Last week, I listed a new, first generation iPad 64G with Wifi and 3G. I'm lucky. My employer bought too many of them, and has released them to staff to use to aid our favourite causes. We could raffle them, auction them, or donate them to our chosen charity for them to use.
My chosen "charity" is without doubt one of the nicest people you could ever meet. Grant Richards is known around Brisbane and on Twitter as "Grant the Polite Guy". Grant has had his ups and downs, and for a while, he was living on the streets. Homeless. But sheer determination pulled Grant through: he sold issues of The Big Picture and put his life back together.
Now, Grant has a life, a home, a shoe-shine business, a wife and family, a blog, experience and an immense heart. Grant's purpose these days is helping other people who are on the streets to put their lives back together. His latest project is raising funds for a Coffee Cart where people in need can learn the skills to get them ready for work.
The entire purchase price of the iPad I'm auctioning will go to helping Grant achieve this goal. The listing on eBay included all the technical details, a little about Grant, a link to Grant's blog and a link to a YouTube video about Grant.
I listed the iPad last Thursday, with the auction due to end tonight...the bidding was impressive, and had reached $709 when eBay cancelled my auction.
Like everyone else on eBay, I ticked the Terms & Conditions box, although I hadn't actually read them. I'm an intelligent woman and would apply some common sense. That was a mistake. Somewhere in the deepest, tiniest fine print, there's a clause that prohibits sellers from linking to YouTube videos in their listings. Mea Culpa. I was totally willing to delete the link. It's a 30 second edit.
But the automated eBay police don't give you warnings; they just act. With the auction period literally 75% elapsed, my listing was shut down. The first I knew of it was when I checked the auction at lunchtime to see if there had been more bidding.
The item listing was marked "Ended", and I had a message in my eBay Inbox.
We appreciate that you chose eBay to list the following listing(s):
170900007214 - Apple iPad 64GB, Wi-Fi + 3G, 9.7in BRAND NEW IN BOX
However, your listing was in violation of eBay's Inappropriate Links policy and has been removed from eBay. We would like to take this opportunity to let you know what part of your listing is not permitted.
Your listing(s) contains the following information:
We noticed that your listing includes a link/ website address "http://youtu.be/GZV2_ru7Qx0" in the description.
As per our listing policies, only embedded videos in their listing is permitted and not referenced by an external link.
You are welcome to relist the item with the necessary revisions.
All fees associated with this listing will be credited accordingly.
I have now relisted the item without the "offensive" link, but I can't replay those same bids that were placed last weekend. In fact, I can't attract a single bid. I have a sinking feeling that my reputation as an eBay seller, and the credibility of this iPad listing may have been damaged, and because of my naiveté, I may have sabotaged the auction.
So I have some suggestions for eBay:
Accept that your customers are human. Identify mistakes or policy violations during the validation of the listing (After Submit, before listing) so that your customers can address any issues without being embarrassed or having their reputation dented.
If that's not possible, amend the current process. When you find a listing that violates eBay policy, suspend the auction for 24 hours to give the seller time to correct the listing, but preserve bids already made.
I am heartsick at the thought that my silly mistake could mean less money for Grant's Coffee Cart. Please help in any way you can.