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Sellers Choice 2020 Marketplace Ratings: eBay

eBay

eBay came in 1st place in the 2020 Sellers Choice Awards and snagged two individual awards: one for Profitability (for the 7th straight year) and one as the most Recommended marketplace. Ease of use and traffic are hard to beat, though sellers dislike the pace of change.

In January 2020, EcommerceBytes readers rated the marketplaces on which they had experience selling. An introduction to the Sellers Choice survey along with a summary of the overall ratings can be found here, along with links to results for each of the 10 online marketplaces included in the survey.

Profitability:

Customer Service:

Communication:

Ease of Use:

Would you recommend:

eBay
Year Established: 1995
Description: Auction format, fixed price, storefronts and general merchandise
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Summary:
eBay came in 1st place in the 2020 Sellers Choice Awards and picked up an award for Profitability for the 7th straight year. It also ranked the highest as a recommended selling venue.

According to numerous respondents, eBay has improved this year, and while numerous sellers called eBay fees high, the site draws traffic and generates sales, many said.

“eBay is decent to sell on, bringing in buyers is great. They eased up on the seller control a bit and seems like they finally are regulating the bad buyers and scammers out there.”

“eBay charges higher fees, but gives a lot of freebies and discounts to regular sellers too… so it kind of washes out,” said another.

Particularly noteworthy was the fact numerous respondents said eBay customer support had greatly improved – though some did not agree (“Call three different times for the same issue and you will receive three different answers,” wrote one seller.)

One respondent put in a plug for the auction format and also pointed to deadbeats as a problem. “I use auctions about 20% of my listings. Would hate to see auctions go as they still have a place. Something needs to be done about bidders who don’t pay.”

Some praised a new feature that lets sellers make offers to customers who are “watching” their items, called Seller Initiated Offers.

But some sellers said they were not happy about the pace of changes eBay makes to the site, both in terms of features and policies. “They need to stop with the mass amounts of changes and time consuming rules and procedures,” said one seller. “No one has time to deal with the nonsense.”

One of those changes is eBay’s takeover of payments – “I am incarcerated in the Managed Payments program,” said one, and some expressed their dissatisfaction that it would become mandatory for all sellers.

Another change some sellers said was unwelcome: the Good Til Cancelled mandate that went into effect in March 2019 in which eBay took away the ability of sellers to set the duration of their fixed-price listings and imposed monthly recurring billing.

Some respondents said eBay was focused on buyers to the detriment of sellers. “Sellers pay high fees, and have little to no chances to defend themselves in case of an issue with a buyer. When problems caused by 3rd party happen (i.e. post office delays), sellers are considered to be at fault by default. Sellers often receive “defects” for reasons outside of their reach, or for no reason at all (i.e. because buyer didn’t read item description or because buyer THOUGHT he should have received the item sooner or simply because post office delayed the package).”

Returns were another area of dissatisfaction for some. One seller said eBay needed to do away with automating their return request and refund request systems. “If a buyer opens a request under a false reason, such as item not as described when they earlier stated in messages that they found one at a better price, and then customer service rep cannot do anything to change the reason.”

One seller commenting about search wrote, “I would like to see category managers on the US eBay site that understand how buyers attempt to search for what they want.”

Some expressed concern about eBay’s policing of the site. “As a sellers and buyer, I have noticed the influx of sellers who seem to be based in China but state they are UK based. They often flood the listings pages, sometimes with duplicate listings, and obscure true UK listings.”

“Competition for the small American business person has become impossible,” wrote another seller, citing corporate stores on eBay and international dropshipping sellers. “You have raise all your prices to get the advertising from eBay in order to just be seen. But if you raise your rates, the people who are dropshipping or the Chinese wholesalers beat you out of the market. It is no longer a profitable site.”

One seller listed a number of complaints, including glitches, but said, “Despite all the issues it is still in my opinion the best game in town. My bread and butter. It’s a love hate relationship.”

“eBay has been a major part of my selling for years, but you need to be constantly watchful to get the best results there,” another wrote.

eBay received a 6.54 in Profitability; a 6.14 in Customer Service; a 6.33 in Communication; and a 7.09 in Ease of Use. It received a 6.31 from sellers when asked, “How likely are you to Recommend eBay as a selling venue to a friend or colleague?”

Reader Comments:The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
eBay has been a great place to sell. I have been on for 16 years and no plans of leaving. Extremely easy to use!

eBay is easy to use and easy to list on. They have started to provide shop owners with a range of new tools and these are useful. The customer service has vastly improved on eBay and the live chat feature greatly enhances the ease of contacting customer services. It still remains one of the sites with the highest selling fees and this takes a large chunk of profit. I am unsure as to whether it has reached its pinnacle in the market, but for now it is at least trying to stay in the game and I have had a better experience there this last few months than previously.

The best of them all. Quick and easy, and the seller service is the best out there.

Love eBay do most of my selling on there. They have the best tools. They are very helpful. Their podcast is full of great information for sellers.

The best Ecommerce site of all. I am a top rated seller. Best customer service around. If there is a problem easy to contact customer service as a buyer or seller Grade A+.

I love eBay. Buyers know about it. They expect used items. The fees are reasonable. It is easy to post, and you get 50 free listings a month. The customer service is excellent, for both buyers and sellers.

eBay has provided me a way to work from home for 10 years. Customer service has greatly improved, and sales are better than other websites.

Always the venue with tons of buyer exposure to sell products for every use whether it is Auction (worse) or “Buy It Now” (best)! Easy to list and sell products and I upgraded several years ago to Premium Store seller, which has been very, very profitable. Their selling software is excellent especially for buying and printing mailing labels!

Still the number one place to list and sell your items as far as I am concerned. Higher views for people who are looking for your item if you’re willing to ship items.

The eBay platform is very user friendly, and as a seller you are unencumbered when trying to speak with a live customer service rep that can provide information you may need for your seller account.

eBay’s customer service is getting better. They listen to the seller instead just take on buyer side without consulting with both sides. Even though some of the CS still don’t care or just do easy way and let the buyer win the case. But you can still appeal and then if you are lucky, you’ll get a nice rep that are willing to help you win the case.

Customer service is excellent and AVAILABLE right away, by PHONE or other means. Excellent! eBay charges higher fees, but gives a lot of freebies and discounts to regular sellers too… so it kind of washes out. Biggest negative at eBay is how often they change things (how the pages look, the fee structure, where to find things, etc.) and I find it annoying, especially how the pages I work with everyday are set up and what I need and want on a listing form, or My Ebay Page, etc. You just get used to it and they change it all around! With no improvements, I might add. They actually make the pages harder to work with. Also there are certain features on some of these pages that do not function properly but I’ve given up notifying them about it and just don’t use the features. Too bad.

Has a great edge on the competition. Values sellers more than the other platforms. Maybe trending after them too much, which would be a poor choice…especially in area of returns and raising fees.

eBay does a good job of making site easy to use for sellers. Searches are fair allowing you to promote items. Also has the option of auction or buy it now or make an offer. Watchers on items can be made offers also which is great.

eBay is the place where you can get the price you want for your item at all times. It gets enough buyers at all times. The customer service is improving. However, the two main problems are frequent changes in the rules and/or policies, which makes it hard to keep up with and rising cost of selling on the site, since to really get a high level of sale you must promote your listings which increases the cost.

eBay is very easy list and sell on with flexibility. I’ve been selling on the site for 18 years and never a major issue other than their advertising on my listings.

eBay is decent to sell on, bringing in buyers is great. They eased up on the seller control a bit and seems like they finally are regulating the bad buyers and scammers out there. Still a highly controlled and regulated site sticking their nose into every detail of a transaction even when the seller and buyer want them to back off. Also, they need to stop with the mass amounts of changes and time consuming rules and procedures. No one has time to deal with the nonsense. It’s almost not worth it.

Up until recently, eBay’s “relevant search” feature was an oxymoron. Not relevant at all and many items were hidden for unknown reasons. The demise of Turbo-lister and other quality listing tools is still a problem for some. The “Sell Your Item Form” often has glitches for individual item sellers and taxes the patience of would be sellers. I no longer have a “store” and have become a seasonal seller from October-January. This year I have few complaints and more kudos for eBay. All my inventory in both auctions and BIN was successfully sold before Dec 31 and I have no need to put anything on sale for January as I sold out everything.

Money can be made but requires a constant tweaking as products change. Customer Service better than previously but still need to limit changes to twice a year and not in the fall. Site is easy for basic selling but if you want to do it long term with a store there is a learning curve more difficult for boomers than others. Safer place to sell than local for small and valuable items. With the annual shipping rate increases we pay more fees. Shipping to zone 8 and 9 means less profit even if you charge for shipping. I rarely buy on Amazon and always look to eBay first to support my fellow sellers. They still need to promote the fact that part of eBay is a virtual thrift store with unique items. In some categories there is way too much Chinese junk so I always go with USA sellers to try and avoid them. I use auctions about 20% of my listings. Would hate to see auctions go as they still have a place. Something needs to be done about bidders who don’t pay.

eBay has the best customer service for sellers I have seen of any platform. They are fairly easy to figure out and utilize. I always make sales because the customer base is so large. My only problem with eBay is that they do not take their fees out of sales. They add it all up at the end of the month and then hit you with a monthly invoice. I do not like this business model, because usually my profit is spent immediately on operating and living costs, so to be hit with another monthly bill is quite inconvenient. I haven’t even paid my last bill from them so I am banned from selling on eBay right now. Taking fees up front from the sale works better for me as a small seller.

eBay’s customer support is hopeless – difficult to reach, in many times slow to respond. eBay seem to be off-balance – eBay is focused mostly on buyers, providing them with many privileges. Sellers pay high fees, and have little to no chances to defend themselves in case of an issue with a buyer. When problems caused by 3rd party happen (i.e. post office delays), sellers are considered to be at fault by default. Sellers often receive “defects” for reasons outside of their reach, or for no reason at all (i.e. because buyer didn’t read item description or because buyer THOUGHT he should have received the item sooner or simply because post office delayed the package).

I’ve been a seller here for years. Every year the fees are higher and the seller protection is less. Being forced into eBay’s new managed payments is to say the least concerning. I should have the option to stay with my payment processor of choice instead of being forced into this profit scheme of theirs.

I have made good on eBay in the past years since they’ve added taxes and the shipping rates have continued to get increased yearly it seems that everyone sales have went down including the market. My sales have been cut nearly in half of what they were the past few years before the shipping increases and before the taxes. people selling things less than what the shipping would cost and giving free shipping there’s no way to compete with that we would go under also China ships free from another country there’s no way to compete with that. So there’s always someone out there underpricing you.

eBay has its issues, but I still make money there. Their commission and fees are absolutely demoralizing. Not that they charge fees, they should charge fees. But fees for this, fees for that. Extra charges for every little thing. It’s the opposite of simple.

Many very good things but lots of not so good things!! Constant glitches and problems and they almost NEVER own up to it or explain for rolling blackouts and dead traffic or “issues” with the site. They are easy to talk to, but you rarely get someone who can help you or who has any knowledge of what is going on. You need a supervisor at a minimum to get any real help and even then it is more like being a tiny fish in a giant pond! Despite all the issues it is still in my opinion the best game in town. My bread and butter. It’s a love hate relationship.

I believe we as sellers take a back seat to buyers. We can’t leave them negative feedback but they can leave it for us. Not fair. There are some bad buyers and need to get negative feedback. Also the fees are really high for us small sellers.

For me, eBay is where frugal buyers shop. They are way more difficult to make happy, they expect rock bottom prices, free shipping and returns forever – not conducive to profits. Posting, shipping from eBay is automated and easy.

I sell books and dishes on eBay. Book selling is OK and I mostly like bundles on specific topics, which Amazon doesn’t allow. Book sales are very slow. Dishes sell better, but because they are heavy, the fees on postage (I charge exact postage including discounts, so this stinks) make my ultimate fees more like 25%. Customer service is a joke with their scripts. The constant updates and changes to the rules is maddening. Because of the GTC absurdity, my 3 eBay accounts only list the free 50 as GTC, and other listings are saved for auction on free listing promotions. One time i forgot to “activate” the listing promo on my book account and got.charged for 20 listings. I was really mad. Anyway, eBay becomes more of a pain in the ass with each update or glitch, but there are some things i can’t sell anywhere else, so here I am, trying to second guess their greedy management.

All of the fees combine to be on the higher side, but the audience is large. However, I remain concerned and wary over the company’s treatment of its smaller sellers (changes in leadership notwithstanding as the last few regime changes did not result in a better seller environment). Never take anything eBay says at face value. ebay is NOT just a venue and is NOT your partner, but it can be useful if you are careful and pay attention to the details. One thing I am very concerned with is the spread of their Managed Payments program this year. Is it just another money grab by the company that will result in problems for sellers? It should be an OPT IN service rather than a forced in. eBay has been a major part of my selling for years, but you need to be constantly watchful to get the best results there.

I have rated eBay high on customer service and communication as I had several queries with my selling activities in 2019. Each time I contacted eBay customer service by telephone, I found the agents swift to answer, very helpful in taking time to understand my issues and able to solve my problems. I have rated eBay 5 on profitability as the fees continually increase (together with PayPal fees) and eat into profit margins. A fee I think is particularly unfair is the % eBay takes on the postage and packing charge, as eBay do not provide me any service on postage for my items. I do not like the additional fee for Promoting a Listing. I’ve tried Promoting Listings a couple of times but this had no impact on my sales. I won’t use it now anyway as I think it’s an unfair way for eBay to make additional money. All sellers should have a level playing field, and any ranking of listings should be based on merit, like Top Rated Seller status. It’s too easy for a poor seller to gain prominence by paying for Promoted Listings; then their items sell, they provide poor service and eBay’s reputation is damaged. I have been trading on eBay for many years now, as a very small business seller in vintage, and I now have a basic eBay shop. I really like the facilities that Seller Hub offers, once I got used to it. When I started listing items on eBay it was very easy, and personally I’ve got used to the changes over the years, but I’m not sure how easy it would be for a new seller starting up to understand all the rules and regulations now. As a sellers and buyer, I have noticed the influx of sellers who seem to be based in China but state they are UK based. They often flood the listings pages, sometimes with duplicate listings, and obscure true UK listings.

The fees are awful, especially when we pay fees on buyer’s tax and shipping (even if shipping is paid by buyer). I don’t like being unable to access every bit of my information and I wish they would load all of the item’s info on one page (including sales, fees, etc.). Customer service to a seller is not always beneficial. They side more with the buyer if something goes wrong in a transaction, even when there’s proof.

Fees are much higher than they used to be when I joined several years ago. The overall platform and service has improved greatly since then, but still comes with high levels of risk from fraud/scams, negative customer feedback etc.

Excellent app that makes it easy to upload images! Fees are kind of spread out over several areas (listing fees, final value fees, store subscription fees, PayPal fees) so they are not as cost effective for a seller as one might think.

Lots of buyers. Constantly changing rules makes for lots of rework by sellers. Price competition leads to low margins. I have no trust in honesty of management or their understanding of online sellers.

Customer service agents give conflicting information on a regular basis. They seem ‘untrained’ and just reading from a script.

eBay doesn’t care about the sellers. Their return policy allows buyers to return even an empty box and when you call customer service they say “sorry nothing we can do, we can’t tell who is lying, so we refunded the buyer. Please email them and try to work it out.” It’s crap.

As a seller I do find it costly compared to similar sites. The main area of concern is the Final Valuation Fees they charge. Not only are the a little high, but the fee is based on the sold item including any postage costs. Some sellers do inflate the postage cost quite dramatically and this is probably part of the reason they include in fees, but for sellers like myself who only charge the actual cost of postage, the result is I am actually subsidising a portion of the postage cost.

eBay has a long learning curve. Fees are high considering you can sell locally many things for a good profit. Good for collectibles. Not everyone is cut out to be an eBay seller, which is why I’d only recommend certain people to do it.

Selling on eBay is much more involved than the site leads you to believe. Sad lack of current books (description and images) in eBay’s so-called catalog. Good Facebook page and announcements. Bad increasing seller fees, especially for small sellers.

eBay is my main selling venue. There is a learning curve when you get beyond being a casual seller. Downside is the website has too many glitches and they change things that don’t need to be changed. Very annoying when they decide changing something is better for sellers when in fact, it is not. Sales are slower than I’d like with over 1000 items in my store. They should listen to suggestions from sellers more than they do. Overall, I will continue to sell there and grow my store.

Fees are getting ridiculous. Algorithm changes and their fight with Google cost us THOUSANDS in Nov Dec & currently. We are top sellers and the traffic and sales have tanked despite our consistency. Worst holiday season in 7 years when the economy is the best? That’s an eBay issue. They don’t acknowledge their mistakes they just keep collecting their fees.

Constantly changing rules seemingly biased against small sellers, the worst of which was the attempted imposition of a 30-day return policy (since lifted on jewelry, my category). The neutering of Terapeak has taken away a valuable research tool, especially in a such a large venue where it is hard to get noticed. Nevertheless, for the skilled and experienced user, its size and control makes it an indispensable, safe place to do business.

I don’t agree with eBay’s decision to remove the 30-day listing duration and replacing it with Good ’til Cancelled. This requires sellers to manually remove listings before the 30-day “deadline” OR get charged for their automatic re-listing by eBay (NOT the seller). This just seems criminal to me. Otherwise, I find it useful for selling using the free listings offered each month.

Selling is not the problem here. Customer Service is their issue. They expect everyone to go through a customer platform. Can not get ahold of them for help. Had to paper mail twice for help. Very poor!

eBay makes so many changes so often, a business spends half of the year changing around to re-align with new policy changes just to show up in the search. The seller dashboard is a tad more difficult to get around in than it should be. Way too cluttered (in my opinion) not a clean design. While they do have phone support, it is not often to get a support agent that actually knows the right answer to a question. The SYI form is a nightmare. So many popup fields. Search on the site is convoluted rarely offering what I am looking for the first time. eBay does have sales on their site but not even close to what it used to be, so I only recommend to other businesses that have certain product lines to sell.

eBay has been my go source up until a month ago. The site is not very helpful when it comes to fraudulent buyers who take advantage of the whole “eBay 30 day money back guarantee”. The policies are setup to protect buyers over sellers 9 times out of 10. I’m disappointed that this is the review from myself. I’ve promoted the site for years as well as ran several stores on the site that were profitable indeed. I also lost everything due to on buyers fraudulent claim the eBay decided in favor of. Wrong buyer, wrong place, at the wrong time I guess.

When they had high number of free listing option it was great! Now they dropped it to like 50 a month for non subscribers so I pay to sell now. They have tighter standard now that if I’m late shipping or out of stock on something, my rating and visibility go down and final fee goes up, although I have 100% feedback I’m in a bad loop. their monthly fee eats up all the profit.

eBay started out as a mom n pop site for small business people. But it is now a corporate marketplace with international action as well. The percentage you have to pay now and the “customer is always right” attitude is challenging to any seller. But worse than that is due to corporate stores on eBay now and international dropshipping sellers, the competition for the small American business person has become impossible. You have raise all your prices to get the advertising from eBay in order to just be seen. But if you raise your rates, the people who are dropshipping or the Chinese wholesalers beat you out of the market. It is no longer a profitable site. I have been with them since 1998, I have a 100% customer rating, but my income dropped in half in June of 2018 and then in half again in 2019, so I will close my store at the end of my year subscription which is Mar 1, 2020.

eBay has gone through so many changes, and it makes it very difficult as a seller to keep up and keep updating listings as new changes take effect. eBay also does not really support its sellers, it tends to side with the buyers no matter what, without requiring any proof from the buyer. eBay also needs to do away with automating their return request and refund request systems…if a buyer opens a request under a false reason, such as item not as described when they earlier stated in messages that they found one at a better price, and then customer service rep cannot do anything to change the reason. Seller is told that due to the INAD reason selected, eBay will find in favor of the buyer, so seller should just refund…not a good way to do business, and a lot of buyers are catching on to this loophole. We as sellers need to jump through a lot of hoops to prove ourselves, but the buyers can claim whatever they want, and eBay automatically believes them.

I have been selling online for over 20 years. eBay is certainly messing a lot of things up lately. The worst is their new payment system. They offered a trial to long term sellers with the option to opt out, but then changed the opt out option after the fact. When I realized that there were checkout issues with international buyers after my sales completely tanked I tried to revert back and was told by customer service that I could not. Spent an hour arguing and they would not budge. I was told that they would fix the glitches with international buyers, but 4 months later and nothing has changed. I even have issues with US buyers having a hard time paying with PayPal. My sales are down because clearly people are trying to purchase and can’t checkout with PayPal as a payment option. Another issue is their algorithm. They penalize you if an item has not sold in a month. The more an item sells the higher it is in the search results, but if it doesn’t, they push it down and mark it as a “Bad” Item. This is a good concept for BRAND NEW items that you could potentially sell over and over and likely there is more competition. However, what about the vintage and antique more rare items? Items that sometimes may take awhile to sell. The site was built as a community to sell items. They are attempting to turn it into Walmart or Amazon by flooding the search results with cheap Chinese crap! Just horrible lack of vision and complete disconnect with majority of their sellers. So many sellers I know have gone to other venues out of frustration.

I am an old timer eBay from the beginning. It is nothing but a shell of what it used to be. I hate all the changes, the forced returns, the very high selling and commission fees. I hate that it has become a place for unethical people to scam legitimate sellers and that sellers keep getting screwed all the time. It is so sad to see that eBay has become the bargain basement rummage sale of the selling venue on line. People are only trolling for hugely discounted bargains, or someone they can scam. eBay has taught the buying public how to cheat and steal and get away with it, and it isn’t getting better. It is a very sad thing that the seller has become the villain in eBay’s eyes. I hate being charged a fee on SHIPPING CHARGES which should be outlawed! I don’t like managed payments at all. The one good thing to say about eBay is even though sales are low dollar amounts, I still get them. but I have been getting much better prices on Etsy for over a year now than on eBay for basically the exact same types of items. I feel so bad that eBay took what was once a super great profitable and fun selling venue to a greedy dictatorial corporate mess that it is today. and don’t even get me started on the horrible search engine and all the tech glitches. eBay – get your head out of your xxxx and FIX the broken mess you’ve made.

There’s no question that eBay reaches an impressive amount of people. But the constant CHANGING of pages (functionality, the way they look, eliminating features) is a MONSTROUS headache and makes everything harder and longer. It’s absolutely absurd to change the functionality of pages we are used to just for the Hell of it. NONE of the changes they have made in the last 5 years have improved the way the site functions. In fact, they have made EVERYTHING worse. The feedback system is broken, the ‘returns’ issue is broken – sellers have NO protection from scam buyers. The fact that they do NOT offer a store level with 3,000-5,000 listings is ridiculous. I’ve waited 5 years for them to get it together to offer that, but they won’t – they’re too busy re-designing pages for no reason. And ‘managed payments’ may indeed be the final straw for me and I’ve been selling on eBay for 22 years. There’s no logical reason to force that on anyone with no opt-out option.

I sell antique and vintage items. eBay sales have tanked for me. I see the same items sell from other sellers that are priced the same, yet, I barely get any views or watchers. I have always had 100% positive feedback, so that’s not the problem. Nine out of ten sales are on the west coast and I am on east coast, which, makes me wonder if I am blacked out in closer zones. Shipping to the opposite coast is the most expensive zoning for all shipping companies. I believe this also hurts my sales. After final value fees on the item and the shipping, fees on sales tax and PayPal fees, I no longer list less expensive collectible/vintage items. It isn’t worth the effort, time or minimal profit. I also don’t sell high value items on eBay anymore due to scam buyers and eBay’s lack of support to sellers that have been scammed. eBay’s customer service is worse than ever. Call three different times for the same issue and you will receive three different answers. eBay’s outdated policy of demanding a price of 30% or more for “Buy It Now” is hurting sellers. Without the viewers and buyers that eBay once had, I would never start an auction below my minimum acceptable price. I should be able to set the “Buy it Now” price at a much lower percentage. I’ve been selling on eBay for 20 years. My trust in eBay as company and my expectations for eBay to keep its word, are long gone. Too many changes, too many promises to notify sellers of changes are broken. I really feel eBay is dying.

Sales and cash flow were way down in 2019. I am a 20-year seller on eBay. The high point of last year’s sales when I sold a $600 item on eBay. The buyer was acting as if he might steal the item from me. So I cancelled the sale and refunded his payment. eBay did not refund the fees to me on the sale. I never shipped the item, but eBay did thinking that I did ship the item to the buyer and that I would tell the buyer to keep the item, eBay did thank me for taking “one for the team”.

I would like to see category managers on the US eBay site that understand how buyers attempt to search for what they want. The most important descriptor in the Stamps category would be a catalog number. Nowhere does eBay support catalog numbers in Item Specifics for the Stamps category. Instead, required items specifics for Quality and Grade depend on non-standard abbreviations not used elsewhere in the philatelic marketplace. It is also unfortunate that eBay specifies abbreviations that cannot be matched to standard abbreviations or descriptive terms employed by most stamp dealers. Instead, eBay uses a pastiche of terms from the Coins category and abbreviations with non-standard punctuation. Instead of going to authoritative sources like the Scott catalog, eBay appears to rely on coin experts or large sellers on the site who have horrible reputations on independent philatelic chat boards. One recommended eBay seller had lied about membership in the American Philatelic Society for years until confronted. I don’t understand how eBay can attempt to set a direction for marketplaces it knows nothing about, attempt to impose nonstandard terminology and take advice from disreputable sellers simply because they are large. Also, eBay has tolerated, if not encouraged sellers of misdescribed, misidentified or altered stamps on their site and protected high volume sellers from having reported bad listings removed when Trust and Safety was still processing EMR reports. Now, eBay does no enforcement and many potential buyers have moved on to other sites like HipStamp or Delcampe. I am incarcerated in the Managed Payments program. The software is incomplete, not compatible with third party applications and has software bugs.

eBay has major problems with search, with extraneous advertisements appearing on the site, interfering with the customer’s buying experience. There are numerous technical problems. A customer today in Poland was unable to request a combined-item consolidated shipping invoice, when attempting to check out. I had to modify an existing listing to reflect the 3 items he wished to purchase. I was available to do this, and the customer completed the purchase. If I was not available to offer assistance, the customer might not have completed the purchase…because of poor ability of a customer to purchase multiple items and receive a lower adjusted shipping invoice. eBay does not have a good relationship with Google, and I refuse to use the Promoted listing option for “improved” visibility on eBay, only within eBay, not on the internet.

Insidious and “gotcha” changes that directly affect the bottom line abound on eBay. Still livid over the good til canceled mandate requiring seller diligence to not be surprised by unplanned insertion fees. eBay does not do a good job announcing and explaining change to sellers and shuts down needed discussions. Pay to play (promoted listings) has wreaked havoc with already challenging search results. Search results are the most cumbersome possible with bloated lists of irrelevant items and virtually no way to find what you want. If I want to find something on eBay, I go to Google first and link back in. Is this what I’m paying for with my seller fees?!?

I’ve been selling on eBay for over 20 years. Once upon a time it was my sole source of income and I did VERY well. Now it’s about 20% of my gross income. I have no plans to give it up, but it is much more time-consuming and fraught with difficulty to list on than it used to be – I feel like I’m navigating a minefield half the time trying to ensure I meet all platform requirements to maximize my listings so they will hopefully be seen, while at the same time writing extremely repetitious listings in hopes that potential buyers will at least read necessary info once. I am a TRS seller with well over 40,000 feedbacks and I rarely have issues, BUT I have to work so darned hard to ensure that outcome that it’s become a huge burden from a business standpoint. My time and expertise are valuable, and investing all or even a large percentage of those into eBay listings is becoming less and less cost effective. I am an antiques/collectibles & clothing seller primarily and I’m finding that my local venues are eclipsing eBay. I guess it’s true that what goes around comes around – 17 years ago, I closed my last gift shop to work on eBay full time…now I’m back in the local antiques/collectibles market in a big way and eBay is becoming a less and less important secondary source of income. A pity!

eBay has become cumbersome with all their mandates such as “listing good till sold” which doesn’t encourage buyers to purchase within a few days, fees are too high, they encourage returns. I used to sell exclusively on eBay but have gradually scaled down and in 2019 only listed perhaps 50 items and have very little use for their site anymore. The buyers have become rude and ridiculously demanding with eBay’s encouragement.

Site selling rules change too often, and with little advance notice. Screen changes are made for the sake of someone’s whim, usually for the worst (inefficient), and changes are made without considering what effect it will have on sellers. Most screen layout changes (99%) are always a permanent setback (efficiency) for the seller. Obviously, the changes that have been made reflect a lack of business experience and/or common sense among the IT Department personnel.

Sellers Choice Awards:
We thank all readers who took the time to rate the marketplaces. If you have comments about the Sellers Choice Awards, please feel free to post them below.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
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.

One thought on “Sellers Choice 2020 Marketplace Ratings: eBay”

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