|Fri Apr 25 2014 21:09:15|
eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate
By: Ina Steiner
eBay sellers are still dealing with the new way eBay will measure their performance, announced last month, called transaction defect rate. On Friday, low-volume sellers were offered a limited, partial grace period, but some sellers expressed confusion and even skepticism about what the letter meant.
The reason for the extended protection for some sellers is because eBay judges low-volume sellers on a rolling 12-month period. The August 20 evaluation - when the new performance standards take effect - will be based on transactions from August 1, 2013 through July 31, 2014. But eBay only announced the new defect rate last month, so without a grace period, eBay would be judging sellers on factors that they had been unaware would count against them.
(Sellers with 400 or more transactions over the past 3 months are evaluated based on the past 3 months' transactions, so the August 20 evaluation will be based on transactions from May 1 through July 31, 2014.)
In its April 25th letter, eBay explained that the protection it was extending recipients was designed to ensure sellers are not restricted due to defects acquired prior to March 11, 2014, before eBay first announced they would be counted.
A footnote explains that protection won't apply for sellers if they "would have fallen below standard anyway based on the defects currently counted in today's seller performance standards."
Sellers forwarded the letter along with notes, such as these ones:
"Can you believe this email? I have no idea what they are talking about. I'm a bright guy, but this is getting so complicated!"
"This is getting more and more Byzantine. It seems that there is a storm brewing at eBay's headquarters and the ship-of-state has been slammed into reverse with assurances."
"Far too little and way too late. They think we're idiots."
"I received this. I find it impossible to understand, I am sure it will be used against me soon."
"Apparently, eBay is rethinking portions of the new seller defect policy specifically, the timing of transaction defect account restrictions. It seems as though someone at eBay woke up to the fact that the new defect policy may result in the purge of many sellers not just the elimination of sellers from qualifying and continuing to receive the 20% TRS discount, and that the effected sellers (however many) could find their accounts restricted just in time for the holiday rush... As informed sellers already know, eBay wants to set standards incredibly high in order to prevent as many sellers as possible for qualifying for the discount. In the process of setting such high standards, they now find it necessary to give some sellers "special protection.""
eBay's letter, titled, "a special protection for sellers evaluated on the last 12 months transactions," read as follows:
As we approach the August 20 evaluation date when the new seller performance standards take effect, we're writing to let you know about a special protection in place for sellers like you who are evaluated on your transactions over the past 12 months. The protection is designed to ensure your selling is not restricted due to defects acquired prior to March 11, 2014, before we first announced they would be counted.
You'll be protected through the March 20, 2015 seller evaluation from selling limits or restrictions as a consequence of falling below eBay's minimum standards strictly because of one or more of the defects that were not previously counted in standards that you received prior to March 11, 2014: opened cases, detailed seller ratings of 3 for item description, returns because the item was not as described, negative or neutral feedback, or seller-cancelled transactions*.
Note this special protection is designed to protect you from the consequences of falling below eBay's minimum standards. It does not apply to Top Rated Seller status and benefits or prevent your listings from being lowered in search. But it will give you extra time to continue selling and meet the new minimum standards.
Once the new seller performance standards go into effect, we will send you a notification when this protection is applied to your account.
In the meantime, be sure to become familiar with the new seller performance standards and get an up-to-date preview of your progress in your seller dashboard. From your dashboard you can also run a report, updated weekly, of all your transactions with defects to help you pinpoint where you need to focus. Just close the preview to find the link to the report on your regular dashboard.
And we're here to help. You can contact us using this priority link to eBay Customer Support if you have questions.
eBay Selling Team
*Note this special 7-month protection won't apply if you would have fallen below standard anyway based on the defects currently counted in today's seller performance standards: detailed seller ratings of 1 and 2 for item description, ratings of 1 for ship time, going above the 0.3% maximum percentage of eBay Money Back Guarantee cases closed without seller resolution. Nor will it apply if you have 400 or more transactions over a 3-month period and are subsequently evaluated on a 3-month look-back period.
On the PowerSeller board, one seller reportedly wrote, "Isn't it ironic that they will not show us how and why we got low dsrs or 3's in the Item as described dsr that was left before April 30 because they needed that time to inform the buyers that it was not anonymous any longer... But, they have no problem using those defects "retroactively" to strip sellers of Top Rated seller status for things that happened months ago."
Let us know what you think of this new development and if you'll be impacted.