Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Mar 11 2014 09:45:48

eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay is making a major change to seller feedback as part of its Spring Seller Update 2014. eBay will eliminate two Detailed Seller Rating criteria in what will be a welcome part of the changes.

eBay will replace the four individual Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs) as the main way eBay evaluates seller performance with a new single measure called the "transaction defect rate." Item as Described and Shipping Time will remain. The factors that make up a seller's defect rate include the following:

- Detailed seller rating of 1, 2 or 3 for Item as Described;

- Detailed seller rating of 1 for Shipping Time;

- Negative or neutral feedback;

- Return initiated for a reason that indicates the item was not as described;

- eBay Money Back Guarantee (previously known as eBay Buyer Protection) or PayPal Purchase Protection case opened for an item not received or an item not as described;

- Seller-cancelled transactions.

Starting in August, sellers can have a maximum 5% of transactions with one or more transaction defects over the most recent evaluation period. Only transactions with U.S. buyers will count.

eBay will implement the new defect rate as a seller performance measure in August.

eBay will be holding online workshops to help sellers understand the new standards on March 13 at 1 pm Pacific and on March 26 at 11 am Pacific.

eBay's seller checklist:




Other changes are on the way in the U.S., including changes to Managed Returns and a new extended holiday return policy. And in an effort to optimize for Google, eBay is making category and item specific changes.

Another change likely to be unpopular is changes to tracking: Top Rated Sellers, who must have tracking uploaded to eBay on 90% of their transactions within their stated handling time, must now have validated tracking numbers - meaning ones that eBay can validate - eBay must receive at least one carrier scan.

See more details about the eBay Spring Seller Update here - And details about eBay UK changes here - which will include fee changes.

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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback   eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback

by: quirkyantiques This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 11 13:07:59 2014

Why is no one pointing out the HUGE neon sign here? " Return initiated for a reason that indicates the item was not as described". There is NO option for returning an item under the heading " I changed my mind". Item not as described is the DEFAULT SETTING FOR RETURNS!!!!
Not only that but Ebay will not accept any standard of proof from a seller that the item is INDEED as described and that the return is bogus. Buyer fails to read the vase measurements posted? Not as described. This dress doesn't fit my size 12 backside even though I bought a size 8? Not as described. I feel now I could have bought this cheaper? Oh I'll just return it as not as described....
THAT little clause there is the Ebay career breaker. Stop focusing on how hard it will be to work with a Postal system and start being very, very afraid.....

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback   eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback

by: ebayroadkill This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 11 13:11:43 2014

Simply amazing.. once again we get the rug pulled out from under us. The first issue that caught my attention was returns due to the buyer changing their mind - but using ''defective'' or ''not as described'' to get out from paying return shipping. Then we have a limit of 5 issues (legit or not) over a 90 day period before being knocked down?

I feel for the computer parts sellers, and really all of the parts sellers on eBay. Items are going to become missing due to the USPS loosing them, the item being stolen due to just being left at the door of an apartment complex or as stated above - delayed due to weather. UPS and FedEx are both going to destroy items regardless of how well they are packed. Defective parts are going to slip through. Plus more and more buyers think eBay is WalMart and rob us blind, which leads me up to the next point...

What about the skyrocketing rate of scam buyers? Buyers who claim defects and switch items. Buyers who simply break the item and claim it was defective. Buyers who are minors and purchased using their parents account only to be caught. As sellers, we are guilty until proven, uh, oh, wait - we are just guilty.

I strongly hope that eBay also steps up SELLER PROTECTION. Time and time again, eBay tightens the rules and people say there will be a mass exodus of eBay sellers... but it does not happen. How tight can they tighten the rules before the only sellers left are in China?  

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback   eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Tue Mar 11 13:14:25 2014

There is a lot of additional info in the Q&A section.

For example, the Communication & Ship Cost DSRs will still be there for info only, but not count – if I am reading it correctly. The quote: “Also, buyers clearly see the total cost, including shipping, up front in the listing” was interesting as sellers have been saying THAT for years!!!

Also, looks like Cancel Transaction is only counted against seller if there is a defect involved or seller did not have the item in stock. Looks like “buyer request or changed mind” is not counted against the seller. Just important to choose the correct reason!

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback   eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback

by: daveishere007 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 11 13:58:48 2014

What this all comes down to is ebay making more money off of the seller. With this new change my 20% discount for sellers fees is gone. I am so fed up with ebay, that with my personal account, I will never sell on ebay again. I am DONE!

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback   eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback

This user has validated their user name. by: Puck

Tue Mar 11 13:59:11 2014

"Congratulations, sellers! Your commitment to great service continues to pay off."

At this point reader's butt commences to chew hole in seat of chair...

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback   eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 11 14:01:13 2014

This update is just JDs way of getting even with small sellers like us. There's NO OTHER WAY to describe the changes here as anything else.

Any of the shipping and tracking changes are being done for the same reason sellers are being FORCED into GSP - MONEY.

eBay gets a slice of the shipping (and the customs/duties) when ever a seller ships. Since sellers "persist" on using other methods that "cheat" eBay out of its stolen and ilgotten funds, eBay has found a way to INSURE you comply. For US shipments - use eBays "highly super duper heavy duty discounted" postage rates. Never mind the guy behind the curtin whos making money off that being forced on you (the wizard aka JD). In the international area, eBay is angry that sellers whould DARE use aggrigators to lower thier costs (I got DHL to charge me $40 for up to 5 pounds ANYWHERE they go) and thus cut eBay out of thier vig on shipping. eBay wants to insure you use thier GSP, so the and PB can make money off you. Its simple.

With eBay ALWAYS follow the money trail - its ALWAYS the answer to any change eBay makes.

The new dashboard was created by people who attended JDs last crack party (in the new mansion). It makes no sence, its not direct and complete, and it doesnt tell you any real info. It hides behind graphs an 8th grader can make on exel.

f course the new rules are there to trip you up, so its a waste of time "trying to learn ANYTHING from it".

Lastly - the 90 return policy. Ill turn in the TRSP ive had for over 10yrs before I become a doormat for eBays chosen ones.

My manufactorers dont allow it and I wont allow it either.

The ONLY way I will accept it is if I can find  GSI commerce customer of thiers who sells the things I do - and I pawn the defectives (that arent really defective but are unsaleable since JD knows nothing about ecommerce) on them.

You can write me all the nasty replies you want, I dont really care. If you force me to go beyond the norm as a justification to steal from me - payback is a bitch JD!

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback   eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback

by: scaryguy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 11 14:09:02 2014

I just received an email from ebay stating I just lost my TRS standing (which I had for the past few years) due to this new policy change and they encourage me to contact them for one on one business advice. As if I dont already do the best I can. There is NOTHING I can do about confused, vindictive and unruly buyers!

Goodbye ebay. You are not the only show in town as you keep forgetting.

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback   eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback

This user has validated their user name. by: Lander Blue

Tue Mar 11 14:21:01 2014

''Starting in August, sellers can have a maximum 5% of transactions with one or more transaction defects over the most recent evaluation period.''

If I'm reading this right, a seller who processes 1,000 transactions per year can have 50 of them ''go bad'' before having to worry about consequenses from eBay.

This would be a substantial improvement over the current hyper-sensitive DSR system.

Am I wrong, or is anyone else seeing this too?

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback   eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback

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

Tue Mar 11 14:25:34 2014

This looks very bad.  More than 5 % of any one of those criteria and you're in deep?  Notice a "3" on item not as described is now included as a negative.  a 3 is a neutral opinion. But now its a negative?? Am I reading that right?  There are many things in here that are going to cause BIG problems.

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback   eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Mar 11 14:36:31 2014

@donkey

You may want to read the requirements for the uploading of tracking a bit closer before agreeing with it.  You may still agree, but you may not have considered everything.

First it states that when tracking is uploaded Ebay will check to see if it has been scanned and/or delivered.  Not sure how it can be delivered unless your customer is standing next to you at the post office.  Have the PO scan received by them and then delivered to the guy next to you.  All done by next day so you qualify for TRS Plus.

On a more serious note, if you print your label out of Ebay at 10:OO AM and they check at that time to see if it is scanned, it will 99.9999% of the time show that it has not been scanned.  How could it be, you just printed the darn thing.

Ebay doesn't say it will re-check later to see if it has been scanned.  The announcement only states that it will check when the tracking is uploaded.  When a label is created, the tracking is uploaded.  So will they check again later in the day?  I don't know, it doesn't say.  

What if I print my label today for tomorrows shipment?  The tracking number again gets uploaded to Ebay at the time the label is created.  It's dated tomorrow, is it really going to hold me to they want it scanned at the time you upload the tracking?  Beats me!

I personally have more questions than I do answers on this.

Is this policy discriminatory?  What about people that are unable to run to the post office daily to make sure everything is scanned.  Some people physically can not do this.  

If sellers have a problem with shipping in a timely fashion, it is going to show up in the shipping time DSR.  And since they are still considering this with this new program, what is the purpose of this rule except to lessen even more how many sellers get the TRS discount?

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback   eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback

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

Tue Mar 11 14:38:56 2014

I think a 3 on INAD will kill me and anyone selling vintage goods. This tells me they are continuing to try to weed out that type of business. This is scary.

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback   eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Mar 11 14:39:46 2014

Then there is the issue of negative and neutral FB.  This is a complete no win situation for sellers.  This is from the Q&A on Ebay.

What if I ask my buyer to revise negative or neutral feedback and the buyer agrees, will that transaction still count toward my defect rate?

If your buyer revises the feedback, the revised feedback will not be shown to other buyers but the transaction will count toward your defect rate. eBay research shows that even when agreeing to revise negative or neutral feedback, the mere act of having left the feedback is still a key predictor of reduced spending.

What if eBay removes feedback that I received from a buyer, will that still count towards my defect rate?

Any feedback removed by eBay will not count towards your defect rate.

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback   eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback

by: ebayroadkill This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 11 14:43:08 2014

Lander Blue, on the surface it may look good for 1000 transactions. That is what eBay wants you to think. But in reality, it's 20 transactions for TRS and the bar has been raised significantly. Even at 50 for the average seller, also look at the changes that will contribute to that number.

A key one is returns due to the customer changing their mind, or complaining because the item was the wrong shade of puce.

Just parts of the Amazonification of eBay. What eBay fails to realize is that it's true customer is the seller.  

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback   eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback

This user has validated their user name. by: Lander Blue

Tue Mar 11 14:43:38 2014

Just checked a little deeper - to maintain Top Rated status, sellers can have a maximum of 2% of transactions go bad per evaluation period.

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback   eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Mar 11 14:50:09 2014

@lander

But you have far more that can count against you.  So really do you feel you are gaining something?  If so, what?  I ask because maybe you are seeing something I'm not.  We are all trying to read and learn all of this stuff.  As I read it, they are holding far more against us.

Open cases [they will drop off if closed before escalation or escalated and ruled in our favor, but while open, they count against you]
Negative FB
Neutral FB
Description DSR
Shipping Time DSR
Cancelled transaction
Etc.

It is more than the 4 DSR categories that you had the ability to get 2 of them as an auto 5 if you followed the rules.  So they took the auto 5 DSRs out of the mix and left the two because they are trying to improve this process for us.

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback   eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback

by: unhappyebayguy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 11 14:58:14 2014

Funny how every time I get a "Spring Seller Update" or a "Fall Seller Update" I DREAD it before I even open it! Its always BAD news for sellers.

Well, you've all read it. It says "if in any way a buyer may leave ebay or bid less that it effects a seller" Well obviously there is NO concern "in any way" if a seller may want to leave ebay. I have been a top rated seller jumping through their hoops and I think I am getting to the end of my rope.

One day, Ebay simply wont exist because of themselves. The guys/girls who sit in the cubicles and have never sold anything on here obviously know what is best for the buyers and sellers. I hope you can detect my sarcasm.....

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback   eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback

This user has validated their user name. by: Lander Blue

Tue Mar 11 15:01:16 2014

Marie - Like you, I am still reading and absorbing all the new information. With so many variables in play, it will take some time to shake things out.

At this point, I don't think any one opinion has validity over another.

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback   eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Tue Mar 11 15:06:33 2014

Neutral should be neutral, yet it has become a definite negative now as neutral FB is a mark against a seller. Also a neutral 3 in DSRs has become a negative seller mark.

So… just do away with neutral to avoid confusion. Black – White, Yes – No, Good – Bad, Yay - Nay.  

Take away the neutral if it is not neutral! Give the buyer two choices – positive or negative – makes it easier for everyone including the bots & programmers.

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback   eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Mar 11 15:13:20 2014

@lander

Ain't that the truth.  It is a whole lot to absorb.  

But just on the surface take two things out of the evaluation mix and add in a half a dozen other things, just isn't good for any of us.  No matter how good of a seller you feel you are.

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback   eBay Makes Major Change to Seller Feedback

by: bavasinternational This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 11 15:13:57 2014

I am a law student and long-time TRS selling new doll supplies.

The Seller Updates are always a doozy, but the real problem this time is the defect rating system counting Item Not As Described claims. With the volume I sell at, I can easily get more than 5 of those in a 90-day period. Usually, they are complaints from confused customers who can't figure out how to use the product despite the directions on the listing. Sometimes I get people who clearly failed to read the description (i.e. ''why is this 'American Girl Doll - Head Only' I purchased only a doll head?''). Then I get buyers remorse returns who can't resist clicking the INAD button as leverage to accept their return.

Generally, I am willing to jump through eBay's hoops to keep my TRS discount and $50 or so I save per month with the 20% discount. But, unless there is some loophole I can exploit, I just can't see myself keeping TRS status under this tight of restrictions, and given that I run a pretty darn tight ship in a good niche market, I can't see many other people doing so, either.

Whatever else may be said about eBay, they are smart and have done their research and have a good estimate at the number of sellers this will effect. The logical conclusion is that they think this change will result in a net increase in profit. The largest pile I see on the table right now is the TSR 20% discount (that's $50/mo to me, and the thousands like me). There's been a significant cutback in this area over the past few years, and the clear general trend is that the TSR program will be phased out or reduced to a pointless amount within a few more years.

Since I depend on my eBay business for support, I'm willing to jump through lots of hoops to keep that $50 in my pocket, but I simply have no control over my problem buyers. I'm at the top of my market niche. I offer great quality products with ridiculously fast shipping and I'm a slave to customer service. I sell doll wigs, for chrisstakes, but even nice soccer moms have a bad day and take it out on my business. So, for reasons beyond my control, I will lose that $50/mo discount.

Am I going to quit selling on eBay over that $50? No. I recognize that eBay has what no one else has - millions of shoppers who will spend money on my products and keep the roof over my head and obscure law books on my desk.

The real question is what am I going to do now that I won't be a TRS. And the answer to that is really quite wonderful.

First, I'm going to look into 11Main. Unlike the other marketplaces like eCrater and Etsy, it looks like it has potential to rival eBay. Since it won't be well established, 11Main will probably treat sellers a lot better than eBay, but still have more foot traffic than my own website.

Second, I'm going to stop jumping through those hoops. I'm going to change my return period to be what I want it to be. I'm going to charge shipping if I want to. I'm not going to waste my time researching answers to questions of potential customers who ultimately won't buy my stuff anyways. And when those one or two special buyers come around and try to extort my business, I'm not going to cower in fear of negative feedback and the subsequent loss of that $50/month and give them $25 to go away. I can finally bring the buyer/seller relationship back into a more appropriate balance.

I think that eBay has misstepped. If I can't get that carrot they are dangling in front of me, then I have no incentive to adhere to eBay's restrictive rules. I'll do what is right for me and my business, and not what is right for eBay.

Ebay is pretty smart, though. I imagine they will figure this out pretty quickly and phase the restrictions in more slowly than they announced (as they have before), or change up what counts against us in the rules so that more TRS can hang in there. Either way, I'll deal with it. And hope that 11Main proves to be a viable alternative.

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