Have you ever had an auction removed by eBay, but you weren’t aware you had broken any rules?
I can sympathise with you. I’ve been there. Several times in fact.
As you know, eBay is a site which is self-regulated by its members. Any member can report another member’s auctions as being in breach of an eBay rule. You as the seller, are unaware this has happened. You don’t know that your auction is the subject of a review by one of eBay’s legion of auction checkers. They are judge and jury – and the first you know about it is the email telling you that your auction has been removed, your fees refunded and warning you not to do it again!
An unfortunate consequence of this particular eBay policy is that you are guilty until proven innocent. You’re left with the almost impossible task of persuading eBay that a mistake has been a made.
If you’re innocent and your auction has been pulled unreasonably, I thought it might be useful if we discussed a tactic which might help in preventing your auctions from being removed in future.
I mentioned that if your auction is reported, it will get reviewed by eBay. This is the key for you.
Create a statement about your auction covering any potential rules question which you may be susceptible to.
For example, as you might know, I write ebooks. When I first started selling these on eBay, I was getting my ebook auctions removed by eBay on the basis that they had been reported for breach of copyright. Seeing as I had written every word, I was bemused as to who’s copyright I was breaching!
What I suspected was that a competitor was doing the reporting! It might equally have been a youngster with more time on their hands than was good for them, just being mischievous.
So, I created a statement which I use to this day on all my ebook auctions. It simply says:
[Note for eBay]
[I am the copyright owner of the ebook in this auction, and I am a member of eBay’s VeRO programme]
By adding this, I found my ebook auctions were far less likely to be removed.
I don’t know which part of the statement the eBay checkers took note of. But I know it works.
If you’re suffering from your auctions being removed, yet you believe you have a perfect right to run the auction, create your own statement for eBay and place it in every auction. You will need to cover why the auction isn’t in breach of the rules for which you believe you’re being reported.
(I mentioned VeRO in my statement as VeRO is all about Rights Ownership. Incidentally, the way you become a member of VeRO is simply to report a seller who is auctioning an item for which you own the rights and for which you haven’t conferred these to the seller. In other words, you join VeRO by using VeRO.)
Another tip is to make sure your statement is easy to see. There’s no point in hiding it away near the bottom of your auction. Whilst the checkers will look at your auction, they don’t have time to check every word. And remember, their default position is that you’re likely to be guilty of the “offence” anyway. So you need to make it prominent.
I always have my statement as the very first item on my auction description page. And that’s where I recommend you have yours.
As a final comment, I’m not writing this so that you can get round eBay’s policies. If you’re guilty of breaching the rules, I’ve no sympathy for you at all. Don’t do it! There’s plenty of opportunity to make money on eBay without bending the rules.
If, however, you are genuinely an innocent party, I hope this helps you avoid the frustration of getting your auctions removed by eBay.