Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Jan 23 2013 21:59:33

eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay has been cracking down on sellers it believes are violating its duplicate listings policy, but some dupes are listed by eBay itself due to a glitch, according to sellers.

Last week, sellers began reporting eBay had suspended their accounts for 7 days due to policy violations. While buyers and sellers who are frustrated by search results filled with identical listings from the same sellers might be happy about that development, some of the sellers who were suspended say they never listed duplicate items and are victims of an eBay glitch.

A reader said, "Around January 12 or so a lot of sellers are being hit with having some of their listings removed as duplicates. Fact of the matter is they are not listing duplicates. Whatever software eBay is using to determine whether or not listings are duplicates has failed. In turn eBay has restricted sellers accounts for 7 days where they cannot sell."

Sellers have been discussing the issue on the eBay forums. One group says an eBay glitch caused some of their listings to be duplicated without their knowledge, an issue that has arisen in the past.

Another group says the listings eBay called duplicates were products for the same item but with differences, such as size or color. For example, a shoe seller who lost listing privileges for one week said, "I sell women's shoes - one shoe was a wide width, one was a medium.  The difference was listed in the item specifics and in the description. It was clearly advertised as different. After calling eBay and arguing with four people, what EBAY REALLY means is NOT a duplicate listing, but a duplicate Title and picture. So in translation for everyone, a Duplicate listing has NOTHING to do with your content, even though that is defined as part of the listing. The "listing" in this policy means "title and picture,"" he wrote

The crack down from eBay's Trust & Safety department comes as sellers continue to report Diamond powersellers listing the same duplicate items using multiple user accounts, which is against eBay policy.

In October, when discussing the issue of duplicate listings on eBay with spokesperson Johnna Hoff, I asked her about a Diamond seller who was listing duplicates across at least 4 of his User IDs. She would not respond to that specific issue. So I asked the seller directly, who acknowledged the dupes and told me he was "currently working on getting rid of duplicate listings."

A reader wrote this week to complain that eBay continues to allow Diamond sellers to list duplicates. "It's very frustrating as the whole electronics categories are flooded with sellers doing this including eBay's biggest seller."

Has eBay successfully dealt with duplicate listings in your categories, or do duplicate listings remain a problem on the site?




Comments (43) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch   eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch

by: Truk This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 23 23:06:42 2013

We were hit with two policy violation's two weeks ago
The listing's in question when listed were listed with the sell similar feature all had new photo's

These were used items so they were not identical but the same model

The photo's reverted back to the old listing's when listed so we cancelled both listing's loaded the new photo's again and it looked like the new photo's took to the listing's well by morning we had two policy violations

We got ebay to remove one violation but they won't remove the other one

Kinda left me scratching my head!

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch   eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Wed Jan 23 23:29:59 2013

Ebay cracks down on the sporadic and accidental duplicates but lets the big seller dupes run rampant. Easier to pick on the little guy just like the school yard bully. I know what you are going to say that it is computer generated but ebay CAN manually fix this but chooses not to.

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch   eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch

by: mjr55 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 23 23:34:39 2013

I guarantee this issue is the absolute worst on Motors parts and accessories....and they are all top-rated sellers selling with very small differences in price or the title in their listings.

Some of you complain about wondering if a buyer will find your item out of 500 results that come up. Try selling where an average search might bring up 25,000 listings....

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch   eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Wed Jan 23 23:42:27 2013

Only on ebay does ebay set up the victim and then blame the victim. Oh and then punish the victim.

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch   eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch

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

Wed Jan 23 23:55:45 2013

This isn't a new "glitch." It's been going on since 2004.

The other day, I accidentally found a couple of duplicate listings, ended them, and immediatelly called ebay.

The CSR I spoke with said the problem is longstanding in one form or another and indicated that it occurs most frequently with Scheduled Listings. She admitted photos revert to previous photos and that edits disappear and revert back.
She also indicated that the two duplicate listings were listed at midnight PST (I do not list at midnight Pacific Time) while the other relistings for the day had been listed several hours earlier.

I told her this happened on numerous occasions but that the last time it happened in the fall, the boys in T&S refused to remove the violations even though it was clear they were caused by a glitch.

Not only will ebafia edit your Scheduled Listings, they will often start them for you and not on the date you originally set up.

Ebafia will also often relist OOAK Sold Items resulting in major headaches for sellers.

Sellers with fewer than 100 listings can easily check listings daily to end anything that really is double listed.

But when a seller has several hundred listings, it's too burdensome and time consuming.

If T&S is to be thought of as the sheriff, the cattle rustlers, horse thieves, and bank robbers rule the town.

But then what we can expect from a bunch of middle school chimpanzees banging away on their keyboards locked away in rooms without phones?

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch   eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch

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

Thu Jan 24 00:44:05 2013

Now, seriously, be realistic; you can’t reasonably expect eBay’s poorly constructed “duplicate” finding algorithm to compare the whole of a listing’s details, even catalogue details, when it is so much simpler for them to compare only the main title text and/or the filename on the main graphic … sheesh …

And I see Ms Hoff is “unquoted” on the duplicate violations of a “diamond” seller; well, of course, such diamond sellers ride up the front of the bus, in the first class section, with all the attendant privileges; conversely, for their petty “violations” the little people get to ride in the gaol bus and pay relisting penalties … it’s all about maximising revenue … seems perfectly logical to me …

Clunk, clunk, clunk, clunk …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch   eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Jan 24 08:59:39 2013

Funny how we smaller sellers get no visibility from potential buyers, but eBay can swoop in on a duplicate like a heat seeking missile.

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch   eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 24 09:26:10 2013

I call and complain all the time about dupe listings in my categories ... they yak away to me on the phone, BS me, then do nothing, as usual.

Reporting does nothing either, its just a waste.

eBays Trust & Safety Dept is the worlds biggest joke. They hide like children in thier rooms, they refuse to talk directly to you (unless you threaten a law suit) and refuse to provide answers, proof or anything else when there is an issue - they are the crack addicts known as VERO, on steroids.

We all complain every day about the latest cr@p eBay pulls, however, Im no longer suprised.

Each and every day, whether its VERO, T&S, Dupes, hidden magical DSRs, one way feedbacks, scam buyers or anything else ...its always the same thing ... Johanna says some usless meaningless drivel, Rich Whatshisname swears something else thas also useless, and JD collects 16 million a year - most of that comming from the small to mid sellers he helps scam out of thier money by tilting the rules against them on purpose.

THAT is eBay 2013!  

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch   eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 24 09:50:42 2013

I figured it out. The plan is to make Sellers so miserable that they will be thrilled to have an ebay van come and pick up their stuff and have it sold in Russia.

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch   eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Thu Jan 24 11:13:20 2013

The very fact that eBay cites sellers for duplicate listing violation which in fact are proven to be caused by an eBay glitch exposes what sellers have known since John Donahoe assumed the reigns as CEO...  eBay wants to eliminate small sellers.

eBay would prefer to dump their small sellers en masse, but they realize that will not set well with their Wall street masters. So instead, eBay management's ongoing harassment of the small and medium seller continues while the large sellers eBay wants to sleep with are able to list all the duplicates they want. Even the official eBay spokesperson has been told not to discuss how unevenly the policy is applied.

eBay wonders why they can not grow their domestic buyer base... Management's disconnect is so complete, they fail to realize that every disgruntled seller becomes a former eBay buyer. Given the tens of thousands of sellers eBay management has alienated with their anti seller policies, and the various road blocks to success their changes have created, it is no wonder the company needs to reach outside our borders in a desperate attempt to grow domestic sales.

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch   eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch

This user has validated their user name. by: Sandymenu

Thu Jan 24 13:29:36 2013

The reason this is happening is because sellers are creating new listings the LAZY WAY which is harming the way they should be listing.

Sellers caught up in this massive mess are using the ''Sell Similar'' Link within any of their other current or ended listings revising the details (photos, description and category) and then sending those listings off to sell.

One should be clicking on the top of SELL to Sell An Item and then fill out the details.

Come on sellers} get with it in order to BEAT the BAY System!    

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch   eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch

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

Thu Jan 24 13:50:54 2013

@Ric,

I'm not sure how much weight you can give the “seller as buyer” argument; after all, it's not as though eBay could not calculate how much sellers themselves spend on eBay; then, maybe the Headless Ho has not thought to do that calculation ...

I’m more inclined to believe that eBay’s actions are simply the result of the Ho’s obvious greedy, narcissistic, sociopathic personality … in the meantime, it’s at least comforting to sense that the “noise” in this turkey’s small ears is getting louder and louder …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch   eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Jan 24 14:07:43 2013

Sandymenu, your are not necessarily correct. This was happening to us for a very long time and we KNEW we were not relisting them.  We started keeping a tic sheet because it was happening so much.  When we escalated it with eBay, eBay identified that the listings were actually being relisted from a different IP address than ours (likely their own).  Once they identified that (and it took many calls), the relistings stopped.

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch   eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch

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

Thu Jan 24 14:23:41 2013

@Rexford,

“… listings were actually being relisted from a different IP address than ours …”

Amazing! Only at eBay could such miracles occur … and what does that tell us about the rest of their clunky system …

Clunk, clunk, clunk, clunk ...

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch   eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 24 14:32:09 2013

Something SURPRISING and I think unfair has occured when I have ACCIDENTALLY DOUBLE listed a unique item- the ebay sysyem HOLDS the listing in my system and a small sentence in red comes up- this is a duplicate listing, we are holding this one up until the other one sells- or SOMETHING LIKE THAT, so it prevents me from ACCIDENTIALLY listing a dupe.
Has anyone else run into this- this coinfused me as it makes too much sense and works well.
So ebay actually PREVENTS M-E from listing duplicates.
I noticed this first about 2 weeks ago so HOPEFULLY they are correcting (?) this?!
Anybody else see that red sentence when uploading, where it does not let the dupe get listed?
Mass Howler
Why would they do this for some of us but not all?

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch   eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch

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

Thu Jan 24 18:25:30 2013

I've used the selling manager to re-list unsold items when they have their up to 5000 listing promotions.

Since I can only do 200 at once & forget sorting them by anything useful, I've occasionally run into the "you've tried to list a duplicate item" message.

Works for me & it's better than getting a cancellation notice for a dupe.

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch   eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch

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

Thu Jan 24 18:47:38 2013

@MassHowler

I get the Dupe Listing red box as well. It''s usually accurate butmnot always.

CSRs say the majority of error messages when listing are themselves in error and not to pay attention to them. Ebay must hire the SE Asia's worst programmers.

Believing anything ebafia says    is a one way ticket to suspension.


Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch   eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch

by: BackInBlack This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 24 23:28:05 2013

Exactly what @bitybit said: "Ebay cracks down on the sporadic and accidental duplicates but lets the big seller dupes run rampant."

And not just the big sellers. I've seen small sellers deliberately place up to a dozen identical listings at once, usually 'short-fuse' like 1-day or 3-day, and get away with it for months. Saw this recently with Twinkie Bake Sets, but see it all the time, all categories. Seems to be the business model/SOP for some.

And as @Pace306, reporting it does no good. I'm convinced reporting *anything* to them does no good. They only enforce what they feel like enforcing, depending on their mood.

@Philip Cohen - I have to reluctantly admit you are making a convert of me on the 'clunky' thing.  Every time I read an article here, it begins with "eBay admits GLITCH caused..." whatever. I'm not an IT pro, so I'm not sure what the solution is, but I know it's like working on your carburetor while your car is rolling down the road. Still, it would seem *someone* could revamp the system and make it work. Pretty sure it's the *same* one from the 90s that they just keep putting Band-Aids on.

It's like their so-called 'help' pages---hundreds of them with old, outdated and even conflicting info, broken links to their own dead pages, etc. It's actually far easier to Google your question (possibly using the "site:" parameter to limit it to eBay) than to try to hack through their pages with a machete.

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch   eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch

by: BackInBlack This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 24 23:31:16 2013

Maybe it's what @Ming said:
"Ebay must hire the SE Asia's worst programmers."

Forgot to say about the numerous glitches reported here:
"...and those are only the glitches they *admit to* when it's too big to be plausibly denied."

Perminate Link for eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch   eBay Suspends Sellers for Dupes Caused by Glitch

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 25 01:05:59 2013

@MASS HOWLER--

Yep I too have had the same failure to launch message--and I DON'T DO DUPE LISTINGS!!!!!   I rarely have anything identical so this does not apply--but I have once or twice accidently pushed the "Re-list" or the Sell Similar button and come up with a dupe listing.  Of course I don't have a million listings to worry about but this does seem like an easy "fix"--notify and hold the sale til the problem is fixed by the SELLER!  

I hear the sound of ebay flushing this GOOD idea down the corporate washroom toilet as I type----

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