Most of the time, eBay merchants are extremely grateful for their customers. The overwhelming majority of the time, interactions are pleasant and everyone ends up happy.
However, if you’ve been selling on eBay long enough, you’re bound to come across some awkward buyers who waste your time and others who try to steal from you. That’s why eBay gives you the power to prevent certain people from purchasing your products.
For situations like this; here’s how to block a buyer on eBay.
Reasons you might need to block a buyer on eBay
When you block a buyer on eBay, they can’t purchase any of your products. Blocked users will still be able to see your listings, but they can’t bid, make an offer or choose to ‘Buy it now’.
However, it’s not like blocking someone on WhatsApp or Facebook. They’ll still be able to contact you (although there is a way to block messages from these users too!)
Blocking buyers on eBay shouldn’t be an everyday occurrence. But sometimes there’s good reason to prevent someone from bidding on or buying your items – particularly if you’ve had a negative experience with this buyer in the past.
Some legitimate reasons to block a buyer include:
- Non-payment of purchases
- Backing out of bids
- Negative or abusive interactions
- Fraudulent activity
- They’re a competitor and you don’t want them to be able to purchase your products
Once you block an eBay buyer, the ban will apply to every single one of your listings. For this reason, eBay warns sellers to use this feature cautiously.
How to block a buyer on eBay
Once you decide to block a buyer, you’ll need their user ID or email address. Then, you can follow these simple steps.
Step 1: Go to the block bidders page
After logging into your account, go to the ‘Block bidders or buyers from your listings’ page.
If you don’t have the link to hand, you can click ‘Help & Contact’ at the top of any eBay page and search ‘Block buyer’. The first link which appears will also bring you to this page.
Step 2: Enter the buyer’s username
In the text box, you can add the user ID or email of any buyer you want to block from your listings. If you’re adding more than one, make sure to separate each of them with a comma.
eBay allows you to add up to 5,000 users to this black list. Though, hopefully, things will never get quite that bad!
It’s also worth noting that the ‘Restore list’ button above the text box allows you to view or restore past versions of your blocked buyers list.
Step 3: Submit your blocked buyers
When you’ve finished copying in usernames, make sure to click ‘submit’ so the list is saved.
If all the usernames you entered are valid, you’ll see a message like this:
If any of the usernames or emails are invalid, eBay will let you know with a message like this:
Once you’ve blocked some buyers, their names will automatically appear in the text box on the block bidders page – even if you refresh it or come back later. To unblock a buyer, you simply remove them from this list and click ‘Submit’ once again to save the changes.
An optional step: blocking messages
Blocked users are still allowed to message you about a listing. If you decide to change this, you can do so on the buyer requirements page of your eBay account. You’ll find this page under the ‘Site Preferences’ tab in your account.
Check the box which states ‘Don’t allow blocked buyers to contact me’. And you’re set.
Blocked buyers will no longer see the ‘Contact seller’ button on your listings. Though they’ll still be able to reach out regarding any past transactions they’ve had with you.
Preemptively blocking buyers
If you find you’re blocking buyers on a regular basis, it might be a good idea to set up some criteria which will prevent certain groups from purchasing your products.
For example, you could block users with a history of non-payment. This could save you a lot of headaches and reduce the number of unpaid item cases you have to deal with!
Or you could even get really strategic and block buyers from certain countries or regions where it is expensive to ship too. This could be a great way of protecting your business if you’re working with low margin products while also offering free shipping.
Block eBay buyers by setting up requirements
By adding buyer requirements for your store, you can set out minimum standards which eBay users must meet before they purchase from you. This can reduce your chances of having negative experiences with buyers.
However, you should be very careful when implementing these requirements, because they have the potential to impact your eBay sales.
On the Buyer Requirements page, you can block buyers who:
- Have a history of non-payment recorded on their account
- Have breached other eBay policies in the past
- Have a low feedback score
- Are currently winning or have bought 1-100 of your items in the past ten days (you specify the number)
- Don’t have a PayPal account
- Have a primary delivery address in an area you don’t ship to
To implement some of these criteria for your eBay store, you can once again head to the Buyer Requirements page. (As we already mentioned above, you can also gain access to this page through the Site Preferences tab in your account.)
Block buyers by location
It is also possible for sellers to block eBay buyers who are located in a particular state or country.
This will only make sense if you’re trying to reduce eBay shipping costs. For example, you might want to avoid international shipping. Or if you’re based in the US, you might want to prevent orders heading to certain regions, like Alaska and Hawaii.
To block buyers from a certain region, you can head to your account’s shipping preferences. This link is available under your account’s site preferences too.
From here, you’ll see a section which allows you to exclude shipping locations. Click ‘edit’ under this heading.
Now you’ll be able to create a list of excluded shipping locations by simply checking the relevant boxes.
Finally, you can head back to the buyer requirements page and check the box, which says: ‘Block buyers from areas you don’t ship to’.
Blocking buyers can save you some headaches. But make sure don’t get too carried away!
If you block too many buyers, you could begin to cripple your sales. Use these tools sparingly and frequently check your blocked buyer activity log to make sure the restrictions you’ve set up aren’t hurting your store.
You’ll be able to see how much interest in your listings is coming from blocked users. If there’s a lot of activity and you feel like you’re missing out, you can always review your lists in order to increase your eBay sales once again.