Do you believe in magic? eBay doesn’t. Harry Potter and his fellow Hogwarts alumni will have to peddle their spells and potions elsewhere on the web. Starting in September, the online auction giant is banning all metaphysical items and services. That means no more Tarot readings, psychic predictions, seances, Reiki, astrology star-charts, exorcisms, blessings, curses, haunted dolls, healing crystals, alien artifacts or other paranormal goods and services. The news was announced in eBay’s recent Fall 2012 Seller Update, which included “magic” among 14 other discontinued categories. eBay explained that the ban was imposed in an effort to boost buyer confidence and eliminate “difficult to resolve” transactions from the eBay marketplace.
The other discontinued categories include advertising opportunities, memberships, business advice and instruction, computer advice and instruction, lessons, tutoring, diet and fitness advice and instruction, businesses and websites for sale, work from home business information, digital art and downloadable recipes.
eBay will not allow any new listings in these categories after August 30, and all items that fall into these categories will be prohibited.
A Scam by Any Other Name?
We applaud eBay’s decision to crack down on troublesome auctions. By prohibiting magic and other “difficult to resolve” categories, eBay will make it much harder for con artists to set up shop and defraud people online. It also increases eBay’s credibility and helps secure their reputation. eBay has never endorsed individual sellers or guaranteed items sold through its marketplace, but banning “difficult to resolve” auctions shows that eBay values product integrity over snake oil.
Although many people use “magic” in their religious rituals or spiritual practices, wizardry
doesn’t belong on an auction site. Magic sellers on eBay exploit innocent buyers with promises of longevity, weight loss, luck, financial success, healing energy or even true love. At best, these claims are difficult to substantiate — at worst, they’re outright ridiculous — but that won’t stop a buyer from believing them, especially when the auction is featured on a legitimate website like eBay. It doesn’t take a crystal ball to see how these transactions could become “difficult to resolve.”
Scambook has received numerous complaint reports from consumers who feel cheated by “metaphysical” services, especially psychics. Members report that these individuals prey on their vulnerability by offering a cheap or free reading, then demand hundreds or even thousands of dollars after they detect that the member is “cursed.”
“This psychic was advertising readings on eBay for 5 dollars,” reads one Scambook complaint. “I received a few readings from her and she then advised me that I desperately required some work carried out as my aura was dark blah blah[sic]…she is a scam and lures people in by initially offering people cheap readings and then asking for thousands of dollars.”
Although this member later updated their complaint and retracted their statements, this experience is echoed by many consumers who have purchased metaphysical goods and services. Often, psychics and magic sellers will identify a “soft target” and use veiled threats, time-sensitive rewards or other techniques to get the target to keep paying.
Or they sell you a lamp inhabited by an all-powerful genie, and guess what? It’s just a piece of junk. Wishing won’t get your money back.
For Entertainment Purposes Only
Have you ever seen a late-night commercial for a psychic hotline? If you look closely, you’ll see a disclaimer stating that the hotline is for entertainment purposes only. Some metaphysical auction listings on eBay include this caveat, too. Those four words, for entertainment purposes only, are very important to keep in mind if you’re in the market for something metaphysical. Think of these goods and services as novelties, nothing more.
It can be fun to visit the fortune-teller at your local County Fair, just keep your expectations realistic. Don’t rely on an online psychic for decision-making or purchase an enchanted jewel to solve your current problems. If you’re facing financial difficulties, struggling to find a career path or having difficulty with your marriage, there are lots of legitimate organizations that can provide real, proven help. Scambook is one of them.
If you have a complaint against a business, product or individual, click here to report it. We’ll help you get the issue resolved.