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Sellers Choice 2021 Marketplace Ratings: eBay

eBay

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eBay placed 1st overall in the 2021 Sellers Choice Awards for the second straight year – the first repeat winner since 2018. eBay also bagged two individual awards: one for Profitability (for the 8th straight year) and one for the marketplace with the best Ease of Use. Survey respondents cited eBay’s traffic as a major factor in their success, but also complained about the rollout of eBay’s Managed Payments.

In January 2021, 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.

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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 2021 Sellers Choice Awards and picked up awards for Profitability and Ease of use.

With eBay ramping up the takeover of payment processing, the issue was on sellers’ minds this year, with some sellers pointing to longer wait times to get funds and pointing to cash-flow issues for their small businesses.

One seller said they felt PayPal had been a buffer between them and eBay in years past, but eBay’s recent demand for full access to their personal checking account was their “breaking point.” The trust is no longer there, they said, “especially when it presents such a direct risk into how I financially provide for my household.”

“They need to change Managed Payments so sellers do not have to give full social security number to sell,” another seller wrote. “After over 20 years selling on eBay, I am preparing to close store and stop selling on eBay because of this full ss# requirement.”

“eBay is my last remaining selling venue, I am very unhappy with the loss of PayPal, and that has taken the wind out of my sails,” wrote another.

It was surprising to hear some people rave about eBay customer service while other people panned it – eBay appears to be giving an inconsistent experience when it comes to support. “The customer service has improved and you do get to reach a real human when needed,” one seller wrote. But another felt eBay offered inadequate customer service to small sellers.

One seller who said they had been selling on eBay for 22 years wrote, “They have made some improvements to customer service, and the pandemic has increased visitors.”

But another said since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been no easy way to reach eBay by phone to discuss any kind of a buying or selling issue – “This is still the case for Top Rated sellers like me,” they wrote.

Another complaint was inconsistent answers from reps. “If you contact eBay’s customer service, you’re likely to receive different information from each customer service rep you speak to. They are lacking in conformity,” one seller said.

Another seller said eBay liked to try new features and called them generally a good thing, “but they implement them poorly and generally leave the new feature broken.”

Some sellers objected to eBay’s 30-day returns policy and other unpopular policies, and some said technical glitches and site errors were a major problem.

One seller who said it was difficult to compete with Chinese sellers said eBay’s practices contributed to that, from fees to search exposure.

Some sellers pointed to “constantly increasing costs, like paying fees on sales tax collected by eBay,” as one seller said. Another wrote, “eBay occasionally (illegally) overcharges sales tax and directly benefits from that since they now charge fees on tax. They have never corrected these errors.”

Another seller criticized eBay search, calling it terrible and blaming it for the slow sales. “If people cannot find the item they are looking for then they will go elsewhere.”

Despite the challenges sellers described, eBay has a strong base and, for many categories, it’s hard to beat.

eBay received a 6.74 in Profitability; a 5.94 in Customer Service; a 6.09 in Communication; and a 7.13 in Ease of Use. It received a 6.23 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

A site with a good a client base. Has steadily improved its care and protection for sellers throughout the pandemic. Continues to improve its equity to both seller and buyer. eBay is reaching balance again. The best phone support by any platform.

We have an Anchor store with eBay so communication is top notch! Wish fees were less.

eBay has been my most profitable venue, no store needed, for selling and now with the managed payments I pay even less fees per sale and payouts are fast.

I have sold on eBay for over 10 years and have had a great selling experience here.

eBay has come a long ways in my opinion and is much easier than the other venues to use. The competition is fair and eBay customer service is better than most.

Everything is easy on eBay, by far my best marketplace. Love the Best Offer tool and communication with buyers. Only complaint is the difficulty in making up a single custom item for buyers who request custom. 70% of online sales come from eBay.

Been selling on eBay since 2012, and the traffic their site gets is hard to beat elsewhere.

eBay is still the place with eyeballs for antiques and collectibles. It is also the place where you can sell an item at the price you need at anytime. Despite all of its shortcomings, it is still the number one place for small antique items and collectibles.

eBay is the easiest platform for us to use. They have seller-friendly policies when compared to Amazon, and we like the ability to block abusive customers. They are also no longer affiliated with PayPal so we are saving money by not having PayPal fees deducted from our balance per sale.

eBay is my main means of income, so it is most profitable to me. I like that they give me many ways to communicate with them, including to contact them by Facebook.

EBAY has proven that it has a great forum and overall customer service pace that is excellent. However, as an online merchant seller for EBAY over 15 years, I have realized profits and made my first ever online sell for a rare Morgan Dollar in the mid-part of 2020 for close to $1000. As such I give EBAY a (“AAA++++”) rating on this end but on the opposite end, which is negative, I feel like the forum can do better as to have the buyers’ purchase my products and also leave a positive EBAY feedback as to the sell of my mint error products. Overall EBAY is the place for me and my business.

eBay is a platform that has more traffic than others. I have been selling on eBay longer than other platforms. Customer service has always answered my inquiries promptly. I have always answered all buyer issues. I would recommend eBay as a platform for committed sellers.

eBay has been very good to me customer service wise over the last 2 years. It is time consuming to list, but can be a great place to sell books that won’t sell well on other sites.

eBay has good traffic, concierge seller support and the lowest selling fees. Still the best overall selling venue for the small business person.

Most of the time don’t have any problems and when problems occur they are usually very helpful with a remedy. Printing shipping labels at a discount is easy. Not enough experience with the new managed payments in place of PayPal.

I have been selling on eBay since 2000. It is easy to list. Customer service is OK. The downside is the listing fees, however, sellers can list up to 200 items a month with no listing fees. Final value fees are lower than the other sites.

eBay surprisingly emerged as the overall top venue for me this year, there are still certain things that irk, they have adopted an agenda of promoting you ‘locally’ I’m not particularly interested in ‘local’ sales, I prefer my international sales and that is one of the beautiful things about eBay the huge international market. I’m not a huge fan of the managed payments, but it is what it is. Customer service is very good, they are always on hand to help you out, I rate them very highly in that respect. I don’t like the splitting of orders when buying items, but hopefully this will change as more people roll over to managed payments. It is a very profitable site, but they do have the highest fees of any other site, managed payments does not save any money with the additional ‘international’ fee. I think eBay has a huge market and they are improving the vintage and antiques sections, which is great. I have to say that eBay were extremely supportive of their sellers throughout the pandemic and offering many ways to help and assist. I look forward to seeing how the next year pans out.

I sell more items on eBay than any other selling platform. However, due to COVID-19 my sales have dropped significantly. I believe this will get better as the economy recovers. eBay does a great job in making selling easier including being on top of communicating in a timely manner.

I’ve been selling online for 20+ years. eBay went through a bad time and had poor customer service and selling issues. They have improved 100% and made the store easier to use. They are not as demanding as they used to be and they now have payment fees deducted from each sale. That makes doing reports so much easier to manage.

I have used eBay as my primary selling place for more than 15 years. I am happy with my experience using eBay. However, my sales have been almost zero since Christmas….most probably due to poor delivery service by USPS over the holidays and most of December 2020 due to their lack of employees because of Covid-19.

eBay has it’s pros and cons. Your products are easily seen by a big audience and it’s a great way to start your business and reach new customers early on. However, eBay is very much a buyer’s market – the site and its policies are heavily skewed in favour of the buyer. As a seller, I have had numerous experiences of buyers attempting to scam me – and numerous occasions where eBay has still sided with the buyer.

eBay is much improved over the past 5 years or so, the one thing they lack is an efficient listing platform. It’s glitchy and slow. And you cannot trust them to keep your drafts or your ended listings. They might very well disappear and you have to start from scratch if you want to relist. I use a dependable third-party lister.

eBay is still our go-to site for all of our listings, but now with the help of an app we are able to take each listing and import it to multiple other sites. Our sells are good on eBay – just a few years back they were great. Listing becomes more and more tedious the item specifics that are required are monotonous, repetitive and time consuming. Takes twice as long to list any item while sales continue to decline. We will not be leaving eBay it will always be our bread & butter basic site. We use it much more now as a starting point for the listings we import to other sites that have much better sales and are easier to list on.

I have been selling on eBay for 20 years and find the platform very easy to use. Profitability has been very good, but sales seem to come in waves, meaning I can go 2-3 days with minimal sales and then boom, a rush of sales come in. As far as communication, I don’t find they are very seller friendly, at least in the few cases I have had to speak with someone. Sometime, a simple explanation as to why a decision was made by the eBay team would be very helpful. Example, I had a large sale a few months ago, USPS lost the package, as I was working with USPS via missing mail forms etc. etc. eBay refunded the buyer and provided me with no explanation, I found out when it showed the case was closed by eBay.

eBay’s fees are fairly high as they also charge their fees on shipping. On the other hand, they offer discount shipping rates so you get some of that money in shipping fees back. They offer numerous ways to contact customer service including phone call backs which I really like. They usually contact me back fairly quickly – within an hour. For ease of use – like anything, the more you use it – the easier it becomes. What I do like is the amount of exposure to customers that eBay offers. Everyone I know – knows about eBay. Basically, if you post a useful item in good shape at a reasonable price – it will sell. I would recommend eBay for selling.

eBay’s huge downfall is they don’t allow you to inventory items on site, so you lose anything you posted that’s greater than 90 days old. It blows my mind. I use turbolister, which they no longer support, to back up my images and listings. They recommend I pay a third party software to inventory items. Ridiculous. Their customer service is amazing. More Amazon sellers are forced to post branded items on eBay since they are being gated, thus you see much better deals on eBay now.

Fees are very high and as a seller, they always side with a buyer if they want to return something for any reason. Customer service reps are somewhat easy to get a hold of on the phone, but they are not always knowledgeable in everything and I have been misinformed by them.

I sell vintage or used items. eBay has a 30-day return policy. That means my items could be “rented” especially if they are holiday items. Listing items takes too long and get wiped out after a certain time. Therefore you can’t use your previous Christmas item listings etc. the Buy It Now must be listed indefinitely – but most people react if time is running out.

Great for traffic, horrific in other areas. Tons of technical problems! No good customer service! They throw long time sellers under the bus constantly and never take care of honest sellers. Horrific response to holiday problems and they NEVER EVER take responsibility when they make mistakes but always want you to jump through hoops to be in their Top Rated Seller Program. They let buyers dictate the site which is wrong on many levels!

While the system is easy to use, there has been little real progress in terms of meaningful access to built-in sourcing of information worthy of use in generating any listing, and therefore, just as exhausting as ever to create an interesting comprehensive listing. The margins present an endless struggle across the platform, with pricing that is predominantly depressed, commanding only a fraction of the typical like item sale price on the rival marketplace platform they have failed so miserably to mimic. I have maintained an active account with varying levels of participation. Having represented an ally and reliable trustworthy asset to eBay for well over a decade, it is a demoralizing empty pursuit that I would want no other person to be exposed. At no turn in my adult life have I ever had another person steal from me in front of the face of the world. The only thing I want from eBay today is to distance myself to whatever extent required in an effort to erase the awful memories they have given me. For what eBay is today, people should be remanded to prison for years and years.

eBay over-complicated the selling process. Fees are high and not made clear to seller. Platform is set up to benefit large sellers from foreign countries over local sellers.

From a selling standpoint there seems to be confusion among CSR’s interpretation of the policies; one CSR resolves issues, another says that’s not how it works. eBay is getting a bit too carried away with item specifics. It is increasingly requiring more and more time to list an item because of eBay constantly adding required specifics. Their buyer return policies are increasingly costing sellers more money due to fraudulent returns and a buyer’s ability to circumvent paying for return shipping by filing for a return using the wrong reason (INAD, damaged, etc.). eBay’s customer service is sometimes helpful in these instances but usually side with the buyer, speculating as to why a buyer chose the reason for return. Bottom line is eBay’s default behavior is in favor of the buyer.

With them changing and not having PayPal take our money. This new way they changed (Managed Payments) is taking more money out of us sellers while we wait longer for our money while we pay and ship our items out.

I have sold on eBay since 1997, but their policies/fees got too restrictive/too expensive. They are big box store and Chinese manufacturer friendly these days. I deleted my long time store a few weeks ago.

eBay fees are out of control. It is expensive to make any kind of money on eBay. They have since taken a bigger chunk of the pie by eliminating PayPal. Although eBay claims to be saving the seller money make the move to rid themselves and us of PayPal, I calculated that I am spending approximately 1-2 % more since they eliminated PayPal. The customer service has improved and you do get to reach a real human when needed.

Have been selling on eBay for over 10 years. Two years ago our business was literally cut in half. Lack of transparency, lack of seller protection, failed to do proper advertising during Holiday seasons, hiding sellers’ items in favor of big box stores/China sellers, along constant glitches among other things. We still sell and are Top Rated, but we were forced to sell on multiple platforms to increase revenue because of eBay’s bad management and constant change of systems policies which honestly rarely if ever benefit sellers even though they profess that the policies do. We all are not idiots!

eBay is one of my primary seller hubs for most of my merchandise. However, their support and customer service terrible. I can not stand their support – the worst. They want to argue bicker and can not decide on policy’s correctly. They pick on the smaller sellers and provide only better support for top sellers. The only thing eBay has in my eyes is they get a lot of site of traffic from the general consumer. They also like to try to new features which is generally good, but they implement them poorly and generally leave the new feature broken.

They need to change Managed Payments so sellers do not have to give full social security number to sell. After over 20 years selling on eBay, I am preparing to close store and stop selling on eBay because of this full ss# requirement.

eBay’s new Pay Management Program is just a way to hold funds and draw the flack off the money. Extremely slow pay with all sorts of reasons to withhold funds. With this type of cash-flow problem, a small business is doomed to fail.

I actually sell stuff on eBay. Easy to use. My problem with this site is their 30-day refund policy. Even though I can opt out and not except returns, eBay has the final say about that. Not crazy about their Managed Payments I must sign up for to continue to sell. Now they will charge you $20.00 if they have to step in to solve a buyer’s problem. One of those buyers’ problems is that they have changed their mind about their purchase. So they can use your item for 30 days then ask for a refund and there are no controls in place to protect the seller from getting their item back in the original condition. They are also banning the sale of coins and bullion.

Very high fees. Constant technical glitches and site errors. Deeply declining views and sales despite sharply increasing views sales elsewhere. Search function is terrible. Complicated and burdensome rules and policies which are difficult to navigate (especially for a new seller) and not applied fairly or consistently. The site still seems bent on holding on to the scammers and abusing honest users. Instead of doing something real to curb the actually bad sellers, they increasingly squeeze and micromanage the good sellers; instead of worrying about whether or not you offer free shipping, they should worry about removing the sellers that are actually defrauding buyers (and the buyers that are defrauding sellers).

eBay is notorious for changing the rules in the middle of the game, and those changes rarely benefit the seller. While their buyer traffic is exceptional, the seller pays dearly for the privilege of having a presence on eBay. (Profiting off shipping costs? Criminal!) Their constant stream of policy changes are difficult to keep up with, much less implement. Between eBay fees, shipping costs, and internet taxes, buyers are paying much more for items than they should have to.

I used to love eBay. The recent transition for sellers to managed accounts required me to provide a social security number. I will not do so for privacy reasons as I sell relatively little, just stuff left over or for family members that they have left over. Anyhow, because eBay now requires your SSN, they won’t even let me BUY with my account after customer service repeatedly told me that this would not be an issue, that I just could not SELL if not providing my SSN. Anyhow, I loved eBay, and now I feel differently, which is a terrible thing to say after a 15-year relationship with the company (mostly buying, but some selling). Also, as a con, they charge fees on taxes as well as shipping costs when they know what the shipping costs are since I buy the postage through them (this is not fair in my opinion).

eBay’s Sellers Hub is harder to use (than the old Selling page) and has too much irrelevant info on it for small sellers to have to sort through, just to find basic information. Fees are high but sales are consistent, so it balances out, profit-wise. Managed Payments is troublesome and sellers’ payments are delayed. Not a happy place to sell. Lots of buyers are scammers, liars and thieves and eBay supports them! Very bad for a lot of sellers who have had no support from eBay and who have actually lost big money AND item to a scamming buyer who was supported by eBay. Personally, I refuse to sell anything costing more than $30 there because I could lose it all with one, unfounded, phony, buyer complaint. Too much risk is involved when eBay sides with the buyers unconditionally, even when the seller has proof of what happened.

eBay is my last remaining selling venue, I am very unhappy with the loss of PayPal, and that has taken the wind out of my sails. I don’t like having all my eggs in one basket, but my other venues became more work for less and less sales, so I cut them out, leaving only eBay standing. I don’t know what my future holds, I am open to trying a new platform and always on the lookout. I am overall happy with my sales and ease of use but eBay’s turning on and trying off of shops & products with the addition of managed payments has taken any joy I had left for eBay.

I have been a seller on eBay since 1999. I am seriously considering quitting selling on eBay in the next month or so. eBay today has no resemblance to the eBay that I have enjoyed selling on for the last 20+ years. eBay has absolutely no compassion for sellers during this trying time with a serious pandemic going on. Giving defects for late deliveries that are no fault of the seller is cruel when everyone knows there are serious problems with the USPS right now. Even worse they are pressing for sellers to join their Managed Payments program at a time that is already trying for sellers. I really am sorry that it has come to this as I really enjoyed selling on eBay for many years, but I would not recommend anyone to sell on this venue.

The site is regularly buggy and nothing is ever said until afterwards. Serious things like losing photos, the desktop version and app version not communicating, app crashing regularly if I try to manage my returns from the app. It is jaw dropping how poorly managed this site is.

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 2021 Marketplace Ratings: eBay”

  1. Says an awful lot, and none of it good, when you score barely a 6 out of 10 and that pathetic score ends up winning. Every marketplace in this poll, including eBay, should be embarrassed.

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