|Tue Nov 5 2013 21:20:17|
eBay Purges Sellers in Waves, What Gives?
By: Ina Steiner
Since August, eBay has been conducting seller purges, the first of which we inquired about eBay acknowledged. In Wednesday's Newsflash, Kenneth Corbin reports on the latest purges we've been hearing about.
Differentiating between sellers who appear to meet eBay's minimum seller standards and those who don't can be tricky thanks to the opacity of eBay feedback. eBay has a set of Seller Performance Standards and writes, for example:
"To meet the minimum performance standards that are required to sell on eBay.com, the number of 1 and 2 ratings you receive on your detailed seller ratings can't exceed a certain percentage of your total transactions with US buyers."
Sellers can receive a maximum of 2% of 1 and 2 ratings in three out of the four DSRs, and can receive a maximum number of 3 occurrences of 1 and 2 DSR ratings. eBay's Ryan Moore told us there are checks in place to prevent individual buyers from unfairly tarring a seller's reputation. "To measure seller performance accurately, we count 1-star and 2-star detailed seller ratings only if they come from at least two different buyers during an evaluation period," he said.
But here's the kicker: eBay provides no easy way for sellers to determine who has left them low DSRs, making it difficult to make a case for appeal.
On eBay's Seller Performance Standards page, there is a section that may be fairly new:
Note: eBay monitors the site for sellers who may be creating poor buying experiences at higher rates, in shorter timeframes, or in different areas than sellers identified by the eBay Seller Performance process. These accounts may be restricted, limited, suspended, or have their seller level changed to below standard.
eBay also uses the number of buyer protection cases closed without resolution as a measure of overall seller performance, so it's pretty challenging to look at a seller's raw feedback and DSR numbers and determine whether their suspension is in line with eBay's minimum performance.
Moore also said eBay sellers "who believe their accounts have been inappropriately limited or restricted have the opportunity to appeal the decision and eBay will review each situation on a case-by-case basis."
But many of the letters I receive from sellers who have been suspended say they are unable to appeal. And because they are suspended from selling on the site, they have no way of fixing problems or improving their performance.
What is ironic is the fact eBay is considering changing the Shipping Charges DSRs so they would not impact a seller's standing (and is even considering doing way with it altogether). If it does take such action, would eBay allow back sellers who had been suspended for receiving low DSRs in the Shipping Charges criterion?
Some sellers applauded a crackdown on bad sellers 5 years ago, but these days, it seems solid ground can turn to quicksand in the blink of an eye.