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AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Wed June 8 2011 11:36:13

eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts

By: Ina Steiner
Sponsored Link
I've noticed an uptick in eBay sellers reporting account limits being placed on their accounts. Selling limits are not new, but eBay's Trust & Safety department appears to be imposing stricter limits on accounts, even for sellers who have been listing on eBay for 10 years or more. In some cases, sellers have reported that their accounts have been incorrectly linked to another eBay account. These reports coincide with eBay's crackdown on sellers that started in mid-May.   

On May 27, I published a letter from a seller on the Letters to the Editor blog:
"I have been an eBay Seller since September 2000 and maintained 100% positive feedback and a DSR average of 4.8. Never having had (or created) any major problems selling on eBay, maintaining a reasonable (however diminished lately) sales rate and having made the effort to always adapt to eBay's unexpected changes, I was shocked last week when I received an email limiting my eBay listings to 25 a month."

Another seller posted on the eBay discussion boards and said when they called eBay to find out why they had strict limits placed on their account, eBay told them it had been linked to another NARU account. (This post is a very good read.)

A seller on an outside board said she was able to get eBay to increase her limits, and posted the letter they sent her after doing so, which read in part: "The purpose of these limits is to allow continued growth at a pre-determined level. If you reach these limits and feel ready to take your sales further, you can contact us anytime on or after 7/1/11 and we will be happy to review your account to further raise your limits. Additionally, there are certain categories that have limits that this change will not affect. It is possible that you will reach the limit for one of these categories before reaching the limits stated above."

An AuctionBytes reader who received a limit on their account and who was also told their account had been linked (incorrectly) to another account said they had reached their selling limit because they listed with product variations - "they are adding up every single variation and the total dollar amount all the variations add up to." The reader said the situation was "comically similar to Catch 22."

Another reader told me, "this current round of restrictions has been quite heavy, hitting long time high feedback sellers with no warning. Just an email saying your account is restricted - no more listing." The reader said sellers are referring to it as "part of a death spiral."

I've also heard reports that Trust & Safety is using an alternative method to determine seller standards by looking at the most recent 30 days of activity.

I asked eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff if I could speak to someone in eBay's Trust & Safety department about reports that T&S was telling sellers they're using other systems besides the Global seller standards, but Johnna said it would be difficult to set up an interview with anyone without knowing who readers claimed was giving them information, and more specifically, what was being said. "The best I can do is point back to my previous response based on our standards policy, unless your readers have more concrete details?"

Since sellers fear retribution from eBay, on which many depend for revenue, it's difficult to get them to go on the record.

If you're one of the sellers affected by recent crackdown, let us know the circumstances and what you're hearing from eBay, and what questions you have for eBay T&S, and we'll point them here.




Comments (104) | Permalink
Readers Comments

eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts   eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts
by: anyone out there
       
Wed Jun 8 11:44:13 2011
Are not most of these so called sellers just hobbyists. They sell in 10 years what most large sellers sell in one day.

Just because they have been on Ebay for 10-12 years doesn't mean a thing when they only sell a few items a year.

eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts   eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts
by: James
       
Wed Jun 8 12:00:55 2011
''Just Hobbyists''?

It was the hobbyists that put eBay on the map. As ''just a hobbyist'' I was making $4,000 to $5000 a month profit all on used items. Now not one red cent through eBay this whole year.

The elitist ''I'm better than you because I'm bigger than you'' mind set is part of what has killed eBay all supported by Donahoe and his toadies.

Basically if you have a used vintage item and you are not going to list thousands at a time eBay does not want your business and if you somehow ignore that fact and list a few items any way they will sanction you and tell you that you are a risk and unable to sell on eBay in a fashion that you can earn any money.

I believe in Karma and know it will catch up to these jerks.
eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts   eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Wed Jun 8 12:04:44 2011
Two quick comments:

1) I believe that the only people who are willing to go on the record will be the ones who are just days away from voluntarily leaving eBay.

2) I believe that this ''crackdown'' is 100% automated. The programmers who brought you ''Best Match'' are likely the same ones who cobbled together some PHP script to quickly analyze a seller's performance and make a snap decision on their overall worthiness as a good seller.

Everything appears to be automated now. From chat-bots to best-match-bots to photo-analysis-bots... nobody at eBay thinks anymore.

Ugh!
eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts   eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts
by: TekGems
       Web Site
Wed Jun 8 12:06:06 2011
I think the focus of James is all wrong. Its not how much you make that matters to eBay, but how many customers you've made happy. Or rather how many you've made unhappy in a given amount of time. If you sell in volume, it is a lot harder to trigger something like this since 99.9% of your transactions will be problem free. I can understand the occasional seller or someone who sells something that is not new can have perception problems and get booted off eBay.
eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts   eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts
by: Mr Me
       
Wed Jun 8 12:23:47 2011
Spiral of death. DSRs a little low, selling limited , no way to bring back DSR's, ONE MORE MORONIC BUYER COMES ALONG AND DINGS DSRs, Game Over, just like eBay planned..... good bye small sellers, hell Wal-mart-ish sellers of ordinary mas-produced goods.
eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts   eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts
by: James
       
Wed Jun 8 12:32:09 2011
Let's get something straight. I was not booted off eBay. I made the decision to leave eBay due to their absolute prejudice against the small seller. The writing was on the wall.

I know that ones perception is based on ones experience. If one sells thousands of new widgets one would have a tendency to see things from a thousand new widget seller perspective. If one sells vintage used items one would tend to have that type of perspective. Doesn't make one right or wrong unless one has the blinders so tight they can not see any but their own point of view.

The fact remains, and yes I believe it to be fact, that eBay is systematically purging the site of small sellers of unique items one small step at a time. They are nudging the small seller towards the precipice in a systematic fashion.

If you sell thousands of new widget type items you might miss this fact and your ''focus'' might differ from others.
eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts   eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts
by: JB
       
Wed Jun 8 12:49:04 2011
Well feedback does play an important roll for me. Not on eBay but off. I look at feedback ratings of lg sellers on eBay , and make sure I do not buy from them off eBay. Any lg seller who has a lot of bad feedback ratings even if their good feedback is more I stay away from.

If buy has something on amazon which is cheaper than amazon. I still don't purchase from buy. I purchase from amazon. I would not buy from tekgems either, because I do not like their feedback profile as a whole since 1999. I do not like the negative comments given tekgems nor the  follow-ups by tekgems. I will stick with amazon, and if they start screwing up,There is always another seller.
eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts   eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts
by: curious
       
Wed Jun 8 14:14:14 2011
Why isn't Donahoe somewhere on those forums explaining things?
Wasn't he leading from the trenches or something?

If they want everyone gone, why don't they just say so up front instead of stressing everyone out as the bleed them out (emotionally and financially)
eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts   eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts
This user has validated their user name. by: Ric
       
Wed Jun 8 14:18:23 2011
The statement by Ms Hoff seemingly contradicts eBay policy, and was apparently designed to translate into ''no comment''. Unless eBay policy has changed, eBay does not discuss accounts with third parties for any reason. The statement : ''Johnna said it would be difficult to set up an interview with anyone without knowing who readers claimed was giving them information, and more specifically, what was being said.'' appears to be little more than a deflection by eBay in order to avoid going on record.

Secondly, it appears that eBay has implemented (without even a hint of announcement), what amounts to Double Secret Probation for sellers based on newly established internal standards which are not being detailed with effected sellers. This enables eBay to sanction any seller they choose choosing from a list of unverified allegations (such as falsely associating a sellers account with a previously terminated account) or unspecified performance infractions.

Apparently, sellers can have feedback and DSR scores which conform to eBay standards but still see their accounts limited on the basis of some secret agenda being administered internally by eBay, and enforced via Trust & Safety so that successful appeals are not possible.

The putsch against sellers is now full on. eBay does not care if effected sellers leave, the intent is to create an environment where effected sellers are forced into believing it is their idea to leave.

In future quarterly report conference calls, John Donahoe will spin this into eBay taking proactive steps to clean up the site on the strength of ''tougher enforcement of standards by our Trust and Safety Department''.

It should also be noted that many newly restricted sellers face payment holds on their PayPal accounts. This additional revenue, held by PayPal and generating interest for eBay corp, is designed to deceive Wall Street analysts by artificially inflating on hand revenue and have PayPal appearing more profitable than it truly is.

eBay's lack of honesty, integrity and business ethics shines like a beacon no matter how they how hard they try to obscure the facts.



eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts   eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts
by: kevin
       
Wed Jun 8 14:43:42 2011
We had the same thing a couple months back when we were cycling off ebay.  Account limitations with no explanation.  

Didn't really care as we were pulling everything off and letting a few auctions run their course anyway but it did serve to let me know that I'd made the right decision in moving to Amazon.  

I've been there since January and it's been great.  Notice how rare it is to see bad blog posts or letters to the editor about Amazon on AB? There is a reason for that!

If you are still selling on ebay, I encourage you to leave.  Ebay does not understand what customer service is, so how can they evaluate the service sellers provide buyers on their venue? Unless you are a diamond seller with loads of Chinese crap they do not want you.  

Read Skip McGrath's latest newletter at skipmcgrath.com. He hit the nail right on the head.  Chances are you joined ebay when it was fun, there was fairness and a sense of community.  All 3 are gone and sellers are not happy.  Instead of being unhappy with the changes, just leave.  You will be glad you did.  I am!  Sales are up, I get great customer service from Amazon and I don't worry every day about "account limitations" or just waking up to find I've had all my listings removed for being erroneously linked to another seller (happened!  Ebay would not help and I had to open a stealth acct just to sell)
eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts   eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts
This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless
       
Wed Jun 8 15:03:38 2011
It might be instructive to determine whether these seller extermination notices are concentrated in certain sales categories, whether they're based sales, number of items sold, etc., DSRs, or whether there are other commonalities involved.

Another clueless analyst upgraded ebay's stock from buy to hold today. http://tiny.cc/adsnq

In nearly every article I read about ebay, the article defines what ebay does which I normally skip right over.

How accurate a definition is the following ebay spin department produced propaganda? It appears in nearly every article about ebay.

"eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY):... About the company: eBay Inc. operates an online trading community.  The Company‚Äôs service is used by buyers and sellers for the exchange of products and services such as coins, collectibles, computers, memorabilia, stamps and toys, as well as concert and sporting
tickets.  eBay also offers, through a subsidiary, secure online payment services."

So ebay continues its LIES and deceptions by perpetuating the myth that it's still a warm and fuzzy place selling various ategories of collectibles with a Chinese made product here and there.

I believe there are SEC regulations against this sort of deliberate deception.
eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts   eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts
This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless
       
Wed Jun 8 16:22:35 2011
Remember when ebay department heads were eager to talk to Auctionbytes?

I hope Auctionbytes will start flexing some its muscle and insist that ebay answer questions and answer them accurately.

No one is going to get any even half way accurate answers from low level hacks like Hoff. She's there to spread The Ho's propaganda.

I think my next little project will be gather the names, telephone numbers, and both email and snail mail addresses of investment bankster analysts who think ebay is so great so we all can start contacting them with the TRUTH.

We could also do a phone and letter campaign to the head offices of the big box stores and tell them as long as they sell on ebay, we'll boycott them.

Increase the number of anti Ho, anti Pierre, and anti ebay videos on YouTube.

Spend a few minutes everyday spreading the truth in various internet fora and elsewhere about this pro Communist Chinese, anti American, small business killer called ebay.

Ebafia, there are consequences for LYING to your customers.
eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts   eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts
This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
       Web Site
Wed Jun 8 17:00:36 2011
Hey, hang on Ming, I already spent some 2-3 hours every day (joyfully) putting the needle into this bunch of shysters.

Enron / eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking.

eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts   eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts
by: reader
       
Wed Jun 8 17:03:19 2011
There are also still any number of valid reasons to file FTC complaints. Things like not adhering to their own policies,  policies making the reasons for money holds and/or limitations a secret, incongruous application of policies etc.

Basically if you feel you are being cheated or unfairly treated you should file. It's quick and easy.

www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/

This link needs to get posted on ebay forums. Then if they delete it, screen captures and videos should be posted to illustrate that ebay attempts to obstruct justice by silencing complaints and complaint filing related information.



eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts   eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts
by: Sayonara eBay
       
Wed Jun 8 18:10:52 2011
I can almost hear the sound of jackboots.
eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts   eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts
by: Just Selling Lots Of Inventory
       
Wed Jun 8 19:58:24 2011
I just ran into this.  I have a very successful Ebay store in one category (or combination of related ones).  No limits, no problems.  I have a second account for media that was started via Half.  I was told limits would not be a problem if I linked the regular acct with the new one.  So far, so good.  Then I list one item and I am told I hit the "category limit for new sellers"  Problem with media (especially liquidation product) is that one title may take months to sell off.  I am not gonna waste my precious time waiting for 5 units of a specific media title to sell off THEN add 5 more of the same one with the hope they will "up" my limits.

Ebay hits us up for all kinds of things with my other store.  Well, Ebay, bug me for new things all you like but I will just post the other stuff on the established acct from now on.  I won't bother wasting time to do anything special with you guys in the future.

God, Ebay is good at wasting people's time.
eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts   eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts
by: Janie
       
Wed Jun 8 20:44:52 2011
Well I too got limited without notice. Wam your done. What kind of business would close their doors after 1 person was disatisfied. I think these unreasonable buyers are from ebay posing as buyers to ruin a person quickly. Why can't ebay just tell us to go away. On another ebay blog in here someone said nothing is selling. Well I just checked on a couple of my items that are one day away. I was 66 out of 68 items & on the other I was 46 out of 49. Could I possibly be that bad. I am glad I saw that post so I don't bother wasting my time. Seems one complaint over a $10 item can take weeks & weeks to solve cause the buyer doesn't seem to want to solve the problem. I am done kissing their @ss & taking the hit cause it is rediculous. I tried to call the lady & she didn't answer then said I was harrassing her. Wow didn't ebay say to call & straighten out the problem? Just try it & these criminals run & hide. I hope ebay goes bankrupt!! I will celebrate. And as for my stuff I am donating some & I was going to put a inhouse sale in my family room with cheap prices cause by the time I take all the hits from ebay & paypal I don't make nothing so at least no one can come back & complain. The stress is outrageous & for what 99 cents? Thats about it in some cases. Thanks for this site, it has saved my life.
eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts   eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts
by: JustMyOpinion
       
Wed Jun 8 21:38:17 2011
JB - You are hysterical. Don't you know that "Amazon" is made up of lots of individual sellers? Many of whom sell on other venues (such as Ebay) as well as there. So your boycott is meaningless.

This limit stuff for no valid reason is scary. Definitely time to branch out to multiple venues!
eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts   eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts
This user has validated their user name. by: Bob
       
Wed Jun 8 21:50:47 2011
Setting limits is a great way to limit the number of free listings folks can use per month.  
eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts   eBay Imposes New Seller Limits on Longtime Accounts
by: Sayonara eBay
       
Wed Jun 8 22:58:16 2011
Recently I read a post in which a successful seller had been limited to listing 10 items a month. The new requirements are that sellers must sell at least 100 items per year to stay on eBay.

That person would have to sell with a Sell Through Rate of 83% in order to fulfill the 100 sales. When I've done scans of STRs I find they are at 26% in my category.  

On what planet does this policy make any sense?

Just a way to knock another seller off eBay.
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