Delete anyone's eBay listing

Published: Monday, Feb 18, 2013

I was just the victim of an eBay fraud attack which resulted not only in my eBay listing being canceled but also of the entire listing being deleted with no way for eBay to recover it.

I had listed my old iPhone and was happy to see people bid over $200 for it. The listing was eventually won by a certain shahid.quraishi. However, within 45 minutes of the auction ending, I received an email from eBay saying,

Unfortunately, we had to cancel bids and purchases for the following buyer because they're no longer registered on eBay: shahid.quraishi

What eBay didn’t mention is that they completely deleted my listing. It no longer shows up in the Selling section of My eBay and when I called eBay Support they said it was completely removed from the system with no way to get it back.

So I have no way of seeing the list of other bidders in case I wanted to contact them; nor can I copy the details of my listing into a new listing.

But more important than the inconvenience this poses to sellers, this seems like a major security hole. It’s trivial for malicious users to create fake profiles, win bids, and then cancel their accounts. When this happens, eBay deletes the listing, totally screwing the seller. Some googling shows that this is a fairly common occurrence.

When I asked, eBay told me this was done on purpose to prevent the user from finding the listing via its ID. So they’re saying that they’re so helpless in the face of fraudsters that they have to take the thermonuclear approach and delete the whole listing. If eBay really cared about its sellers, it would find a way to cancel the sale and make the listing invisible to all but the seller so the seller could easily re-list. Simply deleting the whole listing is really a kick in the pants to sellers.

So word to the wise: if you are selling something on eBay, make a backup of anything you write, and be prepared for frustration and wasted time if you find yourself in the crosshairs of a fraudster.