|Wed Feb 29 2012 11:23:14|
Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes
By: Julia Wilkinson
Sellers are trying to wrap their brains around eBay's latest round of changes, as outlined in the Spring Seller Update 2012. Judging from the volume and content of the postings I've seen, mainly on the special eBay Spring Seller Update Discussion Board, the biggest concerns are about the 1-day shipping requirement to get an automatic 5-star DSR (Detailed Seller Rating); the new communication (or, rather, non-communication) rules; and the 14-day minimum return policy turning into a free rental period for buyers who abuse this policy.
In terms of number of postings, the 1-day shipping turnaround time thread got the most views, with about 4500 at this writing. Sellers are concerned about being able to make that tight turnaround time. One seller was confused as to whether the 1-day handling had to be "on ALL items to qualify for Top Rated Seller status, or are you saying that the 20% discount will only apply to specific listings that sell with a 1 day handling time. If it is on all, we can't do it with our current model, but we could do it on most items. This needs to be clarified."
Another was more worried about the extended return time, writing, "Wow... this really is disheartening. I agree with all the sellers who have worked so hard to reach and maintain Top Rated Seller (TRS) status. The reason I don't offer returns now is because buyers have TRULY damaged my items, then returned them in an inappropriate package. The buyer got all their money back, but I had to throw away the now-damaged merchandise. Seller always loses."
One seller was more sanguine, saying that sellers might still get a 5-star DSR from a buyer even if they didn't offer 1-day shipping, but it just wouldn't be automatic. But most didn't like the fact that the 1-day option was now a requirement for TRS status and its accompanying 20% discount.
A lot of other concerns were about buyers who abused the 14-day minimum return period, in effect "renting" clothing, for example...and one seller who sold software was concerned it would just be copied and then returned. An eBay employee who identified herself as "Wendy" replied that "No, you don't have to provide a refund if you suspect buyer abuse...If you suspect a buyer is abusing the return process, contact the buyer first through My Messages (in order to keep a reviewable record of the interaction) and attempt to resolve the issue." She said if the seller was then unable to resolve it, to report the buyer to eBay via the ”Report a buyer” link located next to each return transaction, "listed on the new Returns page in My eBay > Selling, or available during the return flow, which will initiate a report through our Seller Reporting Hub."
My personal feeling is the 1-day turnaround is going to be difficult to do, and make selling on eBay that much harder. I will feel the pressure to pack and ship everything that sold first thing every morning, and have the packages out waiting for my postal carrier before it gets too late in the morning. Will it make me cut down on my eBay selling? I don't know yet, but I do think I'll be more careful about listing multiple items on one day. For sellers who sell a high volume of merchandise and have limited packaging staff, they may just have to take the hit and forego the automatic 5-star on shipping and TRS discount.
As far as limiting seller and buyer communication (the 5-star "communication" rating would be automatic if "there is no communication between you and the buyer," among other criteria); many sellers are pointing out that buyers initiate communication with them via eBay's system frequently for various reasons. One pointed out sellers could communicate via regular email address (such as after PayPal sends its automatic notice with the buyer email upon payment). But, sellers still would feel compelled to reply to buyer-initiated contact via eBay messaging.
What's your take on the eBay Spring Seller Update changes? Are those your top issues with the new rules, or do you have different concerns? Or, are you happy about some of the changes, or just not very concerned about them? Post a comment here!