Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Sept 10 2015 08:23:39

eBay Holds Sellers to New Standards in Fall Seller Update

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay will announce its Fall Seller Update today, which includes major changes to how it judges sellers' performance. And for the first time in its history, eBay executives will be available to explain the changes in person, as it kicks off a brand new "Seller Summit" in San Jose this afternoon.

One if the biggest changes: eBay will no longer use Detailed Seller Ratings in its defect rate, though they will continue to be displayed to sellers. 

In fact, eBay sellers will be judged only on delivery time and two measurements that it says judges the effectiveness of the seller's customer service to resolve any requests for help.

eBay is changing how it calculates shipping time, which appears to be positive news.

Today's issue provides an overview of the changes along with more detail about the new Seller Performance Standards.

Be sure to read about the changes to eBay's returns policy as well. 

Let us know what you think - and what feedback would you give eBay executives gathered at the Seller Summit?

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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Holds Sellers to New Standards in Fall Seller Update   eBay Holds Sellers to New Standards in Fall Seller Update

by: Beth This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 10 11:07:42 2015

I agree with vince-q
"This is quite possibly the biggest move toward fair seller evaluation from eBay since 2004."

I hope this works. I loved ebay but I've not been a fan of JD since 2008 and I think he did exactly what he was hired to do...disrupt ebay so much it was broken up and eventually it will be sold off.

I wanted to say too - VINCE when you call for replacements/refunds with Amazon TELL THEM about their crappy packing.  

In my experience they use no bubblewrap, no packing peanuts, no air pillows and put fragile, delicate and easily damaged items in boxes with NO protection.  Just really stupid.!

Not the fault of the 3P sellers, definitely the fault of amazon's shipping "drones" the human and the mechanical ones

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Sep 10 11:09:25 2015

"Beginning in February,...." It's interesting that the new policies will be going into effect after the holiday buying season.

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by: dr shock This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 10 11:10:54 2015

As usual it seems like eBay hasn't thought things out.
I'll lose my Top Rated status once this goes into effect because of the USPS, something I have no control over.
Once this happens I'll change my handling time to 3 days instead of 1 day. Instead of providing faster shipping this is going to have the opposite effect.
eBay should be using their clout with the Post Office to get eBay packages scanned more quickly (perhaps with a special eBay shipping label?)
Amazon gets superior treatment from the P.O., why not eBay?

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This user has validated their user name. by: FEEbay

Thu Sep 10 11:11:06 2015

THis is certainly a step in the right direction. I have not had a chance to read the entire revised Seller Performance Policy, so have a key question for everyone as it pertains to our business:
--- Will buyers still open INAD claims that will automatically count as a defect?? This has been our biggest pain point for the past year. I could really care less about uploaded tracking, etc, as it is ECOMMERCE 101 to get items out the door and scanned quickly..

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This user has validated their user name. by: Map

Thu Sep 10 11:12:48 2015

Do not praise these bastards at ebay it is The unannounced new owners of ebay who appear to be more gracious.

We are witnessing the transition of ownership behind the curtain.

Thank God.

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by: ebay-dreckfresser This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 10 11:19:26 2015

Will all ''cases'' and ''requests'' initiated by Buyers against Sellers still be automatically resolved in buyers' favor?    

Will ebay stop hiding small seller listings?  

Will ebay stop rolling blackouts?  

While the announced reforms are laudable, will ebay's disrespectful & dishonest script readers (i.e., CSRS) fairly or rationally apply those reforms?

Without listing visibility the announced changes won't help us.  Without a complete overhaul of ebay customer service the changes won't be fairly or rationally applied.

Celebration is premature.

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by: a_c_green This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 10 11:20:00 2015

The big gotcha here appears to be the Acceptance scan specifically. Prior to this, the two key points in their monitoring of shipping were whether you uploaded your tracking number within your stated handling time, and whether that number was ''validated'' at any point along the way by any USPS scan, thus proving that you really did ship package #(whatever).

Now, however, they are specifically referencing the Acceptance scan by name, and that is a significantly higher hurdle to clear, for the simple reason that many post offices are either not bothering with Acceptance scans or flat-out refusing to do them on request. Fortunately the post offices that I use are very receptive to doing so, no problems here... but I feel bad for the countless other sellers who are regularly reporting (in the eBay Shipping and Returns group) all kinds of grief at their local post offices. This will not go over well.

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by: minnie This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 10 11:20:35 2015

Why isn't everyone using the SCAN sheet?  I go to 3 different post offices in this area, and none have refused to scan my SCAN sheet, even with only ONE package.  In fact, when the SCAN sheet first came out, I had to teach these clerks how to use it!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Thu Sep 10 11:29:08 2015


The defect/FB changes and the attempts to reconcile shipment time with ''things out of sellers control''  SOUNDS like a positive step.  


One lone carrot requirement of 30 day returns to be TRS?  May get rid of a few more TRS.

Clothing,  OOAK collectible, etc.. buyers should NOT need 30 days to know if an item works for them.  Other categories like appliances and electronics - yeah, 30 days.

Result may be MORE ''no returns'' sellers, what will those May changes to ''no returns'' be?


With the defect/FB changes - it could mean someone offers 14 day returns on their own terms - without fear of defects as long as they communicate and resolve any problems.  Hmm... sounds a bit like it used to be when I first started offering returns several pre-defect years ago.  

Toss TRS, full speed ahead.


No word of the infamous 90 day returns for the Holidays?


I can see embattled sellers proceeding cautiously across the landscape, still keeping an eye out for stray policy or defect/FB artillery.  

Hopefully the beginning of a cease-fire is in the works.

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by: Biglouis This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 10 11:38:31 2015

Just wondering whats going to happen about international packages! I ship from the UK and we have no problem getting our packages scanned at the counter here. If you have a mail pickup, as I do, they are scanned at the local mail processing centre. However the tie up between Royal Mail and the USPS is not perfect and packages do not show up on the USPS scan til they hit the USA. This is usually about 3/4 days after they were mailed. So at what point are they deemed to be ''accepted''?

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This user has validated their user name. by: Shop and Ship

Thu Sep 10 11:44:36 2015

On its face the proposed changes seem a positive step in the right direction: a realistic approach to focusing energy on selling and customer service and less on catering to personality quirks and baseless opinions has to be a plus.

Shipping and delivery time should be measured by a responsible control party like USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc., and not by some whack-o self-medicated Buyer.

For the past year eBay has updated shipping ratings 2 or 3 days after shipment as USPS and UPS update their tracking data. I'd hope that a package gone missing but replaced by Seller won't count as a ''defect'' but as a ''case resolved by Seller''.

Let's face it: the present DSR ''Star Rating System'' is a joke; 70% never leave any Feedback; and the 30% that do leave comments like ''Fast Shipping'' or ''A++++++++'' without any star rating. It was designed by a first grade drop out and maintained by her dim-witted twin brother.

It's true that eBay Sellers continue to ship trash that is not of merchantable quality; or are such cheapskates that they don't use proper packing or shipping materials to protect their own property in transit; but that's a separate issue from dinging responsible Sellers with ''defects'' because some clown started a ''where's my item'' claim after the post office made 2 attempts to deliver it to their address.

But most of all - it should lead to a massive reduction in the ''millions'' of eBay CS calls from Sellers who know that they've been unfairly penalized for doing a good job. If the Buyer is unhappy with an item and keeps it past 30 days, then there's little credibility to some whiny Negative Complaint like ''juicer works great but makes lousy orange juice'' and they supplied the oranges!

Anyway, thanks, Ina, for sharing this update with us! ;-)  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Sep 10 11:49:30 2015

Basset says "One lone carrot requirement of 30 day returns to be TRS?  May get rid of a few more TRS."

Yes, we will lose TRS over this, but I honestly don't care. Sales are so slow now that I just don't depend on eBay anymore for the majority of my sales. We've branched out and do better on other sites now.

Not reaching for that carrot.

Otherwise, this seems like good news and a step in the right direction. I'm quite surprised, because I thought mandatory refunds would be forced on all.

Perminate Link for eBay Holds Sellers to New Standards in Fall Seller Update   eBay Holds Sellers to New Standards in Fall Seller Update

This user has validated their user name. by: epuise

Thu Sep 10 11:50:08 2015

As a 19 yr. eBay Seller, I have 'taken care' of my Customers because it is the right thing to do, not because a company forced me. I am, so far, encouraged by the new philosophy.

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by: toyspast This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 10 12:06:52 2015

I'm a top-rated seller and have maintained under 1.0 defect rate from the inception. Anytime I get a defect, its usually in item as described. I've only had maybe 1 or 2 defects in shipping time in the last year or two. Probably 80% of my feedback remarks say ''fast shipping'' (and the rest just doesn't mention shipping time). I have a stated 1-day handling time and when that was begun, eBay said the only requirement I had to be held to was to upload the tracking number within 1 day which I have maintained with no problem. Every morning, I create a shipping label for every item purchased the day before. However, I only ship 3 times a week (Tues/Thurs/Saturday). It would be extremely difficult to go to the post office EVERY day. As I stated, almost ALL of my buyers have had no problem with the handling time and speed in which they've received their item. According to this new requirement, it looks as though half or more than half of my items will be shown as a defect because it will not show the acceptance scan within 24 hours. So as an exceptional seller, who has had no problem maintaining my status, it looks like I will lose that status. Does not feel like an improvement to me.

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by: toyspast This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 10 12:12:13 2015

Why don't they just ask the customer: Are you satisfied with the speed in which you received your item? Yes or No. If yes, no defect. If No, then check the acceptance scan and if not within the stated handling time, then seller gets a defect.

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by: thebobman This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 10 12:15:06 2015

>Basset says "One lone carrot requirement of 30 day returns to be TRS?  May get rid of a few more TRS."

Returns are too much of a hassle for me. I sell used goods and its easily a 20-30 minute process to deal with a return, retest and get it relisted. As soon as the 14 day thing came up, I opted out of getting the 20% discount. My fees are about $250/mo, but I'd rather lose one $50 sale than have to deal with 2 "oops" returns. I recently had 2 "oops" returns on Amazon totaling about $90 that will take close to an hour with the time I wasted packing/shipping/customer service and relisting. I've got plenty of stuff to sell, once sometime goes out the door, I hope to never see it again.

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by: a_c_green This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 10 12:15:48 2015

@minnie:

> Why isn't everyone using the SCAN sheet?

I thought the SCAN sheet was a fine idea when it came out, but eBay did such a gawdawful implementation of it that I found it unusable. I found that I had to get into a flaky bulk-shipping interface and print up all my package labels at the same time, when in fact I do my shipping labels one at a time whenever the payments come in.

It should not be that difficult to generate a SCAN sheet. Specifically, eBay's existing My eBay page would be the perfect place to add that functionality using the existing page layout: go to your Sold section, check the box in the left-hand column for each shipped item that you would like to include on your SCAN sheet, and then (this would be the new link) click a ''Print SCAN Sheet'' button at the bottom. That would trigger a process that would lift the Tracking Numbers already on display for each shipped item and combine them onto one SCAN sheet. Print that out and off you go to the Post Office.

> I go to 3 different post offices in this area,
> and none have refused to scan my SCAN sheet,
> even with only ONE package.

I wouldn't waste a whole 'nother sheet of paper to print a SCAN sheet with just one number on it, even though I know the USPS sees nothing wrong with that. They can just as easily scan the one barcode on the package as the one barcode on the SCAN sheet.

> In fact, when the SCAN sheet first came out,
> I had to teach these clerks how to use it!

That does not surprise me. I'll be happy if they simply understand the significance of scanning the bar code on the label itself, such as when emptying the drop box, even if the customer isn't standing there waving a SCAN sheet at them.

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by: Runs.With.Scissors This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 10 12:21:38 2015

What about delivery time estimates?
First Class packages are OK at least half the time, but, otherwise not.
ebay can say ''well those are USPS own standards for First Class''.  (LOL  LOL)

... USPS often does not meet their own standards*.  I chuckle to myself when I'm waiting in the USPS and hear the clerk tell the customer that their First Class package will be delivered in 3 or 4 days.   (Maybe it will, maybe it won't)

For the first half of September, we've had about 10% of our First Class packages get delivered in 6-10 days.  

*Before toolguy and maybe a couple of others chime in about they've never had this USPS First Class problem, WELL, I don't dispute that, but, .... while that may not be happening in your little corner of the world, it varies in some areas of the country.

That said, I give USPS high marks for Priority Mail delivery,
for 99.99% of my Priority shipments.


SO HERE'S THE ''BOTTOM LINE'':
ebay should go by how long it took the seller to ship.
NOT ''delivery time'' for First Class Packages.

Just my 2 cents worth.   ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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by: Sheshells This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 10 12:27:07 2015

Just to clarify, each and every package is required to be scanned at the counter..Our postoffice got a new postmaster who insisted that was not the case. I wrote a complaint to the USPS. Guess what, they fired the postmaster, he was absolutely wrong, I bring my packages to the post office daily, they scan, I get a receipt..I scan the receipt so if there is ever a question...you can go on the usps web site and print out the requirement for the usps to scan each package...I've been more or less at 100% on shipping-tracking..If a clerk is telling you they can't scan they are not doing what their job requires, scan sheet or not..It would be nice if ebay had a decent way to produce on.

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Thu Sep 10 12:31:48 2015

Postal Clerks that do not want to scan packages.

The best recourse is to ask for the Postmaster, when you talk to your local postmaster ask him/her if they prefer you to ship UPS or Fedex since his/her employees refuse to scan packages at the counter.

My local PO has never refused to scan a package or packages no matter how many you have.

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