Volume “private” sellers forced to register as businesses

It seems that eBay UK is finally cracking down on some users who claim to be private sellers but who list in business-like quantities. Several threads on the Q&A board this weekend have sellers complaining that they are unable to list any more items, and have been told by support that if they wish to continue to sell, they need to register as businesses.

Sellers are able to appeal the business registration requirement, though I’d guess to be exempted, they’re going to have to be pretty obviously selling off their own old items: those who have a continuous stock of similar items they’ve sold over many months are probably not going to be let off.

Regardless of the rights and wrongs in the cases of the individuals who’ve posted on Q&A, this action could not have come too soon. Posing as a private seller when actually operating as a business is illegal in the UK under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (Schedule 6.1, #22: page 29 of PDF, page 25 as printed on leaflet). If you’re elsewhere in the EU, it’s is also against the EC’s Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, as variously implemented in other member states. Maximum penalities for breaching the CPUTR are a £5,000 fine and/or two years’ imprisonment.