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Wed July 16 2008 07:53:43

Mind Ps and Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay

By: Ina Steiner

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A seller learned the hard way to be careful when listing hot items like Nintendo Wii consoles that might garner extra attention from eBay's Trust & Safety department. A seller wrote that she had listed some consoles with the title, "1 NEW NINTENDO Wii CONSOLE SYSTEM 5 GAMES 2 CONTROLLERS." eBay removed the auctions. eBay said the reason for the removal was the title, but she could not get them to be any more specific, so she modified the title slightly and relisted them. Big mistake - eBay took them down and gave her a 3-day suspension. (Lesson #1 - don't relist something unless you are sure of the T&S violation.)

Here's what she said happened next:

I finally tracked down a phone number to find out what is going on and got a got someone in store support on the phone, after 45 minutes of waiting mind you. He informed me that having 5 games in the listing was confusing buyers since the Wii Sports disc did have 5 games but buyers were expecting 5 separate disc and they were getting a lot of upset buyers. No warning no nothing. After having the rep talk to trust and safety they refused to remove my selling restriction and suggested that I spend my 3 day suspension reporting every seller who had a listing that had 5 games in the title so that they could get all those types of listings removed.

The Wii comes with the Wii Sports Game Disc containing 5 games. From Nintendo press kit: "$249.99 (includes Wii Sports™, a collection of five games: baseball, tennis, golf, bowling and boxing)." So lesson number 2, be careful how you present your information, even in the title.

The point of this story is not to drum up sympathy for a seller who had a listing title that may have had the potential to mislead consumers. It's the fact that eBay's T&S department does an inadequate job explaining what policies sellers are violating when they take down listings - this is a story I have heard for years. Sellers need a way of communicating with eBay without having to wait hours on the phone in the hopes of getting an accurate answer.




Comments (34) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay   Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay

by: dimes

Wed Jul 16 08:21:23 2008

Not only does it do a p***-poor job on its own, it wants customers to become snitches and do their work for them by reporting items out of retaliation (it can't be for any other reason, since it refuses to identify what the problem is in the first place).

And so the eBay implosion continues...

Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay   Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay

by: Anon716

Wed Jul 16 09:08:04 2008

I agree Dimes. Don't do ebay's job for them.  Do not report one single thing. They can afford to have someone do it.
They created a system where the reporting can and is being abused anyway to harm competitors etc.
Also, depending on who or what you legitimately report, you may even be suspended or NARU. I know that first hand. Also had listings pulled where NO violation existed & without a human response or explanation.

Ebay wants to have their cake & eat it too across the entire gamut of issues.
I will do everything in my power to dissuade people from using ebay for any reason, as they have shown their hypocrisy & arrogance too many times.

Commiebay is their fitting new name IMO
(cue Soviet National anthem, aka Commiebay theme song)

Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay   Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay

by: Phil

Wed Jul 16 09:11:07 2008

Ina, start verifying some of these stories!  Some of these posts are starting to sound like threads on Sellers Central!

There is no way that anyone in trust and safety told this seller to ''Spend the 3 days suspension turning in other auctions''  

I am not even sure it is possible to get a 3 days ''vacation'' for 2 violations.  If this seller got a 3 day suspension, my guess is this was not thier first dance with T&S.

Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay   Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay

by: Lynn D

Wed Jul 16 09:16:52 2008

Ebay the site that wants you to pay them and do their jobs too!

Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay   Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Wed Jul 16 10:03:13 2008

So eBay took off the venue hat and put on the employer cap?

eBay tells me what to do more than most employers ever did. I wonder if the IRS would agree that sellers are employees?

After I police the site I have to go wash Ms. Lorrie's car, clean the toilets in the new green building and then make lunch for Griff.

That's why I love selling on eBay - I can be my own boss and run my business the way I want.

See you on the ''level playing field''!

Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay   Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay

by: Anon716

Wed Jul 16 11:26:10 2008

You bring up a good point Ed Gadfly.
Perhaps the US Dept of Labor Wage & Hour Division should carefully examine whether ebay sellers are, in fact, actually subcontractors.
There are a set of definitions.

Also, to follow up a bit on my last post above, people should also quit participating on the ebay forums and answer center. Do not offer any help or advice. Let ebay do that with their billions, since no one can post there without fear of censorship, suspensions or other retributions such as having those whom disagree with their postings harassing them via turning in their auctions and so forth either. As we all know, that is very common, and a form of sport to many.

Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay   Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay

by: Jeff

Wed Jul 16 11:31:26 2008

ANY dealings with ''trust and safety'' is a farce.

They ONLY communicate though canned replies. They don't give you enough information to make any kind of conclusions on your own, so of course you can make the same error again. Then like the petty morons they are, you get suspended for something when you don't know what's wrong to begin with. Replies to their emails are ignored. Total waste.

Even when you're on the other side of the fence, making a report of some problem you have (like reporting a user or unwelcome buyer) it's a waste of time.

Trust and safety is a worthless department to deal with. They are of NO help.

Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay   Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay

by: Ruth

Wed Jul 16 11:48:38 2008

EBay has always allowed competing sellers to harasss each other. That's all the above article is about. Someone didn't like the seller's lower priced item and wanted it off of eBay.

I once had a competing seller buy my lower priced item and then refuse to pay for it. His item then sold for the higher price and I got nothing for mine. When I negged him, he negged me back and claimed I refused to sell the item to him! What a joke.

Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay   Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay

by: Kathy_The_Green_Fish

Wed Jul 16 12:25:52 2008

Hours?
Luckily it just took a few hours.

My one time getting an eBay vacation, it took Trust and Safety 2 days to send me an email about it.  My offense?  I am still not sure, the link of my offense takes my to a discussion I participated in.  None of my posts were removed.  The nasty posts aimed at me by the visiting instructor were removed.
So, what the hey?  There is no free speech on eBay.  Even when you are nice and follow the rules, you can irk someone with eBay's ear and get a temporary suspension with no explanation.

Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay   Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay

by: Verify or quit!

Wed Jul 16 14:49:10 2008

I agree with Phil, not the first violation. Verify your stories! Ina, you are running a gossip column here, not news.

Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay   Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay

by: RicRoe

Wed Jul 16 15:13:33 2008

eBay's Trust and Safety department is virtually automated, just like the claims and customer service processes.

Reports are made, canned acknowledgements are automatically sent (often off topic) and members are supposed to be satisfied.

The idea that eBay even suggests a seller patrol listings and report violations,  indicates a lack of willingness on the part of eBay to perform these functions themselves. They obviously believe that by making it incumbent upon members to patrol and report listings for violations, just as they require copyright holders to do in VeRo lends credence to their argument that they are only a 'venue'.

At the rates members pay to list, and given the double fees eBay collects on successful transactions, eBay should be offering much more than off topic canned responses to inquiries, especially when they work so hard at discouraging any communication directly with those that are able to explain, assist with or resolve issues.

Clearly, eBay has no interest in  identifying and resolving issues but prefers to continue with their guilty because we say so policies that have been driving buyers and sellers alike off the site for years.

Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay   Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Wed Jul 16 15:31:57 2008

Isn't it illuminating nearly everyday to see the quality and mindsets of ebay employees so gloriously exposed on these blogs?

If Ina didn't check with ebay, I can well understand why.

EBAY LIES.

If ebay's lips are moving, they are lying. Lying is woven so strongly into their corporate culture fabric that they've convinced themselves that they're telling the truth when they're LYING.

This company even LIES about things they don't have to lie about. They're simply pathological liars.

Regarding T&S, what can we expect from inexperienced, near the de facto California minimum wage employees who are both poorly trained and even more poorly managed?

What we can expect is precisely what we have: chaos, inconsistency, authoritarianism (always better than reasoning things through), grossly substandard, scripted bot communication and typically inconsistent bot responses at that, but most of all what we can expect and in fact receive are LIES.

The curtain is rising on the wizard.


Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay   Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay

by: just a guy

Wed Jul 16 16:38:31 2008

Last year, I had some auctions taken down for use of the term 'like new'. Apparently this was considered Keyword Spamming. No big deal.
BUT BUT BUT, when I called my eBay account rep for suggestions, I was told to report as many of my competitors as possible for similar violations. That was the extent of the advice offered. So it is perfectly reasonable to assume that eBay told the suspended seller to report others.

Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay   Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay

by: bite me

Wed Jul 16 18:15:26 2008

I report people all the time, especially asian sellers with criminally high shipping rates. maybe that's why I always get so many gift certificates from ebay?

Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay   Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Wed Jul 16 18:39:57 2008

@Bite Me

"Gift certificates" in the form of your ebay legal department paychecks?

Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay   Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay

by: IE_7

Wed Jul 16 19:02:20 2008

@Just A Guy:

I also had a listing taken down for ''Like New'' in the title. What a STUPID rule. After several canned replies, I finally got a human, who told me ''My listings were also taken down. Don't worry, it won't be held against you. We all makes mistakes, learn from it.''

A week or so later the Seller Dashboard came online. There was my POLICY VIOLATION for Keyword Spamming, right there, and a ''warning'' to not commit any other policy violations or I risk having my standing reduced.

@Ming The Merciless:

EBAY LIES

Their lips were moving, and they lied. The violation WAS held against me, even though it didn't cause any ''punishment''. Kind of like a 2 point traffic violation. No effect to your insurance, but you better not get another violation for 2 years, cause if you do, 3+ points costs $100/point per year.

LIES LIES LIES.

Not to mention a STUPID RULE.

By the way, if you list anything in the Model Railroad category, and go to item specifics to select condition. Well, guess what? One of the selections is LIKE NEW!

WTF?

EBAY, YOU LIE. YOU ARE A HYPOCRITE. YOU DON'T EVEN FOLLOW YOUR OWN RULES.

YOU ARE IDIOTS.

Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay   Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay

by: CC

Wed Jul 16 20:01:40 2008

Unfortunately, like so many other companies, Customer Service just doesn't exist at Ebay.  I got so tired of the canned replies (nothing annoys me more on the Internet than canned replies--they show that companies dont' want their employees to bother to take the time to truly address an issue).  Just another reason I'm now refusing to sell there.

Re:  LIKE NEW

I never got pulled for this, but I did have Turbo Lister tell me not to use it.  On the one hand, I can see why someone searching for truly new items might be annoyed at Like New items appearing.  However, if it truly is like new, it might be nice to buy it if it's a few bucks cheaper.  Generally, using ''Near Mint'' gives the same impression though it won't show up for potential customers who think they only want ''new.''

Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay   Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay

by: Phebe

Wed Jul 16 23:24:58 2008

Just like our politicians in DC. Lies and deceit. What to do? Would love an answer.

Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay   Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay

by: Henrietta

Thu Jul 17 00:06:09 2008

@ Phil and Verify

How is this for verification, straight from the horse's mouth (and this guy is NOT anti eBay)

http://tiny.cc/8553U

The fact that T & S is a joke is nothing new. The fact that the majority of responses from T & S have nothing whatsoever to do with the question they were asked is exactly that, fact.

Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay   Mind Ps & Qs When Listing Hot Items on eBay

by: Synonymous

Thu Jul 17 01:00:42 2008

As a PowerSeller and a gamer, guys, I have to agree with eBay on this.  Wii Sports contains five *activities*, yes, but Nintendo puffery aside, it's considered a single title, a single game, sold on one disc as one unit  -  look on GameFAQs or any major game reviewing site.  The seller was misrepresenting her product, and if she deals in the gaming market on a regular basis (probable, if she has a stock of Wiis to sell), I suspect she knows this.  It might well have been an irritated gamer who turned her in.  Heck, *I'd* be tempted.  (What if a parent buys one of those packages for his or her kid, thinking that they're getting a great surprise gift with a bunch of titles for their loved ones?)

Yeah, I hate the canned, irrelevant answers eBay reps often give, and the seller should've been told outright the exact nature of her violation.  There was legitimate cause for concern here, though.

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