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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2749 - February 28, 2012 - ISSN 1539-5065    0 of 4

eBay Seller Release to Include Changes to Fees, Feedback

By Ina Steiner
February 28, 2012

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eBay will announce the first Seller Release of 2012 today, and fees and feedback are on the table. Some of the forthcoming policy changes are designed to encourage sellers to send items quickly and reward sellers for having no communication with buyers, and eBay is raising the bar for Top Rated Sellers who wish to receive the 20% Final Value Fee discount.

Beginning July 2nd, eBay will offer sellers free image hosting, and beginning in the fall, all listings will be required to have at least one picture - additional quality standards for pictures will also be in effect.

eBay will also raise the maximum Final Value Fee for auction listings to $250 for non-Store owners, which impacts auctions that close at $1,111 and above.

There are no changes to subscription fees or any selling fees related to eBay Stores - pictures are currently free for eBay Store subscribers, as well as in certain categories - Collectibles, Art, Pottery and Glass, and Antiques.

Return Policy
eBay will retire 3-day and 7-day return windows, and will retire "Merchandise credit" and "Exchange" refund options, starting the first week of May.

eBay will also launch a new optional return process that lets sellers manage returns according to their specified policies right from My eBay, streamlines returns and automatically refunding Final Value Fees.

eBay is also making significant changes to its feedback policy, specifically to Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs): beginning in April, eBay will give sellers an automatic 5-star DSR for Communication for transactions in which there is no communication between the seller and the buyer - if the seller does the following:

  • specify same-day or 1-day handling time;
  • upload tracking information by the end of the next business day.

Sellers will not receive an automatic 5 star DSR for Communication if there is any buyer or seller initiated communication related to the transaction in the eBay messaging system or a request for contact information by the buyer or seller.

Operational emails such as invoices and invoice requests - even if they contain messages added by the buyer or seller - as well as Best Offer communications are excluded from consideration and sellers will not count as communication between buyer and seller.

And starting April 23, all Feedback and related DSRs left by a buyer for a transaction where the buyer had an unpaid item recorded, will automatically be removed, whether or not the seller is using Unpaid Item Assistant, as long as the seller required eBay Checkout, an eBay approved electronic payment method, and local pick up was not offered.

Finally, any feedback from international buyers that only reference customs issues will qualify for Feedback removal.

Some Top Rated Sellers to Lose 20% FVF Discount
eBay will also begin requiring Top Rated Sellers to upload tracking information to eBay on at least 90% of all transactions with US buyers. And only Top Rated Sellers who offer two key services will earn the a 20% Final Value Fee discount and the highest average boost in Best Match:

  • a 1-day or same-day handling time;
  • a 14-day or longer return policy with a money-back option.

On a more positive note, eBay will lower the annual sales requirement for Top Rated Sellers to $1,000.

To encourage TRS sellers, eBay will give them a temporary 5% discount off FVFs through May 31st along with their current 20% discount for all listings with 1-day handling and a minimum 14-day return window with money-back option.

Best Match Search
Item specifics, product codes like UPCs and ISBNs, brand, part numbers and other descriptors will be increasingly important for getting a higher ranking in search.

Other Changes
"Business Policies": Starting on May 2, a few sellers will be invited to opt in to a new way to create and manage their own custom business policies - payment, shipping, and return policies - and apply them to their listings quickly and easily. Sellers will be able to define several shipping profiles, for example, and assign them to various listings. The new functionality will be extended to all sellers by July 15.

Duplicate listings: eBay will take further steps to reduce duplicates beginning in May.

Electronics & Technology: To ensure your listings get found by interested buyers, listing with the eBay catalog will be required in more consumer electronics categories including DVD & Blu-ray Players, Home Theater Receivers, Home Speakers & Subwoofers, Home Theater Systems, and Home Theater Projectors.

Parts & Accessories: Listing features will be retired to focus on listing relevance.

Motors Vehicles: Sellers will be able to list vehicles with Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN).

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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 ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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