March 5, 2022

eBay – Sticking it to the Little Guy since 1995

eBay – Sticking it to the Little Guy since 1995

eBay, the multinational e-commerce behemoth—which generated over $13 billion in profits in 2021, sold one trading card every second during 2020, and sold a record-breaking $2 billion of trading cards during the first half of 2021—is still finding unique ways to stick it to the little guy.

As we reported in a prior episode, eBay recently launched an “authenticity guarantee” for a number of categories of items, including raw trading cards.  That guarantee originally covered cards valued at $750+, now covers all raw cards sold for $500+, and eBay’s future plans are to eventually apply the guarantee to all cards sold for $250+

So why is this a bad thing? Not only is it unavailable for graded, relics, and/or autographed cards, it also adds several days to the shipping process.  More concerningly, however, is that eBay explicitly states that it is only covering the cost of authentication and tracked shipping “for a limited time.”  We know we simply can’t wait to be required to pay for a service that we were fine without for years… /s.  And, as more and more cards are forced into the system, it is unlikely eBay will be able to keep its current turnaround timeline.  Frankly, this appears to be a solution in search of a problem.

Perhaps even more outrageous is eBay’s limitations on gift cards.  For some reason, the technology giant has long limited gift cards to $1,000 per day and $1,500 per month.  However, while eBay previously allowed users to combine up to eight gift cards on a single purchase, it has now cut that amount in half, and now allows only four gift cards per transaction

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As always, these limits apply to all “redemption codes” meaning that if you are using a coupon or voucher you will be able to use even fewer gift cards. (Note: apparently Australian eBay users are still able to use eight gift cards, and also have higher limits - $1,500 per transaction, $2,000 per day, $5,000 per month). 


These limitations are ostensibly to protect against fraud and perhaps money laundering; however, it is also certainly a business decision as well.  Forcing users to pay for amounts beyond these artificially low limitations means that the user will return to eBay to use any remaining gift card balance.  It is mind-boggling how a tech giant, former owner of PayPal, cannot (read: will not) loosen these restrictions – especially as it is difficult (if not impossible) to even buy eBay gift cards in amounts above $200, so even combining four of these maximum cards will only get you to $800 (don’t worry Tim did not do this math).  And it is particularly maddening for those in the hobby chasing cards with exploding values.


Perhaps these are all just additional reasons to try out

Have you been impacted by these latest changes? Do you have insight into how eBay will next stick it to us? If so, we would love to hear from you - let us know and be sure to check back to and also be sure to keep an ear out for new episodes of Pack to the Future for timely hobby developments.