eBay Seller Punished For Following Nude Art Policy

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


UPDATE 11-27-22

The seller reports eBay has not processed the store fee credit as promised and the issue with listings being restricted from search still has not been resolved.

eBay's changes to the adult content policy last year caused issues for many sellers and it appears some of those issues are still ongoing.

One media seller reached out to me with a recent problem involving eBay placing an adult content warning on nude art prints and removing them from search, even though the seller was following all policy requirements including using the appropriate item specifics, while others who were not following the policy did not face the same restrictions.

As you know, with the start of Managed Payments, the "adult only" section was removed from eBay. However, nudity is still allowed in the art section within certain constraints, one of them being that the subject (in item specifics) is listed as "nudes." I just clicked on my store about an hour ago, and one of these nude art listings happened to be towards the top, but in place of what should have been the listing title, was the text, "Adult only item - requires verification".

Prior to Managed Payments, I had maybe 3 or 4 listings in the adult only section (not the art section) that would have that notification. At that time, if you clicked on it, you would get an agreement saying that you were confirming that you were 18+, etc., and once you agreed, you could see the listing.

Since the adult only category was removed, I have never seen this notation. I clicked on the listing, and was not taken to the 18+ agreement, but rather directly to the listing, as usual. However, I remembered that adult only listings were not searchable on eBay unless you were specifically searching that section (a major problem for me, since these items were art prints and fashion magazines, not the typical "porn" type items that were common to that category).

So, I thought I would search for this item in a regular eBay search. Β Sure enough, it was hidden completely. Worse yet, there was another seller with the same print that WAS showing in search! Β The difference? The other seller was violating eBay's policy by not specifying "nudes" in the item specific. I searched a few other similar listings of mine, and all my nude art seems to be hidden from search.

I called eBay and they reported that it was a known issue they are working on and they would add my account to the list effected, but did not have a timeframe for a fix. I explained that this would be a frustrating situation any time of year, but on the Wednesday leading up to the busiest shopping weekend of the year, it was completely unacceptable.

I said I wanted a month of my store credited ($21.95 - pretty generous on my part to not ask for more, I think). The rep said he couldn't discuss credits, but could get me to someone who could. I spoke to another rep who initially said that I had paid nothing to list the item in question (I gave her one item number as an example, but despite telling her, I don't think she understood that this was happening on quite a few of my listings).

I explained that I paid $21.95 each month for my store, so that I could list this, and all other, items for sale. Eventually, she did agree to credit me in the amount of $21.95. If you decide to cover this story, maybe you could recommend that other sellers ask for similar compensation.

I'm glad to hear eBay did at least provide a store fee credit for this seller and highly encourage other sellers in this situation to contact support with the same request for compensation.

However, that does not address the very real damage in lost sales that some businesses may face due to this issue, especially during the busy holiday shopping season.

Hopefully eBay will get this "known issue" sorted out ASAP.

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Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!

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