Should eBay sellers be allowed to restrict sales to specific states?

Should eBay sellers be allowed to restrict sales to specific states? 

As a marketplace researcher, I occasionally check the eBay Community Forums to see what kind of experiences and thoughts are running through the minds of eBay sellers. Once in awhile I actually find one interesting enough to write about.  If 's extra interesting, I may even post it onto Twitter as a Poll. This is one such example.

A seller on eBay recently posted an intriguing question about shipping restrictions by states.  The seller proposed eBay provide sellers with additional restricts in addition to being able to restrict Hawaii, Alaska, US Territories and most countries (outside of the USA).

 You can read and participate in the actual question and responses on eBay's community directly from its source at

It's an interesting question so I posted a #poll on #Twitter to see what other sellers think too. (The poll only lasts three days, so you may only be able to view the final results on Twitter..

Should you as a seller be allowed to restrict your sales by state?  Ultimately, it may not be such a bad idea (My opinion).  The poster however gave three examples of when they may want to restrict by state.   

1.) For social responsibility reasons.
2.) For tax reasons
3.) Because Alaska and Hawaii can already be blocked.

Anyone who has watched any of my videos on YouTube or Vidme about selling in California and the expenses that a seller on eBay complying with the Board of Equalization's obvious bias laws can probably immediately see the advantage of being able to block sales to California.  

I would 100% support the ability to limit or fully restrict sales on any marketplace if for no other reasons than to not have to collect and hassle with sales taxes.  

California like many states, require sellers on eBay and other marketplaces to collect sales taxes, obtain a permit, get a city license and ultimately file with the IRS as a business for something as simple as four different sales within a year. It's almost inconceivable.

On the other end, California does not require out of State sellers to collect sales taxes on behalf of California residents and submit it to the State of California.  It also does not require those selling in California (Online) to collect sales taxes for sales to other states.  Yet currently their are several states attempting to force a law that would change much of that.

eBay assumes a significant role of seller authority on its marketplace without assuming any responsibility. When ebay first began it was merely a third party transaction agent between buyer and seller.  At this point in eBay's history however, eBay dictates what can and can't be sold, forces and guarantees returns on all products sold on its marketplace, prevents sellers from any kind of leaving any kind experience feedback for buyers (other than Positive ratings or no ratings) and dictates and overrides individual sellers policies in disputes, etc. "Several states, (like North Carolina) now see eBay itself as the seller and those selling on eBay as contractors" merely because so much of the sales process is no longer in the hands of the small business or person who decided to sell on eBay.

As I see it, in agreement with the original poster of the feature request on eBay's community forums, I can see distinct advantages of someone being able to restrict sales to their own state in order to sell solely to states where taxes are not being required to be collected.  This would save the sole proprietors on eBay tons of hassle of having to collect sales taxes and could technically remove restrictions in the laws of some states for those particular online sellers to avoid sellers permits or city licenses since no sales would be physically occurring within the state and no products being sold would be being shipped within the state.

Other advantages come to mind when I think of how California's legislature along with other states, have banned employee travel to Texas for instance, due to social and cultural politics and laws.  If a state can restrict its government offices from interacting with other states within the USA based solely on the convictions of the legislature ruling majority, and use its political and social influence to promote those convictions at the expense of its taxpayers, it seems reasonable that eBay sellers should to be able to restrict sales to those states or one's own state.

I think the eBay'er nailed it on that rational.

Though the eBay community poster does not mention it as a reason, another reason I as a seller would like to be able to block a particular state is due to shipping costs, especially on eBay were sellers who do not offer "Free Shipping" are dropped into lower positions of its search algorithms.

As a seller on the west coast, anytime I ship a product to the east coast, mainly New York or more frequently Florida, I pay almost triple to ship to these states especially large dimensioned items,
eBay's so called "Free Shipping" often eats heavily into my profit margins.

Reading a response by another eBay seller replying to the original poster, the profit margin idea was interjected with the notion that the original poster needed to adjust their profit margin to account for any loses due to sales taxes, but the original poster didn't mention shipping costs or specifically sales taxes when it comes to profit margins. I however, see profit margins as a tangible reason to support this request for the ability to limit or restrict shipping to any state.  eBay already allows Hawaii and Alaska to be blocked on eBay.

Interestingly the eBay seller originally replying to the post in opposition of the proposal actually ends up endorsing the rational In their third response. They state that the reason Alaska and Hawaii can be blocked on eBay is because of the additional costs to ship to those two states.
This third reason is misrepresented.  "Hawaii and Alaska are blockable for those sellers that use UPS or Fedex for shipping..."  but the truth is, these two states can be blocked by any seller using any shipping method including USPS.

Unfortunately, eBay will most probably never consider adding the option to block any USA State for several reasons.  

One being eBay charges sellers an additional (currently 10%) commission fee on the shipping costs. So if it costs a seller more to ship from New York to San Diego then that is extra money in eBay's giant pockets.

eBay would also be afraid that by giving sellers on its marketplace the ability to control where sales are shipped, they might lose money during politically hot seasons when a State like California manages to pass a law making it a "Sanctuary State"  or Texas increases immigration restrictions leading to cross state boycotts.

If sellers supporting either state were able to block sales and shipping to people in the opposing state, eBay's revenue to or from those states could decline.  In fact, there could be an all out political war on eBay based solely on shipping.   That's not necessarily a bad thing though. In my opinion, anyone selling on eBay, should have the same rights or at least be able to control more of its sales as eBay does in dictating all the policies and rules it dictates that limit sellers utilizing its marketplace.

So is a feature to allow ebay sellers to restrict, limit and suspend shipping and sales by state a unreasonable request?  I think so.  What do you think?