eBay Cracks Down On Trading Card Breaks, Limiting To Pre-Approved Sellers

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


eBay is cracking down on selling group spots in trading card case or box breaks and will only allow pre-approved breakers going forward, effective July 18th 2023.

Users who sell or have sold spots in case, box or pack breaks are receiving emails outlining the new policy.

The eBay trading cards community is filled with dedicated enthusiasts and fans looking to buy and sell in this category. With the growing popularity of case, box, and pack breaks we’re taking steps to give sellers and buyers an opportunity to participate in these live events.

Effective July 18, 2023 case, box, and pack breaks may only be sold by pre-approved sellers. Any live auctions underway can be completed but after July 18 you’ll no longer be able to start new break listings.

Sellers who have been pre-approved to sell live breaks will be contacted directly. We’re continuously working to support our trading card sellers. We’ll reach out if future opportunities open up for selling case, box, and pack breaks.

Thanks for being part of the eBay community.

There is apparently no way for sellers to request to be considered for approval - eBay's attitude on this seems to be "don't call us, we'll call you."

That response has left some smaller sellers feeling snubbed as the criteria for approval remains opaque and some suspect it has more to do with money than with seller performance.

100% positive seller feedback and 100% positive as a breaker -- CAN NO LONGER BREAK?????
I ’ve been a hobbyist breaker of NFL cards for the last few years. First the IRS $600 selling limits limited the hobby and now eBay terminating breaks from reputable breakers.... While failing to enforce their own selling practice standards. I’ve had numerous breakers and cardboard slingers get th…

I've been a hobbyist breaker of NFL cards for the last few years. First the IRS $600 selling limits limited the hobby and now eBay terminating breaks from reputable breakers.... While failing to enforce their own selling practice standards. I've had numerous breakers and cardboard slingers get their justified negatives removed but those of us with 100% Positive selling and breaking feedback are the ones who get punished.

I've been on eBay for more than 2 decades and I'm done using the site. It's done nothing for me as reputable seller now silenced from being a part-time breaker.

Michael Borders, who sells under the name Warrior65, told Sports Collectors Daily he was shocked by the news and this new policy will have a major impact on his business.

eBay to Limit Break Listings to Pre-Approved Accounts
Smaller sellers of online box and case breaks won’t be allowed to offer them on eBay after the company told them it would be limiting breakers on the platform to those the company has approved.

The news today came out of left field and was a complete shock,” remarked Michael Borders, a collector for more than 30 years who sells break spots and cards online under the name Warrior65. Borders spent 19 years as a teacher before resigning prior to the 2022-23 school year to ensure his autistic son could attend therapy. The Kansas City area collector recently began ramping up his online business as he spent more time at home, securing distribution channels in hopes of expanding the breaking part of his online sales efforts.

“I don’t do a massive volume of breaks, but it definitely helps me provide for my family in a small way on top of my storefront,” he told SC Daily. “I literally started the process of increasing my product supply and lowering my costs this month which makes this even more crushing. I spoke with their leadership team, and was told there is nothing I can do. They said it was a business decision, but it seems they are simply catering to large breakers regardless of customer experience.”

Hobby buyer and sellers have some interesting theories about the sudden policy change over on Blowout Forums.

So the rumor is eBay is only selecting maybe 10 breakers for approval. They were notified prior to the announcement and there isn't an approval process for breakers who weren't selected.

One of the SCR Brothers speculated that this change is due to liability concerns from eBay's lawyers, and that the breakers selected will have to sign a contract with eBay that has an indemnity clause.

Perhaps eBay is afraid of lawsuits from parents of underage kiddos getting hooked on eBay group breaks.

Maybe regulators are finally looking into treating group breaking as gambling and forcing companies to make changes.

There was a report that Upper Deck will make direct accounts who break their product give equal value to participants if they spend at least a $100 -- kind of crazy.

There's also the idea that Fanatics is behind this and it's part of their efforts to consolidate and control the hobby. That's probably the most likely answer, considering the National is coming up and there was a report that they might go public soon.

The rumors and speculation are heating up.

I don't believe Fanatics had anything to do with this decision by Ebay. Many on here probably do not remember that once upon a time, ebay did not allow breaks, and paypal frowned upon them as well. That is where the "if you don't hit any cards in the break, we will send you a signed 3x5 card from the breaker, or some base cards of the team you purchased" to comply with Ebays/paypals restrictions of having to actually ship something back then. Plus the fact paypal considered breaking to be gambling back then...until they saw how much they could profit from it.

If I recall it was around 2015/16 when restrictions were relaxed around breaking and the floodgates started to open. At that point it was simply a financial decision, ebay/paypal saw how much money breaks would pull in, and the fact a single product would generate 30 x fees if everyone purchased spots by team. Sell a box of cards to 1 person and ebay/paypal got the transaction fee once. Sell a break and they end up getting up to 30x that if a team break, higher if a player break.

I think what is happening now is that people have gotten desperate as prices have dropped since the peak and ebay is dealing with a flood of bad breakers and purchasers that are costing them a lot in charge backs and hassle dealing with them. Rather than continue they identified who was breaking, ran an algorithm on the profit/loss for each and identified the safest bets to continue going forward.

This will not end breaks, there are MANY breakers who do not utilize ebay to sell their spots. With ebays fees I have never understood why you would sell them there, especially at set price. If you run auctions I can see some benefit given how much some teams could go for, but there is risk too. Most established breakers know their customers, and know they will not get chargebacks, etc where as ebay you are dealing with a lot of unknowns.

I just don't see Fanatics fingerprints on this, this was a financial decision by ebay to limit their risk IMO.

What do you think of eBay's decision to restrict card breaks to pre-approved sellers? 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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