4: eBay Seller Policies Everyone Should Know

4: eBay Seller Policies Everyone Should Know


This is part four in an informational series on eBay. We’ll cover everything from becoming a seller, listing your first product, daily deal sellers, PowerSellers, improving your feedback ratings, and more! Today’s topic: eBay seller policies to be aware of.

To make the most out of being an eBay PowerSeller, learn the intricacies of eBay’s Seller Policies. Knowing these policies helps protect a seller from their business being impaired or even shut down by eBay. Policy breaking can result in a suspended account, which is prevented from bidding, selling, and leaving feedback. You can’t circumvent this by making a new account because eBay will suspend that too when they discover it’s you again. If you live in a household with others, their accounts may be suspended as well. Their accounts will be reinstated if you successfully appeal the suspension of your own account.

Accepted Payment Methods

Asking for payment methods outside of eBay’s list of accepted methods can lead to limitations on buying/selling, or even a full suspension of your eBay account. Paypal, ProPay, and Skrill are some recommended methods. Bank-to-bank transfers, checks, money orders, and other online payment methods are allowed in specific categories. A full list of categories is available on the eBay Policy page, but generally they pertain to automobile sales and commercial business services.

Shill Bidding

Shill bidding is fraudulent bidding on an item by friends, family, or online contacts. These bids artificially inflate the price of an item, allowing the seller to make more money. The item’s desirability also increases and it becomes more prevalent in search results. Shill bidding also encompasses bids that take place to raise the seller’s feedback. Shill bidding is illegal in certain jurisdictions and can carry harsh legal penalties in addition to eBay’s actions.

Search Manipulation

Using unorthodox tactics to make an item appear higher in search results is against eBay policies. Sellers must provide accurate, honest listings for their items to avoid conflicts with buyers. Misleading information about items can lead to limits on your account. eBay regularly removes listings placed in the wrong category or that employ keyword-stuffing tactics. Multiple listings for identical items at a fixed price also burdens search results and might also lead to removal. This particular rule does not apply to auction-style listings.

Prohibited Items

eBay maintains an extensive list of prohibited items. The list is quite long, so it’s best to double check to make sure your sale items don’t fall under it. Prohibited items range from uncleaned, used clothing to firearms and other weapons, including pepper spray. Even some gift cards, plants, and stamps are forbidden. The company doesn’t ban these items willy-nilly either. They generally give a thorough explanation for each ban.

Listing Contracts

It’s becoming increasingly common to include fine print on listings. For example, a listing might say that when the item is purchased, it is not eligible for resale. eBay takes no part in making these contracts binding, and if disputes arise they will take no side or mediate the conflict. Contracts are only upheld by the seller and buyer. If either violates a contract, the other can only enforce it by speaking to a lawyer and taking it to civil court, not eBay.


Following eBay policy helps sellers and buyers foster a safe community. Furthermore, an account suspension can affect those living with you, which is hardly fair to roommates and spouses. Depending on the seriousness of policy breach, it is sometimes difficult to get an account reinstated. Avoid that struggle by brushing up on eBay policy and protecting yourself.

This has been part four in an informational series on eBay! If you enjoyed it, consider checking out:

Part 1: How to start selling on eBay
Part 2: How to optimize your eBay listings
Part 3: How to become a Daily Deal seller on eBay
Part 5: Hardships in being an eBay seller

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