Having your eBay account suspended can be a major setback, especially if you rely on the online marketplace for income.
It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with eBay’s policies to avoid account suspension in the first place. But because these policies are extensive and always changing, even the most conscientious eBay seller can make a mistake that leads to an account hold, restriction, or even suspension.
If your eBay account has been suspended, it’s often only temporary. Here’s what to do to get your account reinstated, as well as some advice to keep the income flowing during your suspension period.
What Happens When eBay Suspends Your Account
If your account is suspended and you have existing listings, you won’t be able to edit them. Bidders will be able to retract any bids they’ve made, and you can’t contact bidders or reply to any questions you receive via eBay Messages until your account is reinstated. Depending on why your account was suspended, eBay may also end your listings early, or, if you’ve committed a policy violation, remove your listings.
When eBay places a hold, restriction, or suspension on your account, you’ll receive an email informing you of the action that’s been taken against your account.
Holds may be placed on your account for minor issues, such as an expired payment method, and your eBay account will be back in working order as soon as you correct the problem.
Restrictions are a bit more severe and are placed on accounts that aren’t meeting eBay standards. They can result in sellers’ listings being lowered in search results, as well as sellers being restricted from selling certain items or selling on eBay at all.
Suspensions are the most serious penalty, preventing eBay users from bidding, buying, selling, or leaving feedback until the suspension is lifted. eBay actually suspends accounts for more egregious issues, such as if they’re selling illegal merchandise or they’ve been flagged for suspicious activity.
Why Does eBay Suspend Accounts?
eBay suspends accounts to protect their customers and their own reputation. It also helps ensure your reputation as a seller. Just as you must protect your brand and ensure a positive eBay seller reputation in order to buy and sell on the platform, eBay must protect its own brand in order to continue doing business.
When an eBay user violates policies, is involved in a string of customer complaints, or engages in illegal activity, it reflects poorly not only on the user but also on eBay itself. And if eBay’s customers don’t trust the marketplace to protect them, they may cease buying and selling on eBay altogether.
That’s why when eBay becomes aware of an issue with a user, it may place a hold, restriction, or suspension on the account. While there are a variety of reasons eBay does this, here are some of the most common:
- Nonpayment of eBay fees
- Payment method on file out of date
- Failure to reimburse eBay for a refund it made to your buyer
- eBay unable to verify your account information
- Violation of one of eBay’s rules and policies, including the following:
- Using stock images or manufacturers’ photos in your listings
- Selling prohibited items, such as alcohol
- Selling items that infringe upon someone’s intellectual property
- Shipping orders late or uploading tracking information late
- High transaction defect rate, or the percentage of your transactions that have one or more defects
- Low case-resolve rate in eBay’s Resolution Center
Look Out for Fake Suspension Notices
You may receive fake eBay suspension notices or phishing emails, so before you contact eBay or attempt to make any changes to your account or listings, first ensure that the suspension notice you received is legitimate.
To confirm that an email was sent from eBay, check your eBay Messages. If a copy of the notice isn’t in your eBay Messages as well, then the email you received wasn’t sent by eBay.
Learn how to recognize suspicious emails and how to report them to eBay here.
How to Get a Suspended eBay Account Reinstated
When your eBay account has been suspended, the steps you must take to get it reinstated depend on the reason why eBay suspended your account in the first place. eBay will email you when this occurs, explaining the reason for the suspension and the steps to take to resolve the issue, which may be as simple as making a payment or updating your listings.
For example, the most common reason eBay accounts are temporarily suspended is for being delinquent on seller fees, but this suspension will be lifted as soon as you make your payment. To do this, click “My eBay” at the top right of the eBay website.
Select “Account,” as illustrated in the screenshot below.
Next, choose “Seller Account” to view your outstanding fees.
From here, click to make a one-time payment using your PayPal account or another payment method.
Once these fees have been paid, eBay typically reinstates accounts, allowing you to bid, buy, sell, and leave feedback again, within a matter of minutes.
While eBay will explain, via email, exactly what you must do to get your account up and running again, here’s some general information on three steps you can take when eBay suspends your account.
1. Fix the Problem.
The very first thing to do when eBay notifies you of your account suspension is carefully read the message to determine your next steps.
For example, if eBay has suspended your account because you violated a policy by using copyrighted photos in your listings, such as images taken directly from the product manufacturer’s website. eBay will outline exactly how to rectify the problem, which may include deleting your listings or simply editing them to remove the copyrighted photos.
Another common reason for suspension is a verified rights owner, or VeRO, issue. eBay’s VeRO program permits owners of intellectual property rights to report eBay listings that infringe upon the owners’ rights. In these cases, eBay will often remove your listing and notify you, as well as provide information on how to contact the rights owner for further information. This gives you the opportunity to reach out to the rights owner and perhaps make an agreement with them to allow you to sell the item on eBay.
However, if you don’t reach an agreement with the rights owner, a VeRO issue may mean you’ll have to delete or edit your listings to be in compliance with eBay’s policies.
Once you’ve either deleted or edited the problem listings or struck an agreement with the rights owner, contact eBay and communicate that you’ve dealt with the VeRO issue and get your account reinstated.
2. Contact eBay.
If you think your account has been suspended by mistake, you don’t receive instructions on how to reinstate your account, or you’re not sure how to proceed, contact eBay directly for assistance.
You can contact eBay by phone at 1-866-540-3229, or you can arrange to have eBay call you. However, you can speak with an eBay representative only Monday through Sunday between the hours of 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. Pacific Time.
Before you call, gather all the information you may need to provide to the customer service representative, including your eBay user ID, the email address associated with your account, and the reference number in the suspension email you received.
During your call, ask any questions you need in order to understand why your account was suspended. Provide explanations for what went wrong, and explain the steps you’ll take to rectify the problem. eBay prioritizes customer satisfaction, so be polite and professional, and emphasize how the changes you’ll make will not only abide by eBay’s policies but also focus on your customers.
If you’re an eBay store subscriber at the Anchor or Enterprise level, you’ll have an even easier time getting in touch with an eBay representative because you have dedicated customer support by phone or email anytime.
3. Wait it Out.
While you can certainly contact eBay, in some instances you may simply have to wait out your suspension period.
If your eBay account has been suspended indefinitely — which happens only in severe cases or after multiple violations — eBay consultant Mordechai Epelbaum suggests waiting a year before contacting eBay about the possibility of reinstating your account.
“eBay threw you off their system. They are not playing games,” Epelbaum writes. “They’re not saying that if you call them and hassle them, they might change their mind. They have already resolved to never do business with you again. But, after a year, you might actually have a chance at reinstatement.”
Should You Open a Stealth eBay Account?
While it may be tempting, opening a stealth eBay account isn’t a good idea, especially if you want to establish a business on eBay and sell on the platform for the long term.
When eBay accounts are suspended, some sellers opt to open or purchase a stealth account — another eBay account that’s unconnected to the seller’s initial one — from a third party. This provides the seller with another way to sell on eBay during their suspension because the stealth account isn’t associated with the seller’s name, address, IP address, or banking information.
But using a stealth account isn’t necessarily an easy fix for your suspension, for the following reasons:
- It doesn’t address the issue with your original eBay account. If you fail to follow eBay’s instructions on how to reinstate your account, your original account may be suspended indefinitely.
- Your new account could be suspended as well. It’s not uncommon for sellers using stealth accounts to run into the same issues or repeat the same problem that got them suspended in the first place. Setting up or purchasing a stealth account without making necessary changes to abide by eBay’s policies could simply result in another suspension.
- You’ll have to acquire feedback and build your seller reputation all over again. Establishing and maintaining a positive seller reputation is important on eBay because it helps you establish trust among buyers. But if you start selling on a new eBay account, you won’t have received any feedback from other buyers and sellers, making it less likely a shopper will purchase from you.
- eBay could catch you using a stealth account. Using a stealth account to get around a suspension could lead to a more severe restriction, including a permanent ban from the marketplace.
Sell Elsewhere in the Meantime
Your eBay account may be suspended only temporarily, but during this period, consider selling your products elsewhere. You’ll keep income flowing during your suspension, and you may discover new marketplaces to continue selling in.
There’s no shortage of online marketplaces for ecommerce businesses to sell their products, but each is unique in its own way. So do your research, look at what features each marketplace offers, and consider both your ecommerce goals and your budget.
Here are a few marketplaces to consider expanding into since you’re already selling on eBay:
- Amazon: As one of the largest online marketplaces in the world, Amazon is understandably a popular choice for sellers. The ecommerce giant is responsible for 49% of all retail spend in the United States, and small and medium-sized businesses sell more than 4,000 items per minute on Amazon. However, Amazon’s seller fees are very different from eBay’s, so familiarize yourself with them before you start selling, and consider the pros and cons of selling on both eBay and Amazon covered in this article.
- Walmart: Nearly 93% of the products available on Walmart.com are part of Walmart Marketplace, which allows third-party sellers to sell their items and reach the retail giant’s millions of customers worldwide. And Walmart is a popular choice for eBay sellers. In fact, 65% of sellers use both eBay and Walmart to sell their products. Learn how to get started selling on Walmart here.
- Jet: While it’s a smaller marketplace than Amazon or Walmart, Jet.com has its appeal. Because of the marketplace’s size, getting exposure for your products can be easier because you’re not competing against millions of other sellers. Also, Jet has a repeat-buyer rate of 23%, which is higher than both eBay and Amazon. Here’s what to consider before you start selling on Jet.
If you’re going to be selling products across multiple marketplaces, consider using Sellbrite to stay organized, track inventory across channels, and improve efficiency by creating reusable listing templates, as illustrated above.
Suspension Isn’t the End of Your Ecommerce Sales
When eBay places a hold, restriction, or suspension on your account, there’s often an easy fix. You may simply have to verify your information or update your payment method with just a few clicks to be back buying and selling on eBay.
However, eBay suspensions due to more egregious violations will take more time and additional steps to fix. To get your account reinstated, you may have to make changes to how or what you sell, and often you’ll simply have to wait out the suspension period.
But even though you can’t sell on eBay, that doesn’t mean you can’t sell in other online marketplaces, and Sellbrite makes it easy to connect to various marketplaces and manage your inventory from one location.