eBay 101

Rules for Selling on eBay

Complete details on current ebay policies can be found on eBay's Web site, so we won't go into all of them here. However, there are some you should know about before you begin selling on eBay.

  • Duplicate listings occur when a seller posts more than 10 listings for identical items. The best way to list identical items is through eBay's Storefront, Fixed-Price or Multiple Item listings formats. Although there are reasons to list identical items at the same time, enabling a single seller to list too many identical items at one time hurts the buying experience.

If a seller lists in more than one category, the categories must be relevant. Any additional identical listings will be ended by eBay. There are a few exceptions: Sellers who list general admission tickets in the Tickets category may list up to 20 identical listings, and sellers of vehicle light bulbs may list up to 25 listings simultaneously.

  • No kids allowed: eBay requires that all users be at least 18 years of age.
  • Unpaid items: Winning bidders or buyers who fail to follow through with the transaction face consequences. Nonpaying bidders receive two warnings from eBay before they are suspended. When a bidder doesn't pay, the seller may request a credit from eBay for their Final Value Fee by filing an Unpaid Item alert.
  • Nonperforming seller: Significantly misrepresenting an item by not meeting the terms and item description in the listing, or failing to deliver an item for which you accepted payment, is a violation of eBay policies and may also be considered criminal fraud.
  • Outages: When the eBay system experiences service outages, there is a structure in place to compensate users with credits on listing fees and/or listing extensions, based on the type and length of the outage.
  • Profanity: The use of language that is racist, hateful, sexual or obscene in nature in a public area is prohibited.
  • Prohibited and restricted items: As an eBay user, you are ultimately responsible for making sure that the items you sell on eBay are legal according to all applicable jurisdictions and permitted by eBay policies.
  • Soliciting off-site sales: You may not circumvent eBay fees by using contact information obtained from eBay or any eBay service to complete a sale outside of eBay.
  • Threats: eBay policies prohibit making threats of physical harm to another user.

If you violate an eBay policy by either your action or the content of your listings, you will typically receive an informational alert explaining the violation and detailing any further action to be taken on your part. When deemed appropriate, eBay will end the listing, and your listing fee will be refunded.

For serious or repeated violations of eBay rules, a user may be indefinitely suspended. Though indefinitely suspended users may be reinstated by eBay at its discretion, eBay also has the right to determine at any time that the suspension is permanent.

What You Can't Sell on eBay

The following items may not be listed on eBay:

  • Alcohol
  • Animals and wildlife products
  • Catalog and url sales
  • Counterfeit currency and stamps
  • Counterfeit items
  • Credit cards
  • Drugs and drug paraphernalia
  • Embargoed goods and items made in prohibited countries
  • Firearms
  • Fireworks
  • Government IDs and licenses
  • Human parts and remains
  • Links to other web sites (except as outlined in eBay's policies)
  • Lock-picking devices
  • Lottery tickets
  • Mailing lists and personal information
  • Plants and seeds
  • Postage meters
  • Prescription drugs and devices
  • Recalled items
  • Satellite and cable TV descramblers
  • Stocks and other securities
  • Stolen property
  • Surveillance equipment
  • Tobacco
  • Travel (except as outlined in eBay's policies)

These items may be listed under certain conditions. Do further research before listing items of this nature to be sure yours is allowed. To learn more, click on "Security Center" at the bottom of any eBay page, then click on "Market Place Rules and Policies." Questionable items include:

  • Artifacts
  • Autographed items
  • Batteries
  • Catalytic converters and test pipes
  • Compilation and information media
  • Contracts and travel-related tickets
  • Electronics equipment
  • Event tickets
  • Food
  • Freon and other refrigerants
  • Hazardous materials
  • Imported and emission-noncompliant vehicles
  • International trading in any category that violates current laws
  • Materials targeted to mature (adult) audiences
  • Medical devices
  • Offensive material
  • Pesticides
  • Police-related items
  • Pre-sale listings (items that are not in the control or possession of the seller at the time of the listing)
  • Slot machines
  • Used air bags
  • Used clothing
  • Warranties
  • Weapons and knives
  • Wine

Potentially Infringing
These items may be in violation of certain copyrights, trademarks or other rights. eBay prohibits some of these items, regardless of any particular item's legality, because they almost always violate copyright and trademark laws. As with questionable items, do your homework before posting your item. Potentially infringing items are:

  • Academic software
  • Beta software
  • Bootleg recordings
  • Downloadable media
  • Use of a person's likeness, name or signature
  • Games software
  • Items for which you disclaim knowledge of or responsibility for the authenticity or legality
  • Items or listings that misuse another product's brand name
  • Items that may violate a contract you have with another party
  • Mod chips
  • Movie prints
  • OEM software
  • Promotional items
  • Recordable media
  • Replica and counterfeit items
  • Software or hardware that would enable a user to circumvent copy-protection features on video games, software programs, CDs, CD-ROMs or DVDs
  • Tickets (travel)
  • Unauthorized copies
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