Guilty Until Proven Innocent? Only in the eBay World

eBay is a world into and of itself.  It may be based in the United States of America, but in the country that I reside, one is innocent until proven guilty.  Not so in eBay’s world.

Recently we listed a boxed DVD set for a client.  It was a fitness set and as many of us know, although we have great intentions when we buy various exercise equipment and DVDs, they often get shelved after limited use.  Many of us are familiar with the use of Nordic machines as clothes hangars…

Well, this particular DVD set was legitimate – not a phony Chinese import and copied discs.  It was the real deal.  Nowhere on the box did it say that there was any prohibition from re-selling this set.  We’ve been selling Media on Amazon for over 6 years and after selling tens of thousands of CDs, VHS and DVDs, this particular set looked innocent enough.  In fact, the same set was selling on eBay and had sold over the past couple of weeks.

We were very surprised to wake up the morning after the listing went live to find out that not only had the listing been removed, but that eBay had put a 7 day restriction on our account for “violating the property rights” of this DVD set!

I immediately put in my call to eBay, only to find out that I had committed this most vile action – that it was my responsibility to find out that the selling of this DVD was not permitted.  What?  I asked this eBay customer service representative if she was kidding (I should have known better – they don’t kid).  I asked her how I was supposed to know that I couldn’t list something that was already being sold on eBay.  I asked how with a 99.9% positive feedback score and a Power Seller status, that eBay could put me out of business for doing something I didn’t know was wrong? Well, I might as well have been speaking a long lost language.   When I facetiously asked this rep what I was supposed to do now that they put me out of business for a week, maybe I should work at McDonald’s, I suggested – she actually responded “if that is what you need to do”.  Unbelievable.

I was told that if I could prove my innocence to eBay, that they would reinstate my account.  To do this, I would have to contact the property rights owner and ask their permission to sell their precious DVD set.  They even gave me an email to write to.  This email was bogus.  I asked them for the name of the person who reported me and I was given a first name only.

I put my “Detective” hat on and was determined to vindicate my good eBay name!  I looked up the company that produced the DVD set and found their web site.  I tried to email them through their contact page – useless.  I tried calling them, and after pushing many buttons, got a message that there was no human available.  I found out the name eBay gave me was the first name of the company’s CEO – so I Googled him and found him on Twitter.

What a strange world, this Twitter.  I opened an account, but as my daughter was quick to point out,  unless this fellow was “following” me, I couldn’t write to him directly.  So I decided to follow him.  I tried replying to another Twitter of his and after two attempts, he actually Twittered me directly.  He apologized and told me that the violation was an error on their part and gave me an email to write to directly.  I tried to thank him, but alas, he wasn’t following me, so I couldn’t.  Oh well.

I immediately wrote to the email he supplied and got an answer back within an hour.  I was told that the company would write to eBay and apologize for the error of their ways and ask that the violation against my account be removed and my listing re-instated.  And they did.  However, it was a Saturday night and when I got a copy of the email they sent to eBay and called eBay, I was told it would take at least 24 hours to re-instate my account.  Funny, they can close you down in a split second, but need 24 hours to re-instate you.

So I waited until Sunday and called again.  I got a very helpful fellow who assured me he would try to get me going ASAP.  Six hours later, I called again.  This time I was told it could take up to 7 days to take the restriction off my account.  I hung up.

Monday morning, I awoke to find my account alive once more.  One more day and I would have been good to go, but at least I got the violation off my account.

You think the story is over?  I wish.

I re-listed the sinister DVD set on Monday night and just to make sure I would not be in any more trouble, called eBay so that they would put a note on my account to let the eBay police know I was an honest citizen. I was told that if the rights owner came after me again for any reason, I would be put back in jail (my terminology, not theirs).  I told them it was a computer generated program from the rights owner that took down my listing and was afraid it could happen again.  Well, they didn’t care.  So I took the listing down myself and contacted the company.  They responded pretty quickly and told me that my name was added to the “do not punish” list, but hey, this is my business, and I didn’t want to go through all this again – so my client will get her DVD set back.  Maybe she’ll start exercising again.

Anybody have any similar trouble with the eBay police?

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Published in: on May 2, 2010 at 6:44 am  Leave a Comment  

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