How To Deal With An eBay Account Suspension

20 May 2019
Chris Garrett

Graphic for the titled article

 

screenshot of an eBay emailReceived a somewhat scary looking suspension email like this?

 

If so, you’re going to love this guide.

 

Because when you’re dropshipping on eBay, there’s a good chance you’ll need to know how to deal with a hold, restriction or suspension.

 

Not because you’re trying to be a rebel or because you have some strange desire to break eBay’s rules – but because it’s so easy these days to make an innocent mistake.

 

Accidentally upload a VeRO item and …BAM – the next thing you know an email notification pops up on your screen… “Your eBay account has been restricted for…”

 

The purpose of this guide is to educate you about the most common types of suspension you could face when dropshipping on eBay, and hopefully how to avoid them in the future too! So, let’s get started.

 

Contents:

 

Contributor to this guide

Ilia Rozman – eBay specialist

Man wearing sunglasses

eBay specialist

 

 

Ilia is an eBay suspension specialist (and generally cool guy) that has helped over 150 sellers solve their suspension issues. His services include dealing with MC011, trademark lawsuits, temporary selling restrictions and much more!

 

To contact Ilia for his services or more information, reach out via Facebook here

If you mention that you were referred by this Salefreaks article, you’ll get an exclusive discount!

Why does eBay suspend seller accounts?

 

Here are the most common reasons you may be suspended as an eBay dropshipper.

 

Identity Verification

 

ID card with picture replaced

Definitely the same person…

 

When you open a new eBay account, it’s quite common to receive a suspension after listing your first few items so that eBay can verify who you are.

 

VeRO Violations

screenshot of eBay's notification

 

VeRO is eBay’s “Verified Rights Ownership Program” which protect rights owners from copyright and trademark infringement by sellers.

 

As a dropshipper, just hearing the acronym “VeRO” can feel like a strong punch to the stomach.

 

Here are a few different types of VeRO suspension you may receive:

 

Selling counterfeit/replica goods

 

This is one of the most serious violations because counterfeit goods are very damaging to brands. Many big brands hire external law firms to find and pursue the manufacturers and sellers of these goods.

 

pair of slides branded flip flops

Just some ordinary shoes from that famous brand “NKIE”

 

Using trademarked images, logos or content in your listings

 

You’ll find this occurs most often if you use a low quality automated dropshipping software to copy and paste all the images and content for your listings.

 

Making misleading or inaccurate claims about branded products

 

As a dropshipper, you’re least likely to experience this kind of suspension. However, it could happen if you copy someone else’s listing description that already contains inaccurate information.

 

Listing human remains

a clown digging himself out of a grave

 

Just kidding, this isn’t very common. But don’t go dropshipping any graves! You might make some good money, but eBay has written an entire policy explaining that you can’t sell body parts! So please, don’t do it!

 

Poor seller performance

 

As with any marketplace, eBay expects that you provide a great customer experience. If you don’t, you could face selling restrictions, suspensions, and bad karma.

 

According to eBay, they expect that you are:

 

  • Promptly resolving customer issues
  • Shipping items on time and within your specified handling time
  • Only listing items that are in stock
  • Charging reasonable shipping and handling costs
  • Specifying shipping costs and handling time in the listing
  • Following through on your return policy
  • Responding to buyers’ questions promptly
  • Being helpful, friendly, and professional throughout a transaction.
  • Making sure the item is delivered to the buyer as described in the listing

 

eBay has a few ways of measuring that you complying with these expectations but it is mainly by evaluating what they call your defect rate along with the percentage of cases closed that you have been unable to resolve.

 

Defect Rate: Your “defect rate” is the percentage of transactions that include one of the following things:

 

  • PayPal Purchase Protection and eBay Money Back Guarantee cases that you have been unable to resolve
  • Cancellations of orders that are initiated by you rather than the buyer

 

You’re at risk of restrictions or suspensions with eBay if…

  • More than 2% of your transactions have a defect
  • More than 0.3% of transactions are PayPal Purchase Protection or eBay Money Back Guarantee cases that you have been unable to resolve

 

See more by reading the full eBay seller performance policy.

 

Item tracking and location issues

 

Firstly, eBay always wants you to use item tracking as it improves your customer’s buying experience. So if you’re dropshipping from Amazon to eBay, you can use Bluecare Express tracking as a validated carrier on eBay.

But from the item tracking, eBay can also see two things:

    1. Was the item delivered on time? (you’re OK as long as it’s dispatched by you within your handling time or meets the estimated delivery date)
    2. Was the item shipped from the location you say it was?

 

If your items are consistently being delivered late or being delivered from a different location than you state in your listings, you could face restrictions or suspensions. As eBay dropshippers, it’s up to you to make sure you choose suppliers that have reliable shipping.

 

Growing too fast

 

You might think that eBay wants you to list lots of items and get lots of sales – and that’s true. After all, how else will they fill their swimming pool of dollar bills?

 

But if your growth is suspiciously high (e.g. you open a new account and start getting thousands of sales very quickly), then it can be a trigger for eBay to suspend your account.

 

Think of it like this. If someone that’s super skinny joins the gym, it’s not normal for them to look like the Hulk only one month later.

 

angry cartoon in the forest turn into the Hulk

 

Listing disallowed items

 

There are many items that are banned from sale on eBay, but might not be on the supplier you’re dropshipping from.

 

Some of the most common items that dropshippers accidentally list include:

  • Knives (most aren’t allowed)
  • Lock picking equipment
  • Medical devices

 

How long does an eBay account suspension last?

 

Here’s some information on the typical consequences for each suspension type.

 

Identity verification suspensions

 

You will remain suspended until you provide the documents that eBay request to verify your identity.

 

VeRO violations and item infringements

 

The type of suspension you receive will generally depend on a) how serious eBay deems the offense, and b) if you’ve broken the same rule before.

 

Selling counterfeit/replica goods

 

Selling counterfeit goods is seen as a serious offense by eBay, and even doing this once or twice could result in your account being permanently suspended.

 

gif of Star Trek Senator Vreenak says "It's a fake!"

 

Using trademarked images, logos or content in your listings

 

The consequences can vary, but usually, it goes as follows:

 

If it’s the first time you’ve listed something with a trademark/copyright, you may just receive an email warning and the removal of your listing.

 

However, if you continue to break the same rule in the future, the consequences tend to get more serious. eBay may suspend your account for 3 days, then for 7 days, then for 30 days and if you are still breaking the rules you can be permanently suspended.

 

Listing disallowed items

 

This can vary depending on what you list.

 

If you list an item that is illegal – such as drugs, then you’re likely to face either a long temporary suspension or an immediate permanent suspension.

 

If you list an item that isn’t illegal but isn’t allowed to be sold on eBay – such as certain knives, then the process is usually similar to if you list a trademarked image.

 

If you list lots of different types of items that are disallowed but aren’t illegal, you may get lucky and find that eBay treats them as separate, unrelated infringements.

 

Here’s an example, if you were to:

 

List banned knives on 3 occasions – As you’re breaking the same policy 3 times, you’re likely to face a warning and temporary suspension of 3 or 7 days.

 

List a banned knife, a banned medical device and a banned lockpick device – eBay may choose to just give you 3 warnings, as these are 3 separate policies being infringed.

 

Please treat this example as only an indication of what normally happens – eBay can be unpredictable and are the ones that decide what action they take against you (which could be more or less severe than the example).

 

Poor Seller Performance

 

If your seller performance is poor, instead of suspending your account, eBay will start by putting limits and restrictions on your account.

 

These include:

  • Lowering your listings in the search results
  • Restricting your ability to list more items
  • Downgrading your store to Basic level (if you have a Premium, Anchor or Enterprise store)
  • Charging you a higher final value fee
  • Preventing you from opening any more eBay accounts

 

If your seller performance continues to be poor after being restricted, or you are creating a particularly poor buying experience then eBay is likely to put on a warrior suit, grab a giant hammer and dramatically smash it into the floor as they permanently ban you.

 

Thor slamming down his hammer

 

Item tracking and location issues / growing too fast

 

For dropshippers, this type of suspension is known as “MC011”.

 

According to Ilia, this will normally result in either a permanent suspension or eBay requesting to see invoices from your supplier. Even after seeing invoices, however, eBay can decide not to reinstate your account.

 

What’s the difference between a restriction and a suspension?

 

If your account is restricted by eBay, you will still be able to use your account but it will face certain limitations. Examples of restrictions include:

  • Lowering your listings in the search results
  • Limiting your ability to list more items
  • Downgrading your store level to basic

 

However, if your account is suspended by eBay, you will not be able to use it for nearly all functions.

 

Can you reinstate a suspended eBay account?

 

The answer is, it depends on the type of suspension and on the individual circumstances.

 

This is why we advise contacting an experienced eBay suspension specialist like Ilia to handle these situations for you.

 

Here are some general guidelines:

 

If you were suspended for identity checks, you can often be unsuspended with a phone call (depending on the answers you provide).

 

If you face a temporary suspension such as a 3 day, 7 day or 30 day VeRO ban, then you do have the option to appeal. However, according to Ilia, it’s actually much harder for him to remove the suspension if you contact him after appealing.

 

If you face a permanent suspension (e.g. MC011), then having your account reinstated will depend upon the individual circumstances.

 

In some cases where you provide invoices to eBay of your supplier, they will reinstate the account – however, this isn’t always the case.

 

Can I open a new eBay account if mine was suspended?

 

No, it is against eBay’s policies to open a new account with the intention of circumventing a suspension. If eBay catches you doing this (as they will know your IP address and other personal details), then they will suspend your new account also.

 

If my eBay account gets suspended, does my PayPal account get suspended too?

 

In the vast majority of cases, your PayPal account will not be suspended as PayPal and eBay are separate companies.

 

However, there are rare occasions where this can happen, the most common of which is if you’re facing a lawsuit for a copyright/trademark infringement.

 

How can I avoid eBay suspensions?

 

Even perfect eBay sellers can accidentally break rules and face suspensions, but here are a couple of tips on how to avoid them.

 

#1 – Learn from your mistakes!

 

You may have heard the following old English saying…

 

Quote "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.""

 

The meaning is simple. If you make a mistake once, it’s not your fault, but if you make the same mistake again, you should have learned!

 

How does this relate to eBay suspensions? Well, imagine you get suspended for listing knives a couple of times.

 

The question you should be asking yourself afterward is what actions can I take to prevent this happening again?

 

As an example, you could decide to look for software with a better VeRO list or reach out to some other dropshippers that have their own VeRO list.

 

The point is, whatever reason you get suspended for, learn from it and make changes to prevent you from repeating the same mistake again.

 

#2 – Focus on providing a great experience for buyers

 

eBay’s top focus is to make buyers happy. If your buyers are happy, they return to eBay. And if they return to eBay, eBay makes money.

 

A lot of suspensions are related to providing a poor service (as measured by your seller metrics, defect rates, feedback score). But these are things that are easy to fix for most dropshippers.

 

Here are a few suggestions:

 

 

  • Source quality items from reputable suppliers so you have a lower return rate.

 

  • If you’re using software to dropship, make sure it has an auto-order function so that you’re less likely to list items that become out of stock.

 

  • Also, make sure any software you use has decent VeRO protection measures and a comprehensive VeRO list. Software that has been established for longer generally has a larger database of VeRO items.

 

 

To contact Ilia for his services or more information, reach out via Facebook here

If you mention that you were referred by this Salefreaks article, you’ll get an exclusive discount!

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Chris Garrett
Content Editor

Chris is Salefreaks' rockstar content editor. He writes articles for various e-commerce software companies talking about eBay, Amazon, and Shopify. Views expressed are that of the company.

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