Should you trust a VA to manage your Marketplace listings?

Outsourcing tasks can be a great way to help scale a business, and virtual assistants have been around for a long time. But reports have surfaced that sellers have been permanently suspended after giving virtual assistants (VAs) access to their eBay and Amazon accounts to manage them on their behalf.

Many marketplaces and inventory management services offer features that allow account holders to authorize employees to perform certain discrete tasks without having to give employees their username and passwords. For example, eBay offers “Access to multi-user account(MUAA) to allow sellers to delegate certain aspects of managing their accounts. According to its help page:

“Access to Multi-User Accounts (MUAA) is a great way to delegate your workload. For example, you can assign specific tasks to an employee, such as creating your eBay listings or printing shipping labels. You will also have access to detailed activity logs for each account you add.

But even granting partial access to accounts should be treated with caution.

In a recent thread, an eBay Seller Says His VA Failed to Ship Items to Customers and “Gone Away”; eBay suspended the seller’s account after customers demanded refunds. It was not clear from the post whether the seller was using eBay’s MUAA feature or what protection it might have offered if they had.
Likewise, in a yarn on amazon, a seller warned that there are plenty of Facebook groups offering VA services that only want to access sellers’ Amazon accounts for nefarious reasons. (Most of the conversation was about whether to engage in a retail arbitrage strategy on Amazon and the reliability of advice given by experts on Youtube and other similar channels.)
It’s not just virtual assistants – salespeople are advising their colleagues to do their due diligence when hiring agencies to handle their online advertising. In Amazon Discussion Forum Topica seller asked if it was allowed on Amazon and wrote: “I met a guy on Facebook, he is from Pakistan. He helped me understand how PPC works. He also offered me a service to $300 a month for him to do all my campaign ads and PPC.”

A salesperson described one of the risks of hiring an expert – if he logs into multiple customer accounts and one of those accounts is suspended, there could be a “linked accounts” issue. which would prompt Amazon to suspend all accounts for being linked. to the suspended account. But another seller was quick to point out that he was using an agency with great success:

“It’s totally fine to hire a third party to handle the PPC. While I wouldn’t trust any guy from Pakistan on Facebook, I know a lot of legitimate individuals and companies. In fact, I pays an agency to manage my PPC, claims, A+ content, offers, etc. This has reduced my costs significantly.”

It should be noted that some of the sellers who reported being suspended for using VAs were based in other countries, including Pakistan – this isn’t just an issue that affects US-based sellers.

A colleague of ours used a virtual assistant for years – her emails were always answered quickly and her social media accounts were handled professionally and quickly. But I have no doubt that she took the time to thoroughly research and vet the person before granting access to her accounts.

We asked a similar question a few years ago about freelancers (“Would you hire a freelancer to boost your online sales?In the comments, a salesperson said his use of gig workers actually made things worse, but he found someone reliable to help him – though he didn’t say how. he had found the person.

There’s a saying made famous by a New Yorker cartoon that applies when hiring an invisible person: “No one on the internet knows you’re a dog” – and it applies when looking for a virtual assistant.

What type of verification do you perform when researching VAs, agencies, or vendors, for that matter? Do Zoom interviews help in the verification process?

Let us know what you think – is it still okay to hand control of your eBay or Amazon account to a virtual assistant, even in a limited way?

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