eBay refuses to tell man why it suspended his new account

I wonder if asking for the contact info for eBay’s legal team (to pass along to his attorney) would light a fire under the ass of someone at eBay capable of actual thought. Even if he doesn’t yet have an attorney and isn’t planning on suing, the mere mention of legal recourse might make them take him more seriously.


In the EU he could ask for all personal information they have on him via GDPR, he then has the right to force them to correct anything that’s wrong.


And your point is? (Yes - we all know that. But really? This guy? Doing what any normal eBay customer does? If it was something to do with his IP address or browser profile or whatever, what’s with all the bullshit questions?)

Yeah, Right. /cynicism


The cherry on top of that snafu of an interaction: Thank you for choosing Ebay.

Can he choose it though? It seems like he can’t…


I had a similar thing happen with a new PayPal account that I created for my business. After one day it was suspended and nobody would tell me why. It took a couple of weeks of wading through phone trees, deflecting CS bots, and sitting on hold to get it re-instated. They never did tell me why it was suspended.


Interesting. This sounds like a bit of “data mining gone awry”, based on what limited knowledge I have of data science classes I took. TL;DR:

eBay had PROBABLY analyzed the cases of fraudulent behavior it had caught previously, based on whatever factors it chose to include (age of the account, zip code or location of account creation, IP login range, items listed, items sold, etc.) and created a pass/fail validation system based on mining all that that, and decided to create a filter that can catch X% of these, but let Y% of non-fraudulent accounts through.

Which means: If your behavior somehow fell into this range of what they considered to be suspicious behavior, you are perma-banned.

For obvious reasons, this validation filter is ever-evolving and cannot be disclosed, lest the scammers figure out a way to circumvent it.

eBay judged that they are big enough that they can afford to lose what they can make off those few false positives that this net may snag along the way.


But not ever-correcting.

:notes: Algo-rithms want to rule the world

(To the tune of “everybody wants to rule the world”)


Nailed it in one. That’s exactly what this. All these systems (eBay, Amazon, PayPal, credit cards, etc) are way too big to spot fraudulent behaviour using humans. It’s all done algorithmically. It has to be.

The problems come in when there’s no appeals process or customer support for resolving false positives. That’s what’s been happening more and more.

To give another example, I had a blog about ten years ago that was blacklisted for life from Google AdSense because I used some phrase (they wouldn’t tell me what) that tripped their fraud sensor. There was literally no way to contact them about it. Not a bot chat window, not an email address, and certainly not a phone number. I had to move my entire site and business to a new domain to get AdSense back and I never did learn what I had done wrong.


Well, such a filter should be ever-evolving BASED ON “current” or at least “prevalent” scammer profiles, but due to account takeover scams even the age of account doesn’t really mean anything unless you can analyze historical behavior. Security is always messy.

I do not disagree - but they should also be evolving to take account of false positives. But they have no incentive to review excluded accounts to see if they should have been

If they do not do that, all they will ever do is exclude ever more people - correctly or otherwise.


Which is a problem when businesses got too big: it starts to be UNCARING. Oh, you’re just one guy when we have gajillion users. We can afford to lose you. Go away. sigh


Quick pass on the full song there:

We data-mined your life
There’s no turning back
Even while offline
We will find you

Amplify your worst behaviour
No appeals to a better nature
Algorithms really rule the world

It’s it’s own desgin
It’s got no remorse
No need to decide
It makes sure there’s

No more freedom, so no pressure
Permabans that last forever
Algorithms really rule the world

Off the grid, where the code won’t find you
Holding hands while the walls come tumbling down
When they do, it’ll be right behind you

Too bad, you almost made it
So sad, no way to evade it
Algorithms really rule the world

[Instrumental interlude]

It’s a black-box decision
Married to tunnel vision
Algorithms really rule the –
Know that you can never, never, never delete it
Got warned, but didn’t believe it
Algorithms really rule the world
No more freedom, so no pressure
Permabans that last forever
Algorithms really rule the world.


I love it, but I have one very small suggestion:
So sad, no way to evade it
So sad, you can’t evade it

And, for those who wish to sing along, as I did


Solid work!

Great Job Applause GIF by Studios 2016


A Deadly Adoption Applause GIF


I suspect this might result in an immediate refusal to engage with that person at all, except through a lawyer.

1 Like

Mine won’t be after today. (The 24 hour “waiting period” after I submitted my deactivation notice yesterday.) It’s just not worth it to me anymore.


This is why I actively refuse to automate what is obviously a human guided process. Yes, we could flag certain IP ranges or domains as not allowed but beyond obvious markers, everything should be monitored and maintained by a human at the CS desk. I’m tired of seeing so many companies in and out of Silicon Valley thinking everything can be automated when it can’t be for many reasons (decidability being the biggest issue). If more folks would push back on this I think eventually C-suite nerds will get the message and back off.


I’m going to keep this phrase handy for when I cancel some service and they’re suddenly concerned about why I’m cancelling/transferring my service. (My cell phone provider soon. They were bought by Rogers, and I can’t stand Rogers.)

I know this isn’t the answer you were hoping for, but I trust that I’ve already given you all the information available to address the issue. Bye.


This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.