Vindicated

6


After 10 days of frustration, anger and just plain confusion, I finally feel vindicated for a false accusation of violating eBay’s Verified Rights Owner Program.

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?

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About the author

Rebecca Miller

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.

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6 Responses to "Vindicated"

  1. Dave says:

    Same thing happened to me, on authenticity of product. However, eBay would not help. Lost fees and reputation.

    It seems as long as everything is sweet, eBay is happy to accept fees, but when asked to enter reasonable explanation of action,eBay is GOD.

  2. CharlieL says:

    Glad you were vindicated. We recently were suspended for seven days for a VeRO violation that was false as well. It was claimed to be a “counterfeit” but when communicating with the “rights holder” it became apparent that this wasn’t the case. They simply had the rights to the IP in France and didn’t want anybody selling there other than themselves, and apparently, between VeRO, eBay and EEU, they can pull that off.

    Sadly, while we know some companies that strictly enforce the provisions of “parallel importation” in the European Economic Area (Nike, for one) they at least have an “about us” page on VeRO to explain that. This rights owner doesn’t even show up on the VeRO list.

    But the commenter above so truthfully stated, “eBay is happy to accept fees,” but when asked to behave like a descent business, suddenly, they are “God,” and don’t need to show you…evidence or follow any rules.

  3. Christine says:

    I had a different experience. I had several listings on eBay for more than five years, all for the same product. Then one of my long-time buyers told me that someone was using my words, for a similar product, so I took a look at their listing, and they were. They had more than 5 paragraphs, word for word, from my 7-paragraph listing that the other seller was using, in the same order even.

    So, I contacted eBay. Well, they said, they were not even similar. I called eBay, I e-mailed eBay, I chatted with eBay, and each time they said they were not similar, so exactly how many paragraphs have to be exactly the same to be considered copyright infringement?

  4. BARBARA JACOBSON says:

    I had pictures of my items stolen. These items, I machine embroidered and had been selling for a I had pictures of my items stolen. These items, I machine embroidered and had been selling for a few years. I decided to try another site for holding my pictures. So when I moved my pictures, I closed the other hosting site.

    Someone took several of my pics and added them to their site. They were now missing from my ads, eBay claiming they were not mine. When I complained, I was told I had to prove they were on my hosting site for a length of time. Well, as I closed that site and opened a new one, I had no proof. Not fair at all. I have a new site now and am using pics, they aren’t there anymore. Go figure.

  5. Harry says:

    Had the same problem, but nothing came of it. I called and e-mailed the rights owner, but no response. Once I contacted eBay after the 7 days, they said they would try contacting the rights owner and nothing happened there, either. They just didn’t get back to me. I sent several e-mails, but no reply about this from either side.

  6. Bob says:

    A similar thing happened to my employers, except ALL of their listings were taken down for a week. That was about 40 to 50 listings. They were selling a clearly labeled “used” product, and someone contacted eBay to say they were in violation by selling a “new” product that they had exclusive rights to sell.

    eBay didn’t even look (to) verify that their listing said “used” versus “new.” They just shut them down cold with no recourse, and of course no further useful communication. I’ve had similar “you’re in violation of our policies” with Amazon Product Ads, and I’m really disgusted with them and their one-way handling of customer (me) satisfaction.

    The laugh is they constantly send me surveys asking about how well they are doing, but when I tell them my concerns, it goes nowhere. I will be happy to see the competitive marketplace eventually stick it to them as they deserve. I just wish it could be sooner. I laughed big time when I heard Amazon was recently offline due to some hacker-type issue that was costing them something like $51K/minute…

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