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Wed July 25 2012 18:26:35

New eBay Tracking Requirement Hurts Top-Rated Ephemera Sellers

By: Readers

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Dear Ina,
Well the big change has taken place at eBay. Many Many sellers of stamps, postcards, sports cards and small items will be have lost their Top rated status in the last day or 2.

Is it because they all of a sudden are not giving good customer service? Nope, it is caused by the new 90% tracking requirement for US shipments.

I have been a seller on eBay since 1998. We sell over 12000 US items a year. We have 100% feedback and 4.99 in all of our DSR categories. In fact in the last year we have had only 6 low DSR’s, Out of 12000 transactions. But we will no longer be considered Top Rated.

Ebay wants us to put a tracking label on 90% of our shipments in the US. Here are a few reasons why their 1 size fits all policy is so wrong. As a stamp dealer, most of my customers want stamps on their envelopes, not labels. I send most of my items in a #10 envelope requiring 0.45c in postage.

To change to labels would force me to charge about 200% more for shipping: $1.65 for postage, plus 10% eBay fee on shipping charge, $0.40 for bubble envelope plus paper for labels & ink to print them. (Great for the environment.)

Plus the labels advertise.... Look I am something purchased on eBay.... Steal me....

So I have decided to advise my customers of this change and let them know that eBay will no longer consider me a top rated seller, but I would rather be Top in the eyes of my customers. They are after all the ones that make my business successful.

Now I know that this has been discussed over and over. But I thought I would put it out there, the status changes have occurred in the last couple of days. So just because the badge is gone, doesn’t mean the seller has changed. It just means that greedbay has gotten greedier and will now keep our 20% discount because we will not follow a policy that our customers don’t want in the first place. Time to buy eBay stock as next quarter I am sure they will show a HUGE profit from taking more of our hard earned cash.

On a side note, we are moving sales to Delcampe.net. Been there 6 months and things are really picking up. Started auctions this week. Sent a mass email to all my customers inviting them over.

They have their quirks, but they are open to suggestion and are very helpful. They are young but growing. I see it as the next place for collectibles, since eBay is determined to get rid of us.

Signed,
Still Top Rated by my Customers (and they are most important)

********

Dear Ina,
I have been an eBay seller since 2001. I was a Top Rated Seller for a long while with 100% feedback which I still maintain to this day. When Ebay announced new changes to the TSR eligibility requiring that we offer 1 day handling and 14 day returns in order to keep TSR status. Since the items I sell very rarely get returns, I was willing to change from 7 to 14 days, just to give it a try and see how it goes.

As for the 1 day handling, that too was not a problem since 90% of my items are very easy to ship quickly. However since I now sell glassware items which require extra time to package carefully, and sometimes needing extra time to go into town to get more packaging material to ensure they have a secure shipment. I chose not to offer 1 day handling on those glassware items which weren't that many, probably only 5% of my total ebay listings.

I also do not offer returns on used software. It is too easy to buy used software, copy it on your pc and then return it. This is the main reason why I don't offer it on those items. My 100% feedback helps buyers feel secure to buy it from me.

This one size fits all policy just does not work for many sellers like us. There are always a couple of exceptions. 1 day handling is not possible for when I get orders on Saturdays when they cannot go out until Monday. My post office closes at noon on Saturdays.

Now that the July 20th deadline has passed, I just today lost my TSR that I had for a long while. I find it amusing because I have 100% feedback and have worked really hard to give my buyers a positive ebay experience. Ebay just doesn't think I'm good enough to earn that badge.

You know frankly, I don't care because I also have a buyer's perspective about TSR's as well. I too am a buyer on ebay for various items that I need for my business or for personal use. The truth is, I don't care whether sellers have a TSR or not. I never look at them, honestly! What I really look at is the percentage, the competitive price they offer, how fast do I need it, and whether the item they offer is more unique.

In my 10 years of buying on ebay, I've rarely had bad buyer experiences, TSR or not. It all comes down to common sense. So if that is how I feel, then I am sure many buyers out there feel the same way about TSR's.

Now that I've lost the TSR no matter how hard I tried to meet its requirements, I can give a sigh of relief, not feeling the need to jump through many hoops whenever ebay says to jump. I'm just going to go back to my 2 day handing and 7 day returns, and the occasional no returns for certain items. I believe in my buyers. I believe that I will still do just fine despite the lack of TSR badge. Many times there are very few copies of what I sell on ebay, so I do not get a lot of competition. This goes in my favor.

Honestly this whole TSR policy by Ebay is a big waste of ours and their time. I mean look around and see how many other venues require a such thing? The feedback percentage alone is sufficient. We do not need any fancy badges. Ebay needs to realize that it is not worth putting their sellers through the stress of going through unnecessary changes that don't really improve the experience.

They need to stop trying to fix whatever is not broken. Look at Amazon for example, their feedback system is so simple and effective and still trump in web sales. Ebay should try to follow the motto "Keep It Simple".

I also just don't put all of my eggs into one basket. The web is full of wonderful alternatives to spread our business around, so if one venue tanks, I will still always be on solid feet via other venues.
Stacy



Comments (17) | Permalink

Readers Comments

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by: Sunflower This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 25 22:24:09 2012

I too have lost my TSR badge and really don't care. When I purchase on eBay, I have never even noticed whether the seller has a badge or not, so I don't think it is a big deal. I also edited my listings with this:

RETURNS-Due to the nature of the items that I sell-returns are not accepted.
I have forfeited my eBay discount & my Top Rated Seller status by not accepting returns, but by doing so I can guarantee you that all of my items are new, unused, and never tested.

But eBay would not allow me to use the words ''Top Rated Seller'' so I edited them again and just replaced with seller status. I know that I am just as good a seller as I was yesterday with ''my badge'', so I could care less about losing it.

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by: TheresaKP This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 25 22:37:42 2012

While I do think these new rules are ridiculous - & it seems like every time I get used to how things are done, it changes - I don't understand why the stamp seller doesn't just take the stamped envelopes to the post office & get confirmation. It's not that expensive (around 70 cents) & I'm sure they'd put the sticker on the back of the envelope if asked.

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by: jeg2004 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 25 23:09:18 2012

@TheresaKP

Unfortunately, delivery confirmation is not available for first class mail which is the reason so many of us small item sellers are upset.

I also lost my TRS status after many years with 100% feedback and many repeat sellers, some who have purchased from me since 2005! My only fault is that I have automated my business to make it easy to ship my items quickly as I am a one person business selling on eBay part time. I rarely have issues with returns or bad buyers but I do take exception with ebay trying to fit all sellers into one basket. Since first class mail does not have tracking available, we should be exempt from the requirement. I sell small paper goods and ship most items free of charge. It's cheaper for me to lose my 20% discount than to pay almost 50% more for postage, but upsetting to me that after 10 years of selling (AND BUYING) on eBay I am forced to make this choice.

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by: jeg2004 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 25 23:10:06 2012

sorry it's late...

"repeat sellers" should have said "repeat buyers"

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This user has validated their user name. by: cfrphoto

Thu Jul 26 01:29:28 2012

The eBay massacre has started!

As of noon July 20, in the Stamps > United States category 77% of all listings (610,745) were from Top Rated Sellers (477,247). As of today July 21 at 12:10 AM Pacific, the percentage has dropped to 26%. The number of listings has dropped slightly to 601,969 with only 160,657 from TRS sellers. At end of day on July 19, the day before, eBay search reported about 622K US listings and the TRS percentage was also 77%. I wonder if some sellers are bailing out. It may be hard to tell because the number of listings seems to have been inflated by giving non-store sellers an unbounded number of free listings.

Update: As of July 23, the number of Stamps > United States category listings dropped to 567,358 with only 86,743 TSR listings for a percentage of 15%. As of today, the number of listings continued to drop ending at 558,717 but TSR listings rose slightly reaching 86,880 causing the percentage to rebound to 16%. It seems clear that most stamp sellers, including many major dealers like American Stamp Dealer Association (ASDA) members have no way to comply with the eBay Delivery Confirmation requirement without raising prices and antagonizing customers with computer generated labels instead of stamps.

Delivery confirmation for under $100 stamp mailings has little or no value for the seller. A typical stamp dealer policy requires Signature Confirmation for shipments valued at more than about $400. Nowhere does my policy even mention Delivery Confirmation. Apparently, eBay doesn’t trust sellers and is trying to micromanage in the most ineffective way possible by trying to monitor when items are shipped. Sellers who maintain high standards of integrity should not have to put up with this type of abuse or be insulted by eBay. Apparently, eBay does not seem to be aware that some large stamp sellers do not have a very good reputation in other venues.

Perminate Link for New eBay Tracking Requirement Hurts Top-Rated Ephe   New eBay Tracking Requirement Hurts Top-Rated Ephe

by: Ebay's Slow Death This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 26 03:29:34 2012

Yup! My TRS badge is gone. I sell postcards and have told Ebay, when they have called at least twice, that I refuse to charge more than $1.00 to send one or two postcards in an envelope. I told them I have chosen my Buyer's interests over Ebay's.

I checked several of my fellow postcard Sellers, and theirs are gone also. Even the guy who has over 86000 feedbacks.  Good job Ebay!

Actually, with that %#*& badge gone, maybe my sales will improve!

Perminate Link for New eBay Tracking Requirement Hurts Top-Rated Ephe   New eBay Tracking Requirement Hurts Top-Rated Ephe

by: RAOTFLMAO This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 26 08:21:19 2012

Now think of this...it is not about fairness, it is about 20% extra fee for ebay.  Now the funny part, I listed 17 items this past 12 months, I had never had a top seller badge but about 7 months ago I started offering 1 day shipping rather than 3 day shipping...BAM...I got a TRS badge....when I was required to offer 14 day returns rather than 3 I stopped offering returns.  I recieved several emails and 3 personal calls from ebay wanting me to talk to my ''sales counselor''.  I would say ebay is desparate,calling me over 17 items of which probably 10 sold. I am sad today...I lost my TRS badge a couple of days ago....what a laugh!!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Jul 26 09:15:22 2012

"I recieved several emails and 3 personal calls from ebay wanting me to talk to my ''sales counselor."

LOL........wonder if the "sales counselor" has actually every sold anything on eBay.

Perminate Link for New eBay Tracking Requirement Hurts Top-Rated Ephe   New eBay Tracking Requirement Hurts Top-Rated Ephe

by: jbrooksia This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 26 10:33:37 2012

We lost ours as well.  For 3 years we have been selling automotive parts (body panels - doors, hoods, fenders etc ... ) that require Freight, which is supposed to be exempt from the TRS squeeze.  But guess what?  We offer ''Free Shipping'' on all of our items, including the Freight items (15% of our inventory). eBay however does not allow you to choose Freight as the shipment method and then click the ''Free Shipping'' button.  In order to get the free shipping button, you must change shipment to ''Standard'', which falls into this TRS trap.

Guess what?  We cannot get tracking information on LTL Freight orders within the 24 hour window due to many factors, including the fact that many buyers do not provide the proper information for us to complete the order.  And when we finally do track down the customer, days have passed.

I have talked to many in eBay with little to no results except for “We are looking into it.”  Really?  How hard would it be to add the “free shipping” button to the freight option?  I imagine not much more than a few lines of code.  

The money we lose, not a big deal.  As far as I am concerned, keep it – don’t give us the discount – just give us our badge and bump.  We have done everything within our control to achieve eBay’s unrealistic? expectations, and hate to have our hard work go down in flames because of the unwillingness of eBay to fix a problem in their listing template or because, understandably,  of some customers inability to communicate within eBay’s timeframe which they know nothing about.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Thu Jul 26 14:25:46 2012

eBa'al steals seller's money (shipping FVF) and that fee should just ''be passed onto the buyer.''

Oh, it's not that the stamp and postcard sellers are so noble, it's THEIR buyers who will not stand to be cheated.

Imagine that! All the buyers on eBa'al and it's this tiny subset who refuses to be cheated.

Everyone else on the site sucks it up and some pass the dishonesty on.

But the stamp and postcard collectors draw the line in the sand.

WAKE UP STAMP AND POSTCARD BUYERS - EVEN IF YOUR PACKAGE COMES WITH STAMPS AND NO DELIVERY CONFIRMATION - YOU ARE BEING CHEATED!

eBay is cheating you because that is their fiber and the mutated structure of their community.

FRAUD, DECEPTION, LIES and MANIPULATION: the cornerstones of eBa'al.

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by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 26 15:04:12 2012

If you ship through eBay, you are being manipulated. And the USPS is a partner in this with eBay. You can get delivery confirmation on first class mail--but you pay for it. On eBay sales, fees are charged on the shipping price. As are Pay Pal fees. OF COURSE the partners encourage sellers to use Priority Mail! THAT is a lousy buying experience (unless you desire Priority Mail). It's like a conspiracy.

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by: mylifeisgood This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 26 15:46:35 2012

@RCL

You are wrong...You can get delivery on first class PACKAGES NOT FIRST CLASS MAIL..There is a BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO

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by: mylifeisgood This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 26 15:51:36 2012

Ina it would be nice if you explained the difference between first class mail @ 45 cents  (which can not have tracking ) and  a first class package @ 1.64 ( which must be 3/4" thick and can have tracking).

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This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Thu Jul 26 16:29:59 2012

Being 3/4'' thick isn't the only requirement. It's just one. There are others that can be met instead of the thickness as well.

For example: it can be rigid. It can also be taller than it is wide (meaning the address label is parallel with the short side of a large envelope). Either of these things makes the item impossible to be sorted by machine.

If it can't be sorted by machine, then it's a parcel and if the weight it right, it can be shipped with DC at the cheaper rate (without having to be bumped-up to Priority Mail rate.)

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by: mylifeisgood This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 26 18:45:49 2012

@Annie

You are correct but most of us that sell cards and stamps use a regular envelope that weights at the most 1oz or 2 oz that cost 45 cents -65 cents...To make same envelope thick or really rigid would still increase the cost to 1.64... Hence the complaints as why would one want to charge 1.64 instead of 50 cents.. At some point in time common sense has to prevail.

I'm one of those people who use a regular envelop and 45 cents postage... There is no way my customers are going to pay 1.64 to ship any piece of paper...It would be suicide for me...

But instead of raising shipping a 1.25 to feed off of the ebay carrot our group just add another 10 cents to the cost of the product which more than covered the lost 20%. We also changed to 3 day shipping and no returns..All this was done last month and none of us have noticed any decrease in sales.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Thu Jul 26 18:56:18 2012

@mylifeisgood: I truly sympathize. In this case, the lesser of two evils is to take the hit on the discount instead of passing along the unnecessary charges to your customers. Good luck always! <3

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by: amazongenius This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Fri Jul 27 12:35:44 2012

It's terrible these new way of life for eBay is affecting your seller rating.  



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