From the 2012 Fall Seller Update, we read the following:
The following items are also being added to the prohibited items list: advice; spells; curses; hexing; conjuring; magic; prayers; blessing services; magic potions; healing sessions; work from home businesses & information; wholesale lists, and drop shop lists.My reason for calling this "puzzling" is twofold. First, they have a whole category called "Specialty Services," and it would seem that such things would clearly fall under that heading. And as such claims are bogus from the get-go, it would be hard for a purchaser to file a claim under eBay's stated policies for sellers:
And all of this would seem to be well in line with what these sellers are doing. All they were selling was a prayer or a hex or whatever; there's no guarantee it would work, just as there's no guarantee that if you ask your religious friend to pray for you (or your wizard friend to cast a spell for you) that it'll produce results. The only difference is that here, you're being asked to pay for it.As a seller, you're expected to:
- Charge reasonable shipping and handling costs.
- Specify shipping costs and handling time in the listing.
- Follow through on your return policy.
- Respond to buyers' questions promptly.
- Be helpful, friendly, and professional throughout a transaction.
- Make sure the item is delivered to the buyer as described in the listing.
Now, the hopeful side of my personality is speculating that eBay is pulling these offers because they know them to be inherently fraudulent, and they don't want to have any part in ripping off the credulous. But my second reason for calling this change "puzzling" is that if this is the reason, it's hard to explain some of their other listings, such as:
- A Haunted Fairy Drawing Spinner Pendant, which comes with "five garden fairies included."
- A Real Witchcraft-Coven-Owned Secret Book of Shadows, which comes with a "broom and a wand stand." (This thing is handwritten, and has a starting bid of $550 -- and currently has seven bids on it.)
- A Seal of Solomon Pendant that allows you to "command a legion of powerful entities."
- A 6" Feng Shui Crystal Ball, that will help you to "channel energy through the house."
- An Enchanted Pin, that will "amplify effectiveness of spoken spells cast."
In any case, that's today's lesson in critical thinking and the principle of caveat emptor. Me, I wonder if I missed my calling. If I could make $550 (or more) handwriting a book of spells, and selling it on eBay, and have people trampling each other to buy it, I could retire from teaching and move somewhere warmer. Spend a couple of hours a day writing out spells, have my wife do the illustrations (because my drawing skills maxed out somewhere in third grade), and spend the rest of the day on the beach soaking up the sun and drinking mojitos. There's the inevitable downside of knowing that I was taking money from people who possess the critical thinking skills of road salt, but hey, if eBay isn't going to worry about that, why should I?