Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ebay Shill Bidding Appeal Process

Shill Bidding is when you, or someone you know, bids on your items on eBay. EBay assumes you are purposefully running up your bids to get a higher price. The problem is, their software is very sensitive to e-mail addresses, IP addresses, and trends. In addition, the punishment for this crime can be lifelong banishment from eBay for everyone associated with an incident and there is no formal appeals process to speak of.

So what do you do?

Here are your options: You could go on all the bulletin boards and give your “My dog ate my homework,” story along with everyone else or you can wait the designated suspension time and appeal the finding.

Admittedly, eBay Safe Harbor department doesn’t do a great job of telling you the process. You get an e-mail that says this:

This email is to notify you that your account has been suspended for a minimum of XX days due to violation of our Shill Bidding Policy.

Shill Bidding is bidding that artificially increases an item's price or apparent desirability. Shill Bidding is prohibited on eBay. Bla, bla, bla.

Best regards,

Your friends at eBay

And suddenly your business has been shut down and someone has changed the locks.

Now what?

1) Get over the idea that you didn’t do anything wrong. No one cares. The fact is, its eBay’s party, they can do what they want to.

2) Do the time. As tempting as it is, don’t try to sneak back onto eBay. Big Brother is watching and, as smart as you think you are about IP addresses and banking and whatever else, consider this: EBay’s Safe Harbor department has a team of people that have been doing this full time for years. You just decided ten minutes ago to take them on at their own game. That’s like putting your kid’s soccer team up against Brazil’s national team on a whim?

3) Have faith. After your sentence is served. Reply to the original e-mail by stating, “My XX-day suspension is over, I would like my eBay account, (account name), reinstated.” EBay’s system will see your e-mail address and attach it to your file. Here’s the catch. Make sure you reply (not a new e-mail) from the same e-mail account eBay sent the message to. If it is not the same address, their system doesn’t know what to do with it and it gets round-filed.

4) Pick up the phone. If you are a Power Seller, call the power seller help line (866) 515-3229 and beg and plead for help. EBay is huge. These folks probably don’t even eat lunch in the same cafeteria at the Safe Harbor Secret Police. Their job is to help power sellers, so help them do their job by NOT being an A-Hole.

5) Soon, you’ll get an e-mail that says this:

Before we can consider your account for reinstatement, I need to ask you to take the following steps (see the complete details below):

1. Review important eBay policy information.

2. Contact Safe Harbor with any questions.

3. Reply to this email.

Bla, bla, bla…

Once you complete steps 1 and 2, please reply to this email. Your email should contain the following statement:

***I acknowledge and understand eBay's Shill Bidding policy, and agree

to comply with that policy as a condition of my reinstatement as an eBay


It must also include all relevant contact information in this format:

Name: (Insert your name here.)

User ID: (Insert your eBay User ID here.)

Email Address: (Insert your Email address here.)

Address: (Insert your mailing address here.)

Phone Number: (Insert your telephone number here.)

6) Jump through the hoops. Hit the links and read the policy. Remember, big brother is watching. You are now on the SS most wanted list so it might not be a bad idea to brush up on the rules anyway. Once you are done, reply back to the e-mail with the required information.

7) Be patient. You should be reinstated shortly.

Now that you know what to expect, hopefully you can sleep a little easier at night. I recommend using your brief eBay vacation to institute some internal policies to avoid a repeat occurrence. You also may want to plan some damage control as all of the customers you were doing business with are now raging mad at you. Remember, from the outside looking in, it appears that you packed up shop and fled the country without notice. “You have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do!”

Good Luck!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

You Might be a Cod-Bag

You might be a COD-BAG if...
  • You've waited until a seller filed an unpaid item dispute before telling them you have a problem with your paypal account
  • You've ever asked someone to deliver a Craigslist item that is selling for under $100
  • You ping sellers for positive feedback because you feel entitled after leaving it for them
  • You've asked a technical question about an eBay item that you could/should have Googled for yourself.
  • You think "Cash Today" is somehow worth a 50% discount.
  • You've ever claimed you accidentally bid on an eBay item... Really? You accidently clicked "Place Bid", then accidentally typed in a dollar amount, clicked Continue, and finally, accidentally clicked the CONFIRM BID button which is conspicuously placed under the phrase "By clicking on the button below, you commit to buy this item from the seller if you're the winning bidder."... Really?
  • You e-mail three word questions to craigslist sellers that will take them an hour to research and respond to and then you never follow-up.
  • You think that your bogus garage business qualifies you as a commercial address for trucking companies, then get pissed when a 53-foot tractor trailer crushes your petunias.

Cod Bag of the Week

Now granted, this has been a slow week, but here's a typical cod bag. This is a real e-mail sent to us from a guy looking to buy a Fondue Set.

"There is a mix up with a seller and I with regards to payment for an item. They subsquentially sent me an unpaid strike for that which was paid thru Paypal but the never got it. This is preventing me from bidding on this item that I want. Can you allow me to bid on it by lifting your restrictin?"

Here's what he failed to mention:
  • He has 87.1% positive feedback (Total score of 26)
  • 9 negatives in the last 6 months (all non-payment)
  • 1 Neutral for slow payment
  • 1 mutually withdrawn
I attached my response to the auction. It was "Not no, but Hell No!"

What a COD BAG!

Known eBay Cod Bags

Here is our blocked bidder list.

Please add your list so we can create a comprehensive list of known Cod Bags.
Please don't give individual details. Leave those for other rants. This is just a place for the factual posting of individuals you have blocked from bidding on your eBay items. What others do with these lists in order to protect themselves is completely up to the individual user. (wink, wink)

2_da_rnk, 450bill233, 5621sam, aditrolio, akonabum, brandin1987, buzzbait700, hotwheeljc, isohakki, jacohen1, jenesnow, jenniferlynn_palomino, jerryraiber, jewelgrandma, jimayoung_2003, joshhigg, khabibu35, kougar1994, ldelgado90, masterwoodfinisher, mijit66, mj1679pink, oterkongen, pentad5, rain1916, sabres37ryan, sager1985, strobel2112, thewoodsinusa

NOTE: If you have added friends and family to your Blocked Bidder list to prevent shill bidding (something we highly recommend), make sure you remove them from the list before you publish it.