Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Aug 29 2013 09:09:40

eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs

By: Ina Steiner

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The feedback system eBay created to provide sellers with an incentive to offer fast and free shipping appears to be broken, and the marketplace seems to be in no hurry to fix it. Sellers are reporting that eBay's Detailed Seller Rating system is allowing their customers to leave them low scores on certain criteria for which they should receive automatic high ratings.

eBay added automatic 5-star ratings because some buyers who received free shipping were leaving sellers low scores for shipping costs - defeating some of sellers' incentives for offering free shipping in the first place. eBay expanded automatic 5-stars to additional criteria for similar reasons.

But sellers say the automatic ratings are not always working and that buyers are still able to leave low scores for them. In this recent discussion thread on eBay, a seller who reported the problem to eBay posted a letter she received from customer service:

"I wanted to follow up with you about the conversation we had earlier regarding transactions qualifying for automatic 5 stars still allowing buyers to leave lower detailed seller ratings.

"It turns out this is a problem already identified and currently being worked on. I have added the information you gave me to the ticket. Thank you so much for following up with this and providing examples of this happening. With all site issues, the more information and examples we have, the easier it is to resolve the problem."


But a perusal of EcommerceBytes shows sellers have reported this problem going back at least to January. This letter from a reader reports the identical problem occurring in January and for which eBay customer service reps acknowledged a glitch with the program.

In this April blog post, I reported the problem, writing, "I've also received reports from readers that eBay's automatic 5-star DSR program meant to ensure that buyers can't ding sellers who conform to some of its mandatory requirements to maintain TRS status is not working" - and I quoted a seller experiencing the problem who was unable to get eBay to fix their account.

eBay set up the DSR system to be anonymous at a time when sellers could leave buyers negative ratings. Now there is no reason buyers should be able to leave sellers detailed seller ratings anonymously, and that anonymity makes it difficult for sellers to identify buys and glitches like the one described in this post.

Sellers who do identify a problem are not always able to get customer service to fix their accounts, and while eBay now says sellers can appeal negative feedback ratings, a) that doesn't apply to low DSRs if the buyer left a positive; and b) sellers are reporting difficulty getting eBay customer service reps to help with appeals.

Ultimately sellers who are on the fence about offering fast and free shipping may decide it's not worth it if their DSRs can still get dinged by their customers.




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs   eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs

by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 29 09:38:39 2013

One wonders how many of the 15,000 purged by ebay in early August (many of whom were only out of compliance by 1 star) were victims of ebay's own failure to fix this problem.

Perminate Link for eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs   eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs

by: alfabarn This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 29 09:56:32 2013

Netwatch
I was going to raise that very same point. Which sellers are affected by this and at the same time several other concurrent Ebay failures.  

Perminate Link for eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs   eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Thu Aug 29 10:02:47 2013

IMO, DSR's should be done away with. They are only a tool to control seller behavior and either they don't work (as in OP's case) or are abused.

Another example of poor use of DSR is to star sellers on ship time - when it is completely out of sellers control once it hits the shipper.  The ability to view handling time settings,  when the label is printed and when the shipper scans it in should be visible most of the time.

Original FB could be changed for a workable system. Many people who post here have put forth good ideas. In keeping with my mantra - any system should be SIMPLE and straightforward.

Perminate Link for eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs   eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 29 10:53:44 2013

Ebay buyers don't get a free ride from me.  It costs me to ship and those costs are passed on...period.  Then, I don't have them holding me hostage with discounts and TRS labels. (shrug)

Perminate Link for eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs   eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Thu Aug 29 11:05:06 2013

Let's get this out of the way. When DSR's were first implemented, John Donahoe said they would be a tool to help sellers improve performance and would never be used against sellers.

DSR scores have been weaponized against sellers since day one.
Perhaps, if Mr Donahoe was a seasoned eBay seller he would have realized how totally and completely the statement written by eBay's spin doctors was.

eBay is currently engaged in a genocide against small sellers. eBay has never been known to be completely transparent, but the last few weeks have seen any measure of seller transparency removed by eBay.

There was the purge of 15,000 sellers who were driven into eBay's "Guardrail", and saw their seller privileges permanently suspended with no option to appeal.

Then we saw eBay deliberately remove the policy compliance from sellers dashboards. An eBay spokesperson came out and posted the official lie that the information displayed was not accurate, and so, eBay decided to remove the display. Apparently, fixing the display so it did display accurate information never crossed the minds of anyone at eBay.

Most recently, eBay removed the on line guide that explained the process for running a report that would let sellers see which item, and more importantly which buyer left them low scores.

Apparently, eBay is sick and tired of sellers researching the DSR scores they receive and complaining to eBay when their promises of automatic 5 Stars are not received.

And, once again, we have eBay with a system and policies they implemented which is not working, and instead of fixing the broken system, they simply eliminate the ability of sellers to determine that eBay is not fulfilling the promises they made to sellers with regard to automatic 5 Stars.

If anyone is still thinking there is no way eBay would engage in a genocide against sellers, they need only look at eBay's recent actions and their ongoing elimination of transparency to see the genocide is taking place.

Hopefully those sellers with doubts will wake up and realize eBay is engaging in a small seller genocide before they log on one day and discover that they have become a victim of the latest round of small seller purges.

Perminate Link for eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs   eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs

by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 29 11:36:23 2013

Isn't there something ILLEGAL about a corporation taking your money monthly and agreeing to do certain things and then failing to fulfill those agreements? How many sellers are contacting the Attorney General's offices of the states wherein they reside and complaining about ebay?

Perminate Link for eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs   eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs

by: brokentoys19 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 29 11:44:36 2013

Speaking of Donahoe and Genocide, here's a related quote. One that may leave people speechless in light of recent events.



"eBay is back!"

http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/02/07/ebay-donahoe-come
back/

...
Donahoe then begins to ruminate on his eight years at eBay (EBAY), five of them as CEO. He’s delivered a variation of this speech to employees in Ireland, Germany, and other eBay locations in the U.S., yet on this December morning Donahoe still sounds raw, almost confessional, as he recounts his moments of self-doubt — such as the night in June 2008, before he was due to appear at a sellers event in Chicago. It was months after he had announced sweeping changes to eBay’s fee structure, and sellers were irate. One went so far as to create a YouTube video comparing Donahoe to a Nazi guard in Schindler’s List. (Seriously.) Donahoe recalls, “I remember sitting in a hotel room that night and thinking, Is this worth it?”




(There's still a hard hitting parody video on youtube that rings more true by the day.)

Perminate Link for eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs   eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Aug 29 13:20:52 2013

Ina writes: "eBay set up the DSR system to be anonymous at a time when sellers could leave buyers negative ratings."

I believe the DSRs and no buyer negatives were implemented on the same day, February 1, 2008. That's the day I stopped selling on eBay, and prior to that time I don't recall seeing any DSRs for my auctions.

Perminate Link for eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs   eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 29 13:36:11 2013

You GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Girl!

Perminate Link for eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs   eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 29 13:45:13 2013

Donahoe recalls, “I remember sitting in a hotel room that night and thinking, Is this worth it?”  Then checks his bank balance and says...."Yes"....

Perminate Link for eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs   eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Thu Aug 29 14:12:06 2013

@iheartjacksparrow eBay introduced DSRs in 2007 as part of "Feedback 2.0," and it began prohibiting sellers from leaving negative feedback for buyers in 2008.

Here's a link to an interview I did with Brian Burke in May 2007

http://ebyt.es/15nnNJu

And here's my article about Bill Cobb's announcement regarding no negs for buyers from January 2008

http://ebyt.es/1dTQsgM

Perminate Link for eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs   eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs

by: ebay for dummies This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 29 14:30:25 2013

Ebay doesn't fix things that are broke they only break things that aren't broken.

Perminate Link for eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs   eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs

by: Birdie056 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 29 14:50:17 2013

Thanks Gideon! I actually had two feedbacks with (total of 6) negative DSRs removed. I did my homework and identified the item/seller involved. I provided the information to the CS rep including the fact that the items were shipped via Free Shipping, there was no communication, I shipped and provided tracking within one pay of payment, items arrived within three days, feedback and comments were very positive, yet negative DSRs were left. I was polite and professional. Just provided the facts and quoted the policy. The CS Reps were very helpful and removed the feedback and DSRs quickly. However, it is really scary that the DSR System that can cause honest and hardworking ebay sellers to lose our business is flawed and untrustworthy! Birdie

Perminate Link for eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs   eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs

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

Thu Aug 29 14:52:20 2013

Ebafia would have to close its doors next week if the American public knew the full story about ebafia's pandemic criminal activity and across the board failure to abide by its contractual (oral or written) obligations to its sellers.

Make no mistake, ebay defenders, this was intentional -- another "glitch" resulting in ebafia achieving covert goals and both good, bad, and marginal sellers paying the price.

If you don't believe in a pervasive and intentional anti small seller conspiracy, then you aren't smart enough to follow the dots.

Perminate Link for eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs   eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs

by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 29 14:56:57 2013

Ming, what I am curious about is how the mainstream media and American public at large continue to remain underinformed about what's going on at ebay. What's your take on that- is it under reporting, media falling for disinformation and spin that ebay puts on things, what exactly?

Perminate Link for eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs   eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Thu Aug 29 16:31:36 2013

Birdie056's experience of receiving positive feedback but negative DSR scores could be addressed by eBay simply and easily. The fix would eliminate untold numbers of calls to customer service by totally eliminating the problem.

The simple solution would be when a buyer ticks the positive feedback button, low DSR scores of 1 and 2 would be greyed out so the buyer is prevented from leaving a low DSR score.

The reason this is such a simple fix is due to the fact that eBay already has a greyed out process in place for DSR's when 5 stars are automatic, unless of course eBay is experiencing an all too common system failure that prevents the automatic 5 stars.

@ Rich Matsuura... You have promised to improve seller protections, how about dropping by and justifying the eBay reasoning for not implementing this simple solution?

Perminate Link for eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs   eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs

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

Thu Aug 29 18:16:10 2013

Could I once again opine that it’s not the DSR system per se that is the problem, it’s what eBay does with those arbitrary ratings that is so grossly unfair; that they use such subjective ratings to hammer only their non-preferred sellers is unconscionable in the extreme; then, what else could you expect from the bunch of demonstrable criminals that are running eBay? After all, Donahoe’s declared quest is to replace all eBay sellers—even the larger ones—with international brand players. He’s delusional, of course, but he will do a lot of damage to the eBay marketplace in the meantime … http://bit.ly/YvxFEg

“eBay expects sellers to consistently provide service that results in a high level of buyer satisfaction. This includes setting and meeting buyer expectations by providing excellent customer service from beginning to end. ”—eBay …
By any measure, eBay consistently fails miserably the standards it sets for others …

@NetWatch,

The problem with “reporting” these days is that it is no longer “journalism”; the great majority of reporters now are little more than regurgitators of the media releases that habitually spew from hard working departments of spin—like that of eBay’s; for instance, some people think that “PreyPal” is a threat to the banks and the credit card companies; whereas it is estimated that “PreyPal” currently has a whole 1.1% of the global payments business; “PreyPal” is a flea compared to the three major professional players, Visa, MasterCard and Amex, and the new digital wallets no available from MasterCard/Visa will eventually relegate “PreyPal” to the atrophying eBay marketplace and as the online merchant account provider of last resort … http://bit.ly/UVXx53

“It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value.”—Arthur C. Clarke ...
No contradiction of that can be found in the early days of Donahoe's time at eBay …

Perminate Link for eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs   eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Thu Aug 29 18:29:12 2013

@Ina re: http://ebyt.es/1dTQsgM

No more Negs for Buyers... 1015 replies.

Might be some interesting bathroom reading.

Bill Cobb, destined not to become the most despised figure in Ecommerce.

Perminate Link for eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs   eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs

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

Thu Aug 29 18:48:05 2013

@Netwatch

As usual Phil Cohen hits the nail squarely on the head in his analysis of the pathetic modern state of American journalism.

This isn't Ed Murrow's and Walter Cronkite's media any more.

It's about access and greed. Check and see just who owns the principle American print and electronic purveyors of 'news.'

Profit driven corporations decide what news to print, air, post often about other corporations.

If media conglomerate A wants advertising from corporation B, then how much ad revenue do you think they'll get if they print, air, or post inconvenient but often squelched facts that many of these corporations are poisoning our food in the name of profits, manufacturing extremely harmful drugs in the name of profit, producing defective vehicles whose defects can kill in the name of profit, causing natural gas on fire to come out of kitchen faucets in the name of profit, and so on.

There are very, very few places these days to get reasonably objective news. IMO probably the best one in the country is Free Speech TV and the other is the London based BBC website, the BBC World Service, and BBC TV news which many can see on BBC America or on their local PBS channel.

Perhaps Phil can tell us the the ABC is "corporate" media or an objective information gathering and reporting news source.

Rupert Murdoch (you know the guy whose sorry excuses for media hacks murder victim's mobile phone) owns news and sports media throughout the English speaking world such as Faux Gnus, Fox Sports, Sky Gnus, and so on. Of course we know just how accurate, unbiased, and balanced Faux Gnus is.

Even PBS has soiled itself in recent years. Republicans have starved it for funding so it must increasingly rely on -- you guessed it -- corporations for funding.

Further, many credible reports surfaced during the Bush administration that printing, airing, or posting anything that wasn't the government line resulted in loss of access for the offending reporter or publication.

Loss of access to any administration means a reporter is out of job.

Of course, none of this is conspiracy ;-)

There is the relentless stampede to Dumb Down America by numbing our minds with the Kardashians, football, feel good 'news,' 'news' with a specific political bias (usually conservative), and if it bleeds it leads news.

Predatory capitalism is one of several very large elephants in the American living room that mainstream media ignores, under reports, or misreports.

Perminate Link for eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs   eBay Drags Heels in Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs

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

Thu Aug 29 19:30:23 2013

@Ming,

If by “ABC” you are referring to the Australian public broadcaster, then, like the BBC, it is a publicly (government) funded broadcaster, and it is independent, and does do a lot of good investigative work and fearless reporting.

Yet, as the world gets smaller and the international conglomerates get ever more powerful, the stories that those conglomerates would prefer to see not published, are becoming less likely to be exposed.

Certainly, for the commercial broadcasters, advertising revenue is their oxygen, and it is realistic that commercial imperatives decree that such media will self-censor itself to protect its oxygen supply.

Unscrupulous corporations will exercise their power to censor stuff; I know that from personal experience with eBay where their shills have followed me on my travels around the internet; and it is a further testimony to the power, and their abuse thereof, of the likes of eBay, that no one in authority in the US appears interested in doing anything to stop eBay’s criminal activities, ie, the demonstrable facilitating of wire fraud on US consumers.

Ah, the Kardashians; I have watched some of their AuctionCause eBay listing; would you believe …

“Your child has delusions of adequacy”—Anon school report comment ...
Regrettably, John Donahoe's delusions have carried over into adulthood ... http://bit.ly/YvxFEg

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