Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Apr 21 2014 21:04:53

Will eBay Be Forced to Reconsider Seller Defect Rates?

By: Ina Steiner

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If the emails I'm receiving from sellers are any indication, eBay may be forced to reconsider its new seller defect rate metric before rolling it out in August. While eBay announced last month the new way it would begin measuring seller performance, sellers didn't have a chance to see their new ratings until late last week.

It appears the reports are flawed, and/or the method eBay uses to determine a seller "defect" is different from how eBay described it when announcing its Spring Seller Update in March.

Julia Wilkinson first reported the new seller dashboard and defect-rate report through her post on the AuctionBytes Blog on Thursday. As I mentioned in Sunday's Update newsletter, sellers are reporting that eBay is dinging them for some issues that are the fault of shipping carriers or for other events outside of their control.

The scenarios described by some sellers are Kafkaesque - eBay is in some cases punishing them for going out of their way to provide good service to buyers. Some of the defects described by sellers include:

- defects counted for cancelled transactions due to the buyer requesting a change of address.

- defects for refunding a customer for a purchase in which the buyer asked the seller to delay shipment. ("I re-invoiced her from the "items sold" menu, and she re-paid the items when she was ready for them to ship. They shipped timely within stated period & she kept the items.") Clearly she went to a lot of work to accommodate the buyer.

- defects for transactions that were cancelled after the sale by eBay due to the buyer using a fraudulent credit card.

Another seller wrote, "eBay previously stated that opened cases would not count against the seller rating unless they were closed against the seller. This is clearly no longer the case and the fact that these ratings are retroactive back 1-year for most sellers makes their previous statements a complete lie."

eBay will be holding a webinar about the new dashboard on Wednesday. Anyone who has questions about the new defect rates should tune in and ask questions.

If you have had a chance to examine your projected defect rates, let us know if they're what you expected. And is eBay's new way of measuring seller performance that goes into effect this summer better than the current system?

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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Will eBay Be Forced to Reconsider Seller Defect Rates?   Will eBay Be Forced to Reconsider Seller Defect Rates?

by: jeepster424 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 22 20:41:21 2014

I'm getting dinged for 2 packages that started tracking wthin 24 hours, but the sorting USPS station lost for 10 days.  Also for 2 customers who cancelled after purchase and 1 who ordered a medium and opened a case because they were not small - when I replied back I was selling medium and shipped medium and wasn't sure what he wanted, he never replied and eventually ebay closed case - SO NOT FAIR!!

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by: LinneyPinney This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 22 21:45:10 2014

@shootingcreek- you have no control over returns. Your policy is not real. Customer can claim item not as described, eBay has PayPal take your money and you are screwed. Period.  This is not your business. It is eBay.
For me, after 16 years on eBay, I am enjoying wonderful sales elsewhere. I am treated well and there are no returns. I have removed 1200 of my 1800 items from eBay and am turning it into my dumping ground store.
Cassini is broken. eBay has been destroyed. I want a divorce from eBay and I am on my way and you know what? It feels great to be out of that abusive environment.  

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by: LinneyPinney This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 22 21:46:55 2014

Oh, and I visited my seller dashboard and it was 100% wrong. I am still top rated and will be in August, but the dings that I have are errors. You know what? I don't give a you know what.

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by: up74 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 22 21:52:58 2014

@LinneyPinney Your are right!
As I said before ebay is just looking for a way out of discount for TRS. DESPERATE measures for a DESPERATE company!

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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Tue Apr 22 22:01:31 2014

As Ming stated call the FTC

1-(877) 382-4357

Changing the current contract to intentionally hurt sellers by making defects, and neutrals as negatives, retroactive 12 months IS illegal. Sellers with over 400 transactions from May 1 to July 31 are still affected but I do see blatant discrimination ebay is creating between the two classes or parties of sellers. Obviously I am not an attorney but this cannot be legal. How can this policy be changed mid-stream affecting the livelihoods of all sellers and be considered legal? If ebay wants sellers to agree to a new policy, then it should be set on August 20th and henceforth.

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by: SparklyEyes7 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 23 00:18:18 2014

Hm, interesting.  Last week, I looked at the preview and it said I would be a TRS in August.  Today I look and it has me as Above Standard.

What was the difference?  They used the 12 month window for all the categories except Tracking Uploaded, which they used the 3 month lookback.

I list mostly auction and do have many buyers who win multiple auctions, pay for each separately as soon as they win and I combine them together in one shipment.  Upload tracking for one item and mark the others shipped.

But how can I be in both categories?  For that 3-month period, they said I had 191 transactions.  Unless they are doing some sort of new math, that is not even close to the 400 for a the 3-month lookback.

Hmmmmmmmm

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Wed Apr 23 01:54:22 2014

Where's Ryan Moore?

Oh, Ryyyyy-innnn

Where are you?

Cat got your tongue?

Or has your nose gotten so long you can no longer reach your keyboard?

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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Wed Apr 23 02:08:35 2014

He is probably going to be spending time pretty soon with his family. What do you want to bet? lol  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Wed Apr 23 02:48:16 2014

And what do the ebay geniuses plan to to do about the thousands upon thousands of ghost listings (mysterious relisting of already sold OOAK items and doubel lisitngs of single items)?

Ebay has already admits this happens. It continues to happen, and ebay's own incompetent programmers will create out of stock defects for sellers.

Call the FTC:

1-(877) 382-4357

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by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 23 07:30:02 2014

Ebay's webinar  is, I am in charge, I do what I want

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 23 09:49:58 2014

All of this is desperation on eBays part ...they have NO idea how an ecommerce site operates, what it takes to be a good seller or even how common law and banking works.

Why? they dont sell anything or do anything except provide a selling platform for you to list your wares.

Sales on eBay are abismal - and they know it. They are in a frenzy - and the ONLY way they know how to solve thier issue(s) is go back and screw some of the smaller sellers - the ones who cant/wont do anything (in thier eyes).

eBay just lost J&R Music/Computer World and they may loose Datavis too - both large 20-30K listing electronics sellers.

B&H Photo told them to "stick it where the sun doesnt shine" even though they were offered AMAZING enticements to come on board.

JD still cant turn anything around. Manufactorers STILL hate eBay, sellers still hate eBay, customers still think eBay is one large boots sale/bazzar - in english - hes a failure.

Well not really since TRU is still there! (As is Monster and Skullcandy - 2 companies he sold his soul to the devil for to get on board)(he sacrificed HUNDREDS of sellers to prod them to have Platinum stores).

As I mentioned in other posts, eBay has a SEVERE issue where people buy goods only to find out that the manufactorer says STU you bought it on eBay - and the customer NEVER comes back. Theres no %20 of anything that can help that.

Yes, the pruning of small sellers continues - and it always will. JD has said it and posters like RIC & Ming have often quoted it - JD wants a mall not a flea market. He wants well financed sellers who provide A+ service and bottom dollar prices.

He knows he can NEVER be Amazon (a company who actualy sells and makes things (just ask them how many Kindles come back "defective") so he goes about doing cosmetic window dressing procedures that make the uninformes stock holdes think hes doing a good job, when hes obviously NOT.

eBay wont reconsider ANYTHING - they never have and never will. The fault of EVERYTHING on eBay isnt eBay, its employees, its mandates, its quasi-illegal fiats or its nepatism with Paypal (the "bad cop" that forces yo to be inline or else steals your money) - its ALWAYS the seller, always.

I just got approved on Amazon for watches and Im off running. Sales dont match eBay yet - but by the summer I beleive they will. Not that Amazon is perfect - they by no means are - but putting all your eggs in the eBay basket is suicide as you never know when JD is comming for you.

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by: LinneyPinney This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 23 09:57:25 2014

Yep Ming, ghost listings and for me worse than that are disappeared listings. Listing that are gone, ''poof'' without a trace. It used to be about 25 per year, but since August of 2013, of an original inventory of 1800, I found over 400 items in my inventory where the listings just vanished.  

Here's the thing: ebay is not going to be fixed. It will go on, but it will not be of quality. Those of us who have mastered photography, who have found a good nitch site or two as I have for my inventory, we are moving on. Ebay is becoming a cross between corporate mass produced items that are fighting for bargain basement price positioning and those poor souls with crappy cameras, who buy things at a garage sale, or from other sellers on ebay, take a poorly lit, out of focus photo on a sheet in their living room and list it at a .99 auction starting price.

Ebay is not a quality website. It is out dated and the back end of the site is archaic. It is so much easier to navigate the other, newer sales platforms. ebay has gone from the innovator to the imitator and will never be was it once was. It became too big, with too many people and too much stuff. In an effort to weed out the bad sellers, they have created a nightmare, abusive customer and they have run off the good sellers that are too smart to put up with being micro-managed.

I am still a TRS with 100% positive feedback and low DSRs. Even with the corrupted new defect system, my stats will keep me at a TRS.  But, I am over this crap. Now that I have a taste of what it is like to sell on other venues, I realize how bad ebay really is.

I am a good seller. I am professional. I have worked hard to learn how to take beautiful photographs of my product. I work hard to find the best of the best inventory to offer my customers. I ship twice per day to get items to customers fast and my packing skills are flawless. I spend endless hours promoting my brand. My customer service is top notch. I am always looking for a way to build a better me and a better, stronger business. I learn from my mistakes. I accept responsibility. I have learned and grown into a better professional.
And as the conditions on ebay have declined to a hostile environment where customers and sellers are pitted against each other, where my listings are hidden and ignored by Cassini, where my now ''free'' listings pages are places for ebay to sell advertising to my corporate competition, I have learned from from the mistakes that ebay has made. I know what to look for in a sales platform. I have found where the good customers are shopping.  It is not ebay. It is a shame for I was loyal to ebay. I did everything that was required of me. I learned and I grew. I refined my abilities...and grew right out of ebay! They drove me away. I will still have a small ebay store by the time the changes in August arrives. It will contain only the things that I had to buy when I wanted the good stuff. It is my dumping grounds store now because that is the customer that ebay has cultivated for me and I do not want to endure the poor selling conditions any longer.

Carl Icahn said that ebay will go by the way of Motorola and Blackberry. He is right, so very right.  

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

Wed Apr 23 10:15:51 2014

"Carl Icahn said that ebay will go by the way of Motorola and Blackberry. He is right, so very right."

So who is going to step up and take their place??

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by: Mr Mog This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 23 12:21:09 2014

"" So who is going to step up and take their place?? ""

How about ebid, ecrater, cq out, ioffer, webstore, bidstart to name just a few we use. OK they are not as big as ebay but what's the point of staying with ebay, paying fees upon fees for no customers. We are finding the alternative are growing. As ebay declines, the others will prosper.  

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by: LinneyPinney This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 23 12:48:12 2014

There will no longer be one dominating sales platform. Sellers are dispersing to other platforms as buyers are more internet savvy.  

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by: moto-science This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 23 15:14:57 2014

I just want to sell and service my customers.....all this MBA driven contrived
imaginary metrics and horse apples stupid rules are just making the Ebay
seller experience ever more unsatisfying. Already they can't deliver the buyers in the numbers we had just 2 years ago....and they want want to
make more confusing rules. It's simple, return it for a refund in the condition you received it. Punishing sellers for returns when buyers are encouraged to return merchandise is just more nonsense and another
tombstone for Ebay. Some of us can remember when there wasn't all this silly micro management.

Perminate Link for Will eBay Be Forced to Reconsider Seller Defect Rates?   Will eBay Be Forced to Reconsider Seller Defect Rates?

by: dans parts This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 23 17:01:40 2014

Watched eBay's silly-ass Webinar on this crap today.

I had one question to submit: preview pane on my Dashboard shows 22 defects over 12 months.  I run the Defect report, and it shows only 9 defects, only in last 3 months.  WHERE ARE THE OTHER 9 MONTHS WORTH?  I want to look at them.

I submitted that question in about 5 seconds after the Webinar started, and re-submitted it twice more during the 90 minutes, but of course, got ignored.  Instead they spent time on questions like ''How do I tell whether I'm on a 3-month or 12-month lookback on my Dashboard?''

A couple of things I gleaned from this, which some have brought up in this thread.

A transaction can have several defective pieces to it, but they're only going to count ONE of them.  Of course, if procedures make one of them go away, they'll probably still use the others.   I.e. if you get a Neg and SNAD case on same transaction, and miraculously manage to get them to remove the Neg, the defect for the SNAD case will still stand.

They are counting as defects any FULL refund through PayPal, whether or not anything was filed in the Resolution Center to cancel the transaction.  They are not counting PARTIAL repayments.  So, if you're refunding shipping overages, you're safe, but if someone contacts you without opening a case, and you refund the WHOLE amount, they've got you anyway, even without a case or cancel transaction.

Any time you're out of stock, you're screwed.  They repeated over and over and over that they ''don't expect us to be perfect'', that situations will happen. But what I see is that they're still going to hold out feet to the fire if we ARE less than perfect.

Now, of course, I needn't remind anyone here that just because I heard them SAY these things, doesn't mean they will actually follow through correctly.  Or change their minds midstream.  Since their little minds are so easily distracted.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Wed Apr 23 17:35:30 2014

Once again, it is ILLEGAL to ebay to count ANYTHING prior to August 1 as "defects."

Call the FTC!!!!

1-877-382-4357

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Wed Apr 23 17:38:35 2014

@LinneyPinney

I've had exactly the same experience with disappearing listings.

If something hasn't sold in a certain number of days which varies by category -- in spite of the fact that  ebay's defective search engine may have hidden them -- listings simply go poof in the night.

These are truly sub humans evil to their very cores.

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by: LightWing This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 23 18:17:30 2014

The swine Fleabay exec actually lied ''right to our faces'' today.

According to him, ANY DSRS associated with Neutral or Negative Feedback are removed when the FB is removed.

Not according to the reports these morons are generating for us.

So they are using STEALTH, NON-TRANSPARENT data to punish sellers retroactively.

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