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Mon June 4 2007 16:21:03

Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error

By: Ina Steiner

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We heard the eBay PowerSeller board was lit up last week with complaints from a few sellers whose accounts were accidentally suspended last Thursday. Not that this is the first time sellers have complained of such a problem. 

With the seriousness of fraud and account takeovers, it would seem reasonable that eBay might sometimes make a mistake and erroneously suspend accounts now and then. But the burden on sellers can be enormous. Having to relist - and even in some cases completely recreate listings - can be a nightmare for sellers, and can have serious revenue- and reputation-damaging consequences.




ChannelAdvisor CEO Scot Wingo discusses this in his blog post about how eBay handles Account Takeovers (when a fraudster hijacks a legitimate seller's account) and has some suggestions on how eBay could minimize the impact of suspensions on sellers:

"If hijacks do occur, don't nuke the listing, simply put it into a closed state so it can be relisted. When relisted email all the bidders that it's back. Rework the email that goes to bidders making it 100% clear the seller was not involved in any fraudulent activity."

Of last week's mistake, eBay spokesperson Catherine England said Friday, "We did have an issue with one of our site filters designed to identify accounts that are sending malicious emails and other forms of spam. Less than 100 accounts were erroneously impacted by the filter issue and less than a dozen of those accounts were Powersellers. All accounts that were erroneously impacted were restored within 24 hours and the issue is now resolved."

We hear eBay offered to compensate listing fees for those sellers impacted, who were underwhelmed with the offer. No word back from eBay yet on how they were compensating sellers for the mistake.




Comments (46) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error   Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error

by: Randy Smythe

Mon Jun 4 17:43:46 2007

Ina, it can take some of these sellers 3 - 5 days to get everything back up and running not to mention the possible reputation problems with having a NARU account - even for just a few hours. These problems are little to eBay but enormous to a small business.

In the early days of Glacier Bay DVD eBay canceled all 5,000 of our auctions without any warning. I was able to get them back up quickly but the revenue loss was substantial for at least 3 - 4 days.

Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error   Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error

by: fishinglines

Tue Jun 5 05:19:08 2007

A few years ago eBay NARU my account, in error. While it was corrected within a few days the impact to the account lasted over a month. One of the bad things was that store listings with more than one item, all were closed. For example a listing for six Kimonos with 3 sold, was ended.  And the three sold buyers all got an email, stating the account was NARU. Even the ones who had already paid and had the items.

NARU an account is a major problem for the seller. It is one of the things that caused me to shift business off eBay and onto other platforms.

Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error   Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error

by: Sue @ TameBay

Tue Jun 5 06:23:26 2007

Frankly, I think that comment from Catherine England is very poor. ''Less than 100 sellers'' is still 90-odd people who have been messed about horribly by eBay, and have been cost money, with no need and no recompense. Even ONE seller wrongly suspended would have been too many.

As Scot said, not nuking their listings would go a long way towards making things more reasonable, and that horrible email that gets sent to buyers and bidders (and if you're running GTC listings, the list of bidders might go back months) desperately needs to be changed.

Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error   Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error

by: Donna Klein

Tue Jun 5 07:54:35 2007

eBay needs to create a backup system to accomplish a couple of things:

1) Immediately restore a seller's store to its pre-accidental-suspension state, with every listing put back, and

2) Re-email every bidder, watcher and buyer that the error was entirely eBay's and that the seller has a fine reputation, and

3) Prominently display a message on the site to all users about the outage.  Becoming NARU hurts a seller profoundly and posting a general announcement to all users can help restore a seller's reputation to those who might not believe one email apology.

A simple ''oops'' isn't good enough.

Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error   Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error

by: Peter

Tue Jun 5 08:04:02 2007

This is a similar event to when Ebay canceled 1000s of listings for weeks in the Books category, suddenly accusing book and magazine sellers (who use text intensive description by definition) of keyword spamming.

In the end they relented and stopped, but the financial and reputation damage was enormous and they never compensated us, not even for listing fees.

Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error   Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error

by: Beth

Tue Jun 5 08:30:51 2007

Ebay does whatever it wants, whenever it wants with no consequences.  So until there is a SELLERS' UNION, that provides legal representation and sues their ass off, we'll keep getting stuck with their stupidity.  I wish I'd studied law.  I wish one of the megabucks lawyers who "play" on ebay would organize a class action lawsuit as a courtesy.  We need to start treating ebay like the non-performing member in a contract.  Their user agreement is hilarious.  It basically says, they charges us and they can do whatever they want with no penalty.  JOKE!!  now watch all MY listings get pulled like they did last time I commented on something of this nature.

Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error   Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error

by: nibbles*mcgee

Tue Jun 5 08:49:28 2007

this is a prime example of eBay's corporate idiocy.  canned replies to e-mails (CSRs need only meet a quota; not provide relevant information), failure to respond to reports of listing-violations, and its overall cavalier attitude toward its customers (the sellers) will, sooner or later, result in eBay's imploding.  why anyone would pay them a single farthing for such shabby treatment is beyond me.

Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error   Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error

by: firemeg

Tue Jun 5 09:18:52 2007

eBay does not "nuke" removed listings.  They simply act as if they do.  Why?  God only knows.  eBay could, if they wanted to, reinstate the NARU'd accounts as well as the listings, but he don't.  These listings are still on eBay servers and can be restored.  I've had eBay reinstate some listings before that were  pulled due to an obvious eBay error.

Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error   Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error

by: Ed Tomchin

Tue Jun 5 10:20:08 2007

If eBay hasn't had the pleasure yet, it will very soon.  That pleasure being a seller initiated lawsuit (individual or class action) for lost profits, intentional interference with business, negligence and possibly even racketeering.  It doesn't take much to put together a suit alleging racketeering -- 3 similar incidents are sufficient.  Legal action may be the only thing that can bring the quality of eBay's customer treatment up to snuff.

Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error   Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error

by: Jordan

Wed Jun 6 10:03:14 2007

Makes you wonder if they got hacked...again

Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error   Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error

by: Ofer

Sat Jun 9 14:40:48 2007

I am a powerseller, got suspended June 5th for a seller non-performance. There is no buyer complaint filed against us since January. Still, Trust+Safety sends us canned responses to email, the last one stating they will not respond any more in the future. Our business is ruined.

Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error   Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error

by: Anita

Sun Jun 10 08:52:27 2007

I am a Powerseller in OZ and, without warning, my account was suspended on 17th May due to seller's non performance.   My account is as follows:-
Feedback Score: 1768  
Positive Feedback: 98.9%
 
Members who left a positive: 1788
Members who left a negative: 20
 
All positive Feedback: 2029

This has occured to a number of OZ sellers and EBay is refusing to provide us with exact details on why apart from saying we are violated their Sellers Non Performance.  They advise me and other sellers to work out the problems with our buyers.

However at the time of my suspension I had NO open disputes and a couple of negatives where I had already tried with the buyer to fix the issue.  My issue here is that without any warning or a detailed explanation EBay has suspended my account.  This is income I rely on and was provided NO warning.  Very angry.....

Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error   Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error

by: Sue

Wed Jun 13 19:36:51 2007

I WAS ONE OF THOSE SELLERS! IF THERE ARE ANY MORE OUT THERE, PLEASE CONTACT ME. THE TASK OR RELIST WAS TERRIBLE, AND I ALSO WORRY ABOUT FUTURE BUSINESS AND REPUTATION. REFUNDING LISTING FEES DOES NOT PAY FOR MY $2000 IN SOLD AUCTIONS THAT WERE READY TO END. HELP!

Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error   Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error

by: Dav

Thu Jun 14 02:58:29 2007

Ive been restricted and I have no idea why? I have a few negs like most seller but my % is 98. I think ebay has gotten so big and arrogant they think they can do what they want. Fair enough, another auction site will pop up and implode them!

Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error   Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error

by: Anita

Wed Jun 20 18:58:04 2007

I received an email from EBay in OZ saying that is was only the last 90 days and it was the neutral and negatives and whether your feedback fell below an unacceptable level - I believe this is below 95%.

So for example my account had 4 neutrals, 3 negatives, 108 positives.  108/115 * 100 = 93%  [115 is the total of all feedback left)

Received an email this morning from another suspended seller in the US.  So unfortunately EBay is continuing to suspend accounts without any real guidelines and no warnings.

Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error   Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error

by: David

Fri Jun 22 14:58:33 2007

Our account was restricted with no warning.  We have emailed and not received a reply.  There is no justification for this.

email:
SNPC 14-Day Restricted Account
Based upon inputs from the buyers who have transacted with you, this account falls into the bottom 2 percent of all eBay sellers with regard to buyer satisfaction. As such, your eBay account has been restricted for breach of our Seller Non-Performance policy.

something is really wrong and eBay doesn't want to say anything or respond to our emails.  We want to know WHY!

Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error   Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error

by: Ofer

Mon Jun 25 20:10:57 2007

Suspended for seller non-performance, 3 weeks ago. I managed to speak with Steve Oglethorpe who is in charge of seller non-performance policy at eBay. He checked my account and saw for himself that there were no open disputes to resolve and zero complaints. He instructed me to withdraw my negatives and neutrals. My feedback score is 95.8%
However, in order to initiate feedback withdrawal, the account has to be reinstated. I tried to call him back but now he screens my calls. Trust and Safety will not answer my emails and I received an email reply from Bill Cobb with the message: we will not communicate with you from this point on.
At this point I decided to hire an attorney and have him send a letter to eBay's legal department: follow up on Instructions to withdraw negative feedback or I'll meet you in court or arbitration. You cannot accuse me of a violation did not ewven occur, that has absolutely evidence to support it, and then just ignore my attempts to communicate with you.

Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error   Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error

by: dude

Wed Jul 25 13:46:19 2007

Does anyone that has this non-performance restriction have multiple accounts?  I do and I was thinking about just closing the account that they restricted or not selling on it for a while, or perhaps selling cheap digital things that would draw only positive transactions, any of these ideas sound like it would work?  They have given me four months to "correct" this...

Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error   Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error

by: Joe Shores

Sat Jul 28 18:44:19 2007

Hello the! my account has been restricted, with no warning whatsoever. They said my earning will be brought down 25% until my feedback goes up! I have a 98.4 with 545 positives! They will not even reply to to emails! What is going on here it's late july 2007.

Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error   Oops. eBay Suspends a Number of Seller Accounts in Error

by: Ebay Sucks

Thu Aug 2 20:43:38 2007

Can anybody tell me why ebay thinks they can run your business for you? I have a restricted account, for sellers non performance! I have 98.5 feedback. With a single negative, and 2 neutral's. I have attempted to contact them customer support each day for 10 day's straight, and am still awaiting a response. They seem to not have any communication skills whatsoever. What's ironic is they stress the importance on how communicating is vital in selling and buying! I happen to be the seller, Does anybody know if there is a alternative to ebay or craigslist? since they have both merged! I hope somebody sues the you know what out of them. There are more questions than answers at this point. I want to know if anybody has simular problems? Because of my restrictions ebay say's I can only make 75% of what I have made in the last 3 months, It's been 10 day's and I still cant list! I did not know about mutual withdraw feedback, and since I have used this option my feedback has grown! I am just confused, EBAY SUCKS.

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