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Buyer activity limits

Buyer activity limits are one way that eBay helps sellers to avoid unpaid items. Based on eBay's research, more than 50% of unpaid items come from new users with a Feedback score of less than 5. The goal of buyer activity limits is to minimise unpaid items while supporting legitimate purchases. Under this system, buyers can take appropriate actions to remove their limits:

  • Buyer activity limits place restrictions on bids or Buy It Now purchases.

  • These limits will be applied in very rare circumstances.

  • These limits apply only to new users who have not yet demonstrated positive participation in the marketplace or to existing members demonstrating a highly unusual pattern of buying.

Some Examples

eBay cannot publish the specific rules for its activity limits. However, the following are two examples that illustrate situations in which new members may encounter activity limits (Note: These are not actual activity limits).

  • Example 1: A new member who has won 20 items worth $1,000 and is the high bidder on another 40 items in a short period of time may encounter an activity limit.

  • Example 2: A new member who has won items worth $5,000 and is high bidder on items worth another $3,000 in a short period may experience an activity limit.

A member may encounter a limit based on several factors including (but not limited to):

  • Number of winning bids currently placed.

  • Number of items won in a short time period.

  • Monetary amount of winning bids currently placed.

  • Monetary amount of items won in a short time period.

  • Amount and value of Feedback the member has received for items won.

  • Number of items for which the member has paid.

Removing activity limits

Members who encounter activity limits can remove these limits by:

  • Verifying their identity. Members may be given the opportunity to verify their identity by placing a valid credit card on file (MasterCard or Visa only at this time), or other options that we may offer in the future. Note: Not all members will be given these options.

  • Receiving positive Feedback. Positive Feedback is often a good indicator of a member's likelihood of paying for items they have committed to buy. Members who have received positive Feedback tend to have lower unpaid item rates.

Why does eBay have activity limits?

eBay has buyer activity limits to encourage responsible bidding and buying in order to protect both buyers and sellers from unintentional or malicious “over-buying”.

In addition to buyer activity limits set by eBay, sellers can limit buyers based on certain criteria by selecting buyer requirements. Sellers can also limit buyers based on their user ID. Learn more about managing bidders and buyers.

A note to sellers about payment holds

To further reduce the number of disputes, PayPal may delay the release of some payments to sellers for up to 21 days or until a buyer leaves you positive feedback. This will affect a very small percentage of items that pose the greatest risk. The majority of sellers will not be affected. Sellers will be notified at the time of listing that their payment may be temporarily held. Having one payment held does not mean that all the seller’s payments will be held. Each transaction is treated separately. The entire payment will be placed on hold. Sellers are advised to post the item to speed up the process leading to the release of funds.

 How will a hold on funds appear in my PayPal account?

If payment to you is held, the status of the transaction will state ‘On Hold – Ship Now’ if you are selling an item and the funds are placed on hold. Clicking the Details link on the payment in the My Account section of PayPal will provide further information. If you’re selling an item you will be notified before you’ve completed the listing if the payment may be put on hold. Sellers may still use the Refund link to send the payment back to the buyer.

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