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Common eBay Questions

This page is to help with common eBay questions and where to find answers. This is not an official eBay Frequently Asked Questions page, please go to eBay for authoritative answers to eBay questions.

At the bottom of most eBay pages, select "Site Map" and at Site Map at the bottom right "A-Z Index".

eBay rules, like any rules, are open to interpretation, which is one of the reasons that we have lawyers and judges, and I am neither, so these are only my interpretations of eBay's rules. My interpretation may not be correct, so you should always contact eBay for an official interpretation of their rules.

I have tried to list many of the common questions that new sellers have. In each question I have tried to give links to the rule(s) being discussed so that readers can read the actual rule and form their own interpretation.

eBay Official Forum

eBay Question Forum (Answer Center) - There is also an eBay forum where both buyers and sellers can ask questions of eBay members and get other interpretations of eBay's rules, but again, the answers may be opinions.

At the top right of most eBay pages select "Community" and at Community, the gray box at the left, select "Answer Center".


Mediation Companies - Help to resolve disputes between buyers and sellers.

Mediate.com - Online Dispute Resolution Articles and Information.


Common eBay Questions

Special Note: eBay changes their policies, so the information below is subject to change and may be incorrect. Links are provided, so that you can verifiy the most current information.

eBay "Help" pages, the link is sometimes at the top of an eBay page, and sometimes the bottom, sometimes both.

What Can Not Be Sold On eBay

Are there things that eBay does not allow to be sold?

Yes, many, starting with anything the the government considers illegal, but eBay also has other restrictions. There is a very long list of items that are prohibited on eBay. Prohibited and restricted items – Overview.

Can I sell snails?

Yes. eBay Quote: Snails or slugs, but only those that are known as domestic aquatic snails and the following 5 types that you can eat (usually called escargot). (More info at eBay.)

Most animals are excluded from being sold on eBay, but here some exceptions that can be sold, such as certain water creatures and insects. Animals and wildlife products policy.

Account Limits

Why do I have limits on my eBay account?
Limits include: Account limits, Category limits, and Item limit.

eBay Quote: Many sellers have limits placed on their account or on particular categories and items until they confirm certain information or establish a positive selling history. Limits on eBay sellers

For example, if a new seller tries to list a large quantity of designer purses, they may be stopped and only allowed to list a few, until they establish themselves as a reliable seller.

eBay Quote: Increasing your limits - When you list an item, you may see a message letting you know that you have met, or are close to, one of your monthly account limits. If you can't wait until the next month to continue listing, you can click the link in the message to request higher selling limits.

Ending Auction Early

Can I end my listing early at eBay?

Yes, but there are extensive rules for ending auctions early having to do with why, and the time remaining, and whether or not there are bids. Quote: In some cases, you might need to end a listing early. For example, you might discover that the item you're selling doesn't work or is missing a part. How can I end my listing early?

Shipping Discounts

Can I offer a shipping discount if the buyer purchases more than one item?

Yes. Quote: Shipping discounts let you offer buyers savings on shipping when they purchase items from you. (More info at eBay.)

dog bed cat lady
PayPal Tracking Info

Will PayPal automatically upload my shipping tracking information to eBay in order to maintain my TopRated Seller status?

The eBay information page does not mention PayPal on this page. eBay - Adding Tracking Information

You can look at your eBay sold page after you use PayPal for shipping an item to see if the tracking information has been transferred over to eBay. My eBay/Sold Page - Check box to the left of the sold item - Click "Add tracking number" from the options above sold items list.

Changing Listing Discription

Why can't I change my eBay listing description?

This is usually because there is a bid on the item or there are less than 12 hours remaining until the auction ends. There are various combinations of reasons and what can and can not be changed. Restrictions on revising listings.

What Can/Cannot Be Included In A Listing

Can I have my e-mail address in my eBay listings?

Generally no. Quote: Restricted: Email addresses aren't allowed unless they're in the following categories: Business & Industrial, Motors > Vehicles, Real Estate. And: Not Allowed: Email addresses, regardless of whether or not they are clickable. Links policy / What are the guidelines?

eCommerceBytes - 11-23-2015 - Did eBay Open the Door to Off-Site Sales?

Can I link to additional information about an item I am selling on eBay?

Yes. Quote: In general, when listing items on eBay, you can include links that are solely intended to provide additional details about the items. Links policy.

Can I link to my non-eBay store?

No. Quote: eBay doesn't allow links to non-eBay sites or content where other items are offered for sale. Links policy.

Sending Invoices

The buyer wants me to send them an eBay invoice.

With normal settings, the eBay system should automatically send out invoices. If the buyer requests another invoice, it can be done from the seller's sold page, at the far right "More Actions" drop down menu. Also eBay sends e-mail notifications of sales which have a send invoice button. On another point, sometimes a new buyer will ask a seller to send an invoice, before they purchase the item, because they may not understand that they need to "buy" the item first. A simple explanation should help them understand.

eBay Valet

eBay has a newer option similar to a consignment store type service to sell your items for you, for a fee.

How does eBay Valet work? And What Sells.

Find an eBay Valet near you.

Filing Unpaid Item Claim

How to file an unpaid item claim at eBay.

If a buyer does not pay, the way to get a refund for the eBay final value fee is to file an unpaid item claim. At a seller's home page "My eBay" there are four tabs with drop down menus. In the "Account" tab drop down menu is the option "Resolution Center". The instructions for filing are simple, but the information and time limits for filing are available at the eBay help pages.

eBay Help Page - I haven't been paid. What can I do?

How to cancel a transaction. Is also in the "Resolution Center", under a seller's home page "Account" tab.

eBay Help Page - Canceling a transaction.

Can I Sell Digital Items on eBay?

Yes, but there are limiting factors to selling digital items on eBay.

Restrictions: The biggest restriction that jumps out is the listing category for an eBook being delivered by a digital service must be listed in the "Everything Else" category or use the "Classified Ad" format. For an eBook to be listed in a category such as "Books" it must be sent by postal mail and the listing must include a disclosure statement. Must be exact: "I will send this eBook by postal mail. Sending it by email or by any other digital delivery method is not allowed and violates eBay policy."

Read the complete eBay policy statement: eBay - Digitally delivered goods policy.

About.com - 12-04-2014 - Dos and Don'ts for Selling Digital Goods on eBay.

eHow.com - How to Sell E-Books on eBay.

TruthGalore - Sell eBooks on eBay Properly.

If You Use Your Own HTML Template

For people who create their own template with HTML.
Why doesn't my HTML work properly anymore? My text has extra paragraph lines and text is indented.

I can't tell you why, but I found a solution. I use Dreamweaver, I changed Dreamweaver preferences to align code left, but some code still indents, so after I create a listing I change to split view. I copy and cut the HTML code, refresh, and then paste the code into the design view, which I have set to align left, then I copy and cut it from the design view (so the code is all aligned left), and I paste it back into the HTML code view, and refresh again and save. This has all of the code aligned left and that seems to do the trick.

Problems Using HTML Code In eBay Listings

How Do I Tell eBay My Listing & Selling Preferences?

Setting up your eBay Preferences.

There are many things that need to be "set" to automate listing and selling, and to make things clear to buyers. Such as sales tax, sending a buyer a shipping notice, blocking buyers who did not pay for items, and many more. Some of these can be done during the listing process, but setting preferences is a better way.

eBay Site Preferences.

A note, some things can be changed universally for active listings. Just select some or all listings and select "Edit".

eBay How to edit multiple or bulk listings.

Video below shows an example of a site preference change.

eBay Listing - Cross Promotion - How to Turn it Off
by Danni Ackerman

Cost Of Selling On eBay

What does it cost to sell items on eBay?

Many sellers use a 15% rounded figure for estimating selling costs, including incidentals and possibly including minor shipping expenses, like a shipping label.

eBay has fees, and for most items sold there will be the need for some type of payment service, often PayPal is used.

eBay & PayPal costs can change, so see their websites for current information,
but at this writing time, these are the fees.

eBay Listing Fee $0 up to 50 listings
eBay Final Value Fee 10%
PayPal Fee 2.9% + 30 cents.
Total = 12.9 % + 30 cents.

eBay Quote: Standard Selling Fees
Basic fees - What you get for free
*Insertion fees for your first 50 listings per calendar month are free (exclusions apply).
*Buy It Now is free for all auction-style listings (exclusions apply).
*Up to12 pictures per listing are free with eBay picture hosting, including zoom and enlarge features.

eBay Fees:
Standard Selling Fees
Insertion Fee
Final Value Fee

PayPal Fees

PayPal Quote: (See PayPal web site for full information.)

  • Buying something - Always Free
  • Selling something - Small Fee
  • Transferring money - Usually Free

Sales within the US: 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction.

PayPal Here™ card reader: 2.7% when you swipe a card.
3.5% plus $0.15 per transaction when you type in a card number.

Best Day To End An Auction

What is the best day to end an eBay auction?

From my reading it changes by who's article/book you read and it probably changes from year to year. But for fun, eCommerceBytes has a cute calendar (link below). Also an interesting thought, if most people avoid certain days, does that leave and opening for daring sellers? The only real days I have found to be bad days are holidays, but just partially, primarily the eve and daytime of the holiday. For example, Christmas eve and day are dead for me, but I find I get some good eBay action on Christmas night.

Timing Your Auction Sales For Profit : eBay Guides
When is the best closing time to sell an item on eBay? : eBay Guides
The Best Time to End an eBay Auction Listing : eBay Guides

eCommerceBytes - David's Interactive Auction Calendar

The Complete Idiot's Guide eBay - The Best Times and Duration for Your eBay Auction.

eCommerceBytes - 06-22-2014 - Nine Years Later, the Best Day to End an Auction.

eCommerceBytes - 06-23-2014 - Should You Factor in Holidays When Setting Auction End Dates?

eCommerceBytes - Feb. 22, 2004 - The Most Popular Day to End an eBay Auction? The Results Are In!

Crazy Lister
Money Orders

Can I accept money orders for my eBay sales?

No, with a few exceptions. eBay on longer allows sellers to advertise that they will accept money orders, except in specific categories such as, real estate, business, and eBay Motors (see list here). There is an eBay help page about what payment options sellers can and can not accept. Accepted Payments Policy.

Note: At one time, as I recall, eBay did not disallow sellers from accept money orders - if the buyer asked, but I no longer see that loop hole in the rules.

Here is what eBay used to say, after they stopped allowing sellers to advertise they could accept money orders.

Quote: For most categories, sellers can't ask buyers to: Send cash through the mail -- & -- Mail checks or money orders (except for items in categories specifically permitted below). This quote was at this page, but it's changed now. Accepted Payments Policy / Payment methods not allowed on eBay.

Here is what the eBay rules say now.

eBay Quote: To help ensure a safe marketplace, as a seller you can only use our approved payment methods, and you must state in your listing which specific payment methods you accept. Accepted payments policy/Policy Overview

eBay Quote: There is only one exception: Sellers who offer payment upon pickup may include the following statement in their listings: “Contact me for payment methods to pay on pickup.” eBay Help Page - Accepted Payments Policy / What are the guidelines?

eBay Quote: ...you aren't allowed to make statements such as:
"Contact us for payment information."
"Contact us for other payment methods."
"Contact us for your preferred payment method."
"Buyers may request to pay by check or money order."
Accepted Payments Policy /Not Allowed

Other payment services allowed other than PayPal.
Accepted Payments Policy/What are the guidelines?/Allowed.

Special Characters & And Comparisons In Listing Titles

Are There Rules About Using Comparisons and Putting Special Characters in Listing Titles?

Yes, the listing title must be searchable, clear, and accurate.

eBay Policy Overview/What Are the Guidelines/Titles

eBay Quote: (Examples - Not Allowed.)

  • Confusing or unclear titles or subtitles
  • Incorrect or inconsistent information, ...
  • Selling a book about yoga and dieting, but using the title "I lost 30 pounds in 3 months"
  • Misrepresenting an item in the title or subtitle.
  • Using subscript, superscript, or other special characters (e.g., ™, ♥, ½) in the listing title, subtitle, item specifics, or other fields is not allowed.
  • More - See eBay web site.
Comparing Products

Can I Compare an Non-brand Item to a Name Brand?

No, an item must stand on it's on, it must be described as what it is.

eBay Policy Overview/What Are the Guidelines/Brand Names

eBay Quote: (Examples - Not Allowed.)

  • Don't engage in tactics like keyword spamming, because this makes it hard for people to find what they're looking for.
  • Comparing the item you're selling to a popular product. For example, you can't say "the Zune MP3 player is just like the iPod.
  • Promoting your other listings and naming brands in those listings. For example, you can't say things like "Check out my other listings for Adidas, New Balance, Nike, and Puma shoes.
  • Brand names, celebrities, or other product details can't be specified in a listing if you're not selling an item by those brands. For example, if you're selling a Coach handbag, you can't mention Gucci or other brand-name handbags.
  • Using a question mark "?" when you're not sure about the brand. For example, you can't describe an item as "McCoy? cookie jar.
  • More - See eBay web site.
Keyword Spamming

Keyword Spamming Not Allowed

eBay Policy Overview/What Are the Guidelines/Keyword Spamming

eBay Quote: Keyword spamming is when people use words or details (such as brands, item condition, model names, pop culture terms, product names, style, and type) that have nothing to do with their items so that their listings will show up in search results. Since this clutters eBay and makes buying and selling more difficult, we don't allow keyword spamming (see also brand names).

  • (Examples - Not Allowed.)
  • Calling out similarities—for example, when selling a DVD, don't talk about Blu-ray discs.
  • Comparisons between products aren't allowed. For example, you can't say things like "shirt not pants" or "video not Nano."
  • Words with question marks (such as "carved wood dresser – antique?"). If you're not sure about a detail, don't call it out at all because doing so can be misleading.
  • More - See eBay web site.

eCommerceBytes - 12-15-2015 - eBay Now Edits Seller Listings for Compliance.

eBay Return Policy & Money Back Guarantee Program
eBay as of 2015 - Who Pays Return Shipping Charges - eBay Quote: Either you or the seller is responsible for return shipping charges, depending on the seller's return policy and the reason for the return. In most cases, sellers require that buyers pay for return shipping, but some sellers offer free return shipping—check the Return policy section of the listing. If you're returning an item because it isn't as described in the listing, the seller is responsible for return shipping charges, regardless of the seller's return policy. Returning an item / Return shipping charges.

eCommerceBytes - 12-02-14 - Clarifying When Returns Result in eBay Defects.

eBay's New Return Policy (Summer 2014)

eBay Policies - Important implications regarding returns.

eCommerceBytes - 09-23-14 - eBay Sellers Being Told They Must Accept Returns.

eCommerceBytes - 09-11-14 - eBay Encourages Sellers to Enroll in Extended Holiday Returns.

eBay's New Return Policy (Summer 2014)

eBay Help - Using eBay hassle-free returns.

Quote: All new sellers are automatically opted in to eBay hassle-free returns. To opt in to eBay hassle-free returns, go to My eBay > Site Preferences > Return Preferences > Opt in. You can also opt in from the hassle-free returns area of the Seller Center. Once you're opted in to eBay hassle-free returns, there are additional requirements for a sale to be eligible.

Quote: Opting out: *Click the Account tab, and then click the Site preferences link on the left. *In the Return preferences section, click the Show link, and then click the Edit link. *Update your return preferences and then click the Save changes button.

eBay's New Return Policy (Summer 2014)

eBay Seller Center - Hassle-Free Returns.

Quote: Here's how it works:
1. To return an item, buyers simply print a return label and packing slip right from My eBay—and you’re notified by email.
2. Tracking for the return is uploaded automatically, so you and your buyer know exactly where it is, and when it should arrive.
3. Once you receive the return, inspect it carefully. If it’s okay—just click “issue a refund” from My eBay.
4. Once the refund’s been issued, your final value fees are credited automatically—and you can relist the returned item for free.

Do I have to pay a buyer's return shipping expense? eBay's policy in their "Creating your return policy": Quote: Select who will pay for return shipping. Creating your return policy / How to create a return policy.

Since eBay says that it depends on what your return policy states, then you should have a clear return policy, just as you would expect one from any store you do business with. Many sellers consider it only fair to offer to pay for a buyer to return an item if the item was not as described, such as said to be working, but does not work upon arrival or the seller over-looked a flaw when listing the item. On the other hand, many sellers feel that if the item is returned because of buyer remorse, then the buyer should be responsible for the return shipping costs.

When doing refunds with PayPal, there does not appear to be a way to refund more than the original payment amount. It may require "sending money" to the buyer in order to reimburse them for their return shipping expense. How do I issue a refund? --- How do I send money?

New - eBay will be starting a new return system on May 2, 2012 - Quote: Streamline returns: An optional new way to manage returns virtually automates the process according to the terms you specify. Your buyer simply clicks a link in My eBay to print a pre-paid shipping label. When you get the item back, simply click a button to issue the refund. Your final value fees are automatically refunded.

What about eBay's Money Back Guarantee Program?

What does eBay Money Back Guarantee mean to sellers? (There is a small blue text link to a video tutorial.)
Quote: Sometimes, buyers and sellers don't agree. Hey, these things happen. Learn how eBay Money Back Guarantee can help you navigate through the process.

As an eBay seller, should I offer to accept returns and what are the new policies?

Do I need a return policy at eBay? Quote: All sellers on eBay are required to specify a return policy, whether your policy is to accept returns or not. Note: Even if you specify "no returns accepted," the item could still be returned if it doesn't match the item description. Creating your return policy.

Just like all selling options, it depends on what you are selling and what your needs are. eBay still allows the "no returns accepted" option, but what is changing as of Spring 2012 is the number of days buyers have to return an item if a seller offers to accept returns.

eBay Quote - Seller Check List: This week — the week of February 28 (2012) — you’ll see a warning message if your listings specify a 3-day or 7-day return window, or an “Exchange” or “Merchandise credit” refund method. As of May 2, these options will no longer be available. Start updating these listings now with a 14-day or longer return timeframe (30 days is recommended) and either “Money back” or “Money back or exchange” refund options. You can specify “No returns accepted” as well. Be sure to also update your listings if they include any information that contradicts your updated return policy.

eBay Quote: Offer a return policy that is 14 days or longer—we suggest 30 days. Additional Quote: Starting June 1, only listings from Top-rated sellers that include 1-day handling and a minimum 14-day return policy with a money-back option will qualify for the greatest exposure in search results, and 20% final value fee discounts.

The question of whether or not to accept returns has different sides for each sales situation. One advantage of accepting returns is that the eBay TopRated Seller program gives discounts to sellers who offer a minimum 14 day return policy (along with other requirements). Also, some sellers feel that offering to accept returns will increase their sales.

On the other side of the issue is the concern of some sellers that offering to accept returns will increase the number of returns they get. The consensus of most sellers who have return policies seems to be that returns do increase when a return policy is offered, but only minimally, nothing major; however, some items may be more prone to returns and abuse by buyers, but it would seem logical that sellers of these type of items already know that they have a high return product.

Auctiva.Edu - 03-07-14 - Polishing Your Return Policy.

eCommerceBytes: AuctionBytes Survey: Return Policy - I do not have any date for this survey or who the survey group was.

Quote from eCommerceBytes' interview with Jim Cockrum - February 19, 2012: Marketing Guru Jim Cockrum Has Daring Advice for eBay Sellers

"But, as far as return policies go, the stories in the book of people selling very unique items at very high price points with the friendliest of return policies, this is one way to protect your reputation and stay on eBay's good side. If the customer wants their money back for whatever reason, you give them their money back instantly; completely refund them. And if they totally rip you off, you just keep in mind - that's the price of doing business in the real world."

(Also from the interview.) "And it's a sad state, it's a tough situation that eBay's put us in. I'd like to see them change a few things. But at the same time, I like playing a high-risk game, where those with weaker hearts can't quite cut it because the world is left to those of us who are willing to really work quite hard. I've seen a lot of sellers drop out."

Local Inventory Video Training
Jim Cockrum's My Silent Team
Best Offer

At eBay, can Buyers make an offer.

There is a format for allowing buyers to make offers, it's called Best Offer. Quote: Best Offer is available for listings using the fixed price and Classified Ad formats, and in eBay Motors. Best Offer isn't available for auction-style listings. Making a Best Offer.

What if Best Offer was not used, but the buyer still wants to make an offer. I have searched the eBay rules and not found anything that would disallow this, so long as the transaction remains on eBay. It is a violation of eBay policy for buyers and sellers to agree to a transaction outside of the eBay framework. Offers to buy or sell outside of eBay.

Not finding any rule against negotiating prices, if it is permissible then it would seem that the best way to handle such a transaction would be to go into the listing and change the listing price and/or shipping to the agreed to amounts, and also select the Buy It Now option so that the buyer can purchase the item right away. I have never found a way to alter an invoice after a sale (other than a small shipping charge change) so it definitely seems best to have the listing changed to the agreed to price before the buyer makes the purchase. Using Buy It Now - Selling Using A Fixed Price.

What if the item already has bids and a buyer wants to make an offer? eBay has rules about canceling bids. Quote: In general, sellers shouldn't cancel bids on their listings. However, there are a few legitimate reasons for doing so: A bidder contacts you to back out of the bid. You cannot verify the identity of the bidder after trying all reasonable means of contact. You end your listing early. Managing bidders and buyers.

Research eBay to sell on eBay
Can Buyers Get Their Credit Card Charges Reversed?

Can a buyer get their money back through their credit card company (if that is how they paid)?

Yes. From personal experience the customer's bank/credit card company will general side with their customer, not with an unknown seller. In the case of a PayPal transaction, the seller can try and negotiate with the buyer's bank via PayPal, and there are some seller protections offered by PayPal, but the protection is limited to two instances (see below). In dealing directly with a bank, you can try and negotiate, but be aware that customers can and often do get their credit card charges reversed.

Quote from PayPal: What is a chargeback? A chargeback, also known as a reversal, is when a buyer asks their credit card issuer to reverse a transaction after it has been completed. It is available only to users who make a payment funded by their credit or debit card. There are three main reasons a buyer will do this: The item did not arrive. The item was significantly different than advertised. Their credit card was used without their permission to purchase the item fraudulently. Chargebacks are initiated and handled by the buyer's credit card issuer-not by PayPal-and therefore will follow that company's regulations and timeframes. That said, PayPal often plays a role in resolving chargeback disputes.

What is the difference between a chargeback and a PayPal claim? Quote from PayPal: The credit card issuer decides who wins the chargeback, and not PayPal. A PayPal claim is the second step in the PayPal buyer complaint process. If a buyer and seller cannot resolve their dispute on their own, the buyer may escalate the dispute to a claim. PayPal will then provide a final decision.

eCommerceBytes - 11-27-15 - How PayPal Chargebacks Can Come Back to Bite You.

eCommerceBytes - 12-07-14 - A Sellers Guide to Online Payment Services - Disputes and Chargebacks.
(Also some good charts at the bottom of the article.)

PayPal Seller Protection

What is covered by Seller Protection?

Quote: There are specifically two types of buyer complaints where Seller Protection provides this protection benefit:
1) “Unauthorized Transaction” buyer complaints occur when money is paid to you, but the owner of the account claims that he or she did not authorize the payment.
2) “Item Not Received” buyer complaints occur when a buyer pays for an item but claims he or she did not receive it.

What isn’t covered by Seller Protection?

Seller Protection offers coverage for most PayPal transactions, as long as they follow the requirements explained in the previous sections. However, there are also some instances where Seller Protection doesn’t apply:
*Claims, chargebacks, or reversals that are filed because the item is significantly different from how you described it – for example, if you described a new item but sent a used one.
*Intangible purchases, which include services, digital goods, etc.
*Items picked up locally or in person.
*Transactions made through PayPal Direct, Virtual Terminal, PayPal Business, or PayPal Here™.
*Instances where you receive multiple payments for an item.
*Claims filed directly through an eBay account.
*Prohibited items, such as drug paraphernalia, ammunition/firearms, or counterfeit goods.
*First Class Mail International is not covered under Seller Protection since the receipt only shows which post office the order was delivered to, not the customer's address.

eBay Feedback

Can I get a buyer to reverse a negative feedback?

Quote: There are some situations when buyers can revise the Feedback comment or rating, or the detailed seller ratings (DSRs) they've left for sellers. For example, if the seller fixes a problem with the transaction, or if the buyer accidentally left the wrong Feedback. In these situations, sellers can request a Feedback revision. How sellers can request Feedback revisions from buyers.

General eBay Page About Feedback

TheOnlineSeller - 07-24-12 - Avoiding Negative eBay Feedback. It's not easy to stay 100% positive, but here are some proven tactics that can help.

Can I leave negative feedback for a buyer on eBay?

No, eBay stopped allowing negative feedback for buyers several years ago; although, you might see some sellers using the positive feedback option and then leaving negative comments, but eBay has a rule against leaving conflicting feedback for buyers.

eBay Quote: Not Allowed: Negative statements left for a buyer that conflict with the positive rating. Inappropriate Feedback comments policy. From the best I can tell, this has been changed a little. It now says: Negative Feedback comments that directly contradict a positive rating. When eBay may remove or adjust Feedback/Feedback Comments.../Removable

eBay Quote: While sellers can leave a positive Feedback rating and a comment for buyers, they can't leave negative or neutral Feedback. Negative feedback discourages buyers from future transactions and can lead to lower sales. In addition, there are more effective ways for sellers to deal with issues with buyers. For example, if a buyer hasn't paid, you can open an unpaid item case in the Resolution Center. You can also block a buyer from purchasing items you've listed. Customer Support/Buyer Feedback

It's a bit confusing, but it seems like one of eBay's primary goals was probably to stop sellers from calling buyers rude and insulting names, which is not at all professional or business like. The best course of action might be as Thumper says "If you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nothin' at all." - and on a guess, this is possibly eBay's intent.

Notice that in this snap shot of a Seller's eBay Feedback options - There is No Negative Option.
eBay Feedback

Block Unwanted Bidders

Can I block unwanted bidders at eBay?

(Short Version) Yes. Copy the buyer's eBay ID. Then select "Site Map" from the bottom navigation (it's on most pages). At the Site Map page in the center column select "Block bidder/buyer list". At the next page select "Add an eBay user to my Blocked bidder/buyer list". In the text box, paste the buyer's ID  and click "Submit". (Separate IDs with commas, if you add more later.) Managing bidders and buyers

(Long Version) Blocking Buyers on eBay. eBay no longer allows sellers to give buyers negative feedback as a negative strike. However, eBay does allow sellers to block buyers which the seller does not want to do business with.

To access the Block Buyer option, find the site map link tucked away at the very bottom of most eBay pages. At the next page, the center column: Sell - Selling Activities - Block Bidder/Buyer List. (Note: the Buyer Block Exemption List is to allow someone to bid who may be excluded by your preference settings such at foreign bidders or low feedback bidders. http://pages.ebay.com/services/buyandsell/biddermanagement.html

Note: Some people have made web sites to share/blacklist what they consider bad buyers, and that's the key, what they consider bad and what you or I might consider bad could be very different. Personally I do not want garbage in my eBay blocked bidder list, and I have no idea what someone's agenda might be. I do not recommend, in any way, using blacklisting sites, but I am trying to keep this web site an open source of information, so here are some list places.

These sites are certainly not authorized eBay web sites, I hesitate to even list them, and I personally don't believe that it is a good idea to use their data in my blocked list, but here are some sites for those of you who are curious.

eCommerceBytes - 06-18-2015 - Should eBay Sellers Worry About Blocked Bidder Lists?
Article discusses the use and concerns of these "bad buyers" list.

Set Preferences To Block Foreign Buyers

How do I block international buyers on eBay? Many US sellers do no want to ship to foreign countries, for many reasons. Sellers can set the standard eBay listing form to block foreign bidders. Starting at your home page "My eBay". Quote: Click the Account tab, and then click the Site Preferences link on the left. In the Selling Preferences section, scroll to Shipping preferences, and then click the Show link. Selecting buyer requirements / Specifying buyer requirements for all listings / To block buyers in states, territories, or countries you don't want to ship to.

If a seller normal shipping internationally, but wants to list an item that they do not want to ship it outside of the US, the seller can elect to just restrict that listing to US buyers. Quote: In the Sell Your Item form, scroll to the Other things you'd like buyers to know section. Selecting buyer requirements / Specifying buyer requirements for a single listing.

Note: If you are new to eBay, and did not have foreign bidders blocked what now? Quote from eBay Customer Support: If your listing said that you don't accept international bids, but an international bidder won anyway, you can decline to ship the item. We recommend contacting the buyer and explaining the situation. If the buyer agrees, the easiest option is to cancel the transaction through our Resolution Center.

Is Free Shipping A Good Idea?

Is offering Free Shipping a good idea?

eBay encourages sellers to offer free shipping on one hand and then on the other hand, eBay offers selling fee discounts to encourage Top-rated sellers to accept returns (along with 1 day shipping). The discount part is good, if a seller can fit into that plan, but the two ideas, free shipping and accepting returns, might be contradictory if a buyer elects to return an item to the seller.

These are just thoughts to help you think through the possibilities. In most sales categories, returns will probably be minimal, whereas offering free shipping could increase sales ways beyond the small loss of an occasional return. Something to think about.

Let's say the buyer purchased a $25 item with free shipping and decides to return the item, how much is the buyer entitled to as a refund? Well, $25 is what they paid, the shipping was free, so $25 would be the refund. Now if the item's price was only $20 plus $5 for shipping, now how much is the buyer entitled to as a refund? If the item is not defective and is as advertised, wouldn't it only be $20, because now the $5 shipping is not part of the purchase price?

However, if your return policy specifies a restocking fee, that might help offset some of your expenses in taking a return back, but it might make your customers unhappy. According to eBay's April 3, 2012 Spring Seller Update: Quote: You'll still be able to include a restocking fee and specify specific conditions for accepting returns (new DVDs need to remain shrink-wrapped, for example).

eBay help page for Top-rated Sellers - Quote: Starting June 1, 2012, only listings from Top-rated sellers that include 1-day handling and a minimum 14-day return policy with a money-back option will qualify for the greatest exposure in search results, and 20% final value fee discounts.

Collecting Sales Tax

As an online seller, do I need to collect sales tax?

You should consult your state's tax assessor web site for the answer to this question, but here is some general information. There is a page in this website about taxes, accounting, and business legal issues.
See: Taxes & Bookkeeping & Legal

About.com - US Business Law/Taxes - How To Collect, Report, and Pay State Sales Taxes.

Depending on the your state's laws, you may not need to collect sales tax if you are only selling a few person items. If you are going to sell as a business, then you will probably need to apply for a sales tax permit and collect sales tax (if the state you live in has a sales tax). You will probably only have to collect sales tax from buyers residing in your state. This is simplified, there are complicated sales tax laws, especially for companies with offices in more than one state, and Congress has been trying to pass a law to make online sellers collect sales taxes from buyers in other states.

As for eBay, you can set your selling preference on your eBay listing to automatically change sales tax if someone from your state (or required states) buys something. eBay does not collect your sales tax, you are responsible to go to your state and get whatever sales tax permit is required and collect and pay your own sales tax obligations, on small amounts you may only have to pay annually. Using a tax table / Setting up a tax table. From your home page "My eBay". Quote: Account tab, and then click Site Preferences. Click the Show link in the Payments from buyers section. Click the Edit link in the Use sales tax table section. For any state where you want to charge sales tax, fill in the sales tax rate. If you're also required to tax shipping and handling in that state, select the Also charge sales tax on S&H check box.

Managing An eBay Store

How do I list items into my eBay store? This can be a bit confusing for new sellers. If a seller pays the monthly fee to have an eBay store, both their auction listings and their fixed price (store) listings will go into their eBay store. Quote: All of your items appear in your eBay Store, no matter which selling formats you choose—auction-style, fixed price, or Classified Ad format. Getting started with eBay Stores. --- Fees for eBay Stores,

To list an item as a store listing rather than an auction listing, on the standard eBay listing page about half way down the first page is "Choose how you'd like to sell your item" and under that there are two tabs "Online Auction" and "Fixed Price" select Fixed Price.

How do I manage my eBay store? There are many things that can be down with an eBay store such as creating store categories and customizing your store's appearance. Quote: Your Store categories don't need to match eBay's categories. You can create as many as 300 Store categories and subcategories with up to three levels of categories. Selecting your store's categories. --- Customizing your store's appearance.

To manage your eBay store, on your eBay home page "My eBay" you can select "Manage My Store" either from the "Account" tab near the top or at the side under "Shortcuts".

Buyer's Address Is Incorrect

Buyer had the wrong address what do I do? From my experience, there is a good chance the package will simply be refused by the resident at the wrong address and will come back, as it should. There are different sources involved in the answers to this question, eBay, the shipping service such as USPS and UPS, and the payment service, such as PayPal.

eBay Quote: It's the seller's responsibility to ship the item to the address on the eBay Order details page or the PayPal Transaction Details page. It's the buyer's responsibility to have the correct address on his or her transaction. If you shipped the item to the address on the eBay Order details page or the PayPal Transaction details page, and it was returned, please contact the buyer to work out a solution. If the buyer still wants the item, he or she will need to reimburse you for the additional shipping costs. If you'd like, you can send the buyer a PayPal invoice for this cost. When you ship an item, be sure to use tracking and email your buyer to let her know what the tracking number is. What to do if you have shipping problems / Information for sellers.

Quote from USPS: Destroying mail that was not intended for you may be prohibited by US laws. Willfully destroying mail is an act that may be punishable by the Federal Government.

Quote from USPS: Reporting/Returning misdelivered mail. Despite our best efforts, occasionally mail is mis-delivered, or is delivered to an old location for an individual. If you are receiving mail for the previous resident and do not know their address, simply return the mail piece back to the mailstream (by leaving in a Collection Box® or other mail receptacle) with the notation "Not at this address" marked on the envelope.

Quote from UPS: How do I change the address on my shipment? Contact the UPS Store location that shipped your item(s) immediately to inquire about the possibility of address correction. If you did not ship your item(s) at The UPS Store, contact the package carrier directly.

PayPal - Seller Protection: When you are covered: Your transaction is marked either eligible or partially eligible. You can check the status on the Transaction Details page.

Other sources:
eHow - I Received a Postal Letter in the Mailbox Which Is Not Mine.
eHow - What Is the Federal Law for Opening Mail Not Addressed to You?

eBay Rules & Policies
Remember you can find the eBay rules and policies at: A-Z Index.
My Opinion

My opinions of the eBay Answer Center/Discussion Boards.

The Answers Center Discussion Boards can be a good way to get other people's opinions about rules and to find helpful people who will give links to the eBay rule pages to find the official answers. But eBay rules are complicated, so keep in mind that there are sometimes incorrect answers posted.

Be careful when posting comments, I have not found a way to edit or delete answers and comments.
eBay Answer Center - Discussion boards usage policy. "General Guidelines"

Thankfully there are plenty of nice, helpful comments at the eBay Answer Center, but like many forums, there are some negative people that can get harsh towards buyers and novice sellers just for asking basic, beginner questions.

I don't believe for a minute that good sellers are in this group of negative people. Good sellers know that we all had to start at the beginning to learn the ins and outs of eBay, and it is hard, even for seasoned eBay sellers, to know every eBay rule, plus the rules keep changing. Good sellers also know that it is better to help beginning sellers learn about eBay, so they don't make mistakes that turn buyers away from eBay.

I also believe that good sellers know the value of good buyers, they are our customers. I believe a good seller will give a buyer, who is asking a question, a fair, honest answer. And being supportive of their fellow sellers, perhaps offer some ideas to buyers for negotiating with a seller, or perhaps suggest that before assuming the seller is bad, point out that the seller simply may not know or understand something and suggest that communication as the best way to try and work things out.

I am sure that most of the eBay rules are there to protect the whole system, but some of the rules are confusing, controversial, and it's hard to know and understand every rule or the reason behind them. All we can do is try and share our knowledge with one another.

Ebay Parody Song - Weird Al Yankovic
Uploaded on Nov 5, 2011 - Boy band video to Weird Al Yankovic's song Ebay, a parody of The Backstreet Boy's "I Want It That Way". Music "Ebay (Parody of "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys)" by "Weird Al" Yankovic (Google Play • iTunes • AmazonMP3)
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