EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2770 - March 28, 2012     1 of 3

eBay Admits Mistake, Returns User ID to Longtime Seller

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eBay admitted it made a mistake when it took away the User ID of a longtime seller and gave it to a branded retailer in the UK, but the company has yet to explain how the mistake occurred. Marlene, who opened the eBay account "Animal" in April 1998, said on Tuesday was happy to have her account back and said she found the experience hard to believe, "like a bad dream."

Animal, which sells a line of products for surfers with four brick-and-mortar stores in Wales and England, said eBay offered it the ID as part of opening a shop on the site. A firestorm erupted over a post Marlene wrote on Sunday explaining her ID had been mysteriously changed from Animal to "animal_animal123" on March 6th.

She explained she had contacted eBay numerous times since March 6th but was told by customer support representatives that there was nothing she could do. The incident unnerved sellers who invest time and money branding their eBay businesses.

After Simon Lilly, head of ecommerce for the UK retailer, read about the situation on the EcommerceBytes Blog, he insisted eBay return the Animal account to Marlene. "Having read your blog on numerous occasions whilst researching the launch of our shop, it's very sad to have the first mention of our new eBay store on your blog to be a negative one. We'll do everything in our power to restore the previous owners credibility."

eBay UK spokesperson Clare Moore-Bridger said it was not normal practice for eBay to change a user ID without permission by the customer or unless it has been requested for legal reasons. "We are in touch with both sellers with the aim of resolving this to suit both of them."

Later on Tuesday she wrote, "Good news. We have reversed the changes made to the seller user IDs and "Animal" has its original user ID back. We will be contacting the seller directly to apologise for our mistake. We would also like to thank the retailer Animal for working with us on this."

Marlene had not heard from eBay at the end of day on Tuesday, but said she received an automated email informing her that her account had been returned. "Not a peep from Ebay," she told EcommerceBytes. "I did get their canned email regarding "Congrats on changing my ID from "animal" to "animal" (yep, that's what it said!). I will never know the truth of the matter. I am lucky the seller in the UK acted as they did. Now, it's back to business as usual."

Moore-Bridger has not explained how claimed the Animal ID from another seller, and eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff has not yet responded to our inquiry as to why Marlene had been unable to get anyone at to help her with the problem.

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About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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