eBay gunning for the wrong sellers

By Chris Dawson May 19, 2009 - 2:01 pm

Let’s play a game. Can you tell the difference between these two items?


How about these two?


Just one more. This one’s a little tricky:


If you spotted that only one of each pair was a gun, well done: you did better than eBay UK. Numerous sellers over the last few days have reported receiving warnings that they may be in breach of eBay UK’s firearms policy when listing a range of entirely innocent items: lilac blouses, biscuit cutters, inflatable canoes, keyrings and bras are a few more of the restricted listings. The items can take several hours to show up in search, and sellers are being left wondering if their policy compliance – and hence seller discounts – will be affected.

Whatever filter has been added to eBay UK recently seems to have a powerfully broad vocabulary: videos which have been “shot”, “barrel” and “tube” shaped beads and “magazines” have all fallen foul of it, and may cause listings to be hidden in search. eBay support had said that they were aware of the problem and that it would be remedied by yesterday, but it seems that sellers are still getting warnings when listing items which have nothing to do with firearms.

Though Support have advised some sellers to wait a few days before listing items, the range of restricted items is so random and varied that it seems like just about any item any of us care to list might get picked up, so “don’t list that one” isn’t much of a solution. So while we wait for the fix, leave us a comment with your most ridiculous restricted item 😉

With thanks to the following for pictures: beige sweater, bonsai tree, pendant, gun, gun, gun.

  • 11 years ago

    I better not list any cannonballs today.

    • 11 years ago

      And if you list Canon printers, make sure you spell them correctly. Don’t bother with Magnum DVDs.

      Thank goodness Whirly only sells baths, and not plumbing supplies like water tanks 😀

      Okay, I’ll stop now.

  • 11 years ago

    Silver plated split rings is another – I was listing them in 6 different sizes last night, identical listings apart from quantities and ring size, some got the warning, some didn’t. Go figure that one out…

    • 11 years ago

      Interesting, Caz. So maybe some are the same sizes you get guns in, and some are not? (I really have no clue, but some descriptions of guns have millimetres in them… I think)

  • 11 years ago

    Uzi 9mm

    • 11 years ago

      So these 9mm barrel clasps I need to get rid of… not much hope for them then?!

  • board_surfer
    11 years ago

    maybe they should just get shot of the filter?

  • 11 years ago

    Sue – good point, some of them were 9mm.

  • 11 years ago

    #6 well you could call them 9mm Uzi barrel clasps, plenty of uzi’s on eBay especially from hong kong.

    I took a rare moment out today to read PS board, some poor begger has had problems listing a balsa wood aeroplance with a swastika on it, and yet there are 1400+ listings with Nazi in the title.

    Machetes from argentina are OK, be handy for the garden.

    Gawd know’s what I am going to do with my new batch of Silicone Guns…pretty deadly stuff in the wrong hands apparently. Will see if I can list one and report back…

  • 11 years ago

    Just listed a 9mm Silicone Gun – Trigger Action – Fast Loading, no bother at all.

  • 11 years ago

    Every (Music related) product listed today and yesterday got me a warning!

  • Super Max
    11 years ago

    I sell a lot of DVDs that get held for 1-12 hours before they’re available in the publicly viewable list, generally its just ‘high fraud/fake’ items but also key words.

    They also become viewable eventually and I don’t believe for a second that they are ever checked by a person, in fact I know they’re not because I’ve checked the webstats for images included.

    Interestingly if you chose the view text only option from the list sellers other items view then all items show up, even the ‘hidden’ ones.

  • 11 years ago

    Well apparently a Z72 MENS BROWN LEATHER 50MM WRISTBAND is a gun to…… think that would well and truly blow your head off!!! lol


  • cheesy
    11 years ago

    I listed a padlock and chain and got the warning today…. go figure?

    • 11 years ago

      They definitely don’t seem to like “chain”.

  • Richard
    11 years ago

    I ought to be really worried “Magnum” is part of my ebay ID and shop name. 😆

    Do I look worried? no, I enjoy a challenge. :mrgreen:

  • Jimbo
    11 years ago

    Talkng of strange filters it seems I can no longer post coments on the froo q/a post (I’m being moderated) 🙂 .

  • 11 years ago

    I sell “Magnum Boots” – footwear – I better watch that!!!

  • 11 years ago

    Got this yesterday when listing silver 7mm jump rings
    – probably masquerading as an UZI 7mm.

    Worst one for me recently was a policy strike taking me straight down to ‘failing’ for having a listing for a half inch silver charm of a penknife.
    Listed in correct jewellery category, described accurately and clearly as a charm with weight and size in millimeters and inches and with a large photo of said item sitting on top of a ruler.

    I spoke to a reasonable chap at PS support who said he would send it upstairs to be looked at again. He phoned me a few hours later and said I could relist but suggested I wrote in bold writing things like “this is an item of jewellery and is not a weapon”
    I had thought my comment on the listing that it would be perfect for a pixie on an outing might have sufficed.
    He also said that it would have been reported by community watch (presumably the shady characters who have the hotline to have anything taken down immediately – as opposed to normal members whos requests for dodgy things to be taken off are usually ignored)

    I had to phone PS support again as two days later my policy strike was still in place. When I pointed this out they took it off immediately.

    So now if I list something which some overzealous community watcher is going to give me grief over I make ridiculous statements like this is not a weapon or firearm of any description.

    From the examples above, it may be we have to put such statements on absolutely everything. 😕

  • Kate George
    11 years ago

    Well remember the time when I tried to buy plastic flower beads and I got a warning that I had to have a credit card on file as I had to prove that I was over 18 to buy a knife?

    Seems like ebay haven’t improved since then.

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