Have you ever tried to get an eBay coupon code?
I believe the majority of us who are shopping online have – at least at some point – been on the lookout for an eBay promo code that works. I also believe that all of us who’ve been hunting for an eBay coupon have returned emptyhanded from out trips. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that saving opportunities like these don’t exist in this marketplace. That being said, read on to discover my journey to discovering a real coupon code at eBay. (Hint: they do exist!)
The other day I was shopping online and a thought hit me: Google knows everything; it probably knows the best deals in town too!
In no time I managed to get discounts on a couple of overdue purchases. A quick Google search delivered coupons for a discounted web hosting plan and an awesome set of stainless steel kitchenware. The former was much needed, while the latter was meant for a Christmas gift. I ended up buying a second set and kept the first for myself. With 60% off, the two cost less than one.
But I am digressing.
Once I had these sweet deals secured, I realized that I could use eBay, my favorite shopping platform, and save me some browsing through the web.
Or could I?
I know eBay’s terms of service and shipping times from different parts of the world well enough, so it often is the shopping hub of choice.
Coupons and discount codes should be a thing, right?
Inspired by my newly acquired ability to find good deals, I browsed the most popular coupon and discount sites. Surely enough, some sweet offers popped right up: eBay promo code for a general discount on any purchase, an eBay free shipping code and a few more.
After clicking through all of them, it quickly became obvious that these were standard eBay discounts that needed no promotional codes. I would have gotten the same deals simply by browsing eBay. Free shipping, in particular, is something that many traders on eBay provide anyway.
This got me thinking that I have not really seen many heavily promoted offers and sales on eBay. Of course, Black Friday and Xmas sales are there, but these are shopping periods that provide sweet deals universally, not only on eBay. There have been plenty of discounts made by the sellers but no eBay-powered promotion to speak of.
I was already deep enough into this research and wanted something exclusive.
Coupons vs. Sitewide Promotions
Back to Google I went to confirm my suspicions. The initial searches indicated that sitewide eBay promotional codes don’t really exist. There were several topical discount codes that could be found, most notably for buyers from India, but that was about it.
I thought as much.
Even though these were my first steps in discount shopping, my experience with eBay was already significant. I’ve purchased about 30 items through eBay over the last few years. While not the most avid shopper, I also enjoy the occasional browsing through different products with no real intention to purchase anything.
In other words, I have spent many hours on eBay without seeing any particularly staggering deals outside of the traditional shopping seasons. This struck me as odd because other huge online retailers like Amazon have heavily advertised promotions and discount codes can be found easily.
Compared to other major online shopping sites, eBay has a very different way of doing things.
Then again, eBay has quite different modus operandi than Amazon, as the items are provided by private sellers, not by a multi-billion international corporation.
Additionally, eBay still functions largely as an auction; if you know how to time your bids well, you can have eBay deals practically every day.
These considerations dawned upon me slowly, mostly because I use eBay for direct shopping and don’t bid, but that’s just me.
All the same, there must be other people who do the same and would benefit from some promotions and the occasional coupon that works.
It was only after browsing eBay extensively when I found that, indeed, you can get an eBay promo code or two directly from eBay.
I got very excited about this possibility, but things turned out to be slightly more complicated than initially anticipated.
(Maybe) Get an eBay Coupon
First of all, yes, no joke, eBay promo codes do exist.
I mentioned how the eBay model of operation relies heavily on the people who do the actual selling. Special offers and discounts can be found from certain sellers, but what I wanted to find were coupon codes created and generated by the selling platform itself.
After an extensive search, I got what I was looking for. My initial suspicion that there are no sitewide promotions confirmed, at large, but some deals can be had anyway. Sweet things – like coupon codes that grants $10 or 10% off – appear every now and again, reducing the price of items in certain categories.
The question was how to get my hands on such a nice promotion.
Proving that eBay coupons exist was easy. Getting them looks like a tough cookie
According to the customer service section of the site, you can qualify for coupons at eBay simply by ticking one box in your account settings. Essentially, you must agree to receive “General email promotions” from under the “Promotions and Surveys” section in the communication preferences of your account.
As simple as that, your account would qualify to receive promo codes and special offers.
That’s the theory, at least.
In my case, it has remained a theory throughout the years as I have received no coupons whatsoever.
I wanted deals and I wanted them right away!
So my quest for eBay coupon codes had to go on. eBay has many virtues as a site, but displaying useful information beyond basic account management is certainly not among them.
Another half hour of searching online passed before I stumbled upon a more detailed explanation about the megastore’s coupon system.
Types of Coupons at eBay
In brief, eBay offers come in two flavors: merchant promotions and ones offered by eBay that grant discounts on certain types of items for a certain period of time.
The main difference between the two is that the latter doesn’t affect the seller at all. Merchant promotions are created by the individual sellers, who decide to reduce the price on certain items, for one reason or another. As a result, a potential sale generates smaller profit for the seller.
On the other hand, deals created by the site itself that grant, say, $20 off eBay electronics purchases, do not affect the profit of the salesman.
There are two major types of discounts to be found: merchant discounts and eBay promotions.
Such discounts benefit both sides: the buyer, by allowing her to pay less for the item of choice, and the seller by helping her score a sale. The seller is completely oblivious whether an eBay redemption code has been used to purchase a certain, as she would receive the asked price in full.
Essentially, it is eBay that covers the difference the coupon discounts.
Now, that’s the kind of store discount I was after!
The only bothersome thing remained the fact that, despite having the right account settings, I was yet to receive even a single eBay promo code $10 off or otherwise.
The fact that I had through pass through hoops and loops to find out any relevant information also started gnawing on my patience.
Redeeming an eBay Coupon
Now, I assume that anyone who has an eBay account that is at least a month old knows how to look out for ordinary deals at the marketplace.
By ordinary I mean discounts offered by sellers and featured deals. Be it by clicking “Daily Deals” or simply by using advanced filtering, finding a great price is not that difficult.
The situation with the coveted eBay discount codes is considerably more complicated. I already pointed out how they differ from the merchant’s discounts, but there is another division as well.
There are personal and general coupons.
Personal coupons are sent to certain users, who can take advantage of them. How the selected few are chosen to be bestowed with an eBay bucks code is not very clear. I dug deep to find the answer or at least some suggestion, but no official information was to be found.
There are coupon codes that work and are sent directly to chosen users along with other monthly promotions.
Some users speculate that eBay automatically monitors the activity levels and shopping patterns of its users and distributes promo codes accordingly. Regular buyers get discount codes in categories they have shopped before.
This makes some sort of sense, but, then again, sending an eBay coupon code with 10% off to people who are already shopping actively is a bit strange.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to tempt less active users to buy more? People like me, who make a few purchases per year could be nudged to buy more regularly through properly targeted discounts and coupons.
I am not a marketing expert, though; these were thoughts that hit me while trying to figure out why I have not received a single coupon code in all these years. I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on the matter in the comments below.
I might be missing something.
But what eBay is obviously missing is clarity.
The fact that the platform discloses no details about how the personal coupons are awarded is very baffling.
To say that I was disappointed by eBay’s silence and lack of info on the matter would be an understatement.
Who gets personal discount offers and promo codes and why is a secret buried deep within the eBay servers?
Moving on, the other type of eBay discount coupons is general, i.e. they can be used by anyone. They are not sent to individual accounts but are published on eBay Pages.
This type of discounts often is aimed at mobile users. Just like the individual coupons, they have an expiration date and restrictions: “A special eBay 15 off 75 discount for Gaming and Gardening”, for example, that must be utilized through the iOS or Android app.
All this sounds nice, but I must admit that I heard of these offers while researching the eBay coupon 2018 policy through Reddit, not through eBay.
Admittedly, I browse eBay exclusively through my laptop and don’t have the mobile app installed. However, was I aware of the potential benefits, I would have had it up and running in no time – who would shy away from a generous coupon?
The thing is that eBay has done no real effort to communicate such offers loudly and clearly so that more casual users could take advantage and score a deal or two.
What is clearly stated is that to benefit from any coupon code at eBay, you must pay through PayPal. Automatically, this precludes that the trader has to accept PayPal payments as well, otherwise the coupon cannot be used.
All in all, despite finding what I was looking for, namely a confirmation one can benefit from a coupon for eBay if lucky enough, the whole ordeal left a slightly bitter taste in my mouth.
The main reason for this was not the restrictions that most coupons that I saw impose – it is only natural that the offers are valid for certain categories of products and often have territorial restrictions too.
It was the lack of clarity and official information that makes any sense. I have had nothing but positive experience with the eBay customer service, but I found the obscurity surrounding this particular issue very irritating.
It is utterly baffling why a site would bother to create discounts and special offers and would make no real effort to spread the word about them.
If you are a merchant, you can find the conditions for participation in eBay promotions and coupon campaigns with relative ease. All the steps are there.
However, for buyers is nigh impossible to get any information how they could qualify for the discount coupons. Should you shop more? Should you shop in certain categories? What is it?
It’s anyone’s guess, that’s what it is.
Yes, you can find instructions about what settings to enable under your account to make it eligible for promotions, but that’s about it. What actually gives you a chance to get a discount code is completely unclear.
In conclusion, make your account eligible, and, if the algorithmic gods are merciful, a special, personal offer might appear into your account one day. To increase your chances of getting a coupon code, install the phone app as well but also monitor all discount sites and the eBay subreddit.
There is no guarantee that you will receive anything, but these steps increase the chance of getting some general promotion on time. If you are lucky enough, you might score an eBay coupon code valid for the whole month, as there are monthly promotions going on.
Otherwise, this entire ordeal made me think that eBay discount coupons are the modern-day unicorns: people talk about how nice they are, but nobody can tell you for certain that they are truly tangible.