Resolving eBay Status Problems

What to do if your account is suspended

by staff writer
- Mar 06, 2008

You never considered the possibility. After all, you have a high volume of positive feedback, a decent feedback rating, and you're quickly approaching Power Seller status. Then out of the blue one day, you get that dreaded notice from eBay: Your account has been suspended.

It's not the end of the world, although it might seem like it to some sellers.

Getting suspended means all your eBay activity stops cold, and your current listings are canceled. No bidding, buying, selling or leaving feedback. And registering new accounts to continue trading is not permitted. (Although the Web is full of suggestions for how to do so without being detected, it's a bad idea: If you get caught, you've just dug yourself a much deeper hole).

Not every seller whose account gets suspended will permanently lose their eBay privileges, but even a temporary disruption can mean the loss of a lot of revenue, and can quickly plunge a productive and profitable enterprise into the red.

A suspension notice can be appealed by contacting customer support through your My eBay page, though the appeals process can be painfully slow. If you simply must continue selling online, you may want to try launching your business on another auction or e-commerce platform. Chances are the traffic won't be as heavy as on eBay, but at least you'll have some money coming in temporarily—and a foot in the door to expand your business should you eventually be reinstated at eBay.

There are several reasons why eBay might suspend your account or block your listings. The major causes include:

  1. Nonpayment of fees
  2. Violations of eBay's rules and policies
  3. Suspicious activity

Of these, nonpayment is the simplest to understand and remedy. If you fall behind on your fees, eBay will send a notice to My Messages on your My eBay page. To automatically reinstate your account, you must pay the full account balance—including a monthly finance charge of up to 1.5 percent. You can pay using PayPal, a credit card, check or money order.

The most common cause of account suspension due to nonpayment is outdated or declined auto-payment. Often users switch checking accounts or cancel credit cards and forget they have those accounts linked to other accounts. You can update your auto-payment method here.

But before you do anything, make sure the suspension notice is really from eBay and not an e-mail spoof. If you received a suspension notice by e-mail, do not click on any links—and definitely don't provide any personal information. Go to eBay using your browser bookmark or by manually typing in the complete Web address, and check My Messages. If there's nothing there from eBay about suspension, you're being targeted by a scammer. The best way to deal with this kind of attack is to do nothing. Delete the phony suspension notice, and go on with your life.

If there's any question in your mind, or if paying off your balance doesn't restore your account status, contact eBay's customer support.


Another common trigger for account suspension is breaking the rules. It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the finer points of what is permissible on eBay and what is not. Ignorance of the law is no excuse (and it just seems to tick off the eBay powers-that-be that much more). Nor is the "everybody does it" defense going to score you any points. Yeah, 90 percent of auction pages illegally reproduce manufacturers' logos or product images, but that doesn't make it right. If you got caught, suck it up. If you're lucky, eBay will only cancel your listing. Should this happen, you may or may not get your listing fees credited back to you. Allow one billing cycle, then check your account status page to view any credits.

The more cooperative and forthcoming you are—hold the attitude, please—the more likely eBay will give you a fair shake

Repeat offenders run the risk of being banned altogether. eBay usually reserves this harshest of penalties for repeated serious violations, like copyright infringement or shill bidding, but it's not unheard of for first-time wrongdoers to get the boot.

If this happens to you, eBay will notify you by Registered U.S. Mail at the physical address on your eBay account, and will also put a notice in your My Messages bin on My eBay. The letter will usually explain how to go about getting back in eBay's good graces. If not, check in with customer support.

Suspicious activity

Your account might be suspended if eBay suspects your account has been hijacked or is linked to that of another suspended user. In the case of a hijacking, eBay will send you a request to change your password. They will not ask you to provide your password—that's a sure sign of a phishing scam.

Say you are suspected of having your account linked to another suspended user (i.e., you tried to cheat the system by opening a new account after being suspended). You can try pleading your case to eBay. Maybe it's an honest mistake on eBay's part and you're totally innocent. If you can provide reasonable evidence of this, and you haven't been dinged for any noncompliance in the past, you stand a good chance of winning this appeal.

You might find that your listings have been blocked if you listed items that are commonly counterfeited—even if what you are selling is the real thing. This doesn't spell automatic suspension, but your activity might be restricted until you've jumped through a few hoops.

One way is to become ID-verified. You can do this through PayPal for $5. Another is to raise your buyer satisfaction score by successfully completing other transactions, being diligent about accuracy and responsiveness to increase the likelihood buyers will leave you good feedback. eBay might require you to be registered for a certain amount of time before you are allowed to deal in certain items or volumes.

If your item is flagged as a possible counterfeit, you may be asked to provide proof that it is the genuine article, including producing documentation, serial numbers or photographs. It might be a pain in the neck, but if you're on the up and up, it makes sense to do what you can to preserve your reputation. The more cooperative and forthcoming you are—hold the attitude, please—the more likely eBay will give you a fair shake.

Getting reinstated

If you get the dreaded suspension notice, you can appeal by replying directly to the notice, or by contacting eBay customer support through your My eBay page.

To restore your account status, ask customer support to send you a Request for Reinstatement form. You will have to include both a copy of a current utility bill or credit card statement and a copy of your government-issued ID. Fax or mail the information to eBay, and give it a week or two for processing.

Once you are reinstated, you will be able to go back and leave feedback for transactions you completed within 30 days prior to your reinstatement.

About the Author

Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.

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