Limiting eBay: A Tip to Save a Headache

The other day I was selling an old lens on eBay. I’ve been using eBay for a long time, mainly to sell electronics and camera equipment I don’t need anymore. While I don’t always like the way they do business, generally it’s an easy way to make some quick cash from stuff that would otherwise just sit in my closet. You can definitely make more than you would selling it to a pawn shop or similar.

But the most annoying thing happened on this particular auction. I had chosen to limit shipping to the USA only. I checked that box in the listing process, and mentioned it very plainly in the auction itself. I only ship to confirmed Paypal addresses in the USA. I have some reasons for that I won’t go into here, but that is my choice as the seller. You would think that by checking a box that says you won’t ship internationally, that eBay would not show the auction to potential international buyers. That is not the case.

My lens was won by a guy from Canada. Should he have read the listing and looked at the terms for shipping before he bid? Absolutely. He knew he had made a mistake and kindly agreed to cancel the transaction. But why would he have even been able to see it? eBay refunded my final auction value, but not the listing fee. I tried to offer a second chance to the second highest bidder, but they declined. So now I have had to pay to list the item again. This time I found a way to limit who can see the listing.

Unless you tell eBay not to show your auction to people from primary addresses that you will not ship to, they will show it to anyone. Toward the bottom of the listing form there is a section where you can limit who can see/bid on your item. In this list there is a box you can check that does not allow people from other countries, from countries you have said you will not ship to, to see your item.

I would prefer this was automatic, but at least you can do it. I don’t want to sell this lens a third time.

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