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Sat May 21 2022 21:26:34

Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2

By: Ina Steiner

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Last week we blogged about eBay account suspensions and included a video from a seller whose account was suspended for 72 hours for having products that had out-of-date expirations that were in "out of stock" mode - in other words, the items were not available for sale, so she didn't know she was violating policy.

Today, a reader sent us a link to video from another seller who was permanently suspended - and who was told by two live-chat representatives that they couldn't tell her why.

The first rep told her:

"I checked your account and we're glad on your interest on our site, however the risk of allowing you to use eBay any further is too great a concern, so we needed to suspend your account The concern is high enough that the decision is final and cannot be overturned.

"The reasons for these are due to the activity performed in the usage of the account, this may also have something to do with the information registered on the account. Unfortunately, your account cannot be considered for reinstatement and I am afraid to tell you that this is final."

And here's the response from a second eBay live-chat rep:

"I appreciate your great performance here on your account Victoria Please kindly understand that we consider many factors to take an action on an account and it doesn't only involve the items a member list or purchase. But please understand that due to security reasons, we cannot disclose what this information is. 

"From time to time, we find accounts that have a risk that no longer justifies a continuing relationship with eBay When that happens we suspend these accounts and they're no longer able to be used for buying or selling."

The seller's online persona is "Super Geeked," a longtime eBay user (buyer and seller) who also has accounts on Poshmark, Mercari, and Etsy.


When she finally was able to reach a rep by phone - no small task for a suspended seller - the rep told her eBay had tried to call her to verify some information, and because she didn't pick up the phone, it suspended her account.

We're not sure if it is legal for any company to refuse to explain why it suspended a customer's account, but it certainly isn't right - trotting out the old "due to security reasons" isn't acceptable.

In addition, the first two reps were incorrect in telling the seller her account could not be reinstated - the third rep did reinstate her account.

The story doesn't end there. In a follow-up video, Super Geeked explained that a week after she was reinstated and began listing items, she discovered her eBay Store was not active. It turns out that when eBay suspended her account, it closed her store. And even though she had paid for the month of May and had been suspended under questionable circumstances, eBay could not simply reinstate her store. 


We can't say what percentage of sellers are blindsided by suspensions or who get the runaround by eBay reps when they encounter suspensions. But thanks to YouTube, sellers have a voice that gets amplified. 

Here's an opportunity for eBay management to look into its practices, including suspending sellers when they don't answer the phone to an unknown number; giving insufficient information to sellers about the reasons for suspensions; and not automatically reactivating a seller's store after account reinstatement.



Comments (19) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2   Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2

This user has validated their user name. by: COVID-19

Sat May 21 22:59:23 2022

"also has accounts on Poshmark, Mercari, and Etsy."

OK, so why not focus on selling with those sites? eBay is so overrated in 2022 anyway.

Perminate Link for Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2   Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sun May 22 11:19:37 2022

I agree with Covid-19. Why worry about selling on eBay when they suck every penny they can from you? And if you've been suspended, rightly or wrongly, who's to say they won't suspend you again? It doesn't seem worth the time and effort to get your selling account back.

Perminate Link for Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2   Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2

by: Mazdaman This user has validated their user name.

Sun May 22 23:24:19 2022

We've had two listings removed and our wrists slapped in the past 22 years.  Both were for eBay's bots, who can't understand nor read the listings, but seems to simply GUESS at the item by looking for key words.

When we contacted several reps, no one could tell us why were were suspended, even as we read through the listing with them.  One rep, in a fit of apparent desperation or a desire to fulfill a lying quota for the month, insisted that what we were selling was a completely different item than what was clearly stated and photographed in the listing, leaving us extremely puzzled and disheartened that eBay is apparently going overseas to hire those who cannot read English and somehow think one item is something entirely different.

And, of course, several times we were told we had to speak with the mysterious "Trust and Safety" department, which contains people we neither trust nor feel safe speaking with.  But not to worry, the promised call from them never came, and both times we relisted the item, putting a GREAT BIG WARNING IN RED LETTERS TO EBAY THAT IT WAS NOT WHAT THEY THOUGHT IT WAS AND THEREFORE SHOULD NOT BE REMOVED.

Lest eBay accuse one of selling weapons of mass destruction when it is office equipment being sold, eBay REALLY needs to hire people who can grasp what sellers do, and see what they sell.  Ebay's increasing use of bots is convenient for them and surely saves on wages, but it irks us to no end to pay $64,000 a year in eBay fees and have simpletons manning the phones and making ridiculous policy decisions.

And of course, after such "support" calls, we received the beloved "How did we do?" surveys, which are sent by eBay to make the sellers believe they give a flying leap about the own performance!

Perminate Link for Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2   Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2

by: bw213 This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 23 01:02:25 2022

I had this similar situations on 5/13. As a top rated seller, 1500+ positive feedback, 100% positive. Received an email about suspension an hour after selling a laptop. Chat twice with rep, similar response as Super geeked described, the chat rep just left the chat after giving reply. Chat with a third rep, who was transferred from a chat, still similar reply. And told me they cannot share the details of the suspension, because they are afraid of people will know how to avoid suspension. This sounds like they have a quota to suspend people or something. So frustration and sad. Really put a lot of effort in my store. No way to contact or appeal.

Perminate Link for Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2   Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2

by: bw213 This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 23 01:02:26 2022

I had this similar situations on 5/13. As a top rated seller, 1500+ positive feedback, 100% positive. Received an email about suspension an hour after selling a laptop. Chat twice with rep, similar response as Super geeked described, the chat rep just left the chat after giving reply. Chat with a third rep, who was transferred from a chat, still similar reply. And told me they cannot share the details of the suspension, because they are afraid of people will know how to avoid suspension. This sounds like they have a quota to suspend people or something. So frustration and sad. Really put a lot of effort in my store. No way to contact or appeal.

Perminate Link for Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2   Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon May 23 01:39:56 2022

This simply isn't a new issue with Ebay or Amazon for that matter.  Neither really tells you why you might be suspended.  For that matter PayPal doesn't either.  They just leave you to your imagination and go as far to say if you get a subpoena they can give you the information on your own account.

I agree with everyone else that this is simply unfair and shouldn't happen, but they have been playing by these rules for years.

Perminate Link for Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2   Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2

by: Jono77 This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 23 04:19:00 2022

When I speak to eBay I use their call back service. At least 30% of the time I get cut off but the agent never calls me back.

I have also spoken to managers who said they will call me back regarding it specific issues but then I get a message saying they tried to call me back but I didn't pick up the phone so this story worries me.

Nobody from eBay can get through to me outside their own callback system because they say the line was busy when it most definitely was not.

I believe this is due to eBay's system being internet based and does not function well with standard telecoms. It's probably why the OP never picked up the call. Because the phone didn't ring or the eBay agent got a (line busy) tone!

Perminate Link for Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2   Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2

by: mazelgirl This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 23 07:20:54 2022

I saw this -- scary stuff.

Perminate Link for Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2   Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon May 23 13:58:45 2022

@Jono77

You are assuming that what they told you was true and it likely wasn't.  Ebay CSRs CAN call people back if they want to.  They do it all the time when you put in to get a phone call from CS.  So clearly they are able to call.

The question is WILL THEY???  And that is not likely the case if a CSR tells you they will call you back.  I've been around a long time and in all my years and as many times as a CSR said they'd call me back, it has actually only happened a couple of times.

This is not a new problem, but one that has been an issue for many years.  

Perminate Link for Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2   Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2

by: AngelaTC This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 23 14:01:00 2022

Long time reader, infrequent commenter, but can I just say that I would rather read the details than watch video?  Video takes too long.  Clicking on a site to read something only to be met with "Here's a video about the thing - watch below" is frustrating.    I appreciate so much that you give your readers both, and wanted to say thank you!

Perminate Link for Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2   Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2

by: MrFindit This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 23 14:54:29 2022

I had the best account suspension from E-Bay ever.  I got a 7 day suspension once for a troll doll (the fuzzy headed dolls).  Under the reason for the suspension, the item violated E-Bay's firearm policy.

I went back and double checked that I hadn't listed in the wrong category or something, and I had not.  It was under toys.

Naturally I had to contact E-Bay about this.  The level 1 agent just fed me a canned response that I couldn't list firearms or certain firearm components on E-Bay.  I asked them to explain which firearms use troll dolls, which of course, they couldn't.

So after 15 minutes of run around, I was finally able to get it escalated to their supervisor.  The supervisor could not explain why they listing was taken down as a firearm violation, except to tell me a bot had done it.  They said perhaps some keyword had triggered it, but told me that whatever I did, not to relist the item, because it could result in a permanent suspension.  I asked what keyword in the listing or title would trigger a but to make such a take down, but they could not tell me.

Naturally, not being able to sell troll dolls seemed ridiculous (nothing the description sounded firearm related at all, 95% of it was my canned listing text used on every listing).  So I kept pushing them, but they said they could do nothing, but gave  the number of a US based department to contact.  Naturally, they were closed already that day, so I called the next.

So I spoke to someone, who I believe was part of E-Bay's US-based safety team, and recapped what had happened.  They also couldn't really tell me anything new.  A bot had taken it down, they reviewed it and didn't see anything that should have triggered a takedown.  They said they would remove the strike from my account and have my suspension lifted.  But again, don't relist that item.

I pushed back on this and asked fo rher supervisor, as the explanations weren't satisfactory.  I then reviewed with her supervisor and she said that it could have been because my troll doll was unsafe, or part of a product recall.  I asked why this would trigger a firearm policy violation, which she then said because firearms are unsafe!

So apparently E-Bay thought anything unsafe is a firearm?  So I pushed more, and asked what product recall the item was a pat of (it was probably 20 years old or something), but she could not tell me.  I asked in what way the fuzzy hair doll was "unsafe" she said she didn't see anything unsafe about it.  I asked that if a bot took it down because it was unsafe or part of a product recall, there must be some criteria the bot uses to determine how an item is unsafe or has details of the recall, so surely she could look that up.

She said she could not and couldn't explain how the bots work.

So basically, no one at E-Bay could explain to me why my item was removed and I got a suspension, because my troll doll was a firearm policy violation.  And even after they said the strike would be removed and my account reinstated, my account wasn't working again until the afternoon of day 6 or a 7 day account suspension.

So all calling and having the strike removed on day 2 did, was reduce my punishment by 1.25 days.

It was a complete and total joke!

Perminate Link for Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2   Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2

This user has validated their user name. by: COVID-19

Mon May 23 16:08:04 2022

I too have a troll doll that I had been wanting to list. But now hearing MrFindIt's story, I will be listing it on other selling sites. Bots / AI / algorithms are stupid and out of control.

Perminate Link for Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2   Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2

by: Jeff12671 This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 24 01:54:15 2022

We have recently had a similar situation occur to one of our accounts as what happened to Super Geek. We've been selling over 20 years on Ebay and have multiple accounts. We're not hiding anything and we try to do everything by the book. One of our new smaller accounts got a restriction notice and we had to provide some organization identifying documents as well as invoices. We assumed since the account was fairly new it was just a routine security verification check. To our shock we got an email at 3am saying our account was permanently suspended and they also restricted two of our other accounts from selling. I called their trust and safety dept and got the usual spiel, nothing can done to reverse it and they won't give us any info as to why we were suspended although he did say it was not performance related. We are left completely bewildered on what could have caused it. My suspicion is they couldn't connect the dots on the verification procedure so they quickly just give up and suspended our account indefinitely. Their is nothing high risk that we are selling and I gave them everything they wanted, their is nothing we are hiding. The person I spoke too at T&S assured us it would only affect the one account in question but that's not true at all, 2 of other accounts got restricted due to their being ''associated'' with the suspended account. I'm not sure what to do now, I'm afraid to call them because I'm afraid it might trigger additional restrictions on our other accounts. This is ridiculous, we've spent 20 years building up our sales on Ebay. I'm not worried about any performance issues, we can handle that OK but what has us very nervous is all it takes is some not too bright people on the Ebay side who are misguided in their verification attempts or fail to do basic due diligence and wind up wrecking our accounts.  After this experience I don't have a lot of confidence the Ebay trust & safety people know what they are doing and these standard non-disclosure excuses I think is just a convenient way for them to cover up their incompetence and lack of effort. They should not be taking these kind of draconian actions without proper safeguards and checks and balances, otherwise they are imperiling the ability of good sellers to sell on Ebay.

Perminate Link for Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2   Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2

by: bpm This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 24 11:52:26 2022

This has just happened to me - account since 2001, selling antiques and collectibles since 2007, had a permanent lifetime ban for buying and selling yesterday due to a 'discrepancy' - unappealable, have no way to contact them on the phone now. This is my business and sole income. No idea why or what I'm going to do.

Perminate Link for Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2   Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue May 24 14:10:53 2022

Ways to contact Ebay.

When using the Automated Assistant / Chat box, type AGENT in the box and hit enter. You will then get more options so you can get to a real person.

https://community.ebay.com/t5/Selling/How-do-I-contact-
Customer-Support/m-p/32016431#M1783851

Managed
Payment Team
https://www.ebay.com/help/selling/getting-paid/getting-paid-it
ems-youve-sold/payments-hold?id=4816&&redirectedFrom=4155

https://twitter.com/askebay?lang=en

https://www.facebook.com/eBayForBusiness/

Perminate Link for Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2   Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue May 24 14:11:55 2022

Be VERY careful about doing internet searches for Ebay help numbers or links.  There are a bunch of thieves out there with scam sites set up to mimic Ebay and steal your information.

Perminate Link for Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2   Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2

by: bpm This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 25 11:37:54 2022

Thanks Marie, but those methods are how I contacted Ebay before the ban - none of them are available now I'm banned. Hopefully at some point they'll deign to give me the money of mine they're still holding. Basically, on Ebay as a seller you are at the same stage as an 18th century peasant on an estate in terms of rights - anytime, you can right out with no appeal or comeback. Even Amazon has some functioning Customer Service for this sort of thing.

Perminate Link for Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2   Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed May 25 12:23:00 2022

@bpm

When did they ban your account?  Before this happened was your payouts working as they were suppose to for you?  It could be they are waiting to see if you have any claims filed or Chargebacks filed.  IDK, I'm just guessing.

Perminate Link for Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2   Stumped by eBay Account Suspensions, Part 2

by: Jeff12671 This user has validated their user name.

Sat May 28 00:11:42 2022

I think their is more than enough anecdotal evidence to suggest that the problem with these suspensions is probably not with the sellers, these are long-term sellers selling plain vanilla products. I seriously doubt their is anything actually wrong with their accounts or they have suddenly presented a new risk to Ebay. I think it is much more likely is that you have people at Ebay vetting these sellers for trust and safety and they are dropping the ball or acting with cavalier incompetence. They probably don't understand properly or fully what they are reviewing. When they can't connect the dots instead of seeking more information which may easily explain any ''discrepancies'' they just give up quickly and assert the seller can't be verified and should be suspended indefinitely. If that's really the case that they placed one call to the buyer and she didn't pick up and they couldn't even leave a message or make additional attempts it just shows you what a lack of effort the Ebay validators are making. This episode demonstrates Ebay needs more safeguards and checks and balances in their trust and safety vetting system before they casually kick off long-term good sellers. I really think that their standard reply that they can't disclose the reasons for suspending sellers is often just subterfuge for their own incompetence.



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