Monday, October 09, 2006

If you sell on eBay and have a Trust and Safety story either positive or negative, I believe my readers would love to hear it. I’ll start:

I have several stories but the issue that had the most impact on my business happened in Sept. of 2003. We were running 5,000 auctions at that time and doing very well. One morning I got into the office and checked my account and found that sales had dropped like a rock. I was very confused. After researching the problem I found that eBay’s Trust and Safety had cancelled all 5,000 of our auctions for a supposed violation of their mature items rules. Since I was a Power Seller I had a contact phone number (If I had not been a PS I may never have resolved the issue) When I spoke to the Trust and Safety representative I was told that the offending title was Old School Unrated and because this was my third violation (I have no record of ever having one violation) they had cancelled all of my auctions. I was quite upset. I said, “Old School is an R rated movie and the Unrated designation is a marketing ploy by the Studio to increase sales. It just means that this version of the movie has not been rated by the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America)” I went on to explain “we had been selling R-Rated movies on eBay since we began”. I was getting nowhere so I asked “if she could give me a standard from which I could post items in the future”. I wanted to know the rules. She stated that “eBay does not set disclose any standards”. “Well than how am I supposed to know what to list? I asked. She replied, “If you can’t watch the movie with your 13 year old daughter, you shouldn’t list the item” I went ballistic. “That’s is completely subjective how can you have rules that are subjective?” I asked for a supervisor and eventually resolved the situation though even the Supervisor would not give me a standard to list by.

The drop in 5,000 auctions put us in a major cashflow bind as it took up to 7 days to bring sales back up. I later came to find out this behavior from Trust and Safety was not uncommon.

Lets hear your stories!


Ty Tribble said...


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I am the author of two blogs about eBay and I own a growing Blog Network related to working from home.

I saw that your new occupation is freelance writer...and I would like to speak to you about that...

Please contact me at ty (at)


Duane said...

Hello Randy, Thank you so much for giving your opinions and experience with Ebay. You requested for some experience with Trust and Safety, and since no one has responded, here is one.
1/9/06 - I had just left my job 2 months earlier to turn my part time income into full time. For Christmas, we visited my family out of town, staying in a hotel with a cable modem jack in the room. I spent a couple hours each day answering emails on my laptop, then went back to the family thing. 2 weeks later, back to work and doing very well, Ebay suspends all 4 of my accounts (2 buying, 2 selling) for being linked to a suspended user. A wonderful customer of mine gave me the Powerseller number, and when I called, even though it still displayed me as one, they refused to talk to me. I tried the stores number, and they refused as well since I didn't have a store (I was suspended.) After playing email tag, and waiting almost a week, I was told to fax all kinds of information to them. 3 weeks later, the investigation was completed, and I was reinstated. It turned out that someone who stayed in that hotel room in 2005 signed in on that same IP address, and they were suspended later in the year. No verification was made other than the IP address, and Ebay had more than enough information to realize that #1 I was out of town, and #2 I was not the same person. Their apology? We are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused. Thank you for your patience and we wish you the best in the future with Ebay.
After I was reinstated, I called PS support, transferred to T&S, and chapped them so badly that I was embarrassed when I hung up the phone.
That is just one of 5 in the past year with Ebay and Paypal, where they nearly crippled my business due to "Trust and Safety" concerns.

Randy Smythe said...

Duane - I'm sorry to hear about your trouble. You are definitely not alone with that story. It happens more often than anyone would think and what's unfortunate is it happens to the good sellers and takes way too long to resolve. Thanks for your comments.

Anonymous said...

I have left my analysis on the state of ``Trust & Safety'' in another post. As I am afraid of potential reprisals by the T&S guys, my name is being kept anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Well, this is Duane again. I am off Ebay for good after 4 years. As told to do in the Help pages and my powerseller account rep, I changed my billing method within 5 days of receiving my invoice. In fact, I did it on the same day, 10/5. I used automatic Paypal payments for fees, but changed it to my Paypal debit card (on a $10,000 bill, that's a nice credit.)
10/31, my fees were showed as "Paid." 11/3: The fees paid from Paypal were reversed because I cancelled the agreement. I am sitting on about 250 orders that I cannot pull up on Ebay after the 5th, which means my PP acount may soon be restricted if I can't immediately provide tracking. Then, when Ebay tries to bill my PP debit card, since the PP account may be restricted the payment might be declined. Then it starts all over again.
I have been through the suspension process, and I know Ebay sends emails to all buyers not to complete transactions with NARU'd sellers, and to file claims immediately if they have not received the merchandise. Boy, I just can't wait to find out the outcome of this. I am so excited!
Even after the fees are paid in full, I will never return to Ebay. Feedback over 13,000, and I will be selling elsewhere.

NEVER TRUST EBAY. Those who do will find themselves ruined to the point of no return.