As an entrepreneur selling products online, dealing with difficult buyers is an unfortunate reality. Nearly 63% of eBay sellers have encountered issues with buyers being unreasonable, failing to pay, or even harassing the seller. While blocking problematic buyers may seem like an easy solution, it can also impact your seller rating and limit potential business. So when is it appropriate to block buyers on eBay? And how do you go about it?
As a small business consultant who has guided hundreds of entrepreneurs through eBay selling challenges, I‘ve put together this comprehensive guide on best practices for handling problematic eBay buyers.
Common Reasons to Block a Buyer
Before deciding to block a buyer, carefully consider whether it is truly necessary or if the issue could be resolved through better communication. Some common reasons sellers end up needing to block buyers include:
- Requests for prices well below value of item
- Demanding free or heavily discounted shipping that causes you losses
- Requiring extremely fast shipping that is unfeasible
Example: Brandon bought a rare coin from you for $500 and then demanded you overnight ship it to him for free.
- Winning auctions but never paying
- Agreeing to buy then disappearing without payment
- Repeated instances of late payments across multiple purchases
A 2022 survey found that nearly 50% of eBay sellers had experienced issues with non-paying bidders.
- Sending abusive, threatening, or excessive messages
- Repeatedly contacting you after requesting no further contact
- Stalking or doxxing you to access personal details
See eBay‘s rules against buyer harassment. If you feel unsafe, report to eBay immediately.
Step-By-Step Guide to Blocking a Buyer
» Log In
First, access your seller account by going to www.ebay.com and clicking "Sign In" in the top right. Enter your username and password when prompted.
» Access Site Preferences
From your eBay homepage, click "Account" in top right then navigate to Site Preferences > Buyer Requirements.
» Edit Blocked Buyer List
Under "Block buyers", click Edit next to "Block buyers who:".
» Enter Buyer‘s Username
In the text box provided, enter the exact username of the buyer you want to block. You can add multiple usernames separated by commas.
» Confirm Block
Double check that the username(s) entered are correct. Click "Add to Blocked List". Review the confirmation prompt then click "Submit".
» Verify Buyer Blocked
To verify the buyer no longer sees your listings or can contact you, you may want to check by signing out of your seller account and searching your username from the buyer‘s perspective.
And that‘s it! The buyer will now be blocked from interacting with you or your eBay seller account going forward.
Outcomes When You Block a Buyer
Once blocked, here is what a buyer can and cannot do:
- Cannot: Bid on, buy from, or make offers on your listings
- Cannot: Contact you via eBay messaging
- Can: Leave feedback on recent transactions prior to being blocked
- Can: Still view your eBay seller profile and listings
If you change your mind later or resolve the issue with a blocked buyer, you can always edit your blocked buyers list and remove them.
Tips to Handle Problem Buyers
Blocking buyers should be a last resort. As an eBay seller, here are some tips to deal with difficult buyers while maintaining your professional reputation:
- Communicate Policies Clearly – Prevent issues by setting expectations upfront on your listings about prices, shipping costs, returns, etc.
- Address Issues Quickly – When a problem comes up, be prompt and thoughtful in your responses.
- Offer Refunds – If a buyer is unhappy with an item, provide refunds or exchanges per your policies to prevent negative situations.
- Get eBay Involved – For serious cases of harassment, threats, etc. report to eBay immediately.
Case Study: Managing a Difficult Buyer
Olivia is an eBay seller who auctions antique porcelain dolls. One buyer won a $250 doll and paid, but subsequently filed an "item not as described" complaint disputing the doll‘s condition.
Rather than immediately blocking the buyer, Olivia first responded professionally via eBay‘s messaging system. She offered to refund the buyer upon return shipment of the doll. Ultimately the buyer decided to keep the doll after further discussions. Maintaining open communication was critical in resolving this dispute.
When Is It Necessary to Block Buyers?
Blocking buyers is a tool all eBay sellers should be prepared to use in certain situations:
- The buyer clearly violates eBay policies through harassment, threats, etc. as outlined in the user harassment policy.
- You have tried all other options to reasonably address an issue, but the buyer remains problematic.
- The buyer has a clear history of issues from past transactions that indicate further problems are likely.
However, blocking buyers unnecessarily can also damage your seller rating if they provide negative feedback. So carefully weigh the options before adding someone to your blocked list.
Having a few difficult buyers is inevitable when selling online. As an entrepreneur, it is crucial you handle such issues professionally to protect your business. While blocking problematic eBay buyers seems straightforward, take care to communicate clearly, attempt conflict resolution, and only block when truly necessary.
With the tips in this guide, you can effectively manage all kinds of tricky buyer situations while growing your eBay seller account. Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions!