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View Full Version : Suspended from Ebay - successful reinstatement?


Chotii
11-17-2005, 06:57 PM
I was suspended from Ebay yesterday over a "shilling" incident involving a relative who, not realising it was a violation of the rules, bid on an item and bought from me. I thought this was cute and funny, and not realising it was a violation of the rules, mentioned it in a thread on the seller forum. Within 5 minutes the thread was a train wreck of people telling me I'm too stupid to live, and 24 hours later my 75 auction/store items, and 200+ books on half.com were all cancelled or suspended (fees confiscated).

Okay. Ignorance is no excuse. It's a painful lesson, but assuming I can get reinstated, it's not crippling.

Relative and I are both suspended for 'a minimum of one week' after which we may appeal the suspension.

They have a procedure for reinstatement, but no actual information on what to do to accomplish it. Has anyone ever managed to get reinstated, and what were the steps required? I see plenty of angry people on web forums who have been unable to be reinstated even after working things out with higher eschelon people (the usual - one hand doesn't know what the other hand is doing, or else they get nothing but canned responses, no matter how many hoops they jump through).

But it must be *possible*. Can anybody help me? I still have 6 days to wait before I can appeal.

simster
11-17-2005, 09:15 PM
I haven't read the policy, but I'm not sure what you have described is shilling...

If the relative bid on the item, honestly, and bought the item at the end price, seems like a fair auction...

Now, if he only bid to raise the amount, and was not the end buyer, that is shilling... if he did it with no intention to buy the item.

Sounds like a bad call to me.

Good Egg
11-17-2005, 09:18 PM
I'm surprised at that. A friend of mine's minor daughter was on ebay and bidding and buying and she found out and reporterd her duaghter. They said they would investigate and maybe warning or temp suspension. Its been 2 weeks and they haven't done anything.

simster
11-17-2005, 09:21 PM
I stand corrected... although I totally think the rule is bogus... as long as the buyer intends to buy the item... and is not bidding simply to raise the price...

The rule as stated on Ebay -

Because family members, roommates and employees of sellers have a level of access to item information which is not available to the general Community, they are not permitted to bid on items offered by the seller -- even if their sole intent is to purchase the item. Family members, roommates or employees may purchase items from a seller without violating this policy simply by using purchase options -- such as Buy It Now -- which do not involve bidding.

So, ignore my previous post and hope for a temporary suspension.

Live and Learn... I just did.

Chotii
11-17-2005, 09:34 PM
I suppose in my case they had my stated 'confession' of the event, and relative and I share a last name, so it was slam-dunk, you're outta here. Sigh. I just hope I can undo this somehow.

See, lots of people don't know that rule. But it doesn't matter.

Chotii
11-17-2005, 10:37 PM
Anyone, anyone? Suggestions how to get reinstated?

MrPeabody
11-17-2005, 11:59 PM
I was involved with a similar situation.

I would guess a 90 percent chance you will be suspended for less than 30 days and get a warning that if you do it again it could be permanent.

stuyguy
11-18-2005, 09:54 AM
Because family members, roommates and employees of sellers have a level of access to item information which is not available to the general Community, they are not permitted to bid on items offered by the seller -- even if their sole intent is to purchase the item.

Not only have I never heard of such a rule, but it strikes me as utterly nutty. So, family members, etc. have access that others don't? Big deal.

I can see how that might discourage the informed family member, etc. from bidding -- say, for example, she has seen the trinket up close and knows how bad the workmanship is, even though the item may look good in a photo. But if her secret knowledge -- say that she noticed an author inscription inside that first edition that the seller missed -- encouraged her to place a legit high bid, what's the harm?

Granted that the other bidders do not share in that secret knowledge, but so what? Lots of expert bidders know things about items that inexpert sellers and other inexpert bidders don't. Furthermore, you can ask the seller questions that don't (I think) get shared with other bidders, giving you, essentially, secret knowledge.

Is there something I'm missing here?

Mangetout
11-18-2005, 10:16 AM
It's unfortunate, but there's pretty much zero chance of any meaningful dialogue with eBay over this.

-my experience is not on exactly the same issue as yours; I have had perfectly innocent, legitimate, unambiguous listings summarily cancelled because some idiot reported them as violations of policy and eBay just dumbly cancelled them; my protests were either simply ignored or received an irrelevant standard response, but in all cases, were uniformly futile.

Ebay is great when it works, but when it goes wrong, it hurts and there's nothing much you can do but to sit it out. However, in your case, if they've confiscated the listing fees, I'd probably try a bit more tenacity with the complaints; document everything and start copying your correspondence to a relevant trading standards authority, if such can be found.

MannyL
11-18-2005, 12:06 PM
Good luck getting reinstated and staying reinstated. Last year I had some auctions go bad because I had someone ship my products and instead they threw them out. I had to make the bidders whole by refunding which I was perfectly fine with.

Fast foward to last month. I had to create a new account because I forgot my old password and did not have the same email address.

I listed some auctions and had no problems. Recieved positive feedback then BAM suspended again because they said I had a suspended acount. I tried to contact them and got their automated system. I had the fax # I sent the original documentation to so they would end the original suspension and faxed the reinstatement letter to them. 48 hours later I was back.

If you didn't know it was your relative bidding you can try faxing them a letter saying that. If you need a fax # for them let me know

Chotii
11-18-2005, 01:38 PM
If you didn't know it was your relative bidding you can try faxing them a letter saying that. If you need a fax # for them let me know

I knew it was her - at least I figured it out before the end of the auction - and my husband says 'he warned me'. But he didn't say anything about shilling. I mean, it just doesn't fit the definition of 'shilling' of anybody I've talked to so it never occurred to me to look it up.

I understand I still have no excuse. I could have, should have known it was not allowed. *She* should have, could have known. It was right there in the rules, for anybody who looked up 'shilling'.

The question is, how do I get reinstated? I read somewhere on a web forum that you have to be able to show receipts for where you bought your inventory (this was from someone who *had* jumped through all the hoops and never managed to get reinstated). But I buy my inventory at yard sales and I don't have receipts. Does an actual human with a functioning brain have any hand in the process? Do they take things like 'when I realised it was against the rules, I cancelled the only bid my relative had and put their ID on my blocked bidder list' into consideration?

MannyL
11-18-2005, 02:06 PM
I knew it was her - at least I figured it out before the end of the auction - and my husband says 'he warned me'. But he didn't say anything about shilling. I mean, it just doesn't fit the definition of 'shilling' of anybody I've talked to so it never occurred to me to look it up.

I understand I still have no excuse. I could have, should have known it was not allowed. *She* should have, could have known. It was right there in the rules, for anybody who looked up 'shilling'.

The question is, how do I get reinstated? I read somewhere on a web forum that you have to be able to show receipts for where you bought your inventory (this was from someone who *had* jumped through all the hoops and never managed to get reinstated). But I buy my inventory at yard sales and I don't have receipts. Does an actual human with a functioning brain have any hand in the process? Do they take things like 'when I realised it was against the rules, I cancelled the only bid my relative had and put their ID on my blocked bidder list' into consideration?

I would do the following

1) Write a letter to the why suspended address explaining that you did not know the person was related to you and when you found out you canceled their bid and blocked them and ask them to reinstate you

2) Fax a copy of that letter to (877) 471-2004. Expect them to request a copy if your ID after they recieve the fax
3) Send a copy of the same letter to eBay through PlanetFeedback.com

panache45
11-18-2005, 05:10 PM
I had a run-in with eBay on 9/11.

I sell prints of my photography on eBay. Since I lived in NYC for 25 years, I have several images of the World Trade Center. On the morning of 9/11/01, I had upwards of 100 auctions in progress, including a few that just happened to be of the WTC. In the aftermath of the attacks, the bids for these photos went sky high, and it wasn't long before I got an email from eBay cancelling these auctions and warning me about capitalizing on a national tragedy, and threatening me with permanent suspension if I continued this practice.

I explained to them that these items were put up for auction prior to 9/11, and since I wasn't privy to the terrorists' plans, I was in no way "capitalizing on a national tragedy."

They responded by repeating their earlier threats.

The bottom line is that they hold the upper hand, and you have to go along with their policies, regardless of possible unfairness. They have to deal with millions of eBay users, and can't/won't take the time to examine the particulars of each case.

Mangetout
11-18-2005, 05:49 PM
I checked the eBay policies and although it may not truly be shilling, what is being described here is actually expressly prohibited; it says:
Because family members, flatmates and employees of sellers have a level of access to item information that is not available to the general Community, they are not permitted to bid on items offered by the seller - even if their sole intent is to purchase the item. Family members, flatmates or employees may purchase items from a seller without breaching this policy simply by using purchase options - such as Buy It Now - which do not involve bidding.(emphasis mine)

It sucks, but in this particular case, they're not being any more heavy-handed than they might be expected to. However, I reckon you'll probably be able to get reinstated if you grovel a bit and play up the fact that you really weren't aware you were doing anything against the rules. I don't think it would really hurt to ask for the confiscated fees back too - on the grounds that this is all just a huge accident.

Good Egg
11-18-2005, 08:45 PM
I'm still surprised they allow minors to bid.

Guinastasia
11-18-2005, 09:46 PM
panache45, that is truly the stupidest thing I ever heard of. Do they automatons running the place?

Hell, I know of a certain scam artist who has defrauded god knows how many people, yet she still keeps managing to get new accounts and scam even more people. How she manages to hang on, and other people get suspended over petty shit amazes me.