Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Dec 9 2013 21:07:36

eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

eBay has imposed selling limits on certain sellers for years, but since 2011, it has ramped up the policy to the point where all sellers have limits placed on their accounts, a fact confirmed by eBay in April 2012. But a recent conversation with an eBay PowerSeller sheds new light on how its implementation of this policy can be harmful to sellers.

eBay imposes selling limits to reduce fraud and manage risk as sellers scale their businesses. But eBay does not disclose to all sellers that selling limits exist - and some sellers are spending money needlessly to try and grow their business to a level they can not attain.

I spoke to one Platinum PowerSeller who is far from a newbie, who invested resources into growing his sales this year to no avail. Recently he discovered by chance that eBay itself was holding him back from growing sales.

He was spending money on employees to ramp up his business with no return - something he would have anticipated if eBay had displayed his selling limits in his dashboard. Look for an article about how this impacted him in Tuesday's EcommerceBytes Newsflash newsletter.

In addition, some sellers report that eBay customer service reps have denied selling limits even exist.

Selling limits also raise another question - surely these deliberate limits on seller growth rates is impacting eBay Marketplaces growth as a whole. Also, as it attempts to manage risk, eBay is prompting sellers to seek growth on other platforms, as was the case with the seller mentioned above, who expanded to Amazon (before he learned of eBay's selling limits, by the way) and is scaling his business there.

Have you determined what your selling limits are on eBay, and for that matter, on other marketplaces such as Amazon? Let us know what you think - and spread the word to your colleagues who may be flying blind.

Update 12/12/13: Someone asked me to include a link to the Letter to the Editor covering the issue of "Throttling." Here's the link.




Comments (73) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits   eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits

This user has validated their user name. by: thehosst

Mon Dec 9 23:20:32 2013

Ina, like the article mentions, we have also been selling for about 10 years, have very good feedback but in our case, the feedback seems to change or the information is not even accessible to the eBay reps, they don't seem to have a clear policy or information. What is worst is the famous "check back with us next month so we can review your limits". Not only that is a lazy answer, is also false. There is no update or revision to limits to help sellers this is.

We had an incident which I would like to share, we were transferred to a "Limits Expert" and to my surprise, he barely spoke English, nothing wrong with that but the problem was that this person sounded like he was there for the first time, he began asking questions about possible related accounts and he was going to judge us based on our answer. Well, his accent was so bad, I meant it, that most of the time we were not able to understand the question and he decided to skip to the next question, after about 5 skipped questions, which he decided to skip, he told us that he was not going to change the limits because we didn't answer the questions. With his accent, it was very difficult, if not impossible, to understand the numbers, and his questions contained addresses with numbers. What I found really shocking was that this person was the Top Boss of Account Limits because everyone else I contacted after that told me he was the very top we can get to change our limits, which we not even know why we got in the first place. The money that eBay makes gives enough to hire people that are from the country where we call from, that works more against eBay than against sellers. I do blame eBay a little bit but the truth is that some people have the power to destroy big companies and this guy no matter how bad he was at his job, he must be responsible of hundreds of frustrated sellers leaving eBay for Amazon or another marketplace. Attention eBay Top Executives, call playing as one of the sellers and you will see what I mean. No having enough merchandise listed is the reason why buyers go to another place to buy. We the sellers deserve better eBay reps.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits   eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits

by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 23:27:48 2013

@thehosst...We the sellers deserve a better venue than ebay. Ebay is systematically eliminating small sellers by design and embracing big box like Toys R Us and Levi's and the Chinese sellers.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits   eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits

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

Mon Dec 9 23:45:16 2013

Truth in fact, you have zero idea who you were talking to at eBay as there is zero way to verify the identity or "position" of the person on the phone.

For all you know, he was just the next flunky in line to answer the phone.

One heck of a way to run a business. But we still do business there - so who is more to blame for this situation continuing?

-------------------------

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits   eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 23:59:06 2013

eBay's bone-headed policies have limited their own growth. They must figure that by placing arbitrary limits on certain groups of sellers, buyers will end up spending their money with eBay's preferred class of sellers instead.
These delusional people believe that they have a better idea of what you want than you do.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits   eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 10 00:12:09 2013

I have been aware of my selling limits for years--they so far exceed what I have sold in the past I've never been concerned.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits   eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 10 00:12:34 2013

Ebay seller limit put my gross revenue enough to pay Feebay and Feepal Fees. So Feebay takes not only my profits but all my capitals. Karma to you, John Donahue.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits   eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits

by: bb6 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 10 00:17:06 2013

I ran into the selling limits issue a few weeks ago. I guess I got lucky and it just proves you should call back and try a different rep because the rep I spoke to ask me some questions about my business then after some discussion he bumped my limit up so many thousands on the listings and dollar amount.

As for this seller in the article, why didn't they open a 2nd or 3rd  ebay store? Wouldn't that allow them to sell more items?

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits   eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 10 00:24:36 2013

Limits are in place for a small sellers - its not new news.

For most smaller to midsized sellers theres a simple cap. Want to know what it is? Look at your sales history.

I know I did. No matter what brands and what price points I do on eBay, it NEVER grows beyond $XXX dollars - ever.

I used to sell alot of $30 items (Skullcandy), then moved to Denon Phono Carts ($150-250), then to Beats Headpones ($250-350). Guess what? My yearly sales for the last 3 years ahve been almost the same.

Yes we still have the same lousy president - but hes not at fault - not here - its eBay.

eBay tries to give everyone a slice instead of letting some succeed and some fail on thier own merits.

Yes this isnt directly the same as the OPs email - but its similar. Whether its listing limits, selling limits or any other kind - its artificially put there by people who have a less education and experience in ecommerce then your average alley cat.

Amazon BEGS me to list more, they BEG me to do FBA, they respond to questions and make onsite changes in hours ... try calling eBay about something and getting a result you can see in a few hrs - impossible.

eBay doesnt care and neither should you. GO to Amazon, save yourself the time, the money and the aspirins.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits   eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits

by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 10 01:06:03 2013

Have to agree on Amazon. Ebay keeps making it clear that they do not want the business of small sellers, so they have out into place enough adverse policies to make it extremely difficult or uncomfortable for a small seller to remain even if they jump through all the the hoops and somehow successfully evade low DSR ratings. The deck is stacked against the small seller deliberately, not by accident.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits   eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits

by: blaumann2 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 10 01:19:04 2013

"that eBay customer service reps have denied selling limits even exist."
Ebay has a phone center in the Philippines. Those people are consistently stupid, have very poor job skills and are not able to understand American English usage. On the rare occasion when a non power seller speaks to an American one of two things happen. If you are lucky you get someone good. On a bad day you get some arrogant jerk that makes up their own rules. You can't win with ebay support.  

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits   eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits

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

Tue Dec 10 01:54:02 2013

"Managing risk" my @ss!

Selling limits exist primarily to prevent small and medium sellers from taking too much business away The Ho's favored big box stores and Chinese sellers who can list one million paper clips if they want.

The sad truth is that The Ho doesn't want any of us to "grow" our businesses on ebafia. The legally questionable search engines that have intentionally manipulated the listing order for years are another tool ebafia uses to prevent seller growth.

The only real growth on ebafia these days is the space between The Ho's ears.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits   eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits

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

Tue Dec 10 02:18:13 2013

eBay is the best place there is!

What a wretched occupation you have.

Lack of communication and corporate enforced mediocrity, and eBay charges you a hefty sum for this abuse. eBay treats you like a child, how does that make you feel?

This company gets worse and worse yet people still think "it won't happen to them." If you sell on eBay you need to leave.

Nobody cares if you fail. Nobody will help you. Your state does not care. The US government will not do anything to eBay or PayPal. Your problems are not exciting enough for the media to get involved.

Your friends and neighbors are tired of hearing you complain. The people at the post office are amused because you work so hard for so little money. Your kids wish you had a real job.

Your life is ruled by email, DSRs and the whims of the non-transparent eBay. Every card is stacked against you, and even if you succeed, your growth is deliberately retarded.

There is no logical way for you to profit.

eBay wants you to fail. Remember, this is all YOUR FAULT. You sign the user agreement. You willingly enter into agreements. You understand and agree that the primary duty is to the shareholders of eBay, not to "customers," I mean the sellers, who pay the bills. You support eBay, but they despise you. They treat you poorly.

I do not see why limits are a problem. One of the big cheerleaders just bought a new house.

The money on eBay is not in selling stuff. You make money by bringing new lemmings into the fold. Feed off the new host bodies like a parasite. They will be too embarrassed and ashamed to do anything about it. If some sellers do try to object, a professional seasoned seller like Uncle Griff can "dish their listing" to reveal the SELLER'S mistakes.

eBay sellers are bugs who fly into insect killers over and over again. John thinks of you as bugs... no, just kidding. He has a smartphone with lots of apps on it. He doesn't think of you at all. Not one bit. JD has shareholders to keep happy. Not you. Shareholders.

You are being cheated. If you are not a hermit, you are dragging down any family member involved with you.

Your time and energy would be better spent smoking. At least you would feel relaxed.

You are doomed to fail. Quit now and cut your losses. You are not exceptional. You will not win this game. This is not Hollywood. There will be no happy ending for you.

eBay is dead. The dream is gone. Face reality.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits   eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits

This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Tue Dec 10 02:33:29 2013

If I have limits (and I probably do) I have no idea what they are. They do not show anywhere on any of my dashboard or account pages. I've looked many times and haven't found a clue. Not that I am able to sell enough to matter, anyway. My sell-through has plummeted in the last few years and I sell fewer items now than ever before, despite listing 10-20 times more. I find the opposite on my other venues. My sell-through on Amazon, Etsy, and Artfire have been consistently increasing. Simple logic dictates where I'll be expending more future effort.

I can understand selling limits for newbies or those under a certain level of feedback, but for those of us who have been selling long-term and have excellent feedback, there should be no limits on our ability to grow our businesses. That's just dumb. But I suppose Ebay isn't know for doing what's logical or smart.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits   eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits

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

Tue Dec 10 02:37:03 2013

eBay acts like a totalitarian government. Why limit sellers? It is stupid.  

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits   eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits

by: brokentoys19 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 10 03:12:01 2013

Your not flying blind. You're safe in the caring arms of the ebay bots.

Transparency, truthfulness, fairness, equitable treatment of customers are a long range fantasy at ebay.

They're committed to providing the least quality of service, the quickest way to your money NOW, and to ensure your steady, continued patronage. At least through the quarter.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits   eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Tue Dec 10 07:30:05 2013

So now Donahoe has been appointed to advise the President on International Trade.

Perfect. I'm sure some countries are breaking out the champagne.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits   eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits

by: Bidonmine This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 10 09:49:00 2013

I am a little confused on 'Selling Limits'...
Does this mean that at some point you cannot list more items until some items sell?

-OR-

Does it mean that when you reach a certain level of items sold for the month that ebay then hides your items so you cannot sell anymore??

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits   eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits

by: former ebayer This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 10 10:05:46 2013

I had been selling on ebay since 2000 and run a full time business. I would always try to double or triple my listings in November and December and sales would increase in proportion. Ask any business about the best months of the year to sell (December).

December of 2012 was the first year for me that no matter how many listings I had my monthly sales would not increase.

So I started to monitor my weekly sales and monthly sales. If I had a tremendous two weeks and made my last month average # my sales died for the remainder of the month. I could monitor how much work I would have. No matter what I did with the ebay algorithms (free shipping,accepting returns, same day shipping , feedback, DSR's etc. ) I realized that ebay had a much bigger algorithm.

I called it the Turn Off Turn on ebay Quota Selling algorithm. If you had made your quota you just as well take a vacation as you were done for the month. A prime example was selling 20 items a day at the start of the month to selling 3 items per week at the end of the month. This was a week before Christmas.   On one particular call to ebay one of the ebay reps chuckled and said ''we are trying to make everyone happy.'' I other words I had sold enough so they had to move the exposure to someone else that had not been selling much.    

As someone above me posted you are not rated on your performance and merit. Your sales are base on the quota that ebay has set for you. For me I knew it was time to end it  when I tripled my listings and my quota remained the same. In any other part of my business and other venues if I increase items for  sale, sales also  increase in proportion. Not ebay.

I have one competitor that I actually talked to on the phone that went from 8000 listings to 11000 listings. His items are unique . No matter what he does he can not sell over 325 items per month. One month he may sell 280 , the next 310 but never over 325 per month. Not hard to see he is being throttled or quota restricted.

I was a 12 year seller with not one negative. 5.0 in three 4.9 in one DSR Categories .

The moral of the story is to move to a venue that will let you expand in proportion to the number of goods and good service you are providing. I would never move my business inventory to ebay. With one change of policy you could spend days revising all your listings or total lack of exposure for your items.

I equate ebay to the landlord on the building I pay rent to . Even though I paid my rent on time the landlord came in the middle of the month with plywood and covered my windows and placed a closed sign on the plywood. Then at the first of the following month the landlord takes the plywood back down and you can sell for another two weeks. Then at the middle of the month the plywood/closed sign goes back up. With ebay  this happens month after month. Let me ask you this . Would you renew the lease with the landlord or find a new building that will let you sell the whole month?
               

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits   eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 10 10:30:22 2013

ebay is one of a kind.
After reading that JD and Obama are buddies, it explains why the feds will do nothing are far as looking into ebay. JD must be a big $$$ supporter so it's hands off. This is similar to everyone else that has broken laws OR even alleged to break laws. HANDS OFF... Executive order. enough said - move on and ''don't mess with me''.
When and I say when, it is just a matter of time, when ebay goes down, I just hope JD and Bernie can be ''mates'' and swap stories. Hopefully JD will bring his buddies that are on the board of directors with him. They are just as bad - maybe worse.
Wonder if H**l has a special executive suite for the chosen ???. I should feel bad even thinking of this but then I also think of the lives that have been ruined.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits   eBay Sellers Fly Blind Due to Hidden Selling Limits

by: brokentoys19 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 10 10:44:20 2013

@FREDDY
Scary stuff. Fascism by definition. Add the latest weirdness with Pierre Omidyar et al, you have the makings of... gawd only knows what?  

Click to view more comments
1 2 3 4  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.