eBay Messaging Now Catches More Attempts to Sell Offline

eBay Messaging Catches More Attempts to Send Email Address
eBay Messaging Catches More Attempts to Send Email Address

Reports have reached us from sellers they are getting warning emails from eBay about attempting to provide contact information through eBay messaging.

eBay recently announced they would require sellers to strip all contact details, including phone numbers, from listings. This new policy will go into effect September 2017.

However, what eBay did not announce is that their machine learning capability to interpret messages has significantly improved.

Let’s face it; many sellers knew that using little tricks like “sales+y0urd0main+d0t+c0m” or writing reach me at “<name> at my eBay ID” bypassed the filter. It appears eBay has improved the filter and now can read even more complicated email messages.

WILL EBAY SUSPEND OR RESTRICT MY ACCOUNT?

In short, eventually yes, eBay will suspend or restrict your account.

We do not know right now how this policy is applied and how many strikes it takes for eBay to take action on your account. This could still be beta testing as well.

Most astute sellers may have noticed that eBay started late last year to identify possible violations by highlighting the message box. Make some changes to the message and the message would go through with no problem.

Well, it seems that even if you modify the message now, at a minimum you are likely to receive a warning email.

HERE IS A COPY OF THE WARNING EMAIL EBAY IS SENDING OUT

Hello {seller name removed},

We’re writing to let you know that activity on your account may not be following an important eBay policy that requires all transactions and payments to be completed through eBay. The same policy specifies that eBay member-to-member messages may not be used to share contact information.

For example(s), review your listing and member messages regarding the following:
123456789012 – {listing title removed}

There’s a very good reason for this policy. Only transactions conducted through eBay can be covered by eBay Seller Protections—programs that help ensure sellers can conduct business on eBay with confidence. Also, eBay has invested a great amount to bring you buyers, and we want to continue to partner with you in the fulfillment of transactions with them.

Even if a buyer requests to work with you directly, it’s important to use the methods eBay provides to personalize a transaction. For example, you can make a private offer to your buyer. You can also set up your listings to invite best offers.

We understand that you might not have known about our rules that don’t allow sharing contact information in messages or making an offer to sell outside of eBay. We encourage you to review the details of the policy to understand what you can and can’t do. At this time, no further action is being taken on your account; we want to educate you on the policy. Make sure you follow these guidelines. If you don’t, you may be subject to a range of actions, including limits of your buying and selling privileges, application of fees, suspension of your account(s), and restrictions on listing search page exposure and account features.

If you have any questions, contact us:
http://ocsnext.ebay.com/ocs/cusr?query=3030

Thanks,

eBay

WHAT ABOUT IF A SELLER CONTACTS ME TO COMMUNICATE WITH THEM OFFLINE?

Same policy or warning applies. We received one chain of events where the buyer asked for contact information to discuss the sale offline. The seller still received the warning from eBay.

All the correspondences we saw and that resulted in warnings were from pre-sale communications.

WHAT ABOUT AFTER THE SALE COMMUNICATIONS?

At this point, we can only suggest you do not share information even after the sale through eBay messaging. We can only assume the system does not know the difference and it treats all communication the same.

If you have any reason to communicate with the buyer about the purchase and it requires some add-on, you will need to deal with the customer directly through email. At least you will still have access to the customer’s email in eBay or Paypal.

However, any other communication about the purchase should always go through eBay should a situation arise that requires the Resolution Center. eBay will not consider any other messages in making decisions.

BE CAREFUL ON YOUR COMMUNICATIONS ON EBAY AND TRAIN YOUR STAFF

If you have other members of staff that communicate with customer on eBay, you should have a meeting to discuss the new eBay policy.

Your only safe bet is to stay away from any communication that may represent off-line sales or off-line contact.

In Europe, business information must be provided in the bottom of a listing. We are aware that some European sellers were told they could tell buyers to look at the bottom of the listing…

Bottom line now is to tread lightly. Don’t give eBay a reason to restrict your account.

They are taking this no outside contact policy very seriously. And most important, appear to have improved their messaging system to catch more attempts to stop leakage.

We like to hear from you if you receive this warning email and the circumstances that led up to it. Please use our contact form or leave a reply below.

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Richard has 17 plus years of eBay experience which includes tens-of-thousands of sales to buyers in over 100 countries. He even has experience with eBay's VeRO program enforcing intellectual property rights. And for about two years he sold products on Amazon using Amazon FBA. To "relax" from the business grind, on a few weekends he works for IMSA as a professional sports car race official.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I got a warning for giving info out, when i only did what was asked. Now ive been trying to find out how to report messages from sellers asking for such info. And ive had no luck.

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