I posted a link this morning on Twitter to a story about an Oscar Mayer eBay for Charity auction - posing the question why was the listing taken down and reinstated?
My best guess was the offsite link to terms & conditions may have been caught by eBay's automated bots looking for violations of the link policy, but eSeller365 brought another interesting possibility to light.
The purchase protection program being referenced here is likely the eBay Moneyback Guarantee.
Notable exclusions to the MBG include:
- Real Estate
- Websites, Businesses for Sale
- Digital content, Intangible goods, Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) including physical items combined with or attached to NFTs
- Classified Ads
- Travel tickets or vouchers
- Industrial equipment and heavy machinery (see eBay Business Equipment Purchase Protection)
- Motor vehicles, including recreational vehicles, aircraft and boats (see eBay Vehicle Protection)
- Items sold through Sotheby's
Given the Doge tie-in on this auction, my initial thought was eBay was possibly showing that message due to the digital content exclusion.
Less Than Three Records chimed in as well, saying they had also recently seen that message on some of their listings, but they don't sell digital content or anything else that should be excluded and the message is only shown intermittently.
That prompted me to do a little digging and it appears this may be an ongoing issue.
I found a few references going back to 2017 that indicate it may have been a more widespread, but temporary, technical issue at that time.
More recent examples seem to be mostly sporadic and intermittent rather than a sitewide issue.
One post in particular caught my eye.
Look at the screen shot, there are no payment options listed.To be covered by the MBG, the listing has to offer an approved payment type.
I asked Less Than Three Records to send me a screenshot of one of their affected listings and sure enough, when the not eligible for protection message is showing, there are no accepted payment methods shown on the listing.
After waiting a bit and refreshing the page, both the payment methods and eBay Money Back Guarantee are back.
Also note the lack of a shipping section in the screenshot with that error message, both "located in" and "ships to" are not displayed and neither is an estimated delivery time.
Less Than Three Records and other sellers have also been experiencing issues with eBay showing error messages stating "item does not ship to you" in some Best Offer situations.
One seller had an interesting theory about what may be causing the shipping location error.
I'm going to guess here (just a wild guess, but based on my IT knowledge of several decades) that the system isn't getting the buyer's (or offer recipient's) location from wherever that is normally stored, so it cannot provide any Shipping cost info, and gives that "does not ship" message as a default response instead, even though it makes no sense in context (that of a known buyer in a valid location). I don't think you can exclude Massachusetts as a specific shipping destination anyway. (Alaska and Hawaii, I think so, but not MA.)
This got me thinking - how does eBay pull in the data required to populate these fields and what happens if there is a technical issue that prevents it from being displayed properly?
Unfortunately, I don't have any inside insight into how eBay builds out and displays the listing information, but it seems plausible that these issues are related and the common thread is eBay not being able to properly pull in required data.
It's interesting to note that in one recent eBay Open video, Chief Product Officer Pete Thompson said:
View Item page, our most heavily trafficked page type - we are rearchitecting to break it into independent modules so different teams can develop and deploy changes and new designs without dependencies to other groups, allowing for exponential improvements in speed to market.
This would seem to indicate eBay is aware the current legacy listing page architecture may have some limitations or is possibly more susceptible to errors due to dependencies within the system.
Hopefully whatever eBay has on the horizon for the listing page architecture will address these issues so protection eligibility and shipping information can be displayed more reliably.