Ebay Tip: Do NOT Complete Transactions Outside Of eBay

If someone is interested in purchasing an item you have listed on eBay, they need to complete the transaction via eBay.

If you receive a message asking you to remove the listing from eBay and instead just email a PayPal invoice to their personal email account (basically, asking you to sell it outside of eBay so you can save a few bucks on fees), it may sound tempting but it is against eBay rules.

You can learn more about the policy and guidelines here.

When a message is opened via the eBay messaging system, you will see a red flag and the following reminder from eBay:

“Do not respond to the sender if this message requests that you complete the transaction outside of eBay. This type of offer is against eBay policy, may be fraudulent, and is not covered by buyer protection programs.”

Perhaps the potential buyer doesn’t realize it or they do not care, but the best thing you can do as a seller is report it here. While it may sound tempting to make some extra money by not paying the outrageous eBay fees, it is NOT worth losing your eBay account and reputation! Be smart and honest.

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17 Thoughts to “Ebay Tip: Do NOT Complete Transactions Outside Of eBay”

  1. As a powerseller & TRS, I’ve sold many a transaction, and bought many a transaction outside of ebay. I’m just curious why you have this opinion, not agreeing nor disagreeing w/ it. But the only reason you give is that “it’s against ebay rules.”

    It’s against ebay rules b/c ebay wants as much $$ as it can lay its hands on. By taking away the rights of a buyer to use a personal check, ebay sellers have lost a lot of customer base. There are lots of little old ladies who do not have paypal and want to purchase something; why leave them out?

    And if you Do use PP, your protection is through PP, not ebay, so the seller and buyer are both protected.

  2. With the warning that eBay gives in the messaging system, I am paranoid they are monitoring the communication between potential buyers and sellers. It’s almost as if they knew that was what the potential buyer was asking me. Plus, since PayPal is linked to eBay, with a little investigating they could easily figure out that an item was removed and then sold outright.

    I only accept PayPal payments with my transactions (this is a personal choice I made long before eBay removed personal check as a payment option). I also stopped accepting money orders or cashiers checks because my bank warned I am ultimately responsible if the check is a fraud.

    I could not even imagine losing my eBay account or good status due to an external transaction, not after the years of work I have put into it. The thought of starting from scratch without my 100% positive feedback, power seller status and top rated seller status makes me cringe.

    Now, if a repeat customer emails me outside of eBay and is looking for something specific, then I have no issue transacting outside of eBay.

    Trust me, I think the fees are completely insane and eBay just keeps increasing them or finding new ways to dip their hand into a seller’s profit margin. It infuriates me, so much so I am investigating different selling platforms.

  3. They definitely monitor it, which is why they no longer allow buyers & sellers to communicate on our own. Used to be we had the option to give the buyer our real email address. I sometimes will do this in a transaction if the buyer wishes. They can’t monitor private email to private email. Also, sometimes the buyer will request an item that has expired and ask to buy it. In that case I will usually transact outside of ebay if the buyer wants to do so.

    If a buyer writes a check, I always wait till it clears prior to mailing out the item; though it’s been a long time since I’ve done this. Ebay has lost a lot of buyers, who don’t want to deal w/ Paypal. I’ve lost a lot of customers as a result.

    Depending on what you are selling, there are other avenues and websites. Lots of people are also creating their own ecommerce sites and using ebay as a place to advertise; ie, they will put a biz card in with the order in the mail, pointing the customer to their website where prices are 10% less, for example. The morale of sellers has gone down.

    Regarding Paypal, they can’t really control that, since many of us use PP for lots of things that are not ebay related. I’ve used it to pay for services, or if I owe someone $, etc. So they can’t really monitor every PP transaction and say it should’ve been ebay related; PP can be used for any kind of transaction.

    Thanks for your explanation though! I agree, ebay is taking so much of our profit now that I often will just do a garage sale and call it good.

  4. I have seriously been]contemplating an e-commerce store to sell my merchandise. I do place a business card inside my packages, so it would be a great way to have repeat customers automatically go to my website (and I do have a lot of repeat customers, especially international). Thanks for the ideas, they are great! Best of luck to you!

  5. Good tip Unemployed Mom. Transactions which take place outside of e-bay are not covered by e-bay’s protections. E-bay is an honor system & everyone isn’t honrable.

  6. Quick question: on the biz cards, do you have a recommendation where to get them printed? I’m thinking Vista Print but their design options are limited. Do you have any other recommendations? Thanks much!


  7. I use Vista Print because they are economical. I uploaded my logo instead of using one of their designs. I also created eBay thank you cards and cannot wait for those to arrive.

  8. Andrea Wilson

    About what Mommy Needs Vodka said — I have an item (expensive) that didn’t reach the reserve price so the auction ended with it unsold. Now two people have contacted me about it. One was the high bidder and another says he only saw the listing a few minutes before it closed. Is there any reason I can’t do business with them now, apart from buyer/seller protections, which I think I can manage on my own. I read somewhere else that eBay found these contacts, so I should do the deal through eBay, but I wonder what obligation I’m under to do that. I mean, I ‘hired’ them to sell my item, they didn’t, I didn’t manipulate the outcome to make it work out this way, so what next? The reserve was reasonable — I can understand that someone might post something with a really high reserve just to go fishing for potential buyers. I don’t want to do anything wrong but, like everyone else, I’d rather not pay fees if I don’t have to.

  9. Anthony

    I’ve been with ebay since 2008 and I’ve now decided to take it a step further by becoming a seller. Everyone I’ve spoken to has their own approach to selling on ebay but I’ve decided honesty is the best policy. I recently sold an all in one ink jet printer which was brand new and sitting on a shelf and I told the buyer I only used it once to make sure it was working properly and the cartridge which came with the printer had to be refilled. I was under the false impression these printers came with full cartridges and that wasn’t the case. Back to the topic at hand selling items of ebay if requested by the buyer, a friend of mine did it and he received a check and once the buyer received the merchandise decided to stop payment on the check. In attempts to contact the buyer my friend later found out he had been scammed becuse the buyer was using someone else’s identity when he made the purchase. After watching what he went through, I’ve decided if contacted to leave ebay and contact the person in private I will have to decline even if it cost me a customer.

  10. Hi Anthony, I couldn’t agree with you more. My eBay reputation means more to me than making money. I cannot tell you how many requests I receive to lie on customs form about the item being a gift or to mark down the price/value. I refuse to do either and when a potential customer asks me this in advance, then I usually block them from purchasing from me. If they ask me in the notes section of their payment, then I respond telling them it is against my policies.

    As for checks, I no longer accept any form of payment except PayPal. I have heard too many stories like the one you shared.

    Best of luck to you selling on eBay!

  11. “Transactions which take place outside of e-bay are not covered by e-bay’s protections. E-bay is an honor system & everyone isn’t honrable.”

    Ebay is honorable??!! hahahaha. Ok. I once got screwed by a buyer. You know, they can claim a SNAD and mail you back a box of rocks, as long as there is Delivery Confirmation it doesn’t matter WHAT is in the box, they will win the case. Check the discussion boards if you don’t believe it.

    Actually your “protections” are through Paypal, not ebay. If the customer used a credit card rather than a bank withdrawal, you’ll lose a snad case whether it’s fraud or not.

    2) Never never never mail an item before a check clears! Like, never. Once a check clears, they can’t get that $$ back at all.

    3) Jessica–there’s nothing wrong w/ having an ecommerce site. I don’t yet but I’m thinking about it too. I do have buyers that I trust that have bought from me for years. Since we’ve established a relationship OUTSIDE of ebay even if it was originated there, and we’re talking about items I’ve never posted there (even if similar to ones I did post that they purchased there in the past), items that I may have in inventory or purposefully get for them, I see no problem with transacting directly through Paypal. I’ve yet to be burned by repeat customers like that. Besides that, I also have a seller that I buy from now through her own website and the cost is lower for us, a win-win for both of us–been buying from her since 2007.

    4) You’re absolutely right about the “gift” thing. I even have a disclaimer in my listings which ebay says to do. Some stuff I just won’t sell internationally if it’s too expensive either. NO WAY would I put “gift”, it’s a recipe for disaster.

    5) I would be a TRS except that I sell less now and lost my powerseller status for not selling enough; the fees got so high.

    Great discussion here!

  12. Tom

    If ebay were not so f*#$%&@ greedy with their fees people wouldn’t do. It simply because they changed way too much and offer so little. Ebay need competition so they can’t just rob you blind simply because they can. Paypal also holding onto funds for 30 days and shit like that what a bunch of @#$%&.

  13. Just a seller

    Here’s a conundrum and unfair situation. As a seller I am NOT allowed to sell outside of Ebay, if I currently have the item listed there.

    But… What about all those brick and mortar stores who run Ebay ads, and many times close the deal by having the buyer call in with a credit card. Ebay seems to allow that, but I can’t do the same?

    What a crock of sh*t!

  14. I know, and agree with you…it’s ridiculous.

  15. anon

    well i have been selling out of ebay for a while now, trick is to say to the buyer, contact me on another channel and we will talk.

    your name
    fb/tw handle.

  16. Peter Barrett

    I had a Dandy for sale on ebay for at least a month, and no interest, Ebay kept suggesting to drop price to sell which i did a couple of times, so when it didnt sell i removed the add, now have an email threatening me not to sell outside of Ebay.
    I havent sold it, but it is advertised elsewhere.
    Shant try selling anything else on Ebay, who do they think they are, feel sorry for any businesses that rely on Ebay for a living.

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