|Mon July 7 2014 21:11:58|
Mad Men and Indians Set Off eBay Alarms
By: Ina Steiner
Online sellers walk a tightrope when it comes to what they sell on marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon. There has been an increase in the last few weeks of sellers reporting overaggressive warnings coming from eBay in particular. Sometimes simple terms describing an item can set off alarms.
On eBay, be careful if you use the term "Mad Men" to describe your mid-century modern items, as a seller reminded us last month.
Sellers discussing such issues on the eBay forums (in a thread titled "eBay has gone nutso again") said the word "Indian" can wreak havoc as well. One seller explained that when she tried listing china with an "Indian Tree" pattern, eBay displayed a big warning alert about Native American artifacts. But when she called eBay to try to explain that she didn't have such an artifact, she was transferred to four different people before she finally hung up. "None of the reps had a clue what to do about the situation, & were absolutely no help at all. I never did list the china because I was afraid I'd get some kind of a violation."
One reader wrote recently to say 7-day suspensions were becoming a regular occurrence. "I got a 7 day listing restriction of a VeRO notice last month, and lo and behold another one today, less than a month after the last one, over the feared accidental duplicate listings I have been hearing of others getting."
The reader also had problems when contacting eBay customer service about a risque (not nude) photo listed in the art section, "an approved category for this type of photo," saying the rep just kept reading the script.
It makes sense to warn sellers during the listing process if their items may violate an eBay policy. But sellers are clearly worried that if they proceed with their listing - since the warning doesn't apply to their items - that eBay will nevertheless automatically ding them without a manual review.
What steps do you take to protect yourself from brands and marketplaces that may have good intentions but sometimes "go nutso"?