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eBay Account Suspended? Why It Happens and What You Should Do

By Mordechai Epelbaum and Tuvyah Schleifer

eBay account suspensions are on the rise. Here’s why eBay suspends sellers, how the process works, and how to avoid it happening again.

eBay Account Suspended? Why It Happens and What You Should Do

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Jack Phillips

Two hours to ship? What world do you live in? We ship very quickly, always in 24 hours, but two hours is an unrealistic goal. You obviously have never sold at a level much higher than hobbyist. You have obviously had no experience with a Vero take down too. It is rare for us (maybe 3 in 10 plus years) but the alleged holders do nothing. It is guilt without proof and some of the removals by the holder would never stand up in the real world.

Mark Hetherington

Replying to Jack Phillips

Yes, I absolutely agree with the comments about Vero. We’ve also had around 3 in 10 years and were told on each occasion to contact the “rights owner”. None ever replied.

The last one wasn’t that long ago. We were selling a compatible product which was very clearly listed as a compatible product and in fact unlike most sellers, who often post photos similar to the original (i.e with a similar brand name or logo to the original), we actually went out of our way to show it was a compatible item specifically because we didn’t want it to be perceived any other way and put our account at risk.

It was taken down because the “rights owner” reported it as counterfeit – a physical impossibility because as I said, no attempt was made to try to sell it as an original anyway. So despite no proof being available, which obviously the rights owner couldn’t have had anyway, we were banned from selling that item.

Tuvyah Schleifer

Replying to Mark Hetherington

are you an anchor or enterprise seller?

Tuvyah Schleifer

If you can’t make 2 hours than you are sub-best practice. If you always ship in 24 hours thats ok. If hope your customer is not waiting 24 hours for a confirmation. If so, you should install one or two communication steps. The point is – not causing the customer undue stress after ordering and before deliver.

I have experience up to $1mm per month on eBay. That is not hobbyist-level.

On VeRO, once the client (who also said what you did) realized the significance – they got an answer within a few hours.

It’s not guild without proof. It’s the rights holder that has the rights and is happy to let you sell in most cases once you resolve the issue.

Often using their brand name in a misleading way. For example when the seller only intends to say this item ‘fits’ the

This is the real world my friend.

Please I am not trying to match your angst or level of heckling. I have experience as a professional seller and professional appeals writer. Everything I wrote is from direct experience.

I understand your frustration. I am speaking of a best (and more often than you think) case scenario. Yet the focus here is – who are you going to be in the face of these challenges? More resigned and cynical? Or seeking greater partnership with the platform and the brands you sell? Both on eBay and off?

Many sellers churn some stock and cash for a while before they realize they have built nothing. The goal is to get out of this negative cycle.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Mark Hetherington

Replying to Tuvyah Schleifer

“It’s not guild without proof. It’s the rights holder that has the rights and is happy to let you sell in most cases once you resolve the issue.”

That’s fine if the so-called rights owner actually bothers to reply to you. In my experience and that of just about everybody else that has discussed this on any forum I’ve seen they don’t even bother to reply, probably because they know they got it wrong which potentially leaves them open to a compensation claim if they admit they screwed up.

Jack Phillips

Two hours to upload tracking? That is just misleading. In any case, that would another FTE to my bottom line (2 if I went 24 hour monitoring), no matter how efficient we are. I have had very few people question us on this. I get one or two questions (out of 300 or so orders) on weekends when we don’t ship, but even that is rare – maybe once a month. I rarely even get Amazon Prime items marked shipped in 2 hours – by rarely I mean almost never. Twelve to twenty four is much more common.

Regarding VERO, I have had only one response from a rights holder to my inquiries. And this was from a questionable one. They sent a visual design patent that wasn’t really close. Didn’t matter to eBay – it was up to us to fight it. I just dropped the product because it was easier (the rights holder knew that going in). With eBay’s process for becoming a rights holder, I could eliminate huge swaths of competition theoretically, although China always finds away.

In any case, I agree with everything else you have written about. Most of that stuff is basic seller courtesy. Sellers should already know this.

Tuvyah Schleifer

sorry, didn’t mean to mislead the real question is – of your orders that went bad, (led to cs issues, etc.) as few as they might be – do you have any idea how early they went bad? and can you see how earlier communication or earlier tracking may have helped?

Mark Hetherington

Replying to Tuvyah Schleifer

Nope. If items go missing, in my 12 year experience that’s usually the last you see and hear of them and you have to file a claim with the carrier. However, there are times when an order has just been delayed.

Issuing tracking details alerts the BUYER to a late delivery. The buyer then files a claim which you have a certain time to resolve, and if the item is delivered late you could face a situation where you have run out of time and have to issue a refund to the buyer (remember you’re forced to do this under threat of a damaging defect) before the item is delivered.

This is particularly prevalent for overseas/international deliveries where items can take much longer and may be held at customs. In such cases what happens is this.

1. You refund the buyer because you’re running out of time until the buyer can escalate the case. If they do escalate you get a an unresolved case defect.

2. Item then gets delivered – late.

3. You contact ebay to ask them to refund you since the item has now been delivered.

4. Ebay decline because you closed the case voluntarily and advise you to contact the buyer.

5. Buyer gets his item for free, having been refunded by you, so completely ignores you because he has nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing so.

If something has gone missing the best thing you can do is buy yourself as much time as possible. The carriers will make you wait a certain time before you can claim, which is almost certainly longer than ebay will allow you and you don’t want to be refunding or sending replacements then finding that the order was delivered later so you need to stretch it out as far as you can.

Tuvyah Schleifer

Replying to Mark Hetherington

“Mark Hetherington,”

Oh! You agree with Jack. No problem.

Before I proceed, please note my reply in his thread which I number my points in a very clear manner.

You classified me at a disadvantage. Your reason was, since I am service provider. (Bear in mind I was selling on eBay since 1999.)

So, let me qualify your statement with a question:

How many account assessments, appeals and reinstatement’s have you secured? And, for how many unique Ebay sellers over the past year?

As far as your statement, “there is no need to issue tracking at all,” wow.

To your point, yes there is no need for this to be a manual procedure.

I don’t want to go tit-for-tat with you.

It’s not fun for me nor useful.

Bottom line is:

You are not aware how many notes eBay places on a seller account.

I would be happy to offer you a 50%-off discount on my assessment service. (And anyone else reading this post.) This way, you too can see exactly what eBay thinks of your account. (And when I deliver the information, you will know how little I “guess.” Guessing was your flat-out accusation of what I am doing in this post. In fact, I interviewed eBay leadership before its writing.)

Here is the link and the coupon:

Coupon Code: MK-HET-50-OFF

I only see arguing for that shipping can’t take place within 2 hours of the customer order as follows:

You telling me you can’t, or don’t want to.
You telling me that serving the customer in the best manner is off the table with you.

A seller who ships fast will garner greater customer trust and positive sentiment. This has a ripple effect, as does sub-best practices. If you can’t see that, than you are too stuck in your paradigm of being right/ someone is wrong. (And whom you agree/ disagree with. )

Your second point about eBay messages, here you agree with me.

Yet you use this point defame my article and the helpfulness I am offering. Weird.

Newsflash, eBay is DIY so everything is common sense. (Like a customer receiving fast shipping confirmation.)

Common sense to some, as you prove is not common sense to others.

Many eBay business I have consulted for on-site in Brooklyn do over $1mm per month revenue.

This translates to a full-time picker and shipper. The orders come in and shipped within minutes of the order.

That’s what I know as best practice. No one is faulting you for being small and ‘batching’ you time. (And there are greater heights to achieve.)

No one I know would rely on your advice to increase time-to-ship.


Your account sustains a blight with every VeRO. And a second, more severe blight for ignoring. Not closing the listing immediately harms you more than the VeRO. As it eBay considers this ignoring the VeRO.

Good job.

You can agree with that or not. But it’s true.

It’s on the back-end of your account. It’s not on your seller metrics.

It will be quite annoying for me if you say anything but ‘thank you’ for letting you know this.

Your RO’s have never replied, and yet many RO’s do reply. They are seeking your compliance with something they feel you overlooked. It’s their say, not yours. Ignore and be right to your own peril. *Document and submit to eBay.

*Note, if you are not an MSO client (anchor or enterprise store owner,) you do not have access to document and submit. (You can at least reply to the VeRO with an update.) Any serious seller knows that these subscriptions/ MSO are quite valuable.

I sir, am a professional and your words:

“…but there is no basis for much of your “advice” and you appear to be guessing rather than offering anything practical, and giving a reason why you have reached your conclusions and with all due respect, offering no advice is better than offering poor advice that you cannot quantity.”

Fall square on you.

Mark Hetherington

Replying to Tuvyah Schleifer

Yes I’m aware that you numbered your points in a very clear manner and I noted and replied to each one individually. Just because you made your point clear does not necessarily mean it is correct. Having eBay experience since 1999 doesn’t necessarily mean anything – I too have been selling on eBay since 1999 and have helped many others as well as got accounts reinstated. I don’t profess to be a professional, I guess you would probably say I was just lucky.

For the record, in my opinion using another forum to tout for business is not what I or many other people in business consider to be how a professional behaves, and in fact most forums don’t even allow it.

You also don’t appear to have read many of my points properly, which again in my opinion is not the behaviour of a professional.

It’s not fun or useful for me to go tit-for-tat with you either, but your condescending comment “Wow” at the fact that I stated it is not necessary for sellers to provide tracking details is without foundation and eBay’s system clearly allows for items to be sent without tracking details.

I am a top rated seller with 100% feedback on three accounts and have not added tracking details for years, so if you think it’s not necessary then you should say why, otherwise your comment has no meaning. Incidentally I am fully aware that eBay places many notes on one’s account. I’m not a “numpty newbie”. I’m not a private “ebay seller”, I run a professional business too.

Second point, “eBay is DIY so everything is common sense”. In that case there’s no point anybody offering any advice because if people don’t have any common sense they’re wasting their time anyway.

As for your point about shipping, I’m NOT telling you I can’t, or don’t want to and I’m NOT telling you that serving the customer in the best manner is off the table with you. That’s just your interpretation, or twist, on it. I’m simply pointing out that it’s not absolutely necessary. Where does this “two hour” figure come from? During what times, office hours? Weekends? 24 hours/365 days a year? Why not one hour, or three? Why would a customer care as long as their item was shipped the same day? You have given NO REASON for your figures. Well I’ll give you reasons to quantify mine.

1. I offer three services, Free Economy, 1st Class and Next Day.
OVER 99% of all customers on all three accounts opt for Free Economy, and my metrics bear out that customers are happy with the service I provide.

2. I also clearly state that items are shipped same working day if purchased by 2 p.m. and next working day if later than that. I have NEVER, EVER IN 19 YEARS ON EBAY HAD ONE COMPLAINT FOR “LATE” SHIPPING. So yes, I believe your “two hour” figure is nonsense and I believe my metrics, and those of other top sellers, prove it while you have seemingly plucked out this figure from thin air and given no specific reason for it.

As for “being small”, you’re being insulting and jumping to conclusions, again not the actions of any professional that I know. I also did not at any point suggest increasing time-to-ship, yet again that’s you not reading my comments properly and again that’s unprofessional. I simply pointed out that there’s no need or point putting yourself or your team under any undue stress, and I defy anybody to tell me that’s not good advice.

Third point on VeRO, you seem to have completely disregarded what I said, which was that eBay automatically close listings reported under the VeRO rules so there’s no need to tell people to close them, but even if that was not the case, again it’s just common sense. If a violation is reported and you carry on trying to sell it then you deserve to be suspended, and if it helps get rid of some of the amateurs on eBay who do not know how to run an eBay business properly I’m all for their suspension. They don’t deserve any help, but then I’m not trying to make a profit out of helping people.

But the point here is there is no listing to close a listing reported under VeRO as eBay will have already closed it, so the “advice” is meaningless and pointless.

Many RO’s do NOT reply, some may do but many do not, and you can search forums all over the internet that will tell you that many others have experienced the same thing. I’ve even got eBay to agree to allow me to relist where the so-called rights owner has not responded, it’s actually not that difficult to do. That’s simple advice based on experience.

It’s not “critical” to have an Anchor or Enterprise account (and it’s poor advice for smaller sellers anyway who are the ones more likely to be affected by VeRO as they’re the ones who are not as clued up on the rules of selling branded goods as a more experienced, professional seller would be. My point here is those sellers are not likely to have the sales volume that Anchor or Enterprise requires for it to be cost effective. It may be useful to have easier access to help from eBay but it’s absolutely not critical, eBay staff will work with you to help you resolve any issues. Or maybe it’s just me they help and I’ve been lucky?

Sorry, I mean you no personal criticism but I maintain that much of your advice has no foundation, you have not been able to give solid reasons for the points you made and the information you have posted is not necessarily helpful, and it’s my belief that you’re using the forum for no other reason than to try to sell your service. I hope that the way I have addressed those points explains why I believe that, that’s all I am trying to say.

Tuvyah Schleifer

Replying to Mark Hetherington

WebRetailer invites service providers to contribute content. It is understood this contributes traffic to the providers business.

The article is about why suspensions happen and what to do if you receive one.

This is CRSellers area of expertise.

As such, it’s for people who are concerned about avoiding suspension or advice what to do if it happens.

It’s probably not a valuable article for anyone who is not concerned or have not received one.

CRSeller is the only provider offering eBay appeals.

As such it is a unique value contribution to the world.

We understand there are knowledge discrepancies in the matter of being aware of eBays methods and reasons.

eBay, issues suspensions to sellers who drew the suspension upon themselves on purpose, by accident, or as a victim of fraud.

CRSeller appeals the suspension by liaising with the suspended seller and eBay. We seek to communicate the sellers past and proposed future actions in a manner whereby eBay is agreeable to a reinstatement. Our strength, is taking in to account and addressing eBays perspective and reason(s) for the suspension. 100% of time there is a discrepancy between the sellers awareness of why they drew the suspension and eBay’s. CRSeller’s success deals with managing that discrepancy with deft and compassion.

We wish all sellers the best of luck managing successful eBay businesses.

Tuvyah Schleifer

also for VeRO and all issues where you need to work with eBay – for this reason I recommend an Anchor or Enterprise store.

Jack Phillips

Replying to Tuvyah Schleifer

You have obviously never had reason to contact eBay about VERO. EBay refers you to the rights holder no matter the situation. They do not (and have no interest in) settle these disputes. It is between you and the rights holder. I would not recommend an Anchor or Enterprise store. I have had an anchor store and it provides no additional benefits at this point. Faster contact to eBay doesn’t fix the issues – just faster contact. In any case, I work to not have to contact eBay. The only reason I contact eBay is for feedback issues.

Tuvyah Schleifer

Replying to Jack Phillips

100% it’s between you and rights holder. Rights holders are not as impossible to speak to as commenters are saying. And it is critical that the listing is taken down and your contact in MSO is notified of all the step you took to resolve along with RO compliance or their being out of communication. Anchor or Enterprise is critical to establish your partnership with eBay MSO. Jack, feel free to order an assessment on your account. Then I can tell you more about how eBay sees you at present.

Jack Phillips

Replying to Tuvyah Schleifer

Dude, you just contradicted yourself. You said “also for VeRO and all issues where you need to work with eBay – for this reason I recommend an Anchor or Enterprise store.” Ebay doesn’t care to get involved. You could be selling a potato and a carrot manufacturer can have you taken down. I haven’t had a VERO in years but when I did, as others have said, they either don’t bother to reply or give you b.s. answer.

I am sorry, but I wouldn’t have you do an assessment on my account. I’m the highest I can get (except for things like “diamond”) for my revenue level. I’ve been selling on eBay since 1998, probably when you were in grade school.

Tuvyah Schleifer

Replying to Jack Phillips

Jack Phillips,

I am a professional services provider in the eBay space and you are taking ‘pot shots’ at me.

You seem to be on a “witch hunt” and happy to find what you seek.

I am not seeking to discredit you as a seller.

You have a depth of experience, whereas as a service provider I have a breadth of experience. Would that be fair to say?

You are negative toward VeRO and premium store membership. I got it.

My experience flies in the face of yours. I got it.

In 1998 I was 26 years old and designing interior for Ford’s parts making group at the time, Visteon. In 1999 I sold my first items.

Best of luck in all you do.

Jack Phillips

Replying to Tuvyah Schleifer

Witch hunt? Because I pointed out flaws in a small part of your commentary? Nuts.

Tuvyah Schleifer

Replying to Jack Phillips

Thanks for acknowledging the large part met with your approval.

To be clear, the article is to help inform a seller what to do if suspended, and shine a light why if you were.

There was also practical advice how to avoid suspensions. Either in-between the lines or in an overt manner.

This included best practices and there were no contradictions at any point. I concede that the ‘flow’ of communications may have indicated contradiction.

Here is the truth about what everyone should do, who can in a reasonable manner.

1. Issue tracking within 2 hours.
2. Pay attention to eBay-issued messages.
3. Close VeRO violation listings immediately.
4. Contact RO immediately and get the solution.
5. Apply the RO’s solution, and confirm your compliance with the RO.
5. Document the solution and the RO’s acceptance.
6. Submit the solution and acceptance to eBay.
7. Then, re-list

Also advised is become an Anchor or enterprise seller to access the MSO team.

MSO can guide your VeRO related concerns in the absence of RO response. (MSO can help you determine to how re-list or not.) And MSO can receive your documented communications and listing changes with the RO. (In the event of alleged chronic RO ‘spamming.’)

You must work out VeRO with the RO, not eBay.

My business, CRSeller offer eBay appeals and assessments of suspended or active accounts. Also, limits increases, daily deals readiness, and a marketing-pro toolbox. Also for a limited time, 2 months of free Anchor or Enterprise store.

Mark Hetherington

Replying to Jack Phillips

Sorry Tuvyah, but I agree with Jack here.

For one thing you say you are a “services provider”, which puts you at a disadvantage straight away when offering advice about selling on eBay because eBay is primarily a sales environment. I have a lot of experience in both sectors, and there is a vast difference between the way sales and services are operated from a vendor’s point of view.

Several of your points are nonsense.
1. Issue tracking within 2 hours: Why? There is no need or requirement to issue tracking details at all, mostly because not all services are tracked or require a tracked service (a very low value item where tracked postage would cost more than the value of the item for example), so as I pointed out below eBay can not and will not penalise you if you don’t enter any tracking details at all.

Furthermore, 2 hours is unrealistic. Some service don’t issue you with tracking details until you have sent the item and they have sorted them, in which case you won’t have those details until they return with the docket the next day. Within 2 hours during the working day is more reasonable but the narrower you make the margins the more pressure you place on yourself and buyers expect more and more. It’s not necessary.

2. Pay attention to eBay-issued messages.
Obviously. Much of the information in the article is basic common sense which, if you’re not doing anyway you’re really capable of running a business. Nobody should need to be taught basics like that.

3. Close VeRO violation listings immediately.
Irrelevant. Ebay close them anyway.

4. Contact RO immediately and get the solution.
Pretty much pointless as, as most people have said, they never reply.

5. Apply the RO’s solution, and confirm your compliance with the RO.
See 4.

5. Document the solution and the RO’s acceptance.
See 4.

6. Submit the solution and acceptance to eBay.
See 4.

7. Then, re-list
Relisting the item in a different way, leaving out any brand names is generally a better option and is generally acceptable if it’s the brand name that is causing the problem, as seems to be the case in most instances. Post your listing and call ebay immediately to discuss whether the new listing is acceptable and ask them to send you a message confirming it. Generally, to be honest they won’t have a clue anyway but if you’ve asked them first and then get hit later they won’t hold it against you as they have given you permission to relist. I’ve done this with almost no changes to the listing and nothing more than a slight tweak to the title and had no problems.

I’m sure people appreciate you’re trying to help Tuvyah, but there is no basis for much of your “advice” and you appear to be guessing rather than offering anything practical, and giving a reason why you have reached your conclusions and with all due respect, offering no advice is better than offering poor advice that you cannot quantity.

Mark Hetherington

“Late tracking number upload or validation”

Sorry but I have to take issue with that. We NEVER post tracking details, for two reasons.

Firstly, it is technically still possible with some carriers for somebody to take those details, have their parcel rerouted then claim that they have not received it (at the original address). The tracking will show the item was delivered to a different address but will not likely show the alternate address was requested by the buyer, so as far as eBay is concerned the item wasn’t delivered and you’ll lose your case.

This is VERY serious because it also gives you a defect for “Case closed without seller resolution”, and only a very small number of cases (I think ebay allow you a paltry 0.3%) will put your account Below Standard, which if nothing else will decimate your sales.

Secondly, if your item is delivered late then it will automatically register as a late delivery defect on ebay if you have entered the tracking number. This happens even if the carrier couldn’t deliver and left a card, for the buyer to arrange redelivery. That won’t show on the system, all that’s recorded is the delivery date which will (wrongly) show delivery was “late”.

For those reasons, and the fact that I don’t believe it’s a fair system (it’s not the seller’s fault even if the item is genuinely delivered late, but ebay perceive this as late dispatch) we have no intention whatsoever of posting tracking details. In reality very few people actually ask for them.

In fact adding the tracking details might actually lead to people claiming early when they can see them, as it keeps the issue of delivery in mind. When they can’t see any details they’re much less likely to have it in mind which will buy you some time if there is a problem as they will probably report a missing o late item later than they would have done if they can see the tracking details.

The whole point of tracking is to allow the seller to see if an item has been delivered and provide a reference point for the item if they need to contact the carrier for any reason, so if you can get away with not posting tracking details please consider the above and don’t do it. I do not believe for one moment that not doing so has any negative effect on your account whatsoever.

Andy Geldman

Just a reminder to everyone: please don’t make the discussion personal. Discussing, arguing and disagreeing over the points in the post is absolutely OK.

Criticizing individuals and their motivations, and making negative personal comments is not OK.

In summary, these comments should be about content, not people.

One comment submitted has not been approved, and another has been edited for this reason.

Mark Hetherington

Hi guys.

I’m only back here because of a change to eBay rules that is relevant to tracking. As I previously stated, you are not penalised in any way if you choose not to provide the tracking details. That is a factual statement and eBay will verify that if you’re unsure. It doesn’t count against your eBay metrics (even the ones you don’t see) in any way.


A new UK rule change states that in the event of a claim, if you have not uploaded valid tracking details before the claim is opened it will not be accepted later. Therefore what that effectively means is that you will lose the claim because you hadn’t uploaded tracking details in time.

Now since the US usually precedes the UK with rule changes I’m guessing that rule has already been in place on the US eBay site for a some time the thread author is confusing that rule with a requirement for having to upload tracking details all the time, which as I said you don’t have to.

I’m not trying to undermine anybody here or reopen old rules, if you’re unsure who is correct just check with eBay. However I have posted this because I think it’s important that people are aware of and understand the new rule change.

It’s worth pointing out that if you get a fake Item Not Received claim and you have tracking details to prove it was delivered, you can take the buyer to small claims court in the UK. It’s relatively cheap and easy, and you can add the cost to your claim but you must follow legal procedures, which involves invoicing the buyer and making him aware what will happen if he doesn’t pay otherwise your claim will be thrown out. But don’t be afraid of using the court system when eBay get it wrong and refund the buyer, as it can be very effective.

One other point regarding VeRO, which came about after I was discussing a similar issue with a Trading Standards officer. If your listing has been pulled for copyright issues for using the manufacturers title in the title for example, it is NOT in breach of the rules. Why? Because trade rules state that retailers are allowed to use the brand name of the goods to sell them. Otherwise, think about it, nobody would be allowed to list anything or show any brand name so it makes sense. So if you have been VeRO’d for that reason – not that they ever give you a specific reason – it’s worth appealing. I’ll try to get more details on that.

Tuvyah Schleifer

Replying to Mark Hetherington

Thanks for the updates Mark.

From an emotional perspective, a customer is happy to receive order confirmation, shipping and tracking updates as fast as possible and with relevance. It builds and fosters great confidence.

Two items both shipped first class, both delivered next day from local sellers. One seller updated the customer throughout the process – and this is why the customer left their apartment to go to their lobby to pick up the parcel. While with the doorman discussing todays parcel arrival, the customer is presented with 2 parcels. one from the other seller. the parcel from the updating seller is prettier, ether the color or design or logo, or less carrier scuffs. the parcel from the non-updating seller is scuffed and dirty looking.

stop right there and freeze the frame.

zoom into the customers eyes.

how do they feel about each package before opening it?

let’s continue along… the updating seller with the pretty parcel – the item is broken or defective, maybe the paint or an edge is chipped. by the time they open their email there is already an email waiting for them begging to be told how the item arrived.

the parcel from the non-updating seller is opened. the item is functional, as-described and without blemish. it’s just slightly the wrong color. or it feels a little light. a little cheap.

bear in mind, both items were less than $10.


the updating seller will be told “everything was great thanks. you know what there is a little chip, but really it’s fine. thank you so much, and thank you for your care. have a great day”

the non-updating seller will be told nothing. an auto-return process will be initiated.

a few days later they will be hounded by customer service offering another cheap item or cash or a credit.


sound familiar?

which seller wins?

which customer wins?

how does each seller feel about their customer before, during and after the fulfillment?

ebay is a marketplace. the goal of the marketplace is to be transparent. such that the buyer and seller can engage in a healthy exchange-relationship.

updating tracking fast makes a difference whether it is a rule or not.

Mark Hetherington

Replying to Tuvyah Schleifer

So you finally accept that it’s not actually an eBay rule to add tracking then?

Look, it’s an interesting little tale but that’s all it is. I get the forming a positive relation with the customer bit, that’s why I’ve been successful in retail for around 30 years, long before eBay came along. But this “information” you’re coming up with doesn’t seem to be based on anything solid. Have you surveyed customers? Do you have tangible results? There are thousands of would-be experts offering “must do” advice out there which doesn’t appear to have any solid foundation and with all due respect this seems to fit into that category.

First of all I would have to say that if one parcel looks the part and the other one looks scruffy and battered then obviously the nicer looking parcel is going to win over the buyer, as long as the contents are good but that has got nothing to do with tracking. What if the scruffy parcel has tracking and the other one doesn’t? If you’re going to compare the two based on whether tracking is important or not then you need to compare the two in an identical way, i.e. one with tracking, one without but in all other ways identical.

This is our reality, based on my own experience and that of many other sellers who are part of a small private ‘closed’ forum that I’m a member of, including a couple who have seven-figure turnovers (and I’m talking UK pounds, not dollars). My point here is we all pretty much agree on what I’m about to write.

In 2018 THE number one priority for buyers is price. Sure, there are a minority that go for the best they can buy regardless of price, but most people buy based on the lowest price.

Let’s take your example from a UK perspective. $10 is around £7.70 right now. So out of your £7.70 sale you have to pay eBay and Paypal fees, postage and packing, and of course the cost of the item plus whatever else you need to factor in to cover your overall business costs. Then of course you aim to make a profit or there’s no point.

In the UK, if your item is more than an inch thick it will cost you £3.90 to send it tracked via Royal Mail. That’s the cheapest price*, unless you’re an established business sending hundreds of items a week where there are various trade discounts and schemes available, but I’m assuming your post is intended at newer sellers as established ones will generally know and understand, and be practising “best practice” techniques to have got where they are now.

* Note: You can use Hermes for around £1 less but their service is awful and they “lose” a lot of parcels so don’t go there.

So out of your £7.70 you’ve now spent £3.90 to send the item tracked, and you haven’t taken the cost of the item or any fees or taxes out of it yet. So what you have to ask yourself is can I really afford to pay the extra £1.10 fee to send it tracked? Incidentally it’s worth mentioning that Royal Mail hike prices in or around April every year over the rate of inflation and a second price rise is planned for October this year.

OK, I get it’s just an example and the figures are going to be different for the US but the fact remains that you’re going to pay extra for tracking.

Here’s the reality then.

1. As I said most buyers are interested in price. They won’t care if it’s tracked or not. How do I know? Because out of thousands of items sent every year, on average just 2, yes TWO people ask us for tracking details and even then it’s usually only when an item has been delayed.

So the thing to consider is are you likely to get a lot of claims for items not received if you don’t use a tracked service, and if so will those claims outweigh the savings made by not sending tracked? Unlikely for small items.

2. In the event of a problem a buyer will open a return claim. Why? Because they now KNOW that with this absurd “Managed Returns” debacle that eBay have introduced they can get free returns just by claiming there is something wrong with the item, even if there isn’t.

I’ll tell you now, they won’t give a toss how well it is packed (you’ll have to go some to find better packing than ours) and they won’t care whether it’s faulty or not, or whether they have tracking details or not, if they don’t want it they’ll return it and make a false claim that it was faulty.

I know this because we filed a complaint with eBay earlier this year about the level of abuse by customers of the so-called Managed Returns system – Over a one year period OVER 94% of returned items that the buyer had claimed faulty had nothing wrong with them, they simply claimed they were faulty just to get a “free” return.

As for the genuine ones, they also know they can get a free return for a faulty or damaged item so they will also file a claim. They have no reason not to. Some may accept it and say nothing, I don’t know because we check everything we send and as I said our packing is second to none so damaged items are virtually non existent. Prior to eBay introducing their stupid returns scheme a buyer would contact us if they had a problem and in the vast majority of cases we could sort it out easily and amicably. Now all we get is “Buyer wants to return the item for a refund”. That is solely down to eBay’s system. Again, I know this because it doesn’t happen with website orders. If we have a problem with a website order they simply contact us and we resolve it, as we used to do on eBay.

Generally, people don’t read these things, the emails and notifications. We all know that. They don’t even read descriptions properly. For example, our return address is on every email, on the front and back of the packaging, on the packing slip/invoice, on the Paypal transaction record and of course on eBay but practically every single person who asks for a return – even those using the Managed Returns system – ask us for our return address. They simply do not read the information given to them and that includes tracking details.

3. Offering tracking details is open season for scammers. It’s VERY easy to use the details to scam a seller (I’m obviously not going to say how here) but it’s the main reason we won’t issue tracking details, and most other established, “clued-up” sellers I know won’t for the same reason.

It’s also the reason why we’re all complaining about eBay’s recent rule change, which briefly is that in the event of a claim by a buyer for non-receipt eBay will not accept tracking details unless they were uploaded prior to the claim being filed.

As such there is now a stronger case for uploading tracking details on eBay, but even so, claims for non-receipt for tracked items are rare unless they genuinely haven’t arrived, in which case you will have a valid claim against the carrier even if you lose the claim on eBay. In such a case it won’t matter whether you have uploaded tracking or not as you’ll have to refund the buyer in any event if the tracking confirms the buyer has not received his item.

But the bottom line is most people don’t care whether you include tracking details or not. If you sell something that might gain repeat business then yes, every little thing you do might help but again, most people look for the cheapest and customer loyalty isn’t what it was years ago and doesn’t bring in that much extra business. This may vary according to what you’re selling but in my experience it isn’t worth spending time and effort on in most cases. And neither is adding tracking. There is simply no tangible, proven benefit.


Hi I came across your article. Very informative.
I have a question not sure if i am asking it in the right place but here goes. I’ve never had an account on eBay. So I’ve never bought or sold anything on the site. I opened a brand new ebay account. Nothing bought or sold with it. I want to start reselling when my son goes to preschool. The account is 2 months old. So I am preparing to start my selling journey & I got an email stating that eBay indefinitely suspended my account.
I called and they will not tell me why & basically sell some where else. So I’m just lost now. Any suggestions would be great. Do you think waiting a year and calling and asking for an account would work? Thank you -Erin

Tuvyah Schleifer

Hi Erin.

From my experience, it’s hard to say what happened here. eBay could have related your account to a suspended account. Via your internet connection, or your computer your account information.

You should do all you can to get the account opened and not wait a year.

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