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.