Have you ever sold or bought anything on eBay? Quite likely!
Maybe you have even become yourself a small entrepreneur and started selling various items on this auction portal? Or you have expanded your current business of sales towards that very popular online market?
You have probably spent hundreds of hours when doing this expansion. You could have invested in this small business and even took a loan. Resigned from your day job….
Things are going great with eBay and your buyers are very happy….
….Guess what. It can suddenly be stopped and your eBay account can be suspended indefinitely by eBay!
Why? On what grounds? How can I appeal? What is going on…..?
Yes. The above can be a real scenario and in fact many people are affected and constantly frozen out of the availability to continue their business on eBay.
My small business experienced this situation. We have expanded sales onto eBay. Amassed nearly a thousand positive feedback (no negative, few neutral) and made nearly two thousand sales within a period of 1.5 years of account being operational. We sold items which were new on the market in UK and our customers were generally very satisfied.
Until one day, when all of a sudden eBay restricted our account’s activity to sell ANYTHING and this restriction was made a permanent solution meaning our business would never be able to sell again on eBay, even on a new account.
The reason for the suspension? A supposed explanation for not meeting sellers’ standards which went above the level required (by a very small margin). These “standards” are quite complex, in a way that for example they penalise eBay sellers for cancellation of a transaction or item being reported by buyer not as described – things which can be genuine but not always true, not done on purpose and certainly not very serious, like selling fraud items or other dodgy actions.
You can say “Well, there are standards, you did not meet them, so what’s the fuss about it”?
You see, the problem is more complex. eBay has prepared their Terms and Conditions in a very complicated way. As a matter of fact, many sellers are not even aware of these “standards” as it is not an easy thing to find corresponding information about this requirement, as well as information on what will happen if you do not meet them. What’s more is that you do not get any warnings, possibility to appeal, to explain, to improve etc. eBay’s decision is (as they say) final and that’s it.
Why eBay is doing this? – who knows. It’s quite possible they choose sellers and remove these which they don’t think make enough money for them. By having complex terms and conditions they can always invoke something in a way that they will get their intended outcome. eBay completely does not care about individual sellers, which they treat with a complete contempt. They are after all a multi-national-corporation which like many others can simply do whatever they want.
What have I done by now? – I have sent tens of different communication to eBay with a request to having the account reinstated. I have used all possible contact details, including final contact with their HQ in Europe. All answers were the same: either computer generated copy/pasted information or various explanations, some of which were additionally not true or contradicted other explanations. I have eventually taken eBay to UK’s Small Claims Court with the intention that eBay will simply reinstate my account back, before it gets to Judge’s Hearing. The eBay however took the aggressive approach and instructed their solicitors to completely debunk this case, so that it even gets thrown out from the Court at the very beginning. In order to save costs (I simply cannot afford full legal representation), I have prepared majority of work myself and only used legal advice and help when necessary. In total, nearly £2,000 have already been spent for this court case in court fees and solicitors' advice.
What do I want from eBay? – from the very beginning I only wanted to get my eBay account reinstated. Nothing more. When taking eBay to court I am claiming losses for work carried out for the purpose of eBay business expansion. If successful, it should lead to eBay changing their practices and treatment of other sellers as Judge would decide that they did it in breach of a contract. I am also asking the Court to instruct eBay to reinstate my account but I do not even know if such outcome is possible.
Has this been done to other sellers? – most likely very many. I have read various stories, including on eBay website forum, when sellers were treated very unfairly and in a similar fashion. There are even Facebook groups and websites which are trying to expose these situations. This means that it is not a single occurrence but standard practice on behalf of eBay.
What’s the purpose of this crowdfunding? – the case against eBay is at Court and was already at the Hearing but the Judge has postponed the Case for next hearing, due to unavailability to attend by lay representative and a requirement to amend legal paperwork. A Hearing date is scheduled for December and necessary documents have been filed with Court. I am however trying to get additional legal help and advice so that I have highest possible chances at the next hearing. For somebody who does not deal with legal bits and courts everything is completely different and hard to grasp – it’s basically a different world – and you can have your case thrown out by simple technical mistakes. Any financial help received will go towards legal fees for solicitors' help and/or attendance at the hearing.
I am pasting below a letter confirmation from the Court to prove this being an actual case. If there is a further requirement I could try to produce some other proofs for this case.