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kellysheroesmilitaria Update 6: eBay Third Party Reporting Case Study Conclusion

August 13, 2008 by  

As noted previously (see kellysheroesmilitaria Original Props: Update 4, eBay Third Party Reporting Case Study), I had used the eBay third party reporting systems (see eBay & Third Party Reporting (Fraud, Violations of Policy) to alert eBay to problematic listings while testing the effectiveness of sharing material information directly with eBay through their public systems in an effort to help them to enforce their own policies.  This article serves as an update and conclusion, marked by the occasion of kellysheroesmilitaria relisting one of the primary auctions reported to eBay.

As detailed in the Update 4 and Update 5 articles, eBay seller kellysheroesmilitaria purchased what appears to be the same item from eBay seller kristinsantiques on July 22, 2008.  The item purchased by kellysheroesmilitaria was not marketed as used in the HBO production, Band of Brothers.  kellysheroesmilitaria listed the uniform for sale on eBay as “[w]orn at the end of the movie at the surrender of the Germans at the airfield” in the series, Band of Brothers.

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As reported in Update 5, this listing was ended early by the seller.

On July 18 and August 3, I reported this listing and other problematic listings to eBay, via the third part reporting tools, with links to applicable Original Prop Blog articles.  To my knowledge, no eBay action has resulted from these reports.

“Band of Brothers” Uniform Relisted

The German uniform was relisted yesterday (see eBay Item #190244093615):

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It appears that the listing may have been ended early by the seller originally in order to comply with eBay’s Offensive Material Policy, which prohibits “Nazi memorabilia”.  In comparing the first listing and the second listing, a German pin has been removed from the coat or hidden under the hat:

If you reference the listing of the German uniform purchased by kellysheroesmilitaria, the original seller states in the marketing description:

THERE ARE TWO PIN HOLES WHERE A WAR PIN WAS BUT EBAY MADE ME TAKE IT OFF IN ORDER TO SELL THE SUIT

eBay Trust & Safety (SafeHarbor)

Given the complete lack of response from eBay, or any evidence of investigation or consequences with these listings, I started a discussion topic on eBay’s “Answer Center” discussion forums yesterday.

I initiated the topic in the “Trust & Safety (SafeHarbor)” forum [see Home > Community > Answer Center > Trust & Safety (SafeHarbor)].

Per eBay:

Welcome to the Trust & Safety (SafeHarbor) Answer Center!
The place eBay members can ask questions about Trust & Safety initiatives. These are Member-to-Member Question & Answer boards. Please feel free to ask advice from other members or help others by providing answers to their questions. If you are not an eBay registered user, please register here first – it’s fast and free! Otherwise, browse the questions below to find the answers you need, or submit a new question for others to answer. Prior to posting, please read and familiarize yourself with the eBay Answer Center FAQ and the eBay Board Usage Policies.

Shortly after posting my topic, it was deleted (LINK):

Below is an archive of the topic prior to its deletion by eBay:

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eBay Third Party Reporting, eBay Trust & Safety (SafeHarbor) Report: Case Study Conclusion

As a conclusion to this case study – reporting to eBay directly using their suggested third party reporting tools as well as utilizing the public “member to member” Trust & Safety (SafeHarbor) discussion forum – it appears clear in my experience that sharing material facts with regards to eBay sellers and active listings does not prompt eBay to enforce their own policies.

More, in posting about these same issues in the public, eBay-managed “Trust & Safety” discussion forum, eBay proactively deleted the information posted for the benefit of eBay and fellow eBay members.

Given the complete lack of transparency with eBay in how they manage these issues internally, it truly is a mystery as to how they run their business, make decisions, and enforce policy.

More details can be found about kellysheroesmilitaria here: LINK

Jason De Bord

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