Yesterday I was a good eBay Seller. I had sold more than 50,000 items totaling more than $2.5M over the past 4 years. My feedback was well over 20,000. Today I am a bad eBay Seller, according to eBay, and am currently serving Day 1 of my 7 Day suspension. I’m sure this has happened to other eBay Sellers before, but it has never happened to me and I am compelled to describe what I am going through.As you can imagine, I personally don’t list thousands of items on eBay; rather I have a 15 person staff that helps. Despite specialized employees and regular training, we are human and, as Alexander Pope wrote in An Essay on Criticism, “To Err is humane;”. One of my employees made a mistake, which is to say I made a mistake as I am responsible. We listed an item that was reported by a rights owner as being counterfeit. I can assure you with 100% certainty this item was not counterfeit; a fact that is completely irrelevant to eBay. It was reported as counterfeit so it will be treated as such. Disregarding the truth, eBay has suspended my account for 7 Days because of this mistake. One item out of more than 5,000 items listed in the past 60 days caused all that follows.In reality, a 7 Day suspension impacts much more than 7 days worth of business. A 7 Day suspension really means that your account is marked as “No longer a registered user”, any communication with any other eBay member is severed and forbidden, previously sold items are removed regardless of status (paid, unpaid, pending shipment, etc.), current listings are removed and no listings are accepted for the next 7 Days. So I am receiving scores of emails from eBay customers with pending transactions very nervous about what happens next. In all honesty, I am also nervous about what happens next.I have decided for the benefit of my family, my employees and my customers to attempt to work through this disruption. My mother told me many times growing up that it is not what happens to you that matters, rather how you deal with it that is important. I have eliminated all of my personal expenses that I can, furloughed 12 of my employees for the next week and communicated as well as I can with my existing customers of our situation. Thankfully my family, my employees and a vast majority of my customers understand.It is important to know that this situation started with a mistake. Completing Pope’s quote, “To Err is humane; to Forgive, Divine.”, one asks when has eBay ever forgiven? Yet eBay makes many admitted mistakes and we not only forgive them but are required to do so. Pope’s essay also speaks of how criticism can sometimes cause more damage than the action being critiqued. I believe mistakenly listing one item out of 5,000 does far less harm than putting 12 employees out of work and countless customers’ purchases in jeopardy. This approach cannot improve the buyer’s experience on eBay.This situation has finally convinced me that I am in a dysfunctional relationship with eBay. Usually I am treated as a captive customer with no alternatives. At best, my concerns are received as a nuisance and at times, my questions concerning their policies are met with outright contempt. Yet, I still sell on their site and still pay my fees. I refuse to be a fool and a victim any longer. As soon as I am back on my feet, I will not sell another item on eBay. I will not accept another payment via PayPal. And I will tell anyone who will listen about my experience. My relationship with eBay will end here.Signed,One More Ex-eBay Seller
Sunday, November 02, 2008
The Dolphins Keep Getting Caught in the Net.
I get emails quite often lamenting the changes eBay has made to the marketplace business. eBay's Trust and Safety drags their fishing nets through the marketplace hoping to get the sharks that are causing the most trouble, but more often than not they get the dolphins too. Dolphins are those sellers that get suspended by eBay because their system automatically singles them out for skirting the rules or something more grievous, yet if a human actually looked at the sellers account they would find it was a simple mistake and now they are screwed.
Last week a seller reached out to me with his story. I have decided to post his letter to me because I know him and can vouch for him. Unfortunately his story is not unique.
This seller's story is similar to many others over the past few years. eBay doesn't care because the numbers are not substantial. The dolphins continue to get caught in the nets and eBay just shrugs.
Update: I requested information from the seller I quoted above, on previous VeRO violations, as a few commenter's have mentioned, eBay does not suspend on the first offense.
According to the sellers history they received 3 VeRO notices within a 6 -day period for the same item and they contacted their TSAM and were told they would not be suspended. I beleive the monthly VeRO limit is 5 notices. Of course that didn't hold true.
Further Update: It gets even better. The original VeRO claim for a counterfeit item (they were not selling a counterfeit item) was on Oct 23rd and the other notices on the 29th were follow-ups to the first. So there was really only one VeRO claim.
Imagine what happens to sellers who do not have access to a TSAM.
Just my 15%