eBay Threatened to Suspend My Account: Here Is Why & How You Can Avoid the Same Situation

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ebay site interference policy warning

eBay Warning For Buying From Two Accounts

I cover a lot of eBay gift card deals here on Miles to Memories. These deals always come with a limit of how many can be purchased with each account. The reason for this is because eBay doesn’t like people buying and reselling. They would rather that more customers get a change to purchase the deals. This makes perfect sense to me.

For years now, my wife and I have had our own separate eBay accounts. During some really good deals, we both choose to purchase the limit. If a deal is marginal, then we tend to only purchase from one account or the other. This has worked perfectly and I haven’t had any issues until now.

The other day I purchased 4 X $50 Saks Gift cards and 1 X $50 Jiffy Lube gift cards and so did my wife. Since the cards were discounted to $40 each, the total was $200 which was a nice round number to clear out our $200 eBay gift cards purchased from Newegg with the Amex Offer. A few hours after the transactions, I received the following email:

We’re pleased to have you as part of the eBay Community. However, we are contacting you regarding a violation of eBay?s Site Interference policy.

Listings promoted on the eBay Deals have a limit on the amount of items you can purchase, primarily to maintain an equal marketplace for all members and allow other eBay members the opportunity to take part in the eBay Deals.

The activity involved with these purchases appear to be related to the procurement of inventory for re-sale by a separate entity. If there is another reason for the volume purchased during this sale, please bring this to our attention.

We realize you may not have been aware of this policy, nor its full scope as it pertains to this matter. We invite you to learn more about this policy at the link below in order to keep your experiences oneBay pleasant and successful.

http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/everyone-interference.html

Please be aware that additional violations of this policy may result in your purchases being cancelled and a restriction or suspension of your buying and selling capabilities. We appreciate your understanding.

Thanks,

eBay

I have known several people who have received similar emails in the past, so I wasn’t surprised by this. Again, my wife and I are each using long established personal accounts to purchase. We are not using other tricks or multiple accounts beyond that. Just one account for me and one account for my wife. Additionally, we are not procuring these for another entity, but for ourselves. If we choose to sell them then fine, but we aren’t buying on anyone else’s behalf.

eBay’s Site Interference Policy

As you can see, the letter talks about their policy. I dug into the policy and here is what it says.

Examples of behavior that isn’t allowed include:

  • Creating additional eBay accounts to avoid selling restrictions or suspensions on your primary account
  • Creating additional accounts to circumvent buying limitations, or manipulate other site features.
  • Trying to transfer or sell your User ID or eBay account without our permission.
  • “Scraping,” or gathering data from our site for use on another site.
  • Repeated violations of a certain policy or sets of policies.
  • Purchasing your own items.

What to Do?

I don’t know what I am going to do at this point. Others have reported that they weren’t successful when challenging something like this. As you can see, we are not breaking any of the above rules. My wife and I are separate people who have had our personal accounts for a long time. Each of us only has one account and our household only has two accounts total.

At this point I think I am just going to lay low. I don’t believe we have been deceitful or manipulated eBay’s policies in any way. Still, I don’t want my account to get shutdown considering I have had it for a long time and occasionally sell products from it as well. This is a frustrating development, but one I am just going to accept for now.

What Should You Do?

I imagine many of you are in a similar situation to me in that as spouses you take advantage of good deals. If you are doing that, I would try to avoid placing the exact same order, especially if it contains multiple items. For example, I think what triggered this was the fact that I bought 4 of one card and 1 of the other. The orders were identical. I also used the same IP address which probably should be avoided as well. (But I have done that in the past without issue.)

Conclusion

The truth is that a husband and wife each buying the same deal isn’t against their rules, but it seems they are trying to enforce it that way. It stinks that you have to be sneaky, but what can you do? I’m not angry and am still deciding if I should escalate this to get my account unflagged or if I should just shut up and have only one of us purchase going forward.

Have you been in a similar situation with eBay? What happened to your account and have you had ongoing problems? Let us know in the comments!


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16 COMMENTS

  1. As I think you know this happened to me maybe half a year ago. Since then I had to stop buying items from two accounts and yes it’s definitely cost me. I was pretty peeved as I’m sure you are also. I agree with your sentiment as well. I wasn’t happy when I was not allowed to buy gift cards towards the purchase of a $300 car seat set (wasn’t for reselling).

    I spent a considerable amount of time looking into this and the conclusion I came to is there is no way of trying to sneak around it unless you’re wiling to use a fresh IP address (yes, one that’s NEVER been used for ebay purchases). You’d also have to use a different mailing address. This of course all ties in with PayPal as well.

    The effort to do this just isn’t worth it for anyone in our situation. If you’re a seller and were unjustly banned then maybe you’ll pick up a specific companies VPN and change your address (can use P.O Boxes as a physical address now). For us though it’s one of those bitter pills where it’s best to just move on. I’m actually surprised you were able to go this long without getting the dreaded mc1099 message.

    For me it kind of all ties into eBay’s shady system where they clawback cashback portal payouts and warn people for buying too many daily deals (from just one account). If they’re not willing to eat the losses on these DD (like a CC company is for anyone who defaults) then maybe they need to tone it down a bit and readjust their strategy, because you can’t have your cake and eat it too. I understand that they may be losing money but all I’m personally asking for is transparency and consistency. Don’t think this is happening any time soon though with the eBay and PayPal saga.

  2. I had a received a similar email except both accounts were in my name. I did nothing for several weeks and eventually the completely suspended both of my accounts permanently (which had $400 of ebay bucks I wont ever get to use)

    After hrs spent on the phone w ebay I got nowhere. They do not reconsider or re-activate.

    All this to buy an extra 4 gift cards. Not worth it for sure! Dont mess with this folks. They are very strict on this rule

  3. I have been learning a lot. Started in on a lot of this MS-ing and Travel points just this year. One lesson I have truly taken to heart though is use an Incognito FRESH browser window for EVERYTHING. Each transaction or whatever I do. I close the browser, open it and then start an incognito window and close the original.

    No, I am not sure that it solves everything but it seems to be helping me on a few odds and ends.

    eBay is really goofy on stuff like this but with over 6300 feedbacks and a 18 year history with them, I do not mess with them or PayPal. I handle them with kid gloves!

  4. I got the same message and called them. Seems to me that they are violating my privacy by keeping track of my IP.
    I am ready to stop using Ebay as well as Paypal.

  5. Same exact situation for my wife and I. But they closed her account AND my mothers AND my mother in laws.

    My account is still open right now, no idea why.

    But yeah, not a fan of eBay at all.

  6. This happened to my account and my husbands separate account about 6 months ago. We have not tried purchasing the same deals since that time.

  7. My wife and I got the the same email three months ago. I have completed stopping using two accounts to purchase discount Gift cards. So far both of our ebay accounts are still fine. However, one of my paypal account has ebay checkout issues since then. Fortunately, we have 4 paypal accounts, I just stop using the troublesome paypal account.

  8. I received this email today and I only have one account! My husband does not have an account at all and could not turn on a computer if his life depended on it! No one else in the house… Kids are grown and I doubt they are buying the same exact things I am! Called eBay and spent a lot of time on hold… Said they would get back to me by Tuesday afternoon as they are trying to figure out who the other account is… Said I had clearly not violated their policy. We’ll see…

  9. I had same issue. Ebay will link accts based on IP address, phone, home address, any information that’s similar and even home address that’s not even used anymore. I talked to a manager at Ebay and she claimed I was lying to her and that it wasn’t really me, my wife and my brother buying a daily deal and I just created aliases. I told her to call them and verify that it’s really them but she refused and claimed to have information that it was really me using aliases. I told her I don’t live at the previous address I used when I originally set up the acct and later changed to reflect current address but she said it didn’t matter because I had lived there once. So basically Ebay wants me to call my brother (we don’t even live together) and make sure he’s not buying a daily deal when I am otherwise they’ll close my acct. Calling eBay did nothing but create frustration.

  10. Same here. They even linked my account with my mother’s who lives in a different city, because I play with eBay on my iPhone on her Wifi while I’m there visiting. They suspended me, my wife, and my mom, for two weeks over us buying Lowe’s gift cards from different computers and everything. I spent hours on the phone talking to reps and supervisors. Long story short — they don’t care. They told me they were “protecting the masses.” I told them I thought it was complete B.S. that they send me sometimes 5 e-mails a day advertising their daily deals and then treat me like a criminal for buying things from the sale ads they sent me. That’s what stores like Walmart do to shoplifters – they ban them. Banning paying customers who are responding to your advertising is rather counter-productive. Rant over.

  11. Oh and one more thing. Supervisor admitted we weren’t violating the policy — but said don’t do it because they lifetime ban people all the time for it. Like college students who live in an apartment together and all buy discount Applebee’s gift cards to go out after a ballgame!

  12. This was very shocking to hear as I was also faced with an MC999 warning for taking advantage of deals on eBay around the thanksgiving week.

    Yesterday considering it was cyber Monday, I received another MC999 warning to which they stated they are looking more into my account!!?

    I was confused as to how my account was risky when all I was doing was buying stuff. I would think eBay would be glad about that, but apparently not.

    I also read here: http://auctionessistance.com/ebay-buyer-mc999/ that most users are also getting the same warning.

    Has anyone else getting these warnings? Have you got your accounts suspended permanently?

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