ZenMarket and their blocking of sellers on Yahoo Japan

I’m wondering if others here have run into this perplexing situation – you see a Yahoo Japan auction listing that you’re interested in, and when you load it up in ZenMarket sometimes there’s the dreaded message like the one below:

The item is blocked, because ZenMarket had a negative experience with the seller at some point. Now, for the most part, I’ve found that they’re usually right. I’ve had a few bad experiences with sellers, like either sending the wrong item, or the item is much worse than depicted. One such seller is “This_Is_Distributed_At_Random.” I absolutely loathe this seller. They’re the worst. And unfortunately, they post so many listings that it’s easy to run into them. I wish Yahoo would ban them already. Their ratings are in a slow steady decline, reflecting their bad intentions and poor judgement.

Anyway, I digress. If you look at the image above, you will see that an auction I looked at from “tetra_f” has been blocked. I’ve bought maybe a dozen of their pencils across the past couple of years. I had only one semi-bad experience. It was a NOS looking pencil, but the lead wouldn’t advance and I could never get it to work even after clearing the lead chamber. Anyway, an aberration. But recently I went to look at an item from them–sure enough, ZenMarket has now blocked them.

I’ve run into this a few times. Actually, even with some sellers that have a good feedback rating on Yahoo Japan. One such seller I discovered was blocked by ZenMarket 2 years ago. Well, I asked them to look at the seller again and perhaps reconsider. They refused. It seems once blocked, they never repeal it.

Anyway, I imagine that one can just go elsewhere, like to Buyee (which I don’t like) or From Japan, etc. I do wonder if some of these sellers end up blocked by multiple proxy services.


Isn’t this similar to why Musk looked into acquiring Twitter? :joy:

Oh boy… let’s not go there.


Sorry. Must add just a wee bit of humor to this platform here and there.

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I’ve run across this issue many times on Zenmarket. I do not believe the issue is the ‘refusal to work with a proxy’ as I obtain the pencil from a different proxy without issue. I’ve bought several pencils from a different proxy and was never a victim of fraud. Makes one wonder what Zen’s issue really is.

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It is a known phenomenon that some Japanese collectors / sellers dislike dealing with non-Japanese. Some may have had legit bad experiences and subsequently refused to deal with proxy services. I mean, a common phrase on YJA listings is ‘no claim no return’… i.e. you buy it, you accept the risk. Except, that it runs counter to folks who are used to a liberal no questions asked return policy (ahem, Amazon). So… whether it’s YJA or Mercari or Rakuma etc, there will be sellers of really cool items who have banned proxy services from bidding on or buying from them. You might think a different service might slip through their active discrimination, but, I believe the communication style to complete the sale gives it away, if the user-ID didn’t already. Maybe a smaller player, like one of those personal proxy services could work…


So you’re suggesting that Knockology needs its own personal proxy shopper. Got it. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


When are you gonna release the knockology market tab?


Maybe I can give my point of view as someone who sells on Mercari.

People who buy items on mercari are most of the time particulars, so they won’t have more than 500 reviews, 1000 at the very most for a hardcore user (I have 200). Whenever someone with 5000 or 10000 reviews buys from you, it’s certainly a proxy service.

The problem with these proxy users is that communication is impossible. Many times they don’t speak Japanese nor English, and even if they do they won’t bother answering messages. Many times their addresses don’t include their personal names, which means that if I’m sending through the proprietary mercari shipping methods (rakuraku or yuuyuu) there will be no probem, but if I want to sell through regular mail, I can’t. The proxy account has already bought the item and won’t answer any messages trying to solve this problem.

Another very annoying thing about proxy accounts is that most of their income seems to come through discounts that their overseas clients don’t know about. On YAJ, there are 5% discount coupons, 500/1000/1500 yen discount coupons regularly, and I think those discounts are not reflected on the price the overseas client pays. On mercari, they very aggressively try to get you to lower the price of the item before buying. Of course I don’t do it, because just by looking at the number of reviews I know it’s a proxy and will buy the item anyway.

Overall, the proxy buyer is like the worst possible person that can buy your items. So I understand why many powersellers don’t want to deal with them.


Very interesting insights!

But usually (or at least: here) the widest spread problem at auction or flee market platforms are non-paying customers or customers who buy but begin to negotiate the price afterwards (notorious for flee market platforms here). Those problems should not occur with proxies (ok, the second one seems to appear but don’t lead to non-paying, as you said). Especially selling cars or car parts on the largest flee market app here is very special, many people say you need masochistic tendencies for that :wink:

Who does the proxy buying actually? I ask because you wrote they don’t speak Japanese or English … Call center people at low wage countries?

Discounts are sometimes reflected in the proxies, but very rare for YAJ (at least with my proxy), more regular for ordinary shopping at rakuten or similar.


On YAJ you can bid on something and then not pay, but I am not sure how much of a problem that is for the sellers (i.e. how frequently it happens). On mercari, you can buy something with “conbini payment” and the item will appear as “sold” without a payment being done, but otherwise you need to pay in advance. Negotiating the price after the item has been bought is not a problem here.

The buying is often done by foreigners (Chinese and from SEA countries) living in Japan. You need a Japanese address and payment method to perform the transaction, so they can’t live overseas.


I get the premise of how some sellers don’t want to deal with proxy buying services, and then their refusal to use them ends up with the proxy blocking bids by users of their service. ZenMarket is quite reputable and there are plenty of regular sellers that allow them. However, maybe ZenMarket slips up on occasion and a seller takes that as a sign to never do business?

It seems that proxies always leave the same kind of feedback. It’s easy to check. Looking at feedback history, seek out ID’s that have many thousands in transaction count. A typical feedback is:
thank you very much. We got a very good deal. If there is another opportunity, I would appreciate your favor. (Evaluation date: within 6 months)” This seller has many hundreds of these, from what I can see jumping through their evaluation history… so they freely sell to proxy services.

Anyway, what puzzled me about “tetra_f” is that I’ve bought from them quite a number of times using ZenMarket. It’s strange that suddenly ZenMarket has blocked them. And super annoying. I prefer ZenMarket’s system over all of the others I’ve tried.

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