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Because eBay is such a huge marketplace, with members from all walks of life, in approximately every single country around the world, it is no wonder that there are many scammers lurking about. In order to better protect the buyers, eBay has specific rules concerning the items that can be auctioned off on the site. These rules must be followed, or the person posting the item for auction can be banned from the site.

Even though there are numerous categories, items that are put up for auction really only fall into 1 of four categories at eBay: Prohibited, Questionable, Potentially Infringing, & Approved. Approved is the simplest category to define and understand. An approved item is any item that does not fall into one of the other three categories. That is fairly simple, right?

After the 'approved' category, however, it starts to get a little harder to understand - with the exception of prohibited items. A prohibited item may not be auctioned on eBay for any reason, under any circumstances. Prohibited items include alcohol, drugs, animals, tobacco, human remains or body parts of any type, lottery tickets, and governmental property. There is quite a bit more on the list, and that list can be viewed at the eBay website.

Questionable items are those that are not prohibited, but are not necessarily infringing. Adult material falls under the 'questionable' category. Tickets of any type may also be questionable. Law enforcement related equipment, as well as guns, knives, and other weapons are questionable items. Artifacts, food items, batteries, all hazardous chemicals and materials are also on the list of questionable items. You can auction questionable items at eBay, as long as those items meet sure conditions.

Potentially Infringing items are those that violate copyrights, trademarks, and other legal rights. These items are almost always some type of media, such as software, DVDs, and CDs, but the list contains other items as well, such as counterfeit items and illegal recordings. You can find out more about 'potentially infringing' items at the eBay website as well.

If you are unsure as to which category your item falls into, you should contact eBay with this question before setting up the auction. As a buyer, you should carefully consider the consequences of purchasing items that fall under one of the three categories above. In some cases, it may be very illegal to have some of those items in your possession - no matter how they were obtained. Before making such a aquire, or bidding on such an item, you should find out more details about the item in question, and then get some legal advice.