eBay UK stiffens seller sanctions for duplicate listings

Tamebay reader Jon wrote to us regarding eBay’s duplicate listing policy he said:

We contacted eBay directly to ask about a minor technicality (linking a duplicate SKU to our inventory and order management software), and they informed us that it was against eBay policy to duplicate product listings on different accounts. So this of course stopped us in our tracks.

The thing is, though, the practice is clearly rife. None of the competitors we know of who use more than one eBay ID have ceased to do so, and by chance, I even noticed a major UK brand doing it today – exactly the same product images and description on both listings.

So is this a mere technicality that’s unofficially overlooked, or is it a more serious eBay policy breach, that we shouldn’t even be giving any further consideration to?

Duplicate Listings SP

We know this is an issue for two reasons, firstly many sellers do simply ignore the duplicate listing policy and/or do their best to self justify to themselves why they should have very similar (ie duplicate) listings. Secondly it often appears that eBay simply ignore reports of duplicate listings and sellers who disobey the rules appear to get an advantage over those that toe the line.

If you have duplicate listings eBay will dump your entire account

Chris Dunne over at SellerExpress spotted a duplicate listing policy update from eBay.com published just before the Bank Holiday weekend. It unequivocally states “Starting in June, listing visibility in Best Match will be reduced for sellers who pollute the eBay marketplace with duplicate listings. If a seller violates the duplicate listings policy, then all the listings from that seller – including those across linked accounts – will have reduced visibility. This visibility reduction will last until the duplicate listings are removed“.

The language in this statement is quite strong, I’ve never heard eBay use works such as “pollute” when talking about listings. It’s also unusual for eBay to take action against all of a seller’s listings (on all of their accounts) for what’s in the grand scheme of things a minor violation. It appears that eBay are taking duplicate listing policy seriously.

Make sure your cross border listings don’t appear as duplicates

One thing to be aware of is that if you have a domestic listing which ships world wide and you then list on an overseas site directly, both listings will appear and be considered as duplicates.

For example if you have a UK listing in £ which includes shipping to the US, it’s likely to appear on eBay.com. If you then list the same product directly on eBay.com in $ this will appear as a duplicate listing.

You should remove shipping to the US from your UK listing and also ensure that your eBay.com listings doesn’t offer shipping to the UK. This does of course become more complex when you’re listing the same products on multiple country sites, but if you have multichannel management software you should be able to set up your shipping locations fairly easily in bulk.