What are Selling Limits and Why Does eBay Have Them?
EBay began limiting the amount of listings sellers could create at the end of 2006. At the time, eBay was getting sued left and right for trademark infringement because of the amount of counterfeits and other fraudulent items that were readily available for sale on eBay. The purpose of the policy is to limit how many “potentially infringing” items a seller can list in 30 days. In eBay’s eyes, this minimizes the damage that any particular seller can do. Plus, eBay can tell the courts that they’re proactively removing fraudulent listings and limiting the amount of potentially counterfeit items sellers are able to list.
What Items Does eBay Limit?
Sellers are only limited to the amount of listings they can create on certain items that eBay believes have a high chance of being fraudulent or counterfeit. These items are usually brand name clothing and accessories, shoes, computer software, electronics, and similar items. EBay has never made a list public and won’t tell you if a particular item counts towards the limit quota. The best way to find out if an item will count towards your quota is to check to see if the item shows up immediately via keyword search. If there is a delay between the time you submit an item and when it shows up in keyword search, then it is almost certainly an item that counts toward the limit. If you are unfamiliar with eBay’s search delay, see my guide, My eBay Item Isn’t Showing Up in Search Results – What’s Wrong?.
How Does eBay Count Items Towards the Limit Quota?
EBay only uses the item title to identify what an item is. For example, if you’re selling a Louis Vuitton purse, the only way eBay knows that you’re selling a Louis Vuitton is if you include the words “Louis Vuitton” in the item title. If you do not include the brand name, eBay will allow you to list the item, even if your account is limited and even if you don’t change anything else in the listing. I don’t recommend doing this because anyone who searches for “Louis Vuitton” will not see your listing in search results unless they include item descriptions in their search, which is rare.
How Do I Know If Seller Limits Have Been Placed on My Account?
EBay will not send you an email or contact you in any way if they have limited your account. The only way you will find out is if you go to list an item and it shows a warning message on the “Review your listing page.” This means that you could spend an hour creating a new listing only to have eBay tell you that you can’t list it. If you’re concerned that you might be nearing your quota, you should edit the title of your item to how you want it and click through the Sell Your Item form to the “Review your listing” page. If you don’t see an error message that looks like this at the top and bottom of the “review” page you will be allowed to list the item.
“Thank you for choosing eBay.
In order to maintain a safe trading environment, selling limits are occasionally placed on recently activated accounts. At this time, you are limited in the number of certain items you may list and/or revise in a 30 day period.
We sincerely value you as a member of our trading Community and look forward to a continued successful relationship with you.
Click here for a window with more information on eBay’s listing guidelines.
Click here for more information on limits that may affect your selling activity.”
You may also see a message like,
“In order to help maintain a safe trading environment, selling limits
are occasionally placed on listings. At this time, you are limited as
to the listing of certain items. Please do not attempt to relist this
item for 30 days.
Sellers who have a consistent positive selling history of such items
may be eligible to have these limits raised. If you would like eBay to
review your limits or if you have any additional questions, please
email us at Customer Support.
We sincerely value you as a member of our trading Community and look
forward to a continued successful relationship with you.”
How Many Items Can I List Before I’m Limited?
It depends on the category and how many items you list at a time. For designer clothing, you should be able to list about 40 items before you receive the first limit. EBay also counts items you revise as a new listing. This means that if you make a mistake within a listing and go back to correct it, eBay will count it as a second submitted listing even if you are only selling the one item and make a minor change. Every time you click “submit” on a listing, eBay will count it towards your seller limit as a new listing. Because of this, you want to be certain that your listing is correct before submitting it to eBay, or you will waste precious listing credits. Also, every second chance offer you send to a buyer counts as another item listed. If you list one item for sale, revise it twice, and submit three best offers to buyers after it ends you would have used up 6 of your listings, even though you only listed one item. Be careful with how you list and revise items if you’re concerned about reaching your selling limit quota. Also, consider sending a message to bidders asking them if they intend to accept before sending them a second chance offer. This way, you won’t waste listings by sending second chance offers to buyers who don’t intend to purchase.
When Will the Selling Limit Expire?
EBay will tell you that you shouldn’t try to list the item for 30 days. The listing limitation will not necessarily last that long though. Once you don’t see the error message it’s safe to list the item. If the account is newly registered, you’ll be allowed to list again 30 days from when the account was registered. For example, if the account was registered on May 19, 2009, you’ll be able to list items again on June 18, 2009 at 12:01am Pacific time regardless of what day you received the limitation notice. If the account is not new, you should be able to list item before the 30 days is up. It depends on how many items you’ve listed and when the last time you submitted an item to eBay that counted towards your selling quota.
How Can I Get Around the Selling Limit?
First of all, make sure your Paypal account is verified and that it’s linked to your eBay account. To do this, follow eBay’s instructions. The easiest way to get around the selling limit is to take the brand name out of the title. I don’t recommend doing this though, because your items will not show up when a buyer searches for the brand name unless they include item descriptions in their search results, which is rare. If you have a history of selling brand name items you can email eBay Trust and Safety. You will have to have excellent feedback from similar brand name items and ideally no negatives saying the items you’re selling are counterfeit or fraudulent. Your account will need to be active and registered as a seller account for a minimum 90 days. In your email, tell eBay Trust and Safety that all of your items are authentic. Tell them where the items are purchased and if you have provided Paypal or eBay with invoices in the past, state that fact. State your feedback score and percentage. Tell them that you don’t sell counterfeits, never have sold counterfeits, and never will sell a counterfeit item. Ask them nicely to lift your selling limit so you can list your authentic items.
It may also be possible to rearrange the brand name in the item title to trick eBay into thinking it’s a different item. EBay has smartened up to this trick though, so it does not work as often. If you’re selling a Louis Vuitton purse, you used to be able to change the item title to “Louis Purse Vuitton” or something similar and eBay wouldn’t recognize it as a brand name. You can try to play around with your listing’s item title and see if you can figure out an arrangement of keywords that gets past eBay’s checks. When a buyer searches for “Louis Vuitton” your item would still show up in their results because both words are included in the item title. The problem with this technique is that item titles with random words inbetween the brand name won’t look as professional and appear to some buyers as though you’re trying to to get away with selling a counterfeit item by not including the exact name in the item title.
The best way to get around eBay selling limits is to register a new eBay UserID. Sign up for a new eBay UserID just as you signed up for your original account. EBay allows every member to have as many eBay UserIDs as they want. EBay selling limits are only placed on the individual UserID, not on the account as a whole. If your UserID is Designerclothes and you have a selling limit on that account, you can register Designerclothes2(as long as the ID is available) and list the item on that account immediately. If you have several different UserIDs going at the same time you should always have an account that you can list on.
Why does eBay allow this loophole? The bottom line is that eBay doesn’t really care if you list counterfeit items as long as they aren’t prosecuted for it. Millions upon millions of counterfeit items were sold on eBay before they started doing anything about it and millions of counterfeit items have been sold on eBay since they started instituting selling limits and delaying items in search. I could list hundreds of sellers who sell nothing but counterfeit merchandise on eBay. EBay doesn’t care. Every listing they deny costs them money. The famous Louis Vuitton verdict cost eBay 63 million dollars in fines. This year, eBay’s revenue should exceed 8 billion dollars, making the fine significantly less than 1 percent of their revenue. The real problem is public relations and future lawsuits. In order to ease the public’s concern and put themselves in a better position to win future lawsuits, eBay has instituted these policies; each of which is easy to get around, counterproductive, and useless in the fight against fakes.