Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Dec 8 2014 13:43:45

Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

By: Ina Steiner

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Despite eBay's denial of hidden seller limits last year, many sellers reported evidence of such a practice. Last week, an eBay employee revealed (seemingly inadvertently) that secret limits do indeed exist, resulting in throttled sales no matter how much a seller tries to grow.

We had raised the issue with eBay last December after a longtime Platinum-level seller had tried unsuccessfully to increase his business on eBay. He had hired more employees, increased inventory and listings, but couldn't grow beyond his current sales. He then stumbled upon the fact that eBay had placed limits on his account without his knowing.

I had reached out to eBay at the time and asked, "Why does eBay show seller limits to only some sellers? For those who want to learn what their seller limits are if they are not visible in My eBay, how do they request them to be shown? And how do they request higher limits?"

Spokesperson Ryan Moore had told EcommerceBytes last December, "If a seller has a limit, he/she will find it in My eBay. Some of the criteria that goes into how a limit is set: Selling performance of sellers; Tenure/ length of selling history; Desired listing volume. A seller can request higher limits by 1) Navigating to the Increase Selling Limits option in My eBay and/or contacting CS directly."

But last week, an eBay employee named Jarvis with the User ID jaknox@ebay.com listed nine practices in which eBay limits sellers accounts, including "silent limits" that are hidden from sellers.

There are several types of limits that sellers may experience when selling, he wrote:

- Site Wide Limits (SWL, referred to as "selling limits")
- Silent limits (limits placed on an account that can't be seen by the seller)
- URC limits (User Risk Code, limits reduced or placed on an account due to concerns)
- Category limits
- BTAC limits (Building Trust by Reducing Counterfeits, for branded items)
- Hot item limits
- Multi-Account limits
- Velocity limits
- feedback limits

The post went viral, with sellers emailing EcommerceBytes, many expressing outrage at the secrecy of eBay's practices.

One seller believes the reason for the limits is because there are too few buyers, no advertising, and far too many sellers.

And, she said, "What good is complying w/ a KNOWN Policy and rating levels, when there is ANOTHER, "hidden" parameter that you may/may not be failing in? And what of a Seller who invests in, say, $10,000 in inventory, begins to list those items, only to be told, "You are limited to listing X items". What is THAT Seller to do when planning a business strategy?"

Another Platinum-level seller who raised the issue of eBay throttling last year wrote to me again after reading Jarvis's thread on the eBay boards. He believes the limits are in place on smaller seller accounts so eBay can meet their promises to large box sellers of guaranteed sell through rates.

"Cassini is not the groundbreaking each engine we were all led to believe it would be," he wrote. "It is simply a control mechanism for eBay. Sellers have been spent way too much time trying to figure it out - which again is what eBay wants you to be focusing on - when really it makes no difference what you do. eBay is in control."  

Another seller noted the seller limits policy cited by the eBay employee last week are different from eBay's policy published on its website.

I asked eBay last night for an update, stay tuned to Newsflash for more on this breaking story.

Comments (164) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales   Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

by: Harriet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 9 15:17:26 2014

"we are a venue, we don't have anything to do with the transaction other than to post it and advertise your item"

HaHaHa-- VERY FUNNY!!! They have their hands all over every item listed, manipulating it from the very beginning to the very end and beyond.  Every aspect of the process is micromanaged by eBay.

Perminate Link for Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales   Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

by: extremetm This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 9 15:30:34 2014

6 pages of complaints (including mine) and it means nothing. In a week or so this will be yesterday's news and the criminals running ebay will continue.

I just called a well known law firm and was told they have no interest in a class action for this. At least I tried.

It seems the govt. doesn't care, the lawyers don't care and nobody cares. I would think with the millions of users on ebay, one lousy lawyer would take notice and do something.

But all that's ever done is forum and blog posts complaining about it. ebay knows that, and that is why they keep doing their filthy business with impunity.

The anger and hatred I have towards this company is beyond words.  

Perminate Link for Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales   Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Dec 9 16:10:15 2014

I think these selling limits started in 2007. Prior to that, I was selling about 95% of what I listed on eBay. Then comes 2007, and I was lucky to get a sale a week.  

Perminate Link for Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales   Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

by: rhawk This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 9 16:13:24 2014

@ extremetm.....  Yes, it will probably continue.  The only way to avoid it is to abandon ebay altogether.

Perminate Link for Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales   Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

by: booklover27 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 9 16:15:14 2014

Hello everyone: here is the link to report this thieving, lying and destructive company:  ftc.gov/complaint.  It's about my fiftieth complaint.  You can call it in too.  Amazon.com is next because they are the most insidious company out there.  Both are breaking every single fairness in business act and destroying middle America.  Fight back!

ftc.gov/complaint

Perminate Link for Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales   Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles
Web Site

Tue Dec 9 16:18:07 2014

I'm not surprise. If other sites manipulates views and little stuff. eBay can technically control everything. Lets not forget what happened with Google months ago.  

Perminate Link for Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales   Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

by: ebayisscrewed This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 9 16:36:28 2014

etailer


we are in the exact same boat and the exact same scenario -

Interestingly all of the information we though we were providing to our TSAM about our business and inventory channels to help grow our business on eBay was used by the eBay Sales Department as leads.   They went after our manufacturers and got them selling on eBay.   This company really is corrupt.

Perminate Link for Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales   Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Dec 9 17:20:09 2014

@Ming, I am the poster with anti-ebay groups on FB. You can contact me at that website (click the URL above my post here that says Web Site).

Perminate Link for Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales   Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

by: sailormoon This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 9 17:26:11 2014

Someone on the forums suggested that Jarvis is a bot. They were mostly joking but it's actually pretty plausible, and explains the irrelevant answers to many questions, as well as this slip up.

It would also be highly amusing if ebay's lack of transparency is what bit them in the ass - they created a question-answering forum bot, didn't tell anyone it was a bot so people would address it like a CS rep, and then it accidentally leaked info detailing ebay's lack of transparency.

Perminate Link for Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales   Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

by: Sorbet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 9 17:44:28 2014

@sailormoon

Poetic justice if that were found to be the case.

Perminate Link for Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales   Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

by: brokentoys19 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 9 17:49:12 2014

Jarvis?  J.A.R.V.I.S.

hmmm....


Just Another Romanian Vladuz Imitating Staff

rotflmao  

Perminate Link for Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales   Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Dec 9 18:01:45 2014

@sailormoon - Don't forget that Jarvis was the computer AI from Ironman.

Perminate Link for Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales   Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

by: AC_in_Mich This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 9 18:51:21 2014

well,"Jarvis" has only been answering forum posts for the last month or so, so who knows?

Perminate Link for Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales   Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

by: sailormoon This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 9 19:17:23 2014

Here are some of the other answers by Jarvis that sound like accidentally copy and paste of CS scripts. Don't these sound like CS scripts to you?

http://community.ebay.com/t5/Selling/I-m-being-openly-hara
ssed-by-a-buyer-and-ebay-s-done-nothing/m-p/23374624#M391099

This
one is also weird

http://community.ebay.com/t5/Selling/How-can-you-change-p
ackage-type-and-return-policy/qaq-p/23358312/comment-id/85767#M85767

Perminate Link for Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales   Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

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

Tue Dec 9 19:17:45 2014

I see Lyin' Ryan Moore has disappeared AGAIN.

Those who lie in the furtherance of a criminal conspiracy are co conspirators and can be criminally prosecuted.

Lyin' Ryan should get a good criminal attorney on retainer.

Perminate Link for Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales   Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

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

Tue Dec 9 19:26:34 2014

@Netwatch

Sorry, I don't do Facebook. Is there another avenue?

Perminate Link for Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales   Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

by: JackieBlue This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 9 20:35:56 2014

While I believe ''hidden limits'' may be true, I haven't seen any proof that this person really works for eBay.  Is this posted somewhere on eBay board?  Has this employee responded to requests for comments?  An employee verifying this information is junk until a 3rd party verifies their comments.  Curious, has anyone done a statistical (true statiscal, not just ''my sales are down'' ) analysis on eBay throttling?  Say, taking a select set of items from a Diamond seller and comparing to a TRS Plus seller?

Perminate Link for Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales   Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

by: JackieBlue This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 9 20:41:28 2014

Ok, I see the post on ebay now.  Wow, has been registered as an employee less than a month!

Perminate Link for Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales   Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

by: Baby Gurl This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 9 21:51:06 2014

We mourn the loss of the Titanic, and some lost their lives not believing it was in trouble and sinking. Think about this. We have some cheerleaders on FB groups that just won't believe this is anything at all. To me, it's just one more various serious sign that something is very rotten. In fact, the stink is starting to permeate the world.  

Perminate Link for Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales   Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

This user has validated their user name. by: LDS Brother

Tue Dec 9 22:31:12 2014

STOP THROTTLING MY SALES EBAY !!!!!!!!

I am Top Rated, I pay for UK exposure, I ship worldwide ! And my final prices during Christmas season are a joke !!!!

There is no possible way on this earth, your showing my items as they end NO WAY !!!!!

The prices I am fetching are worse than summer dead zone, and this is Christmas season !!!!

Each time I get a sale, I am SO PISSED !!!!!!

The final prices are abominable !

STOP SCREWING US SELLERS EBAY !!!!!

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