Should You Be Required To Have A Cellphone To Sell On eBay?

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


Sellers in the eBay community are dismayed and perplexed by a recent seemingly unannounced change that appears to mandate the use of a cellphone in order to sell on the site.

eBay has been requesting for sellers to verify their identity information and contact details, likely in preparation for the INFORM Act requirements that will go into effect this year, but importantly the INFORM Act only requires sellers to provide a verifiable working phone number.

It does not specify it must be a phone number capable of receiving text messages or that it can't be a VOIP/Google Voice number - so it would appear eBay is being overly restrictive in their requirements for sellers.

Land line phone number no longer sufficient for identity verification to sell on ebay
Maybe I’m the only person left on earth with a land line and who doesn’t want to give his cell phone number to a company such as ebay, but I have found out today after a lengthy conversation with an ebay rep that unless I provide ebay with a phone number capable of receiving text messages, my seller…

Maybe I'm the only person left on earth with a land line and who doesn't want to give his cell phone number to a company such as ebay, but I have found out today after a lengthy conversation with an ebay rep that unless I provide ebay with a phone number capable of receiving text messages, my seller payout funds will be put on hold indefinitely.

I find it ridiculous that they can't just call my land line number with an automated message containing a verification code. Practically every other major company that requires verification offers this. Ebay? Nope. You gotta have a cell phone to sell here.

Sellers indicated they had been told various differing stories by eBay customer support - some said it was only a requirement for new accounts, others said email could be used for verification instead and others were told it's necessary for some functions like payouts to debit card, but not for general selling.

When this was brought up earlier last year, the eBay rep indicated that the requirement for text verification via cell-phone was only for NEW accounts, and not established eBay accounts.

Several of us still only have land-lines, due to multiple circumstances.

I verify my landline a couple of times a week (since early November) attempting to resolve the same situation that you are in, but like clockwork every Friday I get the message that I need to update my info.

Have had a call back 2 different times from CS. They can see what # (same for over 22 years of ebay) they are calling back to, but can not verify the #. No authority to do so. 24-72 hour. all will be OK. NOT

I have messaged ebay for business on Facebook. They provided a link that just took me back to the off-shore CS. Long "chat" there. A screenshot was sent to a link provided by CS to a "tech team" that would resolve the problem as a "priority". NOT I offered to send a screenshot of my current phone bill with name address phone #, but was assured that it would not be necessary.

I have yet to be told that I need a phone capable of receiving a text.

Just send that code to the "verified" email

I wanted confirmation as I asked the same question to Concierge a couple of wks ago.......and she said, while some things had to have text applications such as transfer of money to a debit card, it was not absolutely "necessary" to sell........

eBay community staff confirmed that a cellphone number is required for selling and specifically said it cannot be a Google Voice, VOIP or text only device.

The information that was provided was correct. There are some instances where an email is okay, for example as a buyer needing verification for something, but not for seller verification...

...You do need to have a valid cell phone to sell on eBay. Things such as Google Voice or Text only devices would not work.

That answer only caused more concerns as several sellers pointed out it did not match the information they had been given by support.

Thanks for the confirmed info on this. It appears CS is not aware of this requirement as many sellers are getting the run-around. As posted above...has spoken with CS several times the past few weeks and all the reps told him the landline was OK for verifying his selling account.

Several others are getting the same kind of answers. This is an area where CS (chat, phone, social media) should have clear guidance they can pass on to sellers elizabeth@ebay that a cell phone is required to verify a selling account and a VoIP service will not be acceptable, but e-mail may be sufficient to verify an account exclusively for buying.

Others have the very valid observation that this unannounced and apparently undocumented change in seller requirements doesn't bode well for a 27 year old marketplaces with average user age skewing toward the 50+ range.

Seems like eBay is punishing sellers (new sellers...who knows for senior (veteran established sellers going forward) for not having a cell phone. Due to arthritis and the cost a cell phone is not feasible for me. I create all my listings on a pc. Even this is becoming a challenge with the constant removal of features for the PC so the app is able to run quicker. Not super helpful in the scheme of things.

And eBay wonders why it's consistently losing sellers quarter after quarter after quarter--not just for this kind of requirement but for the long list of less-than-seller-friendly policies and procedures.

This is a little nuts. eBay is a rather elderly site with an older demographic, and their demanding a cell phone rather than simple email (with code) verification is stupid. I sell on a number of younger, more innovative sites which WERE mobile-only but matured to have also a web app, and they all accept email for receipt of verification code.

Another user called concierge support to try to confirm what the community rep had said and got still yet another different answer. 🤦‍♀️

I spoke with Concierge today.......

Explained the discussion on the board, and questioned Elizabeth's answer (not doubting you, but questioning previous answer I had gotten from Concierge)..... I asked whether it was necessary to go buy a new cell phone.

He stated that it was a requirement for new sellers to have the ability to receive text messages, but that older sellers who have current phone numbers on file and who have had no problems with communicating with Ebay...should have no problems. Said I do not need to go get a new cell phone.

I trust Concierge.......I will not buy a new cell phone. However, I've been on here long enough to know things can change on a dime.........I feel "warned"........

All of which brings up the very valid point - why doesn't eBay just put these requirements in clear, easy to understand writing on policy pages and upfront when a new seller signs up? 🤷‍♀️

I would hope (but know better) that eBay would put the requirement to have a cell phone that receives text messages right up front when signing on new sellers. Like put it FIRST. That way the new seller won't have to waste a lot of time giving up all that personal information/data only to find out after the fact if they don't buy a smart phone, they don't get to sell anyway.

Will eBay requiring a textable cell phone number, excluding Google/VOIP numbers, affect your selling on the marketplace? Let us know in the comments below!

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Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!

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