Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Nov 8 2016 21:12:35

eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?

By: Ina Steiner

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A reader reported that a feature on eBay appeared to be malfunctioning - when the reader reported listings that violated eBay's weapons policy, no action was taken. When the first report came in from the reader, we immediately sent the link to eBay and invited the company to post a response, which they did not do.

A second report came in today on Ecommerce EKG:

"The eBay "Report Item" link to report Prohibited Items is STILL NOT working. Guns, Weapons, and Explosives are being LISTED and SOLD on eBay. Anyone, including CHILDREN and TERRORISTS, can purchase these items. The "Report Item" link appears to work but NO Prohibited Items have been removed in 8 days."

The reader provided listing numbers, which can be entered into eBay's search field (if nothing comes back, click the Completed checkbox on the left navigation bar).

When the first report came in, we perused some of the listings the reader had posted. We saw a couple of airguns - what stood out was the fact they did not have an orange plug in the barrel.

According to eBay's policy, one of the requirements of airsoft guns, replica guns, or other imitation firearms is that they must have a blaze orange barrel plug permanently attached to the weapon. 

One of the items listed in today's report was for a front assisted opening knife. eBay prohibits the listing of "Switchblade knives (knives with a blade that open automatically - for example, by pressing a button or through inertia or gravity)." A search for "Schrade Viper Out The Front Assisted Opening Knife" (text taken from the listing description) turned up this YouTube video - looks like a switchblade knife.

This isn't the first time eBay has been criticized for its practices around weapons. We wrote about a critical report published in March 2015.

But this post is not about whether or not eBay should allow the sale of weapons on its site. The issue is whether it's enforcing its policies - and whether it's taking appropriate action in response to reports of policy violations.




Comments (13) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?   eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?

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

Tue Nov 8 23:42:15 2016

Ebafia ignores anything that decreases their bottom line.

This is an amoral corporation, but we already knew that.

Perminate Link for eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?   eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?

by: DonC This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 9 00:55:25 2016

Guns, weapons and explosives of interest to terrorists? News to me.

Perminate Link for eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?   eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Nov 9 02:45:00 2016

It isn't just weapons.  It is any type of violation reported.  Member have complained about the lack of action on Ebay's part for YEARS !!!

I've been pretty vocal on this subject.  In all my years on Ebay I have only had them actually take action about one listing / Seller I reported.  And I assure you I lost count a long time ago on how many listings I reported for one reason or another.

It is just like the Donation listing that Toys R Us has on Ebay.  I've talked about it before.  The listing violates almost every rule that Ebay has for Donation listing, yet it has remained unmolested on the site for years.  Toys R Us has a listing where you can donate $1.00 to a fund for military wives that are expecting a child.  And the listing has a shipping fee of $4.91.  So for every dollar you donate, TRU gets to keep $4.91.

Perminate Link for eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?   eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?

by: Leslie This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 9 05:11:41 2016

I'm not surprised by this at all. Ebay also sells many prescription drugs. I've consistently reported them over and over again, day after day, and they're never removed. I've then called in to Customer Service to directly report them. And the listings still never got removed. I've googled this and find other people have done the same thing with the same results. Eventually I've given up, I am tired of banging my head against the wall. I've come to the conclusion that eBay doesn't care, they just want the fees for selling any kind of item.  

Perminate Link for eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?   eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 9 05:44:52 2016

In 2012, I listed a rare 1950's vintage cap gun in almost flawless original condition, estimated value at almost $150.  It had a reddish-orange permantly affixed muzzle cap. We also showed and described a view down the barrel whereby a screw post obstruction was clearly evident that would render it impossible to use this item as any kind of a projectile weapon.

The listing was pulled and a violation was recorded against our account within 24 hours.

According to the eBay 'specialist' I eventually connected with after numerous attempts to clarify this obvious mistake, I was informed that the listing was yanked because the cap was not 'blaze' orange, but rather a 'different shade' of orange.  

No amount of discussion pointing to the fact that this was an original condition and permanent manufacture feature that could nevertheless not in anyway render this item as being considered a weapon would persuade this literal minded drone.  

However, if I were to alter the item by somehow removing the original cap, and attaching a 'correctly shaded' one, then that would allow for a 'compliant' listing.  One that would significantly reduce the value of this item, of course, but that was no concern to them.

Neither was the significance and impact of an undeserved 'violation' on the record.  

Meanwhile, I also pointed out over half of the similar listings at the time in this same category that DID have clear violations, many of which were relists, a couple of which had NO muzzle caps, questioning why these listings had appeared to lack such 'detailed' scrutiny.  They said they would 'look into it.'  

Two weeks later, nothing had changed.  

Well, one thing had;  I lost that particular consignor as a future client.



Perminate Link for eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?   eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Nov 9 06:40:03 2016

In light of last night's events, I expect to see guns sold at Chuck E. Cheese.

Perminate Link for eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?   eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 9 08:59:02 2016

MAXIM - eBay ONLY DOES THINGS when its bottom line is threatened .... by either a lawsuit or financial pressure.

Maybe after last night - the Donald (after hes finish fixing America) can "make eBay great again" ... but I doubt it ... Wenig insists on running into the ground .. LOL "Mr. %3".

Perminate Link for eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?   eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 9 09:19:35 2016

You can click that 'report item' button 'til you have Carpel Tunnel syndrome! The laughably named 'Trust and Safety' people are even worse, if that's possible, than the Customer [non-]Service Rep's.

Perminate Link for eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?   eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?

by: No Princess This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 9 10:32:03 2016

On the other hand, I am unable to list 75 year old World War II manuals for defunct airplanes, because they are considered ''restricted'' items.  Never mind the eBay stores that sell nothing but...

Perminate Link for eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?   eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Wed Nov 9 11:17:04 2016

Parts for so called "assault rifles" are all over eBay. You just have to know what to look for. . .I've sold many over the years, also bought many more!

Perminate Link for eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?   eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?

by: methuen-web-sales This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed Nov 9 11:45:56 2016

@Snapped,  I had about the same problem trying to sell a 1950s cap gun.  I got around it by digitally ''painting in'' the Blaze Orange cap onto the end of the gun.  I hinted in the listing that the Orange was mystical and it was never pulled and it did sell for the appropriate price.  I thought my artwork was pretty good so I guess I fooled the eBay CS folks.  

On another similar matter:  I sell lots of plastic model kits, most of them military related (planes, tanks, ships, etc.) and I do ship overseas.  I shipped an Airfix tank kit (1:76 scale - about the length of a middle finger) to France.  The customer email me about a month later telling me he did receive the kit but it had been opened by customs and a note was left (in English) saying it was to be sure there were no weapons in the box.  I had used a 4''X6''X9'' box.  This is what the world seems to have come too!  Right up there with little school boys making guns with their fingers and being suspended or arrested.  You can't (shouldn't) lie on the customs forms so I now just give the manufacturers name, SKU, and ''Model Kit''.  So far, no problems.  We just keep on selling.  

Perminate Link for eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?   eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?

by: 27tcle This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 9 15:48:33 2016

Bet if you bid on one of them, you'll get a 3:00AM knock at your door. If ebay ain't pulling it, it's likely a law enforcement bait listing. They do this a lot with drugs too.

Perminate Link for eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?   eBay Ignores Reports of Weapons Policy Violations?

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 9 22:40:54 2016

We don't need ebay to monitor anything. That's how we get into this micromanagement in the first place. You can't have it both ways.



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