Cyber Monday – Shopping on eBay With Microsoft as a Guide

This morning I was greeted with a pleasant email from our friends at eBay and Microsoft.  Since I already had a Nintendo DS Lite and assorted games in my shopping cart, I decided to investigate the coupon opportunity presented by eBay and our friends at Microsoft Live Search. 

Here’s how to save up to 40% with a coupon + Microsoft Cashback:
1. Search for an item on
2. Click the sponsored ad with the Microsoft cashback symbol  You’ll be taken to
3. Make sure the item is Buy It Now and the seller accepts PayPal. If the item is eligible,
you’ll see a cashback notice on the “commit to buy” page.
4. Enter code: CSHOPEBAY2008. Pay with PayPal before midnight PT on Dec 1, 2008.  

I found what I was looking for on eBay with free shipping, albeit at a higher price than on Amazon. The special coupon deal should make up more than the difference between the prices on the two sites, right?

Found it on eBay
Found it on eBay



Coupon on eBay - 60 day delay?

Coupon on eBay – 60 day delay?

The discount looked good, in effect I would be getting about 3 games for free with this deal – great!

Then I saw the detail “you must have a Microsoft  cash back account” whats that?  Hmmm, lets look into that before we pull the trigger on this purchase.

When I read the terms below and found there would be a 60 day delay to realize my $71.97 savings on top of several other possible ways that I would not or could not qualify for my “coupon” the thrill was gone.  I went back to Amazon and bought my Christmas gift. 

Amazon does not play these games, or make people jump through these hoops.  Most buyers would not bother to read the fine print and therefore would expect a actual discount at checkout.  The way this coupon seems to be setup, you must first buy from the eBay seller, before learning that your coupon would not be good for another 60 days.  Technically, that is not a coupon, that is a rebate. 

Yes, there are small links which will lead anyone to the information presented below, but how many shoppers will actually follow those links before using the buy now button.  The sellers should not be dealing with  unhappy buyers who have been lead to believe they would be saving money instantly with this deal.

Does this make for a Great Buyer Experience?      

But before you dive into the dry fine print of the cashback program, check out this recent article on APPScout about the Microsoft Live Search Cashback Program (Thanks to Elizabeth for forwarding the link). I think the App Scout article confirms my reaction to the 60 day delay in payment.  The article also suggests that Microsoft has reacted to complaints about the 60 day delay by offering instant reimbursement for “some” eBay buyers, but those eBay buyers will only know if they received the reimbursement after they have made the purchase.  (How fair is that? You MIGHT get your 40% off today, or 60 days from now, or never… it really depends upon who or what we may think of you.)

eBay Terms for Live Search Cashback Rewards

Your participation in the Microsoft Live Search cashback program (“Cashback Program”), is subject to the Microsoft Service Agreement at (the “Program Terms”), and these eBay Terms. In the event of a conflict between the Program Terms and the eBay Terms, the eBay Terms shall apply.

Cashback Program

  • Eligibility
  • Qualifying Purchase
  • Receiving Cashback Rewards
  • Limitations
  • The Microsoft Live Search Cashback Program provides cashback for up to 12 qualifying purchases per account on The amount of cashback will be determined by eBay, specified at the time of checkout on the “purchase review page” and equal to a percentage of the sale price (excluding shipping and handling fees, insurance fees and other such fees) (“Cashback Rewards”). The maximum amount of Cashback Rewards per qualifying purchase is $200.00 USD. In addition, all Cashback Rewards (including Cashback Rewards earned in connection with purchases made on websites other than are subject to the annual $2,500.00 per person cap set forth in the Program Terms.

You are eligible to participate in the Cashback Program as long as you: (a) are at least 18 years of age and reside in the United States, (b) have a confirmed US account in good standing, (c) have a verified US PayPal account in good standing, (d) have a Microsoft Cashback Program Account in good standing; and (e) comply with the eBay Terms and the Program Terms. In order for your accounts to be in good standing, they must not be limited or suspended. To make a qualifying purchase, you must do all of the following:

  • Search for an item on
  • Click on an sponsored advertisement on that has the cashback icon a gold circle with a dollar sign, next to the advertisement. When you click on the advertisement, you will begin an online session. Sponsored advertisements typically appear at the top or along the right hand side of the page of a search results page in a shaded or colored area of the page.
  • Purchase an eligible Buy-It-Now item using PayPal within 60 minutes of the time you began the online session. Cashback Rewards will apply only to the first eligible item you commit to buy during an online session. You may make only one qualifying purchase per online session.
  • To make additional qualifying purchases, you must repeat each of these steps including initiating a new search on

After your first eligible purchase is completed, you must go to My Messages on and look for a message from eBay with “cashback” in the subject line. Click the “Get Cashback” link or button in the message to set up a Cashback Program account with Microsoft by providing all information required by Microsoft (or, if you already have a Cashback Program account, log into your account in order to associate your eBay purchases with that account). Once you have created a Cashback Program account and have logged in to associate your eBay purchases with your account as described above, the Cashback Rewards will be available in your Cashback Program account approximately sixty (60) days after you pay for your qualifying purchase. PayPal in its discretion may decide to pay your Cashback Rewards more quickly on a case by case basis. Cashback rewards are issued to the PayPal account you used to make the qualifying purchase on Only certain items selected by eBay from time to time in its sole discretion will be eligible for Cashback Rewards. eBay will notify you on the purchase review page of the Buy-It-Now transaction process if the item you wish to purchase is not eligible.

Please review the purchase review page carefully before you commit to buy an item. Please note, the following will always be ineligible for Cashback Rewards: purchases that are completed on or; purchases of automobiles or other vehicles; purchases of real estate. Cashback Rewards cannot be transferred or applied to multiple accounts. Purchases on of gift certificates, gift cards and items acquired for resale will be eligible for Cashback Rewards. eBay may permit you to combine Cashback Rewards with other eBay promotions, coupons, or gift certificates. With the exception of eBay promotions, coupons and gift certificates, Cashback Rewards cannot be combined with any other offer on purchases on eBay shall determine in its sole discretion whether your purchase is a qualifying purchase under the eBay Terms. PayPal may disqualify transactions or remove previously paid cash rewards from your PayPal account if you return or cancel a qualifying purchase, participate in any fraud or abuse relating to the Cashback Program (including conducting “sham” transactions or otherwise colluding with merchants, or otherwise), or fail to meet the Program Terms or these eBay Terms. In the event that you receive Cashback Rewards for a purchase that is later determined to be an ineligible purchase, you provide PayPal with the right and authority to remove the Cashback Rewards from your PayPal account, even if it means that your PayPal account will have a negative balance for which you will be liable. Live Search cashback is a Microsoft Corporation program. Cashback Rewards are funded and paid by Microsoft. Neither eBay nor PayPal have any obligations to you regarding Cashback Rewards or your participation in the Cashback Program except as set forth in these eBay Terms. eBay is the official time keeper for determining whether your purchase is made within 60 minutes of the time you initiate an online session. You hereby agree to release eBay Inc. and PayPal, Inc. from any claims, demands and damages arising out of or in any way connected to your participation in the Cashback Program. In addition, you hereby agree to release Microsoft from any claims, demands and damages arising out of the eBay Terms. eBay provides Microsoft with limited information about your eligible purchase (such as the date, time, amount, and item description) when you apply for a Cashback Reward. Microsoft will use this information only to process and manage your Cashback Rewards, and not for any other purpose. eBay may change these terms and conditions from time to time by posting revised terms and conditions on, and all such changes will be effective when posted.

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0 Responses to Cyber Monday – Shopping on eBay With Microsoft as a Guide

  1. Cliff Aliperti December 1, 2008 at 3:35 pm #

    Scott, I agree, this is extremely confusing, and to be honest I glazed over before I finished reading to the bottom of the post because I simply lost interest in the task at hand.

    I haven’t bothered with this program myself, the only eBay coupons I will use are those I find in “My Messages” from eBay itself that are no more complicated than entering a code at checkout.

    But this is once again a comparison to Amazon that I don’t see as apples to apples. Amazon isn’t offering any sales on third party seller’s items that I’m aware of. They offer great sales on their own goods and I’ve checked out my Amazon cart filled with Amazon supplied items twice in the past two days now.

    While any simple coupons offered by eBay will be a great way to attract buyers, let’s not forget that this is eBay we’re talking about and from the buyer’s perspective the advantage going in is that the prices should already be cheap.

    If eBay wants to offer coupons directly to buyer’s, great; if they want to do some deal such as what you’ve outlined above where buyers have to jump through hoops to receive the discount, well, I’m not taking part, but if you’re already part of the Live program that this is aimed at, then that’s pretty good too.

    But I see sales and savings on eBay items as being mainly the responsibility of the sellers on eBay, not eBay itself.


  2. Scott Pooler December 1, 2008 at 3:55 pm #


    Re: But this is once again a comparison to Amazon that I don’t see as apples to apples. Amazon isn’t offering any sales on third party seller’s items that I’m aware of. They offer great sales on their own goods and I’ve checked out my Amazon cart filled with Amazon supplied items twice in the past two days now.

    It was not an apples to apples comparison, it was a true story.

    I did have my Amazon cart loaded with goods, I was enticed to look at buying through eBay and I did return to Amazon because the eBay and Microsoft promotion created too much friction in my checkout procedure.

    The eBay seller lot the sale on two points, his price ultimately was higher than Amazon’s price and the eBay Microsoft coupon deal create doubt, even though it could have brought a lower price – if I jumped through all of the hoops.

    Amazon knows how to reduce friction in the sales process online. eBay has yet to figure it out, and it is not just the sellers that contribute to the friction.

  3. Henrietta December 1, 2008 at 4:14 pm #

    Here is my five cents.

    You both are professionals, each in your own way e-commerce experts.

    Susie Q Shopper reads that she can get discounts on eBay stuff by searching for it on I can just about guarantee you she is not going to read through pages and pages of terms and conditions. She and her cousins all have great difficulty in reading the listing never mind ‘all that stuff’.

    Her mindset will be ‘ooh look I can buy little Marvin that expensive game he wanted for 40% off’. When she doesn’t get an instant discount she is quite likely to turn into a NPB. She is going to be an angry NPB because she thought she was getting a good deal on something and now it has been taken away from her.

    This does not build goodwill.

    You want to shop in my Bonanzle booth your discount gets taken straight off the cost of the item/s, right then. Yes it comes out of my (the merchant’s) pocket and the goodwill engendered by my fair pricing, high quality product and superior customer service comes right back to my pockets.

  4. Cliff Aliperti December 1, 2008 at 7:04 pm #

    Hi guys, I may have misunderstood. As a buyer I agree with Scott’s post.

    I was looking at this more from my position as a third-party seller. As a shopper, I absolutely agree with Scott, and that’s why so much of my media-lovin’ family gets gifts direct from Amazon.

    And Scott, perhaps I misunderstood the point of this post, as from purely the perspective of shopper, my actions as well as my words agree with the point that shopping on Amazon is easier.

    But as a third-party seller, even with the hoops to jump through, this is still eBay offering sellers a greater opportunity for me to gain buyers. eBay is not competing with itself as Amazon is in this regard. For all the great deals Amazon is offering, it is not offering any which directly save my buyers any money–that’s up to me.

    Henrietta, my eBay Store currently contains over 400 items available right now with a 25% off discount that comes right out of my pocket. Same feature, easier for the seller to selectively apply it in bulk.

  5. Robert December 1, 2008 at 9:55 pm #

    Not quite understanding what all the gripe is about. I’ve been using MS Live for quite some time already for other purchases, such as shipping materials and office supplies – and am OK with the 60 day wait. Time flies and you’ve got your rebate quicker than initially imagined.

    MS Live is not eBay specific – you can use it for all stores and vendors who participate in the MS Live program.

    I’ve also successfully used it on eBay as a seller.

    Once you know how MS Live works, it’s pretty much a no – brainer. Admittedly one needs to do their homework a bit on this. Its not a quick fix rebate offer.

    I personally believe its a great way for savings, be it on eBay or elsewhere.


  6. Scott Pooler December 2, 2008 at 1:30 pm #


    You may want to rea this resent article on the same subject, it seems I am not the only one who finds a 60 day waiting period to be ridiculous.

    (See my additional notes regarding this AppScout article in my post above.)

    Scott Pooler

  7. Richard Beck December 3, 2008 at 7:35 am #

    I too was enticed by this MS Live offer. My original thinking was “how are they able to afford this promotion”. I started to read further and quickly realized this promotion was so convoluted for a non user that either buyers would walk away or make a purchase commitment without understanding that this was really a rebate for future payout and the money would have to come out of pocket today. This is certainly not the consumer expectation this promotion promised.

    Although I am a register Live member, I have never used it for the simple fact that it is somewhat ‘sketchy’ on the surface. I am sure there are many unhappy non Live participant eBay buyers that used this promotion that did not understand the somewhat involved process on getting this false ‘discount’ rebate. I would guess Henrietta is correct that would be a substantial amount of NPB associated with this promotion. I would not pay either if I was promised 40% off and was asked to pay it anyway.

    There is also an Amazon promotion that has created animosity with buyers.
    This author points out that when on-line enticements to buy are not as promised or misleading, it may be better to just shop at a local store.

    Consumers in general are still hesitant to make internet purchases and offering promotions that are either too complicated or do not meet the consumers expectations only drive them away. This is something no ecommerce site can afford. Especially today’s eBay.

  8. Consignment Pal Resale Directory December 3, 2008 at 12:30 pm #


    I think eBay and Microsoft was reading this post!

    Here’s an update.Basically, some rebates are “instant” now. Got this from Ina at AuctionBytes:

    “New Microsoft Cashback Deal Follows Outage”

  9. Consignment Pal Resale Directory December 3, 2008 at 12:31 pm #

    For many, shopping is suppose to be fun. Who wants to spend 10 minutes reading the fine print? Isn’t the point of online shopping to save time and money?

    Did eBay forget that many buyers can’t even read the eBay listing, let alone the fine print for Microsoft’s program? Oh, I forgot, eBay hopes buyers don’t read and thus don’t get the discount.

    So then, exactly who does the disappointed eBay buyer contact when they don’t get their expected rebate? (Sorry Scott if the answer is above, but I could not bear to read all the fine print.) With lousy eBay customer service and no eBay customer service phone #, it’s the seller who will get blamed and negged by the unhappy buyer.

    Great buyer experience eBay!

    On a positive note, Paul Hedgecock, eBay Trading Assistant and eBay Drop Off Store owner (ebay id hiddentreasures-arizona), does quite well with this program. See post 23 an following on eBay Trading Assistant Discussion Board at

    FYI Scott, my limited office supply store rebate experience is that 8 to 14 weeks is normal.

  10. Robert December 8, 2008 at 5:19 am #


    Thanks – I read it. I can understand that some folks are unhappy about the long wait. I’d be excited too if the payout were immediate – but hey, I still don’t see a reason to denounce the program, due to a 60 day wait period. If one is perfectly clear on that, I personally believe its something that one can live with.

    I also understand, that somewhere along the line certain earnings have to be made by the initiator of the program. As I understand it, their revenue is mainly from interest made on the monies, during the wait time. And that’s OK in my opinion – if you are offering a program that gives you good quality cashback in the course of time, more power to them. Who knows, maybe MS Live and their participants (in this case eBay / PayPal) split the revenues from interest made?? –

    I wish I would have been the initiator of that program! 🙂

    With regards to “now instant” payouts and “good quality cashback”: Well I guess I am not as lucky as others. I looked at a PC on eBay on 12/6/08. I saw the same one at Walmart online for $120.00 more, and they offered it at a $50.00 rebate if using PayPal.

    On MS Live, the cashback promotion had dropped to 8% for eBay instead of 30%, as indicated by the seller. He also stated that percentages fluctuate daily (which was news to me). Anyhow, it was still better than through the Walmart / PayPal promotion.

    As on the next day the eBay Seller in addition had changed his shipping from $45.00 to Free Shipping, I of course then made the purchase via MS Live / PayPal and got Free Shipping. The eventual cashback will be $59.00 – and when you count in the free shipping – in addition knowing that its $120.00 less than offered through Walmart, I guess its not that bad.

    I may assume that the purchase of electronics does not fall under the immediate payout category. Am I unhappy? Well, its an additional 59.00 bucks that will be coming my way, in the slow retail season of February.


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