eBay suspension is every seller’s worst nightmare. Suddenly locked out of a marketplace with 180 million active buyers, results can be devastating. Especially for a business still building itself online.
So how can an honest, law-abiding eBay seller avoid suspension? Certainly, prevention is better than cure. That is to say, the best way to avoid suspension is to learn what eBay frowns upon and, well, don’t do it.
Types of eBay suspension
Your account can be put on hold due to minor issues like late payment or expired payment card. All cases are individual, but accounts on hold are reinstated as soon as you fulfil the criteria specified by eBay.
Account restrictions are more serious than holds. Restrictions are reserved for accounts that don’t meet eBay standards. eBay sellers must meet a minimum performance standards. Accounts that don’t will be restricted. Restriction cases vary, but eBay can lower sellers position in the search results or restrict them from selling certain items.
This is the harshest form of account penalty. Account suspension means you can’t sell, bid, message bidders or leave feedback. Account suspension is reserved only for serious violations such as selling illegal merchandise. In the event of account suspension, you should speak to eBay. Suspensions due to misunderstanding can be overturned. However, if not removed, seller account suspension can be permanent. Suspended accounts cannot sell on eBay. Further, bidders can retract their bids, but the suspended account can’t contact the bidder in the message or reply to their questions. Finally, if your account gets suspended, you should not register a new account. eBay may also suspend other accounts matching any information they have for you.
Reasons eBay suspends listings and sellers
Directing customers away from eBay
If you want to stay in eBay’s good books, it’s best not to take customers away from them. Links in listings pointing to outside websites are strictly prohibited. If links to other sites are detected, your listings will be taken down. In addition, including phone numbers or using your website address in your listing text or design is not allowed. Similarly, using suffixes such as .com in your brand name or seller ID will cause eBay to block your listings.
Insecure code in listings
Further improving security, eBay is now a https secure site. In January 2019 eBay began blocking listings with http content such as images hosted with http.
eBay will suspend listings containing elements of http or active content.
Active content is not always visible, nor are http elements, and even if you do find them, removal can be time consuming. If you need help clearing active content or http from your listings, you should speak to Frooition about the fast and easy Listing rescue service.
Frooition eBay design is eBay certified. All elements, even video, are https and totally active content free.
Misleading with images
Customers heavily rely on images to assess the items before buying. Using stock images for items which are not new and unused, or stealing images from other sellers will get you suspended.
It’s in your own interest as a seller to create listings with a good range of clear and well-lit photographs that accurately represent the items you are selling.
Photograph any damage or flaws in an item. Hold or position the item next to other items for scale. Use images to document details. Showing the item from every angle helps to sell more and reduce returns.
A full set of clear photographs can also help you if you ever need to contest a customer dispute.
Selling Prohibited, Restricted or counterfeit items
eBay is not the wild west. Sellers should familiarise themselves with which items are restricted by eBay. Some items are completely banned from being sold on eBay, while others may be sold with conditions. For example, devices to pick locks are generally not allowed to be sold on eBay, but antique skeleton keys are permitted for sale.
Counterfeit items are not welcome on eBay. eBay was one of the first companies to adopt an online process that enables rights owners to report alleged infringements of their intellectual property. Their Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) programme offers intellectual property owners a way to report listings that they believe to infringe on their rights. Over 50,000 brands are now a part of the VERO programme. VERO has helped to make eBay the most popular marketplace for used designer goods.
Any listing or item using trademarks in an unlawful way will be removed and the seller will usually be suspended. Often for good.
Late shipping orders
Reliability is important. Customers must be able to trust eBay shipping estimates. So, if a seller is often late shipping orders, eBay may restrict or suspend that seller.
Dropshippers often have their eBay accounts restricted for this reason. Try to give realistic shipping estimates. Be conservative. It’s always better to under promise and over deliver. In addition, you should work to build a strong relationship with your supplier. Ensure they know just how important fast dispatch is to your business. Further, take their business into account. If you’re buying from China, put your store into holiday mode before the Chinese New Year to prevent unsent orders.
A high transaction defect rate
A high defect rate often indicates that your customers are not getting what they expected. Firstly, make sure that listings are thorough and honest. There could be a simple mistake in a listing that is causing customers to be unintentionally mislead. Secondly, be pro active with communication. If there’s a problem, it’s best that the customer resolves it with you rather than going to eBay. Lastly, if you do have a transaction defect, address buyer communications quickly and skilfully.
Failing to resolve cases in the Resolution Centre
When a customer is unhappy, swift resolution is best for all parties. Failing to pay refunds, being slow to respond to messages, or being abusive will get a seller suspended from eBay. To stay on the best side of eBay, please your customers and grow your business, the best option is always to deal with customers yourself, avoiding the resolution centre. However, if you do find yourself using the resolution centre, you should answer all messages in there quickly, following any directions given by eBay.
What to do if you’re suspended as a seller or your listings are removed
Read your suspension email closely. If you didn’t receive an email, it may have been blocked by your email provider, so it’s best to go to your eBay account inbox. A suspension message will not always state the reasons for the suspension or detail the evidence that lead eBay to their decision. Or, even if the reasons are stated they may not make much sense to you, especially if you’re new to eBay.
eBay can fully explain to you what you need to do to get your listings or account reinstated on a phone call. Have your suspension email in front of you for reference when you call.
When you’re new to eBay, it’s important to learn about eBay policies. Both new and experienced sellers should keep up to date with new policy developments. Focus on building a long term eBay business through honesty and great service. Don’t try to trick eBay. Ultimately, misusing eBay will only prevent you from building a long term, stable business. If your account gets suspended, speak to a customer care representative. Be as honest and transparent as possible. The customer care representatives are there to help you, and eBay don’t want to restrict good sellers that support the platform and it’s growth.