eBay said today it is committed to ensuring consumer and employee safety and protection and issued an update on its efforts to remove items that violate its policies in regards to the COVID-19 emergency.
The company has been monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as it continues to develop and has measures to block or quickly remove items from its marketplace that make false health claims or offer products at inflated prices in violation of applicable laws.
This week, eBay said it doubled down on its efforts by expanding the list of prohibited items.
eBay is an open marketplace with 1.3 billion listings live at any given time. As a pure third-party marketplace, the company uses technologies and services to enable independent sellers — including hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs and small businesses — to sell their inventory, and allow buyers to find exactly what they need, virtually anytime and anywhere.
With millions of transactions happening every day on its platform across more than 190 markets, eBay is continuously evaluating and making improvements to keep prohibited items off eBay.
The company has partnered at the federal, state and local level with government officials, including Attorneys General from across the country, as eBay executes several measures to keep its marketplace a safe and trusted space in which sellers can sustain and grow — and buyers can find what they want — during this unprecedented time.
Processes eBay Implemented Across Its Marketplace
eBay has a zero-tolerance policy on price gouging on its marketplace to enable buyers to find essential items at reasonable prices, especially during challenging and extraordinary times like today.
Since early February, eBay has prohibited products marketed with the term “coronavirus,” which violates its policies against making unsubstantiated health claims.
Beginning on March 5, eBay implemented a ban on certain items listed on its site, which includes blocking new listings and removing existing ones that sell: masks including N95/N100 and surgical masks; hand sanitizers/gels; and disinfecting wipes.
This week, eBay expanded the restricted items list to include toilet paper, baby formula and baby wipes, tampons, and diapers, which will only be permitted for sale by business sellers in a fixed-price format.
Also, eBay has added a price-gouging reporting tool, allowing people to report items that violate the company’s policies in real-time.
Furthermore, eBay continues to remove any listing that mentions COVID-19, coronavirus, 2019nCoV (except books) in the title or description, and users who search for such items on its site are shown an informational banner with a link to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
How is eBay Removing COVID-19 Related Prohibited Items?
eBay uses a rules-based filtering system with algorithms that identify and block prohibited items and have a team of customer service agents dedicated to round-the-clock manual review to remove any listings not caught by its tools.
The manual reviews include removing all listings for certain items, like masks and sanitizers; products with inflated prices; and products making false health claims, including test kits.
To date, this combination of enforcement efforts has resulted in the blocking or removal of over 500,000 listings in violation of eBay policy related to the coronavirus.
eBay’s Commitment to Sellers and Global Community
“While we are doubling down on the efforts to ensure our marketplace is safe and secure, we remain committed to our seller and small business community. Recently, we announced several measures on how we are supporting and protecting our sellers during this time, including the opportunity for certain sellers to defer payment for 30 days. We’ve also launched a dedicated space on our Community Forum for our sellers to receive the latest updates around COVID-19 and to share and answer questions from other sellers.”eBay Statment
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