Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Aug 19 2014 15:34:07

New eBay Seller Standards Take Effect

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay's new seller standards - including its controversial Defect Rate policy - go into effect tomorrow. We're setting up this blog post so that as the calendar turns over to August 20, 2014, you can report what you are seeing.

Here is what eBay told sellers about defect rates in March:

Starting with the August 20 monthly seller evaluation, a new measure, the transaction defect rate ("defect rate"), will replace the current four individual detailed seller rating requirements in evaluating seller performance." The defect rate is the percentage of a seller's successful transactions that have one or more of the following "defects":

- Detailed seller rating of 1, 2 or 3 for item as described;
- Detailed seller rating of 1 for shipping time;
- Negative or neutral feedback;
- Return initiated for a reason that indicates the item was not as described;
- eBay Money Back Guarantee (previously known as eBay Buyer Protection) or PayPal Purchase - Protection case opened for an item not received or an item not as described;
- Seller-cancelled transactions.

Starting with the August 20 evaluation, to meet eBay's minimum standard, sellers can have up to a maximum 5% of transactions with one or more transaction defects over the most recent evaluation period. A maximum 2% will allow a seller to qualify as an eBay Top Rated Seller. Only transactions with US buyers count.


One of the areas of concerns for sellers: they've been reporting that is eBay is giving them a defect when buyers reach out to ask them a question, even if they've done nothing wrong. Last week, eBay announced a change that may help minimize this occurrence as part of its Fall Seller Release:

To help buyers with after-sales support, we're adding an option in the Contact Seller form that allows buyers to ask you a question about an item they've purchased or send you a message after the sale. This option will not be considered a "request/ case" and will not impact your seller performance.

eBay held a webinar last month to review what's changing and to show sellers how to use the new Seller Dashboard to monitor their defect rates. eBay's Brian Burke and Kristi Diemoz also answered questions from sellers.

You can watch the webinar recording on this Youtube video (warning, it's an hour and a half long).

The clock is counting down - let us know if and when you see any impact once the policy kicks in tomorrow.




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Readers Comments

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This user has validated their user name. by: windsorbear
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Tue Aug 19 16:30:28 2014

The clock is counting down... toward the moment that I end all of my eBay listings and rejoice from no longer being micro-managed.  I've got all of my listings transferred over to alternate sites as of last night.  I don't think I'll even notice a change in traffic as my listings on eBay have pretty much been dead as of late. I may list an occasional item on the site from time to time just to see what happens, but that's going to be about it.  To those that decide to stay on eBay, I wish you well my friends.  Take care and be careful!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Aug 19 16:40:30 2014

"One of the areas of concerns for sellers: they've been reporting that is eBay is giving them a defect when buyers reach out to ask them a question, even if they've done nothing wrong."  

I've seen this statement or similar on some Ebay threads too.  But what I've read is they are referring to the buyer opening a claim when they are just trying to send an email.

It is NOT the email that causes the defect, it is the claim that gets filed that causes the defect.  

***********************

Now in the Fall update Ebay says they are finally changing this, I think as of mid next month.  Buyer will be able to ask us a question on description after the sale without opening a claim if they choose to.

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Aug 19 16:55:12 2014

Since yesterday I've been keeping my eye on the listing count from Power Sellers Unite, and it keeps bouncing around between 286 million, 288 million, and 287 million. It's going to be really interesting to see what the count is tomorrow at this time.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: laurengrace

Tue Aug 19 17:22:13 2014

Wonder if they are going to wipe all those retroactive questions from our defect rate.

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

Tue Aug 19 17:22:33 2014

It is so easy to quit ebay these days.....
They don't have any buyer traffic and the new  seller updates are increasingly harder to swallow. Why bother investing time in  a site which hides your listings and keeps changing the retail transaction equilibrium with the buyer until the Ebay Seller has to comes over and clean the Buyer's kennel to make a sale.

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This user has validated their user name. by: laurengrace

Tue Aug 19 17:23:33 2014

I dont know  how they can legally go retroactive before the new defect rate existed.

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This user has validated their user name. by: laurengrace

Tue Aug 19 17:33:46 2014

Also what about a case being opened not counting against you as long as it is resolved between the parties? You can't believe anything they say.

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by: ncwood This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 19 17:34:24 2014

I decided to take a look at my defect rate since the ratings will start tomorrow. I'm not close to falling below the 2% rate, but I was shocked to find a defect from last week for a ''Cancelled Transaction''. I doubt that I have cancelled more than 3 transactions in the last 12 years, of over 60,000 sales, and they were at the customers request.

After looking at the transaction involved, I was shocked to see that eBay decided to give me a defect for giving the customer a refund on shipping. The customer bought multiple items from me on the same day, paying for each item separately with shipping. I guess he was buying as a guest since each sale had a different UserID but the same email address. So, being the great seller that I am, I calculated the shipping for his combined items and refunded him for one of the PayPal payments, which was very  near the amount of shipping refund he was due. There was never anything in the Resolution Center, I was just taking care of a customer.


eBay saw the shipping refund, and I did note in the PayPal refund comment section, that it was a shipping refund, and they assumed that I had cancelled the transaction and gave me a defect!


After one hour plus on the p;hone, talking to at least 4 different CSRs, none who had total grasp of the English language, they promised to remove the defect, telling me it would take about 72 hours. As I said, I am not close to being near the 2% defect limit, but for some others, this could be the difference.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Aug 19 17:49:00 2014

@laurengrace

"Also what about a case being opened not counting against you as long as it is resolved between the parties?"  That is the old rule they are changing that as of now.  It is just like zillions of other things on Ebay, things change.  It is hard to keep up on all the changes, but as a seller you need to do the best you can and I know it isn't easy.

"Wonder if they are going to wipe all those retroactive questions from our defect rate"  You do NOT get a defect for a question from a buyer.  Not now, not then not tomorrow.  NO DEFECTS FOR AN EMAIL.

I know this can be a bit confusing.  I get that.  But it is NOT an email that creates a defect.  It is a claim.  If a buyer asks about the description AFTER on an item they purchased from you, it kicks them to a screen to open a claim.  If they open that claim, you have a defect.

The list of what is considered a defect is above in what Ina posted.

@ncwood

Doing a full refund, no matter the reason will create a defect UNLESS you file for a cancellation for any reason other than Out of Stock or Sold to another.

I run into the problem you describe all the time.  You just need to make sure you don't refund a payment in full.  Refund off the payment that will allow you to keep at least a little bit of money.  Partial refunds to NOT create a defect.

So while you got the defect on this one, there is nothing you can do about it at this point.  But you can avoid them in the future.  Think partial refund ONLY.

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This user has validated their user name. by: laurengrace

Tue Aug 19 18:05:49 2014

Marie, yes, i know the questions only count when ebay tricks buyers into opening a case when they had no intention of doing so.

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by: Santini This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 19 18:41:10 2014

As the witching hour approacheth, ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for eBay :)

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This user has validated their user name. by: windsorbear

Tue Aug 19 18:52:02 2014

In my humble opinion, refunds should NOT count as a defect if the buyer hasn't opened a claim.  If I suddenly want to refund a buyer because I'm having a good day or am totally tee-totaled drunk and decide to give the buyer an item for free, then that is between me and the buyer.  The buyer has not requested it, and I just want to give him or her a refund.  It should NOT count as a defect.  Just the fact that they allow such an action to be declared a "defect" insinuates that there will be much more innocent actions charged as defects in the very near future.  Wait and see... pretty soon you won't be able to change your price, or description or anything without causing a defect.

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Aug 19 19:37:10 2014

@windsorbear - That reminds me of the time that someone purchased an item from me, and I realized I had accidentally added ten dollars to the price. I felt so guilty that I refunded the ten dollars to the buyer. So I guess I'm defective.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: windsorbear

Tue Aug 19 20:03:51 2014

This whole "defect" thing reminds me of the 1967 Lost in Space episode "Hunters Moon."  The main antagonist in that episode was an alien named Megazor, and as he was fond of saying... "I am Megazor... I have no defects."

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by: Santini This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 19 20:13:31 2014

Me too windsorbear! Megazor, future ruler of Zon! "Do Not Probe! Do Not Probe!" (as his brain was probed for defects) LOL!

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by: Jerseygal This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 19 20:29:04 2014

Its 9:15PM here on the east coast!   I did some double listing this evening of the same items on both Ebay and Etsy, just to compare the views  Ebay: ZERO views, Etsy 10 views and rising.....    No one will stay on Ebay to get overcharged and battered..... I am totally ready to watch Ebay implode!  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Aug 19 20:51:09 2014

@windsorbear
"In my humble opinion, refunds should NOT count as a defect if the buyer hasn't opened a claim."  It doesn't have to.  As long as you file for a cancellation for any reason EXCEPT out of stock or sold to another.  But if you are going to fully refund, you need that cancellation to go with it and then no defect will be scored because of it.

@jack

Partial refunds do not get a defect.

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This user has validated their user name. by: windsorbear

Tue Aug 19 21:01:23 2014

Marie, we should NOT have to go through that if we want to refund.  Why is a refund even considered a "defect" if it is not connected to a "claim"?

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Aug 19 21:03:42 2014

Well I certainly have no reason to disagree with you.  I don't make their stupid policies, I just try to learn them so I know how to best deal with them.

But with that said, I'm a firm believer in not paying Ebay more than I have to.  So even before this defect thing came into play, I always filed for the cancellation so I could get my fees back.  So for me personally I've always done it.  I have never just let them keep my money voluntarily.  

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by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 19 22:13:06 2014

I predict that "Preparation H" sales will go through the roof !

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