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eBay Reinstates Power Seller after Hue and Cry

Sellers were stunned when eBay suspended the account of a well known Power Seller, and eBay has since reinstated the account after a hue and cry from the eBay community. The reinstatement is rare, and its circumstances somewhat mysterious.

eBay has been handing out indefinite and permanent suspensions frequently since the summer in what appears to be a now routine purging of accounts. Sellers seemed unsure if “Loucoins” on eBay was part of these seller purges, or if there was another reason for his indefinite suspension.

EcommerceBytes sent an email inquiry to eBay on Tuesday asking for a comment about why it had suspended Loucoins’ account but has not received a response.

Several factors made the case standout in a sea of seller suspensions, including the seller’s impeccable record and feedback ratings, and the fact he was considered by some to be an “eBay cheerleader” on the marketplace discussion forums where he was a frequent poster.

In a comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog where a reader detailed the events, another reader wrote, “What noone here has yet mentioned is that ONE of the (many) reasons sellers were STUNNED by this is that Charlie has been one of the LONGEST and LARGEST and LOUDEST ebay supporters on the powerseller boards. He’s taken a lot of flack through the years for being an ebay ”cheerleader”. But he was proud of his record, proud of his business…and proud of ebay.”

Sellers were concerned that if it could happen to “Charlie,” it could happen to them.

Loucoins reported his suspension on the eBay boards on Friday, November 22nd. According to accounts of the event, eBay customer service reps gave him conflicting reasons for the suspension.

There was speculation that eBay suspended the account over VeRO issues – that’s eBay’s program designed to protect the intellectual property rights of third parties and allow them to easily report listings. The program has often been abused, and eBay itself complained to Congress that there were cases in which manufacturers claimed authentic items were counterfeit in order to get eBay to remove the items from its site.

But what was more mysterious than the restriction on Loucoins’ account was his reinstatement on November 27th. Wrote the reader who was following the events as they unfolded on the eBay PowerSeller board and elsewhere, “If you are like the rest of us, you are probably wondering how this is possible, considering that we have watched Seller after Seller tell their sad story on the eBay Forums for the past 2 years, and NEVER ONCE did we hear of anyone getting their selling privileges reinstated.”

The reader sent a screenshot of Loucoins’ post on the eBay board informing his peers that he’d been reinstated, and profusely thanking them for their support. Loucoins also wrote, “Let us try and forget the “Charlie” factor (his name) of this effort and let it become helping the other guys and gals out there that may be less fortunate by trying to share the knowledge, the contacts, the perserverance, the dedication and the willingness to simply help fellow members of our community with a hand up.”

The EcommerceBytes blog post about the suspension prompted letters from readers, such as this one:

“I am sure the user agreement we agree to is iron clad but Is there any legal grounds for a class action lawsuit on how eBay and Amazon constantly shut down or suspend sellers with no legal reasons? I would imagine the amount of money lost on false claims of “counterfeit” or copyright violations is in the millions. My company was suspended by Amazon for a week for a ” counterfeit ” (item) and our gross sales lost where about $100k.

“We have no appeals process and can not defend ourselves. If eBay says I am selling fake stuff because a copyright owner lies and suspends me and I have receipts to show I bought it for personal use they will not care or listen.”

Another PowerSeller, DoorStepFashions, was suspended on November 24th. In a discussion board thread, the seller wrote, “Have to vent here. I’ve been on Ebay since the begining 13+years. Almost 21,000 Positive feedback, SPOTLESS dashboard 5 star ratings. Just got home from out of town weekend to an email from Ebay: “”MC999 Indefinite Selling Restriction”. In other words cannot appeal, no discussion just a Top Rated Seller, 100% authentic items, perfect ratings Im GONE!”

That account was also reinstated on November 27th after sellers added it to the cause for “Help Save Charlie” (of Loucoins).

Share your thoughts and experiences with eBay and Amazon suspensions:

Comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.