Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Apr 15 2012 11:30:56

Is eBay Easing up on Seller Performance Standards?

By: Ina Steiner

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Starting in 2010, eBay began counting all customer claims opened against a seller, no matter how the case was ultimately resolved. Last year, eBay modified that policy: starting August 31, 2011, eBay said if a buyer didn't contact a seller before opening a Buyer Protection case and the seller acted quickly to resolve it, the case wouldn't be included in their count of opened cases.

An eBay seller sent the following email she received from eBay recently indicating that because she was able to resolve the case once she knew there was a problem, the case would not affect her seller performance rating.



Have you been affected by open cases in the two and a half years since eBay instituted this policy? Was it helpful when eBay modified the policy last year? Do you find eBay's enforcement has changed over time?

What about the problem of bad buyers - does "feedback extortion" exist? If so, are you able to report them to eBay?

Let us know in the comments!




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This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Sun Apr 15 13:56:03 2012

I had a case recently where I got a positive feedback, then an "oops I gave feedback to the wrong person". The person then claimed to have received an empty envelope and wanted a refund (we all know about the empty envelope/box scam). They also claimed to have opened a USPS case, but I was never able to verify it. Since it was a small amount (and wasn't insured) and it wasn't worth the hassle of trying to fight it, I refunded the person and blocked them. Afterward, I received an email from eBay with the same message as indicated in your example above.

I was actually quite relieved to see that message, since it always seemed patently unfair to me that sellers would have their performance ratings dinged as well as losing out to scammers and thieves - the sort of double whammy we sellers don't need. I'm hoping this means they're more aware of the scams taking place and will not kick the sellers when they're down quite as  much as before.

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by: BetterThingsToDo This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 15 14:16:11 2012

You can report feedback extortion to Fleecebay until you are blue in the face.

Fleecebay does not care about it. Its not a rampant as when sellers used to leave negative feedback as retaliation. Lesser of the two evils is feedback extortion.

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by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Sun Apr 15 23:58:35 2012

Ebay would not have enough staff to reply to all of the cases if they were all reported.

Its the same old story of them announcing policies and not enforcing them.

I was told by a buyer that I should refund them or they would report me to ebay, and they reported me to ebay before I could even reply - 1 day !

If you don't like their policy, buy direct or sell on ebid.net.


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This user has validated their user name. by: Nan
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Mon Apr 16 08:49:29 2012

>>>What about the problem of bad buyers - does "feedback extortion" exist? If so, are you able to report them to eBay?

I had an obvious case of feedback extortion where the (international) buyer actually used the eBay message system to threaten that if he did not get a partial refund on shipping, he would leave a negative feedback.  

I did not refund, since I charged only the actual shipping cost.  I reported him and apparently he was contacted, because he wrote to me again about a week later saying "I see you reported me to ebay . . ."  This was sometime during 2010.

More recently, I had another (international again) buyer pay for their order, and then wrote me to complain about the shipping cost.  Again, I did not refund, since, again - I only charge actual shipping cost.  They left a pos, and then torpedoed all my DSRs.  I reported them to ebay again, and was ignored.  No response, DSR's remained unchanged.

So, yeah - there is feedback extortion, but the customer has to extort you according to specific criteria or you are SOL.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: basset

Mon Apr 16 12:07:53 2012

Theoretically, this would have helped me last year. Another seller from the same category I sell in bought an item from me. Emailed that there was an issue with the item and within a minute after she sent the original email, opened a SNAD in the resolution center. Meanwhile, I am responding to the original email and am telling her a refund will be coming, (trusting her since she is another seller). I hit "send", then eBay's resolution SNAD email appears in my inbox!
  Not sure of HER motivation, but eBay needs to have one more question before a case is opened in the RC. After "did you contact the seller?" have the question: "How much time has passed?"  Most sellers take care of issues, but need a humanly reasonable amount of time to do so.
  I did get a glowing form letter email from eBay after that to let me know that I did a good job taking care of my buyer's issue. (the opened case stayed on my record, tho) So it looks like the "enough time" caveat in the first paragraph would have applied to me.  Would be nice, anyway!  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Mon Apr 16 13:31:16 2012

Three years, never had a case opened. Why? because I stand behind my product 100%.

Does it matter to eBay that I have 100% perfect feedback and all 4.9-5.0 DSR's, ship items witin 24 hours, satisfy customers? Heck no, they are a greedy, predatory company who believes they have a right to stongarm consumers using their laughable service.

Honestly, who cares about eBay anymore? Most sellers like me are already finished with being abused by eBay. Not to mention, sales and traffic on eBay have been declining year by year and the majority of buyers are nuisances or scammers.

Last month alone, I had 10 unpaid items totalling over $600. I also had 4 buyers try and claim they didn't receive their (under $5) item  although delivery confirmation showed otherwise. A quick message telling them I would contact the Post Office on their behalf and open a mail fraud investigation seemed to have those buyers never message me again. Go figure..

Unless they can put up the traffic and sales numbers, get rid of the scammers and thieves, I really don't care about their policies.

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

Mon Apr 16 16:05:08 2012

I have not received and cases filed in a long while. I have however complained about buyers who were trying to extort me. The problem is ebay does not really care until they file a case and hold your money, then you have to prove your case. There are many many problems with ebay, they may be resolving some but they still believe the buyer first no questions asked and if you do not refund it is hard to wiin your case. Buyers are not being policed by ebay and really they should be, they are not even registered properly, the buyers who are frauds are good at it, swo ebay needs to make a effort.  

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by: justpassinthru This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 17 00:30:15 2012

Ebay occasionally deigns to toss sellers a bone -- in secret, where buyers don't see it.  What counts is at the feedback screen where Ebay continues to encourage buyers to leave damaging feedback and rating stars.

Ebay decided long ago that the best way to lessen the possibility of a competitor springing up is to make sure sellers and buyers never band together and take their trading elsewhere.  To that end Ebay works very hard to ensure there is an adversarial relationship between buyers and sellers, portraying itself as the buyer's savior, selflessly protecting buyers from evil Ebay sellers, even going so far as to encourage that perception in the press.  All the while touting its ''We believe all people are basically good.'' that translates to, ''We believe all people are basically good...except Ebay sellers, our customers, who are jackass stupid enough to keep making us rich while we kick them around and around!''

Ebay may have overplayed that hand, though, as I'm seeing some signs that the word is out that Ebay is run by jackals, and buyers don't like it. I've heard from a few buyers who were forced by temporary circumstances to sell some on Ebay during the last four years of this recession and they are appalled at how Ebay treats its sellers.  One told me, ''it's like Ebay has declared war on its customers!''

It is interesting to note that Amazon has grown without demonizing its sellers.  I attribute that difference in strategy to ethics.  Bezos has some; Whitman/Donahoe don't.

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by: cayenna This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 17 02:56:59 2012

eBay has not changed at all. Recently my shop was sabotaged. I am a Top rated power seller and have had 100% since I have begun selling in 2007. This last month I had 4 of my DSR's affected and I have no idea why because the buyer/s never contacted me to tell me there was a problem. As a matter of fact they left positive feedback from what I see and yet have gone behind my back and affected my DSR's. I sell all of my handmade jewelry at wholesale prices and everything is hand forged etc and I have had very happy customers which my feedback has always proven, so I believe this was on purpose. I also had the best sales I have ever had on eBay this last year and now the last month I have only had ONE sale. I would really like to know what's going on. I have worked extremely hard to do everything eBay has asked ETC, to earn what I have and I am so sick of their games. If you actually received something that was supposed to be the way it is supposed to be for a change then all I can say is it is a miracle because the good things are few and far between when it comes to doing anything right for the seller. As far as I'm concerned eBay completely controls if you make it or break it. I now believe that they have reduced my visibility so that I cannot get enough sales to make up for any possible lack of tracking uploaded so that I lose my power seller status so that I lose my 20% discount. Thus putting more $ back into their pockets. Isn't that the only concern they have?

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This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Tue Apr 17 06:15:47 2012

As for DSR's... I have nearly 3000 positive feedback yet over 5000 transactions since DSR's rolled out. Of those 3000 who left feedback only 1/4 left DSR's. Yup, you read that. Out of over 5K transactions, only 800+ left DSRS.

So, eBay is basing seller performance on a fraction of my buyers? AND not from an analytical standpoint, my TRS discount is based upon ''opinon'' as eBay calls it. Plus, we all know ''the squeaky wheel gets the grease'' ~ more often than not, people will voice their opinion as a complaint. Just look at your favorite restaurant on YELP and you'll understand most people only voice their opinion to complain and some people are chronic complainers.

One thing about eBay is that they are ''loophole'' explorers. One minute they say one thing, the next minute they double back on their own words. Can't say how many times I've called CS, got some girl named Jennifer (funny how all eBay reps have the same name), got nothing accomplished, then called back a few hours later, hit the right CS rep and gotten things taken care of.

Point is, if eBay is training their CS reps to lie about their name, what can you expect afer that?



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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 17 13:09:11 2012

First off we prob couldn't pronounce the CSR's REAL name.

That said---

I have NOT signed on to the newest "suggestions" from Fleece Bay ie one day shipping and 14 day returns.  I HAVE received several pitiful emails about this and I think I got a voice mail---I don't listen to more than the first few seconds of those whiners  so I don't really know.

Sooooo----my sales---ha who am I kidding????---SALES????  On ebay????----my lookers and my watchers are---gone.  I have changed NOTHING else.  Same sort of items,  exact shipping.  overseas buyers welcome; on two accounts I have a scattered looker and an item or two moves.  And the rest---sit.  If I had to pay to list them I would be gone.  

The promise that "all will be PERFECT if only I would stop being so pig headed and just get with the program" that ebay is trying to entice us with has failed.  

I don't sell the sorts of things that lend themselves to a stand alone web site or even other venues.  Trust me---I HAVE looked extensively.

And I too have noticed that out of say 10 sales ONE person MIGHT leave a FB or a DSR rating.  ONE. And I think the proportion is much lower even than that.  I see the long list of former sales and the LACK of a BUYER FEEDBACK check mark.

Once upon a time ebay sent out "reminders" that you had not left FB.  And I used to every once in a while get a few after that time period.  No more.  

Coincidence?  I don't think so.  And after all shouldn't it be ME who decides if I want the risk and expense of losing the TSR "status"?

Not going to turn into a used clothing rental site!

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by: baghera This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 17 14:37:51 2012

Last year, a Canadian tried feedback extortion on me. All of the emails were exchanged through My Messages on ebay.

When I would not comply, the buyer negged me and left low DSRs. I informed ebay about it. Two days later, the feedback and DSRs were removed.    



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