Ebay, and Invisible or Silent Sales Limiting, Throttling, Caps, or Other Limits Related to UK VAT Thresholds

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A few years ago in the new year of 2012, I started selling electronic components on ebay as a way of actually making a living.  This business operated quite happily under the UK VAT threshold and while it would never make me rich, it would do for now.  This avoided additional complications while building up the business and increasing both the breadth and depth of stock.  Over the next few years the UK VAT threshold crept upwards in line with inflation and it was easy to stay under it.  Around 2016 I made some special effort and by the end of the year had at least twice as many different items for sale and had branched out into larger second-hand electronic objects on a separate ebay shop.  A further ebay outlet sold some old tape spools that I had acquired.  Ebay sales numbers had often looked a bit strange as I inspected the daily bargraphs, but surely such is the nature of human buying habits, online marketplaces and randomness in general.  Or so I thought. 

It became clear that ebay were operating a completely invisible capping or throttling system across all these outlets.  Without any intervention by me, sales across the three outlets over one year would add up to almost exactly the UK VAT threshold for that year.  This was fine for a while.  In a way it was almost quite helpful, allowing me to increase my inventory without having to be too careful not to exceed the threshold.  However from 2017 onwards, there was no inflationary increase in the UK VAT threshold by the chancellor.  In March 2019 I decided to take the plunge and become a voluntarily VAT registered sole trader.  The assumption was that when I entered my new valid VAT number into the ebay shops, the mysterious limiting algorithm would be de-activated and I could increase sales.  In fact, I didn't assume this completely.  I thought that there was a 50/50 chance that nothing would happen, and that I would have to manually draw attention to the fact via the ebay customer support line.  I also assumed that there was a fair chance that I might have quite a fight on my hands getting the capping system removed.

On the 5th April 2019 at 23:00 I entered the VAT number one hour before it became valid. 

What Happened Next

Nothing.  Well that's not so surprising.  It would take some time for the system to recognise the fact.  However, for a substantial payment in ebay fees every month one might expect something to have happened after three days, so onto the ebay customer support telephone line I go, to draw attention to this fact and to check what the telephone operatives have to say.  I've recorded the calls for training and quality purposes.  You can click on the links to hear them or download the mp3s.  I have only edited out long periods of hold music to save the listener from the pain.  Long periods on hold are not necessarily insignificant though.  Also, in all the calls
I have left in many quite 'sensitive' details.  I don't mind.  I have nothing to hide and you can find all the addresses and usernames by going onto ebay and just typing them in. 

That's business.  When you stick your head above the parapet and say "Please buy what I'm selling," you're public property to some extent.

09-APR-2019 10:36  First call to the overseas call centre

Summary: "The VAT number is valid and there are no restrictions on your account."  ebay_vat_09042019_1036_c.mp3

The overseas call centres are not always the most reliable so the next day I request a call-back, which will usually come from the Irish call centre.

10-APR-2019  Steve from Ebay Customer Support in Ireland

Summary:  We discuss the issue briefly.  Steve says, "Hmm, I can see what you're saying here."  Really?  He gets back to the selling limits team and then drops the call like a hot potato.  Well that's no good.  Drop my call?  Back to the telephone.   ebay_vat_10042019_1_c.mp3

10-APR-2019  Derek from Ebay Customer Support in Ireland

Summary:  We discuss the same issue, noting that the addition of the VAT number was a few days ago, and the ebay denials start.  I introduce the idea of statistical analysis and noting vast swings between seperate accounts and an £85K sales cap.  Derek uses the unusual word "Levelling" without me mentioning it.  I direct him to the 11th February week data when the capping system went into a wild oscillation due to a delay between the caps on the two accounts.  Steve may well have gone into it with another team, Derek.  Before Steve dropped my call.  We discuss VIES and my registered business name and address across accounts.  Denial.  Don't worry Derek, it /is/ an absolute pattern, and I will be back.  ebay_vat_10042019_2_c.mp3


Summary to follow  ebay_vat_12042019_1_c.mp3

Summary to follow  ebay_vat_12042019_2_c.mp3


Summary to follow  ebay_vat_18042019_c.mp3


Summary to follow  ebay_vat_19042019_c.mp3


Summary to follow  ebay_vat_21042019_c.mp3


Summary to follow  ebay_vat_24042019_c.mp3

More Lack Of Progress

This telephone battle is clearly going nowhere, so I follow the advice of the customer support operatives and actually write a physical paper letter.  The details of that, the absence of a written response from anyone who is willing to give their full name, and the subsequent tedious telephone discussions are available here:  Interesting Electronics The Trouble With eBay Page

Various Interesting Sales Charts

Sales Data 31-AUG-2019 to 30-SEP-2019 (Only one ebay outlet is operating at this stage and later dates.)

On 31st August I came back from a week on holiday, during which time sales were zero for five days.  After that we see a series of successive days of sales going up-down six times.  Do people only buy on ebay on alternate days?  I don't think so.  Daily thresholds are in effect, which when exceeded cause a limit on the subsequent days sales.  If the probability of experiencing a sales increase or decrease at any given time by random chance is 0.5, then six alternating days has a probability of 0.5 raised to the power of six, that being 1.56%.  That should be quite an unusual event.  You'd expect to see that sequence repeated only rarely, perhaps once in one year.  Despite this, the sequence appears again starting on 7th September.  This time the flip of the coin occurs in opposite directions eight times, an even slimmer probability of 0.39%.  Once again, and most strikingly, on 21st September, another improbable sequence of seven consecutive up-down sales totals.  That is a sequence probability 0.78%.  It would appear that far from being unlikely, these improbable sequences are occurring almost all the time with small breaks of one or two days in between. 

Ebay Sales Figures Showing
        Threshold Based Levelling / Throttling / Limiting on Alternate

Sales Data 12-OCT-2019 to 11-NOV-2019

This behaviour is continuing into November.  It's not showing quite the same crazy comb effect as above, but there are another two highly improbable sequences of higher and lower sales on alternate days.  The first starts on the first bar, 12 October and there is a run of eight up-down cycles, p=0.39%.  The second starts on 28th October and is another run of eight up-down cycles, more marked this time.  Again, the probability of this happening at any given time is 0.39% so it should only happen about once or twice in a year. (1/365 would be 0.27%)  You can argue to toss on the statistical detail, but the ebay throttling / capping system makes an almost perfect daily oscillator, inexplicable by any other reason.  In electronic engineering we call this a relaxation oscillator.  You can make one with a single transistor instead of a strong ebay shop with threshold capped sales.  That also involves a threshold and recovery cycle.  The higher the gain of the transistor, the higher the oscillation frequency.  But we can only see samples of daily sales figures.  It might be even more interesting to consider how infrequently subsequent days don't show a relaxation oscillation.  The daily sampling of the bargraphs is likely to be showing classic Nyquist aliasing of an oscillation that is too fast to capture.

Suspicious Ebay Sales Figures
                    Showing Throttling or Capping Oscillations

That's the trouble with electronics engineers.  We're not idiots, eBay.

Going back in time a bit.

You'll remember how this all came to a head early-on in 2019, when the obvious strange capping behaviour could no longer be ignored.  I've found one of the print-outs, and here is the scan showing jenna_stannis sales from 11-FEB-2019 to 11-MAR-2019.  This is discussed in some of the previous telephone calls. 

jenna_stannis sales February 2019,
                    an extraordinary alternate day sales variation that
                    looks like a comb

Prompted by a big sale one day, here the sales limiting algorithm goes into a completely wild oscillation.  Starting at the beginning of this chart there is an extremely marked alternating day to day pattern, and a run of no less than seventeen up-down swings, gradually reducing in amplitude much like an accidentally resonant system given a large impulse input might make.  What's the probability of that run happening naturally by chance?  0.5 ^17 = 7.62 X 10^-6, or 7.6 chances in one million.  This is what I call "proof."  Certainly, if eBay start printing lottery tickets I won't be in the queue to buy one, because I'm obviously the unluckiest seller in the entire world, or one of only 7.6 people in a million to see this.  I'll be adding more interesting charts as time progresses.


Meanwhile, after new year 2020 I loaded up the Useful Components shop with lots of goodies that used to be on the old Interesting Electronics shop.  The postage versus item price is less easily understood, but there are ways to work around this and still make a sensible offering to the customers.  More than 100 quite good listings go up within a month, and yes, they sell quite well.  I'll be analysing just how much difference this should have made to total sales when things settle down.  For the moment, the answer is "very little."  No surprise there.  What I can't ignore are the two unsolicited messages sent by customers regarding my shop pages.  It seems that customers are often unable to see my shop pages, being regularly and consistently presented with blank page "Server Error" messages.  Here are the customer messages sent to me:

Site Message 26-FEB-2020 Helpful Customer 1 to Me:  You might like to know that quite a few of the pages on your shop refuse to load. ("Server not found", all that malarky.)

Site Message 26-FEB-2020 Me to Helpful Customer 1:  Hi HC1, Thankyou for that, it is *very* useful to know and explains a lot of what can be seen at extraordinary length here:  
(Link to the ebay complaints index page on this site)  If you were to send a typical screenshot I'd be delighted.

Note Attached To Sales Record 03-MAR-2020 From Helpful Customer 2:  Buyer's note, Hi, There's something wrong with your shop, I tried to have a look round, but keep getting a 'could not find server' error when I tried to click on shop categories. Look forward to receiving my order... thanks!

Site Message 03-MAR-2020 15:59 Me to Helpful Customer 2:  Thankyou for your note about the shop pages not showing.  Such information is very useful to me right now, beyond what you can imagine.

And indeed it is very useful, because if two helpful customers have made the effort to actually send a message to me, you can be absolutely certain that many more have experienced the same thing and put it down to a temporary problem, their internet connection, or just given up and bought from somewhere else.  Could this be one of the methods used by ebay to limit sales of a certain shop that is doing too well and can't be limited by the usual means without it being too obvious?  I may never know about that, but what I can be sure about is getting a dismissive response from ebay seller "support" on the telephone.  I was not disappointed, and here are the recordings of those calls:

03-MAR-2020 15:04 Call to Ebay Seller Support Concerning Customers Not Being Able To See My Ebay Shop Pages.

Are these people being deliberately obtuse?  First fob-off, "There is no such message." Yes there is.  At 13 minutes in, apparently it's the buyers fault. Then the nice lady obfuscates by trying to say it's paid for, and again tries to blame it on the buyers, or their web browser.  The buyers, it seems, have to contact ebay. 
BING!  Ebay lie detected! Just ridiculous.  Such lies.

As the call was not resolved satisfactorily, I was promised a call back from a supervisor the same day before 18:00 my time.  No such call occurred.

04-MAR-2020 10:00 Another Call to Ebay Seller Support Concerning Customers Not Being Able To See My Shop Pages.

As I did not receive the call from the supervisor as promised, I thought that I'd better call in again the next day to check on any possible progress.  I explain the situation again.  I don't mind doing the whole thing a second time.  No, I did not change my shop name recently.  What happens at 12 minutes 25?  "Ah, OK."  Were you talking to me or did you just get a message?  12:49, an unusual change of subject.  Where did that question come from?  Don't soil yourself because a red light has flashed on your screen, dear.  The "policy" department?  An argument ensues. 
BING! Ebay lie detected!
22:22 a beep, and I am accused of twisting words and interrupting people!  So, "a message was logged as sent," turns into "Oh dearie me, maybe someone said a message was sent and it wasn't."  I have cut three minutes of silence from the end of this call for brevity.  You can count the interruption score if you like. 
Whatever the outcome, when I pay a £75 per month subscription for a much vaunted middle tier ebay shop, I don't expect so many customers to get blank pages so consistently that they are actually driven to write in about it.  Or be incorrectly accused of interrupting people or "twisting their words," on the telephone, when that is not true. 

04-MAR-2020 10:45 A brief call back from eBay Seller Support suggesting there was some problem with links in the shop.

Well, Yes.  You can go ahead and mess up my shop if you think that will help.  We shall see what happens.  I had lost the will to live and was otherwise busy actually sending goods to customers at this stage, so I didn't ask exactly what the problem was, or what the proposed fix was.  Rest assured, I will do that at a date in the near future though. 

26-MAY-2020: What's going on with people not being able to buy more than ten or so items?

Back in April when COVID-19 was just starting to kick-off, a customer in the USA contacted me wanting a quantity of thirty-six six-way potentiometers.  The ebay user prof
ile had a perfectly decent feedback rating of 188.  She asked:

Nice USA Customer:   We are interested in purchasing 36 of these. (6-gang, 10K linier potentiometer).
Can you tell me how much it would cost to ship it to us in 2-4 days? We would pay for the expedited shipping. This goes into a very important project that we need right away.

Please let us know as soon as possible. We can make payment quickly.

Thank you,
Nice USA Customer
Henry:  Hello NUSAC,

I assume this is to a UK address? Easter is in the way as well.
Royal Mail first class is available as an option but there's no guarantee on that. I've made a special delivery option available which should be there by 13:00 tomorrow if it's paid for in about... 30 minutes. I've no way to work that timescale to an overseas address.
Thanks, Henry.
NUSAC:  Hello Henry,
I should have given you the address.... my apologies. We would need it shipped to the USA.
NUSAC: We want to purchase B10K, 36 pcs. for quick delivery.
When I went to checkout, it multiplied the delivery price by quantity of pieces.
Can you please advise if you have 36 pcs. of the B10K and provide the dollar amount shipping would be as a total (not multiplied by piece) Thank you, NUSAC
Hi NUSAC,  This is just the stupid way that ebay does it - the single post charge is applied as a discount when you pay for multiple items. If it goes wrong I can refund, or send a 'request for total.'  Henry.
NUSAC:  Henry,
Do you have 36 of the B10K?
When I go to checkout, it only allows me to purchase 10
Henry:  I have 36 going into bubble-wrap now and they are available on the listing - this will be ebay limiting the purchase quantity. Unbelievable. can you message me at the information available at this link?  (Link to my email address)
NUSAC:  Henry, Where do I go on EBay to buy it? Can you send me an invoice and we will pay that?

Further communications with my Nice USA Customer were via normal email, and yes, the pots were paid for outside of ebay, they did get sent via DHL the next day and yes, they did arrive on time and yes, my nice USA customer was happy.  But this proves that eBay is limiting my potential big customers with a decent feedback rating to purchases of less than ten items, at least in this particular case.  Why?  Why ever could that be, Rob Hattrell VP of eBay UK?  Only you can answer that mysterious question.  Or can you even?  I can.  Because occasional multi-hundred pound sales throw your sales limiting algorithms into a very obvious spasm, which I have seen before.  If you want proof that eBay limits big sales by making it appear to your customer that you don't have the stock on hand, or that as a seller you don't want to sell them, then the above transcript is exactly what you are looking for.

30-MAY-2020 Customer is unable to buy more than one item:

After some decent weeks, sales are dropping again and showing some very fishy behaviour.  Whatever could be the matter?  I have obviously just sold too much stuff during viral lockdown and ebay doesn't like it for some reason.  Whether that is still an incorrectly applied VAT suspect limit or a seller velocity limit now kicking in, only time and the analysis spreadsheets may tell.  However, from this transcript with a customer today, here's another way limiting seems to be applied while making it appear to be my fault for not having enough stock, or some other problem of my making:

30-MAY-2020 15:56 Customer **vinyl**:  Hi I am trying to order four of these DPDT Center Off switches but the box will not allow me to change from 1 to 4. Please advise. Thank you for your service. Regards
**vinyl** (Item no. 120819784743)
30-MAY-2020 16:52 Henry: 
Hi **vinyl**,  There's no obvious problem with the listing and I can't reproduce the error, successfully adding four of those to shopping cart as a guest user in a different browser. You may find it just suddenly mysteriously works now. Please let me know if the problem persists though, as it may be a part of a hidden ebay system limiting my sales. Thanks, Henry.

30-MAY-2020 17:26 Customer **vinyl**:  Hi I tried entering 4 in another sellers sale and it worked, but I prefer the look of the ones you have for sale. Tried reloading rebooting ebay etc. However I still cannot make the 1 turn to a 4. I will try rebooting the computer.
30-MAY-2020 18:37 Customer **vinyl**:  Please cancel that order. I ended getting the wrong ones because suddenly one of your quantity boxes was working. I want the ones with the silver plated contacts and the blue hermetic seal around the terminals. It still will not allow me to change the 1 to a 4. I will order them one at a time now instead. **vinyl**.
30-MAY-2020 19:12 Henry:  Hi
**vinyl**,  I have the black body types with the sealed contacts in DPDT, and there are some DPDT-CO on the way for Tuesday. I hope they still have the same sealing on them. The contacts are described as copper alloy with silver inlay silver plated. I think you wanted four items DPDT-CO, am I correct? I'm trying not to cancel the wrong thing.  The only explanation I can offer for the weird quantity entry problem is ebay shenanigans over which I have no control, but rest assured that they will be told about it.
Thanks,  Henry.
30-MAY-2020 21:11 Customer **vinyl**:  Thank you Henry. best wishes, stay safe. Thank you for your response and help. Regards **vinyl**.

And indeed they will be told about it here, but as it is one of those 'mysteriously goes away' problems that customers only tell you about occasionally, a call to the seller "support" telephone line or a text chat is obviously pointless.  Normally of course, the customer will just buy elsewhere, resulting in a limiting effect on my sales which can't easily be traced.  What it could do is result in a sudden dip in what is called 'Sales Conversion Rate.'  This is a percentage that represents how many people who have looked at your listing actually buy from it.  Ebay provides you with a chart of these numbers over time.  Here is a recent example from 2020:


                                                          Rate Graph

What you see here are periods of relative calm punctuated by periods of extreme daily swings.  Obviously, people like my listings very much on one day, and then really hate them the next day, and this continues for up to seven days in a row.  This is, of course, impossible.  There is a run of seven wildly alternating swings starting on 25th April.  What's the probability of that?  Something like 0.5 raised to the seventh power, about eight times in one-thousand, or 0.8%.  You might expect to see that at random three times a year, but as you can see, similar unlikely alternating runs are much more frequent.  Quite what happened on 28th March while ebay's servers were clearly broken is anyone's guess, but I don't pay for that kind of service.

Did I say, "
Ebay provides you with a chart of these numbers over time?"  Yes I did, and for now they still do.  You have to click on the 'switch to the previous version of this page' link to see it, though.  No doubt access to these charts of sales conversion rates will be withdrawn soon, as they are just far too revealing about what is really happening.  Given the conversations with customers shown above, I state that in many cases ebay is capping my sales by deliberately breaking the system that allows customers to buy more than one item, or by limiting them to buying fewer items than some arbitrary number invented by them.  At the same time this appears to be the fault of the seller, and as shown above, wastes a lot of time and irritates the customers.

Do you want some more, Robert Hattrell, Vice President of Ebay UK?  Or are you going to answer my letter properly?  More is coming.  All I have to do is sit here, absorb the numbers into the analysis spreadsheet and wait for my customers to tell me more:)  There's always the BBC of course.  You might consider listening to the omnibus editions of, "The Great British Post Office Trial," on BBC Sounds.  Similar problems in their systems eventually cost them tens of millions of pounds.

02-JUN-2020:  Another customer sees "Out Of Stock" when stock is present on the listing.

1-MAY-2020 20:12 Customer ##r45Customer ##r45:Customer ##r45::  Hi please can you tell me if you are going to get more of the 6.2 v by 0.3 amp as you are currently out of stock of these bulbs best regards, ##r45.  (Item no. 110951791253)
31-MAY-2020 20:24 Henry:  Hi ##r45, At my end I've got the stock and the listing also shows stock. However, you are not the first person to spot this kind of ebay 'error.' It seems that Ebay are articificially limiting my sales by this method and there's not a single thing I can do about it. I've updated the listing so you could try again to see if it works, otherwise you can contact me using the following link to arrange the sale: (Web address showing my email in text form) Thanks, Henry. 
If you're interested in the story, you can see it here: (Web address of this page)

01-JUN-2020 06:03 Customer ##r45:  Morning Henry I’ve looked at you site again but no luck still shows no e10 / 6.2 v / 0. 3 out of stock could I not order 6.2v/ 0.4 and you give me the ones I want looking forward to hearing back from you very best regards. ##r45  I tried clicking on to your link but again no luck
01-JUN-2020 08:37 Henry:  Hello, Yes, order anything in the right quantity and I'll send the 6.2V / 0.3A. They are all the same price. Henry.
01-JUN-2020 09:34 Customer ##r45:  Thank you very much Henry your a star best regards ##r45

Once again, most customers will just buy elsewhere when they see "Out Of Stock."  I would conservatively estimate this happens ten times for each time I get to hear from a helpful customer.  Using these recovered sales as a guide, that would equate to lost sales of £220 over two days.  Oddly enough, that's about what the recent suspicious sales drop has been.  Of course, it's impossible as yet to prove a causal link.

What do ebay have to say about these two events?  Telephone contact is still not available so here is the text chat transcript:

Transcript of text chat with ebay seller support concerning customers being incorrectly shown items as out of stock when there has always been plenty of stock available on the listings, 02-JUN-2020 13:16.

Ebay seller text chat 'support':  "This problem does not exist.  There is no problem with your account.  It is the buyers problem.  You should tell them to contact us.  You official complaint will be ignored.  My only interest is in evading your question." 
Henry:  "If your manager ever does ever email me, I predict that your manager will try to obfuscate the issue by answering a completely different question, or says exactly the same thing that you did.  You can try to evade the question, but I'll be back."

05-JUL-2020:  An Ebay Message Appears: 

Followup regarding buyers unable to purchase items SR# 1-264131449947

Hello Henry,

This is a follow-up on the chat conversation you had regarding buyers unable to purchase items and were seeing out of stock.

I apologise for the delay caused in getting back to you on this matter addressing your complaint.

Upon reviewing the matter, I confirmed with our team, but no such issue was highlighted by other sellers, so not sure what exact issue the buyers in question faced. We are hoping that buyers are not reporting this issue now. If at all buyers are still reporting the same even now, please do ask buyers what exact error message they see and probably help you with screen shot of it so that you can forward that to us and we can investigate this mater to resolve it once for all. Alternatively buyers can also contact us immediately so that our dedicated team can help them further with this.

Thank you for giving me an opportunity to look into this. Feel free to get in touch with us in-case you need any assistance.

Kind regards,

Nilesh S.

Manager eBay Seller Support

I respond with the following at 18:54 09-JUL-2020
You wrote: "Upon reviewing the matter, I confirmed with our team, but no such issue was highlighted by other sellers, so not sure what exact issue the buyers in question faced...  please do ask buyers what exact error message they see and probably help you with screen shot of it..."

I have explained this in clear and full detail already.  It is recorded in full on my public website.

I consider this response to be wholly inadequate.  It is pure obfuscation and denial of a clearly explained and proven problem.  Please ensure that Robert Hattrell, VP of Ebay UK is informed of our conversation. 

In case you need a full summary, you can view it here:

(Web address of this page)


Henry Walmsley.

"Computer says no," is just not good enough.  Is it, Rob?


It's been a while since I have last posted on this issue.  Meanwhile I've been downloading paypal data and generating some very big spreadsheets.  It was a fairly bumper ebay spring in 2020, and that has nicely compensated for all my messing about closing shops last year.  It's remarkable, and it has been the exception that proves the rule beautifully.  The new big spreadsheets running from 2017 to 9th August 2020  show an average daily sales total, taken over that entire time, of £231.94.  If I had hit the VAT threshold *exactly* that number would have been £232.88.  Ebay systems are still limiting my sales to the UK VAT threshold to within -0.4%.  The system has run since approximately 6th April 2017.  I have been VAT registered since 6th April 2019.

Onto the telephone again eh?  The level of lies and deliberate attempts at diversion on this call, which lasted more than one-and-a-half hours beggar belief.  Click to listen, if you can bear it.  There is some preamble which could be considered to be irrelevant.  But then maybe not, eh?

07-SEP-2020.  Ebay seller support are confronted with proof that my account is limited by ebay systems to an average of £232.87 per day over the last Three and a Half Years.  Which is spookily the UK VAT Threshold divided by 365 days.

P.S. I got the rounding wrong on the daily number.  My apologies.  In future communications the correct daily constant value is 85000/365 = £232.88, not taking into account one leap year.

06-OCT-2020:  The -0.4% Has Disappeared.  We Have Reached The Threshold and the Customers are Now Messaging In Again With More Complaints

Just for you:  A genuinely nice customer tries to buy more than one item and gets rightfully pissed off when the ebay limits stop him from buying, and my trying to get the impossible information demanded by the Ebay Central liars from him is not going to happen.  My customers want the goods, not to send screenshots of the failing ebay website to ebay liars.  If you'd like to hear the entire resulting telephone call to ebay liar central on this issue, then you may click on the link below.

06-OCT-2020 A Nice Customer Can't Buy More Than One Item From My Listing and is Rightfully Annoyed, and this is Your Pathetic ebay Customer "Support" Lie Response, Robert Hattrell.

Call Summary To Follow

Fun, isn't it?  No.  It is not.  It is my name on the listings, Robert Hattrell, VP of ebay UK, responsible for all ebay UK activities, which you are always so eager to point out.

28-SEP-2021: A Long Awaited Update.

I have continued to update my big sales spreadsheet.  As of 26-SEP-2021, the capping algorithm is currently limiting sales to an average of 1.2% over the VAT threshold, and the silly sales behaviour continues in an extremely obvious fashion.  In fact, the cap result is much closer than +1.2%, as I have yet to filter out the transactions to the EU since July 1st 2021, where VAT is collected and paid by ebay.  So, if you thought that the reading that I reported last October was just a lucky sample in some way, you'd be wrong.  The average sales level has been bumping a little negative and positive around the cap limit the same way ever since then, despite three separate 6 day holidays of complete shutdown.  This is impossible by chance.

During two telephone calls last week I brought this issue up again for the first time in a while.  (link to general failures - scroll down to 20-SEP-2021)  The results were negative.  During a teleconference with an ebay "hybrid event" representative today, I was once again issued with denials, albeit in a polite fashion.  On 30-SEP-2021, the live and in-person part of the hybrid event will be taking place at the Victoria Warehouse near Old Trafford in Manchester starting at 08:15.  At that event, I hope to politely deliver the letter shown below by hand, to as many ebay representatives as possible.  I dearly hope that this will include the present V.P. and General Manager of ebay UK, Murray Lambell, who is responsible for all ebay UK activities

Ebay Sales Limiting Systems Relating to £85,000 UK VAT Threshold on Account Henry J. Walmsley, vila_restor Letter By Hand

The text reads as follows:

Ebay Representative,
By Hand.

Dear Sir,

Since 6th April 2017 I have been aware of ebay systems limiting the turnover on my ebay account to exactly £85,000 per year, the UK VAT threshold.

Since 6th April 2019 I have been VAT registered.  I have entered all details into your systems, and I have made many different attempts to communicate this.

The cap in your systems remains in place.  It is currently accurate to within 1% taken over the period 6th April 2017 to the present day.  If you choose not to accept this, you are mistaken.  Proof is included at the link below.

I request that this capping process be identified in your systems and removed from my account.

Yours Sincerely,

Henry J. Walmsley.  BEng. (electronics)
Final Numerical Proof and Supporting Evidence:

(Web address of this page)

Let us see what transpires.

26-OCT-2021: What Does Murray Lambell Have To Say?

At 10:30 on 30-SEP-2021 I politely hand delivered the above letter to each of Murray Lambell, VP of Ebay UK, Eve Williams, Chief Marketing Officer of Ebay UK, and Bradford Shellhammer, VP of Buyer Experience and GM eBay NYC.  I also had a nice polite chat with them about the issue that I have been experiencing, suggesting that a once-over by a statistician or mathematics graduate might prove interesting.  After that I had a one-to-one meeting with Kate Dudley, eBay Commercial Team Lead where I explained the problem once more and delivered the same letter.  What was the result?  The result was right down at the bottom of the spectrum of possible expected responses, a set of dismissive site messages attempting to confuse the issue with irrelevant information.

05-OCT-2021 Your letter to our Executive SR# 1-390043076518

Dear Mr. Walmsley,

Thank you for reaching out to our SVP Murray Lambell. This is to confirm that your letter has been received and is currently under review. If you have any urgent queries, please contact our dedicated Customer Support who will be able to provide real-time guidance and support.
We thank you for your patience and look forward to chatting to you as soon as possible.

Kind regards

eBay Executive Office

*****Please do not respond to this email as responses are not monitored*******

06-OCT-2021 Your letter to our Executive SR# 1-390043076518

Dear Mr. Walmsley,

My name is Emma, and I am contacting you from the eBay Executive Office. Your letter was received and reviewed in full, and I thank you for taking the time to attend the eBay Open event in Manchester last week. Our VP Murray Lambell asked that I reach out to you on his behalf.
I understand you have raised concerns regarding your account with our Customer Support representatives and I am disappointed to see that you have not been satisfied with the service provided. I have undertaken a full review of your account and can see that there are no restrictions or issues on your account and your current site wide selling limits are 80K items to a value of £4M or whichever is reached first. These are significant selling limits and therefore demonstrate that there has been no selling cap of £85K on your account. I understand there was a recent issue when the selling limits were being reviewed but this was rectified and restored to the limits mentioned. Prior to this, there were no issues that would have affected selling above £85K at any time. This is also evident by reviewing your sales for 2020 which totalled £102,380.44 from January 1st to December 31st, 2020.
I would recommend revising your listings and inventory if you are concerned with the level of sales you are experiencing and wish to develop your business further. I can see there are many listings that have been on site for quite some time and so would advise it best to review and see if a refresh of these listings overall would help generate additional traffic for you. I have attached a list of stagnant listings which details the duration of time on site, stock quantities and sales for your convenience.

As these are quite niche products, typically daily average sales will vary. For example, a more expensive item may sell two or three times in a week compared to your average daily sales amount and therefore, these higher amount days sales will appear significantly higher when viewing the sales graph on your dashboard across a week/ month. I have reviewed your pricing and can see there are variations of items from the lower price range to a few hundred pounds, so this needs to be taken into consideration when reviewing your sales reports as a potential influencing factor.
Within your Seller Hub, the ‘Performance’ tab provides access to this data where you can review your sales. We do suggest utilising the ‘Research’ tab also where listing improvement recommendations are provided and underperforming listings can be analysed in more detail. Our Selling Teams are also available should you wish to discuss these features further.

I trust that I have clarified your query but if you do have any further questions, please respond directly to this email. Of course, our Customer Support team is available should you have any other queries and are best placed to assist with real-time guidance. I wish you all the best moving forward with eBay and every continued success. Take care and stay safe.

Kind Regards,


Executive Escalations UK


Hello Emma,

1) I consider responses from people without surnames to be unprofessional, given the potential seriousness of this issue.

2) You have ignored the single issue raised, that being of my amalgamated sales since 6th April 2017 to the current day equating to exactly £85,000 p.a. +/- 1%, choosing instead to obfuscate this single issue with temporary variations within that period.  I can only assume that while claiming to have reviewed the letter in full, you have failed to follow the link in the letter, and have not read the details at the following page:

(Web address of this page)

You need to do that, and you need to confirm that you have done so. It may influence any further response that you decide to make.

3) Please reply to me with the name and address of the data protection officer for ebay UK, who is responsible for answering requests made under the UK Data Protection Act 2018.

Henry J. Walmsley.

08-OCT-2021:  Your letter to our Executive SR# 1-390043076518

Dear Mr. Walmsley,

Thank you for your reply. As before your letter has been reviewed in full and there have been no issues or selling caps on your account that would have affected selling above 85K at any time.  Therefore, our position on this query remains the same as set out in my previous correspondence.

I have included a link to our User Privacy Notice here and the requested contact information for our UK Data Protection Officer below if you wish to contact them with any data queries. Our selling team are also available should you wish to discuss listings or any other selling queries you may have.

Data Protection Officer
eBay (UK) Limited
1 More London Place,
SE1 2AF,
United Kingdom

Email - ebaydpo@ebay.com

We thank you for your longstanding membership and wish you all the best moving forward with eBay. I hope you have a lovely weekend, take care and stay safe.

Kind Regards,


Executive Escalations UK

Points of Note for This Exchange:

1)  We can see that ebay can check back and produce a total value for turnover on an account for any given period, particularly when it is convenient for them to produce a specious argument.

2)  It was nice of Emma to give me this address as required under UK law.  According to the ebay seller "support" telephone line, such information is not available and could never be given out to a paying customer using their service.  Stating that to a customer is somewhat illegal.

07-OCT-2021 Telephone Request for the Ebay UK Data Protection Officer Name and Address

07-OCT-2021 Youtube Video Link of
Telephone Request for the Ebay UK Data Protection Officer Name and Address

Call Summary:

Ebay seller "support" refuse to give me the name and address of the Ebay UK Data Protection Officer, and end the call.

12-OCT-2021 Letter to the Ebay Data Protection Officer at 1, More London Place.

If the only effect of contacting the VP personally and in writing is to be peddled-off to a surname-less "Emma," one is forced to go a stage further.  So, noting that ebay do hold sales turnover data for previous intervals, I thought that I would put in a request for disclosure of relevant data under the 2018 UK Data Protection Act.  Here it is:
                                                                                          Henry J. Walmsley,
                                          14 Anderby Road,
                                          SO16 9PN

                                          Phone:    02381 XXXXXX
                                          Mobile:   07748 XXXXXX
                                          VAT No.   318381695
                                          ebay a/c: vila_restor
                                          email:    vila_nestor@hotmail.com

Data Protection Officer
eBay (UK) Limited
1 More London Place,


Dear Sir,
This letter constitutes a request for a full disclosure of data used by ebay systems under the 2018 UK Data Protection Act relevant to the accounts shown below.
I have a particular interest in the storage of previous sales totals being used to automatically influence current sales rates when compared to a specific numerical value.  This process has been active in your systems since April 6th 2017.  I have not been informed of this by ebay UK, and many enquiries to ebay UK by the more usual routes have proved to be fruitless and dismissive.

I believe that this constitutes non-transparent use of my data.
The ebay accounts in question used the following usernames:

vila_restor:       Active
jenna_stannis:     Closed
tel_varon:         Closed
james_from_space:  Closed
curavon01:         Closed
olag_gan:          Closed - never properly opened

Any other accounts which may have inadvertently been linked to "Henry J. Walmsley / vila_restor" should be included.  Numerical values used for automated calculations should be included.  All account "Flags" should be included.  Please inform me of any necessary charges involved.

Yours Sincerely,

Henry J. Walmsley. 


26-OCT-2021 An Email and Site Message Response from "NikHil" of eBay Privacy


Dear Henry Walmsley,

I am contacting you in relation to an email sent to us requesting your eBay data for your account “vila_restor”. My name is Nikhil and I would be happy to advise on this.

Your general eBay data can be requested at any time through your eBay account, please follow the steps below:

Sign into your eBay account and in the top left under “Hello Henry” select “Account settings”
Under “Personal information and privacy” select “Request your eBay data”.
Follow the steps and your data will be automatically provided within 10 days.

However, to help you resolve your request quickly I have requested for your Subject Access Request (SAR) on your behalf you will be able to download all your personal data within 10 days.

I hope the above information was helpful

Kind regards


eBay Privacy
[THREAD ID:1-525HV34V]

My Response on 26-OCT-2021:

Please confirm if this response from you is a result of my original paper letter sent to...

Data Protection Officer eBay (UK) Limited 1 More London Place, London, SE1 2AF
dated 12-OCT-2021.

Please note the following:

a) None of the requested data is available using the procedure that you have outlined.

b) Your response does not constitute a reasonable response made under the 2018 UK Data Protection Act. As such, the original timeline from the date of that letter continues to count-down.

c) This request was made under the 2018 UK Data Protection Act to the ebay UK Data Protection Officer. I expect a written response from that officer, not an individual who fails to declare a full name.

The original letter is shown below.

I still await a timely and proper response to my original request.

Yours Sincerely,

Henry J Walmsley.

(Original letter to DPO enclosed as readable text)

05-NOV-2021:  I receive the following ebay message, again from Nikhil C.

Dear Henry Walmsley,

Thank you for reaching out to eBay's Privacy Office requesting for personal data. I’m responding to you as we received a letter to our Data Protection office.

I can understand that you wish to get your previous sales data with the Subject Access Request (SAR). I have already requested the SAR on your behalf. Please be advised that we will only be able to provide the information that we have in SAR under GDPR.

For a more in-depth explanation, Section 5 and 8 of our User Privacy Notice. As previously advised, should you disagree with our decision in this case you have the right to report to a supervisory authority or seek a judicial review.

Kind regards
Nikhil C.
eBay Privacy

It is still not clear whether this is in response to my actual paper letter to the data protection officer or is just some minion acting on previous queries. I leave this be, because as far as I'm concerned, the countdown is still running on my paper letter.

12-NOV-2021 An email response is made to my request made under the UK 2018 Data Protection Act:

ebaydpo <ebaydpo@ebay.com>
Fri 12/11/2021 18:03

Dear Mr Walmsley,

We write further to your letter of 12 October regarding a request for personal data held by eBay in respect of your accounts.

Please note that as the some of the accounts have been closed, the personal data associated with these accounts has been deleted. Accordingly, we will be unable to provide you with a copy of your personal data that eBay had processed in respect of these accounts. For clarity, the closed accounts affected are as follows:

    Curavon01; and

In respect of the active vila_restor account we note that you initiated and completed a self-service subject access request (SAR) on 9 November. We should be grateful if you would confirm whether you still require this SAR to be repeated manually by eBay?

Please note that your requests for information regarding the treatment of sales totals and account flags used go beyond what eBay is required by applicable data protection laws to disclose, and as such eBay is unable to provide you with said information.

If you disagree with eBay’s procedures or its decision in this case, you have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office, or to seek a judicial remedy.

Kind regards,

eBay Privacy Office

There is no name from ebay at all this time, but finally I have a response to my actual paper letter.  This is ebay's final response.  I disagree completely with ebaydpo.  The invisible use of sales totals and account flags are exactly what the Data Protection Act and the EU version GDPR are intended to reveal, if someone thinks that data thus held is incorrect and is working against them. 
"ebaydpo" correctly notes that I have the right to complain to the UK Information Commissioner's Office.

So on Tuesday 16th November 2021 I did indeed send a complaint to the UK Information Commissioner's Office via their online form.  That complaint is comprised of an initial summary and four of the most relevant documents, one of which should be the final response from the organisation in question.  The online form and documents sent are shown below in pdf form.

Online Form Complaint to the UK Information Commissioner's Office about ebay Non-Transparent use of Data to Limit Sales 16th November 2021

Initial Complaint Summary Entered into Online Form Text Box:

Since 6th April 2017 I have been aware of ebay systems limiting the turnover on my ebay account to exactly £85,000 per year, the UK VAT threshold.  This covers the whole four and a half period, not any particular sample year or period.

Since 6th April 2019 I have been VAT registered.  I have entered all details into ebay systems, and I have made many different attempts to communicate this.

The turnover cap in the systems remains in place.  It is currently accurate to within 1% taken over the period 6th April 2017 to the present day.  This system is invisible to me in its operation and is not disclosed, yet the supporting numerical and other evidence is compelling.  Application of this turnover cap is incorrect and non-transparent use of my previous sales data to influence current and future sales levels.  This has a direct and negative effect on my livelihood. 

The supporting evidence and all communications can be seen and heard at the following link:

(Web address of this page)

Document 1, The letter given to Murray Lambell, Eve Williams, and "Bradford Shellhammer" by hand during a discussion with all of those persons at 10:30 on 30th October 2021.

Document 2, The original request made under the UK Data Protection Act to the ebay Data Protection Officer.

Document 3, The final response provided by ebaydpo.

Document 4, A pdf version of this webpage as it was on 16-NOV-2021

The response from the ICO web form.

Email response received from "icocasework" at 21:41 16-NOV-2021

As of 03-JAN-2021 there has been no response from the ICO, and I will be awaiting that response with a sensible degree of patience.  It is my opinion, that exposing and correcting this kind of secret use of incorrect data possibly held against my name is exactly what the Data Protection Act and the Information Commissioner's Office are for. 

03-JAN-2021 A Customer Messages to say that He Can't Pay For His Items Bought From Me, But Can from Everyone Else

Post new-year sales are jogging along and are hitting a certain level.  Lo!  A customer pops up to say that he mysteriously can't pay for his items.

Nice Customer with 1018 Feedback:  Hi for some reason this item will not let me pay with my American Express. And I buy a lot of stuff on eBay I don’t understand thank you god bless

Henry:  Hello,  I don't understand either, other than to say that ebay frequently blocks buyers from making purchases from me because their computer systems think that I am a VAT fraud. This isn't true, and of course they deny that it ever happens.  All I can suggest is trying again later. Thanks for the information.

Henry Walmsley.

Nice Customer with 1018 Feedback:  Hi I just made a purchase 2mins ago no problem I will try later god bless (He means a purchase with someone else, so it's a problem with my account, not his.)

So the mysterious payment blockages continue, meanwhile most of my customers don't bother to send a message, (after all, why would you?) and simply shop elsewhere.

31-MAR-2022 A Disappointing Result From The ICO; "ICO Says No"

On 17th February 2022 I received an email from the UK Information Commissioner's Office essentially stating that, "This is business information and is nothing to do with us."

17-FEB-2022 Email and Attached Letter From The UK ICO Declining To Accept That eBay Invisible Limits Attached to My Name Across More Than One eBay Account Breach the UK Data Protection Act:

ICO Casework
Thu 17/02/2022 14:41

17 February 2022

Case Reference: IC-140843-W4N4

Dear Henry Walmsley,

Thank you for your correspondence to the Information Commissioner's Office, in which you raised a complaint about Ebay. Please find attached our response to your concerns.

Yours sincerely,

Alice Kitson
Case Officer
Information Commissioner's Office

Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF
T. 0330 313 1737


By email only to: vila_nestor@hotmail.com

17 February 2022 
Our Reference: IC-140843-W4N4

Dear Henry Walmsley,

Thank you for your letter/email/complaint form to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in which you have complained that your business turnover cap is incorrect and Ebay will not amend this and they will not disclose your requested data.

The ICO’s role
Part of our role is to consider complaints from individuals who believe there has been an infringement of the data protection law.

We deal with complaints like this under section 165 of the Data Protection Act 2018 which requires us to take steps to respond to complaints including investigating to the extent that we feel is appropriate. It also requires us to inform the complainant of the outcome of their complaint.

We use complaints to build up a picture of an organisation’s information rights practices so that we can identify and target poor performing organisations. Details of the action we have taken is available on our website.

Outcome of your complaint

Having considered the information you have provided to the ICO, unfortunately, we do not deem that we are able to assist you with your complaint at this time. Please refer to the section below for further information regarding our view.

To explain, Section 165 of the Data Protection Act 2018(‘DPA’) states that our obligation is to investigate a complaint about the application of the relevant data protection legislation in relation to an individual’s personal data concern. We are obliged to investigate concerns to an appropriate extent, and inform the individual of the outcome. Part of this process includes considering whether further action is necessary or appropriate, in line with our Regulatory Action Policy.

Following this, we should clarify that whilst the data protection legislation considers the processing of ‘personal data’, it does not extend to information about your business sales and whether the turnover cap is calculated correctly for your sales or not. This is because business and sales information is distinctly different to requesting access to personal information. As such we believe that the matter you have raised predominately relates to a customer service issue which should be pursued directly with Ebay.

Whilst we understand this will not be the outcome you will have wanted, we hope that you appreciate the reasons as to why we cannot consider this matter further.

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

Yours sincerely,

Alice Kitson
Case Officer
Information Commissioner’s Office


I'm not sure who it is to do with then, or just quite how personal the information has to get, but I'll accept this for now without attempting to drag it on further down this route.  I'm inclined to think that when it comes to doing some actual work investigating data abuse in a large corporation which has lots of money and lawyers available, the UK ICO just, "Can't be arsed."

Update 06-JUL-2022

It's been a while.  I've been seeing the usual ridiculous sales behaviour.  I deliberately put postage and many other prices up and let sales drop down somewhat by failing to replace some individual items.  Then I put some promotions and the individual specials back on.  Four days of bumper sales ensue while the running total increases back up to the silent ebay limit then, Whallop!  Oh dear; Henry is selling too much again!  You've heard all that before, probably from many sellers who you might have thought were just having a good whinge about what is actually the result of their own ineptitude.  Fine.  You might think that. I couldn't possibly comment. 

So instead of just looking at suspicious numbers, bar charts provided by eBay, and whingeing, I've been recording the sales data as ever and updating the big spreadsheet.  The running amalgamated sales total since 6th April 2017 is currently such that over those years I have sold precisely 1.2% over the VAT threshold for that time period.  I've also spent some time doing some charts to demonstrate the relevance of this extraordinary, if at first rather boring-looking constant.  This is not as easy as you may first imagine due to the enormous data set of 20+ sales per day over five years.  One has to use MS Excel pivot tables to boil it down somewhat, before attempting a chart.  The charts are intended to show how this constant varies a little over time, but the eBay silent sales limiting algorithm operating on my account always brings it back to exactly the same value.  Here are the two charts that I've made so far.  They are effectively the same line with different Y axes.

Aggregated Daily Sales
                                        Average Silently Limited to
                                        £232.73 +/-5% (The UK VAT
                                        Threshold) by eBay Algorithmic
                                        Capping Systems Since 6th April
                                        2017 for use Henry J. Walmsley

It's been a long time since 6th April 2017.  We started on that day, when HMRC put a clause in their rules that stated that online marketplaces could be made responsible for unpaid VAT by their sellers, we go through my VAT registration on 6th April 2019, Brexit, COVID, me doubling my inventory of different items, closing one ebay shop, and all kinds of other random business weather.  Still, the line refuses to waver beyond 5% of the UK VAT threshold.  Here's the same line again showing the percentage difference of my amalgamated sales vs. the UK V.A.T. threshold:

eBay Silent Sales Limiting
                                        Algorithm Error (%) vs. UK
                                        V.A.T. Threshold Since 6th April
                                        2017 for user Henry J. Walmsley

Notice the very limited Y-axis scale.  I've seen ±5% tolerance carbon composition resistors change value more than that over five years, though I've never seen one tend back towards the exact specified nominal value, or oscillate around the exact nominal value before.  That would not be a naturally possible phenomenon, and neither is this. 

There's a lovely eBay Roadshow in Reading UK on 28th July 2022.  I shall be asking eBay representatives about this graph.  I expect to be met with the usual level of deflection and lies.  However, as noted above, Murray Lambell the V.P. of eBay U.K. was made aware of this issue face-to-face and was handed a letter referencing this page in Manchester back in September 2021.  He should take notice.  Now that I've figured-out pivot tables, it's not impossible that with the application of even more analysis, I could start to predict my daily sales totals a day in advance with reasonable accuracy.  At that point, things will be getting silly.

Fix your systems, Lambell.  I'm an electronics engineer.  Historically, I've been quite good at debugging not-designed, terribly coded, rogue software where the original semi-competent people have long since been sacked and replaced with ten times as many programming monkeys randomly bashing away at keyboards in the hope of a successful compile.  I can help you if you like!

15-JUL-2022:  I have entered the eBay Business Awards Competition

On 14th July 2022 I received a site message stating that the entry period for the eBay Business Awards would be closing soon.  I thought that I had better get my entry in.  So I did.  It comprised some business details, a link to my eBay shop, this web-page, and the following information:

I was, and still consider myself to be a degree qualified electronics engineer.  We learn mathematics on electronics degrees.  Starting my eBay so-called business has made me extremely aware of your corrupt and broken systems through a detailed mathematical analysis.  I would love to talk about the exact and silent £85,000 p.a. turnover limitation that was placed on my account in 2017 and its continued action since becoming VAT registered.  You refuse to do so.  It is my eBay business ambition to make Murray Lambell responsible for this illegal limiting activity as he is, "Responsible for all eBay UK activities," and was made aware of it face-to-face with an accompanying letter by hand in Manchester in September 2021. 

<link to this page>

So if, in the future, anyone in the eBay Business Awards department should claim that they are were not aware of this situation, we know that this is not true.  Do I win £10,000?

15-JUL-2022:  Another Mechanism By Which eBay Silent Limits Can Be Implemented Is Detected

While I have already identified many possible mechanisms by which the mathematically proven eBay silent limiting system may implement its sales reductions, here is another that was the subject of an eBay seller so-called support call from me this week.  It looks like some other sellers are subjected to this exact phenomenon as well.

15-JUL-2022 eBay Internal Search of My Own Listings Can't Find Exact Word Match Items, and Neither Can The Customers on the Main Site.

18-JUL-2022:  I Again Give eBay Legal Notice That I Am Aware That The Silent And Illegal Limit On My Sales Is Still Operating

While making my third telephone complaint about the internal listing search failure noted above, I decided to give eBay notice yet again that I am aware of their silent and illegal sales limiting system operating on my account.  That turned into a significant marathon totaling more than one hour and ten minutes.  The sum result of this was that the, "eBay Trust and Safety," representative would pass on my concerns to higher management.  I directed him to this website which is blocked to viewers within his building.  I recommended that he have a look at it at home. 

18-JUL-2022 Recording of eBay Customer Support Call Concerning eBay Direct Text Match Listing Search Failure Number 3, And Legal Notice Again That I know that My Sales Are Being Silently And Illegally Limited

YouTube Video of The eBay Telephone Line Of Lies Call Concerning eBay Direct Text Match Listing Search Failure Number 3, And Legal Notice Again That I Know That My Sales Are Being Silently And Illegally Limited

Local Video Copy lsf_and_vat_edit_18072022.mp4

During this call it is made clear that Murray Lambell was made aware of this issue face-to-face with an accompanying letter in Manchester in September 2021.

26-JUL-2022:  A Telephone Call To My Mobile Used For Contacts From eBay Customers Was Received From eBay On 0345 3553229

At 12:11 on 26th July 2022, I received a telephone call from eBay informing me that I had been uninvited from their eBay Roadshow in Reading on Thursday 28th July 2022. 
The reason given was that my posts online and on social media used unprofessional and threatening(!) language against eBay employees.  The use of the word "bullshit" with reference to eBay seller support was one reason quoted.  I asked what was inaccurate about this use of this word, and there was no answer. The caller was very eager to end the call and to run away from the truth, without discussing any of the issues raised in these pages.

The person pointed out at the start that she did not give permission for me to record the call.  Oh Dear.  I'm afraid that as a company calling me who is most definitely recording the call at the other end, you have absolutely no right to do so.

26-JUL-2022:  A Telephone Call From eBay Uninviting Me From Their eBay Roadshow In Reading For Using Unprofessional Language In Posts About Their Service And Illegal Silent Sales Limits

Call Summary:

1) I am "un-invited" from the eBay Roadshow in Reading on 28th July 2022.
2) I am accused of using threatening language towards eBay staff online.  This is the biggest eBay lie yet, and I make this clear.  Check the telephone calls and posts.
3) I ask eBay to stop lieing to me.
4) I am cut off.

28-JUL-2022:  I Deliver An Open Letter And Report To Murray Lambell Outside Reading Football Club

At 08:40 on Thursday 28th July 2022 I delivered a paper report comprising this web-page up to the date 26-JUL-2022, a copy of all the relevant ebay related pages and telephone calls on a DVD, and the covering letter shown below.  This was politely delivered by hand at the entrance to Reading Football Club where the aforementioned event was taking place at 10:00.  I read three-quarters of the letter aloud, ending with, "You, are responsible," before handing over the report.  Sorry, there is no recording of this, but there was a witness to the final moments at the entry point.  Mr. Lambell's response was,
Later at 09:50 I was politely refused entry after being met by two security personnel who were actually waiting.  I then left, politely and promptly, safe in the knowledge of a mission already accomplished.

For the record, here's the recording:  Politely refused entry to the ebay roadshow event at Reading Football Club on 28th July 2022


                                                                                           Henry J. Walmsley,
                                          14 Anderby Road,
                                          SO16 9PN

                                          Phone:    02381 785329
                                          Mobile:   07748 766447
                                          VAT No.   318381695
                                          ebay a/c: vila_restor
                                          email:    vila_nestor@hotmail.com


An Open Letter to Murray Lambell, By Hand at Reading eBay Roadshow

Dear Murray Lambell,

At an event in Manchester On 30th September 2021 I informed you, Eve Williams, Bradford Shellhammer, and Kate Dudley personally and by hand delivered letter that since 6th April 2017 I have been aware of eBay systems limiting the turnover on my eBay account to exactly £85,000 per year, the UK VAT threshold.  The delegated response from your staff was deliberately evasive, obfuscating, and contained plain lies.  I made this clear in a written response.

Since 6th April 2019 I have been VAT registered.  I have entered all details into your systems, and I have made many different attempts to communicate this.

The silent limit in your systems still remains in place.  It is currently accurate to within 1% taken over the period from 6th April 2017 to the present day.  It has never wavered from this constant by more than +/-5% over five years.  I enclose a report with a full and clear proof.

I again request that this silent and illegal limiting process be identified in your systems and removed from my account.  As the person responsible for all eBay UK activities, you have five working days to attend to this personally.  You should now consider this to be a legally relevant notification.  Prompt action is required.

Also enclosed is a disc which contains details of the many other failures of your marketplace and the outrageously poor responses that I have received from your staff.  This includes fifteen separate instances of price misrepresentation retail fraud committed against my customers by your  systems during 2021.  eBay staff were notified about this on every occasion over a period of months and given ample opportunity to correct the error that was causing retail fraud on a potentially global scale.  On each occasion I insisted that you should be informed.  No adequate response was ever received.

As eBay UK Vice President and General Manager, You are responsible.

Yours Sincerely,

Henry J. Walmsley.  BEng. (electronics)


I awaited a response from my letter and report.  None was forthcoming.

25-AUG-2022:  My Account Is Permanently Suspended On The Ebay Site

The only real surprise here is that it took nearly a month.  In a terribly unprofessional manner, I like to refer to this as being "binned-off," from an account with 100.0% positive feedback at a level of 30340 that has provided ebay with approximately £120,000 in fees over twelve years:)  Yes.  One-hundred And Twenty Thousand Pounds GBP.  It's a shame that it took youtube videos and this entire site to reach this point, but if you've read this far, you can see that I tried very hard to progress sensibly at every stage.  Here is the final correspondence:

[From ukrswebhelp@ebay.com]

Important information regarding your eBay account

Dear Henry James Walmsley,

We regret to inform you that your eBay account has been suspended.
Why have we suspended your account?

An account suspension in these circumstances is covered under the eBay User Agreement, which you can read by copying this link into a new browser window:


You are prohibited from using eBay in any way, including registering new accounts. We have ended any open listings.
Please be advised that this suspension does not relieve you of your obligation to pay any fees that you may owe to eBay.
Please note that this suspension is not appealable. For more information about why your account may have been suspended and what steps to take now, please go to:


Thank you for your cooperation in this important matter.

eBay Trust & Safety

eBay Document ID: 123223962008
[From ootpuk@ebay.com]

Your Account Suspension- SR# 1-453870401134

Dear Mr. Walmsley,

We are contacting you from the Executive Office in eBay in relation to the recent eBay Roadshow event in Reading. As had been communicated to you prior to the event, your invite had been rescinded due to comments that had been made and/or directed to eBay employees of an unprofessional nature.

Following careful consideration of your attendance at the event and the continuance of violations of the eBay User Agreement, it has been determined that it is in eBay’s best interest to part ways. We do not make decisions like this lightly and have spent some time reviewing this decision, however, the pattern of activities we have witnessed presentsan unacceptable risk to eBay. Therefore, your account is nowsuspended indefinitely, and this decision is not appealable.

I have provided an excerpt from our User Agreement for reference:

“Without limiting other remedies, we may limit, suspend, or terminate your user account(s) and access to our Services, restrict or prohibit access to, and your activities on, our Services, cancel bids, remove or demote or otherwise restrict the visibility of listings, delay or remove hosted content, remove any special status associated with the account, reduce or eliminate any discounts, and take technical and legal steps to keep you from using our Services if:

    we think that you are acting inconsistently with the letter or spirit of this User Agreement or our policies or abuse our employees or users;”

I understand this outcomemay not be what had beenanticipated, but we believe eBay is not the right venue for you to buy and sell. As previously mentioned, this suspension is permanent, and you will no longer be able to use eBay in any capacity. Any other accounts you own or are associated with this account including any newly registered accounts will also be suspended as per ourUser Agreement.

Please note that, at this time, we have provided you with all the information available in line with our site policies, as agreed upon by you when registering your account on (link to ebay.co.uk) Therefore, please note this email as our final position regarding this matter. I must advise you that future appeals/ emails may be read, but not necessarily responded to.

Kind Regards,


eBay Document ID: 123224014008


The odd spacing is as it was received.

So that's that.  From previous experience I know that actually closing and removing this account properly will take at least three months, and then only with repeated intervention on my side to deal with mysteriously appearing penny balances, non-existent subscriptions, and other obstacles.  Here's how difficult it is to properly close an eBay account in good standing.  We'll see how that goes.

There may be further closing updates as time progresses, including a list of people who will only now be receiving copies of the open letter and report.

UK Trading Standards

The charitable organisation Small Business Britain (an eBay partner at their events)

British Chambers of Commerce (an eBay partner at their events)

My M.P.
for Southampton Test, Dr. Alan Whitehead

Radio 4's "Moneybox" Programme

Radio 4's "You and Yours"

Watchdog on BBC1

Any other M.P.s or government representatives who decide to appear in conjunction with ebay at their online or other events.

Meanwhile, please feel free to visit my website Useful Components and the UsefulComponents Etsy Shop, where you will find many of the items for sale that occasionally used to be visible on ebay when their systems allowed it.

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