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eBay Changes DSRs in Spring Seller Update

eBay sellers can expect some major changes to seller performance standards in this year’s Spring Seller Update from eBay. eBay will replace the four individual Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs) as the main way eBay evaluates seller performance with a new single measure called the “transaction defect rate.” But that doesn’t mean all DSRs are going away entirely: Item as Described and Shipping Time will continue to impact a seller’s performance in eBay’s eyes.

The factors that make up a seller’s defect rate include the following:

  • Detailed seller rating of 1, 2 or 3 for Item as Described;
  • Detailed seller rating of 1 for Shipping Time;
  • Negative or neutral feedback;
  • Return initiated for a reason that indicates the item was not as described;
  • eBay Money Back Guarantee (previously known as eBay Buyer Protection) or PayPal Purchase Protection case opened for an item not received or an item not as described;
  • Seller-cancelled transactions.

Starting in August, sellers can have a maximum 5% of transactions with one or more transaction defects over the most recent evaluation period. Only transactions with U.S. buyers will count.

So what does this mean for Top Rated Sellers? To maintain Top Rated Seller status, sellers will be expected to have a maximum 2% defect rate for your transactions with U.S. buyers and will no longer be held accountable to the individual 0.5% of 1s and 2s for each of the four detailed seller ratings (shipping cost, shipping and handling time, communication, and item description) or for having 98% positive feedback. The defect rate will not be applied unless you have transactions with defects with at least 5 different buyers within the evaluation period.

In addition, Top Rated Sellers must have tracking uploaded to eBay on 90% of their transactions within their stated handling time – and, the tracking number must be one that eBay can validate – eBay must receive at least one carrier scan. When you upload a tracking number to My eBay, eBay will automatically check for carrier scan information – only tracking numbers from USPS, UPS, FedEx and DHL Global Express will be validated with scan information.

To maintain Top Rated Plus status (and 20% final value fee discount), seller listings must include the new extended holiday return option between November 1 and December 31, with returns accepted through January 31.

eBay will be holding online workshops to help sellers understand the new standards on March 13 at 1 pm Pacific and on March 26 at 11 am Pacific.

When will the new standards take effect? eBay will implement the new defect rate as a seller performance measure in August. The August 20 evaluation will be based on transactions from May 1 through July 30, 2014, and for sellers with fewer than 400 transactions over the past 3 months, the defect rate will be calculated based on transactions over the past 12 months (from August 1, 2013 through July 31, 2014).

Other changes in the U.S.: There are no fee changes in the U.S. (unlike in the UK). eBay is making changes to its Managed Returns feature. And while all new selling accounts are automatically enrolled in the program, sellers can opt out.

eBay is also offering a new extended holiday return policy in which buyers have until January 31 to return any item purchased between November 1 and December 31. While optional, only listings with the policy will qualify for the Top Rated Plus discounts and seal.

Optimizing for Google. eBay is making category and item specific changes in part to optimize for Google. Category updates will roll out the week of April 7.

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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). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.