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April 4, 2008

Now I’m restricted from eBay

Filed under: eBay — estreet @ 1:05 pm
Tags: ,

Man, talk about being hair trigger with the eBay policies.  Today I got nailed for shill bidding.  Let me explain.

Like a good eBay developer, I followed eBay’s recommendation to leave positive feedback upon payment from the buyer. 

It’s impossible to test feedback in the eBay sandbox.  So on eBay production, I created and bought two $1 listings clearly labeled “Test – Do not bid” in the title and description in the “Everything Else -> Test Auctions -> General” category.

I tested it and it worked.  The client’s code was successfully released 7 days ago.

Today all my listings were cancelled and my account restricted for 14 days for shill bidding.  I had to take the shill bidding tutorial.  (It was actually pretty interesting.  Your relatives, friends and coworkers/employees can’t bid on your listings.)

I can ride out the 14 days.  But I really want to be able to spot test on production before affecting tens of thousands of listings.  Now what? 

Lessons learned:

  1. “Test-Do not bid” listings in the Test category do not give you special privileges on
  2. Don’t bother with eBay’s live chat, make your case by responding to the notice from your My eBay page.
  3. TBD.  I’m waiting for a response from a pink on the eBay developers forum for testing suggestions.


I hope you never get an email like this:

SB NOTICE: eBay Registration Warning – Shill Bidding

Hello xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx,This email is to notify you that your account privileges have been restricted for 14 days due to violation of our Shill Bidding Policy. During this period, you are limited to using only the Fixed Price Format when listing items for sale on eBay.

Shill Bidding is bidding that artificially increases an item’s price or apparent desirability. Shill Bidding is prohibited on eBay. Information on eBay’s Shill Bidding Policy can be found at:

At this time, in order to bid or list new items in the fixed-price format, you will need to complete a brief tutorial designed to help you better understand our policy regarding Shill Bidding. You’ll be asked to take the tutorial the next time you sign in to your eBay account. Once you’ve completed it, you can begin buying and selling again immediately. However, you will still be limited to using only the Fixed Price Format for a period of 14 days as stated above.

Your account has been found to be involved in Shill Bidding with the following associated accounts:xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxIf you have other eBay accounts, this restriction also applies to those accounts. During the term of this restriction, you may not register any new accounts.Your account will remain restricted for 14 days. Once you have completed the tutorial, and the 14 days have elapsed, the restrictions on your account will be lifted.


eBay Trust & Safety

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