is reporting that eBay will allow certain "regulators" to remove sellers' listings themselves, without consulting eBay, if they believe the items are dangerous:
"Online seller eBay says it is handing regulators the power to take down dangerous listings without consulting the company.
"Officials will be able to remove items "where they have evidence of a risk to consumer safety", eBay said."
While eBay has not posted an announcement on the US or UK press page, it tweeted
: "Today we're proud to announce the launch of the Regulatory Portal, to further our measures to protect consumers from unsafe and illegal listings on @ebay_UK" along with a link to the BBC article.
eBay has long worked with law enforcement
and operates a portal with tools to help officials surveil and report listings - an excerpt from the current portal explains:
"Regulatory Portal eBay operates the Regulatory Portal to enable market surveillance, monitoring and law enforcement authorities to efficiently and effectively report non-compliant listings and securely request the removal of such listings. This site may only be used by market surveillance, monitoring and law enforcement authorities and third parties explicitly authorized by eBay."
It's a big leap to go from facilitating law enforcement's removal requests to actually allowing regulators to remove listings themselves.
eBay told the BBC the new policy was designed to speed up the removal of "illegal or unsafe items" and that only "selected, trusted authorities" would have access to the new tools.
The lack of communication with sellers about the new practice is troubling - eBay did not announce the new policy on its Seller Announcement Board on the US or UK website.
As a result, there are unanswered questions about the new system:
- It's unclear if eBay will notify sellers in the event one of their listings is removed.
- Are counterfeit goods like fake designer handbags included in the policy?
- The BBC uses the word "remove," but a tutorial for eBay's law enforcement portal defines "remove" as: "the listing will no longer be visible on the site." That means sellers could continue to pay fees for listings that are not visible to shoppers and never know it.
- It's unclear if eBay will provide sellers a way to appeal any actions regulators take on their listings.
- It's unclear the consequences in the event a regulator removes a listing in error.
- Which regulators will be allowed to remove sellers' listings in which countries?
Let us know what you think as sellers (and buyers) on eBay. Do you welcome efforts like these to clean up the site? Has eBay notified you of the new policy?