You won't read an announcement from eBay that it is raising seller fees, but nevertheless, that's exactly what's happening thanks to the way eBay calculates fees and provides discounts. Specifically:
- When sellers' shipping costs go up, sellers pay more fees to eBay, since it charges a "commission" fee on the total cost buyers pay, including shipping.
- When eBay raises the bar for sellers in order to qualify for Top Rated Seller Plus fee discounts, there are always some sellers who can't meet those standards - for those sellers, eBay gets 100% instead of 80% of commission fees.
This EcommerceBytes Blog post
from May 28, 2015 does a good job explaining how eBay "unofficially" increases seller fees when shipping costs rise. And this year, USPS significantly increased the cost of shipping packages with the rate change that took effect on January 17, 2016.
UPS and FedEx also raised shipping rates, as they do every year. The annual increase in shipping costs guarantees eBay will see a bigger take rate in fees from sellers.
As far as Top Rated Seller Plus discounts, this year eBay will require sellers to offer a 30-day return policy, up from a 14-day return policy:
May 1, 2016 - Top rated sellers will need to update their listings to offer a minimum 30-day returns with money back in order to qualify for the Top Rated Plus discount and benefits
That's a deal-breaker for some Top Rated Sellers. Note that sellers can remain top rated, but they only get the 20% discount on their listings with a 30-day return policy.
There's no longer a reason for eBay to charge a commission fee on Shipping & Handling charges. Not only does it hurt sellers particularly hard with the USPS rate increases, but it's making the eBay marketplace more expensive to buyers.