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Ebay bots scan messages?

Discussion in 'Ebay' started by oatmeal, Jul 20, 2017.

  1. oatmeal

    oatmeal Regular Member

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    Just wondering here, with millions of people that conduct communication with ebay messages,
    I'm guessing actual human eyes are not searching every message, so bots are used to
    do most of that work. Do they pick up on certain key words that might suggest a violation
    of ebay policies?

    Do the ebay bots then just automatically dish out a verdict themselves or is it alerted to a
    live human agent who looks at it and determines a ruling?

    A few times over the past year, I've received a message from ebay that stated something in
    my message to the buyer was not legal or against ebay TOS. For example, sometimes I ask
    the buyer if I can add a phone number to the shipping information (a purchase they already made).
    I just want to add a number to the shipping info, then ebay says that I was trying to make a sale
    outside of ebay? It didn't seem to match up so I was thinking it might be an ebay bot that just
    caught a keyword like "phone number" or "email" and then assumed I was trying to make a sale outside of ebay? The sale had already been made on ebay so ebay got their fees from me.

    Then I searched a few articles online and someone suggested taking a photo because ebay bots
    don't scan photos. Is this true?
     
  2. toml3030

    toml3030 Elite Member

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    I suspect what happens is bots pick up keywords such as any email addresses, phone numbers, and payment methods such as "paypal", "western union", and passes it along to human eyes for confirmation

    eBay does not want sellers to communicate outside eBay mail period. As far as eBay is concerned, they feel that act of bring buyers to the seller is eBay property and eBay should get a slice of every transaction in perpetuity. For a while eBay toyed with the idea of letting sellers brand themselves, but in the last few years they really killed that.

    Well the problem with that is eventually someone from eBay will see that you've been sending these photos and it may get you in trouble because now they have evidence that you tried to skate around eBay policy.
     
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  3. oatmeal

    oatmeal Regular Member

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    Thanks, good answers. I was thinking some more about it and wondered why they would be so strict on this issue. I do agree that ebay is offering the service of bringing us customers that we otherwise would never have had the chance to get. But if a seller is making 97-98 sales a month and doing 1 or 2 sales outside of ebay, wouldn't that still be favorable for ebay to keep that seller active because of all the revenue they are making from the fees of the 97-98 sales? It's just hypothetical and I'm not saying one is right or wrong. Ebay would rather not receive the $500 bucks just for a couple sales that were made outside? Of course, if that seller was doing a sizable portion of their deals off ebay after getting connected with buyers on ebay, I could understand it.

    I'll be honest here, but over the 1.5 years now that I've been back selling, I have received at least a dozen offers off ebay from returning customers. They contacted me directly to my email and not ebay messaging. They asked me if they could buy the same thing again and I just made them an invoice from paypal and they paid me and I shipped it out again, no problems. If they ask through the ebay messaging system, I will try not to say any of those "key words" that might flag the message. What do you do? Do you decline every single offer someone makes to buy it off ebay from you? If they contacted you in private via email or paypal, would you tell them no and tell them to login into ebay and buy it off your store again? It's a slippery slope.
     
  4. oatmeal

    oatmeal Regular Member

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    I have another question related to this. Ebay can't actually prove that a sale was made offline. If my message gets flagged because I asked for a buyers email address or even I said that I would send an invoice directly to paypal, that doesn't actually prove that an offline sale was made. So it seems that ebay simply operates on their own discretion and any hint or suggestion that indicates an offline transaction, they will deem that enough reason to give a warning or worse (restriction/suspension).

    If this is true, then isn't it possible for a buyer who wanted to screw a seller, to send them an ebay message saying something like, "thanks for sending my paypal invoice! I sent you the money off ebay! Hope to buy more from you tomorrow and next week!" Then the ebay bot would flag this message and ebay would pretty much consider this a policy violation of the seller for making a transaction off ebay?

    So then, should we delete messages that may have any hint at off ebay transaction? Would deleted messages still be saved somewhere in ebay's systems to flag it or does deleting it make it unsearchable for bots?
     
  5. toml3030

    toml3030 Elite Member

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    It's perfectly within eBay's rights to not deal with you for any reason. It's in the TOS and you agreed to it when eBay agreed to have you sell there. If you think that a private business MUST provide a service, try walking into a fancy restaurant wearing nothing but speedos and see if they serve you.

    Yes, but let's stay in the realm of possibility here. eBay generally does not act on one report, you have to show a pattern before eBay really comes down hard.


    eBay saves everything. Deleting messages won't save you.
     
  6. oatmeal

    oatmeal Regular Member

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    Continuing with the hypothetical, yes I agree that a pattern would have to show up before ebay does anything, but then again, you did mention that it's ebay and they can pretty much do whatever they want without reason. What happens if 3 or 4 different ebay accounts sent those messages to a seller. Would you say that it could actually get a seller banned? What I'm just trying to get at is that when ebay decides that one has tried to make a sale off ebay, there is no actual way they can prove it or have evidence of it. Yes, I think if the seller sent a message saying it blatantly, there is motive/intent but there is still no conclusive evidence to show an actual deal was made off ebay. They pretty much take that email message and fill in the rest of the blanks and slap a restriction or suspension.

    That's why I was asking, if some buyer(s) just sent those fake messages saying "thanks for sending me an invoice in paypal" or "thanks for the transaction off ebay", I'm not sure how a seller would be able to protect themselves since a pattern would develop/show up if 3 or 4 ebayers did it over a period of 6 months etc.

    I may be stretching this a little far now, but these are the kinds of things I do think about, and I do believe it's legitimate concern. I'm very concerned at how these bots work and if they simply penalize you for picking up some flagged words but may not have nothing to do with trying to make an off-ebay sale.
     
  7. toml3030

    toml3030 Elite Member

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    This is your problem right here. Don't worry about the little things. They're called "little things" for a reason. Worry about big things.