Unfortunately, it happens to the best of us. You open go to your eBay store only to see a big suspension warning flash across the screen. You could be a long-term high ranking seller on eBay and make one error that brings your store crashing down.
Selling on eBay has changed significantly over the years as a result of hackers, shady practices and updates. The rules and regulations of selling on eBay change constantly and as a seller you have to remain abreast of them all. Things that used to common practice are now on the radar for suspension or even worse banning. And yes you can get banned from buying or selling for life.
What can happen if your account is blocked?
- eBay has the right to end and remove listings early
- You may not get listing fees back but in some cases, you can receive a credit. However, this depends heavily on the reason for the suspension
- You will be blocked from receiving payouts until your restriction is resolved.
- You will not be allowed to create new listings or revise existing ones
- You may not be able to enter into your account at all
What are some common reasons that accounts are blocked?
If you pay monthly for your store and miss a payment for whatever reason your account will be suspended. Luckily, this is an instance where it’s pretty easy to get your account reinstated as all you have to do is update your payment information and make a one-time payment.
2. Using VeRO brand stock photos
VeRO is eBay’s “verified rights owner program”. This basically means companies will report your listings if they feel it is infringing on their intellectual property.
I’ve personally gotten dinged for using the word velcro in a listing since the word is trademarked. I’m happy that my account wasn’t suspended as a result, but it was something I didn’t know was frowned upon at the time. There also aren’t that many ways to say velcro so it made it rather difficult to relist, but you have to play by the rules or get thrown out of the game.
Here is the list of companies included on eBay’s VeRo.
3. Using copyright protected images
By now everyone understands the importance of using royalty-free or paid images in their general businesses. However, in the world of online selling, it is quite a different story.
Many people choose to upload stock photos of items they sell. Most of the time these images come directly from the manufacturer’s website. If one of these photos is reported for copyright infringement, this could mean trouble for the seller.
If this happens to you, the first time it’s usually a slap on the risk and the listing will most likely be removed. But if it occurs too many times your account could be suspended.
4. Canceling items often
There are a number of reasons that sellers cancel items. Sometimes it is because the seller never intended to sell the item, they just wanted to see how much they could get for it. Other times it may be a bit more innocent, for example, if the seller misplaced the item or noticed a defect after it was purchased and didn’t want to ship it in that condition.
Either way, if you are caught canceling items on buyers too often you could get a defect on your account and risk losing your positive seller’s status or worse be banned from selling at all.
5. Poor customer service
Ebay is a business and a full-time career for some. Even if you sell periodically, you should take the platform very seriously and strive to provide the best customer service possible.
Things, like not shipping items on time or at all, canceling items frequently, not ensuring receipt of packages, and refusing to work with your customers in a timely manner all point to horrible customer service. Too many negative feed-back reports from buyers can get you banned from the platform.
6. Having multiple accounts
While it is fine to have multiple accounts, for examp.e, if you have two stores with extremely different niches or you have a private account you’d like to keep separate from your business account. The key is to have a different email address for each eBay account in your name.
What is frowned upon is doing ‘illegal’ things with your accounts. For instance, if you are using one account to schill bid (I discuss that a little later) eventually you will be found out and probably banned for life from the platform.
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7. Selling counterfeit items
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t sell counterfeit items as authentic on any platform. But eBay takes it extremely seriously and will ban you for life if you are found doing so.
8. Not reimbursing Ebay for fees for a refund to a buyer
Ebay wants their money and if they have to refund a buyer on your behalf, they will want their money back from you. The consequences of not doing so is usually being blocked from listing on the platform.
Since there have been quite a few refund changes in the past couple of years many times eBay issues refunds without the seller having a say. But either way, you are responsible for repayment to eBay.
9. Bidding on your own item
Bidding on your own auctions or buying and selling to yourself is strictly forbidden on eBay. Having someone else like an employee or family member bid on items to raise the price is known as shill bidding and also a frowned upon act.
In addition, once you successfully purchase the item, you can skew your ratings to be in your favor which is also prohibited.
10. Listing from multiple locations
If you co-own a store with someone and happen to be listing at the same time in different locations eBay will probably suspend your account. This is especially if your partner or virtual assistant is in a different country.
This is because they will look at is as a security risk. Luckily, this suspension is easily handled with a simple phone call and explanation.
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11. Selling prohibited or restricted items
This should be pretty obvious but there are certain things that sellers aren’t allowed to place on the platform like underwear and socks.
However, there are some things that aren’t prohibited that you may think should be. For instance, wine can be listed by eBay approved sellers but no other alcohol products are allowed. You can’t sell dogs but you can sell bees, go figure.
Here is the complete list of prohibited items.
12. Listing multiple identical items
If you have an auction, you can list multiple items, but eBay doesn’t allow more than one fixed price listing of an identical item at the same time from the same seller.
Per their website this includes:
- Listing an identical item in different categories or listing an identical item using different usernames
- Listings that aren’t significantly different, such as adding an inconsequential bonus item with the same identical item in two listings
13. Driving traffic off the platform
Of course, eBay wants buyers to remain on their platform. So, if you have a Shopify or some other type of store outside of eBay you are asked not to promote it on the platform.
eBay doesn’t allow your personal store name to be a web address but what you can do is include a flyer with a purchase leading people to your personal website and store.
While dropshipping is allowed, if it’s done ineffectively you will get banned. Since the actual shipping portion is out of your hands that makes it even more nerve-racking. If the distributor is slow in shipping your items or they are coming from overseas it can sometimes take a month or more for the buyer to receive it. Over 30 days is the limit on eBay and you will get negative reviews, especially if your customer service is not on point and you aren’t communicating with buyers.
In addition, some sellers never even get to touch the products they sell as it goes straight to a distributor and in this case, if the items are subpar you will get a ton of negative reviews and subsequently a suspended account.
So, what can you do if eBay has placed a block on your account?
Usually, you will receive the reason for a block or suspension. In rare cases you will have to call and find out the exact reason if they will tell you. But depending on why your account was suspended, you have a couple of options
- Wait for your temporary suspension to finish
- Make the necessary changes to your listing so that your account can be returned to good standing
- Call customer service and send any information required from eBay
- If your account has been permanently banned there will probably be little you can do but hope for the best and open another account
These are some common reasons accounts can get dinged on eBay. If you want the entire rules and regulations click here.
The phone number to ebay’s customer service is: 1 (866) 540-3229
Have you ever been suspended from using the platform?
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