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eBay Business Policy Feature Caused Chaos when Expanded Last Week

eBay launched a new feature to make it easier for sellers to set standard terms on listings – this can be very helpful when sellers have more than one policy depending on the type of item they’re selling. Multiply that by various types of policies (Returns, Payment methods, Shipping,…), and it’s meant to be a significant time saver.

But beginning late last week, reports surfaced of sellers who encountered problems when trying to specify their policies when listing items on eBay.

“I just noticed now (eBay) stored shipping prices we used in the past and you have to click on their codes just to find out what price each code stands for,” wrote one of the several readers who emailed us in confusion. “I don’t even know if we can make a new shipping price?”

Another eBay seller explained she was trying to do a quick relist of an item using the “Sell one like this” option. “This was just listed fine 30 days ago. I have a payment policy, and a shipping policy, and a return policy. Now, I get prompts. Having no idea now what this is, I open the drop-down and see about 50 different long-numbered “policies.””

She selected the default, which allowed her to list, “but I had no idea what policies I was selecting by default until the listing went through. Turns out my Free Shipping policy was gone and all I am now is EXPERIENCED” (a reference to the green label that eBay displays on sellers’ listing to call out positive features about the seller).

When asked what sellers might be encountering with these new “codes,” eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore said, “I believe you’re referencing our new business policies we announced back during the Spring Seller update,” and he referenced this link for more information.

The seller mentioned above said she spent over an hour on the phone with an eBay rep. “Even he couldn’t explain how I ended up with about 27 different policies that were all substantively exactly the same! The final attempt was for me to whittle the long list down to 3 default policies, akin to those policies I have set up in my own site preferences.”

Finally, she said, she opted out – “That deleted ALL of them, and my listings appear to have been unharmed.”

Several people also discussed their confusion about this issue on the eBay discussion boards, such as this thread.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.