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: Carol This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 4 17:02:39 2015

There must be more to this than meets the eye.  Ebay would have no reason to do this if the facts are as stated (stellar fb, TRS, NO problems).

As always, the ebay haters jumped on the bandwagon immediately, but only a few of the comments seem to ask whether there's more to the story.

I don't like some of ebay's policies, but in 18 years of selling, I've never run into a situation where I was penalized for absolutely no reason.  

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

by: Santini This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 4 18:02:59 2015

¿Does Not Compute - They say they're worried about the seller becoming overwhelmed. But doesn't ebay already tightly control the amount and timing of sellers transactions with their "Can't see me" search engine? Why limit the LISTINGS when the seller will never sell more than they are ALLOWED to? Maybe they want to save the seller the trouble and few cents per listing?

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

by: Theresa This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 4 19:47:31 2015

Sorry Carol, but you are dead wrong.  I have no hidden agendas and no reason to lie about my ebay history.  I have had over 20,000 transactions with ebay (15K actual feedback) over the past 10 years.  I worked my way up to gold powerseller and stayed there for 5 years.  I was also TRS from the time that title became available.  About 2.5 years ago, my sales plummeted - the rolling blackouts were killing me.  And if it matters, I always ship items within 24 hours of printing labels.

Online selling is my full-time gig and I could no longer pay my bills so I decided to give Amazon a try. Amazon also has it's problems, but I do make money there.  However, I have a ton of collectibles and other stuff that is not Amazon appropriate so last month I decided to ramp up my eBay presence.(I kept a basic store open during the last 2.5 years but had 100 or less active listings at any given time. FYI - I had a grand total of 88 sales in 2014.) So I was listing away when the system notified me that I had reached my selling limit.  Whoa.  

At the risk of sounding arrogant, if my stellar record with ebay doesn't qualify for the red carpet treatment, then I don't know who does (except for the enterprise sellers, of course).  I despise eBay and their entire idiotic management team.

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

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 4 20:46:34 2015

@Theresa  Well said. I could easily give the same story as you have, but with double that amount of feedback and almost double in years.
Ebay has done its best to rid itself of American sellers. If its sales and its stock tank, it has no one but its choice of poor management and programmers to blame.  

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

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 4 23:06:05 2015

Sorry but ebay does not deserve the benefit of the doubt. If there is a complaint about ebay I believe it until its proven wrong.

Funny thing is, they never prove it wrong instead prove it right 10 fold

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

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

Wed Aug 5 00:16:00 2015

As usual, ebay picks the winners and losers.. While we talk about the injustices that ebay's wrath did to this seller, Ina posted that ebay has a invitation promotion only for its 'very best sellers'... Well ebay, what about us and other sellers that should be included in your 'ony the very best list'!

Instead of having a level playing field for all sellers, many of which are really struggling because of the lack of buyers, search visibility and sales, ebay decides who will get free listings and who will not... Pizz poor way to run a company and horrendous way to treat your customers!

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

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Wed Aug 5 00:49:57 2015

The fact is, relative to Amazon, eBay's stock has tanked ...

AMZN ~$531; PYPL ~$39; EBAY ~$28—LOL ...

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent, the unscrupulous, and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid … http://bit.ly/11F2eas

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

This user has validated their user name. by: IDKwhoIare

Wed Aug 5 06:27:13 2015

Some years ago I ran across a dozen vintage Coco Chanel bracelets (OSS) and put a couple up for auction in the fall.  The bids went crazy and I found the price point I wanted to use for BIN in the store and put the rest up.  Ebay shut them down and I was told similar nonsense by eBay.  I made too much too fast on the sales and I could re-list them only if I limited the quantity to 1 sale per month.  Needless to say I was less than pleased and argued my case against that flawed logic.  I was eventually told that while Chanel could not deny that the bracelets were genuine, they did not want so many vintage items available and that as far as eBay was concerned if I wanted to sell any of them at all that I would accept the 1 per month limit. I told my store 'adviser' (remember those?) that it did not make any sense to penalize me for finding a wildly popular item, that Chanel should have no voice in vintage items and I might as well shut the store down.  He back-pedaled a little and told me what a wonderful seller I was, etc and then asked me what monthly sales figure would make me happy.  I gave him a number.  

From that day forward I made that amount and no more. Never able to grow beyond it, no matter what I did, and I knew it was not my items nor my pictures nor my business practices.  I never had to change what I did to meet TRS status...I was doing all that & more before eBay decided to encourage it.  I knew about limits years before the rumors began about rolling blackouts, being throttled etc.  Knew that eBay would throw me under the bus if a big company like Chanel asked.  Saw the writing on the wall when they began dealing with the big box guys.  Not even going to address the Chinese.

Hate ebay? Not particularly. Know what they are? You betcha.

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

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Aug 5 07:10:33 2015

Carol says "As always, the ebay haters jumped on the bandwagon immediately"

Will you PLEASE tell me what there is to like about this egregious, unethical, poorly run company? And, do you actually read of the experiences that sellers are having on eBay on this blog or elsewhere?  Do you think sellers are simply making these stories up?

I don't actually know where folks like yourself who occasionally come here and refer to people with legitimate complaints as "haters" come from, but I would love to know. And please do tell us why eBay is worthy of love.  Moreover, please tell us why selling limits are a good thing and why a seller should not be allowed to grow his business on eBay when his/her feedback is 100%, DSR metrics are stellar and he/she has been on the site with a stellar record for over 10 years.

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

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Wed Aug 5 08:27:11 2015

@Rexford

Simple, they're people who haven't had a problem with their particular venue (yet) and lack the imagination to put themselves in another's place.

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

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 5 08:54:46 2015

@mcposty

Your assertion that eBay "no longer deserves the benefit of the doubt" is Spot On. [mis-]management is determined to Rub Your Nose in every insult they can poop out. Right now I'm under "selling limits."  I can "only" list ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY items for a combined total of $31,000!

Now, given eBay's Hiss Poor sell-thru, I can only DREAM of selling that much in a month. So, why the ridiculous "limits" - which in fact have been RAISED substantially but not REMOVED?

I can only assume that they want to constantly remind me that I'm a "bad seller" who's "making noise!"    

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

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 5 08:58:31 2015

@Rexford

eBay is a biz. They wouldn't be "worthy of love" even if they were to provide the service and value they promise. In that case, they'd earn my RESPECT and my patronage.

But, of course they provide neither so they GET neither from this quarter.

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

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 5 09:03:10 2015

@Frank F

eBay's FAILURE [a recurrent theme!] to treat sellers with similar performance, as measured by any OBJECTIVE set of metrics, in an equitable fashion, doubtless violates many federal laws, including Restraint of Trade."Picking winners and losers" certainly meets that definition.

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

by: Theresa This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 5 09:19:41 2015

@RKTOYS Great comment!

FYI I have been reading and posting on eCommerceBytes almost since their inception, but have been a silent participant the past couple of years because I wasn't very active on ebay and others covered my thoughts quite well.  Just wanted regular readers to know I am not an occasional drop-in.

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

This user has validated their user name. by: IDKwhoIare

Wed Aug 5 10:20:16 2015

@Rexford

Carol represents the other extreme. Doubt that she/they can answer those questions, doubt that she thinks about the truths in peoples' stories or comments...they make her uncomfortable & suspicious obviously.  Nothing wrong with a healthy dose of skepticism but it should always be applied with a wide brush, however that endangers the perception of safety in Status Quo for some people.  She/they are not questioning why the stories make her feel that way, she is redirecting her fears to place the suspicion on an individual...survival instincts in action. It takes the worry about what unknown, out of her control, factors might be affecting her off of her shoulders and clears the path for her to continue plugging away. It is likely that she has been oblivious to the limits that have been placed on her account and is one of those busily trying everything eBay suggests despite her instincts on their actual worth. Hopefully she is doing the amount of sales she needs to survive, if not thrive. Can't blame her/them for being oblivious or unscathed by eBay. Every ''hater'' was that at one time too. Hater is her/their label, not mine.  Of course this is my opinion, and as always, I could be wrong.

As for Carol herself - the fact that she feels because she's never run into this situation herself personally in 18 years therefore it never happened to anyone - puts her right in the Ignore Column for me. One cannot limit themselves in evaluating the world through such a narrow focus as one's own personal experience...one would then spend all their time re-inventing the wheel and have nothing useful to contribute to a community.

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

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Wed Aug 5 10:29:56 2015

(This sounds like a topic that Marie would know a lot about. I kept reading, thinking she'd pop-in and share her thoughts, but she seems to have fallen off the face of the earth. I hope she's well.)

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.

Wed Aug 5 11:15:54 2015

@Rexford:

> Carol says ''As always, the ebay haters jumped
> on the bandwagon immediately''
>
> Will you PLEASE tell me what there is to
> like about this egregious, unethical,
> poorly run company? And, do you actually read
> of the experiences that sellers are having on
> eBay on this blog or elsewhere?  Do you think
> sellers are simply making these stories up?

With all due respect (and not speaking for Carol here), I'm not sure that's the point she was making. What I took that comment to refer to was the... I don't know, six or seven, maybe, regular posters who are saying the same thing in every... single... topic... here.

I am not a huge fan of eBay myself, even though it helps to pay the bills. Their programming skills are shaky, their Customer Service is abysmal and their product planning defies belief.

[Rant Mode On]
But having said all that, it achieves nothing to glop up every single eBay conversation thread that arises in this forum with generic comments about how evil [insert name of eBay executive here] is and how the site is dying a slow death and so on and so forth. Yes, we kind of get that already. No, there is nothing we can do about it. Does your comment contribute something of substance to the topic at hand, as presented by the OP? Is it substantially different from your 62 previous posts in 62 previous topics? If [insert name of eBay executive here] is doing something illegal, can we at least (1) start a topic specifically addressing the illegality, (2) identify which law(s) are being violated, and (3) notify the proper authorities?
[Rant Mode Off]

Note that while I quoted Rexford above, that was just to show context. I am not singling out any one person here, nor do I think that any of you are making up grievances (I have read Philip Cohen's works on-line and he makes a strong case), but for pity's sake, people, can we please stop copy-and-pasting the same complaints into every single topic here, and instead move on to doing something concrete about booting out the offending executives and prosecuting whoever needs it?

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

by: brokentoys19 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 5 11:38:05 2015

LOL! "haters" Yea, now that all the conspiracy "theories" have been exposed as fact, they whip out another lame, invalid card from the same deck. (#5 on
The 25 Rules of Disinformation). Of course people should love being cheated and lied to.

People can see right through ebay's lies, the big ones, and the little.

Here, they set a trap then sprang it. They want the subscription revenue, but they don't want to (or cannot) provide the service. They used lies and trickery to achieve their ends. How does the OP's feedback and DSRs, defects etc compare to any certain big entities? (rhetoric question) It's just another case of big bully ebay victimizing the weak and helpless.

omg what's next? It's getting more ridiculous as a debunked TV preacher reminding you of doomsday and Hell when they need donations. That ebay bash is going to look like a snake-handler church revival.

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

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Wed Aug 5 11:51:16 2015

If the new ''selling limits'' are lower than the ''listing limits'' of having a store, does that mean that the seller is not receiving the all the benefits and full promised value of their store subscription?

If that's true, then I wonder:

-- Is the seller now entitled to a refund for the remaining months of their subscription?

-- Is the seller entitled to cancel their annual subscription agreement without penalty?

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

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Wed Aug 5 13:59:01 2015

Bear in mind that not all eBay shills are silly enough to post from their office cubicle computers; a few will be smart enough (or paid) to post from home ...

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent, the unscrupulous, and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid … http://bit.ly/11F2eas

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