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

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

Mon Apr 21 21:36:51 2014

My defect rate was defective because it was calculated by defectives.

Virtually nothing in it was accurate.

CSR said there are many errors in the reports which "will be fixed."

I'll believe it when I see it.

If they know their defect screens are defective, why are they displaying them to sellers?

Oh, BTW, 3 stars left for sellers are now the equivalent of negative feedback in spite of the it's above the median score.

One of the nice things about selling online is not having work with cubicle after cubicle of substandard, defective intellects.

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

Mon Apr 21 21:37:56 2014

Make that non intellects.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Apr 21 22:32:12 2014

"   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.  "

eBay's webinars are a joke.

Points covered are management's feeble attempt to justify defective policies and whitewash inherent flaws in their thinking.

As to participating and asking questions, the entire webinar is a staged production of the eBay department of spin.

Questions are fabricated to appear to come from users, when in fact they are just door openers designed to allow participating staff to parrot their talking points.

The chances that real sellers (read noise) will be able to participate are slim and none.

There will be no hard hitting questions, and the many policy defects in eBay's defect transaction process will remain unaddressed.

If eBay wants to prove me wrong, conduct an open ended webinar that will go on until every question is responded to and sufficiently answered - not these pre-programmed,  time limited purely prefabricated charades performed every time eBay needs to justify their poorly conceived policy.

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by: Bid or Buy Now This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Apr 21 23:51:10 2014

It is clear that amazon and ebay are not concerned with smaller sellers anymore. Their defect rates truly only hurt the small. Our ebay account currently is below their new standards because we have had 5 returns out of 400 sales. Nothing to do with us, just the buyers wanted to return their purchases.  

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by: rhawk This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 22 06:44:20 2014

Ebay is literally jumping the shark. Since March 1, my sales have dropped 75%. I refuse to buy anything on ebay anymore, and I think many other sellers are feeling the same.  Ebay cannot continue with Seller killing policies and expect Sales to continue to pour in.  Sellers are buyers too, and quite frankly we have all had enough with the idiocy.

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by: kzeeman This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 22 07:54:09 2014

They are doing exactly what they said they would do when they rolled it out. They said that they gave us extra room in the defect count to cover for defects that were not out fault BUT that and complaints from buyers, regardless of the cause, were indications that the buyer would buy less in the future. What this says to me is that they dont understand their seller community. Many sellers view this as a very personal venue and just taking hits on the chin so as to make more money is not part of the equation. They will have to modify the program. It is that simple.

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by: shootingcreek This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 22 07:57:47 2014

Although according to Ebay, I am not defective yet, I have decided that the day I lose my discounts will be the day I change to three day handling and no returns. I am tired of being the poodle jumping through hoops.

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by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 22 08:00:18 2014

Anyone ho ha sold n ebay for 6 months or more should know that absolutely NOTHING ebay says or does is true, fair, reasonable, ethical, logical nor in anyone's best interest but THEIRS!

Every change they make is BAD, even when it seems good, once the full impact is realized it turns out to be BAD sometimes for the buyers but ALWAYS, ALWAYS ALWAYS for the sellers.

So, this latest revelation regarding the defect rate fiasco is NO surprise.  This is all ebay knows how to do.

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by: older but not wiser This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 22 08:01:59 2014

I've been a TRS since the beginning of the program. Under the new defective rules. I have .64% out of the allowed 2% for cases that were opened unintentionally by people clicking the ''Where is my item'' button. In each case the buyer only wanted to make an inquiry not open a case. And, in each case I had shipped within 24 hours with tracking, however USPS was slow to deliver.
Under these new rules and tactics, I expect to lose my TRS. I suspect that is by design on eBays part. The TRS has become less and less valuable. It doesn't really help much in search and the 20% discount applies only to the FVF on the price of items purchased in the US. It doesn't apply to international sales or the FVF on shipping. Ebay continues to frustrate small sellers by constantly  moving the cheese!

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by: cdunn142 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Apr 22 08:08:11 2014

easy join ebid i love ebid and no silly rules i started having p-problems when i had a house fire unfortunately i could not post while my house was wrecked since i have gone over to ebid as lower fees less rules i love ebid ebid is great did i mention ebid was great lol join today at http://uk.ebid.net/buddy/412775

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by: redheadedlady This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 22 08:10:56 2014

On my form it showed I had 4 canceled transactions (either out of stock or sold to someone else).  I have never been out of stock on anything and never sold something to someone else.  One lady bought something for her daughter and when she saw the picture she didn't like it so the lady asked me to cancel the transaction.  One lady got laid off work and had to cancel hers because of money.  This is definitely not fair to anyone.  My big complaint is Vera Bradley.  They came on board in November and have over 100 negative feedbacks.  I came on board 12 years ago and not one negative feedback yet I'm the one they want to trash.  No sense at all.  If brick and mortar were rated the way ebay does, there would be a lot of them out of business.  If I purchased something and there was a problem, duh, I just would not go back again.  Same on ebay.  If there is a problem, don't go back.  You don't need feedback to figure that out.  I had a Pinto station wagon many years ago that went to the shop on a weekly basis.  I even had a rep from Detroit come in to find out what was going on.  Well, Ford is still in business and doing better than ever!!  And, I have bought other Ford's with no problems.  What gives with ebay!!

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by: GypsyWitch This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 22 08:14:40 2014

RHAWK: I can't agree with you more!!! Well-said: sellers are buyers too and we've had enough of their idiocy. I'll be calling a local consignment shop soon to see what all they're accepting now as far as summer vs. winter clothes, etc.
I tried to buy a skirt last week on eBay. Wrote to the seller for measurements, material type, etc. She writes back 3 days later - after I already bought a black skirt from someone who gave measurements in their auction - that she has "no way of measuring this; I'm 5' 5" and the skirt comes to my ankles, if that helps". WHAT AN IDIOT!!!!!

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by: GypsyWitch This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 22 08:15:49 2014

I think we should boycott eBay!!!!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Tue Apr 22 08:17:44 2014

One would HOPE for common sense.

I have 3 ''cancellation defects'' and two are flat out wrong:

Two purchases made by one customer who paid right away - then emailed and requested a shipping delay of approx a week since she was out of town.

Customer was contacted regarding shipping time restraints, refunded, items held, re-invoiced, and when she returned home she re-paid. There was NEVER a cancellation. The sale of the two items was successfully consummated. eBay got their fees and were NEVER asked to give them up.

There was NEVER a request for a cancellation of transactions.


*Emphasis* -  No problem existed with this transaction other than inconvenience caused by eBay's shipping time policy enforcement that did not allow me to simply HOLD the item for the customer without getting two black mark defects!

This SHOULD be considered a successful multi-purchase transaction, but it seems eBay is bound and determined to create two defects out of thin air when NONE existed.


Sellers should have a plan of what to do when buyers request a shipping delay.
Then reach for a bottle (of aspirin).


*Also looks like shipping time rate is off too, due to something about USPS scans showing. I ship 100% of my items (and upload tracking) 100% either same day or 1 business day. I have not examined this score thoroughly yet - I can only take this report in small doses.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Apr 22 08:37:34 2014

What is it someone said here a while back---"the beatings will continue until morale improves"?

True fact.

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by: whipnet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 22 08:39:27 2014

If eBay keeps this the way it is.  I am out of there.  Buying and Selling!

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

by: cillianred This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 22 08:45:02 2014

Many of the supposed *defects* that I've been reading about seem to be a direct result of GREAT customer service and/or a result of following ebay's own rules! So it seems, even if a seller does everything 100% right, offers great customer service, follows ALL of ebay's rules, *defects* are STILL going to happen because now apparently, when you do everything right, it's still going to be wrong.

In all the years I've been selling on ebay, this new defect policy has the appearance of being the absolute WORST nightmare policy ebay has EVER rolled out. And we were so excited when we heard that ebay was considering changing the feedback system.....how stupid were we.....



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This user has validated their user name. by: Puck

Tue Apr 22 08:47:26 2014

"My defect rate was defective because it was calculated by defectives."

Mental defectives.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Puck

Tue Apr 22 08:51:10 2014

"CSR said there are many errors in the reports which "will be fixed."

In the movies, statements like that are usually accompanied by theremin music.

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by: Orwellwasright This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 22 08:51:46 2014

This latest deliberate attempt to insult, drive off and diminish sellers is doing EXACTLY what ebay intended it to do , slaughter the pigs that are gobbling the feed of the prize hogs

On this very site an ebay exec stated the purpose of the new system was to  knock the number of TRS's down from 40 to 25%, That is a HUGE drop, and of course it will also devastate the Above and standard sellers as well

For those of you who are as yet unaware this past xmas was the worst retail selling season in a decade, the figures were so bad, just try to find them!

The media has dubbed the subsequent period as a RETAIL APOCALYPSE , In other words the middle class , which has been so diminished by an economy in freefall and the doubling of their Health insurance costs have stopped buying .Shopping is no longer considered a recreational activity ..

Of course this carries over to online sales as well. Ebay sales are down and subsequently they must take drastic steps to insure their prized platinums meet their sales quotas.

This latest lunacy is designed to elimninate competition for the Big Pigs.

You can debate and analyze till you drop from exhaustion, the answer is so simple

This latest sellercide is destroying thousands of sellers because thats what it was designed to do  

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