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Undeterred by eBay Warnings, Seller Lands in Trouble with the Feds

US Department of Justice
Undeterred by eBay Warnings, Seller Lands in Trouble with the Feds

An eBay seller was sentenced to 6 months in prison over her listings for a substance the Feds say was extremely dangerous and not fit for human consumption.

In a Department of Justice press release, the government said the defendant was undeterred by eBay’s removal of her listings and relisted the chemical on three separate occasions using a different email address.

“According to court documents, 2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP) is a chemical substance that, when ingested, causes rapid loss of weight, but is also associated with a high rate of adverse effects including cataracts, hyperthermia, tachycardia, cardiac arrhythmia, and death. In 1938, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared DNP to be extremely dangerous and not fit for human consumption. At that time, the FDA announced publicly that it would prosecute those who manufacture and distribute DNP for use as a drug.”

The Acting United States Attorney in the case said the sentence should send a clear message to those who would profit from the sale of dangerous unapproved drugs: “we will utilize every tool at our disposal to vigorously prosecute you in order to protect the health and safety of the general public.”

The case was investigated by special agents of the Food and Drug Administration, you can find the full press release on the DOJ website at Justice.gov.

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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/.

One thought on “Undeterred by eBay Warnings, Seller Lands in Trouble with the Feds”

  1. Well, perhaps she simply “ran out” of the other “substances” she was selling, and needed fast cash? 😉

    Really, now, eBay? We’ve had eBay remove listings for items because eBay simply was clueless about them and mistakenly claimed they were “illegal” or would lead to “illegal configurations” of another item, which is utterly ridiculous and only confirmed that eBay is 1) Ignorant, 2) knows nothing at all about what the items were despite VERY complete descriptions, and 3) Had NO DESIRE TO LEARN OR EDUCATE THEMSELVES ABOUT THE ITEMS.

    The items were wood rifle stocks and pistol grips along with screws and springs – nothing illegal and nothing that would “create” something illegal at all. How any of it would “create an illegal firearm” is beyond us, but we simply listed them on other venues (like our website) and never relisted them on eBay. When eBay buyers ask if they can buy those things, we simply say “Yes, but not on eBay”, so they buy them from one of our other selling venues, often at a lower price because of eBay’s fees.

    Apparently eBay is willing to not only “shoot themselves in the foot”, but despite our attempts to educate them, insists on replacing the empty magazine with a fresh one and starting all over again.

    I’m just wondering when eBay’s management will figure out when to turn the lights off.

    And to think when they started, eBay actually ALLOWED FIREARMS TO BE SOLD ON THE SITE!

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