eBay Promoted Listings Discount Offer? Check The Fine Print!

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


eBay has been pulling out the stops to ramp up Promoted Listings adoption among sellers, with cold calls from growth advisors suggesting to use ads to grow your business and occasional Promoted Listings ad fee discount promotions for select sellers.

If you do receive one of these 75% off ad fees offers, as always check the fine print and make sure you understand what you're getting into! As this seller in the community found it, it may not work exactly the way you might think.

Re: Promoted Ad Fees 75% Off Offer to Select Sellers (Bait & Switch Marketing Tactic)
I would expect it to work, the way it did work. That’s how PL’s work.

Sometime in late March early April I received a special offer from Ebay:

Get 75% off Promoted Listings Standard ad fees*
Help your business flourish with this limited-time offer!

This "Get 75% off Promoted Listings Standard ad fees*" offer was for items promoted and sold from activation until May, 5th. In reviewing the offer I paid specific attention to Promotion Terms and Conditions. In this section there were four key bullets: (1. What is the Promotion? 2. Who's eligible? 3. When is it? 4. How do I receive the Promotion?).

In addition to the 4-key bullets Ebay included:

Restrictions & Exclusions.

  • Promoted items and Promoted Listings campaigns must comply with all applicable eBay policies, including the eBay Marketing Terms of Service.
  • This Promotion is only valid for listings on the U.S. site at www.ebay.com.
  • This Promotion is eligible to be combined with other offers; however, invoice credits across all offers will not exceed actual final value fees charged to the seller.

So after the agreed upon the promotion that we ran until May 5th we have discovered that Ebay is still collecting an ad fee on items sold after May 5th. We reviewed the Promotions Terms and Conditions and no where does it state in the offer that an item sold after May 5th but viewed during the promotion would be now be charged the full ad fee for the next 30 days.

How can Ebay fail to NOT include this in their disclaimer as part of their Promotions Terms and Conditions information?

This really feels like a "Bait & Switch" selling tactic by Ebay.

The seller didn't include the full terms and conditions of the offer, so I can't say whether it truly was a bait and switch, but it sounds like eBay has at least very cleverly designed these promotions in a way that is opaque and prone to "misunderstanding."

Here's the deal - Promoted Listings Standard is and always has been a cost per sale ad model where the seller is charged the applicable ad rate for any sale that occurs within 30 days of a buyer clicking on the promoted version of their listing.

eBay doesn't explicitly say that in the promotion details, falling back on simply saying it is subject to all applicable policies, including the Marketing Terms of Service instead.

Is that good enough for CYA? Sure, but going the extra mile to spell things out could certainly provide a better user experience and hopefully prevent complaints further down the road.

It's important to understand this type of discounted ad fee promotion does not alter your ad rate in any way, it simply states that eBay will apply a 75% discount credit on the ad fee for sales that are made within the timeframe the promotion is active.

So yes, it would be entirely within the scope of that type of promotion for there to be a situation where the initial click may have happened during the promotion, but the sale didn't - in which case the ad rate you had selected would be assessed with no discount credit applied by eBay.

What do you think of eBay's Promoted Listings fee discount promotions? Have you received this kind of offer and if so, how to it affect your usage of Promoted Listings?  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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