Ebay Blocks Seller Until She “Verifies” with PayPal

We got this tip from a reader whose wife is a long-time Ebayer with a feedback score close to 5000, 99.8% positive. She was listing some items the other day, when she got the following message:

    Attention Seller:

    In order to maintain a safe trading environment, selling limits are occasionally placed on accounts. Your eBay account has been restricted from listing this item at this time until you have verified through PayPal.

    1) To verify your PayPal account, click on your country of eBay registration below to understand how to complete that process.

    2) If you already have a verified PayPal account, and are still receiving this message, you need to link it to your eBay account.

    For instructions on how to become PayPal Verified or how to link your PayPal account to your eBay account, please click on the site of your eBay registration below:

Are they suggesting that you need to use PayPal to be “safe”? Hmmm. We’re not Ebay experts, is this normal? Reasonable? —MEGHANN MARCO


Edit Your Comment

  1. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Does it specifiy she has to use Paypal? Or just sign up, and become verified? (Which, I think, entails having a small ammount deposited into your checking account).

    Seems odd, but not shady.

    Perhaps it is so eBay can pull money out of a bank account, by way of Paypal, if there is a refund dispute…

  2. acambras says:

    So are they saying that to be an eBay seller you *have* to have a PayPal account (even if you don’t accept PayPal as payment?)

  3. Wouldn’t make more sense to make the Buyer verify their account? If someone is going to use an account that isn’t their’s, wouldn’t it be a Buyer who wants to spend someone else’s money? I mean, why would someone selling something want the money to go into an account that doesn’t belong to them?

    If this is about sellers who don’t ship their auction items, what would that have to do with Paypal? Paypal can’t check and see if someone actually owns the PS3 they are selling.

    I don’t get it. Am I missing something? How would the Seller commit fraud using someone else’s Paypal account?

  4. chichi says:

    What kind of items was she listing? eBay has been requiring that sellers become verified if they wish to sell certain brand name and designer products. It’s their roundabout way of curbing near rampant counterfeit sales on the site. It’s definitely not just your reader’s wife, if you check out eBay’s community discussion boards you’ll see posts from dozens of sellers, experienced and not, who’ve been placed under the same limitations.

  5. Kornkob says:

    Reading comprehension is key here. EBay did is saying it is safer if you use Pay Pal.

    In order to maintain a safe trading environment, selling limits are occasionally placed on accounts.

    However, it is notable that they did not say (as Meghann assumed) that it made it safe for the seller. No. They merely said that they were trying to make for a ‘safe trading enviornment’. It does nto specify for whom Ebay is attempting to make the enviornment safe.

    They are trying to make it safe for themselves. By having the seller’s bank account information and the seller’s agreement to a draconian service agreement at Pay Pal, EBay is in the position to ensure that their risks are minimal, while ensuring that they can effectively cull profits from every transaction.

    Thus the enviornment is safer. Much the way OSHA takes steps to ensure that the beef processing plant is safer. Try explaining to the cow how safe the plant is.

  6. ronaldholden says:

    You don’t mention the possibility, but it looks to me like a classic case of phishing.

  7. AcilletaM says:

    Plus, you know, the whole EBay owning PayPal thing too.

  8. Bye says:

    eBay owns PayPal so it’s in their best interests to have such a “safe” environment.

    I only had a PayPal account for a very short while until they suddenly demanded I give them one of my checking account numbers to do further business with them. What a joke. I might (MIGHT!) trust a regular banking institution with those details (acknowledging even then that they’re not safe), but PayPal is SO sketchy that I didn’t want any part of that.

    So what are the good eBay alternatives? I’m done with them for SO many reasons – the CEO’s gushing and fawning over Mitt Romney being the last straw.

  9. RumorsDaily says:

    That sounds like a phising email, are we sure it was legit? Do you have the source of the email?

  10. RumorsDaily says:

    Oh, it was a listing block, not an email, nevermind.

  11. acambras says:

    PayPal keeps sending me e-mails telling me it’s imperative that I update my credit card info. I haven’t bought or sold anything on eBay in 3 years, and the checking account that was connected with them has since been closed.

    At first I thought they were phishing e-mails, but now I wonder if it’s just PayPal trying to get me to renew a relationship with them even though now I know they’re evil.

  12. nweaver says:

    A: This is (I presume) a message from the eBay web site, not a phishing email. (the PayPal emails are always phishing).

    b: “Verified” through PayPal means having a checking account with routing info, as it is cheaper for them but more dangerous for you. If you do need to become verified by paypal, get a free checking account from some bank that you ONLY use for this, to keep the rest of your assets safe.

  13. ElizabethD says:

    Re: the phishing comments — That’s what I thought, too. I always forward such e-mailes (with long headers visible) to spoof@paypal.com or spoof@ebay.com and wait to hear their verdict as to whether the message is for realz. Beware of e-mails that begin ‘Dear EBay member” instead of “Dear (username)”.

  14. VA_White says:

    Paypal started out as this great way for regular people selling stuff on eBay to take credit cards. The whole plan was for Paypal to offer the service free and make money by collecting interest on the millions of tiny, temporary balance in their system.

    Somewhere along the way, the scheme changed. Either they found this wasn’t profitable enough or they realized people in general are greedy and dishonest pigs or they got too big for their britches.

    I would give paypal my first-born child before I gave them access to my checking account (even one opened just for eBaying). They can suck it.

  15. They should still say in that message why they want them to do this. When they said “To verify your PayPal account” I thought they were worried about the accounts themselves, not the identity of the seller.

    Why can’t they just say, “We need to know the real-life identities of sellers to combat fraud”?

  16. murderedbysound says:

    Ebay doesn’t want to deal with people and fraudlent accounts. There are so many people out there trying to scam people it’s ridiculas. I do think that Paypal is a safer way to go than using other method’s.

  17. pmm says:

    My experience with “PayPal verification” led me to cancel my PayPal and eBay accounts. Because I was set to purchase an item over $2000, I was required to verify my checking account. The transaction was eventually completed, and I paid for the item with my credit card, as usual.

    My problem with PayPal didn’t occur until the next purchase. I was purchasing a cell phone, and instead of my credit card being charged (how I always had it set up), PayPal changed my setting to take it out of my checking account (since they now had my account #) — without my permission. This resulted in an overdraft fee of around $30. I tried to get PayPal to reimburse me, since my setting was changed without my authorization, but no amount of emails would illicit a response from a thinking, literate human being. I dropped my issue and resolved never to use eBay or PayPal again- it’s not worth the hassle.

  18. Chris says:

    An enterprising class action plaintiff’s lawyer might want to look into the possibility of an anti-trust violation for illegal “tying” (impermissisibly linking the purchase of one product to the purchase of another). I’ve no clue if this is such a violation, but that’s where I’d start my research.

  19. eeebee says:

    Jeez, I hate PayPal. There’s no way I’d ever give them my banking info. I’m an ebay buyer but not seller and I will only buy from sellers who’ll take a cashier’s check. It might be less safe than PayPal but I’ve never had a bad transaction and I’d rather lose money to a scam seller than give my info to PayPal.

  20. Jester1 says:

    If you have all been paying attention, eBay is little by little making it impossible for you NOT to offer PayPal, and thus making it very possible for them to get more money out of your eBay transactions.

    Not long ago, they made a seemingly little change to the system, with a huge impact: If a buyer pays you with PayPal using a Credit Card, and you do not have a business account, guess what? The credit is posted on your PP account, without any possibility of clicking DENY button, as it is greyed out. you used to be able to deny it. SO now they FORCE you to click ACCEPT, which by the way, requires you to upgrade your account to Business. By doing that, you are now accepting CC payments and they are taking an additional percentage of the transaction.

    Of course the only solution to this proble is to Stop Using Paypal. Which I have done.

    To add insult to injury, they HAVE forzen my account last week, and I have to say bye bye to my funds for 180 days. That is, because I am not able to provide receipts for the last 10 eBay sold items. Laughable! Receipts for USED items? wth! PayPal is indeed evil.

  21. Skeptic says:

    A few others mentioned that this sounds like a phishing scam. Consumerist should find out how this individual was notified and read the original notice to find out if EBay really sent this message or if it is a scam to get someone to reveal financial accounts and PayPal passwords.

  22. pdxguy says:

    I went through the Paypal “verified” hassle a couple years ago. They demanded my checking account details in order to become “verified”. I gave the details to them and then a day or so after I became “verified”, I removed my checking account details based, in large measure, on having heard numerous Paypal horror stories. They sqawked a little about it but I heard nothing more after I replied that if they were truly looking to verify my identity or other credentials, after having provided them the fact that I removed them does not repudiate what I provided. This is, of course, based on the assumption that they are indeed looking to verify identity or other credentials; observation indicates they are just looking to get their tentacles into one’s checking account. Beware and avoid if possible.

  23. rdm says:

    Pmm – “instead of my credit card being charged (how I always had it set up), PayPal changed my setting to take it out of my checking account (since they now had my account #) — without my permission.” Some paypal transactions on ebay do not let you use Credit Card (because the seller won’t take them, probably due to the massive fees). That is probably what happened and in that case – Paypal prompts you with what to use but they will change it to checking account by default.

  24. rdm says:

    Also, I just use a dummy checking account and keep minimal money in it for Paypal. If they choose to rip money out they don’t have very much to take…

  25. VA_White says:

    RDM said:
    Also, I just use a dummy checking account and keep minimal money in it for Paypal. If they choose to rip money out they don’t have very much to take

    No one should have to do this. Ridiculous. No, Paypal, no matter how many times you ask, I am *not* verifying my account by giving you my checking account info. Screw you.

  26. latemodel says:

    Ebay and Paypal is like gambling. Dont get more money involved than you can happily throw in the toilet. I have not even been to either site in 5+ years as me and everyone I know that has used those services has been ripped off.

  27. popeye_doyle says:

    Ebay is feeling the hot breath of Google check-out on its beefy neck. Google will wipe-out paypal in the non-ebay world and paypal is getting ready to go down fighting.

  28. wirelesslanai says:

    I’ve been skeptical of Paypal ever since learning of their right-wing agenda. What kind of “bank” can get away with the things they do? I write ads and other marketing communications for a credit union and constantly amazed at the incredible disclosures required.

    I think the next time I list something on eBay, I’ll switch to Google checkout. After all, their motto is “Do no evil.”

  29. paypalsucks says:

    when google launchs its free online auction severice then paypal and ebay will both be going down like the tiatinc did :)

    good riddence to bad rubbish

    No ebay No paypal

    google checkout is awsome and works wonderful on ebay i LOVE it

    Do It G-Bay

  30. Her Grace says:

    The one advantage Paypal has over Google checkout is that right now, normal people can’t sell anything using Google checkout. Well, I can claim to be a merchant, but I have to give them my US business Tax File Number (which I obviously don’t have) or my SS# AND a valid credit card, also in the US. Any goon with a credit card or checking account can use Paypal, which is both its advantage and downfall (aside from, you know, the money grubbing and theft and creepy political adgenda and such). For now I have to stick with Paypal, as much as I hate them, because I hate the idea of giving Google my credit card and SS# even more.