How to Get Sellers Banned From eBay
By Aaron Charles
Something as serious as getting a seller suspended or even banned from eBay is possible, although it might not be as easy you hope. EBay staff won't suspend a seller over simple misunderstandings, failure to respond to your emails or minor personal disputes between you and a seller. The only way a buyer can really contribute to banning a seller on eBay is to inform eBay staff of violations of eBay policies.
If you bought something from a seller and didn't receive it, got the wrong item or received an item drastically different than the item portrayed in the seller's description, you can dispute the transaction in eBay's Resolution Center (see Resources). The seller then has three days to respond and correct the matter. If he doesn't, then you can escalate the dispute to eBay's customer service team, who'll then review the case. If eBay finds the seller has a history of seller malpractice, eBay could suspend the seller.
You can also report a seller even if you haven't initiated a transaction with her. On an item's listing page, for example, if you see that the seller is offering a product which eBay prohibits, you can click the "Report item" link. Other listing violations include offers from the seller to finalize a transaction off of the eBay platform and listings that include profanity or other vulgar language. After you report the item, eBay staff will review the matter and take any action they deem necessary, which could ultimately lead to a ban.
Another possibility is that a seller is behaving in a way that violates eBay community rules, even if he or she isn't actively selling at the time. If a seller -- or any eBay member, for that matter -- is somehow publishing the personal contact information of another member, spamming eBay members, sending threatening emails to other members, or using profane and vulgar language anywhere on the eBay site, you can report the member. Do this by signing in to eBay, clicking "Contact Us," then the "Contact eBay" tab, and then "Report a member" in the "Account" section. If eBay finds that seller has violated policies numerous times, they will suspend the seller's account.
Note that sellers do have some power to avoid getting their accounts suspended, or even to reinstate their suspended accounts, even if they were in the wrong for a period of time. For instance, a seller can appeal his suspension to eBay customer service, and eBay staff might restore the account. So even if a seller is banned for awhile, the ban might not be permanent. That all depends on the seller righting any wrongs and cooperating with eBay. At the very least, though, you can filter out any seller's offerings in your eBay search results. Do this by clicking the "Advanced" link next to the search bar, and then, in the "Sellers" section, select "Exclude" and enter the seller's username.
Aaron Charles began writing about "pragmatic art" in 2006 for an online arts journal based in Minneapolis, Minn. After working for telecom giant Comcast and traveling to Oregon, he's written business and technology articles for both online and print publications, including Salon.com and "The Portland Upside."