MC011: How To Resolve a MC011 Seller Restriction on eBay
Getting an MC011 on eBay is most sellers worst nightmare, but they can be relatively easy to overcome as long as you are a genuine honest eBay seller.
What is a MC011?
A MC011 is a restriction which eBay can place on an account which prevents the seller from listing new items or even opening new accounts.
If you get a MC011 it will arrive in the form of a message in your inbox within ebay. If you have several eBay accounts (like I do) there is a good chance that all of you eBay accounts will become restricted.
How do you get a MC011?
You can get a MC011 for lots of reasons, such as:
- Repeated breaches of eBay policy
- Selling a lot of items in a short space of time
- Getting a lot of negative feedback or return requests
- Unusual selling patterns
Unusual selling patterns is a bit of an odd one, but that will often manifest itself as a violation of the multiple accounts policy. eBay is fine with you having more than one account, as long as they are all you and your generally behave yourself.
If eBay sees that you normally sell coins and random second hand junk in the UK but then you suddenly start selling huge numbers of copies of MS Office on eBay.de in German, this might get flagged by eBay as deserving of more attention.
The short version is that a scammer took control of my account (which I stupidly let happen) and then sold a lot of stuff very quickly, about 20% of which generated return requests and bad feedback, which he ignored.
You can see how I resolved it in the next section.
Just because you got a MC011, it doesn’t mean you necessarily did anything wrong, it might be that you sold a lot of items very quickly, and in greater amounts than you have done previously.
eBay has to comply with both local and international laws on money laundering, so once you start to sell over a certain amount per month they will pay more attention to you and may ask for some credentials.
A very common request from eBay in a MC011 message is for the seller to provide copies of ID, such as a passport.
If you get a relatively high percentage of returns or negative feedback eBay will most likely end your item(s) for you and tell you not to relist the ones causing problems, but if you get consistently high levels of customer dissatisfaction they will not want you operating on their platform and MC011 you.
Another thing that the scammer who controlled my account did was repeatedly relist items which had been taken down by eBay because they were generating high numbers of return requests and eventually, negative feedback.
How to I resolve my MC011?
All MC011 messages need to be responded to within the eBay message system and contained within the message will be instructions on how to resolve the issue.
In my case, I was asked to provide proof of delivery for the items I (some scammer, not really me) had been selling.
I couldn’t do this because I hadn’t sold any of the items in question, so I had to phone eBay.
eBay can also ask you for proof of identity, which should be quite an easy one to resolve, unless you’ve been using a fake identity or have been lying about your age.
The instructions will be in the email from eBay and if you can’t comply with the message, the only other option is to ring eBay customer services and talk to them.
If you haven’t done anything wrong or made an honest mistake, there is no reason why you can’t get you account de-restricted again.
The only small issue I had with my account after the restriction was lifted was that my selling limits had been halved for the first 30 days, but this is a small price to pay for the ability to be able to sell again.
What if I can’t resolve my MC011?
If you can’t possibly do what the MC011 message asks, or your appeal is rejected, your only hope of getting the restrictions lifted is to ring eBay.
It took me 2 months and 10 phonecalls to eBay customer service to resolve my MC011, but in truth it was a problem of my own making and I am just glad that I have it back and working normally again.
If you know that you did something completely against the eBay Ts and C’s (such as trading under a fake name, selling things that you didn’t buy/ own ) then you won’t get very far with eBay customer services.
After speaking to customer services the first time, they said that to resolve the issue on my account I had to:
- Resolve all open cases (basically refund 20+ people)
- Pay the outstanding £900 eBay fees balance
This was because they saw the issue as being my fault by being careless, although not through malice / fraud, which is why they were happy for me to carry on selling once I had been spanked hard in the wallet for being an idiot!
If you were deliberately scamming people or trading under a fake name you will probably never get your seller restrictions lifted unless you can convince eBay that it wasn’t you.
Can I just make a new eBay account?
Yes and No.
If you have multiple accounts, eBay links them together via the information it has about you, so it won’t let you open a new account if you have a MC011 in place.
eBay can find your identity from the following:
- Phone Number
- PayPal Account
- Debit / Credit Cards
- IP address of your device
- Windows account
The last two were particularly surprising for me, but the only reason I knew there was a MC011 on the compromised account was because I got messages on two of my personal accounts to say that they were restricted.
My mother-in-law also got restricted, even though she lives in a different country! My wife and one of my older accounts didn’t get restricted though, which was odd.
The upshot of this is that if you want to start a new account, you have to go ‘stealth’.
I looked into eBay stealth accounts and it is not a simple process – to do it properly you need:
- a VPN (Virtual Private Network) with new Windows login
- a Virtual Credit card (sounds shady AF)
- at least one new PayPal account
You will also not be able to log into that eBay account on any of your other devices or phones (which I do all the time).
From what I could gather, stealth accounts are difficult to set up properly unless you are very handy with IT because things like a VPN can give you away as being ‘stealthed’ and attract attention, so it’s not just enough to hide, you have to pretend to be someone else entirely.
Stealth accounts can potentially be used to avoid paying tax and laundering money, so in my opinion it is only a matter of time before eBay clamps down on them.
One way for them to do this would be to demand ID such as passports or driving licenses from anyone opening a new account. This would take a lot of processing on eBay’s part, which is why they only routinely ask for it for people turning over $40k per year (allegedly).
All it would take is one MC011 and a business you have created over months and years would be gone in an instant, which is why I don’t recommend going down the stealth route if you can avoid it.