eBay takes any form of feedback manipulation very, very seriously! In fact, I wrote about it pretty recently, too. I have received a 30 day slap on the wrist and no longer have any account access until that time has elapsed. So– since I can’t spend anytime working on eBay, I suppose I’ll write a post about what happened and how to avoid it!

Selling Penny Recipes on eBay

My offense? I had started selling recipes at a starting auction price of 1 penny. That’s right — one cent recipes with free shipping? How do you make money doing it? Well, to my surprise, I found that recipes sell extremely well one eBay! There is quite a demand! I’m assuming most of the demand comes from buyers that are looking to prop up their feedback scores by purchasing something at a cheap price. I found, however, that there were multiple buyers that had well above 100 feedback transactions, indicating that there may be some natural demand for recipes not just for the sake of building feedback.

In addition, I was not there to just simply build my own! I found that I could sell these 1 cent recipes on eBay for anywhere between $.40 to $1.50! My cost is the .30 cent transaction fee from Paypal, a minor $.10 eBay insertion fee (I have an eBay store), and whatever the final value fee ends up being (usually around 10% of the total final selling price). So– I found that I needed to sell it for around $.45 to break even, and I was consistently doing much better than that!

The fulfillment was simple! After the buyer sends the money via Paypal, I would simply email them with the recipe attached, asking them if they would prefer it send via mail (because that’s what I had posted the listing with standard USPS shipping). Most people told me that the attachment was fine, and that they would rather get the recipe that way anyway!

So I’m in the clear, right? I can gradually push my transactions up, which is great because Top-Rated Seller Status is going to be expedited that way; in addition, my feedback score increases and I make money while doing it. Not a bad gig, right?

eBay Customer Service Nightmare

I called to complain about my account being banned. After doing this with about 10 recipes per day everyday for 2 weeks, I finally got a notification that my account had been restricted for “Feedback Manipulation.” This was NOT my intention, so I called customer service to complain that I had not been doing this for the express purpose of manipulating my feedback. The eBay customer service girl must have been knew because she put me on hold on 3 separate occasions, each time coming back with the same explanation– “You have been banned for feedback manipulation because you violated our feedback manipulation policy.”

Okay– so what part of the policy did I violate? I asked several times.

Each time she would come back with the same thing– “You violated our policy and have been banned for 30 days.” Okay– that’s fine, but what exactly did I do! I was not selling to get feedback! I was making money doing it! I explained that several times. Since then, they have escalated my complaint to a manager who is supposed to be calling me back in the next day or so.

eBay Digitally Delivered Goods Policy Mistake

So I am pretty sure I know what I did wrong! I am virtually certain they are going to say that I violated this policy. Hard to say! I will be interested to see what the verdict to my case is going to be! If I can prove that I had been making money (which I was), how can they ban me? I must be missing something!

More to come!

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5 Responses to My ebay Account Got Banned for Feedback Manipulation

  1. Tim says:

    What was the verdict?

    • Trevor says:

      Unfortunately, they kept my account banned. I have it back now, of course, but they didn’t cut me a break. They assumed that I was padding my DSR’s, and as a result, weren’t going to budge. Oh well… learned my lesson there! Ebay takes feedback manipulation pretty seriously. Sell recipes with caution! :D

  2. Cuddles says:

    I was also punished for leaving honest feedback about someone and they called it feedback manipulation. I call this ebay manipulation. They don’t want anyone leaving negative feedback no matter what. There is not point to feedback when we can’t be honest and no point to ebay. I cancelled all my ebay, paypal and half accounts immediately and am not coming back. They treat us like children. It started with sellers. Now it’s buyers.

    • Trevor says:

      @Cuddles: That’s really too bad. ebay’s feedback system has been far from flawless over the years. There are still things that really bother me. For example, I got a negative from a buyer in Russia that claims the item never came. I had provided tracking info. I shipped the item out right on time… so they opened a case against me, and I told them that rather than risk shipping it again and having it get lost, I would simply refund them and take the loss on the product myself. BOOM – next day, negative feedback. I was so mad. And to this day, ebay won’t do anything about it. I have since tried to reach out to the buyer to do anything to rectify the situation, but they won’t respond. Guess I’m out of luck. Oh well – you do what you can.

  3. Cuddles says:

    Forgot to mention that I tried to access customer support on their site to challenge this and they were inaccessible, of course. So these people will keep getting away with defrauding people and ebay lets them get away it just like the fake sellers.

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