eBay Randomly Cancels Orders Due To "Systems Issue" Without Buyer Or Seller Input

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


UPDATE 4-22-24

eBay community staff have confirmed the "systems issue" cancellations are related to the ongoing issue with eBay reverting some orders to old addresses.

Re: Sale Cancelled by eBay Due to a “Systems Issue”
wrote: Wow, that is a new one on me. I’ve never seen or heard of such a message. And Ebay refunding the payment is really unusual as they have NO idea if you shipped or not if you use some other label system other than Ebay’s. I think we need some clarity on this. I’m going to tag the thread,…

We recently identified an issue that caused a limited number of orders to be shipped to a buyer’s alternate address. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused and are moving quickly to address customer concerns.

eBay's rough technical week continues with buyers and sellers reporting orders are being randomly cancelled due to an unexplained "systems issue" with no warning and no apparent recourse if orders have already shipped.

Buyers are discussing the issue on Reddit as well, confused about why orders are being canceled when neither they nor the seller requested it.

Hello I sent a message to the seller this morning about a coin that I bought from him about when it was shipped and when I got home and looked on my computer, it said that I had sent a cancellation order to him about it. I didn’t send it and he didn’t send it and usually if I send a cancellation I get an email for it or some thing else of the such. He said that I already got the money back into my account but it did not shown up yet. Should I be worried?

i had this issue too :( this morning. im the seller. buyer is saying that he didn’t cancel and neither did i. im assuming eBay is glitching. im going to email ebay and see whats wrong.

And sellers in the eBay UK community are also perplexed about what they are supposed to do if the order has already been shipped.

eBay system issue
I have received this email from eBay eBay recently identified a systems issue that impacted your order. As a result, we have had to cancel your order and issue a refund to the buyer. Please check your canceled orders for more details. We apologize for any inconvenience this issue may have caused,…

I have already posted the item at the beginning of the week. I'm now out of pocket. It says get in touch but now how to. It is official and I can see from my account the buyer has had a refund.

So far most of the reports appear to be from users in the UK but we have not been able to confirm if the issue is limited only to the UK.

UPDATE: I've now received reports from US sellers as well, confirming whatever this "systems issue" is, it appears to be global.

We've reached out to eBay for additional information and will update as soon as it is available. In the meantime, let us know in the comments below if you've received this message today!

eBay has experienced other major technical issues this week as well, with many sellers unable to access the listing form and reporting disappearing drafts for several hours yesterday.

Another glitch is blocking some buyers from making offers or purchases in error, and eBay belatedly notified users this week of a significant issue that started on April 7, causing their systems to revert to old addresses and creating lost package chaos and business workflow disruption.

eBay Defaulting To Old Addresses Creates Chaos For Buyers & Sellers
eBay glitch reverts stored default addresses to old ones that are no longer valid, creating lost package chaos & business workflow disruption.

These current problems join a long list of eBay technical issues too numerous to name here - for example FedEx shipping adjustment back charges; background remover glitchesdisappearing descriptions, duplicated listings, and incorrect item specifics added; and listings completely disappearing.

eBay recently announced a mass layoff of ~1,000 employees, including over 100 software engineers in California alone, leading to seller concerns about site stability and use of AI for critical support functions.

The increasing occurrence of serious, business impacting technical issues on the site brings to mind another period in eBay's history that saw sellers, media, and even activist investors take executive leadership to task for their technical misexecution.

Ex-CEO Devin Wenig infamously said at eBay Open 2018 that technical glitches are "unacceptable" and really pissed him off.

There've been a lot of site glitches recently on eBay. What are you guys doing to get rid of them?
Here's the simple answer - unacceptable, unacceptable. And we're making a lot of changes. When you make changes there are times that things happen but that's not an excuse and it's not ok with me and this summer in particular there have been a number of issues that directly impacted sellers like people not being able to see their view counts and a few other things and it's just not ok.

I'm extremely proud of a lot of things we've done, I'm not proud of that and in fact I hold my team accountable and it's not important, it's an internal matter but, we made changes to people and teams because shipping product that isn't ready is not ok. It's not ok with me and it's not ok with my team.

So the short answer is it's not like we don't get it. We are making a lot of changes and I want to make those changes, we need to make those changes, but making changes and then having to back up and fix things is not cool and I totally get it. Most of the issues from this summer have now been remedied but I was pissed off.

Those glitches and other executive failures caught the attention of activist investor Elliott Management, resulting in a very public letter calling for substantial changes in their proposed Enhancing eBay plan (emphasis mine).

Elliott Management Sends Letter to Board of Directors of eBay
Elliott Management Sends Letter to Board of Directors of eBay, Outlines Unique Value-Creation Opportunity, Path to $55-$63 per Share
...As an online marketplace that provides a critical forum for millions of buyers and sellers, the efficient and effective functioning of the platform is paramount. Unfortunately, eBay has been plagued by technical problems and operational challenges for years...

...Fast forward to recent years and the platform still faces issues. In 2018, eBay sellers complained about countless technical issues including incorrect billing, lost photos, warped titles and many others. On this month’s end of year podcast, eBay senior management apologized to sellers and admitted, “This is a 2018 that we don’t want to repeat on a number of levels. And the technology issues that we have had with the platform is top of the list.”

We agree: The consistent reliability of the platform is central to eBay’s success, and management must do all that it takes to achieve it.

While innovative endeavors in new pursuits like machine learning and augmented reality are promising future technologies, eBay’s publicly touted initiatives in these areas will add little value if the core platform continues to have critical functionality failures.

Current eBay Chief Technology Officer Mazen Rawashdeh, who was Chief Infrastructure and Architecture Officer at the time, somehow managed to escape the wrath of a "pissed off" Wenig.

He was then promoted to Chief Technology Officer in 2019, after a brief period where he co-led Core Product & Tech along with Mohan Patt when Steve Fisher was being shuffled from CTO to SVP Payments "in order to focus on a personal matter."

Five years later and very little has changed - eBay is still plagued by technical problems and operational challenges and management is certainly not doing "all that it takes" to achieve consistent reliability of the platform.

Will current executive leadership face similar pressure from the board and investors to address these long standing issues and legacy technical misexecution?

eBayTech Issues

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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!