Suit Slams eBay's Registration Process

Woman says policy discriminates against disabled people.

by staff writer
- Mar 17, 2010

A Missouri woman says eBay's seller-registration process violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and is suing the auction site as a result.

The plaintiff, Melissa Earll, says eBay's current registration process discriminates against people with hearing impediments and is seeking to change the procedure. Earll, who is deaf, filed the class-action lawsuit on Tuesday after being unable to register as an eBay seller since 2008—despite repeated attempts—because eBay requires potential sellers to verify their identities via phone calls.

During these calls, potential sellers receive a PIN, which they must later enter on the site to finish the registration process. But being unable to hear, Earll was unable to finish the process, the complaint states.

Earll claims she tried to contact eBay several times through e-mail and online chat to find an alternative way to finish her registration, but eBay would not adjust its policy.

An eBay spokesman says, "eBay strives to equally serve all of our users in an appropriate, lawful and responsible manner."

The Americans with Disabilities Act is a comprehensive civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities.

Earll, a collector of rare books, had hoped to sell some of these books online.

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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