Update: February 2009 - making already vague policies even more unclear, eBay states on several of it's own Policy Pages that it's okay for those selling adult items to say we accept paypal and list it as a payment option, but when listing an item we are still prohibited from selecting paypal, or even mentioning paypal in the text of the auction.
Attempts for definitive answers on the phone from Paypal have brought no help and 'rerouted' me back to eBay, while livechat with eBay has 'rerouted' me back to Paypal for answers. An eBay agent I spoke to links policy pages they go on to contradict in livechat, then starts pasting what appears to be lines of script when questioned further. Disturbingly, this site doesn't like people to post about livechat/phone difficulties. Any mention I make of these problems on the chat boards here is deleted almost immediately, with no explanation at all. Guess it's easier to delete a problem than allow people to talk about it and demand a solution. It's very possible this guide may fall prey to the same fate.
From what I gather:
- Sellers cannot accept paypal for any digital-form media...downloads, website subscriptions, etc, regardless of adult content or not.
- There is supposedly a paypal dividing line between adult themed products and explicit adult products, despite the policy pages that clearly state paypal can be accepted for all items in the adult only category. Adult themed products (which were defined to me as 'CDs that require parental supervision', take that however you'd like to) can accept paypal, whereas items like toys cannot, even though the definition of the adults only category includes toys, and the payment page states that adults only category items can accept paypal.
- The right hand is most assuredly not talking to the left hand when it comes to these "two" companies, which are actually the same.
Finding toys on eBay is easy if you know how, and halfway to impossible if you don't! I'm writing this guide to help people understand why buying sex toys on eBay looks a little tough, but is actually really easy to do! Here is some history as to the uphill and unfair battle adult toy sellers on ebay face!
If you are just looking to go straight to adult toy listings on ebay,click here. (You must have a credit card on file with eBay "to verify age" in order to view them, unfortunately. Yet another hurdle eBay makes consenting adults jump over just to be able to shop!)
The Sad History of Adult Toys on eBay VS. Paypal
When eBay started, scores of people hopped on to sell adult toys. The sex toy business was booming, and eBay as a whole was growing and growing, thanks in part to the wide array sex toy sellers offering thousands of items on the site, and paying lots of fees FOR eBay to grow WITH.
However, when eBay got big, successful, and 'acquired' paypal, they decided for some reason that paypal was now a "family oriented" business. Using this vague term as a weapon, they ripped the rights to use paypal as a payment service away from all adult sellers. This means that adult toy sellers on ebay are not only forbidden to officially accept paypal in their auctions (the option is even removed in their selling form for that section), their auctions will get pulled from the site if they even use the WORD paypal! (Curiously, Paypal is more than glad to extend their monthly-fee merchant services to those same adult sellers off of eBay...hmmm...)
Why Adult Toy Sellers Have a Difficult Time With eBay
eBay has decided to force people to only use 'electronic' forms of payment as of mid-October 2008, sitewide. After reviewing the history of people paying with money orders and their high percentage of flaking out/not paying/underpaying, and how much of eBay's valuable time was being taken up settling aforementioned issues on behalf of the sellers, they decided to nix all M.O. payments on the site because of high incidences of fraud and problems. But what of sex toy sellers, you ask? We were only allowed to use Money Orders or a merchant account before, so that means we can only use a merchant account now, right? Apparently, rather than simply allowing us to accept paypal, eBay has decided that it's okay for US to put up with the "fraud" and "problems" that were so bad for everyone else that they scrapped M.O.'s altogether.
But what if we don't have a merchant account or don't have the volume to justify paying for one? eBay's 'solution' is Propay, an eBay-approved paypal clone that has all the same fees as paypal, and a yearly fee besides. In an even more outrageous move, the service is unavailable to any seller who is not at least a "Silver level powerseller" (requiring $3,000 a MONTH in sales!).
Going even further, eBay has stated that they will monitor the percentage of buyers that use eBay checkout, and that if that number gets too low on their unstated threshold, the seller will be "investigated". This means that adult toy sellers that are already forced to bend over backwards to even sell on eBay can now not even accept paypal discreetly off site. Curiously, the most successful sellers are somehow fully cleared to use a paypal clone that eBay is almost assuredly getting kickbacks from. How does this make sense, and how exactly does using this unpopular and seldom heard-of service "protect the buyer"?
What's the Best Way To Buy Sex Toys on eBay?
The usual rules for knowing your seller apply - check their feedback, don't hesitate to ask questions before buying, don't assume anything that isn't explicitly spelled out. Be canny and wary that any eBay communications can be read - and ARE read - by eBay. If you'd like to pay by a method that isn't specifically listed, just write the seller first off of eBay and ask if something can be arranged. Almost all adult sellers will be happy to send you a "request invoice", enabling you to pay online through a well known service, without exposing your financial information. Bear in mind that, due to the nature of the item, most sellers won't take returns on sex toys, so do a bit of net research first and be sure it's the toy you want.
I'd be more than happy to locate any toy I'm able to (I have access to about 90% of the items being offered on eBay right now) and quote you a discounted price. Please feel free to write me with any questions or comments directly at Underbedtoys@gmail.com - thank you!