|Tue Nov 26 2013 22:46:20|
eBay Stuns Community by Purging Well Known Power Seller
By: Ina Steiner
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.
(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