eBay Sneaker Authenticity Guaranteed Changes Price Thresholds, Messaging & Shipping

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


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eBay has been quietly making changes to their sneaker authentication program over the last few months - re-enabling messaging between buyers and sellers, implementing dynamic pricing criteria for eligibility, expanding to include PO Boxes and Puerto Rico and clarifying mandatory FedEx shipping label policy.

Messaging & Cancellations

When eBay first launched Authenticity Guaranteed for Sneakers, they inexplicably decided to shut off messaging capability between buyers and sellers for these transactions, leading to many complaints from both sides and contributing to negative buyer experiences.

The decision made even less sense as eBay continued to expand their strategy to offer authentication for luxury handbags, watches, trading cards, jewelry and streetwear - all of which left messaging between buyers and sellers open throughout the entire transaction process.

Finally, as of January 2024, eBay has reversed course on this policy and re-enabled messaging for authenticated sneakers.

eBay had also previously removed the option for sellers to cancel orders using the "buyer requested to cancel" reason in early 2022, but that appears to have been reversed sometime in October 2023.

Dynamic Pricing Thresholds To Qualify For Authentication

Previously, eBay set the minimum threshold for sneakers to qualify for authentication at a specific dollar amount, depending on condition.

eBay used that minimum price threshold as a lever to either increase the flow of sales going through authentication (like when they needed to boost numbers before earnings) or throttle back and slow the flow down to allow time to catch up when the authentication centers were experiencing delays.

For example, in November 2020, Authenticity Guarantee applied to shoes of certain brands over $200. That was dropped to $150 in early December 2020, presumably helping drive Holiday/end of quarter/end of year sales in the sneakers category.

In January 2021, eBay opened the floodgates on authentication and lowered the minimum to $100, where it stayed for the rest of Q1 2021, despite many reports of the authenticator being overwhelmed, causing 3-4 week+ delays.

eBay raised the minimum back up to $150 in early April 2021, citing a "surge in demand" - a surge which seemed to have been almost entirely created by eBay themselves, possibly in an attempt to boost Q1 financial performance.

eBay Sneaker Authenticity Guaranteed FAQ 4-12-2021

Then in June 2021, just in time for a last minute Q2 bump, eBay dropped the minimum back down to $100 where it remained until August 2022 when they got rid of the minimum price altogether, but restricted eligibility to only certain models of certain brands.

Did eBay Get Rid Of Minimum Price For Sneaker Authentication?
Sellers ask - did eBay remove minimum price requirement for sneaker authentication?

eBay once again instituted a minimum price for authentication when it added kids shoes to the program, keeping the model and brand limitations, and setting the price minimum "starting at" $75 for men's, women's and children's sneakers and $100 for sneakers listed in the baby shoes category.

eBay Sneaker Authenticity Guaranteed FAQ 3-3-2024

It's important to note the subtle change in language from "sold for" to "starting at" - starting at leaves room for dynamic pricing with $75 being the floor up to an unlimited amount, and it appears that is exactly what eBay is doing.

For example, when listing a pair if Hoka running shoes, the listing form recognizes and applies Authenticity Guarantee eligibility at a Buy It Now price of $75 and above.

But when listing these Nike cross trainers, the listing form dynamically adjusts and applies a $150 minimum to be eligible for authentication.

This allows eBay to change brand, model, and minimum price eligibility on the fly with sellers only able to determine if their shoes will qualify at any given moment by observing what is shown on the listing form.

Mandatory $14.95 FedEx Shipping

eBay introduced mandatory $14.95 FedEx shipping charged to buyers on authenticated sneakers in October 2022 in an effort to monetize the service and start covering some of the increasing costs of authentication.

eBay Sellers Left Hanging On Shipping Authenticated Sneakers
eBay sellers left hanging with little info on new shipping program or seller protections for authenticated sneakers.

That $14.95 is paid by the buyer to eBay and then eBay provides the shipping label to the seller at no additional charge - but what happens if a listing is initially deemed eligible, so it shows the $14.95 FedEx shipping, but once the sale is completed the transaction is determined not to qualify and the shoes ship directly to the buyer instead of going to the authenticator?

eBay has updated the FAQ for sellers to clarify that if the eligibility changes on the listing before sale, the $14.95 FedEx shipping will still apply and a label will be provided the ship to the buyer instead of to the authenticator.

PO Boxes & Puerto Rico

Authenticated sneakers can now ship to PO Boxes and Puerto Rico, but Guam, Virgin Islands, North Mariana Islands, American Samoa and Palau) and U.S. Armed Forces bases are still excluded.

What do you think of these changes to eBay Authenticity Guaranteed for Sneakers? Let us know in the comments below!

eBayAuthenticity GuaranteeSeller 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!