Today’s topic is a very simple one, but still hugely important.
You have to include enough contact details so that your customers can reach you if needed (plus it also adds confidence that you’re a legitimate business) BUT you have to also ensure you abide by eBay’s rules on what you’re allowed to include in your listings.
The problem is that these rules differ between eBay’s multiple sites (region by region) and that’s why people sometimes get confused. I’ve seen it many times myself; people search online and find an answer from a forum or blog and follow that for their listings but then they get in trouble with eBay as it turns out those rules were for another eBay regional site.
So, I’ve decided to create a quick resource that you can use and refer to whenever needed.
Let’s get to it!
On eBay.co.uk you are “permitted to include contact information for the purpose of offering customer support…” and this can include:
- Email address
- Phone number
- Chat ID information
However, you are expressly not permitted to:
- Link directly to an email or chat client
- Include contact information for the purpose of soliciting sales outside of normal eBay processes
- Post contact information in the title, subtitle, item location or images of a listing
All pretty simple really and it basically just means that the contact information you give should be displayed in your listing template and not thrown in to other random parts of the listing.
Also please take note about not including contact details in the images of a listing as I have seen a few people trying that recently by including their site URL behind the item in their product images.
And lastly, for UK sellers, you are actually required by law (Electronic Commerce Regulations 2002) to include your business information within your listings.
So you HAVE to include your business name and physical address.
For sole traders, this means you have to give your own name, and not just your ‘operating as’ business name.
And PO boxes are not accepted as a valid geographic business address so if you’re a sole trader, you should put your home address and if you’re a company, just put your registered business address.
I know that some people are a bit wary of doing this, but it’s a requirement and this info will only be shown under the Business Seller Information section of your listings, so really there’s nothing to worry about!
If it’s still a concern for you, then keep an eye out for a future article I’ll be doing that covers some of the alternate options such as a virtual address, mail forwarding companies etc.
There’s nothing new to cover for listing on eBay.ie as the rules are exactly the same as for eBay.co.uk – so just refer above for all the info you need.
Now onto eBay.com and the rules here are actually very different compared to what you’re allowed to include on eBay.co.uk & eBay.ie – as you are not allowed to include a phone number in your listings or an email address.
It doesn’t matter whether or not it’s a clickable link, you simply are not allowed to give your email address on eBay.com, unless you’re listing in one of the following categories:
- Business and Industrial
- Motors > Vehicles
- Real Estate
And that’s it!
For everything else – no email address and no telephone number.
I won’t spend a lot of time going into the reasons for these rules as it’s largely irrelevant to us, but it’s basically because eBay want to reduce completely remove the contact between buyers and sellers outside of eBay and have everything done via their messages system.
The same rules apply to eBay.ca as for eBay.com, with the same restrictions on email addresses and phone numbers, minus the three categories that have an exception.
Last but not least for today, let’s see what the rules are for Australian eBayers.
For eBay Australia, the rules are somewhere between Europe and the US/Canada, in that you can add contact details – as long as it is used to provide further information about the item, further information about the sale, or for customer support.
You can add your phone number, email address and physical business address BUT, there are no requirements to do so (unlike in the UK, where you do have to provide some of this information to comply with distance selling laws and regulations).
Some people might prefer not having to give a mobile number or email address but for me, the more contact details and options for getting in touch with you that you can give to your customers, the better. I think eBay’s attempt to force all communication through their messages is a poor decision and will negatively affect both buyers and sellers.
One point I wanted to mention about these sites, where it’s against eBay’s policies to include your contact number and email address within actual listings, is that you can still request a member’s contact information, via the advanced search:
As you can see, you have to have been involved in a recent transaction with the member whose details you’re requesting so it’s mainly meant to be used in a case of someone not answering their eBay messages or in the event of a problem of some sort.
Really this is a slightly silly and overly complicated system, as if direct contact details are needed when doing a transaction, they should be provided at the beginning, but that’s just how it is and there’s nothing than can be done.
That brings us to the end of this quick article.
We’ve covered the main English language eBay sites and as much as I’d like to list the rules for all of the regional sites, it’s just not possible.
So if you list on any other eBay site that I haven’t covered here, please make sure you do the research so you know what is and what isn’t allowed.
Also, I want to quickly point out that eBay are extremely inconsistent with enforcing these rules and you will almost certainly run into listings and sellers that aren’t complying. But really, that doesn’t matter. That’s just how things work on eBay and you should simply focus on doing things right yourself and just don’t worry about what other sellers are doing.
Alright, that’s it for today.
Until next time!
All the best,