eBay VeRO suspensions bring you here?
VeRO is eBay's Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) program. If you're a dropshipper on eBay, this is your #1 enemy! You're probably here because you want to know how to avoid VeRO on eBay. Let's talk about it!
What is eBay VeRO and why does it exist?
VeRO began as a noble program to help keep selling clean and fair on the internet. VeRO was meant to protect brands from:
- Counterfeit items and replicas
- OK, we admit that this is a good reason for VeRO to exist.
- Unauthorized usage of photos and content
- Technically, VeRO is meant to protect intellectual property. However, this matters to brands in practice because they want to make life harder for resellers. Quality product photos increase sales so if brands force resellers to take their own photos, the photo quality will almost always not be as good as professional brand photos. Reseller sales will suffer as a result.
- Misuse of logos, or resellers claiming to be authorized sellers
- As a brand, it's bad for your reputation when a customer buys a defective or fake item from a reseller but tries to hold you accountable to repairs, a warranty, etc. This is why brands prefer to crack down on resellers than allow end-users to believe that it's the brand's fault when something goes wrong. What happens to an item after its first sale is largely out of a brand's control, so they'd prefer to not take responsibility for it.
Unfortunately, VeRO is increasingly being abused by brands to limit reselling in general. Brands want you to buy the newest version of their items directly from them, because when you cut out middlemen and resellers and limit options to buy secondhand, brands make more money.
How do you avoid VeRO brands on eBay?
Brands are employing 3rd party tools to scan eBay for opportunities to take down other sellers through eBay VeRO suspensions. Among many things, the bots will be looking for sellers using:
- A photo created by the brand, even if it's part of a generic vs. branded comparison image
- Their brand listed under the "Brand" field on listings
- A description that mentions the brand
Even if something is legal, that doesn't prevent brands from using VeRO to take down your listings. According to Federal Law, it's ok to:
- Use pictures of the actual item you are selling
- Use descriptions of the item you're selling, even if you swipe descriptions word-for-word from the packaging of the item
- Re-sell things you've bought as long as you have not altered them in any significant way
- Use names and phrases directly connected with these items and under which they are marketed
- Sell any item which you've lawfully obtained
- Use the name of the company or the item you're selling
eBay doesn't care whether an action technically legal, and will not step in to save your listing. It leaves it up to the rights owners to play fair as they enforce. Unfortunately this is not how VeRO enforcement plays out in real life.
eBay's official VeRO items list is not complete.
eBay's own list of VeRO participant profiles is incomplete. Even when you avoid listing every single brand on eBay's VeRO members list, you'll still get violation notices from other brands that are scouting for their own claims for VeRO products on eBay.
At PriceYak, our sellers have reported getting VeRO violations that are impossible to appeal. Brands will use any excuse to nail you and they know that you have very little power to do anything about it. The VeRO notice will often be sent by a 3rd party company or law firm that a brand has hired to issue VeRO takedown notices, and in order to appeal the seller must respond to a specific email address. Unfortunately, 80% of VeRO appeal emails go unanswered by the enforcer, even when you have a legitimate appeal reason. VeRO is creating an impossible situation for many eBay dropshippers.
Some brands are even using VeRO to launch targeted attacks against resellers, waiting until a reseller's eBay account comes out of a short term suspension to immediately file another VeRO violation claim. This timing indicates that brands are weaponizing VeRO to force repeated account suspensions to take reseller accounts down entirely, not to simply get them to take down specific listings. Dropshippers are starting to put their eBay accounts on vacation for 3-6 months at a time, until the violations expire from their eBay accounts. Getting an eBay VeRO suspension doesn't mean the end of your account. It only means that you might want to be extra careful and lay low for a while!
A sad eBay VeRO program case study:
One PriceYak user reported getting a violation from Apple, Inc. for some headlights. As we all know, Apple isn't in the headlights business!
When the headlight seller called eBay about the bogus VeRO claim, eBay said that it has a department that approves brands for the VeRO program, and since Apple is pre-approved as a brand that can enforce itself on eBay, basically anything Apple says, goes. It doesn't matter if the flawed automatic brand enforcement software they use to crawl eBay accidentally catches irrelevant listings. The listings that get caught by mistake are simply collateral damage and the individual seller must take the hit to their account reputation.
eBay has largely turned a blind eye to the abuses of VeRO. This is because it is also in eBay's interest to keep big brands happy. The VeRO program gives eBay cover to tell big brands that they care and that they've tried to help protect brands that sell directly on their platform. It doesn't matter if VeRO hurts smaller sellers and humble resellers.
Some ways to avoid eBay VeRO violations:
- Carefully edit your listings:
- Anyone dropshipping to eBay is likely maintaining hundreds of thousands of listings, and is constantly adding fresh listings to look alive and maximize opportunities to sell hot items. PriceYak users use our Automatic eBay Lister to paste in thousands of Amazon product IDs at a time for quick listing. It's impossible to manually check the photos, details, titles, and descriptions of each listing for violations, so that's why auto dropshipping software like PriceYak comes in handy. You can use PriceYak to transform Amazon product photos to decrease chances of brand enforcement robots detecting a photo match. PriceYak can also automatically scan titles, brand fields, descriptions, and other details, and reject listings that contain problem details that might get flagged by VeRO.
- Use dropshipping software to filter out VeRO risks
- PriceYak has a huge database of every brand in the 7-year history of PriceYak that has issued a violation to our sellers. As the original and most powerful dropshipping automation software, PriceYak has supported the internet's biggest dropshippers with hundreds of millions of listings over the years, and that means we have a lot of VeRO data!
- For each brand with VeRO risk, we know how many violations the brands have sent our users, how recently the last violation was issued, and that helps us figure out how aggressive or active a brand is.
- Because PriceYak flags so many VeRO brands, many dropshippers still decide to take calculated risks and keep listings live even if the brand has received warnings in the past. Just as one knows when a brand will begin enforcing their brand on eBay, and it's also possible they may stop enforcing their brand, since brand enforcement is expensive to contract out and a lot of work to do in-house. VeRO is truly a balancing act. You can use PriceYak's VeROmatic tool to set your risk-threshold on a 0-1 scale representing the amount of risk you are willing to take, and PriceYak can automatically reject VeRO listings accordingly.
- You can also use the built-in keyword blacklist in PriceYak's listing tool to tell PriceYak to reject any listing that contains the keywords you've added to your own account.
- We've also seen recommendations that you should only list items that are already in eBay's catalog, because those listings are exempt from VeRO violations; they've already been approved for sale. eBay's catalog is still small compared to Amazon's, so this may limit the items you can select for Amazon to eBay dropshipping. You may also need brand approval to sell some of eBay's catalog items, which should tip you off to the fact that the brand will flag your listing for a VeRO violation if you list it!
Looking for a free eBay VeRO checker?Competitors that claim to have the largest or most comprehensive list of VeRO brands are limited to the data that they've collected from their own sellers. Every dropshipping software's VeRO data is siloed in this way: one of their sellers must suffer a hit in order for their software to build a better VeRO banned brands list. The most robust dropshippers on the internet come to PriceYak once they've scaled past a 20,000 listings because the repricers of our competitors start to fail catastrophically on stores with many listings. Big dropshippers understand the risks of using low quality software, which is why they all eventually move to PriceYak. This is how we are confident that PriceYak has the largest VeRO list between dropshipping software competitors.
You are welcome to link your eBay dropshipping store to PriceYak, then navigate to our VeRO risk page to see which of your listings we've flagged as brand that is at risk for an eBay VeRO violation.
Sign up for PriceYak here to view your VeRO risks for free: login.priceyak.com/signup
Stay safe out there, and as always, happy dropshipping!