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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2856 - July 26, 2012 - ISSN 1539-5065    1 of 3

Some eBay Sellers Lose TRS Status Due to Spring Update

By Ina Steiner
July 26, 2012

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As eBay sellers brace for new changes announced Tuesday as part of the Fall Seller Update, some sellers are just now starting to lose their Top Rated Seller status for changes that were announced in February under eBay's Spring Seller Update.

Sellers of lightweight items and ephemera such as stamps, postcards, sports cards and other small items began reporting the loss of their Top Rated Seller status this week - not due to any change in how they do business, but because of a new eBay policy that recently took effect.

A stamp dealer explained how the policy, which requires sellers to put tracking numbers on 90% of their shipments in the U.S. in order to maintain their Top Rated Seller status, is not feasible for her business.

"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."

The new tracking requirement was controversial when it was announced in late February, but despite negative feedback from sellers, eBay has implemented the policy, the effects of which are now being felt.

The stamp dealer said she wanted to get the word out that just because the TRS badge is gone from some sellers' listings doesn't mean the seller has changed. She pointed out sellers who lose their TRS status as a result of the policy change will no longer receive the 20% discount they had been receiving. "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," she wrote.

Another seller wrote, "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."

Note that eBay also lowered the annual sales requirement for Top Rated Sellers from $3,000 to $1,000.

A recap of the changes:

  • Starting with the July 20 evaluation cycle, to achieve and keep your Top-rated seller status, tracking information or a Delivery Confirmation number must be uploaded to eBay on at least 90% of your transactions to US buyers within your stated handling time. For the July 20 evaluation eBay will look at transactions from June 1 June 30.

  • Starting June 1, only those listings from Top-rated sellers that include 1-day handling and a 14-day or longer return policy with a money-back option will qualify for the greatest average boost in Best Match and 20% final value fee discount.

  • You can choose not to offer 1-day handling or a 14-day or longer returns on some or all of your listings. Based on your great track record, all your listings will continue to receive some additional exposure and a Top-rated seller badge. But only your listings with both of these services will receive the maximum exposure and 20% final value fee discount.

  • Also starting June 1, the annual sales requirement for Top-rated status will be lowered from $3,000 to $1,000 to expand eligibility to more sellers who provide great service.

Also see Wednesday's Letters to the Editor blog for two letters from sellers impacted by eBay's new requirements.

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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