back to article eBay has locked me into undeletable Catch-22 trap, complains biz bod

A businessman has accused online tat bazaar eBay of trapping him in a Catch-22 style data retention loop after blocking him from deleting his company’s account on the site. Richard Stebbings, owner of transit box biz Panzer Cases, told us eBay was refusing to delete his account by implementing odd rules – which may put it into …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just wait...

    until GDPR...then hit the fuckers.

    1. Jim Mitchell Silver badge

      Re: Just wait...

      I thought GDPR applied to natural people? This seems to be a company account.

      1. 0laf Silver badge

        Re: Just wait...

        Correct. Unless he's a sole trader then it gets a bit more complicated.

      2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        Re: Just wait...

        I thought GDPR applied to natural people? This seems to be a company account.

        "Corporations are people, too*, my friend."

        -- Mitt Romney

        * In the US, anyway.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon

          Re: Just wait...

          Let me get this straight..I register a company account and tell them its address is the same as 'person x'.

          If I then run that company below their thresholds they will also suspend the account of 'person x'?

          DoS anyone?

          I wonder if it works the other way round (get a personal account suspended and affect a company account)?

  2. Mark #255

    Is the GDPR a red herring here?

    I thought the GDPR was about personal data.

    Panzer Cases appears to be a company, not just this bloke's personal ebay account.

  3. sisk

    EBay's minimum seller performance is pretty stringent. In order to cancel 5 transactions due to buggy software you have to have sold at least 251 items during that month. And it may be as high as 300 depending upon how EBay rounds percentages. Personally I'd have ditched the software after the first time it listed an item it shouldn't have.

    That said, I don't think it was right of EBay to mark this as a case of fraud if the buyers did, in fact, get their refunds. And from what I understand that mark of fraud is the only reason his account was permanently suspended.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Online tat bazaars are their own worst enemy. They waltz around pretending rules don't apply to them, shitting on people as they see fit, being judge, jury and executioner, then wonder why Governments enact legislation that really starts to fuck with them - principally because they're abusing rights they feel only they should have.

      Uber went from 0-fail at lightning speed with their industrialised corporate arrogance. eBay seems to be on a slow boil but they're getting there. Just because you're online doesn't mean the rules don't apply. The point at which you start putting down physical roots in a geographical location is the point at which the local Government has you by the balls, and squeeze them they will.

      The bit that annoys me is it didn't have to be this way. They could make billions by tax avoidance by just offering a good service and good prices, but then they seem to ruin it all by getting a God-complex.

  4. Sven Coenye

    Nothing new here

    eBay has been pulling crap like this since forever. At some point, they emitted an unpalatable update to their T&Cs. Guess what? I could not delete the account without agreeing to the new terms. Worst of all, they blocked use of the attached credit card for transactions entirely outside eBay if the vendor used the PayPal tentacle for payment processing.

  5. The Flying Hutchman

    GDPR doesn't work like that

    Whilst you can request your personal information be deleted under GDPR, companies do not have to blindly comply with your request - if they have a reason to hold it, for historical sales records, fraud prevention etc, then they're perfectly entitled to and there's nothing you can do about it.

    You can still amend your given consent (for marketing purposes etc), and they are still culpable for protecting the data you hold on them...but they can retain your data for as long a they wish / are required to do so.

  6. Splicer

    GDPR wont change anything

    As far as eBay is concerned they have a legitimate interest in keeping this data to prevent fraud. So they have no reason to delete the data even once GDPR kicks in.

    In addition, the right to erasure only applies to data that you needed to obtain via consent I very much doubt eBay obtained consent for these details and instead depend on that they need the data to fulfil the contract.

  7. Phalanx

    GDPR covers a "natural" or "legal" person, so a human being or a company.

  8. J27 Silver badge

    I think the key problem here is that he told them that he was using automated management software, eBay's really strict about that.

    It's nice to see eBay actually enforcing their fraud rules, it wasn't long ago that it seemed like every 2nd eBay transaction I tried was cancelled.

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      I think the key problem here is that he told them that he was using automated management software, eBay's really strict about that.

      Are you certain about that? Because then Auctiva would have been violating feeBay rules for 15 years or more then. For that matter, feeBay used to produce their OWN auction management tool (of course, as is the case for ANYTHING produced by fleaBay, it was shit).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Fraud is RIFE on ebay.

      I was selling some electronic items and almost as soon as they ended, a brand new account would bid a super high amount then simply not pay.

      Someone selling the same items as me probably. But ebay cant do fuck all about it.

      So I have to piss around with "2nd chance buyers" or relist then wait again.

      They are useless.

      And DONT get me started on paypal and their flagrant disregard for the law.

      1. Ahab Returns

        Re: Bollocks.

        Exactly the same thing here.

        Listed a printer three times last month and every time a massive bid from a zero feedback account that was deleted minutes later. My guess is dodgy dealers who don't want "their" customers getting a bargain.

        As long as Ebay stops zero feedback bid blocking this is going to continue. Ebay needs to change or expire gracefully.

        I eventually sold it through Gumtree.

  9. hellwig

    Copyright and Trademark?

    If eBay effectively cut this man off from his company's portal telling him it is no longer his, wouldn't they be in violation of any copyright/trademarked material contained within the site? The profile name, logos, etc...?

    Effectively eBay is not operating as this man's company without his consent. Sounds illegal to me.

  10. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    I'm sure that if we were to see the advertised product...

    ...we would conclude that it is an open and shut case.

  11. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I found the complete opposite with Ebay in the last week, I had an old ebay account that I hadn't logged into for about 3 years, I tried to login and the ebay site said that the account was no longer recognised even when i tried to do a password reset. I therefore spoke to their customer service to be told that because my account was inactive for this time with no purchases or items sold it has been deleted and there was no way i could get it back. I was a bit pissed since I had that account since about 2004 and had built up a few hundred feedback.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > which Stebbings blamed on automated auction software causing problems.

    Said the company spokeswoman, Mandy Rice-Davies...

  13. GGoo

    ebay are quite possibly one of the worst companies to try and deal with to resolve this sort of thing. A similar thing happened to me too.

    I had been selling a lot of items over a few months and one day got notification that my selling rights had been removed.

    Upon speaking to ebay support, they claimed that it was due to my low DSRs (detailed seller ratings). I had 5 star DSRs on each category. When explaining this to support, they said it was also based on Feedback - of which I had 100% positive! I argued the case for a few weeks on and off, via telephone, email and twitter to no success.

    I later requested my account to be deleted, only to be told that wasn't possible.

  14. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    Meg's place

    eBay have been arrogant, obnoxious dickwads for nearly as long as they've been in existence. The disadvantage is they managed to run any viable competitors out of business. What was once a handy site for collectables has become a bastion of chintsy knockoff tat.

    Most importantly; remember this was Meg Whitman's company before she left to stomp her spiked heels into the dying corpse of HP.

  15. raving angry loony

    unregulated rip-off site

    EBay is just another example of an unregulated business that makes up the rules it wants as it goes along. From stripping all funds from "linked" bank accounts, to this type of bullshit, anyone using EBay is just asking to be fucked with a rusty chainsaw by one of the most unethical companies around. Sure, it can be profitable - until they take a dislike to you for ANY reason, and then it's bend over and kiss your money goodbye.

    1. Spartacus Mills

      Re: unregulated rip-off site

      I'm perplexed why any established business would use ebay for online sales. surely making a company website and selling independently through that would be the better option. (however I've never bought or sold through ebay so perhaps I'm missing something?)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: unregulated rip-off site

        with an established business I have my own site and sell on ebay, even though my ebay prices are higher and I make no attempt at hiding my websites address on ebay listings sales through ebay outnumber direct sales 10 to 1

        it's all down to audience size,

        1. Spartacus Mills

          Re: unregulated rip-off site

          fair enough, that pretty much answers my question.

          Just noticed these Panzer guys sell through amazon as well...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: unregulated rip-off site

          with an established business I have my own site and sell on ebay, even though my ebay prices are higher and I make no attempt at hiding my websites address on ebay listings sales through ebay outnumber direct sales 10 to 1

          it's all down to audience size,

          I have exactly the same thing. I try all sorts to encourage customers over to my website, including discount vouchers with all the ebay sales....I even use targeted facebook adverts to point people to my website....

          Buyers just know that if they have a problem they get the money back without any problem form ebay, so its worth it to them t pay the extra for the perceived peace of mind....

          1. PeteA

            Re: unregulated rip-off site

            Interesting - I prefer buying independently where possible (just got some kit from ebuyer, who were actually the cheapest of the 'usual suspects' for standard gear). Direct was (very roughly) 5% lower than Amazon price, and I really loathe the way Amazon treat me with the constant devaluation of their products.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: unregulated rip-off site

          "I make no attempt at hiding my websites address on ebay listings"

          how do you get away with that? My wife's eBay site got a 7 day restriction for pointing out our address is on every listing....

          I appealed it and got the restriction removed the same day... but they still took 7 days to remove it saying she should not have broke the rules anyway,,, even though the appeal was successful and agreed it was a "misunderstanding" they still kept the restriction in place !!!

          The customer asked if they could collect in person and asked for the address, We told them we cant give the address in a message as it breaks the rules, but the address is on the listing... the sale in question was worth 45p to ebay, but in the week i took to get things resolved it cost us a few hundred in sales....

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a difficult relationship with ebay.

    I have an online business and although I have my own website, the majority of sales are still through ebay so for all ebays shinangins I cant really cut them loose.

    They have sellers over a barrel and are constantly screwing us over. Everything relates back to the detailed seller reports, and one thing in particular boils my piss is the times that ebay give people for delivery. Second class post, if it arrives any later than the third working day, its a negitive on delivery times... even though its out of my control. The only recourse I have to get it removed is to get proof of post. So that means when I take my bag of packages to the post office I have to get them to stamp 30 to 50 slips of paper every day to say its been posted. its just not practical for the few that may be late every week.

    also, I have had customers leave feedback, then claim they have not had the item. Ebay will side with the buyer.

    Ebay are entirely centred on the customer. They will do everything to keep the customer happy, they know without buyer confidence they will loose money. they know sellers have nowhere else to go that has the market size ebay has. Amazon is just too much of a pain in the arse to sell on their platform. eBay just screw the sellers over..... and over and over.....

    I had one customer return an empty envelope, but because they sent it recorded they automatically got a refund. ebay did not care and would not remove the negitive feedback. I ended up having to report it to the police as fraud. only for them ( or someone on their behalf) to do it again they used a different name and address, but it was not far from the first address... the wife did some stalking, and it appears that the two people knew each other and were friends on Facebook. So the fraud was reported to the police again, ebay still refunded them and would not remove the negative feedback. Eventually, the par were arrested, questioned and charged with fraud which they pleaded guilty. It was only when I sent all the details including the conviction that I got my money back and more importantly the feedback removed.

    I currently have one person 218 days after delivery make a complaint to the credit card that the item was not as described. It was out of time for both ebay and paypal, and even the credit card chargeback process limits NAD claims to 120 days. but paypal still took £300 from my paypal account while its under investigation. The only information They gave me was "Not as described" . No doubt I will get my money back, but I have had a similar thing happen before, (for a lot less money) and it took 60 days to get my money back...

    I have to say, the majority of buyers are honest, but its the few that know how to scam the system that makes it get to a point of why do I bother....

    1. Martin-73

      Ebay are utter, utter scum

      I used to have quite a thriving business on there. Then the DSRs happened,. and they started doing what you mentioned AC, the frankly ridiculous delivery guesses. I called them, and told them to go f*** themselves. In precisely those words. Knowing full well they had my customer details on the conversation. They seemed to want me to come back however? Apologized for their behaviour, etc.

      Still wouldn't let me delete my account however.

  17. Oengus

    Ridiculous time frames for deletion

    I started to create an account on FleaBay to buy some items and found I could get them close by faster (and at the same price). Also, FleaBay wanted personal information that should only be between the seller and myself. Because of this I never finished the account creation. I decided to close and request deletion of the account (that had only been partially established for 15 mins). I was told it would take at least 6 weeks to delete the account. When I escalated it they changed their tune and said 7 days which is still ridiculous. They should have been able to check the history and delete the account while I was on the phone.

    I'll bet that they have never deleted the account only "hidden" it so they can use the little data form data matching...

    Chances of me ever buying something through FleaBay are rapidly approaching 0.

  18. hoola Silver badge

    eBay polices are just insane

    A while back I bought some flooring that was collect only. This obviously requires you to know where the seller lives and communicate with them. Phone numbers were blocked in messaging so eventually the address was put in. A short while late both my account and the seller's account had been restricted as we were trying to complete a transaction outside of eBay. After hours of fruitless chat and phone calls the eBay drone agreed that it was stupid but there was nothing they could do about it. After more passing around they took the restrictions off.

    I believe that bit of lunacy may have been corrected with the seller address now being visible after purchase.

    On another occasion I was trying to buy a bike but was unhappy that the seller would only accept cash, outside of eBay. I abandoned that and reported him with the only result that I ended up being restricted because I attempted to complete a transaction outside of eBay.


    1. Spartacus Mills

      Re: eBay polices are just insane

      mental and bonkers. sadly I think the whole e-world is following suit...

  19. imanidiot Silver badge

    Ebay will die a slow death

    With sites like Banggood, DX and Aliexpress growing stronger and stronger (and building a reputation of actually being reliable enough to trust with business) ebay is going to lose a lot of the chinese tat sellers that seem to be the driving force. Let's see how long they last.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The same level of mindless incompetence

    can be found in PayPal.

    It took me 6 weeks to get a business account to work properly so that I could get money OUT of it. During that time paypal was very happy to accept thousands of pounds INTO it.

    1. KroSha

      Paypal problems

      A Polish games company I deal with has stated very clearly that they will not be offering PayPal as an option on their latest KickStarter. This is entirely due to the difficulties that they had getting PayPal to release funds after their previous £1.7m campaign.

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