Beating the Robots

I wrote via ebay to a man who was selling an old lorry, badly in need of extensive renovation.

I wasn’t interested in buying but was in the history of the vehicle because it bore a logo that I recognised as genuine but from a time long before that company had operated in the UK.

I always prefer emails as I can file them for ever, but just before I gave him mine, I noticed some very small print which warns that such personal contact was against ebay’s rules and offenders would be punished. So I desisted.

I received an informative reply from the seller, no offence taken by me as a time waster, who replied giving me his email address, but thus: ********** at

At first I thought he was heading for trouble but then realised what he had done. Will it beat the robots?

If I’ve understood you correctly David, he has already beaten the robots, because you now have his email address. If the robots had noticed, the address would have been redacted. The big gite / B&B platforms do that these days because they want to maintain control of contact information.

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Yes, I suppose you’re right, in ebay’s case they want to stop sellers selling away from the site.

More power to his elbow, and, in my reply he nows has mine too at no risk to me. Not that I use ebay, it has been so long away from it that I had to rejoin merely to contact him.

You could just have communicated via eBay

The ban is to prevent people cheating eBay of its pound of flesh by agreeing a sale by email or some other channel and then withdrawing the eBay listing.

As you have discovered it is not too difficult to work around.

Yes, but as I have said, emails are part of my filing system and in any case our discussion was nothing to do with the sale but the sellers long term intention to move to Limousin and maybe even bring the vehicle with him for restoration if not sold. And that could be a long way off, so email addresses were much more convenient,

Yes, wasn’t disagreeing that email has its uses, especially if you aren’t trying to pull a fast one on ebay (many do).

There’s an option on the ebay system to copy messages to your email when you send them.

Didn’t know that Paul, but not of use to me, haven’t used it for over 10 years. Before that time I bought loads, and got some bargains but I think I lost interest when they began pushing me onto PayPal.