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eBay Emergency Listing Restrictions for price gouging consumer sellers

By Chris Dawson March 24, 2020 - 3:46 pm

From today, eBay UK is widening the eBay Emergency Listing Restrictions policy to include banning consumer sellers from listing toilet roll, baby formula, nappies, baby wipes and tampons on the site. Business sellers will still be allowed to list these products at reasonable prices.

It’s not often a consumer seller decides that they have so much toilet roll they’ll never get through it all and it’s a great idea to sell it online. Frankly, the only reason consumer sellers would be listing things like toilet roll would be if they stock piled at the supermarket and if they’re expecting to make a quick buck from the current Coronavirus emergency they’ll have to rethink their ideas. If that’s you, consider donating it to the elderly in your street for free.

eBay announced on Friday it was heavily restricting the sale of all masks and hand sanitiser products from its platform, with only a whitelist of closely vetted eBay sellers permitted to continue trading these items at appropriate prices under the eBay Emergency Listing Restrictions policy. Sellers attempting to sell these items not on that list were warned they would find their listings blocked or removed and their account suspended.

New and additional measures are continually being introduced, and eBay’s monitoring and enforcement team was recently more than doubled in size. To date, eBay has removed nearly half a million items relating to coronavirus and has suspended hundreds of seller accounts.

The broadening of eBay’s policy on restricted categories marks an increasingly aggressive stance in tackling price gouging.

“We do not tolerate price gouging on eBay. For almost two months we have been introducing increasingly tougher measures to tackle this deplorable practice and will continue to suspend the accounts of those who try to exploit other users. The team that is monitoring and enforcing our policies has been more than doubled and we will continue to implement our zero-tolerance stance.
 
eBay is a marketplace that depends on our seller community, so we hope that these measures will deter the instances of poor behaviour we have seen. However, we will continue to review our policies in this area, and if necessary, will take even further action to ensure customers only see fairly priced items.
 
The wellbeing of our users in the UK has always and will always be eBay’s priority, and we are absolutely dedicated to ensuring everyone can find the products they need at reasonable prices during this difficult time.”

– Rob Hattrell, Vice-President, eBay UK

eBay Emergency Listing Restrictions policy activity to date

Following the outbreak of coronavirus, eBay had started to see a small but growing number of sellers attempting to exploit other users by listing in-demand products at unreasonably inflated prices – an activity known as ‘price gouging’. eBay has zero-tolerance for this type of behaviour and, like governments and business around the world, has adapted and evolved its policies as the coronavirus pandemic has developed. Since the outbreak, eBay has continuously updated its measures in line with the evolving guidelines from regulatory authorities and governments. eBay is also continuing to support government authorities with their investigations against non-compliant sellers.

Since the end of February, eBay has had block filter algorithms in place and a global security team working around the clock to remove listings and take enforcement action against unscrupulous sellers who persist in attempting to circumvent eBay filters. While the vast majority of non-compliant listings are blocked from appearing on eBay, a small minority are not. Due to the current unprecedented volumes, there may be some delay in items appearing on the site and being manually removed.

eBay is an open marketplace with 1.3 billion listings live at any given time. For over 24 years, it has remained a popular platform for millions of people around the world to trade items – and the overwhelming majority of sellers do not attempt to exploit other users. For example, recent analysis of relevant protection masks sold on eBay shows that 95% were bought at reasonable prices.

  • Dave
    7 months ago

    I have tried their new reporting, 16 hours later the items are still online for sale. It is not in eBay’s interest to take items off and miss out on those huge overinflated price-gouged fees. So they put up this smoke and mirrors statement, we care etc, but then do nothing with the reports……either that or the 1 person they have dedicated to it is overworked. They are saying what they “have” to say sadly, an eBay trait!

  • Mary McManimon
    7 months ago

    I was just on ebay and it suddenly became clear why there is no toilet paper or hand sanitizer available. People are stockpiling the necessities and selling them for inflated prices (ie $24.90 for a single roll of toilet paper) trying to make a profit from a worldwide pandemic. People are dying, losing their income, businesses etc. and some people think it’s ok to profit from that suffer. I didn’t even look at the baby formula isle. Some people are stepping up and sacrificing to help their fellow human beings and others are stopping to an all time low. Please stop this disgusting behavior.

  • Chris Ayling
    7 months ago

    It has now spread to virtually all food stuffs including pet supplies. Anything other than fresh foods. Traders who have never dealt with any such goods are doing it as well as private sellers who are getting their quotas at each supermarket. Ebay are the single main facilitator of the universal shortages. They have no intention of restricting the sales.

  • Jayne Dashfield
    7 months ago

    I am disgusted
    I have brought and sold on eBay for around 15 years. I have sold a lot of items that have been hand made (fabric items) as I am a seamstress. I was asked at home to make a couple of fabric masks people liked them so I decided to put them on eBay I charged 5.50 originally but had my items removed (price gouging) I relisted for £4 and offered free postage. Take materials out and add on for a filter that I put in and the 88p postage cost plus the cost of bag ect to post the item in on and I’ve forgotten around 25 mins per mask to make I was never going to make a fortune. But on dear after trying to give buyers an item that they wanted I had my listing taken down for price gouging. When I looked into this there were sellers on there selling masks for £11 and they are still on there. Oh well yet again in life it’s just little old me did you know that I could report other sellers for this, is that not unscrupulous buyers can see other people with masks as good if not better than there’s and just get rid of them——-I am not that sort of person.

    • 7 months ago

      Hi Jayne,

      I totally understand how you feel I am in the same boat selling in ebay Since 2005 with 100% feedback history. I price my handmade face mask at £4.99 which eBay trending price guide was stated at £10.10. Whereas other people selling poor made products are selling at alot higher price is still getting away with it.
      I spoke to eBay it just seems good sellers like us which provide the public with a good product they don’t care.
      I was advised someone report my item and again I think this is total jealously as my product had been total research and modify to provide a quality high end product than the vast majority or rubbish still been sold.
      I only offer to sell my mask as many people contacted me due to the crisis we have atm.
      Again the cost I am charging in nothing considering for time and materials.
      Just totally gutted as eBay does not even allow you to appeal.
      Also I see Ebay have not comment but just to let you feel you are not the only one in this boat. Makes me feel better off selling elsewhere if our loyalty and 100% for 15years isn’t appreciated.

  • Michael
    7 months ago

    This is bullschiff,
    Stockpiling from a walk in store is not the only way people can have extra toilet paper.
    It doesn’t take hording TP to have some for resale.
    There are others out there like me that are 100% disabled, have been confined to bed for the past several years & have no way of shopping but from online. If we spend 10-20 hours refreshing a page on amazon until we find some toilet paper for sale that we can buy a box of before it is ll purchased & do that several times since we are stuck at home FOREVER, then we can expect to be able to make a couple dollars by opening a box of 3 or 4, 6 packs & selling them at or bellow the price that we paid for the box. After eBay & PayPal take their 12.9%+ (on the full price including shipping costs) & PP takes an additional $0.30 per sale as well as taking a refund fee when people might cancel for any reason, listing A 6 pack of TP for less than a 3 or 4 count box might net the seller $3-$6 for the 6 pack if they are lucky. Florida Law states that TP can not be sold at a gross or unconscionable price & that is with allowing for the cost of purchase, shipping & sales expenses. The law doesn’t say that we can not make money on the sale & those that are getting suspended from eBay, for selling at reasonable prices with calculated shipping(priced according to you zip code by eBay & USPS)with only a $1 or $2 handling when the boxes that you use to ship in can cost $2.61/ea or more, should be able to receie compensation, damages & every thing else that can be brought against eBay for their Communistic practices.

    And those of you complaining to eBay about all the sales that are listed by sellers that look to high because you want to by that TP from people & have them sell at a loss or not sell at all, should be ashamed of yourselves. When those sellers went through so much difficulty to purchase some TP to sell in smaller portions so more people that are looking can have a chance to get some, you expect them to not just do it at the price that a store would sell it but to take a loss as well is Communistic practices & anathema to the American way.
    Most of you complaining are the same nitwits that are insisting on a greatly increased minimum wage, while you are schiffing on us that live on a fixed income of under $930 a month & are making no were near even $1 an hour for the time we have put in trying to purchase this product online & reselling it.
    Whats worse is that the purchase was made before there was a State of Emergency but you expect us to take a loss or not sell it at all.
    Go Fig yourselves.

  • 7 months ago

    Our listing for Hand sanitiser has been removed, despite it being priced fairly.

    On contacting eBay they say that we are not on their white list and there in no right of appeal!

    We are still less expensive than most other listings despite our products being Swiss made and not cheap to start with.

    Eday are preventing their customers from buying a good quality product at a reasonable price.

    What are we supposed to do?

    Email from one satisfied customer (There are others).
    “Hi

    Thank you so much for letting me know you have the maxolen g400 disinfectant back in stock. I have managed to purchase some for my elderly parents & myself. Such a relief for us during these times. The g400 disinfectant really feels like a solid quality product at a great price and you haven’t increased the price like most have during a pandemic.
    It is good business and appreciated.

    Take care of yourself

    Many Thanks”

    • Nick
      7 months ago

      There’s obviously a shortage, and if you cant sell it then it’s not doing anyone any good just been kept in your store room.

      Have you considered donating it within your local community?

  • 7 months ago

    Nick,
    Not very constructive, we cannot afford to give products away, perhaps you could buy a load and give it away to your local community.

  • Joe
    7 months ago

    If eBay are really serious about price gouging why has the report an item for this reason been removed.

    It’s now impossible!

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