The eBay Block Your Buyer Guide: The Basics

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Most of the time, eBay merchants are grateful for their customers. After all, buyers are the life source of their business. Building strong relationships with customers, as well as attracting new customers, are the priorities of eBay sellers.

However, if you’ve been a merchant on eBay longer, you’re will meet buyers who waste your time and thieving online buyers. For this reason, eBay gives you the power to block a buyer (or more), protecting you from buyers who want to take advantage of you. Who knows? eBay can also suspend pesky buyers to protect you and other sellers.

When is it Time to Block Certain Buyers on eBay?

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eBay is gracious to both sellers and buyers. With buyers, the online store practices a liberal approach to returns and refunds, improving the confidence of online buyers. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous eBay buyers you’d want to block since they abuse the loopholes of eBay to their advantage. But when should you be gracious with buyers and when should an eBay store block a buyer?

Consider the following tell-tale signs that it’s time to block a bidder on eBay:

  • Closing deals outside of eBay. eBay discourages transactions outside of the online shopping platform. Occasionally, however, you’ll encounter a buyer that wants to finish the transaction out of eBay, so they can avoid the seller fees. Although it’s a valid argument, it is also against eBay’s policy. Outside of eBay, both buyers and sellers have no protection. Granted, there are honest buyers with good intentions, but if you want to secure your shop, refrain from closing deals outside of eBay. If a buyer is stubborn, best to block them.
  • Practicing feedback extortion. Another reason to block a buyer on eBay is when the buyer threatens to give you bad feedback for not complying with their wishes. If a buyer insists you should do things their way, file a complaint against them since they violated eBay’s policies.
  • Asking too many questions. There’s nothing wrong with buyers asking questions since they want to be sure about their purchases. Asking questions becomes a red flag when they are asking too much, especially about the smallest details of the product. If they are looking for perfection, eBay allows you to block this
  • Requesting to ship to a different address. eBay sellers must only ship to the address indicated on the payment transaction to be covered by eBay’s seller protection. Stay away from buyers that insist on shipping to a different address since they may be pulling off a scam. Some buyers have sellers send the item to a fake third-party address and file an “Item Not Received” dispute, which sellers often lose. If a buyer insists on this address, inform them that it’s against eBay’s policy and that they should update their shipping address. If they aren’t willing to cooperate, block this eBay bidder and cancel their bid on eBay.

Other legitimate reasons for blocking a buyer are:

  • You are unable to verify the buyer’s identity after getting in touch with them.
  • A bidder requests to back out of the auction.
  • Abusive or negative interactions.
  • Non-payment of purchases.
  • The buyer is a competitor and you don’t want them to purchase your items.

How to Block a Buyer on eBay

Once you’ve decided to block a bidder on eBay, you’ll need their email address or user ID. Next, follow these simple steps:

  • Step One: Visit the block bidders page. Once you’ve logged into your eBay account, go to the “Block bidders or buyers from your listings” page. If you cannot access this page, click on “Help and Contact” at the top of the eBay page and look for “block buyer.”
  • Step Two: Enter the buyer’s username. A text box will appear. In the box, type in the email address or the user ID of the buyer you want to block from your listings. If you’re blocking more bidders on eBay, separate the names with a comma. eBay allows you to block up to 5,000 buyers.
  • Step Three: Submit the names of the blocked buyers. Once you’ve put all the user IDs, click “Submit” to save your list. If the names you submitted are valid, you’ll receive a message from eBay, informing you that you’ve saved your list. eBay will also let you know if the emails or user IDs are invalid. Once you’ve blocked buyers, their names will appear in the text box on the block buyers’ page. If you want to unblock a buyer, remove them from the list and click “Submit.”

Can Blocked Buyers Contact You on eBay?

Blocked eBay buyers can still message you about a listing. If you want to cut contact with them, visit the buyer requirements page of your eBay account. Check the box that disables blocked buyers from contacting you. After saving this requirement, block buyers won’t see the “Contact seller” button on your listings.

Preemptively Block eBay Buyers

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What if you’re regularly blocking buyers on eBay? It’s best to establish criteria to prevent certain buyers from visiting your shop or buying your products. For instance, block eBay users with a history of failed payments. Doing so will spare you from the headaches associated with unpaid item cases.

You can also be wiser with your eBay block bidder strategy. Block buyers from certain locations where shipping is too expensive. This protects your business if you’re working with low-margin products and free shipping promos.

Block eBay Bidders by Location

If you’re trying to reduce eBay shipping costs, block buyers located in specific states or countries. For example, avoid international shipping. If you’re based in the United States, prevent orders from buyers in certain regions, like Hawaii and Alaska.

To block buyers from certain locations, go to your account’s shipping preferences and you’ll see a section that enables you to exclude shipping regions. Click the ‘edit’ option to create a list of excluded shipping locations. Once you’ve saved these locations, go to the buyer requirements page and check the “Block buyers from areas you don’t ship to.”

Block eBay Buyers by Setting Up Requirements

Set the minimum standards for eBay users by setting up buyer requirements for your store. Doing so reduces your chances of encountering unwanted buyers. You should, however, be careful with the implementation of requirements since they can impact your sales.

On the requirements page, you can block buyers who:

  • Have a low feedback score
  • Have a history of not paying
  • Have breached other eBay policies in the past
  • Post threatening or offensive messages from buyers
  • Don’t have a PayPal account
  • Live in an area you don’t ship to

On the Side: Canceling eBay Bids

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Apart from blocking buyers on eBay, you also have the power to cancel bids. There are many reasons for wanting to cancel someone’s bid. Perhaps the buyer has a bad history with payment or lives in a location where you don’t ship.

Canceling a bid may impact your sales since people rely on bids. Many buyers may be planning to bid at the last minute. But if you want to cancel bids, email the bidder first and explain why you’re doing so. To protect your credibility, leave a concise and straightforward reason behind the cancellation.

The Bottom Line

eBay gives you the power to block buyers to prevent headaches in the future. If a buyer seems sketchy or is too bothersome, block them easily. But refrain from blocking too many buyers. If you get carried away, you may cripple your sales. Make sure you understand the consequences and the process first before incorporating this in your business strategy.

Use the blocking tool sparingly and check your blocked buyers’ activities to ensure your restrictions are not hurting your shop. You can also use eBay’s tools to see how much of the interest for your listings are from blocked users. If you feel like you’re missing out, you can still review your lists to re-evaluate your lists and change your eBay strategy.