Powersellers Suspended From eBay

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Powersellers Suspended From eBay
According to eBay, most "Powersellers" get suspended from eBay, or have been suspended. Does this give you cause to think twice?

Who's To Blame?
If an eBay member is suspended, whose fault is it? Is it because the member is doing something wrong, or is it because eBay cocked up?
If it is due to the member's behaviour, what was the problem?

There appear to be five main reasons why an eBay member should find his account suspended. These are:

1 Selling Counterfeit, Fraudulent, Stolen or Mis-Described Goods
Judging by the number of eBay items with obviously misleading descriptions or titles, this is one of the less serious reasons as far as eBay are concerned, and eBay will only suspend a seller if enough other members complain.

2 Failing to pay eBay fees on time.
This seems to rate highly, as if eBay selling fees are not paid on time, then the account is suspended, and no further selling activity can take place.

3 Repeated Copyright Violations
Using other people's copyright images, text, and sometimes copying complete eBay listings will result in a ban, at least if you get reported enough times, possibly three or more. Of course, if nobody notices or complains, then you can get away with it indefinitely. The reason that eBay will suspend or terminate you account is that if they fail to do so, they themselves could be held responsible for permitting, or failing to stop, the violations, and they could be sued for large amounts of money. Courts may decide to award actual and punitive damages, and eBay would have little if any defence, and would almost certainly have to pay the other party's legal fees, which could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars or pounds.

4 Whistle Blowing
One of the quirkier eBay rules is that members may not contact each other to warn about other members suspected of fraud or selling counterfeit goods. Anybody caught doing so will have their account suspended or terminated. This strikes us as very unfair indeed, and we wonder if it is because eBay are making plenty of money from the crooks?

5 eBay's Incompetence or Negligence
eBay have been known to suspend members by mistake, and we believe it is quite common, They probably also do so out of fear. Because there are few if any checks when members first join or start to sell, and eBay suddenly notice that a member is selling large volumes or values of goods, they are likely to panic and suspend a member, then ask questions later.

Our Experience
Our company has been selling coins and bullion since before 1964, well over 40 years. We are properly incorporated, file annual accounts, and our current turnover is around £10 ($20) million per annum. We registered with eBay in 2001. We started slowly, mainly offering £10 to £50 repeatable items. It took us some time to set up an administrative system for our eBay sales, which take about twice the work compared with our normal direct sales. Once we thought we had got it about right, and had installed and trained some semi-dedicated eBay staff, we started to offer many more items, and also increased the price levels, for example 500 krugerrands in one lot which equals about £170,000 on current values. One Sunday, when our office is closed, at about 4 a.m. UK time, when we are in bed asleep (we do not trade 24/7), we received an e-mail from eBay demanding that we reconfirm our personal membership details. Even if we had seen them, we would probably have assumed it was some kind of phishing scam. This was followed about half an hour later by a second e-mail telling us that since we had failed to respond to the first e-mail, that our account was suspended. A third e-mail followed telling us that they were sorry this had been done in error!
It took us hours of telephone calls and work before our account was de-suspended on the Monday, and we got no satisfaction or good explanation from eBay for their mistake. At the time, we had about 260 auctions running, each with an average of about 10 bidders. One of the most annoying aspects of this is that eBay automatically e-mail all the bidders, to tell them the account is suspended, and advise them not to complete any transactions. It is not surprising then, that about 2,500 people, all potential customers, think there is something bad about us, and we firmly believe that under the circumstances, eBay should have e-mailed all the bidders to state clearly that it was their fault and not ours. Their initial negligent suspension, and subsequent failure to publish an apology and correction is in our opinion defamatory. Perhaps we could and should have sued them, the main problem with this it that legal action is very expensive, and should not be undertaken lightly against people with more money than yourself. As we estimate eBay to have about 4,000 times our resources, we have not yet taken any action.

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A better test than usefulness might be to vote "Yes" if you agree that most or any of our points, thanks.

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