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Things You Can’t Sell on eBay | Top 10

Daniela Cherkova
Aug 7, 2018

Learn the 10 most important things you cant sell on ebay! Get to know this crucial list of items to ensure you're not penalised by ebay! Cant Sell on Ebay!

There are still plenty of opportunities to make money selling items on eBay, and many successful entrepreneurs launched their businesses by doing just that. Below we will have a look at what things you cant sell on ebay, but a good way to start is to sell stuff that you already have and no longer need, and then extend your business by buying items cheaply and selling them on eBay for a healthy profit.

You might start by buying and selling used items, or, if you have sufficient funds, you could stock up with new items bought wholesale. This will require some research into the market to ensure that you can get a reasonable return and you are not left with excess stock.

The beauty of eBay is that you can sell just about anything, and if you pitch the right price there is almost certainly somebody who wants to buy it, but there are also many things you cant sell on eBay. To help you ensure that you don’t fall foul of eBay rules and the law, here is a list of 10 things that you cant sell on eBay.

10 Things You Cant Sell on eBay

1. Partially used cosmetics

If you have some partially used cosmetics, or even unused cosmetics that have been opened, you won’t be allowed to sell them; eBay considers that used cosmetics present a major health and safety issue as it is likely that they have been in direct contact with the body. The restriction also applies to make up sponges and applicators, though you can sell used cosmetic brushes that have been thoroughly cleaned.

2. Electronic surveillance equipment

There is a wide range of banned electronic equipment which includes equipment used for surveillance and related activities such as jamming mobile phones and other radio transmissions.  The rules are fairly complex, and relate to the power and range of the equipment. While it is permitted to sell things such as toy spy cameras for kids, you can’t sell devices for bugging telephone lines or surveillance microphones.

3. Human remains and body parts

Perhaps, the most obvious of all the things you cant sell on ebay. Just about all human body parts can’t be sold, however there are some exceptions. You can sell wigs that are made from real human hair, and clean skeletons & sculls that are to be used for medical research as long as they aren’t Native American. Some of the banned items in this category include body organs, blood, sperm, and Tibetan prayer skulls.

Certain grave related items are also banned. These include used caskets, urns, gravestones, and tombstones, though you can sell similar items that have never been previously used. Nothing taken from a historical grave site can be sold.

4. Firearms, weapons and knives

This is a fairly obvious category as most weapons can be sold because of national and international laws. There is an outright ban on listing firearms which applies even to collectable items that are unable to fire as well as starting pistols. Many types of knives are also banned including butterfly knives, paratrooper knives, switchblade knives and throwing ninja stars. Among the detailed list of banned items under this category, eBay includes atomic and nuclear weapons and nerve gas.

That being said, many eBay sellers seemingly manage to bypass this rule.

5. Prescription and illegal drugs

You can’t sell any drugs that would normally require a prescription from a doctor, dentist, or veterinary surgeon, though you can sell over the counter drugs that are not injectable as long as you don’t indicate their similarity to prescription drugs.  Naturally you can’t sell any drugs that are illegal, though you can sell such items as poppy seeds and live plants as long as you don’t suggest they may be used for illegal purposes. Drug paraphernala is also banned

6. Personal information

However valuable you might consider your contact list to be, you can’t sell it on. Personal information is controlled strictly by a range of international and national laws, and eBay has an almost blanket ban on the sale of names, postal addresses, email addresses, national insurance numbers and any other personal information. The only real exception is if you are selling a business that includes the specific business telephone number as long as it isn’t a toll free number.

Included in this category are software tools for sending spam or harvesting email addresses.

7. Lock picking equipment and other items that encourage crime

Even if you are a genuine locksmith, you are banned from selling equipment designed to pick locks or any other locksmithing devices. However you can sell antique skeleton keys, key blanks, and spare parts for key cutting machines (though not the actual machines).

Also banned are any other items that are considered to encourage crime. This includes manuals and digital information on how to pick a lock, hijack and aeroplane or grow or manufacture illegal substances.

8. Used underwear

While you can sell most items of used clothing, you can’t sell underwear that has previously been worn, even it is has been thoroughly cleaned or laundered. The rules are, however, somewhat convoluted. For instance you can sell used bras and panty hose as long as you refrain from referring to them as underwear. Items such as boxer shorts, Jock straps and thongs are specifically banned.

9. Animals and related items

You can’t sell your pet dog on eBay, but there are some animals that you can sell. These include insects, crickets and various kinds of worm to be used as baits; tadpoles and fish up to 50 mm long; and hatching eggs; and shellfish, such as lobsters and crabs, that are sold live but intended for human consumption. Also banned are animal pets from endangered species; most ivory items with exceptions including French ivory and  furniture and musical instruments with ivory keys and inlays that were made before the start of the 20th century.

10. Adult only items

Sexually oriented Items that are intended only for people ages 18 and upwards can’t be sold on eBay, though there are a few exceptions including BBFC unrated films as long as the content isn’t sexually explicit. Certain nude paintings and photographs are also permitted as long as they are referred to as art.

Also it is allowable to sell a vibrator that is described as a health aid, but not if you mention anything suggesting that it might have a sexual function too.  However even if you do manage to list adult items in the eBay Adult category (not available in the UK), the chances are that you won’t be able to sell them as eBay prevents most visitors from accessing that section.

Final words on things you can’t sell on eBay

This list covers a large number of the items you can’t sell on eBay, though the rules do change from time to time. For instance until recently eBay was a great place to sell unwanted tickets for events such as sport and concerts, but that is no longer permitted. You can still sell tickets online through the eBay owned website StubHub, but not directly on eBay.

Although there are a few strange anomalies in the rules, by and large they are down to common sense. However, even if you have a vague suspicion that you might be falling foul of them, do take the time to check up, otherwise your listings could be removed and you could even find yourself banned from selling on the site.

And Now: The 10 Weirdest Things Ever Sold on eBay

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