I just received a series of email from a long-term reader that shows how difficult and uncaring eBay can be when they think you are violating a policy. Of course I only know one side of the issue. eBay never shares their facts and information, but this reader’s story seems credible and it sounds a lot like other similar stories I have received from readers who have had similar experiences.
I have posted the series of emails below and have edited out the sellers name and user name to protect his privacy. Please note the email he received from eBay. The text highlighted in red and the question mark are my highlights –not eBay’s.
Dear Mr. McGrath
Two years ago I bought your manual and started an eBay business. I am a 59 year old single dad and have worked hard to grow my business. I have a 99.8 Feedback with 3000 positive feedbacks and 4.8 or higher DSR across the board. I sell open box electronics and store returns such as BluRay, players, Cameras, GPS Tv, Home Theater, Phones, and more.
On Sept 28 we were restricted for a problem with our items as described category. We had sold “as is” electronics merchandise but failed to adequately describe a few things as well as we should have. We had two negative feedbacks. I refunded all the money and told the customer to keep the product. I immediately corrected the items as described problem. I have a “No-questions-Asked” money back guarantee. Never any problems I have always tried to do as your book said as much as I possibly could.
On October, 12 out of nowhere eBay suspended my account. I filed an appeal and begged them to give us a chance to prove ourselves and no luck.
I have searched and searched for a way to save my business on eBay but have run out of options. As I get your newsletters and read them I thought you may be able to help.
If you find your time in your busy day please call me or email me please with any suggestions you may have. I will gladly pay you for your time. I cannot get to anyone at eBay to listen to me or research my side of the story. After 2 years of working hard to get my business profitable eBay has now put me out of business and I cannot for the life of me figure out why.
Thank you in advance if you are able to give me any advice.
Hi Bill – Part of the problem is that I believe eBay is trying to drive sellers who sell returns and “as is” merchandise off of eBay. Despite your good record, that category has always been problematic for eBay as bidders and buyers never seem to read the descriptions and don’t understand what “As is” means. I know a very large seller of this merchandise who finally gave up and took his business somewhere else. The only thing you could do is (XXXXXXXXXXX I gave Bill some private advice here XXXXXXXX). I know its tough but that’s the way eBay is doing things these days and it really sucks.
Bill’s reply included the message from eBay:
Thanks for your response.
I really have tried for the last 3 weeks to not go around the rules but they are giving me no choice. I am trying hard to figure out why they have done this and have even talked to an attorney about it but really don’t think I could get anywhere with that route.
We were such good sellers and have so many good customers and were building a good reputation. We have only had 4 negative feedbacks in the last 12 months and 2 of them were last month for the same issue as I explained. The other two we feel were also unjustified as one of them was a broken item resulting from shipping and the other one was simply a defective item. On all 4 occasions we immediately refunded the buyers total funds. As I have now discovered we were in error on some of the wordings of our “items as described”.
The punishment here just does not fit the crime. After a pleading email and a full explanation during my appeal and after finally getting to a “customer service rep” who understood and filed an appeal on our behalf and after 4 days here is the response we got.
Thank you for writing eBay in regard to your account suspension. Please allow me to apologize for the delay in our response. We are experiencing a high volume of emails at this time.
I’ve looked at our records and see that eBay suspended your account due to violations of the eBay User Agreement. We’ve reviewed your appeal and have decided that it is in the best interests of eBay and its community to discontinue our business relationship with you and part ways with your account. Our decision is based on a thorough review of your eBay history, evidence from our records, as well as any additional information you’ve provided.
We understand that you may be disappointed about our decision, and we hope you’ll understand that this suspension is a security measure intended to help protect you (?) and the eBay community. Due to eBay policy, we cannot provide you with more specific information.
— Note —
Although we will read any future appeals you send regarding your suspension, we will not respond to your inquiries.
Thank you for your time.
Jessica, eBay Customer Support
Sorry to bug you Skip. I will keep reading your newsletters and using them in hopes I can find a way to sell my inventory.
What this tells me is what I have been telling my readers for years. You never want to put all your eggs in one basket. eBay is still a good place to sell –but if you think they care the slightest bit about your financial health, profits or success you are mistaken. eBay is a corporation. All eBay policies are driven by one thing – earning more fees. Anything that gets in the way of that is roadkill to them.
Your only defense is to expand your business to other venues such as Amazon, your own website, Facebook and other selling venues such as Etsy, OnlineAuctions.com, ePier, Bonanza and so on.
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