I recently ran into an issue with eBay and was wondering if you could possibly publish a story relating to it.
I sell collectible art prints and pay monthly for an eBay "Premium Store". I was recently looking through my store (not my active listings page which I view much more frequently), and I noticed an item that did not have a photo showing.
Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the title was also missing, and in its place was the notation: "Adult only item - Requires verification".
As you may know, items in the "adult only" section can only be found if you specifically select that section. This means that if you do a normal eBay search with "All Categories" selected, the item in question will not show up, even if the title matches the terms that were searched for.
The items in question were art prints that all had various levels of nudity. However, eBay does allow nudity in the regular "Art" section, as long as the subject "Nudes" is selected (which it was).
After doing some more browsing through my store, I noticed that it was not just one, but six items that were restricted to the "adult only" category. To make matters even worse, I was never notified that these items were being restricted. Also, the items show completely normally in my active items list, so unless I was to look through my store page (or actually click on the item) I would never know about the restriction.
I contacted eBay on Facebook over a month ago, and they agreed with me that these items did not meet the requirements to be restricted to the "adult only" section. I was told that the issue was being looked into, but there was no time frame for a resolution.
A few days ago, I initiated contact again, since the items were still being restricted. The person who replied suggested that the problem might be with certain words I was using in the listing title. He suggested that I remove the word "sexy" from the six titles. Although not all of the titles even contained the word "sexy", I removed it from the ones that did, and sure enough, the items were visible in a normal search.
After replying about the ones that did not use the word "sexy", I was told to remove the words "nude" and/or "topless". I did so, and again, the restriction was removed.
My primary concern involves what happened next. I told eBay that I read all of their user agreement and terms, but never saw any mention of these words being restricted from a listing title. I asked for a complete list of words that I was not allowed to use. The response was that the eBay rep did not know the list of words, and that if he did, he would not be able to share it with a customer.
Although I do not agree with all of eBay's rules, I do make an honest effort to follow them. If words are banned from use in a title (or elsewhere), I'm willing to comply, but I need a reference as to what I can and cannot use in a title.
With these six items, the words that needed to be removed were adjectives that were not very likely to be the reason an item was found by a buyer, but when all other relevant terms were used, I thought it would be better to include such descriptors rather than leave an empty space.
However, there are cases when these words could be vital to a buyer finding the item. I used the example of an art print by the artist Faile (not one I'm selling). The title of the print is "Sexy Ad". The print does not contain anything that eBay would normally restrict to the "adult only" category. If the word "sexy" was removed from that listing, it would make it incredibly difficult for someone to find, since that word is part of the name of the print.
I tried to explain to eBay the importance of knowing what these restricted words are, so that I do not source inventory that would be nearly impossible for a buyer to find.