Millions of would-be entrepreneurs want to sell things on eBay. eBay is the #1 home-business opportunity in the world right now, so it’s natural that many are eager to find highly profitable items for re-sale on eBay. However, it’s important to know that there are certain items that can’t be sold. Here are a dozen of them …
Some items are copyright infringement and can actually land a seller in federal prison:
1. Knock offs of music, TV shows or movies. The “bootleg” movies, for example, are often made by guys who sneak a movie camera into a newly-released movie where presumably, they crouch behind a seat and make a crummy copy. There is a large production of these counterfeit items in Asia where US laws have no power.
2. Software and computer games can likewise be copied and their sale is illegal by all US laws.
Naturally, the items above may be sold if you have a copy that you purchased legitimately and no longer want.
3. The so-called “replica” market for handbags, designer sunglasses and clothing is definitely forbidden although these items are often sold in physical stores around the US. Ironically, when attending eBay Live In New Orleans in 2004, we found a store in one of their famous markets selling replica purses that were not allowed on eBay.
4. Lazy and less-than-honest sellers often steal copyrighted material from other sellers. This has happened to me many times and eBay has a program called VERO (Verified Rights Owner) that will remove offending auctions, although there seems to be no penalty attached to the seller, which is unfortunate.
5. Alcoholic beverage sales are not allowed although a beverage “container’, especially those of wine, may be sold for its value.
6. Cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco or coupons for such items are not permitted on eBay.com.
The eBay rules for collectible tobacco and alcohol containers are the same:
* The value of the item is in the collectible packaging, not in the wine/tobacco itself.
* The listing description should state that the package has not been opened, but that the twine/tobacco within is not for consumption.
* The collectible tobacco packaging must not be available at any retail outlet, and packaging must have a value that substantially exceeds the current retail price of that wine/tobacco product in the package.
* Sellers must take steps to ensure that the buyer of these collectibles is at least 18 years of age
7. Firearms are strictly regulated by US law and may not be sold on eBay.
8. Satellite and cable TV descramblers are forbidden by the Federal Trade Commission.
9. Animals and wildlife products may not be sold, which includes stuffed birds and pelts from endangered species. There are limited sales of ivory, tortoise shell, marine products and other items relating to animals. This area is quite complex and any would-be seller needs to thoroughly understand the various laws before getting involved in these sales.
10. Event tickets have state-by-state laws that make their sale complex. Some states, for instance, forbid anyone to make more than a few dollars in profit (or no profit at all) on the resale of tickets. For instance, Florida law states that tickets can be resold at no more than face value plus $1. In such states, these regulations apply only to buyers and sellers located in the same state as the actual event, meaning if a seller lives in Florida, he can’t profit from ticket sales to Florida events. However, if he lives in any of the other 39 states, this restriction doesn’t apply.
11. Listing a catalog of items that a seller offers for sale is forbidden. The only catalogs legally sold on eBay are collectible kinds, such as an old Sears Roebuck or Montgomery Wards catalog that is memorabilia and doesn’t offer current merchandise for sale.
12. Raffles and prizes are 100% prohibited. According to eBay, such promotions are highly regulated and may be unlawful in many states.
There are other kinds of merchandise that a seller may not sell on eBay, so carefully check eBay rules before listing anything. It’s much better to know the rules in advance of spending money that can’t be recouped.