Over recent weeks and months, we have heard more and more reports across social media not just in our Facebook group but across other channels too of sellers running into problems with their eBay accounts getting suspended or blocked for no apparent reason.
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This has become such a problem that online complaints service Resolver has handled thousands of complaints from eBay sellers and even commented that the biggest problem was the lack of contact available to sellers in order to appeal any decisions seemingly made by an algorithm.
Suspended For Normal eBay Activity?
In a story originally posted in The Times Angela Maynard, a retired Chartered Surveyor tells her story about how in March eBay had suspended her selling account with no warning. After retiring Angela started a store selling women’s clothes and accessories. After seeing success selling online she opted to move her business to purely online selling through eBay.
After successfully selling for a number of years, having top-rated seller status, 100% positive feedback, and over the past 6 years estimates she has paid close to £50,000 in eBay fees.
In an increasingly common occurrence, eBay suspended Angela’s account without warning.
“All my listings were removed in the blink of an eye and my livelihood has been extinguished. I am bewildered and distressed by eBay’s suspension, which I am sure must be the result of an error or an intervention by someone else.”Angela Maynard, Owner, Mabelhound on eBay
eBay is very reluctant to divulge the reasons for accounts being suspended as they don’t want to make any insight public which might help fraudsters game the system or scam unsuspecting sellers.
The problem arises when sellers want to try and appeal their suspension with no clear path to do so. eBay’s customer service facility uses an internet messaging service, however, users often complain that answers are automated and they are unable to get specific replies to their problems.
Similarly when sellers try to call they also get an automated response. Angela has also sent four separate letters to different eBay departments and has so far not received any response.
It is clear that eBay is using an automated system to flag accounts that are acting ‘suspicious’ however with no fast or clear way to appeal this algorithm it is leaving sellers in a very vulnerable position when it comes to their business.
Whilst this is in no way an acceptable business practice, this is the danger for any seller that is trusting their whole business with one marketplace. We have mentioned before how diversifying risk in your online business is a key strategy for 2021.
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