Main menu


eBay is developing technology to catch bad buyers

eBay is developing technology to catch bad buyers

eBay told sellers it was working to protect them from bad buyers, but also downplayed the scale of the problem. , said his team is developing technology that uses a “predictive approach” to help crack down on bad buyers on eBay.

eBay also uses third-party vendors to identify shoppers engaging in poor buying behavior on non-eBay platforms.

Bednowitz describes three types of “bad buyer” behavior:

1) The buyer makes a false SNAD claim (claiming something different from the description when the return is actually the buyer’s choice).

2) if the buyer returns a used or damaged product;

3) If the buyer returns an empty box or another item.

He presented slides demonstrating these three actions and some of eBay’s seller protections.

But eBay needs sellers’ help, Bednowitz said, urging sellers to report bad buyers. “We don’t touch the goods, so the only way to know if there are bad buyers is if you tell us.” Whether you have specified

In another slide he gave an example of such behavior.

“Having a report from you helps us prioritize those buyers,” he said.

The slides also describe a “predictive approach” (“in development”) that eBay is working on. “Data Science Models, ID Linking to Previously Suspended Accounts, Third-Party Vendors.”

“This is a very important investment area for my team and eBay,” he said. “We use data science to predict when buyers are cheating or being bad buyers so we can take action proactively.

“We are looking to strengthen our ties with other accounts that buyers may have, so if we catch them before, they won’t be able to come back again. Use a third-party vendor who has information on how it works.”

Bednowitz said that if a buyer returns a different item or an empty box (which he called “virtual shoplifting”), eBay will remove them from the platform entirely.

“We take this seriously and are investing in it,” he said. “We need your help to report these buyers.”

But he said there are blacks and whites and there are grays. Of these, the number of buyers reported by multiple sellers drops to less than 10%.

“So there are so many buyers that say something is SNAD, and as a seller we might object. But their intention isn’t always to be a bad buyer. But we need your data,” he said. Getting the report is really helpful.

You can watch the full seller check-in video, or jump to Bednowitz’s presentation on bad buyers at about 21:14 in the video below. Readers may also find the presentation on returns interesting. It starts at about 16:46.

Ina Steiner

Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and editor of EcommerceBytes and has been writing articles on e-commerce since 1999. She is widely cited as an authority on marketing and is the author of “Turn eBay Data Into Dollars” (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book “Blogging Heroes” (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (September 2005 – present) and Investigative Reporter and Editor (March 2006 – present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send her news tips to her at See disclosure at