What Items Are Prohibited or Restricted on eBay?
As you might expect, eBay either prohibits or restricts the sale of some types of merchandise. eBay sets these limitations as a result of input by members of the eBay Community and examination of local, federal, and international law. eBay has a strong Offensive Material Policy that covers items that “promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial or religious intolerance, or items that promote organizations with such views.” As you can imagine, this is a slippery slope for some sellers.
Take a look at the following list of prohibited and restricted items. A little common sense tells you there’s good reason for not selling these items, including liability issues for the seller. Note that this is just a partial list; for the complete list, start at eBay's Prohibited and Restricted Items - Overview page.
Adult Material: Restricted to the Adult Only category.
Alcohol: Alcohol may be allowed if the value of the item lies in the collectible container, and the container's value exceeds the alcohol’s retail price. The item shouldn't be currently available at a retail outlet, it shouldn't be opened, and the seller must ensure that the buyer is over 21.
Animals and wildlife products: The rules for selling some of these types of items are complicated by federal and international law. Make sure you read through and understand eBay's Animals and Wildlife Products Policy before you dip into this area.
Art: Selling original artwork is permissible, but eBay has a number of rules to prevent the selling of unauthorized reproductions.
Credit cards: Believe it or not, some credit cards are considered collectibles. You may list a collectible credit card only if it has been expired for 10 years or more.
Drugs and drug paraphernalia: If it's illegal offline, it's illegal online, too. This includes prescription drugs and devices, as well.
Embargoed goods from prohibited countries: Don't expect to win a box of Cuban cigars on eBay.
Firearms, ammunition, replicas, and militaria. eBay is very specific about which weapons you can and can't sell on eBay. For example, you can't sell switchblades or tear gas, but you can sell katana (samurai swords) and throwing knives. Check out eBay's Firearms, Weapons, and Knives Policy for more info.
Government IDs and licenses: Also prohibited are most military medals, such as a Purple Heart or a Medal of Honor.
Human parts and remains: Skulls, skeletons, and items that may contain human hair are permissible as long as they’re used for educational purposes.
Mailing lists and personal information: eBay also prohibits the sale of anything that bears a social security number.
Recalled items: If the CPSC has recalled an item because it is a consumer hazard, you can't sell it here.
Stocks and other securities: Old or collectible stock certificates may be sold provided that they’re canceled or are from a company that no longer exists.
Travel: All sellers listing airline tickets, cruises, vacation packages, or lodging must be verified by SquareTrade.
USDA-prohibited plants and seeds.
You can't use eBay to skirt local laws or to encourage crime. Just use some common sense. In general, items that stem from the commission of a crime or that are used primarily for illegal purposes are prohibited on eBay, which is why covert surveillance equipment, lockpicking kits, counterfeit IDs, concealed weapons, and crack pipes are strictly forbidden.