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Monday, November 7, 2011

Is it all about eBay or is it all about the trash?

It’s been one of the days.
Let’s just say, I’m off my diet.
Excuse me while I take a bite of my ice cream that’s sitting here next to me.  It’s starting to melt. 
Anyway, I need to get something off my chest.

I finally called eBay about my situation.  I asked to speak to someone who could help me appeal my case.
For those of you new to My Dear Trash, let me introduce myself and share my heart-breaking eBay saga.
My name is Laura and I absolutely love, or I should say loved selling on eBay.
I sold for over 6 years and had 5,000 positive feedbacks, but about 9 months ago, I was banned from every selling on eBay again.

This came as a huge shock to me.  I was doing what I have always done.  List items I found at thrift stores and yard sales and watch the profits role in. 
Here’s why I think I was kicked off eBay. 

Since I started selling over 6 years ago, I was old-school eBay.  I thought eBay was all about positive/negative feedback.  I never took the time to read about new policies or procedures (I didn’t even realize that was an option.)  I didn’t know I had a seller dashboard.  I didn’t know there were graphs showing me what I was doing well and what I was doing poorly.  I didn’t jump on the printing shipping labels at home band wagon because I didn’t know how to do it.  I was intimidated by the whole process and didn’t think it was really necessary.   I had a few customers upset they weren’t getting email tracking confirmations from USPS.  In addition, when selling gently used name brand clothing, the merchandise can be a bit subjective, all right very subjective.  If I sold a blue dress and the customer received it, thinking it was more navy then blue; she could rate me poorly in how I described the item.  Not trying to be misleading or deceitful, I would take the hit when a customer was not happy even if it was just a matter opinion.  To make a long story short, I didn’t understand how the new eBay 5-star rating system worked and how eventually, it would be my downfall.  I was on a sinking ship and didn’t know it until my store was shut down.  All my listings I’d worked so hard to get up, and even those that had bids, were gone.  In December, 2010, out of 527 sales, I had 8 customers rate me poorly in shipping time and item as described.  This led to my downfall (and a broken heart) and I was told I could never sell on eBay again.

Knowing I didn’t steal, cheat or do anything illegal on eBay, I really thought my case might be overturned.  When I was first kicked off eBay 9 months ago, I was told it was permanent, but I just couldn’t take that for real.  Surely, someone would see that this case was an exception.  The gentleman I talked to a few weeks ago was amazing.  He was such a great listener and took the time to hear about what happened to me.  He looked at all my emails, feedback, etc. and said “I don’t understand why you were ever kicked off eBay to begin with.  I think your account should be reinstated.”

He took time with me, writing up a proposal and making suggestions on how I could better serve my customers, including printing my shipping labels at home and improving my item descriptions. 
He even looked at the blog My Dear Trash and thought it was great.
“You could be the next Queen of Auctions if we could get this all figured out,” he said.
“I’ll do whatever it takes,” I replied, hopeful.
“I think you have a chance, although I don’t want you to get your hopes up.  I’ll be in touch with you as soon as I hear anything,” he said.
So, off my proposal went to the eBay board committee to review my case.  Sounds pretty serious, doesn’t it.
And I waited.
I promised myself, whatever the outcome was I’d be at peace with it.  That eBay or no eBay, life is too short, that I have so many blessings and I’d move on.
I waited for 7 weeks.
Everyday, checking for that email.
Going back into my old eBay account (yeah, that was pretty painful) to see if I had a message from the committee.

I was ready to shop, ready to photograph, and ready to get back to business, if only eBay would so graciously let me back in the very special group of eBay sellers.
But, nothing, no encouraging email, no life-changing message.

So after 7 weeks, I finally called eBay today, hoping there had been some sort of resolve.  Hoping maybe they’d see that I was worth having around, that I better served the eBay community, that what happened on eBay was totally subjective, that 8 poor-ratings out of 527 happen even when a seller is doing everything she can to get things right.  That buyers can be harsh, even when they are given a full refund, even when they don’t have to ship the item back, even when the seller apologizes for whatever the customer was upset about.
This time, I spoke with a woman.  She took a few minutes to understand my situation.
“And I really would like to know if I will be able to sell on eBay again,” I asked.
She looked into my account.  And there was a pause, and then an apology.
“I’m sorry no one got back to you about this issue, as this was resolved a while ago, but no, you are not able to sell on eBay ever again.  Once you’re banned from selling on eBay, they’ll never let you back on.”
Banned! Ouch!  And here came all the emotions again.

Because eBay has helped me through so many financial crisis’ in my life, because I have control over my earning potential, because it’s just so much darn fun and because I love to write about it.  Because I can work from home, because of the exposure, the world-wide market eBay offers, I mean there's no place in the world like eBay, especially for a trash collector like me.
But, no more.
I think I knew the answer all along, but I had to try, didn’t I?  I mean this blog is called My Dear Trash.  
It started because I wanted to share with the world my success of selling trash on eBay.  It’s all about eBay, isn’t it?
Isn’t it?
Wait a second, it's not about eBay at all.
It’s about family.
It’s about passion.
It’s about recycling.
It’s about thrifting and donating and making a difference in people’s life.
It’s about taking risks and trying knew things and reaching potentials that weren’t possible.
It’s about finding value where others may not see it, especially in yourself.
Especially in yourself.
And, it’s about trash.
It’s all about the trash.

And this is how I got through a second horrible blow in my eBay saga.  Understanding that as long as I can find great trash, take risks and shop till I drop,  I can make a great living.
It will no longer be from selling clothes (my true love) because of my passion for fashion, but furniture and knick-knacks and vintage stuff for the shop at QcumberZ and finding great trash for my family so in the end I save loads of money.

As hard as it is, I’m letting eBay go, not because their letting me go, but because I can no longer support a company that doesn’t support their selling community.  In a sense, eBay has turned into the federal government in the worst way.  They think people can’t think for themselves anymore.  They think they have to scrutinize everything. That every law and rule is meant to be reinforced no matter what, even if that law or rule doesn’t make sense in every situation.  They think everything has to be rated and dissected and monitored for the people's benefit, even though it’s for their own.  I bet the people in charge of eBay never even sold on eBay to begin with.  They don’t understand the challenges of being a seller and the little rights we sellers have.  And eBay thinks they have to protect buyers from a seller who didn’t differentiate a pair of jeans from bell-bottom to wide-leg because she used a photograph instead of typing it out, from a buyer who sells used clothing and when the customer is upset the item isn’t “new” is still granted a full refund anyway, from a seller who loves eBay and its opportunities so much she started a freakin' blog about it.

But I didn’t start a blog about eBay, did I.

I started a blog about trash and now that eBay’s absolutely out of the picture for me (not for Kelly, so you can keep reading about her success), I’m looking forward to growing my business in different ways, but all with the trash I love (and I’d like to thank Kelly for the pep talk late last night, for letting me cry about something so silly like eBay rejection issues because I can be such a drama queen, for reminding me God has a new direction for me and for just being stinkin’ cool.  I don’t know what I’d do without that girl). 
Hey, look at that.  My ice cream melted, but I don't need it anymore. I feel a lot  better now.
And I will always secretly have a crush on eBay, dream about eBay, love eBay and remember the good old days, even though eBay broke my heart.  
By the way, to get great tips on selling on eBay, check out the blog Goodwill Haunting.  She wrote a post about what happened to me (thank you for that).  Check it out here.


  1. eBay's current policies are a disgrace -- they are geared to discourage the single, smaller seller -- the very seller who made eBay what it is -- and encourage huge, automated, new merchandise peddlers. Look what they promote -- all the NEW things you can find.

    What happened to you is awful -- but I am pretty sure it has been repeated over and over and over again with longtime Ebay sellers who assumed that what they HAD been doing would still be OK. The Feedback system now doesn't even allow a seller to say anything negative about a buyer -- no matter how big a deadbeat or crook that buyer might be.

    And as you say -- many judgments ARE subjective. And in the "olden days" I think most sellers and buyers knew that.

    I am SO sorry that you have had this experience. eBay is unfortunately still the place to go to find many things -- but after selling just a few things on it I am too spooked by the seller rules --- which are SO seller unfriendly --- I don't list on eBay anymore.

    Sorry this has gotten to be so long, but a story like this just makes me FURIOUS and want to WHOMP EBAY UPSIDE THE HEAD.
    No, seriously -- it IS outrageous. These are bad policies, and the small seller IS leaving Ebay ... but the sad truth is that Ebay doesn't care. It's just a big corporate doody head now, and it wants new merchandise pushers in its sandbox.

    Remember when it was fun?
    Again -- I am so sorry. Totally unfair and (if it weren't so serious) ridiculous.
    All best wishes -- Cass

    1. I appreciate your amazing support and wish you all the best in your trash sells.
      At the end of the day, getting kicked off eBay was a huge blessing. Hugs.

  2. It's crazy and scary what happened to you and Ebay. They have made a bad decision. Brought themselves bad publicity as you do have a very popular blog. And lost great profits from you and so many of those you have inspired to sell for the 1st time and those like me that need a nudge to get listing items once in an while. They have become too big for their boots and we need another great online auction site to take over the global trash reigns.

  3. Laura:

    Love this post! So sorry about what has happened, but Kelly is right--God has a new plan for you. As you know, sometimes we need a hard push to do something else. This will turn out okay in the end.

    What this blog is also about, and proved again today, is your friendship with Kelly. That's part of why you are my favorite blog!

    Peace and take good care,

  4. I'm so sad to read these. I have been selling on ebay for the last 8 years. By selling it has help me get me & my family thru many finical ups & downs.I feel for ya & think that ebay is in the wrong for kicking you off. I'm sure this is wrong to post, as I don't agree w/ doing things that are "wrong". But have you though about putting the ebay acct. in your husband's name, creating a new acct . w/ a new email etc. Don't give up ! God bless & Good Luck

  5. Laura, That stinks! It is ridiculous! Ebay is headed down the wrong path!
    Might I suggest a new auction site that I think will gain more and more attention from buyers. Think of this, you can Test the Waters for all of us! Give us your thoughts about the site and how to do it. You will be able to shop again with the resale mindset and life will feel a little more normal!

    Praying for you!

  6. That is such a crummy deal for you. I'm really disappointed that eBay is allowing these policies. What's the point of a review system if they won't even allow it to function properly?

    Well, I guess you've reached the point where you can keep stewing in it, or you can just allow it to pass by and find the next opportunity life brings you! That won't make it easy, but I know you can rise above this!

  7. CindyLou, looks amazing. I can't wait to check it out. Thanks so much for the great lead. And thank you for all your support.

  8. Laura i always felt it was unfair what ebay did and everytime I sell something, I wonder if it can happen to me as well.

    You will love Bonanza. Although it does not have the traffic like Ebay, it is a great seller friendly place and the buyers are nice too. I havent sold alot there but it has been a good experience. Good luck

  9. What about Etsy? They allow vintage clothing sales...just a thought.

    I feel your pain. I would highly recommend getting big press ie cnn after ebay for this crap

  10. Your post was very enlightening. I've sold on ebay for years, and like you, haven't paid much attention to the 'new' things like the dashboard, etc. I had absolutely no idea as to the graphs, etc. until last night. For someone who has well over 1000 sales and a 100% feedback, ship within 48 hours, describe items almost too much, etc. I was stunned to see I was considered a 'standard' seller. Suddenly I realized how much control has been turned over to the buyer who can anonymously give you 3 or 4 stars because they might think your postage is too high (don't they realize you now get a FV fee on that?), or the color isn't as dark as they wanted for something, or they were 'surprised' at the size of something, even though I always give measurements, condition, etc. I have a whole new appreciation for your situation and realize that all sellers can be just one day away from being chastised or kicked off ebay. What used to be such a fun experience is now a lot harder than it should be. Thanks for sharing what I know is a painful situation for you but you shall survive this too.

  11. I agree....try Etsy ..and I think you can build up your business on can do it =)

  12. You have had such success with e-bay, why don't you sell for others (maybe a business close to you?) and do what you do best? You have inspired so many people, and made e-bay alot of money too. Can this happen to someone even if they do not have a store on e-bay I wonder? Makes you really wonder how they can be so hard on sellers, yet nothing is done about people who do not pay after winning a bid, never communicate with you, etc.

  13. This whole situation is so ridiculous it boggles my mind. Clearly these people are idiots. is my question. Couldn't you just open an entirely new account. Use a different name and start anew? I know nothing about how ebay works, (other than their idiocy at this point) but it seems like you could do that.

  14. I have a HUGE inventory that I need to get rid of on ebay and haven't posted a single thing because of their ridiculous new policies, fees, etc. I'd rather take the hit and lose money instead.

    You know, you can always create a new email address and start selling again under that. :)

  15. I think its time for you to start a pitition. I know everyone that reads your blog will sign it for you. Plus, stop being so nice to ebay. Call everyday and complain. Tell them how many followers you have on your blog and that your readers agree that they are being ridiculous and mean and that they will lose bisuness. Stand up for yourself! It sounds like to me that they are just ignoring you because its easier for them.

    Good luck laura! We love you!

  16. I agree! Start a petition and lets give ebay a run for their money. This happened to me too, and they are RIDICULOUS!! I have been selling items on FACEBOOK too. Sellers started a garage sale group for others to join. We post pics, and prices of what is being offered. Clothes sell within minutes. The only downside is that you have to meet with the other person to get paid, or get your item. But it is all local! Best of luck!!! Melissa

  17. Last year I sold over $35,000 on Ebay and after that year I decided I was leaving. Why? They could care less about the small seller and allow buyers to lie, lie, lie. They will not allow us to leave negative feedback for buyers but the buyers can say ANYTHING and literally ruin lives by having sellers banned. I now sell on Amazon and had matched my previous years ebay sales by mid March. At the end of March I closed my store on ebay and just recently opened it again to get rid of about 2 dozen odds and ends. AT the end of this month I will close it for good. They are shooting themselves in the foot and will live to regret what they have done to those who made them what they are. So sorry that you had to deal with that ridiculousness.

  18. holy cow.. this scares the bejeebers out of me. I have been selling for 7 years and had no idea something so small & trivial could cause a seller to be banned for life. what a bunch of flaming MORONS.

  19. Okay I just came across you blog from a friend in an Ebay Group. I current have been selling full time for 5 years. Back in 2004 when I was selling as a hobby I had this happen to me and was able to get it reopened. I do not remember if they advised me to open a new account or reinstated my old one, but I was able to get back up and selling after talking to the right person. ALSO, I do not sell 'Trash', but I certainly get wonderful items from the trash. Here is my Youtube Video Called 'American Pickers or Should I Say American Trash Pickers - Finders Friday #20': So this is one of many niches I sell on Ebay. So I can feel your pain & passion. Call up and ask if you can be reconsidered for another Ebay account if they do not allow for reinstatement. That way less risk for them since you will have to go through the restricted account process. Just as you still have Paypal I would imagine you should be okay, but it is a matter of getting a hold of the right Ebay person and a lot of dedication on your part. Either way to not open this can a worms again if you have found peace with it, but if it still does bother you. Try again. I like your blog it really hits home.