eBay will no longer restrict the accounts of sellers who list banned books on its marketplace, though it will continue to remove listings of books it finds violate its Offensive Materials policy.
eBay did not widely publicize the change in policy that took effect on Thursday. Rather, it came in response to a thread on its discussion boards started by a seller who said eBay restricted his account for selling books by Dr. Seuss, a book about knives, and an OJ Simpson title.
The seller wrote in part: "As a seller of 50 + thousand titles at any given moment, we cannot avoid listing things that are banned. In 3 months, I've had my account restricted with a suspension 7 times now for listings "hateful" items, and we cannot get a list of items to not list from eBay. I cannot find anybody at eBay that can give me a list of things that I can't list."
Like the original poster, sellers responding to him on the thread wondered why eBay had no list of titles that it banned and most felt it was unfair to restrict sellers accounts for listing items they didn't know were banned.
A moderator initially advised sellers to look through eBay's help pages
for prohibited items as well as to do their own research before listing, but sellers said that wasn't satisfactory advice.
We have shared this topic with our Policy Team and they have a big update they wanted to share with everyone:
"We heard your feedback, and we're making changes to this immediately.
Starting Thursday, November 17, if you have a book removed under eBay's Offensive Materials policy, there will not be a selling restriction.
We don't want you to have to try to figure out which book titles could be considered offensive or not, or worry about a selling restriction because of this. If we find a book title we don't allow, we will remove it and let you know, with no penalties or further action needed on your part.
We appreciate your feedback on this issue which helps us continue to make eBay a trusted and inclusive environment."
Sellers praised the new policy, though as of the evening of November 19th, the original poster did not return to provide an update on his situation.