Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Mar 11 2015 15:29:39

eBay Comes Under Fire for Its Handling of Banned Gun Parts

By: Ina Steiner

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A damning report published Wednesday alleges it's easy for people to purchase gun parts on eBay that can be used to build assault weapons. The report from Reveal didn't dwell on whether or not eBay should allow the sale of legal gun parts. Instead, it focused on how eBay enforces its ban on illegal gun parts, claiming it's easy for sellers to get around the rules.

Reveal said its reporter flagged a listing for a prohibited part, a process that is supposed to result in a review by eBay and removal if found to be in violation of its Firearms policy. Reveal said the reporter placed three phone calls to eBay over the course of three weeks. As of today, the item remained for sale on eBay, it said.

Three years ago, we reported on eBay's shift in policy, making a significant reversal by ending its prohibition on listings of firearm parts and accessories in late 2011 that it had implemented in 2007 after the Virginia Tech rampage. 

In an email to certain sellers in 2012 informing them of the changes in policy, eBay wrote:

"We take the update to the Hunting category seriously and will monitor these items vigilantly for compliance with the eBay firearms policy and all relevant laws and regulations. You may now show your accessories on a firearm in your photo, as long as it is not an assault weapon and there is no indication in the listing that the firearm is included in the sale."

The email also said that since opening up the category, "there has been significant demand for these items, so don't miss this opportunity to sell more and reach more buyers by offering additional firearms parts and accessories on eBay. Expanding your inventory to offer these products can help grow your business. Take advantage of the update and start listing more items today."

As we reported in the 2012 article, eBay spokesperson Amanda Miller told EcommerceBytes, "These are parts and accessories that are legal to sell in the U.S. without restriction and are widely available at a range of online and offline stores. We made this change to more closely align our policy with legal requirements and to give sellers opportunities to offer more products in the hunting category."

This afternoon in response to our inquiry about the Reveal report on the availability of assault weapon parts on its site, eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore told EcommerceBytes, "We take proactive measures to identify listing that violate our policies, including but not limited to, keyword filters and other automated monitoring tools. Additionally, every listing has a "report this item" link, which allows our community members to alert us to listings for our review and removal. Through continuous investment in systems and teams dedicated to monitoring for and removing listing that violate our policies, we strive to provide a safe and secure shopping experience."

He continued, "On eBay, you are not allowed to list a receiver - without one, you cannot build a gun or assault weapon. Additionally our policy prohibits magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds. Our current policy is in line with California, as it has the most strict gun laws."

While you might not think of eBay rival Etsy when it comes to the sale of guns, it has long had a policy prohibiting firearms and weapons on its marketplace, and in February 2014, Etsy extended the policy to include a ban on toy guns.

While the Reveal report might raise the issue the availability of gun parts on eBay in general (eBay itself has gone back and forth on this issue), the concern it raised is really about whether eBay is doing enough to crack down on the sale of illegal gun parts on the eBay Marketplace.

Look for more details in Thursday's Newsflash, and let us know what you think!




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Perminate Link for eBay Comes Under Fire for Its Handling of Banned Gun Parts   eBay Comes Under Fire for Its Handling of Banned Gun Parts

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed Mar 11 16:54:46 2015

As usual, eBay's response is full of holes.

They monitor keywords: It is obvious that by leaving certain keywords out of your listing title and description you could easily offer the illegal parts for sale and eBay would be none the wiser. This happens on a daily basis, and eBay is happy to have the sales volume and revenue these items generate.

Seasoned gun sellers understand the rules, and how to bend them by omitting keywords which trigger a take-down making eBay's system a failure.

Report Item Link: Mr Moore's statement seems to attempt to get eBay off the hook for failing in their responsibility by blaming it on buyers and sellers who fail to report violations. Leaving it up to users to report listings  is little more than a convenient way for eBay to shirk their responsibilities for enforcing their policy.

As any seller who has used the report item link knows, eBay's response to these reports takes an eternity, that is assuming they get around to taking action at all.

eBay's own VERO team has admitted in the past that eBay receives more complaints than they can process in a timely and efficient manner.



It is obvious that sellers can list just about anything, legal or illegal on eBay, if they know what terms to avoid using. Further,  if they do so using a shorter listing duration, eBay will never get around to investigating or taking action against the offender as the listing will expire long before eBay gets around to investigating.

As eBay becomes a stand alone company, and staffing levels are further reduced, there will be significantly more listings with violations which will never see any official action by eBay with regard to enforcement.

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

Wed Mar 11 18:00:37 2015

Memo for Uncle Grief Radio Show:
eBay is just a venue. Mum's the word.

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by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 11 18:01:19 2015

Reporting items - even by phone - is a total waste of time.  If you call, you get an Indian who has absolutely no authority to act on a listing - they're not even connected to the system.  I've called repeatedly about a competitor who practices open FEE EVASION.  The worthless Indians do nothing.  They CLAIM they forward a report to "Trust and Safety" but those clowns just ignore the reports, too.  As for using the on-line item reporting pages, forget it - it's a total waste of bandwidth.  

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

Wed Mar 11 18:25:55 2015

As most already understand, the only thing that interests eBay is their FVF. Everything that comes out of their corporate mouth is only words, words that will never be backed up by any action if such action could have the slightest possible adverse effect on their bottom line ...

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas  

Perminate Link for eBay Comes Under Fire for Its Handling of Banned Gun Parts   eBay Comes Under Fire for Its Handling of Banned Gun Parts

by: AngelaTC This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 11 22:14:39 2015

There's no such thing as an assault weapon.  I suspect ''Reveal'' is more interested in gun control than eBay policy concerns.

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by: forrosebud This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 12 01:14:20 2015

I beg to differ with AngelaTC as to there is 'No such thing as an Assault Weapon?' Stand up and identify yourself when the next person(s)who 'takes out' a group of school children or adults in a matter of minutes. And following further investigation, it's determined that all the specific gun parts needed to assemble this weapon were purchased on Ebay!

''Report an Item'' is LAUGHABLE! I had a couple of competitors who blatantly advertised and directed buyers to their own private off ebay website. One rather arrogant seller today still displays his contact phone numbers in Mega Caps, and specifically states to contact him via 'such and such' to purchase directly this item or other comparable items he has for sale... antiques/clock collectibles.  

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by: Ebay Seller-Ebay Buyer This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 12 01:21:55 2015

There's nothing wrong with allowing legal merchandise to be sold on ebay.

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by: forrosebud This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 12 01:48:20 2015

@Ebay Seller-Ebay Buyer ''There's nothing wrong with allowing legal merchandise to be sold on ebay.''

HUH? Your specificity is underwhelming. Do you list/sell doll clothes on Ebay or gun parts that you feel are 'legal' to sell on Ebay? What is it you are trying to defend on behalf of 'selling' on ebay?

Perminate Link for eBay Comes Under Fire for Its Handling of Banned Gun Parts   eBay Comes Under Fire for Its Handling of Banned Gun Parts

by: yotman1 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 12 07:35:43 2015

forrosebud  and anyone else who holds your view.  This is correct - there is no such thing as an assault weapon.  That is a term that was purposely made up by handgun control Inc.20 years ago because it engenders more emotional response from people who are uninformed when they hear it!  Also it shows how uninformed you are when yo make statements like the one about school children.  1st in Conn the crazy guy did NOT use his AR 15 Bushmaster - it was in his trunk after the assault.  He used handguns.  This is one of those made up 'facts' that mysteriously was covered up BUT reported as "fact" any way by the liberal media.  People such as yourself fell for that "fact"  hook line and sinker! In any case guns are no more dangerous than bicycles but the difference is that the second amendment CLEARLY states that the right to bear arms "shall not be infringed".  Period, end of story.  Therefore it is outrageous for eBay or any other organization to limit the sale of them or parts for them.  You liberals think the rest of the population should bow down to your uninformed beliefs!.  

Perminate Link for eBay Comes Under Fire for Its Handling of Banned Gun Parts   eBay Comes Under Fire for Its Handling of Banned Gun Parts

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 12 08:28:41 2015

If I wanted to build one of these so called assault weapons I sure as heck wouldn't buy any part from ebay... In the meantime I will keep my AK loaded and by my bedside.

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by: ignatz This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 12 09:01:05 2015

@forrosebud
"I beg to differ with AngelaTC as to there is 'No such thing as an Assault Weapon?'"

Then please specify how a .223-caliber "assault weapon" differs from a .223-caliber Ruger Mini-14, which has NEVER been classified as an "assault weapon."

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by: dr shock This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 12 10:10:34 2015

I have NEVER had a ''Report This Item'' work.
eBay just ignores them no matter how blatant the offense.

Perminate Link for eBay Comes Under Fire for Its Handling of Banned Gun Parts   eBay Comes Under Fire for Its Handling of Banned Gun Parts

This user has validated their user name. by: Ihatethebay

Thu Mar 12 10:21:58 2015

Years ago I listed a replacement 9mm barrel and magazine for a Tokarev TT-33 PISTOL and the Sturmbayfuhrer removed the listing because it was an "assault weapon" part.

Well, sort of, kind of, NOT....................!

Those dumbasses don't know the difference between the Tokarev PISTOL and the RIFLE, which is a semi-automatic, magazine (10 rounds)fed weapon.

It was at that point that I de-listed all my gun parts and accouterments off the Feebay and started listing them on Gunbroker.

Evilbay and the Left-wing Bay-Area elitists don't like guns? Fine. I don't like giving them my hard-earned money.

Perminate Link for eBay Comes Under Fire for Its Handling of Banned Gun Parts   eBay Comes Under Fire for Its Handling of Banned Gun Parts

This user has validated their user name. by: maxheadroom

Thu Mar 12 11:15:40 2015

As a former gunparts seller on ebay and longtime gunshow seller, long before computers, i can tell you from personal experience that ebay allows reported auctions to continue and ends legal auctions of accessories without checking them first. I have seen complete parts kits slip through and end with no cancelling. Basically people just disassemble an entire rifles and in rare cases  pistols and call them parts kits or parts lots when they have the frame or receiver. For those of you that dont want to understand it is the frame/receiver that needs to be registered . the most common violation i see are bolt action rifles listed as barrels that just happen to have the whole receiver attached but usualy hidden out of the photo with only the hint of it showing. The ebay sellers from europe sometimes but rarely  have the complete upper receiver with welded barrel for auction on ebay. In some european countries this is legal to have just the barrel and bolt face welded but it is illegal in the usa to have it but i have seen them sell. And yes i see alot of auctions with rifle/pistol magazines listed  as 10 round when you can clearly see they are un-altered 15-20 or 30 round magazines. I have reported mant an auction but very few ever get cancelled. Last year a seller from germany was selling a complete ww2 german zf41 sniper rifle. I reported it but it never got cancelled.

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This user has validated their user name. by: maxheadroom

Thu Mar 12 11:22:48 2015

Correction. i forgot to add"The ebay sellers from europe sometimes but rarely  have the complete upper receiver  FROM A MACHINE GUN usualy a pps43 ppsh41 with welded barrel for auction on ebay. I usualy only sold collectable bolt action rifle parts  and accessories but ebay has cancelled ar15/m16 and ak47 pouches, bayonets  and slings i listed. I even had bolt action rifle barrels auctions , just the barrels, cancelled but ebay as a violation of california law when there is no such law banning bolt action rifle barrels. and those were 1800's ww1 ww2 vintage .

Perminate Link for eBay Comes Under Fire for Its Handling of Banned Gun Parts   eBay Comes Under Fire for Its Handling of Banned Gun Parts

by: minnie This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 12 12:14:19 2015

On my other selling account, we were selling a part to KEEP OPEN an AR15 for cleaning.  This weapon opens up like a pair of scissors and if you are not careful, it could close on your hand! My partner was getting tired of this, so he developed this tool.  We listed it on ebay, and it got taken down.

We took this gizmo to the next eBAY LIVE! (when they were having them) to talk to someone about this.  It is not a part to make a weapon.  It is a part that keeps it open so it cannot be used.  No go.  We have a bunch of these.  Maybe we'll start again with gunbroker.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Don Wagner

Thu Mar 12 12:22:28 2015

I have never seen an illegal or federally-regulated gun part for sale on eBay. But plenty of items that violate eBay's very capricious "nobody in real life actually cares" policies.

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by: yotman1 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 12 14:28:48 2015

ignatz

The classification is a FALSE classification by people who know no better. It is also made up.  I can call something anything I want - doesn't make it factual! As stated before the label was made up!  Do a little actual research on the topic and you will discover that this is fact.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Mar 12 14:38:17 2015

AngelaTC says "There's no such thing as an assault weapon."

Oh good Lord, are we living on different planets?

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by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 12 15:49:10 2015

Note the several posters verifying my assertion that fleaBay doesn't give a carp about Report an Item. The Customer [non-]Service staff is already inadequate and they're going to reduce it further. Not sure why as they're all in India/Philipines or some other Asian He// Hole working for the proverbial bowl of rice a day.  If they were serious about cutting expenses they'd start with The Hoe.  Replace him with someone living in a mud hut - it couldn't possibly be worse!

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