Please note this is a channel-specific article only applicable to eBay.
When attempting to update and/or list an item to eBay the following error message is received:
Error (240): The title or description may contain improper words, or the listing or seller may be in violation of eBay policy.
There are two causes for this error message:
1. Account restrictions
eBay may have placed selling restrictions on your eBay account that prevent you from listing new items. You should have received a message in My eBay explaining the problem and what needs to be done in order to remove the restrictions.
In some cases, you may have limits on your account or on certain categories and items. These limits are normally in place until you have provided certain information or established positive selling history. Other reasons for account restrictions or limits include:
- Unpaid monthly invoice.
- Registering a new account or using another existing account to avoid buying and selling restrictions or limits or other policy consequences.
- Violations of rules and policies applying to items you were trying to list.
Further information on seller limits can be found using the links below:
Limits on eBay sellers (UK) - http://pages.ebay.co.uk/help/sell/sellinglimits.html
Limits on eBay sellers (US) - http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/sellinglimits.html
2. Listing policy violation
eBay will analyse the text within the title and description of an item to determine whether it follows eBay rules and policies for listings. Various algorithms search the text for issues like profanities, illegal/banned products, fee avoidance, etc. The item will not be allowed if eBay algorithms conclude it has violated a rule or policy.
eBay does not return specific information behind the error message displaying on a specific listing or how to clear it. It can be tricky to identify what exactly in the title or description needs to be changed in order to list successfully.
There are however some pointers listed below that can help:
- Check eBay's overview for listing rules. There are many examples of what eBay do and do not permit within a listing.
- The error may not be limited to only title and description on a listing. It is often overlooked that the information contained within the item specifications showing on the listing may also be considered as part of the description. Make sure to also check the item and/or variation specifications you have added.
- Be aware that phrases within a listing can trigger what is known as a "false positive". For example, the phrase "We do not accept Money orders" could mistakenly be considered as offering a form of payment outside of eBay. Other examples have been due to including the words "insure" or "insurance" like "All handling costs include insurance" or "Insurance is optional but recommended when purchasing this item".
- A very rare form of "false positive" is when the end of one word combined with the beginning of the next word creates an improper word. For example, an item with the title "Belt with metal buckle" would contain the word "twit".
- eBay rules and policies are constantly changed and updated, and an item that was successfully listed earlier may now be in violation of updated policies. Be sure to check on eBay directly for detailed announcements on any policy changes.