Updated 8th November 2019: Please scroll down
for the latest news. Warning! It's a long way down.
23rd August 2019, 21:31
After no response to a total of four letters, Interesting
Electronics is now closed, and this account will be removed as
soon as the system allows me to do so. Other online
marketplaces are available. As a last ditch attempt, and
to make my intentions clear, I made yet another telephone call
to ebay seller "support" today. Joseph tried hard, and
will, as ever, try to "take it further." I'm afraid I've
been there before. That call is also available
to listen to at the links at the bottom of the page.
So, Goodbye then!
There is no point running this shop which sells bulkier items
when any sales made here contribute to an overall sales cap,
along with my other ebay shop selling smaller items.
These shops are both limited to an overall summed sales cap of
£85K per annum despite my being VAT registered for several
months now. Every time total sales hit £232 a day, they
are severely restricted for about a week before the process
repeats. Other longer-term capping behaviour is equally
obvious. You don't need a mathematics degree with a
statistics major to show it beyond any doubt. I have
battled on the seller "support" telephone line for
hours. When they finally dismissed my complaint, I was
instructed to send in a pointless letter to the ebay customer
complaints address in Dublin. I have the delivery
receipt. This has been ignored for eight weeks, without
even a courtesy response or a dismissive denial. Here is
Henry J. Walmsley,
14 Anderby Road,
VAT No. 318 3816 95
Ebay business user account usernames:
Personal user account usernames:
UK / Europe Accs
P.O. Box 9473,
Since approximately April 2017 I have been aware of a general
system operating within Ebay that invisibly limits total
yearly sales across all accounts registered to the same real
name to the UK VAT threshold of £85000. I do not refer
to email warnings or listing restrictions of which the user is
informed. I refer to an invisible sales cap about which
the user is not informed. I have proved this beyond any
doubt, and quite easily. Using amalgamated 12 month
sales totals and integrating under a curve with an £85K offset
for those two years, this shows that the resultant equals zero
to within +/- 5% at any given time, despite substantial
modulation of products available and shop holidays. This
is impossible by chance. I imagine that this is achieved
by reducing listing visibility, reducing listing visibility on
international sites, or by straightforward denial of purchase
to a customer, followed by the message "This item is no longer
available." I have had direct reports of this
occurring. The exact process is not important.
While I do not expect to receive full details of the process,
please do not issue a denial. I understand that this is
to protect Ebay from being liable for unpaid VAT by sellers
under HMRC rules and UK law.
Up until the date of 6th April 2019, this was not a problem
for me. Indeed, it was rather helpful as I was not VAT
registered prior to that time. However, I have been VAT
registered since that date. The VAT number is in the
ebay system on both business accounts and is showing on
listings. I have spent many hours on the seller
telephone helpline ensuring that all these details are
correct. They assure me that I am a valued customer with
all accounts in good standing.
This does not fill me with much reassurance however, for while
all these discussions were ongoing, none of the many
representatives and supervisors with whom I spoke were able to
inform me that this number had been entered incorrectly in the
standard HMRC display format. When this is passed to
VIES for checking, it returns a 'not recognised'
response. I have since detected and corrected this
myself. All these calls have been recorded for future
reference. The number has been correctly entered for
many weeks now.
Unfortunately, day-to-day statistical sales analysis clearly
shows that the capping algorithm is still very much running
across my business accounts. This is particularly
obvious as an approximate eight-day cyclic 'tick' where
sales cross a threshold of approximately £234 every eight days
before being restricted. This is inexplicable by any
seasonal, random, or other effect, other than the one already
stated. It has been proven mathematically. Please
use whatever words you wish, but do not issue a denial.
This is cause for complaint. The many calls to the
telephone helpline constitute the first complaint, and I made
this clear at the time. This email constitutes the
second complaint. The complaint is that Ebay systems are
restricting my sales across two business accounts to the UK
VAT threshold of £85000, a restriction about which I have not
been informed and which in any case, should have been removed
upon VAT registration and correct entry of business details.
* What can be done to address the complaint?
* The capping system must be removed from these business
* What will occur if this does not happen?
* I will escalate the situation in stages starting in ten
working days from the date of this letter. This is the
second opportunity given to Ebay to avoid this. I wish
to avoid this action.
It may be the case that I need to make some technical change
to the entry of business details, or make some technical
change on the Ebay site. Having spent many hours
attempting to do this via telephone support, You need to tell
Me exactly what is required. Be assured, that the moment
the situation is correctly resolved, it will be unmistakable
in my analysis plots within 48 hours.
I expect prompt action.
Henry J. Walmsley.
No such action has occurred. So, that's approximately
£2000 in ebay fees every year, for the last eight years and
100% seller feedback on my account. SixteenThousand
Pounds. Ebay; This clearly means nothing to
you. If only I could say the same myself.
15th August 2019
After another telephone call today I was given two different
addresses to write to, and no explanation for the lack of
response to date. So I did write to them. Here is
the letter. The telephone call, as ever, is linked at
the bottom of the page.
Henry J. Walmsley,
14 Anderby Road,
VAT No. 318 3816 95
Ebay business user account usernames:
Personal user account usernames:
UK / Europe Accs / Account Closures
P.O. Box 9473,
Office of President, Ebay Account Closures
2145 Hamilton Avenue,
Enclosed is a copy of a letter sent to Ebay at Dublin 15 on
24th June 2019. It was signed for at 09:15 on 28th June
by Sigita Gud. I was advised that writing to this
address was my only recourse regarding the problem outlined in
the letter. I have received not even a courtesy response
and would like to know why. In a telephone call today I
was given two different addresses to write to, as shown
above. This communication represents the third complaint
on the issue. The letter, further details, and links to
recordings of relevant telephone calls can be seen on the
front page of my ebay shop at the following url:
A written response and prompt action would be appreciated.
Henry J. Walmsley.
Signed for in Richmond by Filipe at 09:36 16-AUG-2019
Signed for in Dublin by Sigita Gud at 10:00 19-AUG-2019
Signed for in San Hose at 13:47 21-AUG-2019
Here are links to recordings of the three ebay seller
"support" calls, 14th August 2019, and more will be added as
they occur. It seems that even the tape recorder was
losing the will to live on the last one. They could not
care less about a letter that they know nothing about, yet
will gladly insist that you write it, after they have refused
to do anything other than read aloud from a card or, "look
into it further." (i.e. do nothing for two weeks then send a
dismissive site message)
1) Gabriel in the USA tries to be helpful, but as ever, "Oh
dear. Never heard of that before. Can't do anything."
Joseph tries quite hard by the sound of it, contacting every
element of support at his disposal. I've actually edited
out some of the longer silences and sounds of typing for
brevity. Joseph calls me back on the wrong number, as
usual, at the end. My apologies for the sound quality on
that portion of the recording on the mobile. All to no
avail. Unless Joseph can convince some higher power and
sort out the issue, I'm shut for good on this particular
I receive a site message from Kunjan K, team manager of ebay
Complain - Sales drop SR# 1-224894687646
This is the follow up
email with regards to the letter you have sent us.
Henry, this is Kunjan
- Team Manager of eBay UK department. We are sorry for any
inconvenience caused. I thoroughly checked your account and I
confirm that there is no restriction on your account due to VAT
registration. Your sales has nothing to do VAT registration.
However, I will provide some insights on how you can improve.
I will explain current
market trending and the best practices to improve the sales.
First of all, we appreciate your partnership with us for last 9
years. Please understand within this gross competition in the
market, the seller must be competitive and keep on updating the
strategies to be the pro. Rest assured that at eBay, we donít
stop or start the sales of any seller. It totally depends upon
item demand, item price and seller performance.
I see checked your
Growth tab and I found that some of your items needs improvement
which you can check through the below link:
Moreover, being a top
rated sellers, we always advise to keep rotating your inventory
to include the hottest items which will keep you up in the
competition. For example, if it is a Christmas or New Year,
people buy gifts, clothing and accessories. In Winter, people
buy warm clothes a lot. This was just an idea.
Also, you can include
all the inventory to offer the eBay premium service which will
give a boost your items search standing.
Also, I see that
you have offered eBay Premium Services for 97 item and you
can also offer to other 870 which will give a boost into your
search standing and will also give 10% discount on Final Value
social media is trending a lot. So, you may invest some of your
time sharing the items or shop link to Facebook, Instagram, etc.
which will divert the traffic to your shop and items, and you
may see a boost in the sales.
I am sure that the
above information will help you take the business to the next
eBay Customer Support.
[THREAD ID: 1-224894687646]
I reply as follows via a site message with words to the effect
"This was not a complaint about a sales drop. It was a
complaint about obvious and unnecessarily applied invisible
sales capping. You have addressed none of the points in
my letter. Also, this site message is not a response in
writing. Please respond in writing."
Sunday 1st September 2019
I receive the following response from Bholanath S. via a
RE: Complain - Sales drop SR# 1-224894687646
Thank you for writing
back to eBay Customer Support regarding the issue related to the
restriction and account status.
Henry, I am sorry for
the inconvenience caused in this regard and we want to make sure
that you get the correct information in regards to VAT.
First of all, I would
like to assure you that there is no restriction placed on both
your account "vila_restor" and "jenna_stannis". The sales limit
threshold of £85k is the limit set by HMRC and not eBay. Here
the best would be to contact HMRC so as to get complete
information related to VAT from below link:
I trust this is
helpful. Thank you for choosing eBay!
eBay Customer Support.
[THREAD ID: 1-2VIOVAZK]
I reply via this site message with words to the effect of:
"This was not a complaint about a sales
drop. You have addressed none of the points in my
letter. Also, this site message is not a response
in writing. Please respond in writing."
18th September 2019
I receive the following via a site message:
Complain letter - VAT SR# 1-227656368516
This is a follow up
with regards to the complaint letter you had sent us regarding
VAT threshold and sales limits.
This is Kunjan - Team
manager of eBay UK department. I have reviewed the account and
can certainly understand that you are still facing issues. For
further assistance, I would suggest to contact the HMRC team
directly as they will be able to provider you support and
clarify your concerns in the best possible way.
Please try to
understand that we have provided all the information that we can
in our previous emails and for your further information, I would
recommend to go through our terms and conditions policy as well
as user agreements.
I hope you can
understand our case here and appreciate your kind cooperation
and patience regarding this matter
eBay Customer Support
[THREAD ID: 1-227656368516]
I respond via a site message:
"This is not a response in writing and will be ignored."
As a separate note here, I would like to add that while
communicating in writing, it is normal business practice to
use full names. I have no more interest in communicating
with "Kunjan K," or "Bohlonath S," than I would with
communicating with "Homer S." or "Captain K." I see no
reason for either of you to hide behind partial names.
You have my full name. It is unprofessional not to use
However, "This is not a response in writing
and will be ignored," could be seen as a bit unhelpful.
Kunjan K. in his site message suggests that I contact the HMRC
team directly. As it is described as a team, I assume
that this means some specific team in ebay seller
support. That's strange, because I didn't know that such
thing existed. I'd better check that out on the
telephone! To summarize this call, I was correct; No
such team exists. I am informed that Kunjan K. was
referring to HMRC itself, not an HMRC team. I point out
that this is...
a) Incorrect information.
b) This issue clearly has absolutely nothing to do with HMRC,
and it is misleading to suggest that it has.
c) Having being forced down this paper-bound route by ebay, I
expect a proper response in writing.
d) This issue is still open.
As of Tuesday 24th September, I still await a written
response, on paper, from someone with a full name.
In an attempt to clean this up myself somehow, and to protest
by moving some business elsewhere, I needed to close some
accounts. Closing of ebay accounts is not as simple as
you might imagine, though. I know that any account needs
to be cleaned-down before it can be fully closed.
However, it seems that ebay has a series of hidden tricks to
avoid this for some reason. This includes mysterious
non-existant subscriptions, mysterious invisible subscriptions
that occur when you close a shop, refunds supposedly
made via e-cheques taking seven whole days to "clear," and a
series of incompetent seller support operatives giving
Here is the series of telephone calls that are still resulting
from this, and a brief summary of each.
I go back to the telephone and try to clear up some
other mysterious jenna_stannis subscriptions which seem
to exist when trying to close the account, but which the
site tells me do not exist. After speaking to "Boy
Wonder," I get put through to Kaly who is actually very
helpful, discerning that a certain subscription suddenly
occurs automatically when you close a shop. Yes,
Really. Closing one subscription makes another
invisible one occur! And yes, you keep getting
charged fees for the pleasure. https://www.interestingelectronics.com/old/henrys_interesting_electronics/customer_service/ebay/boy_kaly_06092019.mp3
6th September 2019 Call No. 3
I start the closure process of account james_from_space
which has been completely unused for
months. I am told that the account will be
monitored for seven days and then closed. Was this
too easy do you think? Yes, that would be far too
...because on the 16th September, this account is
still very much present. I get the name of
the previous person that I spoke to wrong in this
call, it was not Kaly. Perhaps the original
person should have said, "The process of closing
the account will be started in seven days,
after which it will take a further thirty days for
no good reason."
On Tuesday 8th October I thought that I would just
check-up with seller support to make sure that the
closing of jenna_stannis was in progress, if not
already completed. This is bearing in mind
that I was told that all subscriptions were
completely removed on 6th September during call
No. 2 with Kaly. Right? Wronnng!
Oh, what a surprise. A subscription to
selling manager pro is still 'active' somehow and
this blocks closing the account. It's almost
as if ebay will do anything to stop
accounts being closed and looking bad on their
numbers. Here is the telephone call where we
note that it might take five to seven days to
start the thirty to sixty day process of putting
the account through 'term pending' and finally
kill it off. During that five to seven days,
a cynical individual might imagine that a magic
subscription to selling manager might
re-appear. However, the subscription
disappears from the ebay account closure page and
I get in on the 'close account' button before it
has a chance to come back. Note that there
is no way on the website to remove this so-called
subscription, nor even to see that it is active.
I am finally presented with this page, which you
can click on to read it properly:
I see that there's yet another potential trick
embedded in this, that being the -£0.01
(way to go on the £ sign, web monkeys) credit on
the account and that despite what I was told on
the telephone, I'm supposed to claim it.
That would involve a payment, and yet another
thirty day wait before the account can be put into
a further thirty day 'term pending' closure
period. I wonder if the 1pee account balance
will turn out to be a problem with closing the
account? How did Kaly on the telephone get
the refund amount so slightly wrong a
month ago? Surely you can add-up.
If you can bear the suspense, tune in for next
month's exciting episode of, "The Ebay Account Of
Doom." (alternatively, Planet Of The Liars.)
18th October 2019:
"Planet Of The Liars"
It turns out that you didn't need to be kept in
suspense so long, because when I checked my
records, I noted that my account james_from_space
should have been closed on 16th October. I'd
better just try logging in, on the outside chance
that it hasn't been closed as agreed. Oh
look. It hasn't! Time for a quick
Friday evening call to ebay seller support, I
First I speak to a young lady who tries to tell me
that it can take thirty, sixty, or ninety days to
close an account, depending on which options you
select while closing it.
Lie Detected!" (Sorry about
that noise just there; That's just my automatic
Ebay lie detector going off again.)
I direct the young lady to the relevant site
message from 16th September 2019 which clearly
states that the account will be closed in thirty
She tries to suggest that she doesn't have access
to that site message.
I assure her that she can see anything in my
inbox, which I know as a fact. I get moved
over to an 'account specialist' who is better at
lieing without being caught out so easily.
After a very long wait I am told that the account
should indeed have been closed two days ago.
The excuse given is that account closures
sometimes get stuck in the system because of a
hyphen or odd character in my telephone number,
email, or physical address. (Which there
isn't) There are several words for that, but
they're not acceptable on a public web-page.
I am assured that it will be fixed over the
weekend and that I won't need to call back on
Well, let's wait and see, shall we?
21st October 2019: Naomi and
All completed? Account closed? Can I
uncross all my appendages and undo the knot?
Don't be silly. At 18:10 the account is
still very much fully accessible. So it's
onto the ebay seller support telephone line.
Summary Call 1:
I get through to Naomi who, after some time, tells
me that the account is still open because I have
been logging into it to see if it has been closed
yet. "Bing! Lie
Not true. Logging in to
the account is not account
activity that should stop
closure, and I draw this to her
An argument ensues where I invoke the spectre of
the UK Data Protection Act. Naomi tries to
persuade me that the terms and conditions state
that it might take sixty days to close an
account. I draw her attention back to the
site message sent by ebay that clearly states that
sixty days only applies if a sale has been made,
which it hasn't. I decided to be taken
through the ebay terms and conditions on the site
which involves me logging into the account.
I was about to say, "But would that not stop my
account being closed as you stated five minutes
ago?" when I am rather rudely cut off.
Cutting me off when you've been caught in a lie is
cheating. Naughty! Oh Dear. I'd
better call back.
Ron initially can't see my data back very far as
he is a buyer support person. I get put
through to Eric who is a seller support
person. We carefully track back the whole
story of trying to enable the relatively simple
procedure of closing an account, fully within the
scope of ebay's terms and conditions. After
it is agreed once more that the account should be
closed already, I am offered a call back within 24
hours. I suggest that's not an answer to
when the account will be closed, and suggest that
seven days is a fair time before opening a
complaint with the UK trading standards
organizations, citing data protection law.
There are very big silent gaps edited out in this
recording, and one almost might have assumed after
twenty minutes that the call had been
dropped. I have more patience than that,
I speak to an Indian lady who again insists that
just logging into the account is stopping it from
being closed. No it is not. We hear
this spelled-out quite clearly from Jacob in
Ireland in the second part of the call who
promises to send the entire staff of the overseas
call centre for retraining on such matters.
Jacob checks out all the account closure
requirements as passed, puts in yet another manual
request for closure and assures me that it will be
completed in seven days time. I say that I
will check it out after eight days, next Thursday
31st October. Also, the
Indian lady gave me the email
address of ebay's Data
Protection Officer, and while
we're on the line I check that
email to see if it actually
exists. I have been caught
out with non-existant ebay email
addresses before. To my
surprise, email@example.com does
actually exist and sends back an
response. I may be needing
that email address in the not so
Indian Lady and Jacob from Ebay Seller Support
Give Me More Untruths and Delays 23-OCT-2019
Let's call back on Thursday 31st October shall
we? Maybe I won't have to.
1st November 2019
I give ebay an additional day and check back on
the 1st November. Oh dear. Guess
what? The account still isn't closed.
Summary Call 1, 1st November 2019:
The usual discussion ensues with the first line
operative about not logging into the
account. This ends in a stalemate where I
refuse to end the call and get put through to a
second line operative, after about forty-five
minutes of discussion. His line is initially
the same, until I again refuse to end the call and
sit in silence for about fifteen minutes. He
then comes back, full of apologies, with a
completely different story. The story now is
that because there was a purchase on the account
on 16th August and the request for closure was
instigated on the 16th September, there was not a
full thirty days between the last purchase and the
closure request. This is why the account
will only be closed after sixty days from 16th
September, because the initial thirty day
condition had not been met.
Foolishly, I accept this explanation. I get
an acceptance that simply logging into the account
will not prevent it from being fully
My apologies for the extreme length of this
recording, but it seemed for a while that
persistence had finally paid off. The long
pauses are important.
JFS Account Closure Ebay Seller Support A,
01-NOV-2019 09:50 hrs Summary Call 2, 1st November 2019:
Later on in the day, I decide to check
something. I was sure that there were thirty
completely clear days between the 16th August
purchase and the 16th September closure
request. I was right! Back on the
telephone to clarify why I was told that the
account was not closed due to not fulfilling the
initial thirty day clear period. I am
careful to establish the thirty days first by
doing some counting on fingers with the first call
operative. We get nowhere. The
supervisor tells me that the account will be
closed on the 16th November, because it will take
sixty days this time for no good reason.
Further discussions ensue including a mention of
the UK Data Protection Act, and ebay not
fulfilling its stated terms and conditions in site
messages and live on the website. I nearly
lose the will to live when one-hundred and eighty
days is mentioned earlier in the call. This
ends in a stalemate and I force the supervisor to
end the call, making it quite clear that my
problem has not in any way been resolved, and that
the answers given are unsatisfactory.
See you on the 17th, if not before. (Before,
as it happens)
8th November 2019 - Closing The jenna_stannis
If you've been paying attention, you'll remember
that the original point of this page was to
document the closing of the Interesting
Electronics ebay shop which used the ebay account
jenna_stannis, and that closing the old
james_from_space account was a bit of a
side-track. So today we're back to the main
point then, as a full thirty days have passed
since I successfully clicked on 'close my account'
on jenna_stannis, after much painful tracking down
of mystery subscriptions and weird payments
etc. Very close observers will note that in
the telephone call on 8th October I was assured
beyond any possibility of a doubt, that a
mysterious £0.01 credit balance left on the
account by Kaly could not possibly stop it being
closed. So, the account is obviously closed
Now, you already know the answer to that one,
don't you? Phone call time! Summary Call 1, 8th November 2019:
All of ebays telephone lines were apparantly down
for three hours so it takes until after mid-day
and several aborted attempts to get a
call-back. I wonder why? I get the
usual useless individual and then get put through
to someone who knows something about
accounts. After some slightly ascerbic
banter, I realise that I may have actually found
someone helpful and we get on with business.
Why isn't the account closed? etc. etc. Will
the 1pee balance stop the account being
Helpful Robert: "Yes."
Henry: 'Oh. Well that's not what I was told
on 8th October'
We agree that the way forward is that I follow
H.R.s advice and get an 'account rebalancing'
done, as this will be quicker than paying 1pee
into my Paypal account, if that were even
possible. Why a paypal payment could
possibly take up to ten days is beyond my
comprehension, but let's do it the way he
suggests. HR says that he may be able to
call back with the result today.
Helpful Robert Ebay Seller Support Call 1,
Summary Call 2, 8th November 2019:
Helpful Robert does indeed call back, and at 17:25
he informs me that the account rebalancing has
resulted in a zero account balance. He says
that we can now close the account. OK
Robert, take me through the procedure. (Yes,
I know. I've done this already, otherwise
the account would not already be in 'term pending'
status,' but let's go through it again
anyway.) It's worth listening to this
labarynthine procedure, including clicking on what
seems to me to be a hidden link, and one which
takes you back to the 'classic' / supposedly
redundant ebay pages. What next, a door in
an unlit basement marked, "Beware of the
leopard?" Oh surprise. I get a message
saying that, 'We can not close your account at
this time because it is already in the process of
being closed.' Robert is slightly
vexed. He is not alone. I point out to
him that I successfully went through this
procedure more than thirty days ago, despite the
1pee. It would help if you would listen to
what the caller said originally,
rather than engaging him a near argument. We
part on sensible terms with promises of weekend
investigations at higher levels.
Here are screenshots of the account before and
after today's activities, noting that in the
second shot, I have incurred a transaction, that
being 'New activity not yet invoiced :
So I now have to wait n days to be 'invoiced' for
1pee owed to me, and as invoices generally work in
the opposite direction, this could result in a
1pee account balance yet again. "Quelle
Surprise." So does that mean another thirty
days, sixty days, one-hundred and eighty days
before the account is closed? That 1pee that
might be below a paypal transaction threshold
could be bounced around forever. A cynical
individual might assume that this was the actual
intention in the first instance. But Tune
18th November 2019 - Closing the
james_from_space ebay account
Good grief, it's finally gone. It is
actually possible! We now know that no-one
on the telephone has the slightest clue as to how
this really works, and that ebay consider their
stated terms and conditions to be of no
consequence whatsoever to their customers.
But there it is. A tiny, minor
success. I can no longer log into that
account. We shall see if there are any flies
in this ointment as time progresses.