So, we’ve been talking about this for some time, but it seems that even in 2023 – eBay account suspensions are still rampant.
Did you have your eBay account suspended indefinitely in 2023?
Many of us have been there.
Our eBay business is growing, with sales going up month over month, only one day; we log in and are hit with this message.
The dreaded eBay account suspension notice. This would cause any eBay seller’s heart to fall straight to their stomach.
If you sell on eBay just to get rid of some items you may not need anymore, getting your eBay account suspended is less of a problem.
However, if you’re running a business, a suspended eBay account can lead to some serious cash flow and employee problems.
In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about account suspensions on eBay and what to do if your account has been suspended, and possibly get your eBay account reinstated.
Holds vs. restrictions vs. suspensions – What’s the difference?
Not all suspensions from eBay are the same.
Some are related to more minor issues, like expired payment information or late payments, while others are much more serious such as selling illegal merchandise.
Hold – Account holds are often placed on your account when your payment method information expires or you haven’t made a payment. eBay does this to protect themselves from losing money. Usually to resolve these and to remove your eBay account suspension, you just need to update your payment information or make a one time payment.
Restriction – Account restrictions are more severe than a hold and usually has to do with things like performance standards. If you don’t meet eBay’s selling standards (such as receiving a high transaction defect rate or low reviews), they may lower your position in search results or restrict you from selling certain items.
Suspension – An eBay account suspension is the most severe form of action that eBay will take against an account. Typically, this happens for the most extreme cases, like selling illegal merchandise on eBay, for example.
Why does eBay suspend seller accounts?
So, why does eBay suspend accounts, anyway?
Since eBay operates as a marketplace, it’s their job to make sure the community is safe from bad buyers and sellers.
If the platform is riddled with buyers and sellers looking to rip each other off or trick the system, this can hurt eBay’s reputation.
Ultimately, eBay wants to protect their brand, which means they’ll take action (in the form of account restrictions) against anyone who isn’t behaving within their listing guidelines.
Since this is ultimately case-by-case, there isn’t a full list of reasons for why eBay suspends accounts, but here are some of the most common ones.
1. Payment issues
eBay will place a hold on your account if you have one of the following issues:
- You fail to pay your eBay seller fees.
- You haven’t reimbursed eBay for a refund they made to the buyer.
- Your payment information is out of date.
How to resolve payment issues with eBay – Fix any payment issues you have on your account. Make sure you’re paying the required eBay fees for your seller account on time, reimburse eBay for any refunds given to your customers, and keep your payment information up to date and make sure you pay any outstanding fees.
2. Late shipping of orders
On eBay, late shipping can be a huge issue.
Many buyers check the estimated delivery date before making a purchase on eBay, so it’s important that you honor that.
If you say that an item will be delivered in 7 days, it better be delivered by then.
Shipping an item too slowly will result in poor seller metrics, which can lead to account suspension.
How to resolve late shipping issues with eBay – Ship your orders quickly. Ideally, you should ship your items immediately after you receive payment. If you want to go the extra mile, try and get the item to arrive to the buyer before you said it would.
3. Late (or no) tracking number uploads
Online shoppers are always eager to receive the items they paid for.
Think about it – how many times have you purchased something online only to check the shipping details just days later?
eBay knows this, so when you sell an item, eBay shares tracking details with buyers. Doing so quickly is essential in maintaining customer satisfaction within their marketplace.
If you fail to upload tracking info at all, eBay may assume that you don’t have the ability to properly manage your business, or you aren’t using a tracked shipping service.
Ultimately, failure to provide tracking information quickly can result in a bad buyer experience, which can lead to eBay suspended account.
How to resolve late tracking number issues with eBay – Upload your item tracking information as quickly as possible. Not only will this improve your seller metrics on eBay, but you also won’t be at risk of suspension.
4. Problem transactions
Problem transactions could be anything from small mistakes – such as damages during shipping – or much larger, more deceitful issues – like selling an item that was clearly used but marked as “new”.
This is an easy way to get your account suspended. Don’t overpromise on quality. In your product descriptions, describe the product as-is without any dishonest sales tactics.
It’s not just about making the sale; it’s about delivering on the expectation of the customer.
How to resolve problem transactions with eBay – Don’t lie in your listings. If you’re selling an item that’s been used and has some scratches, say so in your description. Describe the product as-is so the customer knows exactly what to expect and so that those expectations are met. Do you have existing listings where this is an issue? We suggest updating them immediately.
5. Failing to resolve buyer conflicts
If a customer has an issue with an item, you need to be ready to address it quickly.
This is why eBay has a seller resolution center.
When you receive a case in the customer resolution center, do what you can to resolve it. Even if you think the customer is being unreasonable.
It’s also a good idea to design your listings in ways that don’t result in more of these cases. Don’t add small print to your listing with terms that are specific to your business. eBay’s buyers are unlikely to pay attention because they expect a consistent experience within eBay’s ecosystem.
How to resolve buyer conflicts on eBay – Design your listings with the buyer in mind and avoid small print terms specific to your business. If a customer has an issue with a purchase, do what it takes to make them happy.
6. Sharing contact info or selling off of eBay
Selling off of eBay is a big no-no and will most definitely result in an account suspension.
Transaction fees from your sales when you start selling on eBay are how they make money. Even if a shopper makes a request to transact off of eBay, it’s against eBay’s terms. So don’t do it.
Additionally, you are only allowed to communicate with buyers via eBay’s messaging system. Sharing contact details via eBay messages will result in your account being restricted or suspended. eBay does this so they can look back at buyer/seller communications in case any issues arise later on. So Pro tip here, only communicate via eBay messages! eBay are quite adamant about this one.
How to resolve off-eBay selling and contact issues – Simple. Don’t transact or communicate with buyers outside of eBay.
Want to make sure you’re staying within the terms? Check out our jam packed resource on how to sell on eBay
7. Intellectual property theft
Profiting from others ideas or copyright material is forbidden on eBay.
This means that you aren’t allowed to use other seller’s photos or descriptions.
Not only that, but customers hate being lied to, so eBay prevents the sale of knock off or fake products.
How to resolve intellectual property issues on eBay – Don’t steal photos or descriptions from other sellers and don’t sell fake or knock-off products. Everything on your listing should be unique to you without any intent to deceive the customer.
8. Listing banned items
Listing items that are banned or restricted from being sold on eBay is an easy way to get your account suspended.
Additionally, for obvious reasons, you aren’t allowed to sell anything illegal on eBay.
How to resolve a banned item listing on eBay – Look through eBay’s restricted item list before listing an item to make sure you aren’t violating their terms.
How to un-suspend your eBay account – a step-by-step guide
So, even though you avoided the above activities (or, maybe not), eBay still went ahead and suspended your account.
The good news is that you can get your eBay account back by being honest and transparent about your business practices.
In looking for ways to un-suspend your eBay account, you might come across some services, websites, or tutorials on how to outsmart eBay.
I’ll cover the details of these later on for informational purposes, but if you’re serious about building a business on eBay, I recommend avoiding these at all costs.
What works much better, in almost all situations, is this…
1. Understand why your account got suspended
In order to recover from a suspension, it’s important to have a good understanding as to why you were suspended.
Most times, eBay will tell you why by sending you an email.
Unfortunately, this email can sometimes be vague; with language that says your account was suspended for things like “security concerns.”
If this is the case, think back on your actions.
Were you really selling honestly on eBay? What might you have done that could have been perceived by buyers as dishonest? Is there anything you’re doing that eBay might not like for whatever reason?
This might be why your account was suspended.
2. Follow eBay’s instructions
In the suspension email, eBay will usually tell you how you can go about reinstating your account.
They’ll also tell you, if applicable, the duration of your suspension.
This could be 7 days, 10 days, or 30 days. In worse cases, it could be indefinite with a complete loss of any selling privileges.
If your suspension is for a set period of time, all you can do is wait it out.
Even if you have a short suspension, don’t think this means you shouldn’t take it seriously. Look into why your account is suspended and work to resolve the issues by the time your account is reinstated so you don’t end up with a longer suspension later on – or worse – an indefinite suspension.
With an indefinite suspension, because these are meant to be permanent, you may need to wait up to a year before you can take action on it. More on this later.
The only times I don’t recommend waiting out the suspension period and instead calling eBay immediately is if one of the following applies to you:
- You genuinely got suspended for nothing and eBay made a mistake.
- You were the victim of a crime that lead to your suspension.
Remember, however, that there’s usually some kind of history on your account that leads up to a suspension. It isn’t usually a one-off occurrence that caused it.
In addition to giving you information on the duration of your suspension, eBay will also provide you with the steps necessary to get your account reinstated.
This can involve taking quizzes that ensures you understand the policies you may have violated, sending documents to verify your identity, etc.
Now, some guides will tell you not to follow eBay’s instructions, saying they’re just trying to get more information from you to build a case against you.
This isn’t so.
If you’re a legitimate business that’s honest about their practices, you have nothing to worry about.
Your goal should be to build a long-term, trusting relationship with eBay. The success of your business depends on it.
The best way to build trust with eBay when your account has been suspended is to follow their instructions to get it reinstated.
3. If eBay hasn’t reinstated your account, call them
So, you’ve completed all of the necessary tasks eBay has required of you, and have waited out the suspension period, but your account still hasn’t been lifted of its restrictions.
This is when you should call them.
Before you hop on the phone with them, have the following information available:
- Your eBay user ID
- The email address associated with your account.
- Your case reference number
- A copy of the email they sent about the suspension.
In addition to the above documents, you want to prepare your arguments. Do your homework. Review eBay’s policies that have to do with your unique situation so you can back up any claims you may need to make about your account.
Additionally, speak in a professional and calm tone. You want the person you’re speaking with to be on your side.
If you do end up with a bad rep that isn’t willing to help, hang up and call again so that you can speak with a new one.
When you’re ready to make the call, here’s eBay’s customer support number:
Remember, also, that it’s important to be honest about your situation.
Even if you were in the wrong, let them know that you’re aware of this and explain to them how you’ll take steps to ensure that it won’t happen again.
eBay suspension action plan summary
Here’s a summarized version of the 3 steps above:
- Understand why you got suspended.Think back on your actions, any alerts you may have received, and how you’ve been conducting business on eBay. Does it warrant a suspension? If not, you should have no problem convincing eBay to un-suspend your account.
- When you get suspended, eBay sends an email containing details about the suspension period and the necessary steps to un-suspend your account. Wait out the suspension, complete the necessary steps, and change your business practices to avoid future suspensions.If your suspension is indefinite, change your ways, wait a year, and contact eBay about being reinstated.
- If you completed the necessary steps outlined in eBay’s email and they still haven’t reinstated your account after the suspension period, call them if necessary and be ready with your account information and compelling arguments as to how you followed their instructions and terms. Be polite and honest about everything.
Important points about un-suspending your eBay account
- Carefully read any policy update emails from eBay to make sure you’re up to date on how their policy changes might affect your business. If necessary, adapt your business model to these changes. That’s the nature of ecommerce. You need to make sure you’re 100% compliant with eBay’s policies if you want to continue selling on their platform and avoid suspension.
- Avoid creating new eBay accounts to get around the suspension. It’s technically possible to outsmart eBay, but if your first account got suspended for violating their terms, it’s likely your new eBay account will get suspended as well. If eBay catches you doing this, they’ll permanently ban you from their platform. Don’t think of eBay as a platform that you are working against. Think of them as your business partner. They want you to do well – it’s how they make money.
Common questions about eBay account suspensions
Is an eBay suspension permanent?
In most cases, no.
If your account has been suspended, eBay will send you an email with the information regarding the suspension period and steps to take to reinstate your account.
Usually, the suspension period is a set timeframe of 7 days, 10 days, or 30 days.
In worse cases, the suspension is indefinite, meaning you lose all selling privileges. In almost all cases, you won’t be allowed back on eBay at all.
This usually happens when you’ve previously been suspended and haven’t changed your selling practices after the suspensions have been lifted, so it’s important to learn from your mistakes the first time it happens.
As mentioned above in the instructions about how to get out of a suspension, it’s best to wait it out, learn from and fix your mistakes, and follow any instructions eBay sent in the email about the suspension.
Can you sell on eBay again after an indefinite suspension?
An indefinite suspension means that you’ve lost all privileges to sell on eBay. This usually happens to sellers who are breaking the law, selling illegal or banned items, or haven’t changed their ways after being previously suspended.
If you’re selling on eBay using dishonest business practices, you should expect your account to eventually end up being suspended indefinitely.
Once you receive indefinite suspension, you have the following options:
- If you honestly did nothing wrong, you can contact eBay to have the suspension lifted, but indefinite suspensions are usually followed by trails of shorter ones, which means there’s probably something wrong with your business practices.
- If you did something wrong, they’ll probably tell you that your account can’t be reinstated. In this case, wait about a year, then contact eBay and pitch the new you, and they might reinstate your account for you if they’re convinced you’ve really changed and are eager to re-establish yourself with honest business practices that follow their guidelines.
So, can you sell on eBay again after an indefinite suspension?
Maybe, but you’ll likely have to adjust your business practices and wait more than a year before eBay will even think about allowing you back onto their marketplace.
If you were suspended for gaming the system, misusing multiple accounts, or buying abuse, you have a better chance at getting back on than if you were suspended for crime or trademark infringement.
Remember, eBay is all about creating an environment that keeps both buyers and sellers happy. They want a platform where both buyers and sellers can trust that it’s a good place to conduct business.
Can I open a new eBay account if mine has been suspended?
Yes, you can technically open a new eBay account after you’ve been suspended, but I don’t advise this. eBay has sophisticated systems in place to detect this kind of activity, and if caught, this will lead to indefinite suspension.
Practically speaking, opening a new account will only delay your suspension unless the issues you were previously suspended for are resolved.
If you go this route without fixing the issues that got you suspended in the first place, you’ll find yourself in an endless loop of opening new accounts until eBay catches you or suspends the new accounts for the same issues as before.
Because of this, it’s better to fix the problem rather than find a temporary solution.
However, if you wish to proceed (again, I do not advise this) you’ll need to do so under another name, new email address, new phone number, new address, and ideally, a new location so the IP address isn’t tracked.
For informational purposes only, here are a few options to accomplish this.
How to open a stealth account on eBay
Below are some quick tips to creating a stealth eBay account – however we have recently created a much more comprehensive guide. Check out our updated guide on how to create an eBay stealth account here.
Option A – Buy an eBay account online
There are services available online where you can buy aged eBay accounts that have high selling limits and 100% positive feedback. Many even have PayPal accounts attached in the same name.
If you go with this option, the real name will already have been registered, so your identity will remain anonymous to eBay.
To go stealth with this option, you’ll need to get a different IP address, work from a different computer, and take care of some other technical things that protect you from being identified.
Option B – Have a family member or close friend open an eBay account under their name
If they’re willing to, you can ask a family member or friend to open an eBay account on your behalf.
You’ll need to open a different LLC and follow the stealth practices listed above to remain anonymous to eBay
Does eBay suspend accounts with good seller metrics?
Having good seller metrics is important, but it won’t completely protect you from getting your account suspended.
The seller metrics are there as an indication of performance and to help eBay sellers keep track of this performance, not as a safeguard for policy violations.
If you violate eBay’s terms, you can bet a suspension will be placed on your account – regardless of how good your seller metrics are.
Some examples of policy violations, even from sellers with good metrics, include the following:
- Harassing buyers to change feedback.
- Calling eBay pretending to be the buyer.
- Not paying eBay’s fees.
- Selling fake or knock off products.
- Selling the same product through multiple eBay accounts.
Because these situations will hurt eBay’s reputation just as much as bad seller metrics, they’ll absolutely take action.
Even if you have good seller metrics, you need to have good business practices in place if you wish to avoid account suspension.
Will eBay warn a seller before suspending an account?
eBay does send warnings if your account is at risk of suspension, but they aren’t suspension warnings. They’re policy violation warnings.
They might send you alerts to address posting violations. For example, if you post a listing with copyright material, they might send you an alert about this rather than suspend your account for it.
These alerts should be considered important because eBay sees it as a violation of their terms, and if you continue violating eBay’s terms, they may simply suspend your account rather than continue to issue these warnings.
Why aren’t scammers suspended on eBay?
Sadly, fraud is indeed on the rise at eBay. People are selling illegally obtained items, not shipping the items that were purchased, stealing identities to create eBay accounts, and running multiple accounts to buy or sell more than they’re allowed to.
While eBay does what it can to suspend any sellers who are acting in violation of their terms, these people can be very skilled in covering their tracks. When they do get caught, they often have someone else taking their place, or they find a way to open a new account.
It’s not that eBay isn’t trying, it’s that these scammers are taking action behind the scenes in a way so that eBay has no way of tracking them until it’s too late.
How is your PayPal account affected if your eBay account is suspended?
UPDATE: Since writing this guide, eBay no longer uses PayPal as the payment processor of choice. Instead, they now use eBay Managed Payments which is a native integration with eBay, Payoneer, and your bank account to pay out and to manage fees.
eBay and PayPal became independent entities in 2015, but they still have a tight relationship.
Since some people think PayPal and eBay are the same company, PayPal often receives complaints from eBay sellers about their suspension problems.
Additionally, PayPal may suspend bad eBay sellers who are also using their services because they don’t want these sellers to hurt their reputation in a way that they may have done so to eBay.
These kinds of connections are the nature of our technical world. Soon, getting banned or suspended from one platform may send you to an Internet blacklist that keeps you from transacting on any ecommerce sites.