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How to Report Abuses to eBay Security

If you suspect a seller of abusing eBay's rules and regulations, you can report him or her directly on the item page. Look to the far right of tabs above the description on the page of the item in question and click the Report Item link.

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When you click that link, you'll come to the only area on eBay where you can report listing violations. Select the reason for your report and further information from the drop-down menus. After you make your selections, click Continue.

If your issue is connected to a transaction that you're currently involved in with another eBay member, click the Report a Problem link on the Security Center page. You're presented with a page that suggests answers to the various questions you may have.

To actually reach eBay, click the link on this page to the Customer Support Team. You'll land on the Customer Support page, which presents you with some of the most basic questions about eBay, as well as clickable links to find answers. To really contact eBay, click a question that resembles your issue, and click the Call Us (or Call Me) link on the right of the page.

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When you become a PowerSeller or have an eBay store, you see a slightly different page from the one shown to non-PowerSellers and have considerably more contact options.

The Security Center offers a wealth of good general information that can help you prevent something from going wrong in a future transaction. Be sure to use these pages as a resource to help prevent problems.

If you're involved in a troubled transaction and need to launch a report, follow these steps:

  1. Read all the information on the Investigations page before filing a new complaint.

  2. Click any of the many informational links.

    No matter which link you click, you're taken to an area that instructs you further and provides answers about what offenses eBay can and cannot investigate.

  3. If you find that you have a legitimate case that should be investigated, you are supplied a link to the proper reporting area.

    Alternatively, you can click the Report Item link on the transaction page.

If you file a report, make your message clear and concise by including everything that happened — but don't editorialize. (Calling someone a “lowdown mud-sucking cretin” may make you feel better, but it doesn't provide any useful info to anyone who can help you; it doesn't make you seem very un-cretinlike, either.)

Keep it businesslike — just the facts. Do include all pertinent documentation, such as e-mails and receipts — and don't forget the transaction number.

Here's a checklist of what you should include in your report to Customer Support:

  • Write only the facts as you know them.

  • Attach any pertinent e-mails with complete headers if required.

    Headers contain all the information that precedes an e-mail message. eBay uses the headers to verify how the e-mails were sent and to follow the trail back to the originator of the messages.

  • Be sure that the subject line of your report precisely names the violation.

After eBay receives your report via the Customer Service form, you usually get an automatic response that your e-mail was received — although in practice, several days may go crawling by before eBay investigates your allegations. (The Customer Service department must look at a lot of transactions.)

Depending on the outcome of the probe, eBay may contact you with the results. If your problem becomes a legal matter, eBay may not let you know what's going on. The only indication you may get that some action was taken is that the eBay member you reported is suspended.

If your complaint doesn't warrant an investigation by the folks at eBay, they may pass it along to someone at the overworked Customer Support staff, who then contacts you. (Don't bawl out the person if the attention you get is tardy.)

Unfortunately, suspended members can show up again on the eBay site. Typically, nefarious sorts like these just use a different name and credit card to register back on the site. In fact, this practice is common, so beware! If you suspect that someone who broke the rules once is back under another User ID, alert Customer Support.

If you're a seller, you can refuse to accept bids from that person. If the person persists, alert Customer Support with e-mail.

Although slow (or no) response can get frustrating, avoid the temptation to initiate a reporting blitzkrieg by sending reports over and over until eBay “can't ignore” you. This practice is risky at best and inconsiderate at worst; it just slows the process for everyone — and it won't endear the e-mail bombardier to the folks who could help. It's better to just grin and bear it and wait for action to be taken.

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