Can I avoid doing business with problem buyers?

Question: Can I avoid doing business with problem buyers?

Most sellers are wary about doing business with at least one or two types of buyers. Some sellers don't want to ship internationally. Other sellers don't want to deal with buyers that have a poor trading record. Still other sellers don't want to deal with buyers that have failed to pay after winning another seller's auction. As a seller, you can use your item description to tell such buyers not to bid, but sometimes they do anyway.

Is there some way to prevent these bids before they occur?

Answer: Yes. Sellers can use the "Buyer requirements" preferences in My eBay to automatically prevent certain types of buyers from bidding on their auctions. The types of buyers that can be blocked from bidding or buying include:

  • Buyers in countries to which the seller doesn't ship. Many sellers don't have the infrastructure or the desire to ship internationally and say so in their item description, but it's common for bidders who have a different native language to miss such an admonition and bid anyway.

  • Buyers with a negative feedback score. Most sellers prefer not to do business with buyers that have repeatedly earned enough poor feedback for their feedback score to descend into negative territory.

  • Buyers with Unpaid Item strikes. Buyers who have failed to pay for auctions that they have won in the past are more likely to become so-called deadbeat bidders again, so many sellers prefer not to deal with them.

  • Buyers who may bid on several of my items and not pay for them. When a bidder wins a large number of auctions from a single seller without the intention or ability to pay—for whatever reason—it can become a serious problem for seller cash flow and timing. eBay therefore provides a way to limit the number of items that a single bidder can win from you in a given amount of time.

  • Buyers without a PayPal account. Many sellers want to deal only with PayPal, preferring to avoid the hassle of checks and money orders entirely, and would thus like to limit potential bidders to those who have a PayPal account on file.

If the ability to exclude any of these types of buyers sounds like what you're looking for as a seller, click here to access the Buyer Block Preferences page or follow these steps to access and use the "Buyer requirements" page for your seller account:

  1. Click on the "My eBay" link at the top of any page on the eBay website.

  2. Click on the "Account" tab near the top-middle of the page.

  3. Scroll down and click on "Site Preferences" under the "My Account" heading in the sidebar on the lower-left edge of the page.

  4. On the Site Preference page, scroll down until you find "Buyer requirements" and click on the "Show" link, then the "Edit" link just below it.

  5. Check the boxes next to the types of bidders that you want to exclude from your auctions.

  6. Click the "Submit" button at the bottom of the page to save your preferences.

    Once you have completed this process, your buyer preferences are saved. You can change them on a per-auction basis on the eBay listing form by making changes under the "Buyer requirements" heading (in section four of the selling form, which covers payment and shipping details).

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