If you want to break cases or boxes on eBay, you’ll have to hope the company has seen fit to approve you.
eBay sent emails to users who sell or have sold spots in case, box or pack breaks on Wednesday, outlining a new policy that will only allow certain “pre-approved” sellers to list its platform.
“We want to take steps to support this experience while also ensuring a greater level of consistency for our buyer community,” a spokesman for eBay told SC Daily.
The policy won’t be implemented until July 18 but will likely impact a large number of smaller volume sellers of break spots.
Some collectors reacting on social media saw the move as a good one, reducing the number of break listings while taking an active role in vetting the large number of breakers on its platform. However, it was a tough pill to swallow for those who suddenly learned they’d no longer be able to offer breaks.
“The news today came out of left field and was a complete shock,” remarked Michael Borders, a collector for more than 30 years who sells break spots and cards online under the name Warrior65. Borders spent 19 years as a teacher before resigning prior to the 2022-23 school year to ensure his autistic son could attend therapy. The Kansas City area collector recently began ramping up his online business as he spent more time at home, securing distribution channels in hopes of expanding the breaking part of his online sales efforts.
“I don’t do a massive volume of breaks, but it definitely helps me provide for my family in a small way on top of my storefront,” he told SC Daily. “I literally started the process of increasing my product supply and lowering my costs this month which makes this even more crushing. I spoke with their leadership team, and was told there is nothing I can do. They said it was a business decision, but it seems they are simply catering to large breakers regardless of customer experience.”
eBay says it is in the process of contacting breakers it has approved to continue selling on its platform. Others who haven’t gotten the OK received the emails on Wednesday and eBay isn’t taking applications. In short, if you’re approved, eBay will let you know.
“Any live auctions that are underway can be completed but after July 18 you’ll no longer be able to start new listings,” eBay stated in its emails to breakers who were not approved to continue listing break spots.
“Moving forward, case break listings will be limited to vetted sellers who agree to meet new standards that promote this experience for customers,” the spokesperson relayed. The company wouldn’t say what specific requirements those sellers have met to be allowed to continue selling break spots.
Borders, who has a 100% feedback rating on eBay, says he hasn’t given up on breaking but will also start focusing on other outlets. “I enjoy breaking for my customers and hope I will be able to find another platform that is a viable option. I have done some breaks selling on Twitter, but don’t have the ability to reach the global market which limited my success. I will continue to run my eBay store and Sportlots, which will bring in some income, but won’t replace the income from breaks. I prefer to do PYT (pick your team) breaks as opposed to random teams, so customers are always getting the team or teams they want.”
He says he’s disappointed to see eBay bypass smaller breakers, even those with successful track records in what’s become a challenging space.
“As the market has cooled, I have had to be fairly careful about what products I buy to break as cost has gone up and buyers have decreased,” he explained. “I have tried to be the first break of products when possible, I was the first on eBay to break 2021-22 Prizm basketball, 2023 Bowman, and 2022 Optic football most recently. I always ship next business day unless I am offering stacked shipping, and have a clean feedback record with no customer issues. It seems they are simply catering to large breakers regardless of customer experience.”
Nathan Thurston of Blue Ridge Sports Cards in Virginia says he began doing “pick your team” breaks every two weeks earlier this spring. While it wasn’t a major revenue source for him, he says he used breaks to diversify the online selling he’s been doing for the last five years.
“I think the more breakers we have to choose from the better,” he told SC Daily. “eBay already protects buyers to a large extent so I don’t understand why they felt the need to cut out the smaller guys. It was a way for me to post auctions then hang out with friends and new collectors every other Saturday. There aren’t a lot of platforms to run auctions for breaks and it was easy because I primarily sell my singles there.”
The eBay Live platform is something the company has been touting of late, but they say approved breakers won’t be required to use the platform in order to keep their status.