Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Fri Apr 25 2014 21:09:15

eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate

By: Ina Steiner

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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:



Dear (name):
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.
Sincerely,
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.




Comments (49) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate   eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate

by: rstpete This user has validated their user name.

Fri Apr 25 21:41:42 2014

I got the letter even though my sales are above the volume they state it applies to.  I replied that I was planning on leaving ebay this fall after 14 years as a seller watching ebay deteriorate and blame sellers for every thing while encouraging the unpleasable and out and out cheats to proliferate on the ebay system. This while punishing sellers for trying to satisfy people that did not read listings to start with, in part because of a poorly built mobile ap that requires extra clicks to even see the description while we deal with title limits and no text in pictures. They have our hands tied behind out backs, up against the wall awaiting the blind fold in August.  

Perminate Link for eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate   eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate

by: moto-science This user has validated their user name.

Fri Apr 25 22:53:22 2014

Ebay is so transparently flakey and full of horsesh*t. In todays retail refund enviroment, buyers ask for refunds for all sorts of reasons and I can't control that even if I wanted to....I am beyond trying to stay here after 12 years.

Hey Ebay dumbos : Once this group of founding sellers are gone Ebay won't have buyers coming to buy the carefully put together collections of products that are no longer listed here......

Perminate Link for eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate   eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate

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

Fri Apr 25 22:53:49 2014

Using events (alleged defects) that occurred under one set of policies can NOT legally be held against a seller when a new set of policies goes into effect regardless of any phony gesture "grace periods."

FTC toll free: 1-877-382-4357

This letter from ebay means something is happening...keep up the calls to the FTC.

Perminate Link for eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate   eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate

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

Fri Apr 25 23:10:41 2014

"I got the letter even though my sales are above the volume they state it applies to."

And yet another demonstration of eBay's poor database programming ...

Perminate Link for eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate   eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate

by: used2luv2sell This user has validated their user name.

Fri Apr 25 23:56:44 2014

I especialy liked the part that said ''And we're here to help''.

It seems at this point, there isn't much help to be given.  You make assinine rules & regulations, then you don't inform the phone parrots what's happening; just give them the party line to squawk at anyone unfortunate enough to feel the need to call.

You seem determined to alienate anyone who sells and isn't large enough to buy their way out of low DSR's.  Now there's a plan that's working perfectly!

Perminate Link for eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate   eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate

This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Sat Apr 26 00:26:45 2014

I got the email and it is so convoluted I myself did not exactly know what they were talking about. It obviously was written by their lawyers so that even a judge and jury would not know exactly what they were trying to convey from the pronouncement. Is eBay that worried about what might result from their new rules? The best thing to do is to not even worry about it and go somewhere else because after 15 years I am ready to dump everything.

Bill

Perminate Link for eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate   eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate

by: jaydee This user has validated their user name.

Sat Apr 26 02:23:07 2014

We are really now at the point of not really caring about what eBay does to itself, it's gone way beyond the point of reasonable,  

We pulled 40% of our listings this week, in retaliation to this noise, and if they continue this nonsense, we will continue to punish them back, by adding other payment methods to our site, and or removing Paypal altogether

Our current business model does not need eBay, they have served their purpose, we are in charge of OUR Business not eBay.

Perminate Link for eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate   eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate

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

Sat Apr 26 05:02:47 2014

I also received an email. I do between 980-1200 transactions every 3 months. I don't understand the email, nor do I careā€¦

Perminate Link for eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate   eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate

by: dans parts This user has validated their user name.

Sat Apr 26 07:21:57 2014

I read this thread last night at just before midnight, and my letter from them came in at 1am.

@Philip - what did you say about poor database programming???

Obviously, if Ina's got time to have someone forward this letter to her, get in a BUNCH of comments already, and then write up a whole column, this letter had been around for HOURS before I got it.

But then again, I sometimes get the automatic email copies for end of auction 1-2 days after the auction ends.  I just wonder when my Buyers are getting those end of auction emails telling them to pay?  A day after they've already paid?

Yup!

Perminate Link for eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate   eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate

by: OldCrabapple This user has validated their user name.

Sat Apr 26 09:00:28 2014

I got the email and understood it to say, in ebay's typically arrogant and condescending way, that they were offering me special protection...from themselves. Well, isn't that special?

Perminate Link for eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate   eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate

by: etailer This user has validated their user name.

Sat Apr 26 10:40:01 2014

We have never been more confused with eBay policies.  

From the recent interaction with eBay CSRs and the announcement about how sellers will be measured, it appears that all the buildup about Seller Protection has been wiped out.

According to eBay CSRs, they have lost millions of buyers because of the recently implemented Seller Protection policies - therefore, in order to bring these buyers back, eBay is in the process of going back to its earlier business model.

Here is what we have experienced:

1. Buyers can leave Negative or Neutral feedback without any communication with the seller - without giving the seller an opportunity to fix the problem. eBay will begin treating these as ''opinions'' that display poor customer service by the sellers.  

2. We have not enrolled in the eBay's Return Program (the one that is administered by eBay). However, we do offer returns provided the buyer contacts us, we approve the return and provide the buyer with an RMA with detailed instructions that include shipping and the non refundable amount.  Our Return Policy was crafted and approved by an eBay Account Manager.  

Evidently, now the buyers can return any item for any reason without any prior approval - a buyer needs to simply send an e-mail to the seller indicating that they are dissatisfied with the item is and ship the item back.  If the buyer can provide tracking and Delivery Confirmation, sellers are expected to provide full refund - including S&H!

3. During the past few weeks eBay has indiscriminately taken down several listings that have been up since 2008 - with thousands of sales/ transactions.  Many of these listings were created at the request of our then Account Manager. When we called eBay Support, CSRs are unable to provide explanation - we were told to review the accompanying e-mail and/ or review listing policies.

Has anybody else experienced these changes?  If yes, do they have any suggestions to counter these impetuously unannounced changes?

Perminate Link for eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate   eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate

by: moto-science This user has validated their user name.

Sat Apr 26 11:44:51 2014

Clown car management at Ebay only knows how to chase buyers away and alienate/demoralize the selling corps. It's becoming a self perpetuating cycle......
What a bunch of hacks. They haven't a clue.
Copycat the A-z claims system from Amazon
is the end for me. I won't sell on a 3P  site where I can lose my merch and the payment
which is what happens under A-z claims system. Ebay thinks this is the way to go.
There is alot of fraud on Amazon A-z with this system. I'm not going back to Amazon and Ebay will be next. Sales are falling and the rules for seller are getting more draconian. I don't give a toss.....for Ebay anymore.
The era of 3P selling sites is over...only future is in a standalone web site.

1. Sales are still falling. Buyers are leaving because the selection of merchandise is gone. Veteran sellers no longer are investing time here with each revision of this idiotic selling scheme.

2. Sellers must be flogged until morale improves. Ebay just hates sellers.....
They do everything they can to blame their
problems on sellers. Not to worry Sellers can feel the lack of appreciation and are reciprocating by leaving...

Name a business that  throws away customers who pay them ~$10K a year in fees from  : EBAY.

Perminate Link for eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate   eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate

This user has validated their user name. by: Puck

Sat Apr 26 12:23:57 2014

Some bright boy in their legal department must have awakened long enough to think about the implications of a unilateral contract change applied retroactively.

Perminate Link for eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate   eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sat Apr 26 13:09:27 2014

Used2luv2sell says "I especialy liked the part that said ''And we're here to help''

They might as well says "And we're here to help destroy your business.

I've had 3 sellers want their sales cancelled this week  within minutes of them hitting the purchase button.  Ding, Ding, Ding!   3 instant defects.

You're doing a heck of a job Brownie.  I mean  Burke.

Perminate Link for eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate   eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Sat Apr 26 16:57:38 2014

''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.''

What the heck does all this mean? I DID NOT receive this email. If I understand that statement correctly - those who are ''currently'' TRS, their defects will STILL be counted retroactively for 12 months coming Aug 1st AND those defects before March will make those TRS sellers not only lose their 20% discount but drop them out of TRS altogether.

This is still ILLEGAL.
FTC toll free: 1-877-382-4357

''It does not prevent your listings from being lowered in search. But it will give you extra time to continue selling and meet the new minimum standards.''

What this means is - ebay wants sellers to keep listing even though your listings will not show up in search but keep plugging away since we know we can shake some more money out of you.

I have walls in my home I can bang my head against.

Perminate Link for eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate   eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sat Apr 26 17:11:40 2014

Babybit is right. They just want our money.  They don't actually want us to make money.  

Perminate Link for eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate   eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Apr 26 20:40:44 2014

All it means is that the sleeping lawyers in corporate took time out from wind surfing and para sailing to actually read the junk Burkey Boy sent to them visa via this program and said "No you cant do that - go fix it".

So magically theres now a grace period.

Amazon sales go up, eBay .... not so much.

Some one please hand Burkey Boy an "eBay for Dummies book"

Perminate Link for eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate   eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Sat Apr 26 21:23:35 2014

However, there is STILL the discrepancy of only select 12 month lookback sellers receiving this limited grace period offer. All the other sellers falling into this defect lookback are not given protection. Not all TRS sellers have 400 transactions in 3 months.

Perminate Link for eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate   eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Sat Apr 26 21:30:46 2014

Would love to know what the FTC thinks of ebays great divide.

Perminate Link for eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate   eBay Offers Limited Grace Period from New Defect Rate

by: jaydee This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 27 04:30:01 2014

Sending a letters to sellers who will be eventually terminated , is nasty but at least eBay is giving the sellers some time to get their financial issues sorted out,  

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