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Wed Feb 29 2012 11:23:14

Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes

By: Julia Wilkinson

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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!




Comments (29) | Permalink

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Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes   Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes

This user has validated their user name. by: Nan
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Wed Feb 29 14:19:22 2012

There is one change I am happy with.

Shipping services > Estimated Delivery time.
They are going to stop lumping domestic First-Class in with Priority and calling them both Expedited.

A small bone, but a bone nonetheless.

Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes   Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes

This user has validated their user name. by: basset

Wed Feb 29 15:06:24 2012

@Nan
Shipping services > Estimated Delivery time.
They are going to stop lumping domestic First-Class in with Priority and calling them both Expedited.

I'm actually curious about their intent behind that. Quite a few years ago I worked for an office in the Midwest. My boss' theory was that First Class and Priority delivered in the same amount of time in at least the 48 states. We kept track of both types mail & based on delivery time, it was a wash - They either delivered in the exact same amount of time, or a day apart with neither method taking a definite  lead.

Recently our local TV station in Florida did a story on the same thing & they came up with the same results. USPS was cagey about it when they tried to interview them.

I send mostly First Class for most items & Priority on heavier items. In tracking, I have noticed no difference between the 2 methods on the time it takes to deliver. The same goes for the different areas I have lived in the USA. Do any of you have a different experience with the 2 methods?

I may be missing the point of the change, but now that they are going to call First Class "standard" is eBay in the future going to start pushing Priority by dangling a carrot for sellers who choose an "expedited" method? It would seemingly financially benefit USPS, give eBay another control mechanism over the sellers (choose an "expedited" shipping method & we'll maybe give you a TRS discount), yet the buyers would still receive the package in the same amount of time as always?  

Could be I'm just getting paranoid. But I'm told by USPS that the closure of our local distribution center is going to make BOTH Priority & First Class about 1-2 days longer to deliver.

Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes   Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes

by: Another Coin This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 29 16:21:46 2012

USPS is or will be sending first class mail to a separate distribution center so most first class mail will take longer. At least eBay is finally making this change. I am sure some first class mail will arrive at the same time as priority but now it won't be consistent. Also notice the big "F" when printing labels.

Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes   Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes

This user has validated their user name. by: basset

Wed Feb 29 16:39:54 2012

@Coin

That is good info to know - I tried sending everything Priority at one point, & my buyers complained (rightly so) that most items could be sent first class for less money but arrive in the same amount of time.

We'll have to see how these USPS closures all shake out. Apparently, everything is in a state of flux around here, according to my USPS delivery person.  

Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes   Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes

by: Susan Averello This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Feb 29 18:10:50 2012

Not an ebay seller so this is from an outsider. Getting a kudos for NOT communicating with a buyer.
To me that is just counter-intuitive. I'm just used to making sure I'm giving good service and communicating with buyers.  

Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes   Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes

This user has validated their user name. by: basset

Wed Feb 29 20:22:19 2012

If you refer back to my first post under this Topic earlier today -

Toward the bottom of my post I wondered if eBay was considering having sellers be required to choose an "expedited" shipping method to earn whatever carrot they were offering. Now, tonight at the Live Blog that is covered on the Eccommerce Blog is this notation:

"Kristina Klausen noted that they had considered requiring sellers offer an expedited shipping offer, but decided not to."

Well, folks - we now know what the future holds. They just had to save something for next year - or this Fall.

Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes   Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes

This user has validated their user name. by: basset

Wed Feb 29 20:34:57 2012

BTW, who (besides the post office) stands to make more money on more expensive ''expedited'' shipping that sellers may be required to offer if eBay commands. hmmmmm......

Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes   Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes

by: blaumann This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 1 00:22:08 2012

Ebay is looking to eliminate as many discounts as possible. As ebay melts down, Donohoe heeds to make money any desperate way he can.  

Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes   Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes

by: TheCatsPersonalServant This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 1 01:35:53 2012

Actually, eBay's big holiday seller promotion was that if you offered 1-day shipping and expedited as your first option (even if it was free shipping) you got an additional 20% off fees for those items.  So they already did their trial run of this.  It worked out great for me since I only ship 1st Class or Priority, but next time they pull this and 1st Class is no longer ''expedited'', I'll be out the discount.  

@ Basset
Don't forget that eBay itself gets a terrific shipping discount, but only passes on the discount to certain sellers (TRSs & Platinum).  Naturally, they would prefer you be forced to print the more expensive shipping through them.

BTW,  I was just wondering if anyone had done any serious research into whether eBay's destuctive head, John Donahoe, is related to USPS's destructive Post Master General, Patrick Donahoe?  I've been wondering this for quite some time now.  I mean, if you're following this stuff, you can't help but wonder.

Between the sweeheart deals USPS has set up exclusively for Asia's eBay sellers (China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, etc) and the counter-intuitive ''reforms'' going on at USPS that will make them much LESS competitive with big corporate shipping firms (and add significantly to unemployment) while seeking private Investment Bank funds to ''save'' USPS (read stealthily take it over), it just REEKS of the same, or very closely related, hands.

Any thoughts?

Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes   Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Thu Mar 1 01:49:55 2012

@basset... "They are going to stop lumping domestic First-Class in with Priority and calling them both Expedited."   "I'm actually curious about their intent behind that. "

After eBay implemented the estimated delivery time display, I inquired why they had lumped First Class and Priority mail together and called them expedited.

The answer I got was that eBay was contractually bound to display the shipping times and terminology as utilized by USPS.

Now, with the Postal Service closing facilities and slowing the delivery time of First Class Mail by a day, FCM no longer qualifies as Expedited by USPS standards.

Again, eBay is contractually bound to utilize USPS standards and terminology, so the bottom line is that eBay is really doing nothing to help sellers, they are merely following the terms of their contractual obligations with the Postal Service.

In their announcement, eBay is making the change sound as if they are listening to sellers. The fact remains they are only making this change because of their contractual obligations, not in response to seller requests.

eBay management chooses to make it sound as if this is their idea when in fact their hand is forced into changing the terminology. Do not be fooled by their attempts to make it sound as though this change was their idea.
 

Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes   Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes

by: Another Coin This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 1 01:55:05 2012

@Cat
I was wondering the same thing. I read months ago that Patrick Donahoe was listed as one of the highest paid CEOs too.

Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes   Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes

by: Another Coin This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 1 02:02:41 2012

Scratch CEO, still outrageous compensation I recall.  

Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes   Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes

by: OG This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 1 02:19:07 2012

Not sure why I have read around here that any sellers would have a problem with eBay using USPS First Class Mail as an "expedited" service. Taking USPS First Class Mail off the expedited shipping list is certainly not a "bone" being thrown to sellers, but it may be cleverly disguised as one. I ship about 200 domestic items a month, about half through USPS First Class and about half USPS Priority for the past 8-10 years. There is absolutely no difference in the delivery times, even to the farthest continental destinations. I asked the local Postmaster yesterday, and as of this moment no agreement has been reached with congress to slow the rate of First Class mail. eBay's new policy forces sellers who want to continue to receive a 20% discount to use a higher shipping cost service, directly increasing eBays per transaction bottom line. To make the taste even more bitter, they are rolled out under the guise of "protecting your DSRs" as according to eBay buyers are demanding "faster shipping". Priority Mail and First Class Mail both occasionally take an extra day or so, in 99% of cases each service is delivered in exactly the same amount of time. Believe me, my entire business depends on it and I have been selling on eBay for about 8 years now.

I would also like to comment that I believe that many of the issues that are affecting peoples business by the new eBay changes are being overlooked by the overwhelming amount of people posting on the eBay forum who have not read the policies thoroughly. As also reflected in today's Town Hall radio session, many of the callers they chose to speak with were simply "confused" about the details of the new polices. Each caller who identified their own personal business model was answered with surprise and concern, giving the impression that eBay had truly not even thought about certain types of sellers losing out by these policies. What a farce! The fact is that successful business models take alot of planning, careful execution and LOTS of work. The fact that these polices can put plenty of people in the red means nothing to this gigantic corporate monster. The bottom line for eBay has to go up every year, and these DRASTIC changes unaccountably force people to suddenly have business models that don't work anymore. Each year these carefully implemented changes are focused on bringing in buyers and taking in more profit, not keeping existing sellers happy. Who cares if the companies set up through eBay that have been successful for years based on eBays previous standards go under because of sudden policy changes? Not eBay! Sellers will leave, more sellers will arrive. There is no loyalty, no concern for the partnerships that have developed over the years. eBay started taking profits out of SHIPPING charges! Does it even get any more ludicrous? Yes it does! Force people to use the most expensive shipping methods or lose fee discounts! Limit fee discounts to individual items that meet new guidelines! Implement an arbitrary number (90%) of all items to be shipped within 1 day to be eligible for fee discounts at all! It is such a shame that eBay is not regulated because these changes that occur year after year are causing people, including myself, to lose what they have worked so hard over the years to achieve and earn.

Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes   Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes

by: Danielle This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 1 05:48:43 2012

As a Canadian Seller, the new shipping shenanigans do not really affect me. BUT, as a Canadian Buyer, the switch to (soon to be imposition, I can see it coming!) Priority shipping, allegedly "suggested" to minimize delivery time, will affect the way I buy from US Sellers.
I already eliminated Sellers who offer Priority shipping only. It is extremely expensive ( or made more expensive by the Sellers who have to include other eBay fees in the shipping cost).
I will no longer buy a 20$ item which would qualify for and cost $7 in First Class mail, for a staggering Priority price of $30 or up. It would not make sense.
Maybe I misunderstood the applicability of this new directive...but think about it.
EBay calculates FVF on shipping already. Now, with this new Priority imposition (which costs way more), they say it is for faster delivery, in fact it is meant to fill their pockets.

Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes   Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes

This user has validated their user name. by: basset

Thu Mar 1 07:57:39 2012

@Ric

''''@basset... ''They are going to stop lumping domestic First-Class in with Priority and calling them both Expedited.'' '' that is not my statement, but that of a different poster before mine I was responding to. Sorry, I did not close the quotation marks properly. My fault.

''I'm actually curious about their intent behind that. ''  That IS me. Now that that is straight....


Aside from the profitability of a potential future requirement of ''expedited'' shipping for eBay & USPS, I believe there is a side order of profit in the ''14 day refund'' carrot one must snatch to be eligible for the 20% TRS discount. More shipping involved here, no matter what method used and who has to pay, USPS will profit from these returns.

I have a ''no refunds'' policy - and have not thought about this - As a buyer, I know some sellers provide a paid shipping label to return the item if there is something wrong with it. Do those sellers have to pay the eBay fee on shipping for those return labels?  If so, Ouch!!!

Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes   Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes

by: frustrated This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 1 08:15:27 2012

Ok, the REALITY of this announcement is

Most sellers are going to promise 1 day handling on 99% of their items, to keep their discounts.

And many won't be ABLE to do it. Unless you have employees, or help from your kids, husband, whomever, you dare not:

GET SICK
HAVE A SNOWSTORM
HAVE CAR TROUBLE
TAKE EVEN A 1/2 DAY VACATION

I mean, come ON, it's idiotic to expect any seller working alone to perform to those standards.

So one of two things will happen.

You will lose your discount anyway thanks to the hundreds of 1 and 2 DSRs, or you'll do so poorly, you have to leave ebay. Or you' desperately try to hire help, and give away 50% of your profits, and still go out of business.

Which is probably the idea for the execs over there.

It's one more way they are trying to get rid of small sellers.

They couldn't care less if it's your only source of income. They don't care of you are living on SS or disability. They don't care if you make all your items by hand, and it takes 2-3 days AFTER the sale.

The only thing they care about is not having to answer the phones, or do any ACTUAL WORK.

Oh yeah, and they care about the stockholders.

YOU?

You could move into a homeless shelter, they couldn't care less.


They are telling you if yor work alone, you better not get sick or take even ONE day off. If you don't lose your discount, you'll probably die from exhaustion anyhow.

As long as the mom and pops leave, ebay couldn't care less. As long as it's not any extra work for them.

Why should they have to do any work, they only make BILLIONS every quarter? You want them to WASTE 8 bucks an hour on CSRS???

Are you nuts?

Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes   Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes

by: fadedglitter This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Mar 1 09:45:17 2012

woke up this morning to find 2 emails from ebay stating that ALL my listings had been removed due to the new seller requirements policy! i called ebay csr and they told me i could no longer sell on ebay but could buy on ebay! after 7 years and over 8300 positive feedback,this is what it has come to.im glad to be gone because its just a matter of time before most small sellers will get impossible to remove low dsrs for some idiotic reason,so im just going to find another place to sell qualityvintagecostumejewelry.com

Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes   Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 1 12:22:09 2012

FADEDGLITTER--

I would like to have some more info on your "removal" from ebay due to "New Seller Requirements" that are not --as far as we know --inplace yet?

And you took the word of ONE ebay CSR for the destruction of your BUSINESS?

For me it usually takes at LEAST 5 or 6 phone calls and as many if not more people spoken to to even resolve the SIMPLEST issues and ebay CSR's are notorious for NOT knowing the ebay policies and NOT knowing what is the companies OWN RULES and NOT CARING one way or the other.

I would heartily suggest that you RUN do NOT walk do NOT collect $200 do NOT pass GO and call ebay BACK right away and not STOP until you get your seller account re-instated---even if you CHOOSE not to use it.

Then I would also RUN to your PreyPal account and DRAIN every last penny OUT before ebay can put a "hold" on it to "cover" for any "outstanding" transactions they might decide you need to refund.  

I would also make sure you "disconnect" any credt cards and or bank accounts you have tied to your PreyPal account at once.  

This seems a little---convenient?--to me.

Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes   Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes

by: BetterThingsToDo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 1 15:31:34 2012

As one of those first class mail sellers. I solved the problem. My inexpensive under 3.00 items go first class mail. As a TRS I get 20% back on FVF. At 10% the fee is 30 cents and the refund is a whole .06 cents. All I did was raise my prices another 10 cents.

Fleecebay wants to pay their games then let the games begin. I sell thousands of under 3.00 items each month and I would think with a 10 cent per item raise I'm going to make more money than the pissie 20% that you have to walk on egg shells for.

So now Fleecebay can take that stupid TRS thingie and stuff it where the sun don't shine and if Donut hole doesn't know where that is I'm more than willing to tell him.

So now Fleecebay its your move AGAIN.

Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes   Sellers React to eBay Spring Changes

This user has validated their user name. by: WOODJUNGLE! ON EBAY

Thu Mar 1 21:15:48 2012

thats a fake entry to advertise a website. it was rubbish

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