Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Aug 4 2015 00:30:53

eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits

By: Ina Steiner

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The issue of seller limits has raised its head again. A Top Rated Powerseller said she received limits on her account and was absolutely astounded - especially because she pays the company hundreds of dollars a month in extra fees for an Anchor Store on eBay.

While we've been writing about seller limits since 2011, it was late last year that the issue really erupted after an eBay employee published an in-house document that showed eBay had "hidden" limits on seller accounts - something the company had previously denied.

In this recent case, eBay's email to the seller did not point to any problem with her account - rather, it said it was limiting her ability to list on the site in order to help her:

"This message is to notify you that in order to assist you in building a strong foundation for future transactions on eBay, we have placed a selling limit for your listing activity. These limits are not in place as a consequence, rather as a preventative measure to help our seller's keep from becoming overwhelmed with large increases in account activity."

Interestingly, we found a recent post on an industry board where eBay sent a similar email to a seller, but did point out problems with that seller's account: "While reviewing your account, we noticed a recent increase in buyer complaints and in your defect rate. To meet the standards required to sell on eBay, you need to limit the amount of buyer complaints on your account."

So in some cases, the limits arise as the result of some account issues - but not in all cases.

When the Top-Rated Gold Powerseller called to speak to a Customer Service Rep about raising the limits, she said, "He cared nothing about my protest that we still are expected to pay the full lump sum Anchor store fee but could not get the most out of it by increasing our inventory and thus our sales."

Ironically, eBay is running a month-long promotion in August in which it is giving sellers double the amount of free listings for their eBay Stores, as we note in Tuesday's Newsflash.

We'll have more on this in Tuesday's Newsflash newsletter - let us know what you think.

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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits   eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits

by: flybuy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 4 09:42:48 2015

This is just another reason why sellers should not get overly dependent on Ebay. Either use the other selling sites like Etsy, Ecrater, etc. Use twitter, IG and FB to advertise your items. I started selling on Etsy because of all the nightmare stories about Ebay especially the ones about people who relied on Ebay for their only income.  

Perminate Link for eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits   eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Tue Aug 4 09:58:55 2015

I guess that is one way to increase visibility for some sellers - limit the listings of other sellers.

Kind of like income re-distribution. Sheesh!


Was OP competition for Valet?

Perminate Link for eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits   eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 4 10:23:12 2015

Wow! eBay ONCE again interfering in issues they have no business doing so? Say it isnt so!

LMAO - is there ANY part of eBay that isnt a lie, a sham or a con?

Of course eBay SWORE IN COURT "eBay simply “provides the
venue for the sale [of goods] and support for the transaction[s].”13 (Tiffany, 576 F.Supp. 2d at 475.)"

Todays goal (and maybe others should consider it too) write to Tiffany and ask them that in light of all the interferences that eBay provides .... this statement no longer holds true - reopen the case against eBay!
 

Perminate Link for eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits   eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits

This user has validated their user name. by: Bidonmine

Tue Aug 4 10:36:26 2015

Amazon does have similar restrictions when an account increases activity faster than the algorithms say they should. HOWEVER, Amazon will email you for certain proofs and then lift the restrictions. I have had this happen twice and both times I sent the requested proofs and my account was back on track in just a few days.

I had a limit placed on my account on Ebay once due to going from 100k to 500k in sales in just three months. by the time they put the restriction on I had sold everything I had purchased from a surplus dealer and was back to my 100k (They never asked for any proofs).

Perminate Link for eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits   eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 4 10:43:18 2015

I'd be willing to bet the bank that there is a whole lot more to this story than the OP is letting on.

I just can't buy the woe is me stuff.  

I had a neighbor who had the same thing happen to her.  100 per cent, carrot jumper, 8000 listings. Got one of those we have restricted your account for you safety crap letters.  When the truth finally came out she had had a email fight thru Ebay messages and the language and threats were really really out of hand. The recipient of these emails went to the police. Bottom line Ebay restricted her.  She did finally learn to keep her mouth shut.

So until the full story is told the woe is me doesn't fly.

Perminate Link for eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits   eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Aug 4 10:59:52 2015

Basset, that is EXACTLY why this is done.

Perminate Link for eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits   eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits

by: a_c_green This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 4 11:10:13 2015

> I'd be willing to bet the bank that there is a
> whole lot more to this story than the OP is letting on.

I was thinking similar thoughts but for completely different reasons: the grammatical errors in the message gave me the impression that it might actually have been a phishing attempt:

> These limits are not in place as a consequence, rather
> as a preventative measure

The word ''but'' is missing following the comma, and it's ''preventive,'' not ''preventative,'' unless perhaps you're into ''preventation,'' whatever that is. :-)

> to help our seller's keep from becoming overwhelmed
> with large increases in account activity.''

Obviously, that should be ''sellers,'' not ''seller's,'' at which point I began to wonder whether the freaked-out recipient was going to be invited to log into his or her account via a convenient malicious link at the bottom of the email.

I know that the OP called Customer Service, but of course their clueless and disinterested response does not in itself prove that the limit was ever real in the first place. Can the OP confirm that there really is a selling limit on the account?

Perminate Link for eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits   eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits

This user has validated their user name. by: FEEbay

Tue Aug 4 11:13:48 2015

We had an account where too many buyers opened up SNAD cases so they could get the free return shipping label from Ebay to return the item
We fell below the vaunted (5% defect rate, and Ebay cut our selling limits from 3 million/1500 items per month- to $67,000/225 items per month! Now, just how does this benefit anybody?? It took 3 months of selling cheap accessories just to get back above standard! This company is just plain dumb. They will ALWAYS do the wrong thing, even if it costs THEM money!

Perminate Link for eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits   eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits

by: bb6 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 4 11:28:17 2015

Simple solution. Hang up and call again. Not every rep knows what the hell they are talking about. Call back and get your limits raised. I have an achor store and they ask you a couple of questions.  I talked to the person and got my limits raised up another 50,00. Its not hard if she has a good track record like the lady says she does. They do give you the "Its to protect people from coming online, listing a million things overnight and not being able to handle the orders."

Typical ebay and their blanket rules that may be aimed at 10% of sellers but has to be used against 100% of them.

Perminate Link for eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits   eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits

by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 4 11:30:20 2015

"Helping you with too many sales"

when has that ever happened?

If ebay is still your only sales channel you are as insane as they are.

Perminate Link for eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits   eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits

by: Frank Abagnale This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 4 11:36:13 2015

@foolguy

I hate you because I wish I was smart enough to come up with that moniker. And you can put your comment in the Ecommercebytes Hall of Fame in the Comments category.

Perminate Link for eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits   eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits

by: cellular-seller This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 4 11:37:34 2015

Many categories have items that are prone to buyer issues. What is pathetic about these selling restrictions is that ANY unscrupulous seller can easily circumvent these ridiculous restrictions by selling a vast array of low priced items at cost to dilute the impact of items prone to buyer complaints. EBay is spending too much energy on silliness and not on enhancing the buyer experience.   The ONLY important issue for eBay should be: Would you buy from this seller again. Are you satisfied with eBay?

Perminate Link for eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits   eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits

by: Cyclestripper This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 4 11:38:35 2015

My first reaction is that she is selling something that a large retailer is selling as well on ebay. Ebay has to be concerned that it may not meet it's obligations to large sellers with which it has a contract.  

Perminate Link for eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits   eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Aug 4 11:42:30 2015

I would cancel the Anchor Store and open a Basic one.

They'll be calling and asking why.

I don't have any limits at the present time and have never had any in the past, hoping not to get any in the future.

Perminate Link for eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits   eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits

by: minnie This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 4 11:45:01 2015

I had a premium store, and became restricted due to too many cancelled transactions where buyer was fully refunded.  ebay still charged me for the premium store all the while until a few months before my yearly renewal.  They downgraded me to a basic monthly store.  Meanwhile, I am plugging along with a limit of 10 items per month.  Finally, June eval and I am now Above Standard, but still limited to 10 items.  OK.  I'll wait another month and see what happens.  July eval and still restricted.  Decided to call CS in the morning.  Voila!  Restriction now 165 items per month...and get this, I am now a Power Seller.  Haven't been one in such a LONG time!

Perminate Link for eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits   eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits

by: Junkyardog This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 4 11:49:53 2015

I resell used car parts. My $180.00 per day sales used to be $250.00 till I called, twice, lost 20% and then 10% more.
They must think that the profit off $180.00 a day including free shipping is plenty.
I tell my friends I make $100.00 per hour working for ebay! Only catch is I only get 15 minuets work a day.
Hardest part of the job is trying to figure out what a part is worth as the items that show up in search are only a fraction of what's available and are usually the higher priced items.
Phone search is much worse, they game it twice as bad as desktop. The local self serve salvage yard used to ban smart phones as they gave an unfair advantage to resellers like me. Not anymore as the phone results will make you think the item is worth 25 to 100% more than the truth.
I choose the wrong business model. Low prices will get you low sales. Markdown manager only gives away profit as you can't go past your sales limit.
They figure higher price is higher quality...their doing you a favor hiding the cheaper priced items.

Perminate Link for eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits   eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits

by: JH Hand This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Aug 4 11:52:18 2015

Been there.  About 1 to 2 years ago eBay cut back on my selling limits.  When I called them I was told, and I quote, ''I was selling too much and needed to cut back''  
Absolutely made no sense to me.  Since then they have slowly raised my limits but not up to what I had been posting in the past.  My answer was to upgrade my Amazon listings and sales.  I have continued to do so.  I only list certain items on eBay now.  Some current items that are too large for FBA Amazon and the stuff that did not sell on Amazon.  
I really think that it is an excuse to limit the usage of their computer space.  They started doing this about the same time that they started using more and larger pictures.  
I really think that it is an available space problem.  
Any other ideas??

Perminate Link for eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits   eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits

by: JQ This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 4 12:25:42 2015

I have seen the same pattern play out several different months at my own Ebay store. When I am doing well on Ebay for the month I have learned I can count on a very slow finish to the month. I assume this is due to the secret selling limits placed on my account. (I have no selling limit displayed and when I called Ebay I was told there were no selling limits placed on my account.)

Once I get near the secret selling limit my inventory goes into the ~90% suppression group and sales practically disappear except from those few coming from regular clients who bypass Cassini by making my store one of their "favorites."

I sold more the first 36-hours of August then I sold the final 9 days of July due to this pattern. When I saw how many sales I was making the first few weeks of July I told my wife I expected the last week to be dead. That is exactly what happened. Sales dropped by about 80% and stayed at that life-support level until August 1st, when suddenly they returned to normal. No change in inventory. No change in prices. The only variable was the level of exposure Ebay had decided to allot my items.

This policy just kills any desire on my part to attempt to grow my business on Ebay. Each month I focus more and more of my time on Amazon and Bonanza where my sales have grown considerably over the last two years and where I seem to have more control over my own ability to succeed or fail as a seller. In 2013 Ebay accounted for 87% of my e-commerce revenue. Now it is under 70%.  

Perminate Link for eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits   eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits

This user has validated their user name. by: thehosst

Tue Aug 4 12:29:20 2015

The most ridiculous system ever, Amazon and the other marketplaces do everything they can to make you sell more, eBay does everything they can to limit you, attack you and get you out of business. In the best case scenario they let someone in the overseas team to decide for the limit and faith our your account.  

Perminate Link for eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits   eBay Continues Practice of Seller Limits

by: thebobman This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 4 12:38:22 2015

>Junkyardog

You sound like me, but my "scrap yard" is a computer junkyard, not a car one. I get obsolete computer parts, dictation & telecom and average about $250/day between AZ and ebay. They usually let me have stuff for about 20% of what I can sell it for since a lot of time its missing parts, defective or just doesn't sell. Profit is about 35-40% of gross sales, so its a decent niche. I have about 900 items on AZ and 350 on ebay. If you sell in my categories and have over $400/mo in sales, a store is cheaper than the straight 10% fee.

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