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How Ebay Customer Support Caused Pain Part 2: Sellers Can Refuse to Sell July 17, 2009

Posted by James in : all, ebay help , trackback

Updated 8-2-2009.

Before reading this, you might want to see Part 1.

A long story made short: Ebay does not seem to punish sellers who refuse to sell the item you win. I won sixteen Braid of Fire cards from ccghouse.com, but the seller decided only to give me four. He has twenty one more on his website. Ebay made it difficult to report the seller and has done nothing about it.

Conclusion: Ebay sellers can refuse to sell. They can only worry about possible negative feedback from buyers who know that the seller’s behavior is inappropriate.

The epic continues…

June 29th, I finally got another email from ebay customer support. They asked for a “copy of the seller’s email where he refused to sell all the items” again. (I already sent that, remember?)

I then got an email from the seller. I caught him red handed. He refused to sell an item and he was trying to sell it for more on his website. This was his reply:

We refunded the money back on June 11th.  We decided to limit you to 4 braids. We have that in our description.


Bottom Left.

That is an interesting fact: He has a policy that lets him break ebay’s policy. This policy is discriminatory. It allows him to refuse to sell items whenever he wants to sell them for more. Sorry, but that’s not a respectful way to treat your customers. I let him know what I thought about this.

On July 3rd, I finally got an informative email from ebay customer support, that seemed to admit that they couldn’t help me:

Dear James,

Thank you for writing eBay in regard to the updates of your transaction with your seller.

May I adviced you to contact Ebay through phone for further assistance.

To get help or contact customer support:

1. Click “Contact us” at the top of our home page or on the right side and at the bottom of help pages.
2. Sign in with your eBay user ID. (This can help us find your information if you do need to contact us.)
3. Enter your question or tell us about your issue. Be as specific and
concise as possible.
4. We may need to ask you a couple of questions to make sure that you get the best answer. Click the link that best matches your question.

Once we think we’ve found the right answer for you, it will show up below your question. If the information we give you doesn’t answer your question, you can rephrase your question and try again.

If you still don’t have the answers you need, we’ll show you the best way to contact us in the “Get in touch with us” section on the right side of the page.

We’ll save records of all of our communications with you to prevent duplicate responses, and to keep track of your questions in case you need to refer to them later.

We also recommend looking through our “Help” section for general information about different eBay topics. You can search by keyword or click on a specific topic.

To visit our Help section, go to:

If you need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to reply to this email and let us know.

Winnie C.

eBay Customer Support

The reason that this email was informative is because it let me know that these emails were a waste of time and I would have to do something else.

I decided that I would call ebay about the issue eventually, but I am a busy person and I didn’t have time to call them yet.

Then I got an email from the seller on June 6th that let me know that everything was perfectly fine. It’s not disrespectful to me because it’s just the way things are… or something. His email didn’t really make much sense. Take a look:


We are not targeting you with this policy. This policy is also listed in our auctions. We often need to limit customers when buying us out of cards which is why we have this policy in place. You are not the first and you wont be the last person this happens to. If you had questions about the policy you should have contacted us before buying us out of the item.

I am sorry if there was some confusion, but I can assure you it has nothing to do with targeting you because we wanted to make a couple extra dollars.
If you have any further questions please let us know.

I wasn’t happy with this answer, so I sent him a reply on July 8th.

On July 8th I also decided to call ebay. The representative on the other line said that the seller could not refuse the sell the item, could not have a policy of refusing to sell items, and said he would open a dispute case with the seller. The seller would have five days to resolve the case, and then I would let ebay know what happened. The representative also admitted that the ebay help section was only meant to resolve 90% of issues and other issues could merit a phone call.

On July 16th, I still have not heard from ebay or the seller. I was told that the seller would have 5 days to resolve this issue, but ebay has not contacted me about it since. I don’t know if the seller has had to change his illegitimate policy because his policies are no longer visible in his newer auctions.

Update (7-18-09): Scratch that. His policy is showing up in his auctions again. He still has the same policy in his auctions that allows him to limit customers to four items “whenever he feels like it.”

Update (8-2-09): I called ebay about this issue again. I was told that no dispute could be opened and the seller could not be forced to sell. His illegitimate policy is still showing and I was told that his auctions would be flagged.


Ebay sellers can refuse to sell items. The only punishment is negative feedback. That means a big company that sells tons of cheap items each month has nothing to fear by refusing to sell an item every once in a while.


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2. michael - July 17, 2009

May I suggest an AR-15 Assault Rifle?

On an unrelated note…win Dragon Quest IV DS (http://www.youtube.com/user/pabrtrky)

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