IMPORTANT eBay Policy Change mandating Automatic Payments in Auctions and Offers for Paypal and other payment methods

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May 5, 2023
United States
To preface, regardless of whether or not eBay's policy change is right, it is indisputable that this is a massive change that more or less has been silently implemented and users of any kind —both sellers and buyers— need to be aware about a policy change that they were most likely never notified of. This change affects both buyers and sellers, because the amount of people willing to bid in an auction/send an offer/continue to utilize eBay as an E-commerce platform will fluctuate, directly influencing a seller's income off of eBay. Plus, there are many users on eBay that both buy and sell, instead of exclusively doing one or the other.

Sellers have the option to turn off the required automatic payment (with it being turned on by default), but as this change was silent, the majority of sellers aren't aware that automatic payment exists, and the buyer would have to communicate with every single seller prior to bidding/offering. Additionally, the option's description is misleading and includes a warning against removing it.

Beginning from 2021, eBay has begun to implement changes towards mandating required payment methods for auctions and offers. They started experimenting with a test group percentage of users on eBay until they were ready to make it site-wide, and as of Q3 2023: this currently applies to essentially every user. For the buyer, there is no way to opt out, since the once experimental test program has now been enforced into a policy.

Additionally, for a user's bid or offer to be registered in the system, they have to agree to let eBay automatically charge your payment method. It is not just the buyers who win the auction or whose offers get accepted; to bid/offer, the user has to agree. The message indicates: “You authorize eBay to save these payment details and use them to collect payment from you for items you offer to buy or win at auction on eBay. The amount collected from you will consist of your offer or bid (up to the total entered by you) and any applicable costs.”

If Buyer Payment requirement is enabled (using Paypal as an example):

eBay won't allow the buyer to choose their specific Paypal method of payment but rather charges it towards their Paypal account, resulting in Paypal having numerous incidents where it will automatically charges their purchase to unwanted bank accounts/credit cards linked to their Paypal account, including checking accounts, etc. Even if the buyer chose a primary/preferred/default online payment method in Paypal, it can and has been ignored in many instances (see the tens of posts in the eBay community forum alone by searching up "eBay automatic payments Paypal"). Also, there have been instances of eBay automatically charging the wrong Paypal account for buyers with multiple Paypal accounts.

2. The buyer has many instances where they are not allowed to use seller coupons/seller specials/eBay coupons/Google Pay, Apple Pay, Paypal Credit, Paypal Pay in 4 interest-free payments, or Paypal Pay Monthly.

The buyer has many instances where they are not able to combine shipping and handling if they buy more than 1 item from a seller.

4. There have been many instances of potential buyers who bid during the last few seconds on an auction that have been interrupted by the "provide a payment source" requirement message, causing their bids to not register.

5. There have been many instances of unwanted and damaging overdrafts/late fees towards the bank account of an unaware buyer, resulting from eBay's authorization to automatically pay.

In many cases, sellers carefully consider their prices around sales/discounts, and lists their item accordingly. If the price the buyer pays is disproportionate to the price the seller expects the buyer to pay, then a potential buyer can get the short end of the stick. For example, it is common practice for sellers to list their item at its astronomically high "original price" and then put the item on "sale" for the regular price using a discount; if this discount were suddenly not an option, the buyer gets screwed.

Since this policy change involves the buyer, the seller, eBay, Paypal, bank accounts, etc. if there are any issues, the tedious process of contacting every individual party explaining the problem and waiting for a response has resulted in declined cancellations/refunds/chargebacks/overdrafts/late fees/etc. If the buyer pays with an exchange rate card, or if the seller has already shipped the item and is forced to have it returned, they have been many instances where they will lose money even if they are fully refunded. Also, if a user's account is comprimised, eBay has the authority to automatically pay if the hacker wins an auction or a seller accepts the hacker's offer, overiding the need for passwords/two-factor authentification/verfication. It's important to recognize that it is not just the buyer that goes through this process, the seller's time, effort, and overall participation is also necessary in the majority of cases, and the seller's money can be withheld until the issue is resolved.

There may be ways to circumvent the automatic payment, but with bugs and issues stemming from each option, including Customer Support who aren't aware/trained enough to assist with the change, the current course of action is to at least let other users know about it.


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Ebay is starting to sound more like an online gambling house who are fixing the odds in their favour ,
Buyer beware .
So where do you buy and sell these days? Is there an alternative?


Honestly, the only reason I have used eBay over other E-commerce platforms is the bidding aspect of it. Most platforms allow you to send an offer to sellers like Mercari or Reverb, and some allow in-person buying like OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace, or Craigslist, but no other significant platform provides bidding as a resource. Which is why this policy change affects me so much, because Auctions were one of the major reasons to use eBay. The only other reason is eBay's popularity, because it's hard to find actually decent Pro-Audio Gear sold online, although I wish local auction houses paid attention to audio gear instead of just paintings alone, and pawn shops usually mark up their items way higher than their quality. I wish Microcenter sold pro audio, because their employees and customer support are well-trained and knowledgable, but their catalog is small, since they market towards gamers. I just found out today that Newegg also functions as a distributor like Walmart for pro audio using other websites like Musician's Friend, but Newegg is notorious for their very extensive history of issues (see Gamer's Nexus and Newegg), so I wouldn't buy directly from Newegg's website.

Amazon, AliExpress, and Taobao are also websites that occassionally have something noteworthy, but they almost never sell used gear, which makes you have to buy everything retail or wait for a sale. Also, search engine optimization is terrible for almost every E-commerce website. Mouser Electronics is a good distributer for components. I've never used Sweetwater, Musician's Friend, Front End Audio, Adorama, Music Go Round, B&H, Guitar Center, or Gearspace, so I can't speak on them. I don't think I need to mention GroupDiy. Some third-party websites sell indiviudal products, which can be high quality like 3u Audio, Arienne Audio, and JLI Electronics, but they don't serve as an actual E-commerce platform, just their own shop.
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So where do you buy and sell these days? Is there an alternative?



I buy/sell from local lists. And even only if I can pick the goods up. Not so much on offer, but far cheaper and I've even made a couple of friends while doing that.

I've tried buying from FB marketplace, but to no avail. I suspect most sellers to be insane...
I use local adds too , I often pick up stuff for a fraction of the prices advertisted on ebay , and if its not local pick up ,I sometimes have things sent by post .and deposit cash in the sellers bank account ,

Like you Cy Ive had mostly very good interactions with sellers , Typically by the end of a sale I have the persons name , phone number and bank account code so if anything did goes badly wrong you have a comeback with the law , small add websites dont have the same level of protection its always buyer beware , sometimes you have to take a chance on something . Like recently I got a non working Alesis HD24 for 200 euros , turned out a 2 euro IC was all that needed replacing and its as good as new .
It's not the sellers I fear, it's the transport.

Small packets, OK. But anything that's over five kilo and can be dropped, will be dropped. And worse.