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Wed Mar 24 2010 23:28:12

eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories

By: Ina Steiner

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As users wait for major changes to roll out to the eBay site next week, developers are already gearing up for the next round of changes that eBay has yet to announce to sellers. As I reported in October, eBay is expanding the Item Condition attributes. (See this Newsflash article for a chart of attributes that were under consideration at the time.)

Item specifics, such as Condition, are important, since buyers who narrow their search results to look for new items, for example, won't find them if the seller has not indicated the Item Condition when listing the product.

eBay's new Item Condition values for most categories will be as follows:
  • New
  • New other (see details)
  • Manufacturer refurbished
  • Seller refurbished
  • Used
  • For parts or not working
eBay believes that splitting the condition "Refurbished" into "Manufacturer refurbished" and "Seller refurbished" would better reflect the conditions and help set buyers expectations about the items that they are purchasing. The changes will roll out to all applicable categories on eBay.com in early May.

In a move that will likely be far more controversial, I'm hearing that eBay will also impose shipping caps in additional categories. In certain media categories, sellers are currently required to specify at least one shipping cost less than or equal to a maximum shipping cost, including handling and required insurance. eBay will impose caps in additional categories where it feels there is a problem with excessive shipping charges.

(You can see how sticky eBay policy changes can be by reading this AuctionBytes Blog post about shipping caps from last year.)

I'll be blogging more about the changes that are coming before the official April 26th announcement.




Comments (32) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories   eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories

by: Jim This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 24 23:39:23 2010

Some of this is good on the surface, but it seems to be more consultant driven than market driven.  

I may look at ingredients as required by federal law, but few other shoppers do.  The looking complicates shopping for both the buyer and anyone moving around them.  All these changes make shopping more complicated to the buyer.  More choices and so on.  

IMHO a better way would be to have or impose returns for any reason as we effectively have and simply list the number of returns instead of the DSRs.  Someone seeing a positive rating of 100% but a 10% return rate should pause before buying.  

eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories   eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories

by: Troglodyte
Web Site

Thu Mar 25 00:19:16 2010

Before making pronouncements that a 10% return rate is a red flag foer potential buyers, consider the growing number of buyers who can't measure properly, can't read properly, and buy things to wear/use once and return.

This is especially prevalent in the jewelry and name brand apparel and accessory categories, and there is nothing a seller can do to prevent it.

My return rate quadrupled since ebay gave buyers all the weapons. The quality of my merchandise is the same or better than it used to be, and I consistently receive the highest customer service ratings and comments.

So, Jim, please don't make blanket statements that simply are not true across the board.

eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories   eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories

by: Lawrence A Dickerson

Thu Mar 25 00:55:57 2010

I would appreciate eBay making it mandatory to offer media mail on all items eligible.That would save us buyers  a great deal of money and the argument of it taking so long to deliver is passe'.

I receive my items via media mail in almost as quick a time as  flat rate parcel.Caps on shipping  items is a long needed change.If I can  compute the actual USPS charges then so can eBay with minimal data input.

Excessive S&H charges is harming  you sellers who try to be  responsible business people.It drives us away to shop elsewhere.I think we all have an obligation to  do some checks and report those violators who profit handsomely on those S&H fees that are far and above a  respectable charge.

We all suffer when unscrupulous sellers attempt to circumvent the fees.I have been taking sellers to task and they are recapitulating because they know they were caught with their pants down in church.

eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories   eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories

by: Another Wronged Seller This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 25 02:07:06 2010

@jim

A ratio of returns to total sales wouldn't tell the whole story. It wouldn't necessarily reflect buyer returns due to condition only. Buyers buying clothes with multiple sizes, colors, etc.. ANYTHING that is size or color dependent could be returned but that wouldn't have anything to do with condition.

Buyers have returned items because the shirt didn't match their pants or the XL top still wasn't big enough. I have also had customers email me outraged that they received a ''used'' item. Despite the fact that my listing said ''used'' multiple times in the listing including the title. So many buyers don't even bother to read listings and than want to return items because of it.

While I agree that all these details complicate the buying experience, they are still a necessary component in a marketplace that offers products in so many conditions.

Having the additional condition ratings are only a good thing if buyers bother to read them and ebay doesn't penalize sellers for returns that have nothing to do with condition.

eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories   eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories

by: william

Thu Mar 25 02:31:51 2010

I personaly would like to see s & h cap for certain items, and item condition for many other items and not to allow mix conditions. Example: 3 used and 2 like new and 1 new, this is really annoying, it is apain to have send an email to the seller, to ask What Is What?

eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories   eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories

by: Jim This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 25 02:32:38 2010

Another Wronged Seller

I sell used computer surplus, imagine my returns on that where folks don't read the details.  I specify condition and functionality on the first 2 lines of my ad.  I've had returns on 'as is' items because it did not work and the buyer could not fix it when the ad said that it would not power on or had not been powered on and was intended for parts or repair.      

I am in a quandary deciding just how much verbiage is needed and how much causes the eyes to glaze over and focus on the price.  

IMHO, the folks at eBay may be trying to solve a problem that is like peace in the Middle East-unsolvable.  If a customer gets a great deal they are happy.  If not they are unhappy, regardless of the warnings and verbiage.   The more verbiage, the less is read.  

eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories   eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories

by: Jim This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 25 02:37:27 2010

william

Ebay rules is that new is new in the unopened box.

I use 'open box' and 'unused' to described items that are unused but the box is opened.  

I use 'less then normal wear and tear' and 'much less than normal wear and tear' instead of 'new condition or nearly new condition'

eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories   eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories

by: another side of the coin

Thu Mar 25 02:37:49 2010

Putting the word ''Used'' for condition degrades genuine antiques and collectibles IMO. It just really bothers me. What sounds better used clothing or vintage clothing? antique chippendale table or a used table? Of course, Donahoe doesn't want used anything on eBay. I can see problems also with seller refurbished. I never heard it put that way before. Reminds me of domestic engineer or flight attendant. Wet hair, shampoo and rinse, repeat. Who out their doesn't know that antiques are used?

Yes, lets give the buyers more things to ponder to make even fewer sales.

eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories   eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories

by: zeak

Thu Mar 25 07:14:10 2010

@Lawrence

passe? get over yourself. looks like you solved what you perceive as a problem all by yourself. when ebay started using the dsr system media mail went out the window i wont take a chance that someone will complain on my dsrs that it was too slow for delivery. people like you complained so ebay changed it and we had to react. now you want them to demand that sellers give you an opportunity to send the slowest way possible. i think ebay should change so buyers have to pay the second they make a purchase. i think sellers should have an opportunity to leave truthfull feedback and i think buyers should have their own dsr rankings. i also think dsr shouldnt be hidden with annonimity you leave them we should be able to see what YOU left. then us sellers can determine who we want to sell to.

eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories   eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories

by: We won't do it

Thu Mar 25 07:29:16 2010

Corrupt ebay change change all the rules they want, and spew their hate about their sellers - but the few items we have left on criminal site eBay state Shipping & handling is NOT just what the postal service may charge. We add on additional costs as we see fit. A Buyer rarely reads the entire listing anyways. We are slowly leaving ebay for normal selling/buying sites ie Bonanzle, Biblio, RubyLane etc

eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories   eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories

by: old timer

Thu Mar 25 08:03:51 2010

Regarding shipping caps being the answer to buyer's dilemma.

I am confused as to why some buyers feel the caps would suddenly make their shopping so much easier.  Right now buyers (at least I do when I am wearing my buyer hat) can easily see what the cost for an item would be including S&H and use that to compare the total cost/value between different sellers.

Yes, there are obviously some sellers who greatly inflate their S&H and I avoid them pretty quickly.  And there are some who don't specify shipping up front which is a red flag in itself.  But I think it's pretty easy to spot those when I am shopping.  I find it easier than when trying to compare costs between sellers with separate websites.

I guess my main concern about eBay imposed shipping caps is that it is just another way that eBay management sticks its fingers into honest sellers' businesses with little real benefit to the seller or the buyer.  The more complicated it becomes to sell on eBay (and buy on eBay as well), the more sellers are going to leave for alternate venues which generally drives down selection.  And frankly, history doesn't give a lot of support that eBay management makes the best decisions that helps either buyers or sellers.  If anything, eBay has become the most iron-fisted controlled "just a venue" in history.  eBay wants all of the control (and profit) on their platform as a 100% retailer (like Sears, WalMart, etc), but without the risk/cost/headaches of actually owning the inventory.

Maybe I give my customers too much credit for being intelligent shoppers who can look at the various offerings and make a rational decision.  Thankfully my experience on eBay has been with a great number of intelligent customers so I count myself lucky or blessed in that regard.

eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories   eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories

by: nancy

Thu Mar 25 08:31:50 2010

@ Jim:

There are ALREADY returns for any reason. They require that you take pay-pal, and they can return an item becuase the color didn;t go with their kitchen. If you tell them no, they will simply do an ISNAD and then you you have to take it back.

As for returns?

I once had a lady try to return a waterslide at the end of August after 89 days (yeah SURE once it cools off, you don't need it anymore) Claiming it was unused, because... (I want everyone to see this)

HER FOUR YEAR OLD WOULDN'T MAKE DOODY IN THE REGULAR TOILET.

YES, I still have that e-mail. I show it to any and all that insist they can make a fortune with no effort whatsoever selling on eBay.

Just a week ago I had a person ask if they can still return from Dec. 8th, because "my husband got me the wrong thing for Christmas"

No I am not making this up.

eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories   eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories

by: Jim This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 25 09:37:24 2010

@nancy

I've been accused of sending out doody motherboards, but never have I had a return with doody in the motherboard.  So you have me there.  

I did get bad feedback because the buyer lost the item after delivery.  

The current imposition of snad for everything, means returns for pretty much any reason for up to 45 days.  The folks that threaten snad to me are told that they can wait 2 weeks for the eBay or PayPal process to work its way or send it back and get their refund the day I have it in my hands.  This is now in on my listings and in a seller information page on PayPal that displays when someone wants to file a complaint because some folks don't want to bother with asking me first figuring that PayPal is an automatic immediate refund.  May be nearly automatic, I've won Item not delivered cases before with tracking info, but not immediate(at least for me).

One buyer threaten SNAD before it was shipped.  I told them I did not want them for a buyer and threaten to cancel the transaction.  They said they had a bad experience.  I blocked them as a buyer but shipped.  

eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories   eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories

by: Kiandre

Thu Mar 25 10:21:34 2010

The thing that constantly amazes me is that on my own selling venue (my website) as opposed to ebay - I RARELY have any single problem with my buyers.
No one complains about the quality of my product - shipping time - shipping charges - zip - zero - nada. Ebay is it's own worst enemy. They have cultivate all their own problems. I sell the exact same product and have done so for over 10 years yet my ebay buyers habitually can't read or comprehend the english language. My website buyers come back formore every time.  How is that???

eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories   eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories

by: Jim This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 25 11:32:18 2010

Not only can the eBay buyers not read English, but they will blame the seller for it.  

eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories   eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories

by: Hardrock Rules

Thu Mar 25 12:13:55 2010

@JIM   / Mandatory Returns for any reason ? Let me see if I got this right about what you said above. I am 5 star Top Rated Seller, I buy item wholesale for $25, sell it for just enough to clear $5 for me before taxes to get the sale.

By selling it so low at almost cost I get the $5.00 and am selling it cheaper then a local store would as they sell it for $95 - Bit Mandatory Return for any reason ? Meaning I give the low price of the century just to make $5 but if the buyer gets PMS or uses it return it and gobble up my $5 ? - The day eBay imposes that control on me saying if a return is acceptable, I am put of there forever ! - We are not getting retail prices DONAHOE !

You want sellers making NOTHING after your fee's, Postal Fees, Pay Pal fee's to have a Wal-Mart Return Policy, I am Top Rated ! I detail item, explain BOLDLY all sales permanent, item is as described ! I will NOT allow myself to be tortured by buyers anymore if you give them that power of return for any reason they want, when my items ARE described accurate, and NO RETURNS is CLEARLY explained ! Please someone tell me eBay won't put the final nail in my selling coffin, I am Top Rated also !

eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories   eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories

by: USE eBay

Thu Mar 25 13:08:55 2010

So today is seller vs. buyer day on Auctionbytes.  I sell very breakable items.  First they are wrapped in small bubble wrap, then large bubble wrap, then with styrofoam pellets usually in a new box.  My packing costs are high and with the fall of selling prices cannot be squeezed out of the items listing price.  I insure everything over $20.00 that I send out.  Insurance is expensive -- over $50 is now $2 something.  Buyers no longer have to pay for insurance, but if it breaks its the sellers fault.  We're probably up to $4.00 above shipping costs.  I am not making a profit on it.

As for media mail, Dickenson, you're wrong again.  Only sellers like Media Mail as it is cheaper than the next highest, Parcel Post.  I've had things take 2 weeks to get to me from the left coast.  My only negative feedback was from someone who didn't get their item quickly enough.  Contrary to the advice to many on a previous auctionsbyte blog, I don't ship magazines media mail as it is illegal to do so because they have advertising.  I do think that USPS should allow magazines 5 years or older to ship media mail legally.  By then, most ads are out of date.  I now ship Priority Flat Rate for $4.75 and that's under the $5.00 cap on magazines.  

I just hope eBay is fair to its sellers that deal in breakables.  I have no reason except their past record with sellers to think that they won't take that into account.

eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories   eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories

by: angryjim

Thu Mar 25 13:15:55 2010

"Not only can the eBay buyers not read English, but they will blame the seller for it."

Even more do not understand that by purchasing an item on ebay is entering into a binding contract to pay for an item.

eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories   eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories

by: RicRoe This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 25 16:45:57 2010

Of course eBay wants to place shipping caps on additional categories.

This follows their need to micro manage sellers under the guise of protecting buyers...the very same buyers that do not read descriptions fully and then demand a return be accepted because they failed to read the description.



eBay desperately needs to generate higher revenue off fewer transactions.

Prices have been falling because eBay has alienated so many buyers, search is a mess (before stores in core) and eBay is desperate to generate sales.

eBay fully realizes that imposing shipping caps will push more sellers to list with free shipping in order to circumvent the cap.

Prices will rise and more buyers will abandon eBay for other marketplaces. eBay does not care because they will be achieving their goal, higher revenue from fewer transactions.

That they will alienate more buyers and more sellers in inconsequential to eBay management.

Bottom line.... The move to impose more shipping caps is being done fully and completely to profit eBay. That it might in some rare instances benefit an occasional buyer down the line is the spin designed to conceal and defend the real intent.







eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories   eBay to Impose Shipping Caps, Item Condition in More Categories

by: MikeM

Thu Mar 25 17:53:38 2010

I am SO sick of eBay buyers crying about shipping and handling charges.  Don't you people ''get'' that there is no such thing as shipping and handling charges?!?!  When you buy something online, you know that you will have to pay to have that item shipped to you.  Even sellers who offer ''free'' shipping still have to charge you for the very real cost of getting the product to you (and those same buyers who fall for the ''free'' shipping scam are the same ones who complain when those sellers charge a restock fee to offset their cost for shipping the item).

What's more, inflated shipping charges are simply a way of advertising a lower price. If you advertise on any comparison shopping site (like Google Base), the lowest price typically wins. If you offer free shipping, however, your sales price will be higher than your competitors.

When you buy an item online, you have 1 price and 1 price ONLY that matters - the total. eBay is only picking on people charging ''high'' shipping because they want the money. It has nothing at all to do with benefiting the buyer.  eBay buyers are just such pompous ignoramuses that they fall for this nonsense. Sellers should be allowed to charge whatever they want.  Let the buyer decide. eBay just sees a perfect opportunity to make more money and the buyers are dumb enough to bite.

And for those apologists out there shaking your head, let's look at a brick 'n mortar industry guilty of a scam very similar to inflated shipping & handling fees: the airlines!  Those scumbags advertise a ridiculously low fare, then the fine print tacks on a host of additional fees - not the least of which are charges for every piece of baggage (I'm only aware of two airlines not (yet) charging for the first checked bag).  But do we hear anyone boycotting the airlines???

Personally, the best thing we ever did was close our online business. eBay has completely destroyed the online market and their continuous raising of fees and increasing meddling in the businesses of sellers is a recipe for long-term disaster. Sellers might as well sign employment contracts with eBay and get it over with.  For being a ''venue'', they are micromanagers of the highest caliber.

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