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eBay Warning Email Offends Sellers

eBay sent a letter to some sellers this week warning them it had detected a possible policy violation, and it concerned and annoyed recipients of the email. The subject line of the email was titled “Attention: “Offers to buy or sell outside of eBay” policy violation detected.”

One EcommerceBytes reader forwarded the email and said it was “definite cause for concern because we try to comply with all the rules.” When he contacted eBay, he was told it was a blanket email going out to all sellers to let them know it was starting to enforce sales taken off eBay.

Here’s a link to the policy on the eBay website, and here’s the text of the email warning:

“We have observed activity on your account indicating that you may be in violation of our “Offers to Buy or Sell Outside of eBay” policy.

“We invest significant resources and effort to make eBay the world’s safest and most comprehensive marketplace. Sales made outside of eBay are not protected by the eBay Money Back Guarantee, the Seller Protection Policy, or other buyer protection programs. Keeping your business transactions on the eBay platform ensures your customers a positive and secure buying experience.

“Offers to solicit sales or move transactions off of the eBay platform are not allowed, including any member-to-member message asking to share contact information for the purpose of transacting off the eBay platform.

“To ensure that you are fully compliant with the “Offers to Buy or Sell Outside of eBay” policy, we encourage you to review it and make adjustments to your business practices if necessary.”

“Pretty threatening email to blanket out to all sellers, don’t you think,” the seller asked.

Other sellers discussed the letter on the eBay boards, such as this thread started on Wednesday.

Another seller raised the issue on the eBay weekly chat session, saying they were annoyed.

eBay manager James “Griff” Griffith responded, writing: “I apologize on behalf of eBay for the offense. I have no information on how accounts were selected for recieving this email (you are probably correct that the amount of communication might be a trigger) but keep in mind that the wording is “”observed activity on your account indicating that you may be in violation of our “Offers to Buy or Sell Outside of Ebay” policy” not that you are definitely engaged in said activity. I would ignore the email.”

Comment on the AuctionBytes Blog.

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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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.