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eBay.com duplicate listing sanctions go live

By Chris Dawson July 2, 2015 - 12:05 am

Duplicate ListingseBay.com announced a couple of months ago that they’d be stepping up . This has now come into effect.

At the time their language was quite strong and unambiguous – if you have duplicate listings they’ll dump your entire account in Best Match search. Saying such sellers “pollute the eBay marketplace”, they said “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“.

eBay Duplicate Listing Policy

Fixed price listings

You can’t have more than one fixed price listing of an identical item at the same time. Additionally, you can’t have a fixed price listing and an auction-style listing with the Buy It Now option for an identical item.

Auction-style listings

While you can have more than one auction-style listing for identical items within the same account, only one listing without bids will appear on eBay at a time. However, you are not permitted to have an auction-style listing with the Buy It Now option and an auction-style listing without the Buy It Now option for an identical item.

Multi-variation listings

You can’t have an identical variation in two different multi-variation listings.

Other eBay sites

Separate listings may be created for the same item on different eBay sites, as long as the international postage options don’t result in the listings cluttering the search results of any individual site. This means that if you sell on eBay.co.uk and you list the same item on eBay.com and eBay.de, your eBay.co.uk listing should exclude shipping to the US or Germany, your eBay.de listing should exclude shipping to the UK and US and your eBay.com listing should exclude shipping to the UK and Germany.

eBay insist that each listing should provide distinct and unique value to buyers and don’t forget this also applies if you have more than one eBay seller account. If you have duplicate listings you stand the risk of all your products (not just those considered to be duplicates) being dumped to the bottom of search.

  • Dick
    2 years ago

    It’s good that eBay is finally cleaning up this duplicate listing mess, which is primarily with new merchandise, now it needs to deal with re-listed auctions! The nearly unlimited free listings has all but ruined eBay auctions in the antiques and vintage collectibles categories, the categories that made eBay. The sellers love it, but they don’t understand that it has driven away most of the buyers who have more money than they have free time. It has also hurt eBay’s bottom line because a lot of us are obsessive collectors, and we don’t list items for sale until our searches are finished. Having thousands of re-lists to wade through each week means that most of us never get around to selling on eBay because we can’t get our searching done. The same overpriced or uninteresting items get re-listed over and over and over. For hardcore collectors of unique or rare items it has become a nightmare. Constantly seeing the same unsalable items in our searches is driving us crazy. And it is killing auctions. It’s shocking how many auctions for unique antique items have been re-listed 5 or 10 or 50 times. It’s taken all of the fun out of searching eBay. This never happened when sellers had to pay for listings. If eBay wants to save its vintage collectibles and antiques markets, it needs to immediately address this problem. We need to be able to filter out re-listed items from our searches. EBay should allow us to set a site preference to filter out auctions that have been re-listed once, or twice, or three times. Forcing a buyer to see the same auction item show up in search results over one hundred times is only hurting eBay. EBay’s move away from its roots, the used and collectible markets, has killed eBay. The new merchandise market is ultra-competitive. EBay had a great niche and they walked away from it by alienating both sellers and buyers. The used and vintage collectible markets dwarf new merchandise, as it is everything that was ever made! America is awash in vast quantities of used and collectible items. But right now the issue of being able to filter out re-listed auctions from search is the critical issue. It’s the problem that is ruining our eBay buying experience and preventing eBay from seeing the growth that one would expect for a site with so much potential.

    • JohnC
      2 years ago

      But this is the “second-hand bookshop” model, and it’s perfectly legitimate.

      The stock turn is very slow, but the bookshop owner doesn’t know what will sell on a given day, so he just maintains a big inventory, and calculates (or hopes) that he sells enough every day.

    • Dick
      2 years ago

      But with a “second-hand bookshop” they will usually have a new arrivals shelf, so the frequent customer doesn’t have to look through all of the stale stock each time they come in. With eBay the stale stock (re-listed auctions) are included in your search results making it almost impossible to find that needle in a haystack, the new stock that you have never seen before. Just give us a filter to eliminate re-listed items from our searches. Most people won’t use the filter, the serious collectors will!

  • Richbkk
    2 years ago

    Good article, thanks. I took heed of a previous article you published, hinting at changes on multiple listings across sites.
    The problem is it is a devil of a job excluding sites, particularly UK, Aus, and USA. I had to run through the edit 3 times to catch about 90%, and then do the rest manually.
    Although I am not sure, it looks like GTC listings rebook without set exclusions.

  • 2 years ago

    This has been a massive problem in the last couple of years. Good sellers who play by the book are being demoted in best match to a bunch of ‘DelBoys’, who know exactly what they are doing.

    Lets hope that when we report these now Trust and Safety will take action (they haven’t always in the past) and and that these accounts will be hit with the double whammy. For genuine sellers playing by the rules it’s the quickest way to get up the best match. I would suggest everyone to try reporting more. It’s for our own benefit.

    If you find duplicates by linked usernames try the following:

    1. Compile a list of offending item numbers on an email
    2. Describe the report on the email
    3. Phone eBay top seller support and ask for the agents name.
    4. Quickly explain to them you are making a report by email of multiple usernames with duplicates, ask to make it for their attention, if you are a top rated seller email through to uktcc@ebay.com or get the email address from them for non top rated seller customer care.

    It’s not a perfect system but it’s a start. They have assured me they are going to crack down on this so I am hoping some big offenders will be hit hard.

    • richbkk
      2 years ago

      I didn’t know it was such a big problem. In general, the problem seems to me having one seller who operates worldwide listing on 4 or 5 sites, as this can lead to possibly all his listings showing up in search. It’s not good and it makes sense that only one listing should show up in main search, the one listed in the site’s default currency.
      Honestly in my experience (often painful) I would say that if you are not selling much you need to look at your product, picture and above all price.
      The clear up will likely not solve your problem if your ads simply don’t cut with buyers anymore.

  • bluesky
    2 years ago

    we just had a 7 day selling restriction on our UK based shop. we have 6000 listings,many more when you look at the web interpret duplicated items on other market places , they found one duplicate ,which I was unaware of . How the hell are you supposed to monitor this many listings constantly to check if you unitentioanlly made one error?

  • bluesky
    2 years ago

    so I had a chat with them…….Welcome to Community Watch Live Chat. My name is …ebay
    Please give me a moment to review your previous discussion or if you’d like to, can you let me know what the issue is?
    me
    I had a message to say my selling account had a restriction placed on it for duplicate listings. this was because of one duplicate listing
    I mean I have over 6000 listings and much more when you look at my web interpret duplications on to other ebay sites
    any duplicate is unitentional, but I really don’t see how anyone can monitor that amount of listings and to have such a harsh measure for one duplicate is really extreme.
    ebay
    Thanks for sharing your concern.
    ebay
    I will put in my best efforts to assist you with your concern. Could you allow me a minute while I check this for you?
    me
    thanks
    ebay
    Thanks for waiting. I certainly understand that you are concern about the restriction placed on your account and I can understand that the breach which led to the restriction of your account was unintentional. However, please understand that restrictions are automatically placed on member’s account on the basis of severity and repetition of the violations.
    ebay
    Hence manual changes can not be made to the restriction of your account.
    me
    severity? it was one listing
    me
    then who ever is programming the system is making a mockery of this
    me
    wht doesn’t ebays system just remove duplicates
    me
    I cannot see how we could list a duplicate anyway , if you try to you get a warning telling you ,so we never list dupliactes nor want to or would ever want to.
    ebay
    I certainly understand that but I have reviewed your account carefully and can see that there are multiple breaches of same policy hence as a result of it, restriction was being placed by the same.
    me
    we had one other that I remember
    me
    how can we recieve a warning that our account could be suspended for two duplicate listings, as a business do you think that gives me the confidence to invest thousand in new stock .
    ebay
    I certainly understand that however when we removed your listing previously we emailed you stating that further breaches of the policy can lead to the restriction of your account.
    me
    ebays system should find the duplicates and send the seller a list advising of them so they can be removed
    me
    how do I find a duplicate listing?
    ebay
    I completely understand your point, you may be able to identify the duplicate listing by Searching with the Title in your listings.
    me
    I have 6000 listings ,what am I supposed to search each one??
    is there a tool to use. I could not care less about having a duplicate listing .
    ebay
    I’m afraid we do not have any such tools, every seller has to identify the duplicates listings from their Active listings on the site.
    me
    don’t you think we have enough to do ,adding pictures that are large enough ,adding EANs cadding items specifics etc etc
    ebay
    I certainly understand your point however we always suggest our sellers to adhere to eBay policies so that their selling performance is not jeopardize by the removal on their account.
    me
    how strange that ebay have a tool to identify duplicate listings but do not make one available to their customers so that they can do it , instead we are supposed to sit and search through thousands of listings manually to try and find one that may be a duplicate
    ebay
    I’m sorry if you feel that way.
    ebay
    , the restriction will be lifted from your account on 9th July.
    me
    I think I will just start removing a few thousand of the listings to be on the safe side that way they won’t be at risk ,but as a consequence they wont be on ebay either so wont make either of us any money. strange way of doing business ebay have I must say
    me
    the restriction doesn’t bother me too much ,nothing is selling on your platform anyway,instead of driving sellers (who are also buyers) away ebay should be doing everything they can to encourage growth,its a competitive worls out there and I am sure other platforms would encourage our product!
    ebay
    , you are our valuable customer and we would not want this incident to discourage you to sell on our platform.
    ebay
    I would have surely helped you if I could, but as the manual changes are not made to the restriction of your account, I’m unable to amend it.
    ebay
    Please let me know if anything else I can assist you with.
    me
    thank you have a nice day

    • Richbkk
      2 years ago

      This is awful. In theory a duplicate listing is not supposed to be possible anyway as a message comes up on the sell page. I had a similar problem caused by Turbo Lister and have had one or two removed over the years.
      When yo say seven day restriction, I hope this is just a listing restriction!?

    • james
      2 years ago

      ebay customer service:
      100% platitude. 0% help. 0% service.

  • JohnC
    2 years ago

    What is a duplicate, though?

    Ebay needs to stamp out the apparently non-duplicate “polishing cloth for Audi”, “polishing cloth for BMW”, “polishing cloth for Citroen” type of listings all selling the same thing but under a massive range of different titles.

    • Chris
      2 years ago

      In some categories you need duplicates. We sell laptop chargers, some chargers fit 5000 different models of laptop. e.g acer aspire 5742, 5743, 5744 etc. A buyer searching for a charger on eBay would expect to see there model in the title. So on some products we have 5000 listings for one product. So until ebay sort out a compatibility list similar to the parts on eBay motors we have no choice.

  • bluesky
    2 years ago

    just a 7 day restriction from listing .It is the way it is dished out with the accompanying threat that repeat could lead to removal of selling account, that is so distressing. What a shambolic company ebay are,the way they treat their customers is beyond belief. Two duplicate listings and they threaten my livelihood.I paid them between £25,000 – £30,000 in fees last year any other company on the planet would roll out the red carpet, not threaten to kick you off!

    • richbkk
      2 years ago

      It is a disgrace, absolute and definitive. As you say there isn’t a tool that gives us the ability to check ourselves.

  • Dave P
    2 years ago

    I am interested in the theory that ebay are in fact doing nothing with this and are in fact simply hoping the threat is sufficient.

    It may have been here, or some other forum, where someone pointed out that there is zero reason for ebay to not tell sellers when they are being demoted in best search. If they are detecting duplicate listings then surely a message to the seller and some sort of 3 strikes and you are out system which work much better?
    I do not see the benefit in trying to very slowly phase them out by reducing sellers income. That might take years. Or some sellers may still survive due to niche products.
    Another reason why i wonder if it is nothing but a threat is that this has always been a violation of ebay policies. All that has supposedly changed is the punishment. So if they couldn’t enforce it then how can they do it now? I suppose maybe the UPC’s that are now required may help them identify some but it isnt exactly hard to list with different ones each time if you are inclined to do so.

  • Inspector Gadget
    2 years ago

    It’s interesting the way eBay are dealing with this issue.

    For years, people have flouted the rules. If you get sanctioned then you know where the line is so you know what you can and can’t do. Now, as there is no definitive sanction you can never be sure if that ‘trick’ you discovered is actually affecting you or not. Sellers may be more likely to tow the line.

  • richbkk
    2 years ago

    At least for me, the bulk edit function regarding exclude locations does not work. I select Oceania, and USA to exclude, it revises them back in. I have discovered a way to do them a few at a time on turbo lister, and check each one as it is not faultless.

  • Peter
    2 years ago

    Hi All ,

    Im looking at hat duplicate listings I have , and I don’t have many but the ones I do are the following

    ITEM A

    Selling for 30 and Free Delivery

    ITEM B ( Same Item )

    Selling for 25 with a 5 delivery charge ,

    Item A was listed to get most of my listings to Top Seller status which I have ,

    Do I now need to remove one of these listing ?

    Thanks for any advice on this

  • Browolf
    2 years ago

    How can you tell if you’re being demoted for too similar listings?

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