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Sun Oct 24 2010 22:19:18

eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards

By: Ina Steiner

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I've received some interesting emails from sellers over the weekend concerning the effect of recent eBay changes on their seller performance standings. One was about international transactions, and several were about eBay's Ask Seller a Question feature.

According to an eBay PowerSeller who does over half a million dollars a year on the marketplace, eBay has a problem that is affecting his ability to gain Top Rated Seller status. In Seller Release 2 in 2009, eBay told sellers that their standings could not be hurt by international transactions:
 
"International transactions can be more complex, and there are more aspects of the transaction (like customs) that are outside the seller's control. This change will allow you to expand your businesses internationally without undue impact on your performance ratings domestically."

However, this seller said if a buyer located outside the United States is registered on eBay.com rather than on his own country's site, the buyer's ratings and claims are counted against U.S. sellers.

He said sellers could check this by looking at their open cases - eBay has a tab that lists the cases that count against them, and international claims are included. So even though international orders are not supposed to prevent him from maintaining Top Rated Seller status, they have, he said. This hurts him in several ways: he loses the 20% discount on fees, and loses revenue from the exposure he would have received as a Top Rated Seller.

Several other eBay sellers wrote about a change to the way buyers contact them. In June, I wrote about eBay tests in which it removed the Ask Seller a Question link from the top of the Item page to the bottom of the page. At the time eBay's Johnna Hoff told me it was to encourage buyers to read sellers' descriptions and to set the right buyer expectations upfront before they click on the ask-a-question link.

Now, in addition to moving the link, eBay has changed the Ask Seller a Question flow, forcing buyers with questions to click more times to ask their question. There have also been reports that the captcha security feature is broken and not letting questions go through to sellers.

Sellers are concerned that eBay is making it more difficult for buyers to contact them - of special concern because open claims are now counted against sellers in performance standards.

One seller was particularly annoyed because he said the banner that advertises eBay's Buyer Protection policy now appears in the section where the Ask Seller link used to be.

Read what sellers are saying about the Ask Seller a Question changes in this thread on eBay.
 




Comments (31) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards   eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards

by: Bertha DeBluze

Sun Oct 24 22:57:53 2010

The new eBay/PayPal philosophy is one that puts ALL of the burden of a successful transaction on the Seller.

IN ADDITION... if something goes wrong, they also put all of the BLAME on the Seller as well.

Buyers are (effectively) discouraged from asking questions before they buy... which can lead to misunderstandings, confusion, and disappointment. ~~ BLAME THE SELLER!

The exceedingly generous and ''no-questions-asked'' SNAD policy has trained Buyers to understand that there's really NO NEED for them to ask questions in advance.

Because there's ''no risk'', lazy buyers feel no need to confirm that the item they're buying is the right brand/size/type/year/make/model/style/author/version/etc. Instead of READING and ASKING, they just click to have items sent ''on approval''. ~~ And if they don't approve, then they just make up some SNAD claim and instantly get their money back. (Sometimes they'll get to keep the item AND get a refund... WHAT A DEAL!)

Buyers are relieved of the responsibility of actually providing a CORRECT SHIPPING ADDRESS! Why bother? Just go ahead and buy an item... and complain when it doesn't arrive. So... BLAME THE SELLER for not verifying.

But if the cautious seller DOES try to veryify... well then, the Buyer is being harassed. So... BLAME THE SELLER for being overly suspicious.

As we all know, BUYER FRAUD is just an acceptable part of doing business, right?

Trying to respond to a buyer's question (through eBay Messaging System)using your Iphone? YOU CAN'T!! ~~ Why? Because you must register your mobile email address, or the EMS will reject it. Silly Seller! What were you thinking? IT'S YOUR FAULT!!

When one considers how DIFFICULT and COMPLEX eBay has become... along with how RISKY it is... along with how EXPENSIVE it is... along with how MUCH effort is required for so LITTLE return... along with how criminals are coddled... along with how honest sellers are always at fault... it's amazing to me that any self-respecting seller remains at that he11ho1e.

There is nothing redeeming about eBay any longer. It's an absolute MESS!

Completely dysfunctional! Out of touch!

The lies, the anti-seller policies, the climate of distrust, the ''BLAME THE SELLER FIRST'' mentality, the hostility, vague policies that are always subjective, rules that are NOT ENFORCED (to benefit dishonest 'buyers') and other unwritten rules that ARE enforced (at the sellers expense).

It's absolutely INSANE. It's a madhouse... A MADHOUSE!!

What are they thinking? Who in their right mind would put up with such abuse?

eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards   eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards

by: F for Failure

Sun Oct 24 23:52:19 2010

When Ebay first allowed the large sellers like Buy.com and Eforcity to block questions I quit buying. Any seller who has their ASQ feature turned off is an automatic no for purchases. The red flag for poor customer service is flying high. This is a feature that high volume low priced sellers asked Ebay for but something you will never find allowed on Amazon. Amazon expects all sellers to respond to customer emails. As Ebay continues to slip maybe they should try to copy Amazon's stellar customer service.

eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards   eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards

by: Rich

Sun Oct 24 23:59:25 2010

I was going to start blocking certain countries where it seems dsrs tend to get dinged; mostly European buyers.  But Ebay customer support told me non-American buyers cannot hurt dsrs or top seller rating because their scores do not count; only a neg or neutral from them can hurt.  So which is it?  They can hurt dsr's or make no difference?  What a confusing mess

eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards   eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards

by: Lawrence A Dickerson

Mon Oct 25 00:04:11 2010

@ Bertha

"Buyers are (effectively) discouraged from asking questions before they buy... which can lead to misunderstandings, confusion, and disappointment. ~~ BLAME THE SELLER!"
I am a buyer only and I would appreciate it if you would premise your statements with proof.I have nearly 6000 total buys only and I have never been discouraged to ask questions before, during and after the sale.

All too often other readers take what every person says as gospel when so much of it is colored by the person's own experiences and lack of understanding themselves.

In my opinion each poster has the onus of publishing only what can be proven as true not some snitzlepoof of a theory.

eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards   eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards

by: feddup

Mon Oct 25 00:08:29 2010

Once in the land of Ebay
Buyers and Sellers found it fun to play
Then Ebay branded Sellers
As really mean Fellers
Now good Sellers have all gone away

eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards   eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards

by: Paul

Mon Oct 25 00:34:30 2010

@ Lawrence

Thanks for the rational comments.  This blog would be so much more useful if all those who say they have left eBay would leave the eBay threads here as well.

eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards   eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards

by: Rupert Pupkin

Mon Oct 25 01:21:05 2010

I checked into my ePrey a few minutes, saw that I had a message and my heart skipped a beat!

A question from an interested buyer that might lead to a sale?

Just the thought of a sale made me giddy.

Opened my in box with bated breath, my hand shaking and wet with sweat as I clicked the mouse.

My message...O' dear God perchance a sale in the offing!

My heart sunk like a stone, Dongahole's smirking mug telling me that, "We Have You Covered."!!

My abject disappointment was so great that I sat down and drank a whole bottle of beer.

...We Have You Covered...sigh...

eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards   eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards

by: Rick1313

Mon Oct 25 01:22:29 2010

Well, I did say goodnight on my last post on the AB blog below this one on the AB Blog page, put I have to but in a quick two cents (me be brief? Outrageous!).

The SELLER RELEASE 2 2009 (FALL 2009) was talking about how international DSR's were not going to count against USA-based sellers (more on this tomorrow...I mean later on today).

It had nothing to do with what eBay had in the works all along, give with one hand and take away with another.

eBay will just claim that, ''Hey! We did not mean our future open cases policy would be included with what we said back in 2009. 2009 was only about international DSR's and nothing else.''

Now, for real, it's....

Nite all

eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards   eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 25 01:31:50 2010

i am both a seller and a buyer.  i have thought since the begining that moving the link down was a mistake and anything ebay does that makes it difficult or complex for a buyer to contact me concerns me as a seller.  i WANT to be asked questions.

eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards   eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 25 01:34:44 2010

I just checked one of my auctions.  I don't run many of them on Ebay these days.  They have moved "ask seller a question" from the top right hand side of the page all the way to the bottom of the page and simply say "ask a question".  Will someone please tell me whether or not Ebay's goal is to make sales????  It seems they are into scads of things besides sales...such as twiddling around with the darned listing form!  You would think they'd want that to be the same at all times so that buyers don't have to search for what they need!!  Ebay is full of stupid, stupid idiots they just never learn!

eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards   eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards

by: Mister Tubbles

Mon Oct 25 01:41:01 2010

Just the latest gimmick in a long line of quasi legal policy changes aimed at forcing more sellers off the site in order to cater to China.

eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards   eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards

by: Richy
Web Site

Mon Oct 25 05:27:37 2010

"Simple" is not in the eBay lexicon. Even FREE auctions are not enough...

eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards   eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards

by: Rich

Mon Oct 25 05:32:10 2010

Why do I need to far_ around dunning auction "winners" for payment? eBay owns the payment service. Amazon just PAYS you. I have other stuff to do but dun buyers for money.

eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards   eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards

by: NO questions, Please.

Mon Oct 25 06:05:57 2010

When we were selling on ebay ( we quit almost a year ago) we did NOT want bad buyers that ask too many questions. If someone is asking questions that can be answered in the listing or is in the seller's option "common sense" BLOCK that person. Too many questions = a buyer that will never be satisfied. and THAT is what ebay is striving for. I would aslo put this in every answer - you can find more selections at Bonanzle.com or Alibris.com or Etsy.com (depending the item they ask questioning) but now with corrupt ebay censoring emails I doubt those email will get thru unfiltered.

eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards   eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards

by: anon1

Mon Oct 25 06:50:42 2010

More importantly, eBay has a glitch or a block that is not allowing my replies to questions go through.  When that happens, it says something about my violating their policies.  And there is nothing in my reply except information that the buyer requested.  Nothing indicating my web sites, nothing indicating my email address.  Nothing except what the buyer requested - a simple answer to a simple question.

eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards   eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards

by: ZZTopshlf

Mon Oct 25 09:54:43 2010

Too many sellers are managing to run the gauntlet of hoops that Ebay has setup to ensure that only a certain percentage of sellers qualify for the TRS garbage.

They're now trying to rig the system so that they can get down to their ''target'' levels.

This is how pathetic this company has become. Instead of trying to figure out ways to drive more traffic and buyers to the site, they're working on squeezing folks for every cent like this.

How the hell does Donahoe and his toads and lackeys still have a job? They have totally destroyed Ebay. I hope someone, someday writes a book about this that shames these folks for the rest of their lives.

eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards   eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards

by: RicRoe

Mon Oct 25 10:35:44 2010

eBay's recent changes to systems and policies as well as staffing and payroll cutbacks illustrate the point that eBay management does not value the time of their buyers or sellers.

Concealing the ASQ link at the bottom of the page and making buyers hunt for it is one example.

Changing from displaying the actual method of shipment a seller is offering on their listing to some generic misleading terms to force buyers to click on the shipping tab is another example.

Reducing support staff so that buyers and sellers must endure intolerable waiting times to speak with Live Help agents is a third example.

eBay wonders why their USA marketplace fails to grow.  They could find the answer in the executive cubicles in San Jose.

Poor policy, unintelligent feature design, and general lack of consideration for buyers and sellers are trademarks of incompetent management led by a CEO who was in over his head from Day One.

Apparently, it will take the complete collapse of eBay's marketplace before the Board of Directors will wake up to the fact that current management is the driving force behind the lack of growth in the US.

eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards   eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards

by: Rick1313

Mon Oct 25 11:29:50 2010

To continue from my above post...

I do not know if USA-based sellers are aware of how much harder it is to maintain PS/TRS status when you are NOT a USA-based seller selling from the eBay.com (USA-based eBay site).

I am a Canadian-based seller who strictly sells off of the eBay.com site (it is where my store and items were/are created).

eBay,inc. has my account registered on eBay.ca (the Canada Site).

I have eBay,inc. contradicting themselves when it comes to evaluating my performance via their PS/TRS programs.

In joining the Power Seller Program (which you need to have if you want the TRS program), it is the PS program on eBay.ca that is in effect for my account, not the eBay.com PS program.

The Canadian eBay PS program says that ALL DSR's from ALL buyer's, no matter where they are situated, will count in your DSR calculations.

So, no matter where I make a sale (Canada, USA, India, etc.) the DSR's left by those buyers COUNT in eBay,inc.'s PS evaluation of my account. However....

When it comes to evaluating my TRS performance status, eBay,inc. treats me like I am a USA-based seller (domestic) and only counts the DSR's left by USA-based buyers (even though they are registered as foreign sales on my account and are not domestic sales).

I can lose PS (which would then have me losing TRS) because of foreign-based DSR's (this includes USA-based buyers).

The problem is that eBay,inc. treats sellers, who sell on the eBay.com site, as being a USA-based seller (domestic).

There are very little exceptions that eBay,inc. ''permits'' to NOT have foreign based sellers penalized for using the eBay.com site.

As to the reason why I chose to sell on eBay.com and not eBay.ca.

Simple. It is the biggest marketplace, by far, of any eBay site.

With what I deal in, most of my sells are to USA-based buyers.

eBay,inc. allows buyers to limit their search to any one eBay site if they so choose.

So USA-based (and foreign-based) buyers who limit their searches to eBay.com will NOT see my items if they are listed on eBay.ca.

Now, if you were in my shoes, which eBay site would you pick to sell your wares when starting up a business on eBay?

eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards   eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards

by: Rick1313

Mon Oct 25 11:35:51 2010

AB viewers should note poster RicRoe and Rick1313 are not the same person.

It is by coincidence that our post followed each other.

My (Rick1313) post above was an extension of the post I left last night.

It should not be interpreted as a continuation of RicRoe's post (which, in itself, is a mighty fine post at that).

eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards   eBay Changes Ask-Seller Feature, Seller Concerns over Standards

by: Wee Willie Winkie

Mon Oct 25 12:18:34 2010

Mr. Donahoe has done an outstanding job rolling out the badly needed New eBay!

Sellers must keep their noses to the old grindstone and do everything perfectly before I will even think about leaving them a positive feedback.

I have started leaving neutral feedback for sellers who do not include a packing list with my orders and a BIG RED DOUGHNUT for those lazy bones who do it a second time!

These griping sellers need to shape up or ship out as its a brand new day on eBay!

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