If you’re a small business owner selling successfully on eBay, one of your biggest nightmares is likely having your seller account suspended.
eBay is one of the largest online marketplaces and getting suspended can be potentially devastating for your business. Luckily, there’s something you can do.
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Here’s the low down on why seller accounts get suspended, and more importantly, what you can do about it.
3 Types of eBay Suspensions
First of all, figure out why your eBay seller account was suspended. Some reasons are more serious than others. If your account got a violation for late or expired payments, it’s quick and easy to fix. Other violations require more work or may even be irreparable. The three levels are:
Hold — This is the lightest and easiest violation to recover from. Basically, you need to either release payment or enter new payment information on your account. Once that happens, your account should be released and ready to use immediately. eBay places these holds on accounts to safeguard themselves.
Restriction — Restrictions is the medium level of violation and usually applies to sellers who don’t fulfill performance standards. If eBay suspects you of manipulating your search ranking, you’re likely to get a restriction. They also use it to discourage the sale of certain items.
Suspension — This level is for serious violations only. Unlike other violations, you can’t bid, sell products, message bidders, or leave feedback. If you can prove the suspension was made in error, your account may be reinstated. However, your eBay seller account will be permanently suspended if you do not lift the suspension.
Why Was My eBay Account Suspended?
1. Unresolved cases in the Resolution Center While dealing with angry or disappointed customers isn’t fun, you do need to reply and resolve any issues in a timely manner. If you see the same complaints appearing again and again, try to adjust to improve the customer experience — or at least explain the issue better in your listing.
2. Counterfeit / low-quality / stolen products: Are you selling counterfeit or low-quality products? This is an automatic suspension that is very difficult if not impossible to recover from. There are also some items that are prohibited and restricted, these vary by region so it’s wise to review the policy before adding new products.
3. Delayed or slow shipping: In this day and age, customers expect nearly instant satisfaction. If they order a product online, they expect to see it’s shipped and be able to track it within 24 hours. If not, they will start to complain. If you need more shipping time, make it clear on your listing — but also be aware that many customers do not read all the details when placing an order. Work to reduce your shipping delays.
4. Duplicate items from two accounts: There might be a perfectly innocent reason that you’re wanting to sell the same item from two different eBay accounts. However, eBay will suspend your account immediately if they catch you — better not even try.
5. Misleading product descriptions: This one is a little less black and white, but if eBay starts to see multiple complaints, they’re likely to take the buyer’s side. Better to write honest descriptions and take high-quality photos so there are no surprises when the buyer receives the shipment from you. If you’re receiving similar complaints, address it in your description so buyers aren’t disappointed when their product arrives.
How to Recover Your Suspended eBay Account
While hearing that your seller account has been suspended can be scary, there are steps you can take to reinstate it. The likelihood of getting it reinstated depends largely on the type of violation. If it was an honest mistake, don’t lie. Explain the situation as best you can and be realistic about your plans to fix the problem going forward.
If your suspension is based on blatantly illegal activity — using a fake identity, selling counterfeit products or not fulfilling orders, your chances of getting your seller’s account reinstated are much lower.
In any case, try to deal with the root of the suspension. Setting up a stealth account and continuing to sell might sound appealing but it does nothing to address the issues with your business model.
1. Wait out a short suspension
If you’ve received a short suspension (ranging from a few days to 2-3 weeks) the easiest way to deal with it is just to wait it out. Take the time to figure out how to improve your business practices — don’t just jump in with business as usual when your seller account is reinstated.
If you continue to rack up short suspensions and don’t change your business practices, you’ll soon be facing an indefinite suspension.
Indefinite suspensions can be appealed but you should wait a minimum of a year and have a strong plan of action when you do reattempt it.
2. Clarify Errors
If you truly feel eBay made the suspension in error, contact eBay immediately to explain the situation. eBay usually makes suspensions based on your entire account history rather than one time events.
Even if you can argue that your suspension was based on false information, it’s worth re-examining eBay’s seller policies and seeing if you can pull your business better inline with them.
3. Use Customer Support
While you’re probably upset, remain calm and professional. eBay uses suspensions to protect its marketplace from unscrupulous players. Being flustered or angry on the phone will not help your case. If you’re at the Enterprise or Anchor level, get your dedicated customer support involved.
Have your suspension email handy and ask customer service for an explanation or further details if you’re confused about their decision to suspend you.
To get reinstated, it’s important first to explain the facts, don’t embellish or make yourself look like the victim. Explain what happened and where it went wrong. This might be painful or embarrassing but it’s important that you acknowledge the problem.
The next step is to explain how you resolved the problem in this instance. If it was a customer complaint, how did you rectify it?
Finally, what’s your plan to fix the problem in general? Will you write better product descriptions or get your warehouse to fulfill orders more quickly? Don’t overpromise anything that you can’t or don’t plan to actually implement.
Get advice on how to get back to selling once your account is reinstated. Will you need to update your listings or manage orders differently?
Whatever you do, take their input seriously. Don’t forget to actually implement these changes when your account is reinstated.
In short, your best chance to reinstate a suspended eBay account is either wait out the suspension or present customer service a compelling case on how you will improve your business practices and customer service. (Then actually do it!)
If you want to refurbish your seller reputation show them why they should trust you. Don’t give vague promises but concrete, actionable steps you will be able to implement. Work through your entire process from product listings to order fulfillment, customer service, and returns so you can become a better eBay seller.