eBay Fall Update Includes New Auction Fee, Seller Protections
By Ina Steiner
eBay is set to announce today its second seller release of 2012. The 2012 Fall Seller Update includes a new fee for ending auctions early as well as a new requirement for buyers filing claims that will likely be received positively by sellers. eBay is also removing the Top Rated Seller badge from TRS sellers who don't meet stricter requirements around return policies and handling time.
Note: eBay has now published its Fall Seller Update to its website, we've made some updates to this article (which are noted) based on details provided by an eBay spokesperson.
eBay to Remove Top Rated Badge for Sellers Not Offering 1-day Handling
eBay will create a new Top Rated Seller badge called Top Rated Plus for those sellers who conform to a minimum 14-day return with money-back policy and 1-day handling.
All other Top Rated Sellers will lose their badges. For those sellers, the Top Rated Seller designation will only be seen on their feedback page with the words in text, "This member is a Top-rated seller." The current badge will be retired for all categories except Motors Vehicles. (This paragraph was edited for clarity.)
Sellers who are top rated but can't meet the new stricter requirements will not have their TRS status promoted in search results pages either. eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff pointed out that Top Rated Seller listings/sellers who do not offer these services will continue to get a boost in Best Match. However, it won't be the full boost that Plus TRS sellers receive.
eBay said 75% of all listings on eBay now have tracking uploaded, 75% offer 14-day or longer returns, and more than 65% specify 1-day handling.
Update:These statistics come from a letter to sellers from eBay's Vice President of Merchant Development who wrote, "More than 75% of all listings on eBay now have tracking uploaded, 75% offer 14-day or longer returns, and more than 65% specify 1-day handling."
Spokesperson Hoff clarified those statistics, explaining that the percentages quoted for 1-day handling and returns were for bought items, not listings. "This is important because it shows that buyers choose listings with those services and sellers who offer them are seeing the benefit in a far greater share of sales," she said.
New Auction Fee
Beginning October 1, eBay will charge sellers for ending any auction listing early that has received at least one bid. (If the listing has a reserve price, the bid must be at or above the reserve price.) eBay believes ending an auction early once it has received a bid leads to disappointed bidders.
The fee will be equal to what the final value fee would have been if the item had sold for the highest bid, or the highest bid equal to or above the reserve price. It will be waived once per seller per year.
The fee will apply even when the seller cancels the bids and then ends the listing early.
Starting in February, before opening a Buyer Protection case, buyers will be required to contact sellers first specifying the reason for the contact as "item not received" or "item not as described." Buyers must then wait at least three business days to allow sellers to respond and resolve the situation before a case can be opened.
Only cases that are not found in the seller's favor will be counted against them - seller performance ratings won't be affected by a buyer contacting a seller in the Resolution Center.
eBay said it will also make it easier for sellers to report issues with buyers by adding more links to the reporting hub to My eBay, the Feedback page and other pages, and it is streamlining the reporting process to make it easier to report problems.
Other Seller Requirements and Changes
Starting in October, new listings and relistings will be required to include a picture. eBay has extended the deadline for meeting additional picture requirements that were announced in February
Starting late September, sellers can upload and share photos through My Messages - photos can be no larger than 5MB.
eBay will require sellers to list with the eBay catalog in more Consumer Electronics categories (CPUs/Processors, Motherboards, PC Desktops and All-In-Ones) whenever there's an exact product match, beginning September 10, 2012. The value box will feature a new tab highlighting the best value for a product offered by Authorized Resellers on eBay.
Sellers will be able to include notes about item condition in a new Item Condition Notes field beginning the week of October 22. Item condition notes will be displayed near the top of the item page.
Sellers will also be able to enter their zip code in listings when specifying Item Location, and eBay will automatically fill in the correct city and state. If a listing does not contain a valid zip code, buyers will only see the item country on the item page.
Town Hall Meeting
eBay will be hosting a "Town Hall" meeting on July 25 in which it will field questions from sellers.
Update: eBay UK Changes Announced
See today's news story for information on the changes announced in the UK today.
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About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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