eBay problem, please advise

I have been suspended indefinitely from selling on eBay.
‘Indefinite’ appears to mean the same as ‘forever’

I think the suspension was wrong. I did not break any rules. I should never have been suspended in the first place.

The stated reason was because of ‘member complaints.’ There were only a tiny number of complaints, and ALL of them were left by misbehaving or mistaken customers.
I want to appeal against the suspension. I am certain that I could show that the The problem is that I can’t find anyone at eBay that will even discuss the matter with me.

I have tried calling the Customer Support telephone number. They are of no help. They just keep repeating ‘We can’t let you sell because you have been suspended.’

I have tried emailing them. They either send me a standard letter telling me yet again that I have been suspended, or else send me the telephone number for Customer Support.

Surely there must be some way of appealing against this? Does anyone know who I can contact?

Note - I need details for the UK. version of eBay

Here, by the way, are the ‘member complaints’ that caused my suspension. Specifically, it was the DSR’s that got me (Detailed Seller Report) that’s where a customer leaves marks out of 5 for things like

I was trading in used items, including cameras, iPods, computer drives, and similar. I made over 200 sales in 12 months. Mostly satisfied customers. A few complaints, most of which I was able to resolve with an email, e.g. explaining how to reset a frozen iPod, how to operate the camera, etc. A few customers were more problematic. There were four that I could not resolve.

In 12 months, 4 problem customers left me negative feedback, and 5 customers left me low DSR’s.
It’s the DSR’s thar got me, not the feedback, It’s a reasonable guess that they were the same people, but eBay won’t confirm this.

Of the five, it seems that

  • 1 was left by error,
  • 2 were total jerks,
  • 2 were at least partly to blame, there MAY possibly have been some fault on my part

  1. I got 4 neg feedbacks, but 5 low DSR’s. My guess is that the fifth was left in error by a happy customer, with positive feedback. It shouldn’t have been there at all.

  1. I sold an iPod, used in good condition. I stand by my description. It was in perfect working order and had no more than the most trivial marks, Customer claimed that it had a scratch on it. I offered a refund, customer did not reply.

I am sure that most people looking at the iPod would agree that it was in good condition. Even if there was significant scratching on it, he should have contacted me to resolve the problem. At least some of the blame lies with him.

  1. I sold a camera. I tested it before selling and found no fault. Customer left neg feedback, saying it switched off when the zoom was used. I offered a refund, customer did not reply.

On this one, I can’t be sure there was no fault. Maybe it was faulty, or maybe he was using it wrong. But either way, he should have contacted me about it. I could, possibly, have helped with the problem. If he was using it wrongly, I could have advised him. If there was a real fault, I’d have refunded. But he didn’t bother contacting me. Nor did he reply when I contacted him. Again, at least partly his fault.

  1. I sold another camera. I tested it fully, including making sure it didn’t switch off when using the zoom. Customer emailed to say the item wasn’t working. When I asked him to describe the problem, he opened an eBay dispute, and left the following feedback : “the item not work Kodak M530 and fully scratched and not like the photos” I never managed to get a clear answer from him what he thought was faulty. It most certainly WAS like the photos, BTW. They were clear photos of the actual camera.

eBay told him to return the camera to me for a refund. He failed to do so, but demanded a refund anyway. He claimed to have sent the camera, but didn’t have a tracking number. eBay ruled that I didn’t have to refund him. Nevertheless, his negative feedback, and (presumed) DSR were allowed to stand.

  1. I sold a computer drive. It was faulty, and sold as such. When plugged into a computer, it showed no activity at all. It did not show up at all in the list of drives. This was stated clearly in the listing. The customer, however, said that it was more broken than the description. He accused me of deliberately misleading. He directly refused the offer of a refund. Then he accused me of harassing him. He threatened to make a complaint to eBay if I contacted him again. He sounded really rather paranoid.

Those got me restricted.

I won’t speak one way or the other of your complaints, but since sellers now can no longer leave feedback it has become common for customers to attempt to scam sellers. They will claim the item is scratched and demand a full or partial refund without returning the item, threatening bad feedback in the hope you value your account more than the item.

Forums are full of discussion of this issue.

eBay is a private company who has a right to refuse service to anyone for just about any reason.

I recently returned to eBay after a long hiatus to sell some of my wife’s excess camera lenses, and was scammed by a buyer. Basically, I wanted $100 for a lens, and put ‘U.S. only auction’. I got contacted by a guy in Micronesia who wanted the lens and said he would pay whatever the additional shipping was, if I would agree to sell to him. I said I would if he won the auction, which he did and I gave him prices with or without insurance for the shipping. He specifically opted for ‘without insurance’ and claimed the package never got there. I sent him proof of mailing from the day I told him I sent it, and was even able to track it via the customs number to its last US location in Los Angeles. He opened a dispute and eBay offered to do a ‘binding arbitration’. I thought “no problem” as I had every e-mail and all the proof of everything I did. I submitted it to eBay and was told “you lost” a few days later and that I had to refund the money or else be suspended, so I did. A week later, I was contacted by another seller asking about the same Micronesia buyer who claimed his camera item came ‘damaged’ and that he was having a similar issue with eBay. In short, eBay finds in favor of buyers in a dispute NO MATTER WHAT in my experience, so I think the number of scams will be wildly increasing in the future. Granted this is based on a sample size of two, but still, I don’t understand how I could possibly lose my case. The only thing I did was agree to sell to a foreign buyer after doing a US only auction and I had every e-mail traded between us, including the one where he expressly wanted the ‘no insurance’ option. Isn’t that the point of insurance?

Slight hijack, but way back in the day, about 8-10 years ago, I bought a (moderately) expensive watch off eBay that never arrived. Item never arrived and seller stopped responding to emails. I was shocked because her rating was so damn high on there. I’ll spare the details, but i was never able to get my money back for the watch. If eBay really has become a place where all the muscle is on the buyer’s side, this must be a fairly new phenomenon.

I’d say start another account with a different credit card and/or bank account, or start writing some concise letters to people at eBay. 5 negative feedbacks doesn’t seem like enough for them to suspend you.

As it happens, I’d opened another account a couple of months before my suspension. I was intending to use one for business and one for personal.

First thing is, sales are restricted for new sellers, in certain categories. They just happened to be the ones I was using, i.e. cameras, ipods, computer drives. I was only allowed to sell 2 items per month.

Secondly, they detected the connection, and closed both accounts.

To fool them, I’d need more than just a new bank account. I’d need to get a new phone number,postal address, ip address, paypal account, and so on.

If I was caught, they would then have legitimate reason for banning me. Also, I understand they could confiscate any payments made for my auctions.

Even if I got away with it, I’d have to wait 3 months before I could do anything with it.

I’ve tried writing letters to eBay. They just send back a standard reply without bothering to read my letter.

This has happened over and over.

I’m not sure that’s correct. They offer to allow me to sell on their site, provided that I follow certain rules. I suspect that amounts to a contract. And if they suspend me from selling, without just cause, I think they are breaking contract.

IANAL, but I think that is wrong. They have no obligation to do business with you, for whatever reason they choose (provided it is not due to protected discrimination).

For the US eBay, the DSR ratings stay on for a year I believe so you would have to wait until those bad DSRs fall off your seller ID. It sucks but eBay doesn’t give a shit.

As for the other poster losing his case to the Micronesia dude, eBay policy CLEARLY states that you must provide online viewable proof of delivery. THAT would have won your case. Also insurance is not for the buyer, it is for the seller. It’s against eBay policy to make your buyer pay for insurance.

Well, I did provide viewable proof in the form of a scan of my receipt from the US Post Office clearly showing a package that was mailed to Micronesia and showing a customs tracking number (which is not the same as insurance or a package tracking number.) On the USPS.gov website, that number shows the package went from San Diego to Los Angeles, and then when it left via international shipping, it was no longer tracked.

Regarding the eBay policy found here: http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/selling-practices.html

I find it pretty vague on this issue, as it states:
**Insurance: You can’t charge a separate fee for insurance, although you still need to make sure your item arrives as described.

Tip: You should incorporate any insurance fees into an item’s price or handling cost. **

Essentially, I was following the ‘tip’. I explained in my e-mail to the guy that I didn’t know how reliable the mail was in Micronesia and if packages had a habit of disappearing, so it was up to him whether he wanted a guarantee of his money back by paying for a higher shipping that includes insurance. He specifically stated he wanted to take his chances and pay the lower fee (which was still 25% of the total cost of the lens.) A month later when it didn’t arrive, he complained and immediately opened up a dispute. Honestly, I have always offered two different prices for shipping on anything expensive (e.g. over $50), letting the buyer pick which they wanted. Some paid insurance and some did not, but the package always go there so it wasn’t an issue. For all I know, this guy was an honest buyer and the mail service in Micronesia are the crooked ones. I guess my point is, if it really is my responsibility as the seller to pay for insurance (i.e. only offer him the higher price for shipping) then he should not have expressly stated ‘no insurance’, paid the lower price, and opened a dispute. It seems reasonable that he should question whether I ripped him off, which is why I provided a copy of the post office receipt as proof, but I suspect based on the second seller contacting me that this buyer knew he could pull this b.s. to otherwise get items from sellers on eBay and then attempt to get his money back after he received the items. After all, what’s the down side? At worst, he gets the item he paid for and doesn’t get any money back, just like a normal transaction. Even if he does it enough for eBay to ban him, I suspect he’ll just open another new account.

eBay would regard this as a policy violation. You can have multiple accounts for various reasons, but avoidance of account restrictions isn’t one of them.

According to thispage, the appeal should be entered as a direct reply to the suspension notice you received - did you do that?

One of the rules you agreed to was probably that they could suspend your account at any time for no reason. (And anyways, while IANAL either, I’m pretty sure that’s not a contract unless you had to pay to register.)

No. There was no indication of that in the notice. Customer support didn’t tell me about it either.

I sell a fair bit on ebay and I have to admit that’s a pretty hefty number of negatives for 200 transactions.

A few guidelines

1: If I sell items with any issues whatsoever I state the issue dead top center of the ad listing in underlined 18 point bold font.

2: If you’re selling used parts you have to realize many people will not read the descriptions and will cry foul after the fact. In selling used odds and ends have a liberal return policy. Don’t even fight, it’s hardly ever worth it as they will always win in the end re a return. Don’t quiz them at length, just refund the item no questions asked. Just make them pay for shipping. Move on.

Actually, they appear to think that YOU’VE broken that contract. Specifically “The stated reason was because of ‘member complaints.’”

Here is their “because we felt like it” clause:
Without limiting other remedies, we may limit, suspend or terminate our service and user accounts, prohibit access to our sites and their content, services and tools, delay or remove hosted content, and take technical and legal steps to keep users off the sites if we think that they are creating problems or possible legal liabilities, infringing the intellectual property rights of third parties, or acting inconsistently with the letter or spirit of our policies (for example, and without limitation, policies related to shill bidding, conducting off-eBay transactions, feedback manipulation, circumventing temporary or permanent suspensions or** users who we believe are harassing our employees** or other users). Additionally, we may, in appropriate circumstances and at our discretion, suspend or terminate accounts of users who may be repeat infringers of intellectual property rights of third parties. We also reserve the right to cancel unconfirmed accounts or accounts that have been inactive for a long time, or to modify or discontinue eBay sites, services or tools. *


Thanks for pointing that out, Enkel. It is, however, sort of the entire point of my question. eBay *thinks *I broke their rules. I don’t believe I did. I want to appeal. I think I could show that I followed their rules. But I can’t find any contact details to make the appeal.

I don’t see that anywhere in the quoted text. They list certain specific acts that could get me banned, none of which I have done. I don’t see any statement that they can ban me just because they feel like it.