eBay is really starting to crack down on sellers...

ur20v

Active Member
Original poster
Feb 3, 2017
442
Northern Virginia
So in the past week I have had three auctions for beacons or other lights I was bidding on disappear without a trace, and one buy-it-now sale for a Whelen strobe that I bought and paid for was also removed *after the sale*. I contacted the seller last night to ask if they had shipped it yet (since it had been 5 days without any update) and I got a worried-sounding reply this morning saying no, they didn't ship it, and that eBay chastised them for selling "blue lights", and they'd refund my money after they talked to eBay today, blah blah blah. I was going to argue since I paid for it and they had my money they should just send it, but thought better of it... Instead I told them in the future to remove lenses and domes of any red and blue lights when they photograph them and list them and replace them before shipping to protect the bulb or strobe tube... I doubt that will get me anywhere, but we will see. I've also noticed several new auctions and listings disappear without a trace over the last couple of days, and then I saw this on a listing for something being sold by "lightbarparts":

"Unfortunately, Due to eBay's strict policy regarding listing restricted products i.e. Police Related items we will no longer list any items on eBay that contain, Blue or Red Lenses, Filters, Domes, Lights (LED or Halogen) or Electronic Sirens We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause however we cannot afford to be suspended from eBay once again due to these violations!"

So it looks like eBay is stepping up enforcement of the rules and it's really just going to affect/hurt us collectors of older stuff with colored domes and filters, and not the whackers and wannabes who load up on the LED stuff with clear lenses.
 
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Reactions: fp13-2
May 21, 2010
1,058
Minnesota
They seem to go in waves with crackdowns but it is nothing new. I suspect they do not look much themselves but more rely on reporting. So if someone gets reported and item taken down, they report others. Then those people report and the wave starts. They did have a pretty big crackdown a couple years ago. I stopped selling when they dropped paypal and very rarely even look there anymore. The only bummer is that stuff does seem to sell for more there generally.
 
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EMT-BLS

Member
Oct 28, 2011
2,640
Waterbury, CT
Rumor has it that a big name in lighting is putting pressure on eBay, so it logically follows that eBay is just enforcing everything across the board. And of course, as always, the Chinese importers remain unscathed.
 

ur20v

Active Member
Original poster
Feb 3, 2017
442
Northern Virginia
Rumor has it that a big name in lighting is putting pressure on eBay, so it logically follows that eBay is just enforcing everything across the board. And of course, as always, the Chinese importers remain unscathed.

Another one of my hobbies is amateur radio (no, I'm not a whacker, I swear! No lights on any of my cars that didn't come from the factory!) and using professional/public safety radios. Motorola makes some incredible stuff, but they sure don't like enthusiasts and hobbyists selling new parts, parts-built radios, or even refurbished stuff. More than one hobbyist has felt the wrath of Motorola's lawyers over the years, and I'm not talking about for blatantly illegal stuff like distributing pirated software or anything like that. Motorola usually ends up losing the legal fight over stuff like parts-built radios or salvaged/refurbished radios and they often go into it knowing they will lose, but they inflict severe financial pain on the defendants the entire way.

I'd hate to think a handful of lawyers in Chester or Oak Brook is putting the screws to eBay because people are selling old, used equipment or a handful of new parts. I seriously doubt ebay sales have any measurable impact on any of the big company's resellers.
 

EMT-BLS

Member
Oct 28, 2011
2,640
Waterbury, CT
Another one of my hobbies is amateur radio (no, I'm not a whacker, I swear! No lights on any of my cars that didn't come from the factory!) and using professional/public safety radios. Motorola makes some incredible stuff, but they sure don't like enthusiasts and hobbyists selling new parts, parts-built radios, or even refurbished stuff. More than one hobbyist has felt the wrath of Motorola's lawyers over the years, and I'm not talking about for blatantly illegal stuff like distributing pirated software or anything like that. Motorola usually ends up losing the legal fight over stuff like parts-built radios or salvaged/refurbished radios and they often go into it knowing they will lose, but they inflict severe financial pain on the defendants the entire way.

I'd hate to think a handful of lawyers in Chester or Oak Brook is putting the screws to eBay because people are selling old, used equipment or a handful of new parts. I seriously doubt ebay sales have any measurable impact on any of the big company's resellers.
I doubt Whelen woke up and got angry someone was selling a SlimMiser. I think they're just pointing a bazooka at a mosquito and the fallout doesn't affect them, but it definitely affects us. We all know there are no legal issues selling/owning emergency lighting, but a lack of logic never stopped eBay - and it ain't gonna be starting now.
 

ur20v

Active Member
Original poster
Feb 3, 2017
442
Northern Virginia
I doubt Whelen woke up and got angry someone was selling a SlimMiser. I think they're just pointing a bazooka at a mosquito and the fallout doesn't affect them, but it definitely affects us. We all know there are no legal issues selling/owning emergency lighting, but a lack of logic never stopped eBay - and it ain't gonna be starting now.

My deep running and long held respect for Whelen just fell quite a bit. It really bugs me whenever any company starts swinging their dick around like that.

And you're right, eBay is run by a bunch of thin-skinned, spineless cowards who value money over all else. Their 13% cut of sales is shameful, especially when they won't stand up for their sellers and act so authoritarian.

If I had the wherewithal and resources I'd start a marketplace for sirens and lights. I enjoy and appreciate elightbars.org forum and sales avenue, but the audience is limited. I can only sell so many sirens to @tsquale and @tactiblox

I was there at the inception of gunbroker.com when things started getting weird on fleabay and that's been a pretty successful venture, not just for the creator, but all its users.
 

EMT-BLS

Member
Oct 28, 2011
2,640
Waterbury, CT
My deep running and long held respect for Whelen just fell quite a bit. It really bugs me whenever any company starts swinging their dick around like that.

And you're right, eBay is run by a bunch of thin-skinned, spineless cowards who value money over all else. Their 13% cut of sales is shameful, especially when they won't stand up for their sellers and act so authoritarian.

If I had the wherewithal and resources I'd start a marketplace for sirens and lights. I enjoy and appreciate elightbars.org forum and sales avenue, but the audience is limited. I can only sell so many sirens to @tsquale and @tactiblox

I was there at the inception of gunbroker.com when things started getting weird on fleabay and that's been a pretty successful venture, not just for the creator, but all its users.
Like you mentioned above, even winning a lawsuit is ultimately still a loss financially. eBay is certainly not going to war with a large manufacturer for a few grand in sales.
 

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
May 7, 2010
10,337
Northwest Ohio
The following is my personal opinion and is not in any way a statement for any business or being presented as coming from eBay or any other entity officially;

I highly doubt any manufacture is involved with eBay removals. A lot (if not all) of it starts with users reporting one another. The collectible market has been flooded with overpriced items. The "surplus" non-collectable market is starting degrade as "modern" lights stop being user serviceable. An increasing number of cheap junk new LEDs are saturating the categories that we are used to using. The eBay market is tight and reporting items is easier than ever. My take on the cycle is it starts when someone has a similar item, wants to thin things out, or has a grudge so they go on a mass reporting spree. eBay hits those and a few related items and keeps that rule on the radar for a hot minute. Then there are retaliatory reports made and "police items" are back on their radar front and center. Now it is a noticeable liability again. That makes it time to update their algorithm. Their overloaded and non-light-expert staff get to picking through stuff that is auto-flagged by algorithm and still being reported by the domino effect of pissed off sellers. There is no real oversight I can make out as far as the actual polices for any given type of item until it is a squeaky wheel.

The eBay market is not seller friendly for emergency equipment or emergency collectables. I mean it isn't really even seller friendly at all. Refund abuse runs rampant, cases are decided for the buyer pretty much by default. The seller foots the return shipping and gets the wrong item back some of the time. Every few years it gets a little worse. I will sell the occasional eBay item but never anything I can't afford to have returned broken for a full refund.

I don't think there is anything new going on here. This complaint makes the rounds every year or so. We have essentially the same thread and occasionally someone notes that there is increasing sales but also fraud on Facebook, Instagram or other sites. Then someone notes the difficulty with payment systems and getting worked over by either fees, buyer protection, fund freezes, policies or other issues with online buying or selling. It's the slow decline of the way we have become used to selling/buying. I am biased, but I would prefer if the vintage/collectable people retreated back to specialized forums (ahem...). There are a number of bad options for selling warning equipment to a larger audience than here or other specialized sites. These methods come with a greater number of less informed and higher paying audience members, but they all come with issues that continue to get worse. There is no one good way to sell this stuff online and not have a ton of hassles. I wish there was a "gunbroker type" answer to this, but there are size and number differences between firearms and emergency equipment. They are similar as far as liability, but the resale market for many types of emergency equipment is slim to none. Firearms often gain and hold value, emergency equipment isn't that way at all. Lights are one of the few portions of that equipment market that get resold. Otherwise emergency equipment is used until unusable and discarded or sold as collectable. The light/siren market alone is just a tad too specific and small to be ab le to support its own ecommerce empire. I made a failed go at that and didn't make enough money to absorb the liability of one (failed) lawsuit or to justify my time. After it became obvious the eLightbars wasn't going to be the gunbroker of lights facebook and other sites have been used, but aren't a great fit either IMHO. I don't think there is a great answer this. I know we have to cut this site and streamline it. In a smaller capacity it may gain a little traction, but again that large audience isn't going to be here. Everyone here will be an 'in the know buyer" and you won't make much money if you aren't buying elsewhere in person and then marking up only a small amount. I don't know the size of the the community selling what we sell and buy, but it is not "gunbroker huge", and the markup and profit potential isn't what it needs to be.
 
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JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
May 7, 2010
10,337
Northwest Ohio
Rumor has it that a big name in lighting is putting pressure on eBay, so it logically follows that eBay is just enforcing everything across the board. And of course, as always, the Chinese importers remain unscathed.
Rumor is they key word. I would believe a big seller is reporting other sellers, but a manufacturer is unlikely. This has happened before and it is always another "power seller". The same rumor went around when the counterfeit Federal Vipers landed, Federal cared about the counterfeiting, not the sales on eBay. It did cause eBay to notice and they pulled a lot of stuff. People blamed Federal, but they were only interested in their brand, not the resale of used items. eBay on the other hand cares about the liability of police impersonation and any tip off will put them in motion. Whelen has a lot on their plate and a few used eBay listings of their outdated stuff isn't one of them. Now if there were knock of versions of current Core stuff floating around it might be different.
 

JPstealth

Registered Member
Nov 11, 2018
53
North jersey
Yes it has gotten to the point where I’ve had several Amber items pulled. They banned me for a few days, it gets longer every time and I believe the last time they threatened permanence.

Unfortunately, I just gave up which is a shame because like if you have said, there is some good money to be made on eBay due to reaching a larger demographic.
 

DefianceEngineCompany

Senior Member
Apr 28, 2012
960
Knox County, ME
Same here I cant even sell parts or items within compliance without being reported or pulled and then I get banned. Iv stopped selling all together on eBay.

The other problem I have had is I have won a auction and they have removed the item after I had already paid for it, it took me months to get $200 back.
 

ur20v

Active Member
Original poster
Feb 3, 2017
442
Northern Virginia
Same here I cant even sell parts or items within compliance without being reported or pulled and then I get banned. Iv stopped selling all together on eBay.

The other problem I have had is I have won a auction and they have removed the item after I had already paid for it, it took me months to get $200 back.

Yeah, this seller refuses to send me the light and wants to refund me a different way than I paid. Just send me the freaking light! I promise I won't tell the ebay a-holes.
 

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
May 7, 2010
10,337
Northwest Ohio
Yeah, this seller refuses to send me the light and wants to refund me a different way than I paid. Just send me the freaking light! I promise I won't tell the ebay a-holes.
Ebay caught me trying to complete the deal off eBay not long ago.... got warned. I think eBay usually looks for what happens when they go on a crack down. Completing the deal after and item is pulled is one more thing they are looking for. Their filter caught me providing my contact info to a buyer when we hadn't had a completed sale. It is pretty specific. I'm taking an eBay break, it will blow over but eBay still isn't a great resource even when in a "chill" phase.
 
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ur20v

Active Member
Original poster
Feb 3, 2017
442
Northern Virginia
So she refunded me the cost, but shorted me $5, had to remind her ebay was not magnanimous and took a chunk, but she made it right. Turns out she lives right near where we were on vacation last week and it irks me that I didn't even pay attention to that fact and could've just picked it up. Oh well.
 

ur20v

Active Member
Original poster
Feb 3, 2017
442
Northern Virginia
Of course since she refunded me via PayPal instead of ebay, they had to get their grubby paws on a share of it. Overall a loss.
 

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
May 7, 2010
10,337
Northwest Ohio
Of course since she refunded me via PayPal instead of ebay, they had to get their grubby paws on a share of it. Overall a loss.
That is BS. File a dispute with PayPal / eBay the refund method used is not correct. You shouldn't lose any $$$ on a refund. As the buyer eBay will refund you through their system if you file an item not received case (even on ended items). I had to do this exact thing recently for the same situation.
 
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JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
May 7, 2010
10,337
Northwest Ohio
 
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Tony P

Volunteer Moderator
Moderator
Sep 13, 2015
1,794
Midwest, USA

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
May 7, 2010
10,337
Northwest Ohio
I mean harassment of someone being critical of "their" policies isn't surprising, but to that extent is ridiculous. Obviously these people are not the whole company, but it makes me question the mindset in general if some top people go to these lengths over a critical website.
 

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