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eBay Sales Down? Here’s How eBay Might Be Working Against You

By Alex Knight

From algorithm updates to site outages and random testing, there are many ways that the mechanics of eBay can cause your sales to fall.

eBay Sales Down? Here’s How eBay Might Be Working Against You

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Mark Hetherington

Ebay ARE sabotaging sales, they just don’t realise – probably – that they are doing it. All I will concede here is that an act of sabotage needs to be deliberate and the reality is that it is mostly down to incompetence on their part. For the purpose of this post please disregard that we might be doing something wrong. After 30 years in business and proof elsewhere that “it’s not us”, such as consistent performance from our website, assume that we have done all the checks on competitors, keywords, and so on. It’s partly irrelevant anyway because I have… Read more »


Replying to Mark Hetherington

You have hit the nail on the head,i have had to close my business account down due to the amount of “not as described goods” being returned,nothing wrong with them its just they no they can return for free.Ebay always rule onside with the buyer.Trouble is they have the market sewn up,no real competition for them.Selling on gumtree i find is better,but the buggers even own that site.


Replying to Mark Hetherington

You forgot to mention organized crime taking over eBay, and Amazon and using them as a fencing operation to sell their stolen goods under the Amazon Prime protection program . and we have the Money laundering problem on eBay , high volume stores selling items at or below cost for the purpose of laundering their dirty money. The FBI should be watching them very closely and scrutinizing high volume sellers with lower than cost pricing , and 0 net profit !


Replying to Mark Hetherington

Hi Mark, I know this is two years old but your comments were valuable. In regards to the other seller who copied your description and had less detail but made more sales. I think I figured this out, I; like you’ fill all the items specifics and do as much as I can, yet will still list lower than others despite my efforts, I noticed if you leave out item specifics on a lot of things it actually improves visibility across a wider set of categories, ebay wants everyone to fill in item specifics because it wants to dilute your… Read more »


I’ll add some new things I noticed yesterday – it’s absolutely deliberate. I have 100% positive fdbk, so no reason to do this to me either. Yesterday noticed 80% of my relisted items had at least one of the following happen: *they moved it to another, irrelevant or worse category *they removed my keywords *where I KNOW I had made my listing mobile friendly, they’d reverted it back Then all evening yesterday things keep bogging up so badly that in two hours I got nothing posted and gave up. You get to the very last step and suddenly you get… Read more »

Ben Wright

Replying to Chris

The only site I’ve ever been on selling, who did right by its sellers, is a site called TopHatter. If you have the inventory you can make a mint. In fact, the operators of the site encourages you to have more inventory then you might think you need. Every sale happened withing 1 or 2 minutes at most. It’s a site like Wish, but everything is sold at auction in usually 30 seconds. My only problem was I couldn’t keep up, due to inventory. I sold out twice, and had to wait for items to be shipped from China. And… Read more »


Oh one more thing – yesterday while shopping eBay wasn’t allowing things to be added to a watch list (yes, there was room in my list). I’d click, but nothing would happen. It either went in your cart or you buy it now. They probably think they’re forcing the customer to just buy, but I think that’s a mistake.

Mark Hetherington

Yes I wonder if it’s deliberate too. People think you’re crazy to suggest such a thing but I can tell you after 30 years in business I’ve seen things that will make your hair curl. Look at how corrupt the banks have been for example, the things that led to the economy in general being in such a bad state. Corruption in business is rife and businesses will do what they have to do to suit them. If that means blocking your listings, say perhaps because you’re undercutting one of the major retailers, they may well do that. Amazon do… Read more »


Replying to Mark Hetherington

Richard Branson should come in with a Virgin platform

Joe Leach

So WebRetailer after reading the article, what do you recommend the sellers to do? Thanks


Replying to Joe Leach

They answered it in the article, by each topic… you’ll just have to read. A lot of it there simply aren’t really answers to, but where there were, they did try to help.

I came on to add that tonight when shopping eBay has withdrawn the ability to ask sellers a question. THAT is NOT helpful to sales. They have to pick NOW to screw with things (the holiday season – where some sellers years are made or broken?)?!! Seriously, I wish they would hire someone at the top who has experience selling online – and preferably on eBay! Idiots!

Mark Hetherington

Replying to Chris

I’m not sure where you have got that from, it’s always been possible to contact sellers and still is. The “Ask seller a question” link was changed to “Contact seller” because many sellers were complaining that a lot of people were ignoring the listing description and asking questions instead. I can assure you that most sellers find it extremely aggravating to have posted comprehensive information about the product on their listing description, only to find that people are asking questions that would be answered simply by reading that description. Additionally we found that less than 1 in 20 replies leads… Read more »


Replying to Mark Hetherington

I have seen it to, it changes so maybe they are implementing system changes. but when i am logged out and search for my listings they do not have a contact seller , or ask a question. Nothing. I have checked my personal settings and they are all fine. A few days later my listings will have the feature. You can always tap the persons username try to contact them that way but that is not a feature you can use on all mobile devices, which most customers are using now, and not everyone knows that, or how to do… Read more »

Mike G

Replying to Mark Hetherington

” I don’t believe there’s anything they could ask, in most cases, that they couldn’t find the answer to by reading the description ”

As a buyer of retro vintage gym kit, I frequently need to ask sellers for a simple measurement that should be required in all cases where shorts are listed: what is the STRETCHED waistband? That is the best guide to fit – side codes like ‘small’ and ‘medium’ vary considerably between manufacturers and, more importantly, over the decades.

Actual inside leg width at the hem, and inside leg length, are two other useful measurements rarely given.


Along with all the other listed frustrations above, you know it’s bad when their customer service rep (that you’ve been working with for months!) agrees that he can’t figure out what you’re doing wrong either. Sales literally tanked in September 2016 and we kept scrambling to “fix our problems” for months. This was our case back in March and April. Things have SLOWLY picked up, but not anywhere near what it was 2 years ago. We did everything they told us to do, including revising more than 800 listings individually two times in a period of a month! It’s not… Read more »

Peter Butterfield

Replying to Jenny

I agree – from about September 2016 things have taken a dramatic turn for the worst. Despite changing titles, descriptions and images, nothing has improved. We have a feedback rating of 99.98% and two negatives in twelve months. A Premium seller top rated for more than three years.


Replying to Jenny

This is a very interesting article since I hit the 20 year mark with eBay and buy this December January 2018 my business fell off a cliff then I was late a couple times with shipping and they took my global shipping away which was 1/3 of my yearly business they bankrupted me nothing is really selling anymore ,one or two items every week from 50 to 60 items a month It’s sad from day one I was making so much I closed my physical stores and just sold online 20 years later I am at square one I’m too… Read more »

Herb Hammons

I’ve been selling on eBay for eleven years and have never seen anything like it before. Sales have dropped by 34% in 4-5 months time and all eBay can do is to keep sending the same bi-monthly email with their exercise in stupidity called ‘Top Tips for Selling on eBay’: 1.)Qualify for the Top Rated Plus Seal. Why? We used to qualify for that worthless seal but then you raised the requirements… twice… so why even bother? And it doesn’t get you to the top in the listings. 2.) Add Product Identifiers. They’re already there, all of them. Stupid eBay.… Read more »


4 years ago eBay added immediate payment only to all my listings. I spent two years pleading with eBay agents to investigate why this was happening and eventually found out that it was a test. removing the option to turn off immediate payment killed off all my multiple overseas sales in one swoop. my takings are 1/3 of what they used to be 4 years ago. this is why I started my own website. the problem with eBay is that the people at the top are trying to impress each other and the shareholders only they have no care whatsoever… Read more »


My sales have been in a downward spiral for at least a month. Coincidentally Ebay keeps advertising a ‘promoted listings’ campaign. This gives them the opportunity to take a higher final value fee yet for my business that profit loss makes my business no longer viable.

Think about it – If Ebay has the ability to promote listings and sellers they also can do the opposite and restrict listings and sellers. What a violation of trust. Something seems so cambridge analytical about it all.

Bryon Miller

A very good percentage of this list is not ebay causing anything. It’s your competition stepping up their game and doing a better job than you are. Don’t get me wrong, ebay is a terrible place to put all your eggs. Instead, just use them as you should, just another tool… A venue to move your product. Spread your eggs out to many baskets and make your own site if you can. Always direct traffic to your commission free site. One thing I see ebay suggest that is maddening is telling you to go out to social media and advertise… Read more »

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