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Knowing the Rules for Sellers

eBay's policies are rules and guidelines that help to create a safe, fair and enjoyable trading environment for all eBay members. As a seller, you are responsible for reviewing and understanding eBay’s selling policies, as well as all applicable laws and regulations as outlined in the User Agreement and in Rules for Sellers - Overview.

Policies and guidelines specifically related to selling an item involve:

When policy violations occur, eBay emails the seller, as well as bidders, that a listing has been ended. Learning about eBay's selling policies before you list an item will help you to avoid unintentionally breaking rules (including the law). eBay’s selling policies are updated to respond to marketplace, community and security issues, so it is important to check them regularly for changes.

eBay’s policies are intended to:

  • Support government laws and regulations

  • Minimise risks to sellers

  • Provide equal opportunity to all sellers

  • Protect intellectual property rights

  • Provide an enjoyable buying experience

  • Support the values of the eBay Community

Breach of eBay policies can result in a range of actions, including:

  • Listing cancellation

  • Forfeit of eBay fees on cancelled listings

  • Limits on account privileges

  • Loss of PowerSeller status

  • Decreased visibility in search results

  • Account suspension

Prohibited and restricted items

Policies about listing items are often based on country and state laws. However, many restrictions involve the sale of controversial or sensitive items and are not necessarily prohibited by law. The limitations are a result of input by the eBay Community.

There are three aspects of item restrictions – prohibited, questionable, and potentially infringing items.

Prohibited –- These items may not be listed on eBay.

Examples of listings that are not allowed include:

  • Items that are illegal or that encourage illegal activity.

  • Items that are racially or ethnically inappropriate. For policy and examples, see Offensive Material Policy.

  • Listings that do not offer an item or service for sale. For policy and examples, see Listing No Item.

  • Services that are illegal, sexual in nature or that violate eBay’s User Agreement. For policy and examples, see Prohibited Services.

  • Listings that promote giveaways, random drawings, raffles, or prizes. For policy and examples, see Bonus, Prize, Giveaway and Raffle Policy.

Questionable –-These items may be listed under certain conditions.

Examples of listings that are not allowed include:

  • Listings of perishable items and do not identify in the item description the measures the seller will take to ensure that the goods are delivered to the buyer safely. For policy and examples, see Food.

  • Listing artefacts such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander items. Many artefacts and heritage items are protected under federal laws. Please read our policy by clicking on the link above.

Other polices involving questionable items include Pre-Sale Listings.

Potentially infringing –- These items may be in breach of certain copyrights, trademarks, or other rights. Some items are not allowed, even though they may be legal, because they almost always infringe copyright or trademark laws.

Examples of listings that are not allowed include:

  • Listings with counterfeit or bootleg items (counterfeits, replicas and unauthorised copies).

  • Listings that include disclaimers of knowledge of, or responsibility for, the authenticity or legality of the items offered in their listings. For policy and examples, see Authenticity Disclaimers.

To avoid creating listings that would infringe upon intellectual property rights, see Protecting Intellectual Property Rights. You can also take eBay's tutorial on Intellectual Property Policies and VeRO.

Important: Protection of intellectual property also extends to each member's listings. eBay members are not allowed to use another eBay user's pictures or descriptions in their listings or profile page without the owner's permission (see Item Description and Picture Theft).

Note: Even if you offer to give away for "free" (rather than sell) a prohibited, questionable, or infringing item, this will not relieve you of potential liability. This applies to both seller and buyer.

See Prohibited and Restricted Items-Overview

Listing practices

To promote a safe, fair and enjoyable trading experience, eBay has established a set of community standards and guidelines for listings and other community content. These include policies restricting the use of profanity, HTML and JavaScript, and links. In addition, eBay’s listing policies provide guidelines on how certain items may be listed and described.

Actions that misrepresent items – Misrepresented items result in a poor shopping and finding experience for buyers because their search results show listings in which the buyer may have no interest. These practices also result in an uneven playing field for sellers who do not use these techniques and attract fewer potential buyers.

Examples of listing practices that are not allowed on eBay include:

  • Using brand names or other words inappropriately for the purpose of attracting buyers to a listing (called keyword spamming). For policy and examples, see Keyword Spam.

  • Creating titles for listings that do not accurately describe the item for sale. For policy and examples, see Misleading Titles.

  • Listing in an inappropriate category. For policy and examples, see Categorisation of Listings.

  • Listing items that include compilations and informational items that, for example, contain cross category information, are listed outside of the Everything Else, Information Products category, or are combined as bonus items with any other listing. For policy and more examples, see Compilation and Information.

Actions that avoid paying eBay fees – Selling fees help eBay support both buyers and sellers. Listing practices that circumvent (avoid) fees are unfair to sellers who pay the appropriate eBay fees and may provide a poor buying experience.

Examples of listing practices that are not allowed on eBay include:

  • Offering the opportunity to buy the listed item or other items outside eBay.

  • Offering low item prices but unreasonably high postage or handling charges.

  • Listing an item that requires an additional purchase.

  • Including contact information (e.g., email addresses, domain names, phone numbers) in the listing title, subtitle, item location or images.

  • Listing an item where a seller allows buyers to choose from a selection of different items.

To view the policy and more examples, see Circumventing Fees.

See also: Multiple Listing Limit, Reserve Price Violations, Unpaid Item/Final Value Fee Credit Abuse; Profile Policy; Tax Policy.

Completing the sale

If your item sells successfully, the sale needs to be completed. This includes contacting your buyer, accepting payment and posting the item.

Examples of actions that are not allowed on eBay:

  • Bidding on your own item, or having family members, friends, roommates or employees bid on your item (called shill bidding). For policy and examples, see Shill Bidding.

  • Selling an item using a format to Buy It Now format to family members, friends, roommates or employees to increase your feedback rating or search standing.

  • Interfering with another member’s transaction. For policy and examples, see Transaction Interference.

  • Accepting payment and sending an item that is significantly different from the item described in the item listing. For policy and examples, see Seller Non-performance.

  • Refusing to accept a buyer’s PayPal payment using a credit card when the seller included the PayPal logo in the listing.

  • Charging buyers an additional fee for their use of ordinary forms of payment including acceptance of cheques, money orders, electronic transfers or credit cards. For policy and examples, see Payment Surcharges.

If something goes wrong, including having problems with your buyer, there are options to help with your transaction problems. For more information, see the Transaction Problems and Protection section of Help.

Other polices involving listing practices include eBay Pilot Programs.

Other Policies:

  • eBay allows discrete identification or ’credit‘ for third parties that provide services or products directly connected with the particular listing as long as they meet specific requirements. For policy and requirements, see Third-Party Acknowledgements, Credits and Links.

Reporting breaches of selling policies

eBay monitors listings, including reviewing reports of policy violations from its members. To report listing violations, locate the policy that is being violated, review it, and report the violation using the links provided on the appropriate policy page or click Help at the top of any eBay page and then click Contact Us on the left side of the page.

Your participation and vigilance as part of the eBay Community is invaluable in helping to help you to be a successful seller.

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