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Staying Out of Trouble with eBay's Listing Policies.

While you can sell most things on eBay, quite a few things are banned. If you try to sell any of these things then eBay will remove your auction and all bids will be void.

Academic Software

Airline and Transit Related Items

Alcohol (also see Wine)

Animals and Wildlife Products

Anti-circumvention Policy


Authenticity Disclaimers

Autographed Items


Beta Software

Bootleg Recordings

Brand Name Misuse

Catalog Sales

Catalytic Converters and Test Pipes

Celebrity Material

Charity or Fundraising Listings

Comparison Policy

Compilation and Informational Media

Contracts and Tickets

Counterfeit Currency and Stamps

Counterfeit Items

Credit Cards

Downloadable Media

Drugs & Drug Paraphernalia

Electronics Equipment

Embargoed Goods and Prohibited Countries

Encouraging Infringement Policy

Event Tickets

Faces, Names and Signatures

Firearms, Ammunition, Replicas, and Militaria



Freon and Other Refrigerants

Gift Cards

Government IDs and Licenses

Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Items

Human Parts and Remains

Importation of Goods into the United States

International Trading - Buyers

International Trading - Sellers

Lockpicking Devices

Lottery Tickets

Mailing Lists and Personal Information

Manufacturers' Coupons

Mature Audiences

Medical Devices

Misleading Titles

Mod Chips, Game Enhancers, and Boot Discs

Movie Prints

Multi-level Marketing, Pyramid and Matrix Programs

OEM Software

Offensive Material


Plants and Seeds

Police-Related Items

Political Memorabilia

Postage Meters

Pre-Sale Listings

Prescription Drugs and Devices

Promotional Items

Real Estate

Recalled Items

Recordable Media

Replica and Counterfeit Items

Satellite and Cable TV Descramblers

Slot Machines

Stocks and Other Securities

Stolen Property

Surveillance Equipment



Unauthorized Copies

Used Clothing


Weapons & Knives

Wine (also see Alcohol)

Most of this is very obvious – of course you can't sell illegal things like drugs, pyramid schemes or stolen goods. Almost everything that is on the list is there because there is law against selling it. Some of the reasons, though, are a little strange.

The ‘autographed items' entry, for example, doesn't mean that you can't sell anything that's been autographed – it just means that you can only sell it if it comes with a certificate of authenticity. The ‘artifacts' entry prohibits you from selling Native American graves; ‘celebrity material' means you can't sell unauthorised pictures of celebrities; ‘embargoed goods' means that you can't sell anything that comes from Cuba… on and on it goes, and most of it you never need to know.

If your chosen kind of item seems to be on the list, though, and you're concerned that you might not be able to sell it, and then check the full list at to see whether the item is banned entirely or there are just a few restrictions.

eBay says it will remove any items that it believes violate copyright law, but in reality they don't have that many people to monitor the site. You will generally only find that your auction gets removed if someone decides to report you – and even then, they might not get around to it.

Really, buying and selling on eBay can sometimes feel more complicated than it really is, thanks to all the rules surrounding it – not to mention the jargon. Our next article is a ‘jargon buster', to help you learn the language of eBay.

Copyright 2005 : Online Auction Trader.. the ebay auction sellers resource.