the up & coming GDPR, although in truth I can not see that as you get the other data, name & address, telephone number. They could just show you and eBay order number as you can get the other data from eBay, including the email address.

      Paypal still show the email address of customers from my own web site and eBay still supply Royal Mail Click & Drop with the email address data.

      I am also still getting the email address of eBay buyers into my own system, so it looks like it is more an anti-PayPal policy. Although as most users have an account PayPal will already have the users email address.

      With the above in mind, it makes you wonder what the real point is, unless it is the start of something and RM will also lose the email data soon as well as my system and others like it..

  • Geom Thorsbaq
    9 months ago

    I’m in US and the changed seemed to occur April 1 for me.

  • 9 months ago

    Is it a coincidence that Paypal gets an extension to its deal with Ebay at the same time as this email address thing is announced? Sounds like Paypal agreed to this in order to keep a presence on Ebay for a bit longer.

    It’s also unclear how many will Ebay buyers will sign up to Adyen. Yes, you can force sellers to use it, but what if buyers prefer to keep using Paypal and won’t make the switch?

    In the end, Ebay’s attempt to stop off-site trading is futile. The more they bear down on sellers, the less inclined they will be to show any loyalty to Ebay. It’s Aesop’s fable about the sun and the wind. Maybe Ebay should try some sun, for a change, rather than their preferred tool of the icy wind. Ease off on this and stop cranking up the fees and seller requirements.

    Who knows, sellers might actually LIKE selling on Ebay again.

    Perhaps if Mr Wenig gets a chance to read this (when he’s not busy on the board of GM or knocking golf balls into an upturned waste bin) he might consider a change of policy.

  • 9 months ago

    If I click on a transaction in my PayPal account, and then ‘See details on classic site’, I can see my buyer’s email address.

  • 8 months ago

    As a buyer I find it frustrating if paypal give my private paypal email address to 3rd parties (this is a direct breach of GDPR). I prefer to give each retailer a unique email address.

    Of all the hundreds of emails from retailers due to the GDPR changes, paypal and ebay are conspicuous by their absence.

    So had a look under paypal permissions, I notice that I have at some point in the past given ebay access to my paypal address, email address, etc.

    So I have removed those permissions,
    Then unlinked paypal as my payment method in ebay
    Then relinked it.

    Curiously the permissions are still not present in paypal, will see what happens next time I make a purchase. This makes sense to me, paypal is just a way of authorising payment.

    Admittedly of all the hundreds of purchases I have made via ebay/paypal, I think I have only had a handful of exploits of my email address. So the vast majority of sellers in my experience play by the rules.