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amazon marketplace sellers -- is it possible to obtain the buyer's email address?

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I recently purchased something on the Amazon marketplace (from a third party seller). I received the usual order confirmation and shipment confirmation emails as I do with any order. What happened next was highly unusual -- I also received a second shipment confirmation email sent directly to my email address from the seller's email address. It did not go through the Amazon Buyer-Seller Messaging Service, which is the usual channel for all buyer-seller communications, and this direct email does not appear in the Messages section under My Account. It was obviously not a spoof or a fake, because it contained all the information about my order, the email headers look legit, and it was sent to a unique email address that I use exclusively on Amazon (so nobody else has it).

I've been a seller for many years and I've never seen any of my customers' email addresses, and for a good reason -- Amazon (and eBay) doesn't want buyers and sellers to have direct contact. Yet here it was, and I'm wondering how this seller managed to do it. Is there some kind of tool, service, or a service level agreement that allows marketplace sellers to obtain the buyers' email address?

ETA: as far as I can tell the seller is not a subsidiary. It's not Warehouse Deals or anything like that.

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Yup, I've heard from a seller by phone before--hoping to get more business directly.  (Note:  4-figure item involved tha... (more)

LorenPechtel (Jul. 27, 2017 @ 1:29p) |

I haven't received a direct call from a seller, but I have been subscribed, without my consent, to the direct marketing ... (more)

fivetalents (Jul. 27, 2017 @ 1:57p) |

The feedback and review request emails from Amazon sellers are not direct emails -- they go through the Amazon Messaging... (more)

scripta (Jul. 27, 2017 @ 3:43p) |

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That's really strange. Is it an old established seller or one of the fresh fake ones?

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What did Amazon say when you asked them?

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Possible they get it. I had an Amazon seller (fulfilled by Amazon) call my phone once. They said they got the number from my shipping confirmation.

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Did you pay with Paypal? Usually they provide the buyer's email address to the seller.

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scripta said:   I recently purchased something on the Amazon marketplace (from a third party seller). I received the usual order confirmation and shipment confirmation emails as I do with any order. What happened next was highly unusual -- I also received a second shipment confirmation email sent directly to my email address from the seller's email address. It did not go through the Amazon Buyer-Seller Messaging Service, which is the usual channel for all buyer-seller communications, and this direct email does not appear in the Messages section under My Account. It was obviously not a spoof or a fake, because it contained all the information about my order, the email headers look legit, and it was sent to a unique email address that I use exclusively on Amazon (so nobody else has it).

I've been a seller for many years and I've never seen any of my customers' email addresses, and for a good reason -- Amazon (and eBay ) doesn't want buyers and sellers to have direct contact. Yet here it was, and I'm wondering how this seller managed to do it. Is there some kind of tool, service, or a service level agreement that allows marketplace sellers to obtain the buyers' email address?

ETA: as far as I can tell the seller is not a subsidiary. It's not Warehouse Deals or anything like that.

  I am an Amazon seller as well

Sometimes when I look at the orders page, I see that some customers mistakenly put their email addresses where they supposed to put in their phone numbers

Check your settings.  

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Thanks for the replies so far. Here are my answers to the questions above:

* It's an old seller with many thousands of feedback averaging in the 99%.
* Amazon customer support is giving me the runaround, because it's like speaking to a really dumb robot -- takes forever to get someone to understand my actual concern. They've been giving me canned responses about their "concern for security," fake emails, the buyer-seller messaging system, etc. When I finally got to someone, they said this is not supposed to happen and forwarded my concern to the right department, whatever that means. I was also promised that this department would contact me, but they have not.
* I believe about the phone number, although I've never been called by a seller. But you don't get the email address with the shipping confirmation.
* I did not pay with paypal. I didn't even know that was an option.
* I most certainly did not put my email address in the phone field, I checked. Thanks for the tip.

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The seller has the ability to communicate directly with you. It will not show up on your messages box.
They do not have your email as far as I know.

I've seen this many times with Amazon Marketplace and a high rated seller, mostly sending me messages about my satisfaction with the product.

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Yep I get lots of "satisfaction " emails of items purchased via Amazon

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forbin4040 said:   The seller has the ability to communicate directly with you. It will not show up on your messages box.
They do not have your email as far as I know.

I've seen this many times with Amazon Marketplace and a high rated seller, mostly sending me messages about my satisfaction with the product.
Your first three sentences are self-contradicting. If the seller doesn't have my email address, then by definition they don't have the ability to communicate with me directly -- they may only communicate using the Buyer-Seller Messaging Service. The messages exchanged using that service can be read in the Message Center under My Account. See attached screenshot.

The emails about your satisfaction with the product are sent using the Buyer-Seller Messaging Service and can also be seen in the Message Center. All of those emails contain a footer with links to unsubscribe or stop communications and a description of how that email was sent. This footer is another way to distinguish direct email from indirect.

The email I received from this seller was sent directly to my email address without passing through the Messaging Service. I explained this in my original post above, and if you don't get this, then how is foreign-based low-attention-span customer service supposed to get it? . I suspect that sending direct email is a violation of the Marketplace Agreement, but I couldn't find confirmation of this. The agreement only says that offering to sell items outside of the marketplace is against the agreement, not that direct email by itself is a violation.

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Reply directly to his email. He might be friendly enough to understand your curiosity and will resolve your burning question.

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email Bezo.

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It's possible (if Amazon messed up in their security controls), though I imagine unlikely and very difficult to do, that the seller could've sent in a previous email to you something that provided the seller with your direct email address after it was routed through Amazon-sort of like a tracking object.

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April10 (63.17kB)
Disclaimer
This message was hiding under Buyer/Seller Messages.
Did you check there for it?

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marginoferror said:   It's possible (if Amazon messed up in their security controls), though I imagine unlikely and very difficult to do, that the seller could've sent in a previous email to you something that provided the seller with your direct email address after it was routed through Amazon -sort of like a tracking object.
Such a tracking object would have to be some kind of javascript malignant injection. Thankfully my email client doesn't run javascript or load images or any other URLs.
I only received one direct email from the seller. If you are suggesting that the automated order and shipment confirmation emails that were in fact sent by Amazon were also somehow sent to the seller, then it would indeed be a huge security bug.

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forbin4040 said:   This message was hiding under Buyer/Seller Messages.
Did you check there for it?
I can't tell if you are talking to someone else or trolling me -- as I've stated multiple times the direct email I had received from the seller does not appear in the Message Center.

I CHECKED THE EMAIL HEADERS -- it was sent from the seller's website to my domain directly. Emails from Amazon originate from one of the Amazon domains and this can easily be verified if you know what you're doing. And I know what I'm doing.

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mapen said:   Reply directly to his email. He might be friendly enough to understand your curiosity and will resolve your burning question.
I've thought about it. This marketplace seller is a pretty big operation, and I suspect that their customer service is just as clueless as Amazon's own. I thought to ask here second (I asked Amazon first).

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My report to Amazon customer service was yet again misinterpreted, and CS sent a message to the seller requesting that the seller not contact me directly. I received a copy of that message (from Az CS to the seller). Immediately following this, I received a direct email from the seller acknowledging that message, providing what appears to be a unique case #, and promising to respond soon.

It is as if this seller is wired directly into Amazon order or customer management system.

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scripta said:   
forbin4040 said:   
This message was hiding under Buyer/Seller Messages.
Did you check there for it?


I can't tell if you are talking to someone else or trolling me -- as I've stated multiple times the direct email I had received from the seller does not appear in the Message Center.

I CHECKED THE EMAIL HEADERS -- it was sent from the seller's website to my domain directly. Emails from Amazon originate from one of the Amazon domains and this can easily be verified if you know what you're doing. And I know what I'm doing.

  Nope, not trolling.  Sometimes (Like in my case) people swear up and down that they checked A-B-C and they didn't .

But hmm, the headers say it came directly from them to you.  And you haven't bought from them previously where they looked up your address right?
 

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scripta said:   I recently purchased something on the Amazon marketplace (from a third party seller). I received the usual order confirmation and shipment confirmation emails as I do with any order. What happened next was highly unusual -- I also received a second shipment confirmation email sent directly to my email address from the seller's email address. It did not go through the Amazon Buyer-Seller Messaging Service, which is the usual channel for all buyer-seller communications, and this direct email does not appear in the Messages section under My Account. It was obviously not a spoof or a fake, because it contained all the information about my order, the email headers look legit, and it was sent to a unique email address that I use exclusively on Amazon (so nobody else has it).

I've been a seller for many years and I've never seen any of my customers' email addresses, and for a good reason -- Amazon (and eBay ) doesn't want buyers and sellers to have direct contact. Yet here it was, and I'm wondering how this seller managed to do it. Is there some kind of tool, service, or a service level agreement that allows marketplace sellers to obtain the buyers' email address?

ETA: as far as I can tell the seller is not a subsidiary. It's not Warehouse Deals or anything like that.

  
There's no way of getting the buyer's actual email that I know of, unless the seller has your name and address on file with your actual email, in which case, they can compare that against the name and address on your order.

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"Customer phone number privacy 
This phone number is provided for shipping labels only. Please refer to Amazon Services Business Solutions Agreement and Prohibited seller activities and actions for details on appropriate use of customer personal information."


I've just started getting this message on the order details page for Amaz0n Marketplace Sellers. 
 

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forbin4040 said:   But hmm, the headers say it came directly from them to you.  And you haven't bought from them previously where they looked up your address right?I understand and have considered this. However, I have my own domain and use different email addresses for absolutely everything (a.k.a. forwarders, aliases), so even if I had dealt with this merchant through another channel, they would not have gotten my Amazon -specific email address. Also the alias email address I currently use for all things Amazon is fairly new (less than a year old).

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Then I guess the next step is contacting the vendor and see how they have your email.

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I didn't think they were supposed to, but they do.

I'm getting follow up emails from about 50% of the marketplace sellers I buy from. I've also been put on several direct marketing lists (both email as well as postal) by sellers I've only ever "communicated" with by buying on Amazon.

Just to be clear this is separate from and in addition to the ones that many marketplace sellers send through Amazon asking you if you're happy, rate your purchase, etc.

I also tried to contact Amazon and got nowhere. They didn't understand what I was talking about.

I too have an email just for this Amazon account, and that's what they're using.

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I found reference to a 3rd party service that finds emails based on a customers name & address. They market this to Amazon sellers as a service.

https://managebystats.com/main/email-append-services/
https://managebystats.com/main/real-email-addresses-did-you-know...

I'd say its possible this might be whats going on but it seems OP has a unique email just for Amazon so I don't see how such a service would get the email via other databases.

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You are right, jerosen, it's not possible in my case, because I use a different unique email address (and not even plus addressing) for every online account I've ever created.

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scripta said:   You are right, jerosen, it's not possible in my case, because I use a different unique email address (and not even plus addressing) for every online account I've ever created.
  O, what a tangled web

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OP, did you ever contact the seller to ask them directly how they got your Amazon email address?

(Of course, in the meantime they had been ordered by Amazon not to contact you, so maybe they were afraid to reply if you subsequently sent them a direct email).

I think I noticed some strange stuff last year or the year before with my Amazon customer account - not all messages that came to me regarding purchases (or my reported problems with purchases) would have a copy sitting in the message area of my Amazon account - some were only available in my personal email account.
(I, too, have unique email addresses for most entities, including Amazon, so it's noticeable when something odd occurs.)
I recall that I even called Amazon customer service and asked why some emails that were about "official" business were not appearing in the message area of my Amazon account, but I don't remember what they said... maybe the call-center person didn't know why. It wasn't a big thing for me and I normally buy from Amazon as the seller, so I forgot about it.

Have you looked on the seller discussion forum that they maintain, to see if this issue is mentioned there?

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I am missing something on the Star and Scripta

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No, you're not. This thread doesn't deserve anything special, the mods are just too lazy in their justification.

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I don't understand what the last 2 posts are about - ?

===
did you ever figure the Amazon address situation out, OP?

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He was asking how this deserved a star of the week.

No, I did not figure out how they are able to contact me directly. I stopped receiving emails from them and decided it probably wasn't worth the effort. If it happens again, I'll contact the seller directly and ask.

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scripta said:   He was asking how this deserved a star of the week.
 

This thread got star of the week? 
No offence meant (and it doesn't sound as if you would take any), but did they base the award on drawing slips of paper out of a Slurpie cup?  
 

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oppidum said:   
scripta said:   He was asking how this deserved a star of the week.
This thread got star of the week? 
No offence meant (and it doesn't sound as if you would take any), but did they base the award on drawing slips of paper out of a Slurpie cup?  

We don't actually award Star of the Week to threads - we award them to members. The links are just examples of the Star of the Week being awesome, as Scripta has been helpful in creating and updating this particular thread.

And it was a Starbucks cup. 
 

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As I said multiple times this thread isn't that interesting. I don't know why it was selected to highlight my contributions. They probably just did a random search for recent posts without getting into the details.

Which is why I suggest that for whatever Star of the Week becomes, FW should pay more attention to detail

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Stubtify said:   Possible they get it. I had an Amazon seller (fulfilled by Amazon ) call my phone once. They said they got the number from my shipping confirmation.
  
Yup, I've heard from a seller by phone before--hoping to get more business directly.  (Note:  4-figure item involved that implied that repeat business was likely.)

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LorenPechtel said:   
Stubtify said:   Possible they get it. I had an Amazon seller (fulfilled by Amazon ) call my phone once. They said they got the number from my shipping confirmation.
  
Yup, I've heard from a seller by phone before--hoping to get more business directly.  (Note:  4-figure item involved that implied that repeat business was likely.)

 I haven't received a direct call from a seller, but I have been subscribed, without my consent, to the direct marketing email lists of sellers from both Amaz0n and Ebáy who I had zero communication with other than placing an order. That has been a rare occurrence, and does count the frequent follow up emails I get directly from sellers asking me to review their products or leave feedback soon after my order ships. The worst, most startling and egregious offense was when I recently was added to a direct marketing email list of a seller I'd never heard of before nor bought anything from after I simply clicked on a link to their pop-up shop in an email from Nórdstrom's. The link in the email from Nórdstrom's took you to Nórdstroms website, not the seller's, and I just browsed their products on Nórdstrom's without buying anything... I gave them a piece of my mind for sure.

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The feedback and review request emails from Amazon sellers are not direct emails -- they go through the Amazon Messaging Service. At the bottom those messages provide the ability to unsubscribe or stop communications from the seller. The sellers aren't supposed to get the buyer's email address, and that's the point of this thread -- I came across a seller who got my email address (which I only use with my Amazon account) and emailed me directly (well, their automated system emailed me directly), not through the Amazon Messaging Service.

With eBay sellers it's a different story, because even though they don't get the email address tied to your eBay account, they get the email address tied to your paypal account along with your payment (though most people use the same email address for both). Not much you can do about this on eBay, but there is something you can do when paying with paypal on other websites -- you can add more unique email addresses to your paypal account, and select that email as "primary" before checking out. This only works if you have your own domain and can create and remove forwarders / aliases at will, or use some other email forwarding service that allows you to delete that address.

The phone number is another issue too, because often times the phone number is provided with the shipping address and is even printed on the shipping label. Not much you can do about that, just cross your fingers that the sellers won't put it into some marketing / spam database.

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