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Mon Nov 20 2017 22:57:49

A Thanksgiving Warning to Online Sellers

By: Ina Steiner

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Friends don't let friends share IP addresses. Here's a reminder for online sellers as you prepare to travel or host friends and family for the holidays.

eBay sellers have reported incorrect account linking over the years that have resulted in account suspensions, and not surprisingly it has spread to other marketplaces. As you prepare to travel or host family and friends for Thanksgiving and the holidays, it's a problem you should become familiar with and remain on your guard.

In the last week we have heard from two sellers on Amazon and Etsy who say the marketplaces suspended their accounts because of the activity of someone else whose account got linked to theirs.

A reader said Etsy closed her shop because a person using the same IP address violated a policy - "they won't give you a chance to send documentation proving I am not related to the offending shop," she said.

Another reader said Amazon sent him the following message last week: "We found that your account may be related to an account that cannot be used to sell on our site. As a result, you currently may not sell on Amazon.com."

He said he has been selling on the same Amazon account for many years and had never had another Amazon.com account. He submitted information in an appeal to the Seller Performance Team at Amazon and is awaiting their reply. "I'm sure that its it just a matter of time for them to review the appeal and reinstate my selling privileges. Unfortunately this happened at one of the worst possible times of the year - right in the middle of the holiday season. Every day that they "review" the appeal puts an enormous financial strain on my small business. And if this issue isn't resolved before Black Friday/Cyber Monday, it would be a catastrophe - jeopardizing the future of my business."

This thread on the Amazon discussion boards holds out little hope for sellers who receive such a notice. Those familiar with the issue say Amazon does not disclose the identity of the linked account, which makes it difficult if not impossible to challenge. The seller who initiated the thread in June received a denial of his appeal that included this generic statement: "We found that your account is related to another account that may not be used to sell on the site. Due to the nature of our business, we do not provide details on our investigation methods."

There's another twist on this problem: in this thread from 3 years ago, a seller said eBay had linked her account with her adult step-son's account just because he had logged in from her home when visiting, and it had taken out money from her PayPal account for his eBay activity.

Sellers who have posted about such cases say marketplaces use IP addresses to link accounts and recommend being wary of sharing the same computer or logging in to accounts from the office. And in the case of Amazon, sellers recommend having only one selling account per household. 

Travelling over the holidays raises another concern, and last year, Gizmodo published some suggestions on how to keep safe when using public wi-fi networks whether you're at the airport or a coffee shop. 

So while it may seem harmless to let your relatives use your computer to do some Black Friday shopping as they munch on Thanksgiving leftovers, it could end up giving you a case of indigestion.

Comments (11) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

A Thanksgiving Warning to Online Sellers   A Thanksgiving Warning to Online Sellers

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 21 12:43:30 2017

That's absolute crap. It shows how little respect these venues have for the ones who are making them all their money.

They should allow evidence to be presented.

Can't wait until the they crash and burn Ill laugh in their faces

A Thanksgiving Warning to Online Sellers   A Thanksgiving Warning to Online Sellers

by: leathermermaid8 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 21 13:27:46 2017

They'd be better served using IP addresses to ban problematic buyers.  THAT is something long overdue.

Any seller so banned should at least be allowed to present their side of the story.  Sure, there are some that need to get booted along with the buyer fraud crowd but at least get all the facts first.  

 

A Thanksgiving Warning to Online Sellers   A Thanksgiving Warning to Online Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Tue Nov 21 14:13:55 2017

This thing rears it's  head every year.  Really ticks me off.  These companies think they can do all their business on algorithms and stupid inflexible rules.  There are countless  reasons,  how/why this happens, and it's time Ebay etc HANDLED these problems, with a human  being, AND a whole lot of better security.

I've had a hands off policy on my connection for at least a decade.  First my Dial-up connection, then my satellite connection, and now my cable connection.  They have ALWAYS been off limits to visitors.   I have at least a DOZEN relatives that think I'm crazy because they can't plug  in when they come here, plus an assortment of other stray acquaintances.

I can control (.....?) relatives, but when our connection goes down, (2 times in 10 years), eventually I have to go to the local library.  Scares me to DEATH, not only from the Ebay aspect, but no one there has even a clue as to how important it is to control caches and memory sticks in their public computers.

This is just another example of how these companies place so little value in security.
1)  They're always afraid that any more security, and people will go elsewhere.  
2)  They think they can get by without the added cost of upgrading their security.

That's wrong.  WE, are the ones that will pay, when these companies become Targets and Equifaxes, not them.  Oh yeah, and remember, no class actions.........  You get to hire the attorney all alone.  

A Thanksgiving Warning to Online Sellers   A Thanksgiving Warning to Online Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Tue Nov 21 16:18:31 2017

@leathermaid8

Amazon does ban problem buyers by IP addresses, not user IDs.

Habitual returners of merchandise soon find out their game is over on the River, unless they can somehow change their IP identity.

On eBay, a user ID can be NARUd, but it is very simple to just assume a new identity and start over. And they cannot afford to lose any buyers, so scammers and flakes are allowed to flourish.

The extremely insulting aspect of this punishment (to sellers) is that discipline is not handed out in a fair and equitable manner. Especially when the so-called ''violation'' most always has a simple explanation.

A Thanksgiving Warning to Online Sellers   A Thanksgiving Warning to Online Sellers

by: ignatz This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 21 16:22:30 2017

This has got to be the single stupidest thing Amazon (and now etsy?) does, and that's saying a LOT.

Amazon wants sellers to respond to communications within 24 hours (effectively much less than that), and yet they're going to "link" you to an IP address you use away from home ONLY because you're trying to maintain that service level?

Frankly, I'm not even sure I believe they do actually do something this mudflap dumb. AFAIK, they NEVER reveal the details, such as the IP address they've "linked" you to, and WHO that might be at that address that's such a lousy seller that they take everyone around them down with them.

I've always suspected they use it as an excuse to get rid of sellers that have transgressed some OTHER unwritten dictate.  But I could be wrong.  It's difficult to overestimate the stupidity of the things Amazon does.

A Thanksgiving Warning to Online Sellers   A Thanksgiving Warning to Online Sellers

by: Vernfern This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 21 23:15:05 2017

Happened to me long ago during the great eBay thinning process when they were trying to rid eBay of bad sellers. The dreaded era of the DSR "ding" regardless of the issue. Was I the bad seller? Not at all - but I repaired the computer belonging to a seller who fell below standard and eventually was NARU'd. Not a scammer by any means, but their performance did suffer.

The result? My second selling account suddenly received an extremely low selling limit. My main selling account is sold old that there was  (still is) not showing a visible limit - I have a "glass ceiling" in other words.

All due to 1 computer, belonging to a seller who eBay shot down that was at my place. That limit lasted for years. I closed the second account - and that person since passed away... but I wonder if it would still be showing the association?

A Thanksgiving Warning to Online Sellers   A Thanksgiving Warning to Online Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: cfrphoto

Tue Nov 21 23:56:40 2017

What about DHCP? Must sellers maintain static IP addresses?

A Thanksgiving Warning to Online Sellers   A Thanksgiving Warning to Online Sellers

by: Interesting Antiques This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 22 03:32:08 2017

It happened to us, without warning (at that time we had 4 etsy shops) all our shops were closed. I couldn't  see why we had no problem customers, bills were paid so what gives? e-mailed support, left telephone message since they don't have customer service.
FIVE days later not a single peep out of etsy! meanwhile this was our sole income!
It took our family lawyer to fax etsy's 'law department' ( an absolute joke!).
What happened when an aunt's husband passed away I used her computer to put the message that her business will be closed for a while on etsy.

She apparently had a difficult customer and didn't know that she had to respond to etsy, not just the customer as she was doing. They took it that she was ignoring them and shut down her shop along with all of ours!!
This was never revealed to us until our lawyer got involved , up to then we were in the dark and didn't have a clue why our shops were closed!

We had to supply a list of our shops and every person that had access to them.
Absolutely disgusting!
Needless to say we  have our stand alone websites and will never  have  to rely on etsy or ebay etc. They are absolutely morally bankrupt.
This experience left us with a lawyer's bill  and almost a whole week during the Holiday rush being closed. No apologies nothing but a stern warning not to discuss this  situation with anyone-really?
Open your own websites people at least have one as a back up.
Happy Thanksgiving!  

A Thanksgiving Warning to Online Sellers   A Thanksgiving Warning to Online Sellers

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 22 14:08:23 2017

insanity of these idiots, i told everyone i know shop at non corporate owned websites and stores. screw these middlemen sites like amazon.



A Thanksgiving Warning to Online Sellers   A Thanksgiving Warning to Online Sellers

by: WhatsUp2656 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 23 11:06:52 2017

Mcposty. . . I couldn’t agree more. If only the individuals shopping realized a large number of us have gone to our own websites where they still get the same great service AND lower prices since we do not have so much overhead costs.

A Thanksgiving Warning to Online Sellers   A Thanksgiving Warning to Online Sellers

by: IndyTom This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 24 21:45:42 2017

Being totally dependent on a venue like Amazon or EBay is a fools game.  Get into one of the shopping carts like 3dCart, Big Commerce, Volusian etc and create a stand alone store.  Still sell on EBay and Amazon but if they take it away, you survive.



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