As one of the pioneers of e-commerce, eBay has played a huge role in helping people build trust with online shopping and digital payments. It is also the world’s largest marketplace for sports and trading cards, making it the most important company in The Hobby, whether people want to acknowledge it as such or not. Since it’s inception, eBay has been notoriously buyer-friendly with all of its policies, but recently, that has started to change in the category of Trading Cards. In January 2021, eBay updated its policy so that Trading Card sellers were no longer required to accept returns to receive Top Rated Seller benefits, which has been a huge positive change. Yesterday, eBay went a step further to protect sellers by giving them the power to accept or decline bid retractions.
It’s Not an Auction If You Can Retract Bids
I have been selling cards on eBay for more than 20 years. During that time, I have had bidders retract their bids about 1% of the time, and in each case, it was because the market value of the card had dropped since the person first placed their bid. Every time this has happened, I am not “surprised” that somebody would go through the process to retract a bid, even for a $5 change, but I am surprised that eBay let it happen on a repeated basis. If a person can bid on something, then retract their bid, the listing is no longer functioning as an auction in my opinion. These new changes should prevent that from happening ever again, unless it is a for a legitimate reason (i.e. mistakenly typing a bid of $2,000 rather than $200).
Market Values Become Even More Accurate
These new changes should also help ensure, at least within the category of Trading Cards, that the final prices of auction listings are an even more accurate reflection of true market value. Even if this change “only” impacts 1% of auction sales, that will translate to millions of dollars of sales being more accurate to true market value, and millions of hours of stress saved from sellers. Better data benefits everybody, especially investment-minded folks and those rely on tools like Sports Card Investor’s Market Movers or Card Ladder.
Are More Seller Protections Coming?
With these recent changes, eBay has finally started to show Trading Card sellers the respect and protection they deserve, rather than leaving them to fend for themselves against an onslaught of unethical buyers. But is this the beginning of a larger shift toward more protection for sellers or just a reaction to two of the worst issues that could no longer be ignored? Considering eBay’s sheer size and importance, I believe this is a trend that will only continue to favor sellers. Perhaps next we will see eBay take action to actually punish or ban malicious buyers? Probably not, but I also didn’t expect the changes that have been made to happen, so there is certainly room for optimism.