Complying with any eBay policy is always going to be in your best interest. As sellers, we work so hard to maintain a good reputation throughout the eBay community. Under no circumstance should you jeopardize your account’s good standing. As a result, I want to touch on a policy that is critical to understand as a seller– “Product Availability.”

This article comes in part from eBay’s “Selling Practices Policy,” which should be something that all eBay sellers know inside and out! Let’s review the “Product Availability” section!

eBay Selling Practices: Product Availability

I’ll paraphrase a lot of what is written in this policy; however, if you want to read the official eBay policy, click here. I would recommend you read it at some point anyway, as it covers much more than product availability; in fact, here’s what it covers: (1) item description, (2) terms and conditions, (3) product availability, (4) shipping and handling costs, (5) shipping and handling time, (6) communication, and (7) returns.

What You Should Do

  • Ensure that your product is in stock for the duration of the listing; in other words, if there is any point in time where your product is out of stock and you know it, yet your continue to keep your listing live, you are violating eBay policy.
  • Make sure that all items are available and in stock for multi-quantity listings. You cannot just say that there are 50 products available when you may only have access to 10.
  • If you are selling a pre-sale item, you must guarantee that you are going to have the item at the date indicated in the listing.
  • Refund your buyer immediately if you run into an inventory problem that is beyond your control. If you are using a drop shipper, there may be times when you think the item is in stock, and then when you go to make the order, you find that item is out of stock. Hey– it happens! Nothing you can do. And that’s fine… your obligation is to refund the buyer immediately.

What You Should Not Do

  • List an item that has the possibility of being out of stock at the time of sale. So– at least during the duration of the listing, you need to watch your inventory from your drop shipper/supplier.
  • List a product that is being sold somewhere else at the same time. Can eBay enforce it? Probably not. I’ve never heard of anybody getting nailed for this policy because it’s impossible to enforce. I just don’t think any rule can really be deemed a rule if it’s unenforceable. Nonetheless, you are not supposed to do it.
  • Sell an item that is not what is going to be shipped to the buyer (not sure why this has to even be mentioned).
  • Offer more items than you have available at hand for a multi-quantity listing (as mentioned above). I guess it was important enough to eBay to list twice.


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The main question I get from people is based on the above criteria, is drop shipping really okay to do on eBay. And the answer is absolutely YES. Just make sure you are checking your inventory regularly. eBay is trying to make sure that buyers get what they pay for!



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