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Sun Feb 6 2011 23:23:57

eBay Users, Leave Home without It

By: Ina Steiner

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If you plan on operating your eBay business when outside the country on business or pleasure, beware: eBay's security measures may not compute.

A woman who's been selling on eBay for 10 years found herself traveling on business in Europe for a few months. She wanted to list some little oddities she found in local markets to keep her accounts active. But instead of dabbling in eBay, she found herself drowning in red tape.

eBay and PayPal blocked her accounts 3 times in the course of two months because they suspected her accounts might have been compromised. Over $135 in international calls to try to reach someone to verbally confirm the information required for account reinstatement, along with fruitless live-chats and, finally, faxing copies of personal documents to establish her identity, left her concerned and frustrated.

After a round of faxing passport, bank account statement and government issued identity card, PayPal said it would take them 5-10 days to review the paperwork and decide whether to reinstate her account.

She's not alone - other sellers have written to AuctionBytes with similar experiences - even some who gave advance notice to eBay that they would be operating their business while traveling outside of the U.S.

eBay may be a global company, but it's not prepared for its customers to leave the country. Consider yourself warned. If you travel abroad, you may have to leave eBay behind.

Comments (8) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Users, Leave Home without It   eBay Users, Leave Home without It

This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Mon Feb 7 08:06:05 2011

One way around this problem is to keep a computer online and running at your home and connect to it with one of the remote solutions out there. Windows has Remote Desktop and there is software called PC Anywhere you can use to do this. Alternately, there are web-based services that do this, as well. All of these essentially let you connect to your own home computer, regardless of where you may be located.

On my home computer, I use, with VNC as a backup. These require you to set up some software on your computer, then you can connect to them over the web. VNC is a bit more complex to use, but LogMeIn is very easy. I've been using it for years with no problems. They have both free and paid versions. I use the free one, since it suits my needs just fine. Since I work a day job as a consultant, I'm always at different company locations, so this allows me to simply connect to my own computer and do everything there without having to duplicate anything to office computers. Most corporate firewalls block things like eBay anyway, so this is a great way around that.

Of course, these won't work if you only have one laptop computer that you take with you when you travel.

eBay Users, Leave Home without It   eBay Users, Leave Home without It

by: Rick1313

Mon Feb 7 08:52:21 2011

I do not know if it is applicable to affected sellers, but eBay did come out with some announcement (I believe in 2008) about accessing one's account outside what eBay interpreted as standard usage.

The announcement mentioned something about how eBay automated the process and a 'bot phone call would be dispatched to verify the accessing of the user id from non-standard channels.

If this is still in effect, it can be the reason why accounts have been flagged.

The AB blog mentions users who notified eBay in advance still being affected.

Just letting eBay know of your situation is not good enough to protect your business interest.

If there is nothing on their site literature that addresses your concern or phone help just verbally reassures you that all is well and does not point you to the information on their site literature, you MUST get it in writing (letter or email) from eBay.

It will not stop the incident from happening, but at least you now have eBay liable for potential damages claim as you have documented proof of their assurance that your account will be in good standing with their operating system.

eBay Users, Leave Home without It   eBay Users, Leave Home without It

This user has validated their user name. by: Pete

Mon Feb 7 09:56:16 2011

use a VPN to access ebay or paypal and you will be No longer registered in minutes...this is one of the biggest no-no's (proxys are the 2nd danger)
if you have used them without being taken down then you are very lucky

eBay Users, Leave Home without It   eBay Users, Leave Home without It

by: John

Mon Feb 7 10:07:28 2011

Quite frankly Ina's title......eBay Users, Leave Home without It.....

Is the best advice that can be given.....

This is eBay's problem.

Unless of course you are a gluten for punishment, and just can't seem to get enough abuse in your life......''Leave home without it''

eBay Users, Leave Home without It   eBay Users, Leave Home without It

This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Mon Feb 7 11:11:49 2011


The solutions I suggested are not VPNs or proxies, at least not from eBay's standpoint. They are simply means to connect from an outside internet site into your home or business computer (whatever you normally use to do eBay stuff). From there, it is no different than if you were actually sitting in front of your usual computer from which you do eBay stuff. They give you a window into your eBay workstation, so there is no way eBay would even see any difference, since any connection to them is coming from your usual computer. Any VPN or proxying happens between you and your own computer, not eBay's computers.

eBay Users, Leave Home without It   eBay Users, Leave Home without It

by: BeAware

Mon Feb 7 13:00:10 2011

Part of the problem may be that, because eBay allows many third-parties to access your account via Third-Party applications you may have approved (or NOT...see below), eBay has trouble figuring out who is who when you try to access your account via web/IP addresses outside the US.  Of course, a global business like eBay should not have this non-recognition problem, but eBayers should also be aware that, when you use certain services on eBay (like ''Emma Virtual Assistant'' powered by VirtuOz; TurboLister; Sales Reports; etc.), these services may add a Third-Party Authorization to your account (according to eBay: ''Authorize third parties to act on your behalf'').  You can find these Third-Party Authorizations by going to your Site Preferences and scrolling-down to find the ''General Preferences'' subject line and, below that, finding ''Third-party authorizations'' and (on the right) clicking on ''Show'' to see all you have.  If you have any concerns about Third-Party Authorizations by which a third-party may have access to your account, then make your own decisions about revoking such authorizations.  Managing your control of your account (and the access you provide to others) with due care may help.

eBay Users, Leave Home without It   eBay Users, Leave Home without It

by: Stefano Neis
Web Site

Tue Feb 8 07:23:12 2011

Use a proxy server with an USA IP address and this is not a problem.

Log into the proxy server from abroad and conduct business from there.

eBay Users, Leave Home without It   eBay Users, Leave Home without It

by: A_User

Sat Feb 12 17:28:30 2011

All of this is clearly identified in the eBay Terms of Service.

Further, if you are going to run a business be smart enough to read the TOS' of your lifelines!! Use tools like GoToMyPC to 'bounce' off your home PC from anywhere in the world to avoid such things as this.

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