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Are You Protected from Retroactive eBay Defects?

Many sellers are complaining that eBay’s new policy punishes them for “defects” incurred before eBay even had a defect policy. eBay promised a grace period (“special protection”) to alleviate the consequences for some sellers, though it does not help sellers avoid them altogether.

To provide some background: When eBay announced its new Seller Performance policies in March as part of the Spring Seller Release, it indicated sellers would be judged beginning in August for “defects” that took place prior to the March announcement.

In April, eBay partially recognized the inherent unfairness of penalizing sellers retroactively. The EcommerceBytes Blog published an explanation of the grace period they promised sellers who might be affected.

Note that this special protection only applies to low-volume sellers who are judged on a rolling 12-month period. The August 20 evaluation, when the new performance standards took effect, were based on transactions from August 1, 2013 through July 31, 2014. Here’s part of a letter sellers who were impacted received:

You’ll be protected through the March 20, 2015 seller evaluation from selling limits or restrictions as a consequence of falling below eBay’s minimum standards strictly because of one or more of the defects that were not previously counted in standards that you received prior to March 11, 2014: opened cases, detailed seller ratings of 3 for item description, returns because the item was not as described, negative or neutral feedback, or seller-cancelled transactions*.

Note this special protection is designed to protect you from the consequences of falling below eBay’s minimum standards. It does not apply to Top Rated Seller status and benefits or prevent your listings from being lowered in search. But it will give you extra time to continue selling and meet the new minimum standards.

So low-volume eBay sellers may see their listings lowered in search or lose TRS status due to eBay’s retroactive policy, but they won’t be kicked off the site.

Almost 3 weeks have passed since the August 20th evaluation period went into effect. Can you tell if any old transactions are haunting your standings due only to the new defect policy?

Comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

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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/.