Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Dec 13 2012 20:43:20

PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics

By: Ina Steiner

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PayPal confirmed it is beta testing a new feature called PayPal Performance Benchmarks, but a spokesperson told us today the company was not providing details at this time. However, after speaking to a seller who is part of the stealth testing, it appears there's a conflict with what eBay is pushing sellers to do (accept returns) and what PayPal considers risky practices (issue refunds).

PayPal monitors sellers using a number of metrics, including disputes, refunds and chargebacks. The new Performance Benchmarks feature lets sellers how they're performing compared to "industry benchmarks."

One metric, for example, is called the Refund Rate. PayPal explain on the site (visible to those who are part of the beta test), "One way we measure customer satisfaction is to look at the percentage of your total transaction volume that you refund. Compare your 30-day average to the PayPal benchmark, then click Ways to Improve for tips on minimizing refunds."

The tool then provides the seller's 30-day average refund rate, the "benchmark" (Less than 3.00), and the Status (for example, it might say, "Your refund rate is low. Well done!").

However, PayPal has not announced the Performance Benchmarks and has apparently not informed participants. An eBay seller who is part of the beta test was surprised when he logged into PayPal and saw the new feature. "Today I logged into PayPal and noticed a PayPal Performance Benchmarks link. After clicking I saw that I am being rated against PayPal Benchmarks for Disputes, Number of Refunds and Refund Time. PayPal now has Seller Ratings?"

"It's a little too soon to tell exactly what to make of it," said the seller, who wished to remain anonymous. "I suppose if they are going to be used to help sellers and not penalize them then it would be a good thing.

"However, with eBay's new push towards longer return periods, and making returns easier with the new system, I think rating sellers on number of refunds is out of line."



The seller explained that since he extended the return period to 14 days and opted in to the new system, his returns have increased. "The returns all could have been avoided if the buyer had actually read the description. If eBay / PayPal wants easy returns for buyers then they shouldn't be rating sellers on refunds. Most of the time returns have nothing to do with the seller's business practices."

The seller also wrote, "I can't judge the ease of use and accuracy until I have some data to analyze. It would have been nice to have gotten a heads up and some explanation from PayPal!"

Tomorrow's Newsflash has more on this exclusive scoop - here's a link to the EcommerceBytes article.




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Perminate Link for PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics   PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Thu Dec 13 22:56:52 2012

"However, after speaking to a seller who is part of the stealth testing, it appears there's a conflict with what eBay is pushing sellers to do (accept returns) and what PayPal considers risky practices (issue refunds). "

Despite eBay's efforts otherwise, sellers have learned how to work with buyers and avoid having them open cases by providing direct customer service to resolve issues. naturally, refunds are a part of the process of giving good customer service.

So... since eBay can not ruin sellers because sellers have learned to work outside eBay, the company is now going to monitor seller PayPal accounts and use refunds as a weapon to destroy sellers from the other side of the company.

It is good to know who one's enemy or in this case, enemies are. Not only is eBay looking for any excuse to ruin a seller, they are now going to pull data from PayPal to further their goal of seller destruction.

Honest, upstanding sellers who refund excess shipping costs when buyers purchase multiple Fixed Price Items that have shipping included will now find themselves accused of being involved in 'risky practices' as will those who issue partial refunds.

PayPal will likely keep the statistical part of the new execution system confidential in order to interpret statistics and apply them against sellers any way they wish.

I guess eBay corp has decided that there are still too many small sellers succeeding through honest and direct dealings with buyers so they have unleashed a new weapon to attack and accuse sellers of misdeeds.

It appears eBay corp believes that if they can't get you from the eBay side of a transaction, they  will dig up dirt on you from the PayPal side of the transaction in order to bring about your swift demise.

Merry Christmas Sellers, from John Donahoe and his hand picked team of "noise" exterminators".  

Perminate Link for PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics   PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Thu Dec 13 23:03:32 2012

That said, what gives PayPal the right to evaluate, rate and critique their customers anyway?

Anyone notice the timing of this announcement and how they waited until the deadlines to opt out of compulsory arbitration passed?

With this gem up their sleeve, it is little wonder eBay and PayPal wanted customers disqualified from filing class action lawsuits by default, hence the timing of the announcement.

Perminate Link for PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics   PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
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Thu Dec 13 23:05:24 2012

Oh, I’m sorry but I just can’t resist. From where would PreyPal get “industry benchmarks”? Or do they mean eBafia/PreyPal benchmarks?

As no more than a merchant (“of sorts”) operating a “merchant account” with the infamous Wells Fargo Bank and therefore, except for the operation of its “pretend bank”, in the main, riding on the back of the real retail bank’s payments processing systems, PreyPal can monitor only its own users, predominantly eBay sellers who are forced to offer PreyPal, and buyers on eBay who are now effectively being encouraged by eBay’s hard-wired “buyer protection” to try to rip off eBay sellers. How then could PreyPal possibly ascertain what was an “industry” benchmark?

The Refund Rate: I can assure you that Visa and MasterCard are unconcerned about refunds allowed by their merchants because they know that their merchants are otherwise presumed to be  “professionals” and only offer refunds when they are appropriate, not because some imbecilic middleman such as eBafia, or PreyPal itself, is effectively forcing such refunds sans a satisfactory transaction dispute mediation process … And who is to say that the otherwise simple issuing a refund is a sign of “risky practice”?

Disputes: Relative to PreyPal, Visa and MasterCard have to moderate few disputes, and if you do have a problem with a credit card transaction you can pick up the phone and immediately talk to someone at your card-issuing bank and get the matter resolved professionally, and fairly (try that with PreyPal …) …

With the help of the headless turkeys at eBay, PreyPal is becoming a laughing stock. Except for its mandated use on eBay, PreyPal is now, or soon will be dead in the water, thanks to the digital wallets now or soon to be available from Visa and MasterCard.

Goodbye clunky PreyPal—It has not been nice knowing you …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

Perminate Link for PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics   PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Thu Dec 13 23:10:57 2012

Really?????

What fresh hell is this?  

Perminate Link for PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics   PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics

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

Thu Dec 13 23:20:29 2012

Way to go PayPal! Punishing honest sellers such as myself who refund small shipping overcharges when the calculator is wrong. I always felt keeping a $3 overpayment in shipping was unethical so I'd refund it. But now I'm "a bad seller" for it?

Maybe I'll just stick with Google Checkout. PayPal has been a huge headache this holiday season already.  

Perminate Link for PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics   PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics

by: Will This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 13 23:28:08 2012

Wait a minute, Paypal touts themself as being nothing more than a payment collector, so what gives them the right to place evaluations on payments, going in and out?

Perminate Link for PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics   PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics

by: Michael in BC This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 13 23:33:16 2012

Although I ask in my listings for buyers in Canada to wait for my invoice (so I can include appropriate Canadian sales taxes in their totals due), I frequently have Canadian buyers jump the gun by using 'Pay Now', which results in Canadians receiving an invoice that does not include the tax amount.

In such cases, I've been refunding what was sent (with an explanation) and sending an invoice for the correct amount due.

So now am I to be punished for this .... which has absolutely nothing to do with buyer satisfaction ?  Canadian tax varies by province, and can run as much as 15% - I can't eat this because a buyer can't be bothered to actually read my listings.

I could send a payment request for the amount due (often just a few dollars), but then I incur all the usual Paypal transaction and percentage fees....again.

Any other solutions ? - all my listings are for OOAK items, sold by auction.  I can't just ''build sales taxes'' into fixed price listings, as taxes vary from 5% to 15%.

... Michael

Perminate Link for PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics   PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 13 23:34:58 2012

Is this going to be for diamond sellers???

Perminate Link for PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics   PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 13 23:35:36 2012

Another policy straight out of The Bizarro World, the fictional planet in the DC comics universe.

The Bizarro Code :
Us do opposite of all Earthly things!
Us hate beauty!
Us love ugliness!
Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World!"

Perminate Link for PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics   PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics

This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles
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Thu Dec 13 23:46:25 2012

It just the same BS like eBay.

Perminate Link for PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics   PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics

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

Thu Dec 13 23:49:58 2012

Just tell me how much my fees will increase thanks to this "improvement" and get it over with.

Perminate Link for PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics   PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics

by: blaumann This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 13 23:57:36 2012

It never ends. Another way to fix what is not broken and ruin dealers.

Perminate Link for PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics   PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 14 00:09:47 2012

"what PayPal considers risky practices" They must be referring to selling on eBay.

Perminate Link for PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics   PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics

by: innerpuppie This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 14 00:33:28 2012

I give refunds. I agree with nasty folks. I placate the customers that most people would shove over a cliff. All to save my feedback. But I am DONE. I am sick of bending over backwards for people who leave less than stellar feedback when they didn't read the listing, didn't contact me if there was an issue, to allow me to correct it. I am worn out this holiday season, worn out. I am closing my eBay store this weekend and won't open again until after the new year. Seems like to coo-coos come out of the floorboards from the beginning of November until January. They buy something and then want you to read their minds to tell if they like it or not. If you don't read their mind correctly, they make a public comment on your feedback. What a pile of poopie.

Perminate Link for PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics   PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics

by: innerpuppie This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 14 00:35:20 2012

BTW, since when is 'doing right by your customer' with a refund for items damaged in transit or a wrong size or the buyer changed her mind and is returning the product something PP needs to monitor to gage good sellers over bad. For Pete's sake, they need to get a life.

Perminate Link for PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics   PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Fri Dec 14 01:09:27 2012

In fact, if you read the fuller ecommercebytes article at

http://www.ecommercebytes.com/cab/abn/y12/m12/i14/s01

you will see it’s PreyPal’s clunky way of trying to figure out which are the less than professional sellers that they think they need to apply funds holds to …

Since the real banks told PreyPal to “shape up or ship out” over eBay transactions causing too many credit card chargeback disputes, PreyPal has had to start holding payees’ funds more generally to avoid the banks becoming involved in such disputes, but those holds have caused a lot of flack and now they are simply trying to judge which are the sellers that are more likely to cause them trouble, and maybe they will do funds holds only on those, with less chance of them being exposed to the whole world as being the utterly clunky operation that they so obviously are … And, who knows, maybe the banks have again complained that there are still too many chargebacks …

“If you get too many chargebacks, we might starting [sic] holding some of your funds in reserve.”

Might start holding? You can bet on it baby …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

Perminate Link for PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics   PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 14 01:22:58 2012

#1:  Is there an OPT OUT button for this???

#2:  Was there an OPT IN button for this that we MISSED?

Soooo----Lets say---I sell car parts and charge a CORE FEE.  (The last two parts I bought on line had hefty core fees that were MORE than the ITEM COST!!!)  And of course once my buyers return the core they are issued a REFUND.  I "accept" Paypal for the payment.  So of course I have to refund the core fee to the buyers Paypal account.  Then--

Paypal wakes up one day and says:  Too bad so sad you are now BELOW SELLER STANDARDS and we are going to--what, exactly?  Cancel your account?  Penalize you with higher fees? With hold the funds you GET from buyers therefore hobbling if not destroying your business because then you CAN'T refund?

And yes I agree completely that this IS just another attempt from the MBA Short Bus Class at ebay/Preypal to turn  OFF the NOISE.  

I am SURE that Toys R Us is going to be SHUT DOWN because they have issued TOO MANY REFUNDS using their ebay platform to make THEM a viable business partner.

I musta hit the Holiday Cheer Bottle a wee bit more than I thought tonite.  Or I was hit on the head by one of the passing meteors.  

Because---

I thought that ebay/Preypal were all ABOUT the money.  Ya know--the money WE earn FOR THEM?

Apparently I AM delusional.

Perminate Link for PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics   PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics

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

Fri Dec 14 02:07:39 2012

So how exactly does this work for people who aren't selling tangible goods?  As part of the eBay app center every single person who unsubscribes receives a prorated refund and eBay is the one who initiates it.  My metrics are going to look a whole lot different than your average seller.

Perminate Link for PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics   PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Fri Dec 14 02:20:50 2012

Great now EBay & PP will be in direct conflict with each other leaving the sellers caught in the middle.  Ebay encourages buyers to return items and makes it extremely easy for buyers to do.  Of course when this happens, a refund happens.  Ebay is happy, but now we have a potential problem with PP to work through.  So potentially Ebay could be very happy with a seller and PP could be the exact opposite.  Really?!?!?!?  Dang they sure work hard to come up with these things that just complicate matters even more.

Ebay & PP are so lost at this point.  They should be looking at ways to streamline things.  But Oh No, they can't have any of that.  We need more rules, graphs, proceedures, etc.  Apparently this must be how they justify their jobs or something.  One day soon, I sure hope they figure out that this is a Hot Mess and they need to streamline before it all falls appart like a house of cards.

Perminate Link for PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics   PayPal Quietly Tests New Seller Performance Metrics

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Fri Dec 14 02:45:01 2012

How about filing a class action lawsuit for deceptive practices involving policy about class action lawsuits?

Ebay, also Paypal keep burning bridges to the point NOBODY, neither buyers or sellers will be using Paypal and Ebay.

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