The majority of eBay transactions go off without a hitch – an order comes in, you ship it out, upload tracking, and you’re done. Sometimes you’ll find yourself dealing with shipping inquiries from a buyer who didn’t check the delivery estimate before ordering, or answering questions from prospective buyers interested in one of your items. Sooner or later, however, all sellers are bound to run into a buyer who costs too much of their time, tries to pull a scam, or otherwise harming your eBay business.
While eBay does offer some post-sale protection from these buyers, knowing that you may have to deal with future orders leaves your business vulnerable to the whims of their unwarranted negative feedbacks and frivolous buyer claims. Dealing with these not only takes a good amount of time and effort – it also negatively impacts your eBay selling account’s health and directly impacts your sales.
After dealing with buyers like these, frustrated sellers often wonder “can I block a buyer on eBay?”. The good news is that it is possible to block a buyer on eBay; the better news is that you can even preemptively avoid certain buyers.
To give sellers the ability to choose which customers they no longer wish to do business with, eBay allows sellers to block buyers from buying or bidding on items. Additionally, eBay allows sellers the option to predetermine which buyers can and cannot buy and bid on their items. Buyer blocking and predefined buyer requirements are known on eBay as Buyer Management, and is designed to help sellers avoid buyers who they do not wish to do business with.
This article will go over how to block a buyer on eBay, reasons for blocking a buyer, and the pros and cons of blocking a buyer from buying and bidding on your eBay items. Keep reading to find out how to block a buyer on eBay to make your selling experience easier and keep your eBay selling account safe from problem buyers.
Overview of Blocking a Buyer on eBay
Blocking a buyer on eBay is a simple and straightforward process – all you need is the buyer’s username or email. Before blocking a buyer, however, it’s important to determine if blocking the buyer is indeed the best course of action. This section will go over what it means to block an eBay buyer, explain how buyer blocking works on eBay, and go over some common reasons to block a buyer. We’ll also discuss how to unblock a buyer, and how you can use eBay’s Buyer Requirements to preemptively block certain buyers from buying and bidding on your items.
What Does it Mean to Block a Buyer?
On eBay, blocking a buyer simply means preventing that buyer from buying and bidding on your items. This doesn’t mean that the buyer will automatically be blocked from seeing your items and contacting you, however. Blocking a buyer ensures that they will no longer be able to purchase any of your listed items. If you’d like to prevent blocked buyers from contacting you as well, you’ll need to toggle the option on through the “Buyer Management” page.
How Does Buyer Blocking Work on eBay?
Sellers on eBay can block buyers at their discretion, and have the option of blocking up to 5,000 buyers. As mentioned above, blocking a buyer first and foremost guarantees that they will not be able to bid on or buy any item you’re selling. This protects you from any transactions once the buyer has been blocked, and shields you from any potential claims and negative feedback from any future transaction between you and that buyer. Additionally, if you wish to block a buyer from contacting you at all, you can do so in the communication preferences as mentioned above. In addition to blocking the buyer, if you believe that a buyer’s behavior is abusive and in violation of eBay’s policies, you can report the buyer to eBay.
Reasons to Block a Buyer
As a seller, you’ve surely encountered more than one buyer who you’ve felt is more trouble than they’re worth. But many buyers will cause you a bit of stress; this is to be expected when selling online. It’s important to remember that in the overwhelming majority of cases, you don’t need to resort to blocking a buyer on eBay. While it may be tempting to block customers who cost you extra time with special requests or a slew of pre- and post-sale questions, you’re better off biting the bullet and taking the high road by providing them with excellent and friendly customer service. Don’t look at this as a waste of time – you’re taking the time to build trust in your eBay store in the eyes of a customer, ultimately earning yourself a loyal customer who will likely leave you positive feedback for their transaction. Remember that shoppers who’ve received a good customer service resolution to a problem are much more likely to become loyal repeat customers.
That said, there is no shortage of instances where the buyer is problematic and ultimately causes your store more harm than good, whether that be in wasted time, negative feedback, repeated return requests, or even frivolous claims. Buyers who are belligerent off the bat, buyers who have a track record of leaving negative feedback, and buyers who you’ve already had a bad experience with are the buyers you’ll want to consider blocking.
Some reasons for blocking users on eBay from buying and bidding on your items include:
Fraud. If you catch or suspect a scam, report this to eBay and add the user to your Blocked Buyer List.
Not Paying for Items. Repeat overdue invoices are a waste of time and resources, and could cost you sales from serious buyers.
Purchaser is a Competitor Seller. This is against marketplace policy, but it can still happen. Don’t let a lousy seller sabotage your business through false purchases.
Repeated Cancelled Bids and Orders. Too many cancellations are a waste of time and resources for you.
Abusive or Negative Behavior Towards You. You and your team are more important than any sale, and you should never tolerate abusive buyers. In fact, aside from blocking the buyer, you can report the buyer per eBay’s Abusive Buyer Policy.
Can I Preemptively Block Problem Buyers?
Aside from blocking specific buyers by username or email, eBay also allows sellers to block buyers based on a variety of customizable criteria. This can be done through the Buyer Requirements section, which you can navigate to through Account Settings > Selling Preferences > Blocked Buyers List > Edit.
You can preemptively block buyers who have a record of unpaid purchases, for example, or block buyers who have already purchased a certain number of items from your store during the previous 10-day period.
Can I Unblock a Buyer?
Unblocking a buyer is as simple as removing them from your blocked buyer list. We recommend keeping a file of that list in an Excel CSV sheet, to make it easier for you to manage your blocked buyer list and remove any usernames that are no longer active on the platform.
To exempt a specific buyer from the Buyer Requirements you defined, simply add their username to the Buyer Requirements Exemption List.
Step by Step Guide for Blocking a Buyer on eBay
Luckily, eBay’s process for blocking a buyer is quite simple. Below, we’ve outlined a step-by-step guide on how a seller would typically block a buyer that they’ve had a problematic transaction with in the past.
Step 1: Sign in to Your eBay Selling Account
Start by signing into your eBay account, and navigating to your Selling Overview through My eBay > Selling.
Step 2: Find the Order and Username of the Buyer You Want to Block
Scroll down an locate the problematic order, and copy the buyer’s username.
Step 3: Add the Buyer’s Username to the Blocked Buyer List
Navigate to the blocked buyer list by hovering over your username at the top left-hand corner of the page, then clicking Account Settings > Selling Preferences > Blocked Buyers List > Edit.
Step 4: Confirm the Block
Paste the buyer’s username into the Blocked Buyer list, separating it from the previous username with a comma, and click submit. The buyer is now blocked from buying and bidding on your listings, as well as contacting you if you’ve toggled that setting on through the Buyer Management page. Note that you can also restore old blocked buyer lists (up to 3 months prior) by clicking “Restore List” at the top right of the list’s input box.
Pros and Cons of Blocking a Buyer on eBay
Blocking a buyer on eBay is a decision that’s not to be taken lightly, as it has a variety of pros and cons. You’ll want to consider your reasons for wanting to block a buyer carefully, and only proceed with the block if you feel like it is the only choice available to you for avoiding harm to your account.
Pros of Blocking a Buyer
The main benefit of blocking a buyer is avoiding possible problems in the future. Buyers who’s shipping location is somewhere you don’t want to ship, buyers who have a track record of unpaid order cancellations, buyers who’ve made frivolous return requests, and more, can be avoided, saving you time and keeping your account health safe from potential negative feedback and claims.
Cons of Blocking a Buyer
Remember that even if you block a buyer, they may still have an avenue of communication with you through previous transactions. This means that if you block a buyer after they’ve made a purchase and before they’ve left feedback, you may be driving them towards leaving you negative feedback if they discover they’ve been blocked. The buyer will not be notified that they’ve been blocked, and will only find out if they try to place another order or bid on another item in your eBay store.
Final Thoughts and Helpful Tips for Keeping Upbeat While Dealing with Offbeat Sales Inquiries
Maintaining a good understanding of the diversity of your customer base is key, and makes all the difference between a hair-pulling workday and one where you get your work done quickly and efficiently.
You’ll find yourself encountering buyers with some out-there inquiries on a semi-regular basis, but it’s important to remember that these buyers are simply interested in getting a good deal. As long as they’re polite and non-aggressive in their messages, try to take their questions in stride and provide them with the best possible customer service.
You’re also likely to find that some buyers may require more after-sale support than most. Instead of treating this like a burden, look at it as an opportunity to build trust in your store and faith in your brand in the eyes of the customer. Excellent post-sales support is a perfect way to earn repeat customers and glowing positive reviews.
Finally, try to look at returns as a part of doing business online. Depending on your selling niche, even buyers who make multiple returns may not necessarily be problem buyers. Consider why they are returning, and try to see if there is anything you can do on your end to minimize the number of buyer returns.
FAQ for Blocking a Buyer on eBay
Here, we’ll take a look at some frequently asked questions sellers have when blocking a buyer on eBay. Browse through them and see if they answer any questions you may have about the process of blocking an eBay buyer.
Q: What is buyer blocking on eBay?
On eBay, sellers have the option of preventing buyers from bidding on or buying items they list. This is known as blocking a buyer on eBay.
Q: How do I block a buyer on eBay?
To block a buyer on eBay, simply sign into your account and add either their username or email to the Blocked Buyer List.
Buyers stay blocked on eBay until you remove them from your blocked list. In other words, once a buyer is blocked, they are blocked indefinitely, and unblocking is done solely by you and at your discretion.
Q: Can I unblock a buyer on eBay?
To unblock an eBay buyer, simply remove their name from the Blocked Buyer List and click “Submit” to save your changes.
Q: What happens when you use the “block eBay buyer” feature?
When a seller blocks a buyer on eBay, the buyer cannot purchase, make an offer, or bid on the seller's items.
Q: Can blocked buyers still see my items?
Yes, buyers on your Blocked Buyer List will still be able to view your listings.
Q: Can blocked buyers still send me eBay messages?
Yes, buyers on your blocked list can communicate with you unless you’ve set your Buyer Management settings to also block messages from blocked buyers.
Q: What is the maximum number of eBay buyers a seller can block?
Sellers can add up to 5,000 eBay users to their Blocked Buyer List.
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