eBay Australia Clarifies Policies Blocking Use Of Amazon FBA, Presale Restrictions - Will Other Countries Be Next?

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


eBay has chosen the occasion of their February 2024 seller update to remind Australian sellers about their third-party fulfillment and presale policies, raising questions about the possibility of increasing enforcement and whether similar policies may come to other countries in the future.

eBay Australia February 2024 Seller Update
eBay Australia releases February 2024 Seller Update with changes to marketing tools, multi-user access, drafts, INRs, 3rd-party fulfillment & more!

The section on "enhancing trust with our third-party fulfilment policy" at first glance appears to be just a reminder of existing policies.

What’s the update?
Over the past year, we’ve improved our policy to provide a better shopping experience on eBay. This includes paying closer attention to sellers who use third-party fulfilment methods that don't meet our policy requirements.

Why are we focusing on third-party fulfilment activity?To boost customer trust with a transparent shopping experienceTo avoid misleading or confusing buyers as to the origin of their purchaseTo protect our customers’ data from being used for purposes outside the fulfilment
What you need to do
We ask that sellers have pre-purchased or own the stock they sell on eBay. To avoid impacts to your listings or account restrictions, we recommend making sure all your inventory and listings follow the policy.

But clicking through to view the full policy shows while the guidelines have not changed, eBay edited this page on December 21, 2023 to update the information about activity that doesn't follow the policy for clarity.

eBay Australia 3rd Party Fulfillment Policy

Interestingly, unlike on the US site, eBay Australia specifically calls out Fulfilled by Amazon as not being compliant with eBay policies.

While it appears that has been in the policy for several years, this update seems to be drawing extra attention to it - which could indicate eBay is planning to ratchet up enforcement of the existing policy for Australia soon.

In contrast, the policies on drop shipping for the US, UK and other markets simply states "listing an item on eBay and then purchasing the item from another retailer or marketplace that ships directly to your customer is not allowed on eBay" but it stops short of preventing the use of FBA to ship orders to eBay buyers, which can be a common occurrence for larger sellers who use FBA services to handle their inventory sold across multiple websites or marketplaces.

The practice can often lead to confusion, as it's difficult for many buyers to tell the difference between a seller who is violating the drop shipping policy by simply buying the item from another seller on Amazon (online arbitrage) and one who legitimately using Amazon FBA services - and either way, it can be a disappointing user experience for buyers to receive an eBay order in an Amazon box.

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Policies like this are often based on country-specific laws and regulations, particularly around consumer protection and privacy, so just because a policy may affect one country doesn't necessarily mean it will impact other countries as well.

For example, Australian consumer protection laws forced eBay to institute a Comparative Price Policy in 2022 to help curb fake strikethrough pricing "discounts" that harm consumers - but because the FTC has not yet taken eBay to task for the same problem in the US, those shady business practices are allowed to continue unabated.

All of that could change, as eBay faces increasing US regulatory scrutiny as a result of historic $59 Million settlement with the DEA, ongoing litigation brought by the EPA, and a deferred prosecution agreement after being found criminally liable in connection to the 2019 cyberstalking of journalists Ina and David Steiner of EcommerceBytes, which includes a $3 Million fine and 3 years of compliance monitoring with a specific focus on Mergers and Acquisitions due diligence, disclosure and risk management.

That being said, it would be a massive shift for eBay to prevent the use of FBA for fulfilling orders in the US, so it's definitely something worth keeping an eye on as a possibility for where eBay policy could be headed in the future.

We also have to wonder if any possibly impending crackdown on FBA specifically might have anything to do with Amazon finally surpassing eBay to become the #1 ecommerce site in Australia.

Will Amazon Beat eBay In Australia?
Amazon dominates US ecommerce, while eBay has reigned supreme in Australia - could that be changing?

Reviewing the Fulfillment policy for Australia lead to another interesting discovery - they also changed the presale policy page in December 2023, again to provide clarity around information about activity that doesn't follow the policy.

eBay Australia Presale Policy

Contrast that with the presale policy currently in effect for the US (as well as UK, Canada and other markets) which matches the first four from Australian, but does not include the last three.

eBay US Presale Policy

Adding similar policies for the US (and actually enforcing them) could certainly help curb some of the more egregious scalper activity that flourishes on the site, like the Trump sneaker presale debacle currently in progress.

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Presales for Donald Trump’s new line of sneakers flood eBay at inflated prices, violating listing policies & putting buyers at risk for scams.

However, again these stricter policies for Australia may be in reaction to country specific laws and regulations, so it's difficult to say if this may be a sign of things to come for other countries.

On the other hand, eBay does also occasionally use Australia as a test market for various new features and policies like Guaranteed Fit for Parts and discounted fees for sharing listings on social media - so it's not out of the realm of possibility that eBay may consider expanding these fulfillment and presale policies to other countries at some point in the future.

Would you like to see these policies extended to the US, UK, Canada and beyond? How would it impact your eBay selling if you couldn't use FBA services to fulfill your orders? Let us know in the comments below!

eBayAmazonSeller Updates

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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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