Volume “private” sellers forced to register as businesses

By Sue February 27, 2010 - 2:44 pm

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. 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.

, 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.

  • JP
    8 years ago

    ….and they should be enforcing sellers to register for VAT. Not paying VAT when you should be makes it an uneven marketplace for those of us poor bas***rds who do have to pay it.

    • 8 years ago

      Well, you’d think, wouldn’t you: “You’ve put £68k through PayPal in the last year; you can’t list anything more on eBay til we have your VAT number.” — it’d be a pretty easy place to start.

  • Gerry007
    8 years ago

    About bloody time…………. 😀

  • AMFM
    8 years ago

    This has to be a good thing!
    I dont hit the VAT amount yet but well on course and VAT scares me (i cant imagine anyone trying to fool or lie to them)
    All in all Ebay has done well finnaly!
    Though the way some sellers insist that i post your item its not my problem …..

  • Sean
    8 years ago

    Good…………… 😀

  • jimbo
    8 years ago

    Will this have any effect on overseas registered sellers who list .99p auctions on the UK site?

    • 8 years ago

      Possibly, Jimbo: comment on the PSB from the eBay UK Community Manager here:

      …the recent increase in threads on other boards from Private sellers asking why they are being forced to register as a business. I know that this is a small comfort but at least is an indication that thinks are changing 🙂

      We have had some movement in the background recently which should help in some area’s and will have more that we can talk about later.

      For now I’d be curious to see if the Id’s have been flagged already and are in the process, can you send them on please?

      Also of course there’s Olly’s thread from last July
      which promises “I will share more details in the coming days on what we plan to do and when”… I hope no one was holding their breath.

  • northumbrian
    8 years ago

    its only a matter of time before some clever bugger at number 11
    decides to introduce an ebay tax on all sales then they wont need to worry if vat or income tax is being paid

  • mildlyirritated
    8 years ago

    I have been banging on about this to our acc manager and occasionally reporting direct from listings for months now after noting some massive scale ‘private’ sellers. They really aren’t hard to find… Good to see something is apparently being done, however a quick look at some of the sellers I looked at indicates no change as yet…
    The distinction between Business and Private sellers on eBay seems to me less to do with VAT as the threshold is high enough that even some reasonable scale sellers may not qualify, but more do with ebays simple definition, i.e. As soon as you start selling stuff, bought to sell then you are a business seller. These listings are easy to spot, stock images, multiple items available, constant relists etc.
    I do agree that sellers elegible for VAT registration should do so immediately, I don’t like getting undercut by 17.5% either.
    How the whole business / private seller applies to overseas sellers seems sketchy also…

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