For Seniors: How to Know What eBay Considers Prohibited Items

By Marsha Collier

eBay has its rules about the types of items you can sell. The following table lets you know what eBay considers prohibited items — items that you can’t sell on eBay (or give away) under any circumstances.

eBay Prohibited Items
Item Including Comments
Firearms and accessories Antique, collectible, sport, or hunting guns; air guns; BB
guns; silencers; converters; kits for creating guns; gunpowder;
high-capacity ammunition magazines; and armor-piercing bullets
You can’t even sell a gun that doesn’t work, but
you can buy and sell single bullets, shells, and even antique bombs
and musket balls — as long as they have nothing explosive in
them.
Military weapons Bazookas, grenades, and mortars
Police and other law-enforcement badges and IDs U.S. federal badges or imitation badges, federal agency
identification cards, credential cases, or those jackets they use
in raids
Selling a copy or reproduction of any of these items is
prohibited, too.
Replicas of official government identification documents or
licenses
Birth certificates, drivers’ licenses, and passports
Vehicle license plates Current plates or plates that claim to resemble current
ones
Expired license plates (at least 5 years old) are okay to sell
because they’re considered collectible — as long as
they are no longer valid for use on a vehicle.
Locksmithing devices These items can be sold only to authorized recipients. Federal
law prohibits the mailing of such devices.
Human parts and remains Organs such as kidneys, sperm, eggs, blood, or anything else
you manage to extricate from your body
You can’t even give away any of these items as a free
bonus with one of your auctions.
Drugs or drug paraphernalia Narcotics, steroids or other controlled substances, such as
gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), and items primarily intended or
designed for use in manufacturing, concealing, or using a
controlled substance
For example, you can’t sell 1960s-vintage cigarette
papers, bongs, or water pipes.
Anything that requires a prescription from a doctor, a dentist,
or an optometrist to dispense
Any drug that’s legal to use but requires a prescription
from a medical professional
Stocks, bonds, or negotiable securities Stock in new companies, investment property you may own, or
offers of credit
Note that antiques and collectible items, such as antique stock
certificates, are permitted.
Bulk e-mail lists E-mail or mailing lists that contain personal identifying
information, and tools or software designed to send unsolicited
commercial e-mail
Pets and wildlife, including animal parts from endangered
species
Any live pets or wildlife or dead endangered animals (such as
stuffed spotted owls or rhino-horn love potions)
Child pornography All materials
Forged items Autographs from celebrities and sports figures, for
example
Don’t even consider bidding on an autographed item unless
it comes with a Certificate of Authenticity
(COA).
Items that infringe on someone else’s copyright or
trademark
Satellite and cable TV descramblers All hardware and instructions on how to get around cable TV
scrambling
Bypassing scrambling is illegal.
Stolen items Any stolen items