Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Nov 26 2013 22:46:20

eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller

By: Ina Steiner

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The eBay boards are lit up with sellers discussing the plight of one of their better known colleagues, one with an impeccable record and feedback ratings. Sellers are concerned that if it could happen to "Charlie," it could happen to them.

An EcommerceBytes reader took the time to describe the events as she understood them after reading threads on the eBay PowerSeller board and elsewhere. Comments and clarifications are welcome in the comments.

eBay's Latest Drama
told by an eBay PowerSeller and EcommerceBytes reader:


Friday morning at 4:00 am a large Powerseller - arguably the largest PowerSeller on (the eBay PowerSeller board), was taking advantage of the recent Listing Special to list some items, and he noticed that right before his eyes, his listings started disappearing. He watched until they were all gone. First he started a thread on the PS Board, then he called Customer Support. At that time of the morning only CS reps in the Philippines are available, and for the most part they were clueless. Later he proceeded to work his way up through a series of higher and higher ranked Customer Support Reps in the USA.

Ultimately he returned to the boards and reported that he had been indefinitely (read: permanently) suspended. And that the reps believed the reasons were 1 or more of the following:

1. He had received a VeRO notice back on Oct 31 (which wasn't actually a VeRO violation.) Rather it was a complaint from a Company, which was unhappy that he was selling their product below their MAP. Charlie is not a dealer for this company, nor has he signed any contract with this company, and had obtained the product by legal means. He called the company, discussed the problem, resolved the problem. And he thought that he had handled it like a good businessman would, and that was the end of it. He relisted the product, and did not receive any additional VeRO notices.

The eBay Rep informed him that he should have filed a "counter-notice" with the company, so that there was a record on eBay that he had handled and/or solved the problem. It appeared to them that he had ignored the VeRO notice.

2. On Oct 24 he received a take-down notice for two items, because in the title he had used the words "Oil Slick." It turns out that there is a VeRO member who owns the rights to the words "Oil Slick." And even though Charlie's product was completely different ... in a completely different category, from the products THAT company sells, they filed a VeRO complaint against him. (If I remember correctly he ignored the VeRO complaint, believing it to be a mistake.)

3. Sometime recently Charlie received a complaint from a Buyer that the item he sent him was counterfeit. The item was cigarette rolling papers. No one on the board can imagine why anyone would think that rolling papers could be counterfeit. But it is a common ploy used by Buyers to get a refund or partial refund. Charlie informed the Buyer that the item was not counterfeit, and that he could return it for a refund, if he wanted to. Shortly after that the Buyer was NARU'd from eBay, and Charlie supposed the Buyer had tried his tricks one too many times, and eBay had dealt with him.

4. One CS rep told him that the reason for the suspension might have been that he had 56 cases opened against him. He has 46900 Feedback, 7700 in the past 365 days, and 734 in the past month. He's been a member since Feb-23-99. And supposedly Cases are only Discussions now, and don't count against Sellers. However we always have to wonder if maybe eBay has included "Cases" in Guardrail, or another "sooper sekrit" formula.

Upon realizing that these were probably the reasons responsible for his suspension, and that they all seemed to be based on faulty information, he asked the CS rep to file an appeal. He was told that that would take 3 days.

So by this point the Thread on the PSB is growing very quickly. Everyone knows Charlie, and wants to know what's going on. The PS are going to their Facebook Groups and eBay Groups and spreading the word. Everyone is freaking out, because they are realizing that if this could happen to a seller like Charlie, it could happen to anyone.

Charlie still wasn't particularly sure about the cause of his suspension ... whether it is because of all or 1 of the points mentioned above, since he had not received any notice from eBay. Naturally everyone was trying to guess what was going on. Had Charlie gotten too many low scores, too many Items not as Described, or too many Items not received. People were wondering if it was Guardrail that took him down.

But nope. His record was squeaky clean. In fact he posted screen shots of every page in his dashboard. I think the people on the PSB (PowerSeller Board) would have been happier if it had been Guardrail, because at least this is a (somewhat) known quantity. The idea that a couple of fake VeRO's could take him down after 14 years of selling, just did not compute for most PowerSellers, and they truly believed they'd wake up on Monday and find out the eBay had just made a big mistake.

By Monday morning there were approximately 850 posts to the Thread on the PSB. Charlie received the response to his appeal Mon. afternoon, and it was denied. The body of the response has been posted on the Seller Protection Board as well as the screen shots of Charlie's dashboard.

(Link)

(If they are not there by the time you receive this letter, I can arrange to have the screen shots sent to you.)

But the main point of the denied appeal was:
In reviewing your account, we've found that the appropriate action was taken when making the decision to suspend your eBay activities and we will not be overturning the suspension.
In reviewing your account, we've noted the following concerns:
Removals due to Vero Listing
removals for concerns of authenticity

These concerns cause negative buying experiences and are unfair to other sellers who are following our policies and providing great customer service.

The effect of this announcement was devastating to the PS community. The main comment being made is something like, "I need to back down on my involvement on eBay and spend more time developing sales channels elsewhere." And I can tell you that it is also being said in Facebook Groups and private eBay Groups too. Charlie is known everywhere.

Now there is a movement on the PSB to "help save Charlie." (It won't go anywhere, I feel certain. But it is well intended.)

Meanwhile out on Seller Central other big sellers continue to report that they have been suspended for what appears to be minor causes too.

Just another day on eBay.
Submitted by EcommerceBytes reader




Comments (134) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller   eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller

This user has validated their user name. by: Captain Nemo

Tue Nov 26 23:06:31 2013

Like I said, all PS/TRS sellers are sitting on a bomb, and Charlie's luck ran out.

Perminate Link for eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller   eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller

by: Saintsteven This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Nov 26 23:52:47 2013

I don't spend a lot of time on the PS board anymore, but I know Charlie from a brief correspondence a few years ago, and you can't read the PS board WITHOUT knowing Charlie.

I'm going to guess Charlie has a target painted on his back not so much for policy infringements (about which he is very careful), as for his visibility itself.

He's very high profile, can be a little contentious, and I'll bet individual sellers with his kind of visibility make The Venue very nervous these days indeed.

Perminate Link for eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller   eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller

by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 26 23:53:04 2013

Ebay's chickens, as they say, will soon be coming home to roost. The feds are already investigating ebay's Bill Me Later. Ebay is not invincible, and the wheels of justice grind slow, but exceedingly fine...

Perminate Link for eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller   eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller

by: vintageblessings This user has validated their user name.
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Tue Nov 26 23:54:50 2013

If anyone can represent ebay sellers as a whole, it would be Charlie. He is the original seller who BUILT A DOME HOME by selling on ebay.  It is completely shocking that, without a chance to defend himself, he was taken off of ebay ''Indefinitely''  

With Charlie being on the chopping block, then the rest of us are not far behind.

Please help support us by liking a facebook page to support charlie!
https://www.facebook.com/savecharlieonebay

Charlie is a good guy, and he deserves everyones' support!

~trish
Platinum Powerseller Since 1998

Perminate Link for eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller   eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller

by: Casey2u This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 27 00:16:44 2013

No experience as a seller, and now I wonder if I should even get some. There is lots of insinuation here, but I wonder why eBay would throw off one of their biggest sellers. Thanks for any insights.

Perminate Link for eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller   eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 27 00:24:20 2013

They probably told him that he is welcome to keep Buying on eBay.  

Perminate Link for eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller   eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Wed Nov 27 01:29:20 2013

Well this shows that ''no one is safe'' as a seller on ebay and to be prepared for a BIG purge toward the end of December is my prediction. I don't know Charlie but if ebay is being this blatant about purging this well-known, liked powerseller than ALL sellers need to be prepared. CEOs are resigning, being replaced left and right. Microsoft, Best Buy, JC Penneys and now Walmart. Ebay's stock is going down $48.76. Something is up IMO if JD is still here in the next couple months.

Just a few questions, how many sales did you make on ebay with the last few promotions?, what percentage was your sell thru?

Now ebay has another promotion for fixed price thru Dec 5th. I wish I could be optimistic but believe this to be the last horrah. I know better since the abysmal last few promotions with sell thru. I suspect ebay is throwing out these promotions so sellers won't invest their time on growing on other sites. It makes sense for ebay but time spent with little results is exhausting along with being stressful.

This should be a wake-up call for all sellers to start, build on other sites, your own site and just be prepared.  

Perminate Link for eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller   eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller

This user has validated their user name. by: Puck

Wed Nov 27 02:15:10 2013

Goodbye, Charlie.

Perminate Link for eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller   eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller

by: gramophone-georg This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 27 02:25:23 2013

''Damage control'' is putting it mildly. I was the one who started the thread in the Seller ''Protection'' forum... and got a 7 day ban for my efforts. Who knew that re- posting info already posted on another board by Charlie himself was ''posting information about member'' and ''hostile''?

I'm thinking there's going to be open war on forum posters soon, if not already- and, as usual, they'll just make up the rules as they go along.

Good luck over there- you'll need it!

Perminate Link for eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller   eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller

by: moto-science This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 27 02:37:24 2013

If America , Americans stand for something......it's about justice and freedom for all, the pursuit of happiness.
Common people like us making a living, should n't be subject to kind of harsh corporate injustice we are seeing from Ebay repeatedly.
The same government that regulates Banks will also regulate Ebay when the political pressure gets high enough.
Banned for life ? for what crime ?  a VERO misunderstanding ? Where is the proof to at least the civil standard burden of proof ?  50%+ a feather......

What seller want to invest time selling here under such an oppressive regime ?

The irony is that the service sellers get from Ebay basically sucks ***bleep*** and yet they hold sellers to standards which no bricks and mortar could ever hope to sustain. Furthermore buyers on Ebay are encouraged to take advantage of sellers.
This why I keep telling myself, no future here.....and also reluctant to spend here if I can support other platforms.



Perminate Link for eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller   eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller

by: joeblow This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 27 03:27:28 2013

3 vero strikes within 90 days usually results in a 7 suspension, then 30 days for the next, then finally bye bye you're NARU. I wonder how many takedowns he had within a year.

Perminate Link for eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller   eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller

by: gramophone-georg This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 27 03:34:42 2013

Joeblow- who knows? Who can even count them now that ''policy compliance'' is hidden on the dashboard?

eBay is, as usual, playing dirty pool. VERO and complaints of fake merchandise are just other tools in the arsenal with which to assassinate sellers now. there's another guy on the Seller ''Protection' board who got a ''fake VERO'' from somebody who's only contact info is a free, throwaway ''lawyer.com'' email address.

Supposedly, people accused of a crime have a right to face their accuser... except on eBay, it seems.

For the life of me, I really don't know why people continue to put up with it.

Perminate Link for eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller   eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller

by: pfft!! This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 27 05:38:05 2013

What noone here has yet mentioned is that ONE of the (many) reasons sellers were STUNNED by this is that Charlie has been one of the LONGEST and LARGEST and LOUDEST ebay supporters on the powerseller boards.  He's taken a lot of flack through the years for being an ebay ''cheerleader''.  But he was proud of his record, proud of his business...and proud of ebay

It's NOT a joke about him building his home on a beautiful 5,000 acre lake.  He started a thread about it years ago.  ANYBODY who's been a longtime powerseller can tell you ALL ABOUT the ''Dome Home'' thread!!

And we all followed it along as he built his home solely off the money he made as a proud ebay seller.

He also boasts often about investing in ebay stock and proudly  tells everyone whenever his stocks jump (corny but it's TRUE).

I mean, I don't know him PERSONALLY but I've read the powersellers board for YEARS and he's one of the  the ones who ALWAYS has good things to say about ebay (even NOW).  Even RIGHT now while he's suspended and the thread has jumped WELL OVER 1,000 posts he has not said ONE BAD THING about ebay.  It's just not in his nature.

THAT is what makes it truly scary.  If it can happen to HIM......good lord help the rest of us.    

Perminate Link for eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller   eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller

by: rhawk This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 27 06:50:15 2013

FYI  a few more facts to add...."oil slick"  won the "cannibis award"   for best new product.  This will give you an idea of the products this seller sells.  Also, this seller has been a regular  on the ebay boards. Making fun of others, and stirring folks up was common. The first letter he posted from ebay said they were "uncomfortable with his business model and business practices".

Perminate Link for eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller   eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 27 07:13:38 2013

You might also want to add that these vero violation take downs, Charlie relisted them....

Anyone with half a brain who has been on Ebay as long as he has knows YOU NEVER RELIST A VERO VIOLATION.

Perminate Link for eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller   eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller

This user has validated their user name. by: NaruMessenger
Web Site

Wed Nov 27 07:23:35 2013

Another one eBanged!

Time to give Donahoe the bums rush.  

Perminate Link for eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller   eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller

by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 27 07:30:37 2013

rom an online discussion thread about EBAY: gopetersen wrote:

“Are you familiar with or have you heard of forensic auditors?”(gideon13)

"Yes, I am. But you need subpoenas and warrants to get at the information, and just cause to get the warrants, and the time frame of the warrants is quite limited, which makes it very difficult to investigate this kind of complex paper trail.

The software is even harder to track than the paper trail. Software evolves and doesn’t always leave a trail.
Also, multinational companies tend to move their headquarters offshore if they get nervous about investigations.
I’ve personally seen corporate executives get together and concoct the story that they will tell in court (so the stories are all the same).
I have seen them select a “fall guy” and all point the finger at someone who was blameless.
I have personnally seen execs perjure themselves in court. I was shocked, actually, at how easily they told bald-faced lies. I thought, at least in court, they would be nervous about lying.
It can be done, but it’s not easy, and it costs money.
Thanx for your examples. You have raised, of course, the very terrifying spectre that ebay may be enjoying a sort of invincibility and will do whatever it has to do to maintain that invincibilty (or immunity from prosecution, if you will). That’s the most frightening thing I’ve read recently.
Sep 29, 2013 10:43p"  

Perminate Link for eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller   eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 27 07:45:24 2013

Well, now I'm completely confused. I thought it was the SMALL SELLERS eBay was routing out. Whatever, they are playing heavy handed. OF COURSE it can happen to anyone. That is exactly what this blog has described! Wish we could get the real story. Ignoring a VERO complaint for any reason doesn't seem prudent in any case.

Perminate Link for eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller   eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller

by: brokentoys19 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 27 09:54:42 2013

We should hold a vigil, starting right after 4:19:59 PM.

On a more serious note, he may want to look for who ever is selling the same products. For instance, is there some big box or Chinese seller with the same product lines?

Perminate Link for eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller   eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller

by: brokentoys19 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 27 10:02:42 2013

@rhawk I see 847 results for "oil slick". Off with their heads!

Anyone else over there 'making fun' of others? Let's whack them too. (except the "helpers" )

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