Is It Time For The FTC To Get Tough On eBay Presales?

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


UPDATE 1-10-22

I always love celebrating the wins around here, if it is only a partial win (s0 far) - the buyer that posted in the eBay community in December about being scammed by this seller has reported they've been refunded for one transaction and are still awaiting a refund from eBay for the second transaction.

And it appears eBay has removed all of jaybronee001's listings for yearslong repeated violations of the presale policies, however for some inexplicable reason they have not unregistered the account.

UPDATE 12-13-22

Almost a year later, eBay is still allowing this same seller, jaybronee001 , to violate their presale policies and rip off buyers.

Re: eBay Promoted Funkoween Presale Violations
yes the timeframe is what ebay is exploiting right now. I clearly purchased presale items. My purchases were made before the release of this comic book. it was then sent to a grading company. valid reasons to wait. jaybronee001 was contacted multiple times with NO response. Ebay already agreed…

As we can see, he's still up to his old tricks of listing items that won't even be released until after the latest estimated delivery date.

He’s different…he’s deadly…he’s the Punisher! But why does he have Spider-Man in his sights?. PREORDER SPIDER-MAN #129 FACSIMILE EDITION. FIRST APPEARANCE OF THE PUNISHER REPRINT.RELEASE DATE IS FERUARY 22ND, 2023.

How many thousands of dollars has this seller been allowed to steal from buyers in the last year?!

It is absolutely insane that after being forced to refund $455.74 previously for this exact same issue, eBay continues to allow the seller to transact on the platform.

What is it going to take for eBay to finally do the right thing and protect buyers from preorder fraud on their marketplace?

UPDATE 2-8-22

There has been no further communication from eBay on this issue, however Action Figure Grader has confirmed they received a "courtesy refund" from eBay in the total amount for the 3 preorders in question.

I'm very happy to hear that eBay made this buyer whole for the fraudulent presale orders that were never shipped, however it is extremely disappointing to see that eBay has taken no action against the seller - they are still actively selling and listing new presale items that are still in violation of the policies.

Here's just one example of a new listing with a supposed release date of May 7th, despite eBay showing an estimated delivery date of March 24th.

The eBay Money Back Guarantee covers 30 calendar days from the latest estimated delivery date - which would be April 23rd, making it impossible for this listing to be covered despite eBay's "Shop with confidence" promise.

As far as I'm concerned that makes eBay even more complicit and should be investigated by the FTC not just for violating the 30 day mailing rule but for false advertising as well.

An eBay buyer reached out for help after eBay support failed to assist with a presale policy violation situation where the items were never shipped.

Despite, the clear violations of eBay's presale policies which state all presale listings must guarantee shipment within 30 days of purchase, eBay support has refused to assist based on the excuse that it is past the eBay Money Back Guarantee timeframe.

That's just an unacceptable passing of the buck - eBay absolutely can and does have the ability to assist customers and issue courtesy credits in these situations, even if the eMBG timeline has passed.

Multiple members of eBay community staff have confirmed on more than one occasion that customer service can assist in these situations and I've successfully helped other buyers get refunds by referring them to this community post.

Re: eBay Promoted Funkoween Presale Violations
wrote: - after the chat closed you answered my concern about buyer’s being stuck with no recourse on these presales by saying: if a buyer encounters a situation like this then they should contact customer service as there are times we can protect them when presale items violate our policy. h…

And here's another example of a buyer who was able to get a courtesy refund on a preorder situation, from 2019.

PSA Regarding EBay Pre-orders And What to Do If You Have Been Scammed By a Seller With a Pre-order
EDIT 8/13/19 - I have been given refund to my Paypal by eBay. The post has been updated with additional information, including how to report these listings. Hello everyone. This post will not be showing off Pokemon merchandise but will be discussing eBay, a platform most of us use for our…

Beyond that, it's not just eBay's policies in play here, the Federal Trade Commission has rules and regulations in place regarding mailorder timesframes as well - as pointed out by unsuckEBAY.

For those who are unaware of the FTC regulations, there can be some serious consequences for repeat offenders, as alluded to in this unrelated tweet from Forrester analyst Sucharita Kodali regarding recent FTC action against Fashion Nova.

The buyer has filed an FTC complaint as well as a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, but so far eBay still refuses to do anything to assist in this matter.

Not only that, they have allowed the seller to continue selling items that violate the presale policy, despite repeated reports of both the listings in question and the seller's account.

Just as one example - this listing which obviously can't possibly arrive by the estimated delivery date of March 17th when the release date isn't even until April 27th.

I've asked eBay support on Twitter to review the situation again on behalf of this buyer and will continue to keep on eye on the situation.

I'm also sending an email to eBay Vice President, Global Customer Service Michael Peterson - with his focus on both customer service and payments/risk management, I hope that he can not only assist in this situation, but also in tackling the bigger issue of presale violations that has plagued the marketplace unchecked for far too long.

My favorite new coffee cup from Propublica captures my sentiments perfectly - "we hate it when the bad guys win." It's far past time for eBay to stop letting presale violators rip off consumers and ruin the buyer experience on the platform.

Until then, I encourage anyone who is facing issues with eBay presale or preorder violations to report it to the FTC and make sure to include not just information about the individual seller, but links to eBay's stated presale policies that are not being enforced in violation of FTC 30 day mailing rules.

While the FTC does not respond to individual consumer issues, it's my hope that with enough reports, they may bring some pressure to bear on marketplaces to ensure their merchants are abiding by important consumer protection regulations.

How To Report eBay Preorder Abuse
If you order a presale item on eBay and get left holding the bag, here’s what you can do about it.

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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!