So after much deliberation, planning and procrastination, you’ve finally decided to start your own eBay business… Great, but there’s just one problem – selling limits.
What are selling limits and how do they affect you?
Well on eBay there are limits in place for new sellers. These limits can be:
They were introduced to protect buyers from unscrupulous sellers/scammers.
In general these limits will only affect new accounts with less than 90 days selling history but depending on the items you sell and your DSRs and feedback level, you may have specific restrictions/limits placed on your account. ‘Dangerous’ items that are very high value (mobile phones, tablets etc.) or have a lot of fakes being sold (designer clothing, handbags) are usually what eBay scrutinise the most.
How do these limits work?
According to eBay themselves, you have a limit on “sold items, gross merchandise volume, and active items for sale”. Basically that means the number of items sold, the total value of items sold, and the number of current listings.
Account-based allowances are based on your general activity and account status.
Generally the account-based allowances are for new sellers and it is usually set at 10 items per month/£650 in sales – whichever comes first.
However that is not guaranteed and can vary depending on your specific circumstances but it is mainly based on how old your account is, what you sell, and how well you do in your seller performance standards – i.e. your feedback levels and DSR ratings.
This is a very important part of having the new account limits increased/removed as really that’s the whole point – eBay want to see evidence that you’re a reliable and genuine seller who will provide a high level of service to buyers. So you need to meet eBay’s minimum detailed seller ratings requirements and then you can ask eBay to increase your limits.
At the moment the minimum DSR requirements are:
Percentage of 1 and 2 ratings:
- Item as described – 1%
- Communication – 2%
- Dispatch time – 2%
- Postage & packaging charges – 2%
Maximum number of occurrences:
- Item as described – 3
- Communication – 3
- Dispatch time – 3
- Postage & packaging charges – 3
DSRs are of course something you always have to work on but when you first start out it is especially important so do whatever it takes to keep your buyers happy!
As well as being measured on your DSRs, eBay will of course also monitor the amount of negative or neutral feedback you receive, and if you’re deemed to be performing below the required standard, further limits will be placed on your account.
Verifying information that you’ve given to eBay such as your address, bank account and contact details can also help with initial limits that are placed automatically on new accounts.
And this is something that always surprises people so I thought I’d clarify it – these new account limits DO apply even if you have other accounts on eBay with a long sales history that are in good standing feedback-wise.
Ridiculous I know, as eBay are obviously aware of your other accounts but unfortunately that’s the way it works.
There is one thing you can do though, you can call eBay and specifically ask them about your new account limits, explain that you’ve been selling for a long time, have good feedback etc. and that this is a new venture and then ask them to increase the limits on your new account for you, which they will usually do with no problems, provided your other account meets the necessary criteria:
- Your first positive feedback was more than 90 days ago.
- You don’t have any unresolved cases.
- Your DRSs are at least 4.8 in all areas.
So if your other account meets these conditions (which it should definitely do) then you can request an increase in selling limits from eBay without waiting 90 days.
In popular / high-value categories (consoles, phones, tablets) or categories that are more susceptible to fake goods (designer clothes, handbags, wallets) there may be listing allowances placed on your account IF:
- It’s been less than 90 days since your first successful sale on eBay.
- You haven’t sold multiple items in this category before.
- You haven’t sold items in this category in over a year.
- More than 3% of your total transactions have resulted in cases being opened against you.
Unlike the account-based allowances, there is not much you can do to get category-based allowances removed ahead of the set time frame. Your only real choice is to start slow, establish a positive selling history in that category and prove to eBay that “you’re able to meet the needs of your customers”.
Not ideal of course, but 90 days is not a long time and you really have no alternative if you want to sell on eBay in these categories. Whatever you do, please DON’T list in different categories in an attempt to ‘beat’ these limits as it’s a breach of eBay’s search and browse manipulation policy and if they find out it will result in extensive limits being placed and most likely account suspension as well.
While I’m on the topic, let me just say this applies to ALL the so-called black hat methods out there for avoiding eBay’s limits! It’s simply not worth it and a terrible idea; I mean do you really want to risk your entire business for the sake of not waiting 90 days! Just take my advice and play everything by the book.
Once you have sold in a particular category for over 90 days with no problems and have good feedback and DSR scores, category-based allowances will be automatically removed so there’s no need for you to contact eBay about it.
This refers pretty much only to counterfeit or unauthorised goods and while some of these restrictions will be lifted in time, others always remain in place. Again, you need to establish a good selling history and then you can contact eBay and request an increase in these limits BUT you need to be 100% confident in the authenticity of the items you’re selling and in your supplier.
Often eBay will ask you where you source the goods and you will need to provide them with that info in order to show everything is 100% legitimate.
Everyone is well aware of eBay’s stance on counterfeit goods and they don’t need much reason to restrict or ban sellers based on this so as I said, make sure you’re completely confident in the authenticity of your items and you’re able to prove it if asked.
So as you can see, there is nothing too complicated or difficult about selling limits and as long as you start slow and provide an exceptional level of service, most of them will be automatically lifted after 90 days anyway.
Sometimes you may need to contact eBay but there’s nothing to be afraid of! They simply want some more information about you and your business and generally only ask simple questions like:
- Where do you get your items?
- What are your goals with this business?
- How fast do you dispatch orders?
- How do you get pictures for your products?
As you might have already guessed from the last two questions, eBay prefer you to have items ON HAND and dispatch them yourself which may be a problem if you’re dropshipping orders (another reason why I’m not a big fan of that business model) but other than that calling them to discuss your limits can be a great idea, especially if you’re registered as a business seller, and will usually result in your allowances being increased straight away.
I hope this little guide helps you understand the new account limits and how they work, and if you need any advice on how best to deal with them for your business, don’t hesitate to post in the comments box below and I’ll do my best to help.