What to Do When eBay Suspends Your Account

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Selling on eBay can be a hobby or a full-blown business. If you rely on eBay for income, it can be a devastating blow to have your account suspended. It is why it is very important to educate yourself and understand all of eBay's policies so you won't be suspended in the first place. But, in the event your eBay account is placed on hold, restricted, or suspended, there are specific steps you can take to try to have it reinstated. Notice the key word here is "try," because there is no guarantee that eBay will reinstate an account.

Holds vs. Restrictions vs. Suspensions

Not all suspensions from eBay are the same. Minor issues, such as expired methods of payment or late payments, are likely to result in your account being placed on hold, and your account can be reinstated as soon as you update your payment method or settle your unpaid bill.

Restrictions are more severe than holds and might be put in place if, for example, you don't meet minimum performance standards as a seller. For something like that, eBay might restrict you from selling certain items or lower your placement in search results. The only way to lift such a restriction is to meet eBay's standards.

Suspensions usually occur only in the most egregious cases. For example, selling illegal merchandise or engaging in hate speech is likely to get a seller suspended indefinitely.

Stay Calm and Get the Facts

The first step in attempting to be reinstated on eBay is to identify the problem. If you are new, ignorance is your best defense. You may not have known that using stock photos is not permitted, or that you aren't allowed to use the word Velcro in your title.

When you receive the notification email, stay calm and read the message carefully. eBay usually explains why an account has been suspended, and likely reasons include:

  • Not paying fees on time
  • Payment method is out of date (credit card expired)
  • Violation of a policy such as VeRO, which involves intellectual property rights
  • Listing an item that isn't allowed, such as a counterfeit handbag
  • Using photos that aren't allowed (stolen from another user, nonauthorized stock photos)
  • Offensive material (items including hate speech)
  • Recalled items
  • Drugs and drug paraphernalia
  • Hazardous materials, such as homemade weapons or explosives
  • Alcohol

Sometimes you don't know if an item isn't allowed since it is very difficult to know every single rule on eBay, especially if you are new. You may not know an item you have for sale has been recalled, or you may not know you can't use stock photos, like pictures of clothing from retail websites.

Fixing the problem may be as simple as removing listings that were recalled in a massive recall of items from a specific company. If it is an easy fix, eBay will explain exactly what you need to do to have your account reinstated.

Call eBay and Discuss

If you don't see any specific instructions on how to have your eBay account reinstated, don't make a new account. Instead, call them at 1-866-540-3229 and discuss. Explain that you received the suspension email and are very concerned. It may take talking to several people to get to the right person who can help you. A few tips for talking with eBay customer service representatives:

  • Gather the facts before you call: Make sure you have the following information before you call so you can easily answer any questions the CSR may have to find your account:
  • eBay user ID
  • Email associated with your eBay account
  • Date of the email
  • Reference number in the email (if applicable)
  • Print out of the email for easy reference
  • Remain calm: eBay CSRs are just regular people like you doing their job and have nothing against you personally. You should act as an investigator here, gathering the facts. Act in a calm, professional, and rational manner. The objective here is to get to someone who can and will help you.
  • Ask for a supervisor if needed: The CSR who answers your call may not know how to help you. If you haven't received an answer or acceptable assistance after 10 minutes of speaking to someone, politely ask for a supervisor. Someone more experienced may be needed to help you.

Knowledge of Policies

The best way to handle an eBay suspension is not to get one. Whether you are new to eBay or a seasoned seller, it is beneficial to read the eBay policies to educate yourself on the rules. eBay is an ever-changing universe, and rules change from time to time, so new policies can sneak up on you. Always read email updates from eBay, and check your eBay messages frequently for updates and announcements.