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MDLaw
MDLaw, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 6128
Experience:  Experience in business law, contract law and related matters.
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My situation is that I own a business (limited company) and

Customer Question

Hi,My situation is that I own a business (limited company) and generate my sales mostly off ebay ,amazon,shopify and rakuten.
I turnover £30000+ per month on ebay alone.
Ebay have a 0.3% case limit and I had 2 cases on the 16th Feb that were supposed to be removed in 24 hrs - I asked would this be in time for evaluation on the 20th and was told yes.
However ebay failed to action one of the defects and as a result I am "below standard" from being "top rated"
I have complained that this should be reversed as it was their mistake which is now costing me £1000+ per day in lost sales (I can prove this over the last 3 months)
They have basically said that yes it should have been removed but theres nothing they can do until 20th March! (next eval)Because of my rating (which should not have been in the first place) my sales have dropped from £1200-£1500 per day to £200 per day (loss of priority in listings and visability due to my rating)In summary I am going to be out circa £30k by 20th March - I need to take action to recover this - where do I stand?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

Hello and thank you for using the Just Answer website. I look forward to assisting you.

First, can you explain to me how you are connecting the loss of your TRS status to the loss in sales?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Its the only reason - I have consistently turned over that amount steadily each day for months.
Once you lose your status your listings drop off the planet...hence loss of sales - priority display is given to top rated sellers.
Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

Unfortunately though, when it comes to litigation, you need proof and stating that it's the only reason is not considered evidence. If you read Ebay's terms of service, they make it clear that there is no guarantee that your items will even show up on the site and that they reserve the right to suppress your listings. If your listings were still showing up on Ebay, you would have no recourse. Now, with respect to the 2 cases you had against you that put you over the limit, are you saying that you only had 2 cases in total or that you had 2 cases in February?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Those 2 cases that were supposed to be removed were in feb yes.
Their actions have directly caused my loss (admitted by CS) regardless of their terms of service, surley they do not superceed UK law?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
ebay provide the proof...they clearly state the benefits of TSR and thats priority listings etc etc
THE EXACT DAY my status changed my sales dropped by 80%
Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

What was the reason for their proposed removal of the cases?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Fraudulent buyers
Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

Can you please be more specific? What do you mean by "fraudulent" buyers?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
One buyer only returned half the product another was found to be abusing the returns process.
Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

Here is the link to Ebay's UK terms of service.

http://pages.ebay.co.uk/help/policies/user-agreement.html

The only way the terms of service would NOT be enforced is if it conflicted with UK law. Since there is no law guaranteeing you TRS status, I don't see anything in the terms of agreement that would not be held enforceable. In order to hold Ebay liable for anything, you would need to prove that Ebay did something wrong as opposed to a buyer having done something wrong (i.e. by not returning a product or abusing returns).

Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

In other words, you would have to prove that Ebay did not do what they promised to do in their terms of service in order to have legal recourse against them.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I can easily prove ebay did something wrong - tehy did not remove the defect within their own timeframes
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Causing me massive financial loss.
Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

Unfortunately though, I am very familiar with Ebay's terms of service and there is nothing in there that indicates they agree to remove defects.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Eh? They agreed to remove the defects on the 16th?!?!
Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

Now, if their terms of service said that defects are to be removed within X timeframe once Ebay has found the seller not at fault, and then they didn't follow that promise, then you would have a breach of contract case.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
That was exactly my thoughts
Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

But in a legal matter, you would have to prove that they violated their terms of service. There is nothing in their terms of service saying that they will remove defects at all much less within a specific timeframe. It is at their discretion.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
It not at their discretion - they agreed to remove then incompetantly didnt do so?
Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

I know it's not what you want to hear and I've been working with Ebay sellers for almost 15 years and no one is ever happy when this happens - and it happens to a lot of sellers - but there is no legal recourse in this specific instance, regrettably.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I was told by another solictor today I have a strong casE?
Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

The terms of service say that it is at their discretion. There is nothing in the terms of service that say they will remove defects. You had a customer service rep tell you that they would remove it but that is not legally binding. The contract would be legally binding.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I have emails to prove it
Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

I don't know what experience they have with Ebay cases but like I said, I have been dealing with Ebay for almost 15 years.

Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

An email is not a contract, though.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
It is when it staes specific action will be taken but not taken (breach)
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Also I can have the calls listened to
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Is it worth SAR them?
Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

A customer service rep does not have the authority to enter into a legally binding agreement with you nor do they have the legal authority to change the terms of service.

Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

Pardon?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Subject access request
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The service rep represents the comapny in the eyes of the law?
Also it was senior managers i was talking to as well.
Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

What information would you be trying to get?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Everything they possess on me - all comms - all calls etc.
Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

No, the service rep does not have legal authority to enter into binding legal contracts. That is incorrect. They represent the company in the sense of service but not in terms of binding them to a contract.

Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

You can do that but it won't change the fact that what you need in order to prove a case is that you need to prove that they breached a promise made to you in their terms of service.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
an email from ebay.com saying these would be removed in 24 hours means nothing?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I have loss of earning resulting directly from their negligence in inaction
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
in not fullfillg their own timeframes as promised on a call and in an email/.
Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

Legally, no. It means something to the extent that you can tell Ebay that Mr. X said it would be removed within 24 hours and you can have that as proof but it's not something that you have legal recourse for. As an example, there was someone who had an Ebay account where the account was not receiving notifications and they were told by Ebay that it would be fixed. This went on for months. While it was bad practice for Ebay to never follow-up or fix the issue, it is not something that the Ebay seller could have sued for.

Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

A promise is not a legally binding contract, regrettably.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I've seen A LOT less win in civil court
Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

Against Ebay?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
no not ebay- but ill happily spend £50k to see them in the high court
Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

You are free to sue Ebay if that is what you want to do and if you want to spend the time and money. However, unless you can show that they breached their promise to you in terms of their terms of service, you will have a difficult time winning.

Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

I can only tell you what this is and it's a contract law issue and the terms of service are what are at issue. I'm sure you would not want me to make something up or lie to you. You need to show that Ebay failed in their promise to you as evidenced by their terms of service which is their contract with you, the end user.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thankfully the burden of proof is more along the lines of probabiltiy in civil cases - when i put all this together it is clear their actions have directly resulted in my loss - i dont see how i cannot win
Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

You need to do more than show that their actions resulted in your loss. You would have to show that they failed to do something that was part of their contract with you.

Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

The loss is the damages. You need to prove your case before you even get to damages.

Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

Please just remember that Ebay also has the right to prevent you from selling on their platform and so you need to weight that as well.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I know that? surely there must be something in their T&Cs about coperate resonsibility, how they deal with customer etc?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
They can piss off as far as im concerned
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
They are a disgrace how they operate
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
They have been likened to Nazis - a bit harsh maybe lol
Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

I'm sorry to hear about the problems you had with Ebay. I hope that I was at least able to shed some light on the legal aspects. Please be so kind as to leave a rating as we only get compensated if we receive a positive rating since we are not employees of Just Answer and do not receive a salary for the time spent assisting you. Doing so allows me to continue to help others like you at such a low cost to you.

Unfortunately, no, Ebay has all of the power in the relationship.

Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

Not sure that I would go that far.

Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

Many large sellers have left Ebay over the years so that they could make their own rules on their own websites and sales venues and many are making more money than they ever made on Ebay.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I would - im losing £30k and have had to lay off 2 people due to their actions - they have families as well.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Im on pretty much every ecommerce site- ebay still accounts for 65% of my sales.
Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

You will that in many corporations, unfortunately. It's Ebay's platform and so they have full control over the rules and the platform and it's not always very helpful to the sellers. If Ebay is 65% of your sales, that is why I said that you may want to think about what it will mean if you do not have Ebay as a platform anymore. Better to act with logic than emotion although with Ebay, I know it's sometimes hard.

Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

Thank you so much for allowing me to assist you this evening and I do wish you good luck and let me know if you need anything else from me.

Expert:  MDLaw replied 9 months ago.

Please let me know if you need any further assistance. I noticed that you have not yet left me a rating. Is there any other way I can help you? Please be aware that we experts are not employees of Just Answer and only get credit if you leave a positive rating. Thank you so much for your consideration and for allowing me to assist you.