Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Monday, December 08, 2008

Falling foul of ebay listing policies

In a situation that harks back to when I was suspended by Google Checkout for offering customers the choice of paying for our French holiday home on Google Checkout, I've now caused the ire of ebay.

In the first year that we started renting out our Holiday Gite (2006) we offered and sold quite a few holiday bookings through ebay, at what has to be admitted were knock-down prices.

As much as anything else it was a bit of a learning experience for us of holiday guests staying in the Gite, but at the time I figured that I would rather have guests who paid somewhat less than the advertised rate than no guests at all.

After cleaning, changeover and utility bills we didn't make very much at all, but it got our name out there, it covered our costs, and a couple of the guests have returned to us in subsequent years, so they obviously liked what they saw.

Over the years more people seem to have followed our lead and there's increasing choice (i.e. competition) for holiday home listings on ebay now, and we've also tended to not need to advertise on ebay as much as our Google page rankings have increased (e.g. we're currently showing as #2 if you search for "Brittany Rent", #6 for "Brittany Holiday" and #10 for "Brittany Gite").

Occasionally I do put up a listing on ebay (e.g. it'd be nice to sell the Christmas 2008 holiday week), only to find on Saturday that we'd received an email from ebay telling me that my listing had been cancelled because "it breached the Circumvention of eBay Fees policy".

According to ebay because I'd used the phrase "see our website for currently available dates" in the listing this was seen as an attempt to avoid ebay fees.

I argued back that I was simply listing the Gite for a week's holiday from now to the end of March 2009 (which is a quieter period for us), and that customers can have the choice of any dates that are still vacant (e.g. the New Year 2009 week is already booked).

Unfortunately the reply I had back from customer services has taken the line that
You are not allowed to offer different weeks in one listing as such a practice lowers number of listings on eBay and is considered to be Circumvention of eBay fees.

You may create separate listings for each week and then for the understanding of the prospective buyers you may mention in that 'Look my other listings for other dates/weeks'.

Well yes I can see that such an approach will drive up fee revenue for ebay if you're only allowed to list an item for one week's stay. I do believe that I've been singled out in a one-off by ebay as there are plenty of other auctions on right now that say "contact us for availability", but it's no use arguing any further as ebay has the final answer over such things.

So ebay listers beware of falling into the same trap as me - be well advised to read the Circumventing Fees policy.

(And if you do want a cut-price late availability deal, drop me a line and we'll see what we can do).

Update 9/12: Another email from ebay Trust & Safety about my cancelled listing, pointing me this time to the ebay choice listing policy which is a bit more explicit about listings not being allowed that give the buyer a choice of item colour/size or items that are 'subject to availability'. I've been told that any listings that offer a choice of dates throughout the year, or stays of varying lengths is a breach of this policy.



Post a Comment

<< Home