Most of the time, eBay merchants have positive experiences and are incredibly grateful for their customers. But sometimes eBay sellers come across nefarious buyers who, at best, simply waste time and, at worst, attempt to make fraudulent transactions. For situations like these, here’s how to block buyers on eBay.
Reasons you might need to block a buyer on eBay
When you block a buyer on eBay, the buyer can no longer purchase any of your products. Blocked users will still be able to see your listings, but they will be unable to bid, make an offer or choose to ‘Buy it now’.
Blocking a buyer differs from blocking a contact on WhatsApp or Facebook. As well as being able to see your listings, the blocked buyer will still be able to contact you.
Blocking buyers on eBay should not be an everyday occurrence. But sometimes, you will have good reason to prevent someone from bidding on or buying their items – particularly if you have had a negative experience with a particular 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 will need the buyer’s eBay user ID or email address to initiate the block. Simply follow these easy steps once the buyer’s info is in hand.
Step 1: Go to the block bidders page
After logging into your merchant 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 the page you need.
Step 2: Enter the buyer’s username
In the text box, 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 merchants to add up to 5,000 users to this blocklist. Though, hopefully, things will never get quite that bad!
It’s also worth noting that the ‘Restore list’ button above the text box allows sellers 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:
When you have blocked a buyer, their name will automatically appear in the text box on the block bidders page – even if once refreshed or visited 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 that 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.
One caveat to this is that blocked users will still be able to reach out regarding any past transactions they’ve had with you.
Pre-emptively blocking buyers
If you find you’re blocking buyers regularly, 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 to. 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 to their eBay store, sellers can outline minimum standards which eBay users must meet before they are allowed to purchase from their store. This can reduce a merchant’s chances of having negative experiences with buyers.
However, you should be cautious when implementing these requirements because they can impact their eBay sales. This function can (and should) be used selectively to create a higher bar of entry to purchasing from you.
On the Buyer Requirements page, merchants 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.)
Setting up buyer requirements will automatically ban certain buyers, per the parameters set.
Block buyers by location
It is also possible for sellers to block eBay buyers who are located in a particular state or country.
This primarily makes sense for merchants trying to reduce eBay shipping costs. For example, those wishing to avoid international shipping may wish to only ship to users located domestically. Or merchants based in the US may wish to go even further and limit orders heading to certain regions outside of the lower 48 states, like Alaska and Hawaii, as shipping costs for these regions are typically higher than shipping throughout the mainland.
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’.
Excluding shipping locations is a smart move if you can’t afford to ship to certain regions.
Blocking buyers can save you some headaches. It may be advantageous to do so, as doing so selectively can cut down on potential issues without jeopardizing potential sales.
However, it’s best to use eBay’s blocking tools sparingly and frequently check your blocked buyer activity log to ensure the restrictions you’ve set up aren’t hurting your store.
Staying informed of their eBay store analytics is crucial in this regard. You can see how much interest in your listings comes from blocked users. If there’s a lot of activity and it appears that sales are being lost due to over-blocking, you can (and often should) review to increase your eBay sales once again.
Ultimately, eBay gives merchants the flexibility to use blocking selectively and judiciously while building their business for profitability.