Bone items removed under eBay UK's ivory policy

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Elephant Close-up
Creative Commons License photo credit: wwarby

When eBay banned sales of ivory last December, most of us were pleased to see them finally taking a tough line with sellers who broke that law. But now it seems that eBay UK have extended the ban on ivory sales to cover items not even made of ivory, and that they’re deliberately concealing this policy from sellers.

PowerSeller Sheila who trades as had a listing carved bone keyring pulled under the policy banning ivory sales earlier this week. She says, “I spoke to Powerseller Support and have been informed that all items made from bone or horn are no longer allowed on eBay. When I asked for a copy of the relevant ruling they refused, saying it was not openly available.” Further conversations with Support led back to the ivory policy; though Sheila explained that her items are made of buffalo bone, Support remained insistent that she could not list them for sale: she told me, “Powerseller Support advised me to take down all my listings that contained bone items stating that they were not allowed at all and if any more were removed then I could be suspended.” A found more sellers whose non-ivory listings had been removed under this same policy.

Then, finally, Sheila had clarification from Trust & Safety:

“If it’s cow bone, please clearly state so in your listing. Due to member circumvention, we are removing all ivory-like items if they are described as bone without elaborating on what kind of bone it is.”

As Sheila points out, “bone” is available in item specifics, but does not allow sellers to specify the source: if eBay are going to remove non-specific bone items, they should at least allow sellers to specify more easily which animal provided the bones.

Admittedly, this is a difficult line for eBay to tread. Few of us want to see the site used to facilitate the illegal ivory trade, and to some extent, I can understand eBay’s secrecy about this policy: they don’t want to alert those who are breaking the law. But Support should be briefed on this: when they get a call from a seller saying “you removed my totally legal listing because you misapplied the policy”, the route to reinstating the listing and removing the strike against that seller’s account should be a simple one. Secret policies that take a dozen phone calls to uncover do no one any favours.

12 Responses

  1. Victorian and early 1900s

    Pianos, Pens, pencils, medical, optical and scientfic instruments, cutlery, jewellery, furniture,billard balls, Dice, chess sets ,portrait miniatures,
    and many many more, can or could contain or are made from ivory,

    this could be fun

  2. whoops nearly forgot the most important ๐Ÿ˜†
    just about all of the best and most sought after antique bagpipes have ivory fittings

  3. and the pegs and tail piece on many old Violins are made from ivory

    its a button pushers dream if ebay dont get some clear guidelines and some consistency in place

  4. ๐Ÿ˜ˆ ๐Ÿ˜ˆ ๐Ÿ˜ˆ ๐Ÿ˜ˆ and what about grannies best ๐Ÿ˜ˆ ๐Ÿ˜ˆ ๐Ÿ˜ˆ BONE china ๐Ÿ˜ˆ ๐Ÿ˜ˆ ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜†

  5. “guidelines and some consistency”

    you do know you are talking about ebay??

    one thing they are not is consistant

  6. Whay about the 108 tons of stockpiled ivory recently sold to approved Japanese and Chinese buyers – with CITES approval!

    This means legal ivory items will be sold almost everywhere – except eBay

  7. Quote: “When I asked for a copy of the relevant ruling they refused, saying it was not openly available.”

    I trust that everyone here is professional enough to comply with all of Ebay’s rules that are “not openly available”. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

    I would be interested in knowing whether Sheila’s policy compliance has been dinged in her seller dashboard, since she broke a rule that is not even publicly available for review by sellers.


  8. I think it’s more important to stop the Ivory trade or at least not promote it on the world’s biggest trading site. Well done eBay! I’m sure the pedants, that try and make life difficult with their own selfish lists of inconveniences caused, will be accommodated in due course.

  9. nothing against elephants, its good they are protected
    but where do you stop

    why not stop the trade in Diamonds and Gold a lot of suffering in Africa is connected to the Gold & Diamond trade
    and thats Humans not elephants

  10. #10 I agree…stuff the Elephants for all I care, what about the homeless kids! It always makes me laugh when people moan on about the poor little animals. Lets stop kids being beaten/kidnapped/abused/starving to death…

    …Then and only then should we concern ourselves with fluffy little rabbits, tigers or elephants etc.

    “…their own selfish lists of inconveniences caused, will be accommodated in due course.”

    How very caring of you.


  11. I agree with Northumbrian. Yes we should start investigations and stop the trade in gold and diamonds in Africa. If suffering is involved, of course it should not be be something to capitalize on…surely?!!!!

    BTW: I ‘m surprised that so many people can be so dismissive of “suffering” I can only assume you must be sadomasochists.

    “nothing against elephants, its good they are protected but where do you stop…” !!! Yeah you’re right. Let’s not stop! The world is evolving at a tremendous speed, so let’s stop old traditions that neglect the the innocents that get trapped under its wheels. What are you so scared of? Have you got a big stake in suffering???

    Pete has nothing original to say. It is a tired old argument to say that people who want to stop suffering only care about fluffy cute animals. I, personally, can’t stand to see anything or anyone suffer. I was simply commenting on the issue at hand which is the IVORY TRADE.

    Yes Pete, I see comments here as a list of inconveniences to selfish people, caused by: silly, incompetent old Ebay, who won’t give you a full explanation for their outrageous behaviour in honouring a moral obligation, which is LONG overdue; selfish elephants who people won’t shut up so that you guys can keep TRADING ON THEIR BODY PARTS.

    Caring? Me? Actually, if you were to allow me use your body parts in an exhibition, which I might consider this Spring (and I’m sure many others would have no objection, considering the viewpoints I’ve seen on this site) I could just see a stuffed-you with an elephants tusk rammed up your ****, with your full consent of course. I can see people queueing for miles… AND I would CARE to see that…and, well…cash in on it!





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