Anonymous emails highlight invalid addresses

Since eBay began concealing eBay users email addresses until a transaction is completed an unexpected bonus is they’re now confirming when a buyer’s email address is incorrect.

If a seller sends a direct email using an anonymous address and the buyer’s email bounces a warning is sent to the seller that the buyer’s email account is not working. The response goes on to suggest sending a message directly to the buyer’s eBay My Messages inbox, with instructions on how to do this on the eBay site.

It’s a condition of trading on eBay that buyers and sellers have a valid email address and buyers risk having their account closed if sellers are unable to contact them. eBay encourage reports of invalid email addresses (which includes those where spam filters are rejecting email).

In the past when using My Messages sellers could never be certain buyers had logged into eBay and received messages, now they’re informed if a buyer isn’t getting their email with the option of reporting them and contacting them via telephone to try and get a transaction completed.

The big question of course is how many sellers have the time or inclination to chase buyers with invalid contact details and how many will simply report them and open an unpaid item dispute once the buyer is no longer a registered user?

(Thanks to Nick @ Iposters for the screen shot)

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Yesterday several emails flowed between myself and buyers, I either replied in my messages or through my email client, the last one I sent was to a buyer confirming I would take £405 for the bath and invited him to make a best offer at that price, the last message was sent via mymessages, checking my email account sometime afterwards I had an email from eBay stating the punters address was invailid or full (i forget the precise wording) anyway a guy I spoke to 5 times yesterday has not come back to me and £405 is the price he offered to pay! so have I lost a sale? did he get the message? This will be about the 9th communication breakdown I have suffered since the new system went live, not happy and not impressed, AGAIN. How can a message sent via mymessages not be recieved by the punter in his eBay messages? how can his box be full? or invailid? he sent the question from a ASQ on an item page? If eBay are just reffering to his email address then they should make that clearer to me....if I send a message via eBay and eBay tell me it hasnt been delivered then I tend to think it hasnt been delivered, I couldnt give a fig if his email is out of date or invalid surely thats what mymessages is for? This is just another big pile of programming donkey doo in an ever expanding pot of donkey doo doo! Xmas is coming eBay!! wake up FFS!

Whirly • 11th November 2008 •

All Together now and Sing up at the Back ! to the tune of Agadoo! Donkey DOO DOO DOO! Pile of Donkey DOO DOO DOO! Donkey DOO DOO DOO!, Pile of Donkey DOO DOO DOO!

northumbrian • 11th November 2008 •

To the left, to the right, jump up and down and to the knees Come and dance every night, sing with a doo doo melody Donkey DOO DOO DOO! Pile of Donkey DOO DOO DOO! Donkey DOO DOO DOO!, Pile of Donkey DOO DOO DOO! I'll call Simon Cowell Norf, see if we can set a meet on your private yacht, I can see a bright future ahead.....

Whirly • 11th November 2008 •

Come on Sing up get the beers in! Eh Private Yacht, ME!!!! I gorra raft or problems, sailing into deep water, but no Yacht

northumbrian • 11th November 2008 •

Personally I'm a bit upset that they don't auto copy emails sent through anonymous emails into My Message Sent Items and my buyers My Messages Inbox automatically. For those buyers that choose not to hide their email address it's a shame that eBay don't auto route through anonymous emails and again copy to My Messages. That way I'd NEVER have to worry about a buyers email address working/not working. Also there's nowt to warn me if emails are binned by a spam program that DOESN'T respond or bounce the message - if it's in Outlook spam or binned by email reader rules/spam with no bounce message I'll never know and neither will the buyer :-(

Chris Dawson • 11th November 2008 •

Email deliverability is a bigger issue than eBay, but they are trying to figure it out since they have become the middle person. I suppose this web graphic assumes we use "My Messages". I do not and never will. I always use my desktop e-mail client and will report any bad e-mails to eBay as I have been. I think eBay needs to further integrate with Paypal, so the e-mail for eBay is the same with Paypal. Or at least have some way of cross notifying each other if an e-mail address changes. I think eBay should also look into re-organizing e-mails so it is member based (much like how Gmail currently implements it). It makes it much easier to track our conversation with specific buyers this way.

TekGems • 11th November 2008 •

I am getting a high number of customers who are not receiving my emails, so much so that I am starting to get mentions of me not answering emails in my feedback and paypal disputes opened due to me "not replying to emails"! Well done ebay.....again!

Mordillo • 11th November 2008 •

Umm hello!! We've had eBay take over 3 days to get back to us telling us an email address is invalid! They don't make it clear anywhere that the message never shows in buyer's or sellers my messages. So even if the buyer had an inadvertent problem with their email address they would have been able to go into my messages and be assured that all their ebay correspondence was there! NOT ANY MORE It plain stinks...WTF what little amount of common sense eBay possessed seems to have evaporated.

Quarkster • 12th November 2008 •

Further to my post above, I emailed to advise of the problems, in return I got a standard unhelpful reply letting me know that the respond now button had been removed and I can email the buyers direct to their email addresses now. Is it me or is ebays customer service getting worse, everytime I contact them I get a standard reply that never answers the question!

Mordillo • 12th November 2008 •

eBay could fix this easily.... 1) Make all email addresses automatically withheld. 2) Copy all emails to the relevant members My Messages inbox or sent items. 3) Instead of bouncing to the sender automatically suspend accounts where emails fail until the user re-verifies their email address. Problem solved!

Chris Dawson • 12th November 2008 •

I've just had a buyer reminding me that they didn't get a response to there order query yesterday. I did respond via my email client but it didn't get to the buyer. Another reason for buyers to wrongly mark down communication DSR's!

DBL • 13th November 2008 •

11 same here got the usual loony asking how much shipping is to the US question irritating enough to answer, then just totaly infurating when they get snotty about you not answering

northumbrian • 13th November 2008 •

@ # 10

3) Instead of bouncing to the sender automatically suspend accounts where emails fail until the user re-verifies their email address.
That's a bit extreme considering that eBay cancels all your listings, emails all your recent buyers telling them their transactions and null and void, tells your buyers that they shouldn't continue to deal with you, and they remove every single negative you ever wrote to a buyer or seller. Occasionally emails will bounce and there is nothing you can do to make it 100%.

ebuyerfb • 13th November 2008 •

#13 There is more than one level of suspension available, e.g. buyers could be prevented from bidding or leaving feedback, but able to pay for items already won or subsequently won from bids already placed. Sellers could be allowed to complete sales from listings already on the site, but unable to leave feedback or launch new listings. At the end of the day verifying a valid email address isn't onerous and it is a condition of using an eBay account that your contact details are correct and up to date.

Chris Dawson • 13th November 2008 •

@ # 14 We both know eBay doesn't operate that way though. If they followed your advice it would turn out exactly like I detailed in #13. Then there would be an announcement about how in January or possibly "early next year" they'll be able to just restrict buying and selling activity when emails bounce. It's always ridiculous policy change followed up by plans for revising it in a few months with something a little more reasonable. Repeat.

ebuyerfb • 14th November 2008 •