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Problems sending or receiving messages in My eBay

Occasionally, when you respond to an eBay message from your personal email account (such as Yahoo, Hotmail, or Gmail), your email may not reach your recipient on eBay. While most messages go through, certain messages are blocked to protect the safety of eBay members.

Here are the most common reasons a message will be returned unsent:


If we detect a virus in an email that's been sent, the message will be returned to the sender. If you've sent an email and it's been returned, try checking your computer for viruses before resending it.

Note: Safeguard your computer with virus prevention. You can install virus protection software from eBay.

Too large

Messages are limited to 5MB in size. If you're trying to send a large email, try reducing the size of the message. eBay Messages won't let you attach or download files, but you can send links to listings, photos, and descriptions.

Too many messages

The number of messages that can be sent over a weekly period is limited. This protects email accounts from unwanted messages (spam).

Full mailbox

If a member's mailbox is full, the message you sent will be returned to you. Try again in a few hours.

Invalid or expired item

If you're sending a message to your buyer or seller about a transaction, make sure that the item number is correct and that the item hasn't expired. If you use an incorrect item number or the number of an item that is more than 90 days old from the end of the listing, your message won't go through.


Emails that are encrypted before they are sent (or are automatically encrypted when sent) won't be delivered through eBay Messages. Encryption is a way of scrambling or coding information before it's sent, and then decoding the same information when it's received. If you're using encryption software, you may need to turn it off before sending messages.

Active content

Messages that launch streaming videos, Flash, animated clips, or have JavaScript may not be delivered. Because of the risk of viruses or malicious programs, we block active content. You're always able to send links to listings and other areas of eBay.

Attaching photos

You can send certain types of attachments to the Messages inbox of another eBay member:

  • You can only send photos in .jpg, .gif, .bmp, .png, or .tif file formats

  • The total message size must be less than 5MB

To send an email with an attached photo:
  1. Click the Attach Photos button in the message you're writing.

  2. Select the picture or pictures saved on your computer that you want to send. You can choose up to 5 pictures.

    Note: pictures you send through Messages need to meet the following requirements:

    • They must be no larger than 5MB

    • Each must be at least 500 pixels on the smallest side (length or width)

    • Each must be in one of the following formats: JPG, BMP, GIF, PNG or TIF

  3. When you're finished writing your message, click the Send button.

Note: Your buyer won't be able to open the attachments. Instead, they'll need to save the pictures to their hard drive and open them there.

Note: When you contact other eBay members on the site by clicking on links such as Contact seller, Contact buyer, or Contact member, your message to that member will go through an anonymous email forwarding system. Your actual email address will remain hidden. For more information, read about anonymous email forwarding.

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