Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon May 29 2017 16:10:24

eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay is deleting old listings, saying they are unfair to other sellers, though it doesn't seem to question the fairness of collecting the fees on such listings before zapping them into the ether.

eBay is supposed to be a venue only, bringing buyers and sellers together. But eBay has increasingly gotten hands-on and now it can delete sellers' listings at will (and as we've previously reported, can even relist a seller's inactive listings).

A reader forwarded a copy of a letter they received from eBay:

Listings that haven't generated interest, after being active for a long time, can clutter the site and make it difficult for buyers to find what they're looking for. This can be unfair to other sellers when their listings are difficult to find. Therefore, we've done the following:

- We removed any listings that have been active for 1 year or longer without sales. A list of removed item(s) is available further down in this email.

-  Any fees for listings that were ended early for not following policy won't be credited to your account.

We recommend that you don't relist these items unless you first take steps to improve the likelihood of sales. Please also make sure that items don't automatically relist. Listing fees may not be refunded for subsequent removals.

To increase the chance of your items selling in the future, we recommend that you consider the following best practices:

- Reduce the price of the item.

-  Add images.

-  Include pertinent item specifics.

- Offer free shipping.

- List the item using the Auction format.

Sellers discussed this issue on the eBay boards last month - no one recalled this having happened previously, nor can we.

One seller said that as a matter of routine they lower the prices of their older listings in an effort to stimulate sales, so this would make it harder for them to figure out what listings need to be discounted. Others said this was a problem since they often receive sales of items over a year after first listed on eBay and other sites as well.

Here is a link to the FAQ eBay referenced in its letter to sellers where it states:

"If your listing has been active on the site for more than a year without sales, then we may remove it."

Sellers expressed concern about what would happen if they tried to relist such items - that's a valid concern, as eBay makes it clear in the FAQs.

According to some reports, it can be difficult for sellers to determine if their supposedly active listings show up in search, so while eBay sends a letter at least in some cases, you should pay attention to make sure the items you think are active are truly live.

It's disturbing that eBay won't credit sellers for listings it deems to be stale and removes - it's a practice that could have consumer advocates raising their eyebrows. 

If eBay doesn't want sellers to list old listings, it could prevent them from being listed in the first place so sellers aren't out any fees. Given that eBay is concerned about old listings being "unfair" to sellers, after all.




Comments (64) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move   eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move

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

Mon May 29 16:46:33 2017

Each day ebafia hits a new low.

Actually deleting "stale" listings has been going on for years. What's new is ebafia actually (a) admitting it and (b) sending a letter to affected sellers and (c) stealing the listing fees.

If the reasons ebafia gives for these criminal acts were in fact true, they would begin "decluttering" the site by first removing the hundreds of thousands of duplicate listings by Chinese sellers with multiple seller IDs.

Next they could "declutter" the site by removing all the illegal counterfeit merchandise listings.

But most of us here know that ebafia NEVER tells the truth when explaining their actions.

I suspect what's really going here has much more to with the economics of server space and the realization that Can't See Me has previously undisclosed flaws.

I believe most people when given a choice of comparative integrity would choose Bernie Madoff over ebafia and its lying, thieving management team.

Perminate Link for eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move   eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move

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

Mon May 29 16:52:43 2017

To relist ebafia deleted items:

1. take one new photo for the first photo/gallery view pane

2. change the title

3. modify verbiage in item description

4. raise the price

5. Leave two feet or more of blank white space after the item character in the listing and then add one character at the vert bottom. This requires more spacer on the server and makes those ads for other seller's listings less visible to buyers.

6. joyously give ebafia the one finger salute

Perminate Link for eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move   eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Mon May 29 17:39:56 2017

This is beyond appalling, and probably illegal if you are paying for a store which has a certain amount of listings allowed.

I constantly check my listings to ensure that there is interest (aka ''watchers''), and that my prices reflect the current market. So hopefully my items are not stale.

If eBay feels compelled to end a seller's listings, then many will downgrade or eliminate their stores. No sense in paying for a product you do not receive, correct?

And not every item sells overnight, this is a fact. If you sell a rare part for a certain machine or automobile, for instance, it would take a while to find a buyer for it. Not because the item has no worth, just that there is not an extreme demand for it at the moment.

Why, oh why can't eBay just ''get up to steam'' and invest in the company's equipment? Deleting listings seems like a huge step backwards. And this would not look good for potential investors if the GMV of available merchandise took a huge drop just so eBay can conserve server space.

Perminate Link for eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move   eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move

by: DingDong This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 29 18:08:47 2017

As Ming mentioned about declutter all the Chinese and fake items that are listed.

"Listings that haven't generated interest, after being active for a long time, can clutter the site and make it difficult for buyers to find what they're looking for"

If they would open up the search and stop the rolling black out views, sellers could sell their items.
EBay needs to update their crappy search engine.

Perminate Link for eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move   eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 29 18:54:03 2017

What's the problem? eBays C64s out of RAM?

They take your pictures, hide your listings, dont refund handling fees, steal money and items for buyers, relist items without permission ...

is there anything they WONT do?


(yes .... its YET ANOTHER reason to berate the worlds most EVIL ecommerce site)


And oh yeh - eBay is having a major issue with its MBG policy - its missing from most listings - some kind of "glitch" they claim.

John Gotti could have learned a thing or two from these guys.

Perminate Link for eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move   eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 29 18:57:39 2017


just another way to connect with the sellers

Perminate Link for eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move   eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Mon May 29 19:45:18 2017

I Have seen alot of Stale Listings.
Usually for broken, defective items.
Months and Months and Months they sit there.
So, if these are the listings that are getting nuked, Good.

Perminate Link for eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move   eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move

by: val2525 This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 29 21:06:45 2017

With my BUYER hat on, I think it's a great idea. Especially in the OOAK clothing section. If you think buyers don't notice that you're re-listing the same old stuff over and over and over and over, you're dead wrong. We notice.

As a seller, I think eBay should notify the seller BEFORE ending the listing, to let the seller make adjustments. Or if eBay insists on ending the listing, prohibit the relist.

Perminate Link for eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move   eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move

by: JohnGermaine This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 29 21:27:47 2017

Amazing! Wow, and a good reason to NEVER use GTC option.

Perminate Link for eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move   eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move

by: 1st Armored Div. 1971-1973 This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 29 21:39:40 2017

Ebay removed over 5,000 of my listings but I do know one seller who had 44,000 listings removed.

I sell OOAK items and I have noticed over time it is the older stuff which sells the most. Price is not much of a factor and you just have to wait till the right buyer comes along. I checked two days a could weeks ago to see if I was right. Of 13 items sold over the two days 9 of the 13 were about 2 years or older on ebay. OK I can adapt and now I am in the process of changing over to FP-30 instead of GTC. It is just more work for no reason and I am furious at not being compensated for the listings being removed and I have to pay to relist them.

Perminate Link for eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move   eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 29 21:42:50 2017

Lol I just had two items on different accounts sell after well over a year.  One was "stuck" in a GTC thaf I could NOT ransom it out of.  Ebay actually started sending me Notices and a squib about how the item had been listed for more than 16 months.  In that time I was amused to see it had almost 700 views. Played with the price. Finally sold for a whopping $8.99- a brand new fairly rare Hawaiian shirt. Another fishing vest sold after over a year.  I have winter boots on I have not taken down for over a year- we had no winter this year! I have in the past sold these to Southern Hemisphere buyers. No.more since I don't think ANY of MY items arw shown there now.  I will get 3-4 sales from Europe. In a day or so! Why? Did Europe suddenly decide to shop ebay? And buy disparite items? Rolling blackouts more like.

Ebay is a great example of how NOT to run a business.  And I suspect the same Bain model is being used to try and run our country like a (Failing )  business.  Sad.

Perminate Link for eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move   eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move

by: Gemz This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 29 21:44:48 2017

I smell a class action suit coming Ebays way for not refunding fees for non-performance of contract on ebays side. Great scam Ebay! Wait until a few million more of the "stale" items get listed each day, then remove them, keep the millions of dollars of insertion fees, and tell them to change the ad around if they want to PAY AGAIN TO RELIST THE ITEM! I'm beginning to wonder what Ebay WON'T do to sellers at this point!?!?  

Perminate Link for eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move   eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move

This user has validated their user name. by: Ihatethebay

Mon May 29 21:48:49 2017

All the more reason that I left Evilbay as a seller in July of 2015 and haven't looked back.

Vile. Simply vile.

Perminate Link for eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move   eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move

by: Lightning This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 29 21:49:36 2017

Everyone is presuming that ebay is removing the listings without crediting the fees.  According to the OP, the letter stated ''-  Any fees for listings that were ended early for not following policy won't be credited to your account.''  It sounds like ebay is making a distinction between listings it ends that follow policy, and those that don't, inferring that you WILL get credit for those that follow policy but are ''snoozers''.  To my knowledge, there isn't a policy that says you CAN'T keep a listing up over a year, just one that says ebay might remove it.  So you take your chances.  

Having said all that, if you want to pay the listing fees for ANY listing, you should be able to do it.  They could change their fee structure to make it prohibitive to keep listings up too long, if it is important to them, or actually provide the space needed if it isn't.  If you have a high price, you're not showing up in the search anyway.  Their attitude should be ''Go ahead, keep paying for a listing that no one will see, if you're that foolish.''  

I see a seller re-listing an item monthly at $120.  Five or six of the same thing sell for $30 each per month.  He has been trying for over 3 YEARS to sell that same item, same quadruple price.  No bites.  Maybe if ebay DOUBLED the listing fee each time it relists, sellers might think differently about the aspects of the listing.  

Perminate Link for eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move   eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Mon May 29 22:01:29 2017

I completely agree with Ming. There are some categories where there are hundreds of listings, one right after another, using the same photo, same listing title, same item description, and same price. How about deleting some of those? No one needs to go through page after page of the exact same listings.

I also agree with eXtinctBay. I've had items sit in my eCrater store for years before they are purchased.

Now, not only is eBay saying you can pay listing fees and your item will never been seen, but they are also saying you can pay listing fees and they'll delete your item and keep your fees. I guess this is some new scheme to get revenue.

Perminate Link for eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move   eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move

by: Modlcitizn This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 29 22:04:42 2017

It's about time! In the vintage categories, the same junk with prices ten times the market value just sit and get relisted over and over again. I know one postcard has been for sale at least six years. There are a couple of items that are worthless and appear in my eBay search emails over and over.

Perminate Link for eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move   eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Mon May 29 22:04:58 2017

It's not listings that are stale so much as it is eBay that is stale. Every time I get discouraged over plummeting sales I look at the competition. Their merch doesn't move either. eBay in no longer the only game in town. Buyers have flocked and scattered elsewhere.  

Perminate Link for eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move   eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Mon May 29 22:06:19 2017

Can anyone provide a definitive answer to what constitutes a stale listing? 6 months? A year? When is it optimal to do a 'sell similar' to circumvent staleness?

Perminate Link for eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move   eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move

by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 29 22:08:50 2017

Yes, this is a lousy idea and the way eBay SAYS they will handle it is even worse.  Canceling listings is just flat WRONG and even giving a "warning" with opportunity to CHANGE those listings would be only slightly better.  The pointless "this listing has had no sales for over 16 months" that eBay offers currently is POINTLESS as ones that I HAVE taken steps to alter do NOT change the "over 16 months nagging".... even ones where I REDUCED the price on about ten items by 40 percent.  Photos can essentially "never" be an issue as for at least the past 3 years I practically NEVER use the CATALOG Stock Photo and when I use MY OWN PHOTOS I post 6 to 12 pics every time.... Even on Brand New Factory Sealed DVDs / BluRays. (About 5 percent of eBay's STOCK cover photos are wrong or at least misleading.) Additionally eBay NEVER has  put them up with BACK COVERS. 2 weeks ago the LAST of about 20 identical items on a DVD listing sold and the LISTING started over 3 years ago. I counted that as a TOTAL WIN, but now I have to look ahead to having that sort of "mass inventory" CANCELED far too soon. (DVD category re-listing fees are soooo low and up until Spring Changes of 2016 my Store FREE listings exceeded how many listings I had active so even the TINY listing fee had little or no impact.

Perminate Link for eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move   eBay Deletes Seller Listings in Brash Move

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Mon May 29 22:11:33 2017

>>Everyone is presuming that ebay is removing the listings without crediting the fees.  According to the OP, the letter stated ''-  Any fees for listings that were ended early for not following policy won't be credited to your account.''  <<  I was under the impression that the rule was that as long as you paid to list, an item could be listed forever, so what would be the policy that a seller isn't following if ebay takes down their listing? You can't make a rule one day, not tell anyone about it or give them time to deal with it, and the next day start taking seller's listings down for not following policy!

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