Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Fri May 4 2012 15:29:51

eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect

By: Ina Steiner

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A longtime autograph seller said eBay suspended some of his auctions on Thursday because they contained items bearing the signature of Junior Seau, a football player who died on Wednesday. The notification he received from eBay stated:

"Due to the tragic death of Junior Seau, eBay has temporarily suspended the 1 & 3-day listing formats for items that bear his signature. Please understand that this action is out of respect for Mr. Seau as well as the for safety and integrity of our members who wish to purchase items that include his authentic autograph."



The seller said he had never had any listings removed for this reason before. he said, "This opens eBay up to all kinds of questions, such as:

1) Why only 1 and 3 day listings? ANY active listing with Buy It Now is different than a 1 or 3 day auction?

2) When does the "respect" period end exactly?

3) Where in eBay's policies is this stated?

4) Which celebrity deaths does this apparently new policy apply to? Only those that die unexpectedly? Only those of a certain stature?

5) Does eBay plan to take action against BUYERS who bought up previously listed Seau autographs from sellers who were unable to end or revise their listings fast enough once the news broke?"

There are similar reports of eBay suspending Junior Seau auctions on sports blogs and forums, including sellers whose items were certified. The EcommerceBytes reader's autographed Junior Seau items do not appear to fall under eBay's offensive materials policy, and there are plenty of listings for such items on eBay (presumably all of them longer than 3-day listings).

eBay is looking into the matter for us, we're awaiting their response. Let us know if you've encountered this or similar issues in dealing with celebrity items on eBay, and what you think of this particular decision.

Update 5/8/12: eBay spokesperson Amanda Christine Miller provided the following statement: "eBay did suspend some auctions for items related to Junior Seau. When a well-known person passes away, additional review is conducted to handle the increase in autographed items or memorabilia in order to ensure the safety of our members who wish to purchase items with an authentic autograph. Items that were suspended and found to be in compliance with our policies will be allowed to be relisted."




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect   eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect

This user has validated their user name. by: Roger Rabbit

Fri May 4 15:49:24 2012

What a crock of shite.

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect   eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Fri May 4 15:57:34 2012

Since this is an eBay decision made "out of respect" I assume sellers will be receiving credits for the listings eBay arbitrarily decided to take down.

Common sense would dictate refunds would be in order, as the listings were not taken down for violating any policy.

Refunding sellers would be the decent thing for eBay to do. Then again, eBay doing the decent thing when it comes to refunding fees without being forced to do so is not one of their strongest plays to date.

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by: memker This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 4 16:39:12 2012

stupid move eBay.

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

Fri May 4 16:52:36 2012

There's a whole lotta posturing going on here. I assure you that there's absolutely no way that this is being done ''out of respect'' for anyone... it's being done because eBay is hypersensitive about having their reputation tarnished even MORE than it already is.

Oh the horrors! What a terrible things for someone to be able to sell an authentic autograph or other legitimate memorabilia at top-dollar when the most loyal fans are most willing to compete for something they TRULY want.

It's absolute insanity! It's ONLY so that eBay can parade around with false humility... in the hopes that everyone will get the idea that eBay is a company who ''cares''.

''Look at us! Aren't we great?'' ~ Bullspit!

I can say with a great deal of certainty that Junior Seau's family, friends, and former teammates all have a great many other things that are weighing heavily on their hearts... and whether or not eBay allows collectors to buy his collectibles is the LAST thing that's on their mind (if it even ranks at all!)

eBay is so flicking transparent and self-serving with this obvious P.R. stunt.

eBay execs and policy-makers make a BIG SHOW about collectively bowing their heads in mock respect for the deceased... but if you look closely, beyond the CROCODILE TEARS... you can see that they all have a beaming ear-to-ear smile.

Game over, eBay. We're on to you.

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect   eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect

by: fvh This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 4 17:03:40 2012

I won't comment regarding eBay's motivation to maintain the integrity of their members. At the risk of revealing my ignorance, I don't understand the differing effect events such as death has on 1- and 3-day collectible auctions vs other formats or the subsequent effect on eBay members. (huh?)

Regarding showing respect for the deceased, my opinion is that it would be one thing for eBay to suggest to sellers that they pause their listings, quite another to do so for them. Bowing one's head in a moment of silence is an entirely personal act I wouldn't appreciate eBay forcing me into performing. Furthermore, eBay taking this upon themselves on the sellers' behalfs(?) only serves to render the gesture meaningless.

What does eBay care/know about showing others respect anyway?
About as much as I know why the ''safety and integrity of our members who wish to purchase items that include his authentic autograph'' are at risk.

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect   eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Fri May 4 17:04:59 2012

To make up for it there is a discount for "Jesus on toast" auctions.

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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 4 17:08:54 2012

Something "new" every day.  Ebay never had respect for any other famous person who died suddenly!

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by: fvh This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 4 17:16:51 2012

Right on target, Anonymous Annie.

Utterly disgusting.

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect   eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect

by: fvh This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 4 17:24:47 2012

Throw me a discount on ''Mother Theresa in My Mac 'n' Cheese'' listings and I'll consider you  forgiven eBay.

Ha! You know how to lighten my mood Gadfly.

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect   eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Fri May 4 17:28:16 2012

Speechless, I am.
Dumbfounded, I be.

Whatever eBay is smoking,
A trip to the de-tox unit is in the (trading) cards.

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect   eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect

This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Fri May 4 18:02:17 2012

Hilarious... Why didn't they do the same thing when Whitney Houston passed away?

I sold every single Whitney item I had in stock in one day when she passed. You think flea markets around the country are going to tell their sports memorabilia dealers to put the Junior Seau merch away this weekend?

Last time I checked, eBay was supposed to be a marketplace, not some socio-political bandstand.

eBay needs less interference and more business.

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect   eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect

This user has validated their user name. by: TrentDep

Fri May 4 18:37:44 2012

@ Spartacus


''I sold every single Whitney item I had in stock in one day when she passed.''

I think this kind of points out the wisdom in this action... While it might be good for business to take advantage of a sudden influx of public ''concern'' and desire for items associated with a tragedy, it certainly creates an environment rich for buyer's remorse and fraud.

One & Three day should not be a mystery to any of us - these short listings are clearly designed to take advantage of the rush to buy items... Does an owner have the right to do this - sure - a little tacky, but it's their business...  Does eBay have a right to disassociate itself with this kind of activity - absolutely.

Buy It Now prices are just that - while they may be inflated initially, they will most certainly not have the same impact as short lived auctions.

We may have ~ concerns ~ regarding eBays's motivations, but that aside - why can we not at least consider that it was the correct thing to do?...  This is clearly going to cost them money - both in refunding listing costs, and in FVFs... Sure - they will likely realize that value tenfold in PR, but so what?...  Can it not be both beneficial, AND the right thing to do?...

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect   eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect

by: trickstunt This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 4 19:07:24 2012

Maybe it helps to deflect away from the paypal George Zimmerman donations account (both the 'rogue' site and now the official one his new attorney opened) and the support George Zimmerman items on ebay? I guess ebay and paypal don't have respect for those hoody wearing punk types, especially when there are dollar signs in their eyes.

World Class Operation!

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect   eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect

This user has validated their user name. by: Stockmiser

Fri May 4 19:10:47 2012

I don't think it's "tacky" or "disrespectful" to sell memorabilia when someone famous dies.  FANS are the customers.

We are sellers, and ebay is an ecommerce site.  Selling what is trending is the name of the game.

What makes Seau so special?  Personally, I had no idea who he was.  

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect   eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect

This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Fri May 4 20:08:23 2012

@TrentDep,

A millionaire athelete who chooses to take his own life is by no means a ''tragedy'' in a world where millions of children go hungry every day. Starving children have no choices, Seau had a choice.

eBay is a commercial business entity, their motive is to profit from people selling merchandise on their site. They are not a social indicator and should not get involved past their role of marketplace. It's completely inappropriate.

The collectibles market is dictated by trends and impulse buys but you can't hold a consumers hands when they are making impluse buys. If that were the fact, where was eBay when the Steven Strasburg rookie card auctioned last year was flying past the $10,000 mark before he got injured? I'm sure the sucker who bought that card regrets it every day.

I think most would agree that eBay is the most unethical company in the world. So, suddenly they've grown a conscience?

eBay has become far too meddlesome in all the wrong ways.




 

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

Fri May 4 21:10:13 2012

If preventing the possibility of fraud was eBay's concern, then they should just SAY SO... name-names, and take OUT those that are dealing in counterfeit goods.

There's no need for eBay to couch this under the guise of being ''respectful''. It's so PHONEY on the face of it... the whole thing is absurdly laughable.

Unless, of course, such a knee-jerk reaction is symptomatic of eBay's incompetence and inability to get rid of fraud... as well as their unwillingness to make-good on any fraudulent sales that they were unable to prevent.

Things must be worse than we suspect... on all fronts.

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect   eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect

This user has validated their user name. by: TrentDep

Fri May 4 21:17:24 2012

@ Spartacus

"eBay is a commercial business entity, their motive is to profit from people selling merchandise on their site. They are not a social indicator and should not get involved past their role of marketplace. It's completely inappropriate."

Huh?...  How do *you* dictate what is appropriate?... eBay is a publicly traded company - other than legal restrictions ( yes - I know - there is plenty of evidence that they step way over the line in that regard, but we are not working on that issue at the moment )their board of directors, executive officers, and ultimately shareholders - decide what is appropriate...

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect   eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect

This user has validated their user name. by: TrentDep

Fri May 4 21:30:11 2012

Annie...

I don't purport to understand eBay's motives nor defend how they approached this, but the fact is that sports memorabilia in general is rampant with fraud.

Given the current environment specific to this athlete's memorabilia, I think it was prudent for eBay to slow things down a bit...

Yes, it's buyer beware, and plenty of fakes are likely to be sold using BIN listings, but - what is wrong with eBay recognizing unusual circumstances that are likely to result in problems, and addressing that?...  
 

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect   eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect

This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Fri May 4 21:31:11 2012

@TrentDep,
Please don't turn this into a discussion of semantics. I tire very easily of people not unlike yourself who fixate on one word or phrase and turn everything into a personal issue.

That is why I don't venture into the eBay discuccion forums.

I have my opinion, you have yours, let's leave it that way. End of story.

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect   eBay Suspends Certain Auctions for Junior Seau Out of Respect

by: bb6 This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 4 21:56:54 2012

This is garbage. Being in the collectibles market, I know the best time to sell something is when someone dies. Most of dead peoples items don't sell until they die. There is only a 1-2 day window to sell those items before the prices go back to nonexhistant.  

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