A couple who were raising cash through eBay to help pay for fertility treatment have been banned from using the website.

Andrew and Leanne Hardaker say they are victims of rigid rules to protect buyers and sellers from rogue traders.

eBay has barred them from the website because of a breach in “feedback “ regulations.

Their sale of flower seeds for a pound had raised enough for 28-year-old shop assistant Leanne’s latest treatment at Leeds General Infirmary.

But eBay has now switched off their site and told them they are “suspended” and have 30 days to appeal.

Andrew, of Felbrigg Avenue, Keighley, said: “I can appreciate they want to ensure buyers and sellers are trustworthy, but we are victims of the system. It’s inflexible and they don’t seem prepared to budge or compromise.

“I’ve asked them to explain in detail what we are doing wrong but they said we can’t tell you why we think you have broken the rules. We are appealing.”

The money-raising venture had been extremely successful with many people sending money but not wanting the marigold seeds the couple were selling, Mr Hardaker, a gardener, said.

“We gave people a chance to say whether they wanted the seeds — if they didn’t, we saved on postage and package.

“Within 24 hours of going on eBay we received £500 and only 26 people wanted the seeds.”

The couple’s description on the online auction site informed customers that they were buying one marigold seed.

“It will grow into a beautiful marigold flower and should remind you of your generosity and kindness,” they said.

Many buyers sent good luck messages and requests for the couple to keep in touch and let them know how their fertility treatment was going.

They have so far spent more than £10,000 on various treatments.

In correspondence to the couple, eBay told them there was enough evidence to suggest that the account had breached the feedback manipulation policy.

“I’m afraid we don’t share any further information about specific evidence that led us to take action,” it stated. By revealing how we became aware that a suspended member was using eBay we would help members intent on breaching the policy to avoid detection.”