The organization, which is supposed to protect the intellectual property rights of third parties on eBay, came knocking at my door recently and took down one of my listings without any real explanation. It simply stated that I had somehow violated its policies. I knew there was no violation. I even checked my saved listing on Auctiva and re-read every word. Nada. The wording was mine, the image was mine and I was stumped. Then out of curiosity, I checked my Sellathon stats.
Lo and behold, only three people had viewed my listing before it was ended: me, another eBay seller—who was selling the same product—and eBay, which viewed it immediately before the listing was removed.
Had this other seller simply filed a false report to eBay, hoping to get the listing pulled? According to eBay, “Only the intellectual property rights owner can report potentially infringing items or listings through eBay’s VeRO Program.” But how could the “rights owner” report my listing without clicking and viewing my listing?
Needless to say, I was fuming.
After taking a day to calm down, I contacted eBay for an explanation. I was told to contact Net Enforcers, the company that had requested my listing be pulled. If I didn’t get a response within seven days, I was told, I should contact eBay again. So I e-mailed Net Enforcers, politely asking for an explanation of what VeRO policy I had violated.
Seven days passed with no response. On the eighth day, I contacted eBay and asked it to contact Net Enforcers, or at least get someone from the company to respond to my e-mail. That’s the least I deserved, right?
A few days later I checked my e-mail, and there in my inbox was a message from Net Enforcers (after some prodding from eBay, no doubt). There was no explanation, only this terse statement: “We are retracting the notification we sent to eBay, thank you.”
A separate e-mail from eBay read, “We have restored your listing…We’re sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you.” Still no explanation, but hey, I’ll take the apology (and the credit for the listing fees I had paid, by the way).
I learned something from this experience and that is: You shouldn’t just sit back and say nothing when one of your listings gets taken down if you know you’ve done nothing wrong. Ask questions. Get an explanation. Don’t just let it eat away at you. If you believe you did nothing wrong, fight back. It worked for me, and I hope it will work for you if you ever find yourself in a similar situation.
Has VeRO ever come knocking on your door? How did you handle the situation?
Rebecca Miller is Auctiva.com's Product Manager. As an eBay seller of more than 13 years, Rebecca is well tuned into the needs of online sellers, and serves as an internal advocate for merchants. She continuously monitors Auctiva's Community Forums, answering customer's questions and taking their feedback to developers for future enhancements. Rebecca continues to sell on eBay, and has experience as a PowerSeller and a Top-rated Seller.