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eBay Crackdown: Need-to-know Changes for eBay Sellers


eBay logoeBay Vice President of Seller Experience Bob Kupbens published a post on Tuesday in which he addressed some of the changes eBay has been making without having made any announcements (though he couched his message as bringing positive news to sellers, titling the post: “Bob’s Blog: Bringing More Buyers and Sales to You in 2017”).

Toward the end of his post, Kupbens wrote a section called, “We’ve also taken a few steps recently to benefit the marketplace” – here are some significant disclosures sellers should keep in mind.

Beginning this month, eBay will not allow sellers to revise or relist listings that are missing valid identifiers; starting in September, Good Til Cancelled listings will no longer automatically renew.

At least with that change, sellers will know something is wrong. In the next bombshell, Kupbens wrote:

“Stronger marketplace protection: Also starting this month for the small group of sellers who repeatedly violate important eBay policies like completing transactions outside of eBay checkout, their active listings will be suppressed from search and browse results in line with selling restrictions.”

We’ve heard from sellers who said they have received warnings without cause in which eBay says it believes they are attempting to take transactions off the eBay site. That means it’s possible that sellers who are incorrectly identified as violating eBay policy may never know their listings that not being seen by shoppers (presumably while eBay continues to charge listing fees).

There’s a lot of anxiety about this issue – sellers say sometimes buyers send them messages containing their address or phone number and fear eBay will blame the seller.

On Wednesday’s Weekly Chat session, an eBay moderator wrote in response to one concerned seller over buyer messages (who provided the following example: “I’ll pay you x amt over your asking price, just send me your pp address, etc.”) The moderator responded:

“I wanted to start out by saying that responding to these kinds of offers to confirm that you will keep your sales on eBay is the best course of action should we have concerns of an off eBay sale. If you do not receive any kind of warning message from our automated filters and are looking to make sure it is reported, you can reach out to customer service to have it reviewed. Our goal is to have our filters catch any instances of off eBay sales requests, and by touching base with a customer service agent we can ensure this is not only actioned appropriately, but looked into in detail to see why it was missed by our automated process.”

Finally, in Kupbens’ recent post, he said eBay is removing not only duplicate listings (which are against eBay policy), but has already removed “non-performing” listings as well. What’s most interesting is the reason eBay gave for removing listings that hadn’t sold recently (he says 2 years or more, we’ve heard less than that): “To improve the speed and performance of the site.”

While eBay didn’t announce this listing purge until July 11th, AuctionBytes columnist Bob wrote about this “Spring Cleaning” in May, offering solid advice for sellers on what was happening and what steps to take – as he noted, eBay’s purges could end up deleting sellers’ information and photos, advising sellers to make sure they had made backup copies of all their work.

Take a look at the other interesting aspects of Kupbens email in this EcommerceBytes Blog post, and let us know what you think, and consider joining eBay sellers in commenting directly on Kupbens’ post as well, where many are lambasting eBay’s Immediate Payment Required policy change.

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). 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/.

4 thoughts on “eBay Crackdown: Need-to-know Changes for eBay Sellers”

  1. I have been with EBay almost from its inception. I was almost always a buyer of Sport Collectibles. Now I both buy and sell off what I no longer collect. EBay began as an auction site mainly for collectibles. Today EBay ignores collectibles in that over 90% of the items are Buy it Now. This works well for tangible items but not for collectibles. The B.I.N. listings on EBay are priced at well over market value (as determined by reputable auction house sale). Sometimes as much as 10 times over fair market value. As such there are numerous pages of listings. The % of sales to listings is in the very low single digits.

    Both buyers and sellers turn to real auction houses even though the fees are higher and the service is slower. It is on these sites where sales in the millions of dollars are made on a regular basis.

    Yesterday I received a suspension notice from EBay (no warning) prohibiting me from listing for 1 week. This was because a buyer from my city wanted to deal directly in order to get a better price. I provided the phone number by circumventing EBay checks. Unfortunately the buyer persisted on communicating with me on EBay. It was the number of communiques which must have caused the EBay Police to look and scream “gotcha!”

    You will notice many buyers prefer to deal directly with sellers even though they lose EBay protection. The main reason is that EBay recently cut in half the “EBay Bucks” they credit buyers on EBay with. EBay Bucks was a good incentive to keep buyers on the site and not be tempted to try to personally contact sellers. That good will and incentive is no longer there.

    The most annoying thing about my suspension is that I cannot respond. The EBay notice said that their message was sent from an email address that does not accept replies. Yes, I know I can go to Customer Service. This service works well for new EBay users Also, if you enjoy excessive politeness from offshore individuals whose salary must be based the number of times they say your first name, EBay CS is the place for you.

    As someone doing business on EBay this is demeaning. One who is attacked should have a right to confront the attacker.

    There is certainly a market place out there that would relish a site that is AUCTION ONLY and that specializes in collectibles. Ship EBay has certainly sunk to the bottom of the Collectibles market.

  2. Ebay has been blowing this type of hot air for years. They have never ever really followed through. If they never told the truth about anything.

    Its just another threat that we don’t take seriously and just go about our own way.

    Of all the threats that ebay has made against sellers and their listings exactly none of them have ever effected us.

    Ebay needs to clean up their act before threatening anyone else.

  3. If GTC listings do not renew, then where are they going? Will a copy of the ended listing(s) be available for the seller to easily re-list?? And how long will they be able to be renewed for???

    These are very, very important questions. Another is: What criteria will eBay use to determine the listings that they deem are non-renewable??

    As noted by @Ina, we as eBay sellers need definitive answers here. And soon. They are introducing a MAJOR CHANGE in selling methods and site usability, and giving virtually no details about their plans!!

  4. Just read the “Bob Blog”. Trinton (eBay mod) states that just the GTC listings without identifiers will not be renewed.

    Unfortunately, these “identifiers” are not available for every item. Vintage items with no UPC code are a great example. And there are also newer items that DO HAVE BARCODES that are NOT in the eBay catalog.

    As many have mentioned in the Kupbens blog and on eCommerce Bytes, the elimination of duplicate listings (mostly by Asian sellers) is the problem, that, once finally addressed, will free up eBay’s servers and achieve the goal of making more, if not all, items viewable for any prospective buyers to see and purchase.

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