|Fri Mar 25 2011 08:35:45|
eBay Clarifies Ban on Duplicate Auctions
By: Ina Steiner
Earlier this month, eBay began calling some sellers to warn them they could no longer list duplicate auction listings if their sell-through rates were lower than 30%. A reader told me on Wednesday that he checked with eBay's Live Chat to find out why he continued to see duplicate auction listings even after he reported them, and he said customer service representatives told him duplicate auctions were allowed.
"I am writing to you to publish the chat sessions so as to make eBay move forward on policing this policy which I think is great. There are way WAY too many duplicates (at least in my niche) that makes it impossible to get any exposure with my paid listings."
Since sellers continue to report receiving phone calls from eBay about their duplicate auction listings, I checked in with eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff seeking clarification.
Johnna said sellers are allowed to have duplicate auctions, but said eBay had begun notifying a very small number of impacted sellers that they are in violation of its existing Search & Browse Manipulation policy that "helps prevent selling practices that make it harder for buyers to find and buy what they're looking for."
(You can read more about this policy in our March 3rd coverage of this issue.)
Johnna said eBay is asking them to remove and not relist duplicates Auction-style listings that aren't selling. Sellers who haven't been notified do not need to take any action.
Since I could foresee sellers might continue to be concerned about the possibility of unwittingly violating the policy, I asked Johnna what triggered a violation.
"The policy works as follows: Sellers need to achieve and maintain at least a 30% average sell-through rate for all of their duplicate Auction-style listings by the deadline indicated in their notification, and they must maintain that rate going forward."
She reiterated that this impacted a small number of sellers. "The majority of sellers won't have to do anything. That's why we're reaching out directly to those impacted - to answer particular questions sellers may have as it relates directly to their listings."
It's interesting to note that the seller who wrote me on Wednesday included a transcript of two chat sessions in which he specifically asked about any policy prohibiting duplicate auction listings and was told they were allowed - no mention was made of a required sell-through rate.
It remains to be seen how eBay's Trust & Safety department will enforce this policy.