Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed June 29 2016 20:09:08

Will eBay Keep Its Top Rated Seller Program?

By: Ina Steiner

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An eBay seller sent me some screenshots of a search results page that was stripped down and missing the eBay Top Rated Seller Plus badges. (Has anyone else seen this?) He said it looked like eBay was testing a mobile-like simpler version on the desktop - but it also could have been a glitch, from the look of it.

He also wondered, since there were no TRS Plus badges showing in the stripped down version he saw, if eBay would be phasing out the Top Rated Seller program, perhaps to save money.

However, TRS Plus allows eBay to offer a carrot to sellers for offering speedy handling and generous returns in addition to the other requirements of being a Top Rated Seller. 

But his question raises a good point - are sellers getting value from the program? Unless you jump through certain hoops to get a TRS Plus fee discount and badge, are there any benefits to being a Top Rated Seller? As we noted in January, USPS is phasing out Commercial Plus Pricing, taking away a key incentive for TRS Plus sellers.

Would you be better off buying a Promoted Listing ad on eBay to get visibility, potentially raising your prices to make up for the loss of TRS Plus fee discounts?

Do you think TRS without TRS Plus is worth it, or is it a remnant left over from a different era of selling? And if eBay does get rid of the program, will it replace it with something different?




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by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 29 22:34:00 2016

Because of ebay & the USPS , I have phased out most all online sales. It works for me. I have cleared 10 times this year alone going with craigs list , than the previous year with deadbay. The Top rated program is a joke.For small sellers it just sinks them. I see no reason to keep my account , I do not shop or sell on deadbay. Got fed up with the crybabys & thieves. Just not at all worth it. TRS Sucks!

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by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 29 22:54:52 2016

Wow I can't stress enough that ebay needs to get off the path to destruction. Their only possible path to success is to make things right with the seller/buyer members it has alienated and reassess priorities.

I was always smart enough to keep good ratings and great standing so I was not one who got the boot. HOWEVER, my bread and butter was the seller/buyers who would buy my items and try to resell them. Collectable categories always thrived in this way. I myself also like to buy too.....but lately there is nothing to buy! Anything nice is over priced and items priced fairly are items the seller is misrepresenting the quality of. That said the ebay inventory has gone stale.

Who does this path to failure persist when time and again you get proof and more proof that the growth rate of ebay is stale and stagnant.

Drop TRS? Why? So you can get even more money from seller to have us keep paying the share of the banned?

Here is what happened on ebay in the last several years.

Ebay changed the fee structure to target big ticket premium quality items and keep them off the site.

Outcome: Success! Premium products are now replaced by over priced generics or high profit trash that fits the business model caused by the fees.

First class 1-3oz packages went from $1.69 to $2.45 {very shortly to $2.61 I think it was?)

Ebay and paypal split with a poorly negotiated one sided deal that once again monopolizes ebay payments. Paypal wasted no time taking advantage of this by eliminating merchant rates effectively massively raising the fees for its highest grossing sellers. They have also virtually eliminated seller protection. As I was told by several paypal reps (when I won an ebay case but still lost the chargeback for an item not received claim.) "paypal seller protection is a provisional credit until the credcard company makes a determination" This is neither insurance nor protection....just a PROVISIONAL CREDIT

Ebay has trained our customers to justify returns in a negative way by pointing fingers to get free shipping labels.

Ebay staff can no longer see paypal payments. A major headache when a buyer has a problem with their paypal account but the ebay account is in good standing. Also I have seen sellers get paypal freezes and it blocks their ebay account. If the companies are separate then having a problem with one should be apples and oranges.

30 day returns is too long of a window for man items. The people shopping on ebay are getting deep discounts over retail stores and so don't exactly deserve the same treatment as a retail establishment. Best buy may have the resources to get credit back for an item that break 30 days later but most sellers don't. Buyers open, break, use, attempt to resell, etc and just use the 30 day returns for abuse. If a buyer buys an item it should not take more then 5 minutes to know if they like it or not. So 14 days is even excessive....but now 30? Almost any return past a week is going to be the result of buyer abuse unless it was a gift.

Maybe it is just time to bring common sense back. If the deals are there buyers will come 30day returns accepted or no returns accepted buyers will come for deals.

Taking away TRS would just be another nail in ebays nearly complete coffin.


   

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by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 30 00:05:42 2016

Look at it this way. Eliminating a carrot program saves ebay money and eliminating the trashy badge gives ebay more room for advertising of their favorites.

Actually its a good thing as ebay probably thinks eliminating the carrot jumpers will stop the useless complaining about how they think they should be treated.

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Thu Jun 30 00:29:09 2016

Being a top rated seller saves me just over $100 a month in fees.

It also gives me $100 of USPS insurance for free instead of the standard $50.

I do believe TRS get better exposure in search results.

I have jumped thru many hoops over the years. . .

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 30 00:57:30 2016

While I agree %100 with "comments", I believe that "down the road a 'ways", there will be more nefarious changes - to the TRS program and to other programs.

eBay is notorious for making bad decisions, and then doubling if not tripling down on them.

eBay for example, just built that rest area/truck stop or what ever they want to call it - to try and show people something (I read Ina's article but still didnt "get it") ... all for what? nothing.

It wont increase sales ONE IOTA - so why do it?

If they took those millions (if not hundreds of millions) and compensated their good sellers for faulty returns or other shenanigans, they would get much farther ahead. But being its eBay, they NEVER do the smart thing.

That being said, I'd venture that the Fall Seller Update will reverse eBays views on returns and make 30 days MANDATORY "or else" ie no carrot just stick. No carrot = no need for TRS. You will simply need to provide 30 days for ALL sales - every seller.

But you never know - eBay just just be the victim of its own bad programming and seller swill get a reprieve come fall ......

any bets/takers?  

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This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Thu Jun 30 01:39:50 2016

I agree 100% with @comments above on returns. 30 days is simply too long a return window especially when the return window for the seller has long expired.

The TRS program is worth it for me. That's $9 for a $500 sale. I have to play the 'pricing game' ($499.95 in lieu of $500) and throw in 'free' shipping just to remain competitive. That $9 may be just what I need to move my pawn.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Jun 30 02:53:41 2016

For most of us, we have experienced rewards / perks for doing or accomplishing certain things in life.  It happened in school for getting great grades.  Or maybe on your job you achieved a certain goal that allowed you special recognition.  The list could go on and on.

Life is FULL of things that if you make a certain goal you get something in return.  Or you buy in bulk to get a better discount on what you are buying.

It is the same theory with the TRS program.  Certain goals [not carrots] need to be met to capture the golden ribbon.  

I realize Ebay doesn't have a very good reputation.  But some continue to make the TRS program sound like it is a bad thing and/or those sellers that are TRS are somehow blinded by Ebay.

Now that is not to say that I personally think the TRS program is a good one.  Cuz I don't.  I think Ebay could do a much better job and add better benefits for TRS sellers.

I don't think Ebay is trying to do away with the TRS program unless they are planning to replace it with something else.  As in many other business models, you need goals and reward programs.  It can be a great motivation tool if done right.  Ebay just hasn't really figured that out.

The PowerSeller program use to be a good one, but the gutted that.

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by: Casmige This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 30 03:29:08 2016

When eBay started with their POP-UP Informing me that we would lose our Top-Rated Seller Status if we didn't provide for 30 day returns??.  

I called & complained wit the eBay customer service that I ADAMANTLY REFUSE to be Bullied any longer by eBay & their attempts to tell me HOW to run my business.  

I informed them that I would no longer be tolerant of eBay Corp. telling me that on 1-hand they are simply there to provide a forum for Buyers & sellers & then?? Violate that premise by trying to threaten & intimidate me into changing my business model & operating policy.  

We've had & maintained Top-Rated Seller & Power Seller Status for YEARS along with 100% Positive Feedback and We already work DAMN HARD Treading water to merely maintain it.  
That eBay Corp Recently "Optimised" our eBay listing without our input or authorisation for Mobile devices really IRKS the hell out of me!!.  

eBay Corp. takes our rather detailed & Picture/Info Intensive listing & pares it down to having a Title, a Picture & a THEN?/ VOILA!! A HUGE BIG Blue "Buy-It-Now" Button instead of a Green "Get More Info" button.

Because of eBay's Decision NOT to consult with us on what we think ought to be presented on a mobile phone device when it comes to our listing (NONE: We Don't Think PHONES Should be used for eCommerce) our Returns have quadrupled this year because of it!!.  

This leads to Horrible Buyer Dissatisfaction with "Wasn't what I thought/expected" & that is ENTIRELY Not our Fault as a Seller!!.....not with the great repeating details & outline we do on our eBay listing format!!.

We lose out on shipping on any return (We refund 100% just not to get dunned with a Negative/Neutral) & have to fight tooth & nail for "Item Defective/Item Not as Described" (on a NEW Retail Packed UPC'ed Proprietary Item of ours no less) or whatever other choice the buyer uses to avoid having to pay return shipping fees.

I used to not beleive all the vitriol against eBay in these forums...but now?? I really DO think eBay is trying to run off those Sellers who create jobs for others & contribute to the eConomy to SPITE their own business model.

I refuse to be bullied any longer having been on eBay for 14 years I told them.  We offer 14 Days as it is & it's abused (We don't get all of our product, Stickers, & stuff back & when we do?? It's literally CRAMMED Into the box with such disrespect by the buyer & not re-salable as a result).

Try to report a Buyer for this type of craptastic returns?? & what do you get??: [Crickets] from eBay.

NOT going to increase that window nor the resulting abuse.

Thank you eBay Corp. for running off one of your more ardent supporters & Sellers.

I've turned to creating a $6500.00USD & rather costly Internationally based Web-site & our own eCommerce platform.

eBay?? You've finally run me off & spit in my face by taking away my well earned TRS & P/S Badges just for not accepting your abuse & bully-craptastic ideas.....ESPECIALLY if you make the 30 day returns manditory.

Will be Closing our 8 seller accounts because?? You no longer value sellers who try to do things right & instead bend over arse-backwards for Chinese AliBaba Crap-Fraudsters

eBay: Putain avec merde substantielle, casse-toi!!  

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by: corpuschristi1956 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 30 05:30:28 2016

The only people surviving on eBay are the ones that do not need them. I sell there because I invested in a ton of inventory. Since my spouse provides great medical benefits and holds the finances at bay. I have a little spending money until they totally collapse. New inventory will not be added and promoting will not be done until they prove their worth again. Selling jewelry is a no brainer for 30 day returns should never be allowed. Thus, eBay gets to sell crap because smart sellers don't list nice jewelry to renters to wear for free and return with an item with scratches, tarnish, missing stones, etc. They are clueless to the fact that different goods demand different rules. So, eBay, we are all of us just sitting waiting for you to catch on. Until then, I am just enjoying life, gardening, camping, cooking, you name it. I am doing everything EXCEPT dedicating more energy to your so called "venue".

Yours truly,

Laughable but sad.

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Thu Jun 30 05:46:18 2016

eBay is a stupid company because it's led by stupid people.  One should see the lack of growth and cost cutting as what they are - a desperate company flailing in desperation.  I tell you, one day, we'll wake up to eBay.com returning a 404 error and phone numbers being out of service.

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by: Maui5150 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 30 06:35:22 2016

TRS was OK for the discount on FVF, but once they started adding in longer and longer return windows, just lost all incentive, especially since many of the goods I sell could be used, returned, and lose a substantial amount of value

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by: simerivergun This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 30 08:17:54 2016

TRS is definitely NOT worth the effort.  Unless you have 30 day returns you get no benefits.  This is another way for Ebay to cheat sellers.  Who needs the decal anyway.  Ebay's business is off about 80% so far from last year.  Mostly Chinese companies are selling my products for less than half my cost.  Doesn't seem fair.  Also Evero is not policing the Chinese listings.  Infractions are increasing for USA sellers.  Wish there were another place with lots of traffic.  Thanks Ina

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by: 1st Armored Div. 1971-1973 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 30 08:52:05 2016

I have been a TRS for around 2 years straignt and for most of the time they have had it around.

I would definitately miss the discounts but not sure if it helps in any other way. It has made me into a better seller.

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by: epuise This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 30 08:57:49 2016

Post #2 by @comments was spot on... IF I lose TRS benefits, I will probably move 90% of my wares OFF eBay... w/ large, heavy items... I can NOT afford a 10% FEE on POSTAGE... on top of the 2.9% FEE by forced PayPal... "raising prices" does NOT "work"... there is always a desperate seller offering an item for less... OR... a "watcher" who will WATCH for a year UNTIL you, too, become "desperate"... w/ the UNFAIR playing field of CHEAP to the Chinese postage... and their flooding the site... it is a STRUGGLE to just get VIEWS...

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 30 09:51:37 2016

Casmige

You are %100 correct - all the issues you mentioned are sadly though - by design.  

eBay doesnt care what sellers think, if they leave for Amazon or even if you try to sue them to stop them from stealing from you, they just dont care.

It will NEVER stop until theres a state AG who will decide to protect sellers - but you dont make your "bones" by angering big rich companies since its those companies who give you donations to help get elected.

eBay says it here best "As we respond to changes in the competitive environment, we may, from time to time, make pricing, service or marketing decisions or acquisitions that may be controversial with and lead to dissatisfaction among sellers, which could reduce activity on our platform and harm our profitability."

As it states - they know full well that the policies they create will cause harm and dissatisfaction ... only in BIZZAROLAND would a company purposely try to piss off its business partners.

If you read the rest of the 10k filing, there is an interesting pattern that emerges - sellers are ENEMY #1.

Ignore the BS sandwich that the new CEO writes - hes full of it. Sellers cause everything bad and wrong - from "Global Warming to ISIS" and everything in between.

eBay write that (the poor babies) are at the MERCY of things they can not control and therefore they will loose money. THOSE thngs are all the SELLERS fault(s).

"We face risks with respect to fraudulent activities on our platforms and periodically receive complaints from buyers and sellers who may not have received the goods that they had contracted to purchase or payment for the goods that a buyer had contracted to purchase.

Although we have implemented measures to detect and reduce the occurrence of fraudulent activities, combat bad buyer experiences and increase buyer satisfaction, including evaluating sellers on the basis of their transaction history and restricting or suspending their activity, there can be no assurance that these measures will be effective in combating fraudulent transactions or improving overall satisfaction among sellers, buyers, and other participants."

Damn, if ONLY THOSE MEAN NASTY SELLERS would JUST BEHAVE!

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by: spooky This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 30 10:03:58 2016

I have the TRS badge but get no discount as I can not promise 1 day shipping although I reach that over 90% of the time; I just can not promise it as I am a 1 man operation and often life pops up. The first person whop commented saying he is doing so much better using craigslist - if I had to rely on CL I would have gone bankrupt long ago. I understand sellers feelings about eBay but it truly is the only resale site with any significant traffic far and away the most

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by: cayenna This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 30 10:51:46 2016

I don't see why it matters now since eBay just gets the $ back anyway because they are royally ripping you off in one way or another no matter what you sell. I received an email from eBay last week allowing me an extended period to keep my top rated status since I have such a good record. I have not had as many sales which is prompting their email and I can thank them for that because of no visibility for years. The way I see it the status I have earned was great but now I would not list more if I were paid to do it because they take too much of my profit; so a shipping discount may be a nice incentive but what will it accomplish for me if I can't have more listings up than I do because as I say they take too much of my profit. I do believe eBay is dead. My time and money is valuable so I spend it where it is more worth it and not waste any more of it on eBay; they have gotten too much of it already. I need to earn an income more than a badge. I already know how hard I work and how well I treat my customers and they know it too. I don't need a badge to prove it.

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by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 30 11:52:52 2016

I at one time used ebay for my better items. At one time I purchased average of 100 storage units a year. summer months I slow down. Theres some good finds in units. Most the items get sold at swap meets , or donated to the veterans. The prime items get put away , or sold at live auction house. everything else goes one way or the other, mostly by means of craigs. To add ebay in the mix now , would surely be suicide. Too much effort , for very little return. I have no respect whatsoever for deadbay. Their buyer base sucks!( crybabys & thieves) Their venue SUCKS ! Am I bashing deadbay? You BET !!

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This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Thu Jun 30 13:26:16 2016

The idea of the TRS program is to satisfy eBay buyers with world-class customer service. And sellers who jump through the hoops and provide this on a consistent basis are rewarded.

If this is taken away, there will be no incentive for sellers to offer 30 day returns (or any returns at all), or ship in one business day.

And Amazon will further increase their market share. More good sellers will also jump ship.

FACT: Even with the ''book cooking'' that eBay uses to inflate their supposed profits, their business was down 0.5 percent in March. Amazon had a 15% increase from March 2015.

While they can tell stock holders that doing away with TRS discounts will increase the bottom line, it simply will not do so in the long term for eBay.

As their stock has decreased by 7 plus percent since the Brexit vote, it may be time for a desperate measure, whether it makes sense or not, for the future of this once great site.

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Thu Jun 30 13:33:57 2016

@eXtincBay

"As their stock has decreased by 7 plus percent since the Brexit vote,"

Actually it's only down 6%, but what's 1% between friends ~ LOL

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