EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 399 - February 12, 2017 - ISSN 1528-6703     5 of 0

Sellers Choice 2017 Marketplace Ratings: eBay

By Ina & David Steiner

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In January 2017, EcommerceBytes surveyed over 10,000 online sellers and asked them to rate the marketplaces on which they had experience selling. An introduction to the Sellers Choice survey along with a summary of the overall ratings can be found here, along with links to results for each of the 10 online marketplaces included in the survey.


Customer Service:


Ease of Use:

Would you recommend:

Year Established: 1995
Description: Auction format, fixed price, storefronts and general merchandise
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eBay came in third place in the 2017 Sellers Choice Awards for Online Marketplaces, down from first place last year. It came in first place for Profitability.

The volume of sales was cited as a top advantage for many sellers - "best bank for the buck" and a "bread and butter" site. "This site is where I make most of my sales," said a respondent.

Fees were a concern for some respondents, though some noted it was worth it given that they could sustain a business on the marketplace.

Some sellers said eBay should not charge Final Value Fees on the shipping portion of transactions. However, said one, "Although I wish that eBay did not charge a final value fee on shipping charges, I get more visibility for my items on eBay."

Several respondents noted the changes eBay had made to Store subscription fees. "The biggest issue with eBay is Store structure change. Under old model we would be launching an Anchor store in a few months," one seller said. "With the new model we are getting toasted in fees."

Another said "the jump is too big from Premium to Anchor," referring to the three tiers of eBay Stores (one seller said there should be five tiers).

Some said eBay sided with "bad buyers" and there were critiques about its policies around returns. It's notable that there were more positive comments about eBay customer service than in years past.

While not new, several sellers mentioned their frustration with eBay's policy of not allowing sellers to leave negative or neutral feedback for problematic buyers, with one calling it "an extremely poor business practice."

Many mentioned eBay's ease-of-use, while some said it was difficult keeping up with changes on eBay. Some mentioned technical issues and glitches.

One seller said eBay doesn't enforce its policies: "I have many competitors with their names, phone numbers and websites in their listings, and after many phone calls and emails reporting them to eBay, nothing ever happens, and this has been going on for years."

One seller pointed to the ads for off-eBay retail sites that appear on eBay - including on eBay sellers' listings: "High fees, they put competitors' ads for the exact same item on my own item pages that I pay them a store fee for, often taking the customer completely off eBay to purchase at the likes of WalMart or HomeDepot that can be lower priced because they aren't paying 10% of price to eBay."

eBay received a 6.12 in Profitability; a 5.82 in Customer Service; a 6.02 in Communication; and a 6.22 in Ease of Use. It received a 6.13 from sellers when asked, "How likely are you to recommend eBay as a selling venue to a friend or colleague?"

Reader Comments:The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

eBay gives me the best bang for my buck. This site is really my bread and butter. I sell between $6-9,000/month. I have yet to figure out why other sites don't do as well since my items are all on there as well.

eBay has always been very reliable for me. I am a small vintage seller and especially like the free listings. Also, better search engine than most.

eBay is easy to use and fast to learn and offers shipping discounts to sellers. Good customer service, contact can be via Facebook, phone or via the internet system.

eBay is our full time selling channel. They have almost instant customer service via phone, they have reasonable fees, buyers are constantly making purchases in our store, and we can use html to customize our listings so they stand out. We have done over 113k in sales last year with eBay and we cannot be more happy with our current state. The amount of potential buyers is much higher than all over channels.

Very good service and very fair with sellers.

I feel eBay has slowly been getting better. Calling customer service has improved remarkably. Listing is fairly easy. Uploading pictures is great. they still have way too many counterfeiters/cheaters, but that is on every site and it will not be easy to eliminate them.

I have used eBay as a seller and buyer since 2000. I have had much success on eBay with repeat buyers and 100 % feedback. Customer hot line excellent with much needed questions and resolutions. Tremendous customer base.

This is my main selling platform and I don't do too bad when I take the time to keep my store active.

I love eBay and it will always be my go-to selling site. It is easy to use and easy to print shipping labels at a discounted price. Other sites actually charge a fee for printing a shipping label!

eBay is easy to use, relist, print shipping labels and track my items. I like that I can group like items together and can easily see how many views on each item. I would like to see that they change editing to allow an item within a group to be removed or cancelled without having to cancel the entire group and lose all stats.

I've never has any problems with eBay. Their help info is readily available and helpful. Fess are reasonable for what we sellers receive in return. Turning a profit is a little tough because of intense competition.

Small seller here, but quick and easy to list. Wish old unsold listings remained accessible longer so could easily re-list something at a later date.

Their customer service has greatly improved over the years for sellers. I rarely have to wait more than a few minutes to get hold of a rep on the phone. There are many detailed stats available about your selling.

Very profitable, probably because of the high volume of customer base. Maybe they spend more on advertisement. Customer service is not changing any policies for you and they make you call them on the phone for any kind of contact, so if you can't understand what they are saying there is no record of what was said to refer back to. But as far as letting me know that I've sold something and have been paid, they're great. Easy to use site which I recommend to anyone who really wants to make a sale.

When I take their Customer Service into account, suddenly I don't mind their seller fees being the highest.

eBay seller for years. Great company. Recently though a friend's account out of 7 that sign into their own account was behind a payment. We all use same IP for internet. Because of his issue, all accounts where shut down due to being "linked" (IP wise). Wouldn't work with me or other sellers after.

eBay is a decent marketplace when everything goes well, as long as you have a small to medium size inventory. Large inventories have ridiculous listing fees.

Fee are too high; they make too many changes to policy resulting in a lot of work for sellers; FANTASTIC customer service.

I started with eBay, and the new things they are doing are helping, but China is killing sellers on all sites.

Have been using eBay for years. Very easy to list, however I feel they need to cut the rates on listings. They make money if you sell. Should give more free listings.

Good overall revenue, relatively cheap fees. Hard to get any decent answers to more complex questions from customer service either by email or phone.

I do love how you are able to have a lot of sales on eBay due to the traffic that is generated. You do have to deal with running into problematic buyers on a frequent basis, which can cause issues with feeback if and when they leave a negative feedback. It takes well over a year to recover from the effects of one single negative feedback. A negative feedback often decreases your sales down to very few items, if any each month. Also, there have been a lot of "glitches" which they do not fix and if they do, takes weeks or months to do so, while at the same time, blaming it all on the seller, for something that was not their fault at all.

The fees make me sick, but at the end of the day - I make a profit so I can't complain.

Profit on eBay is higher than any other site except Craigslist due to the ability to get paid up-front and the issue of safety as compared to other sites where u need to meet someone. Customer service and communication needs improvement as calls take too long, but staff is usually calm and easy to explain your issue to them. But 100% of sellers feel they allow buyers to cheat us by filing false claims that something is wrong with an item that is new and perfect as a scam to get refunds when none is deserved. They also need shorter 7-day return times as well as need to allow less cancellations and returns by buyers who abuse policies as well as the long return times allowed after the buyer themselves have damaged the item.

With the items I sell I need to be on eBay as they are highly sought after items but due to excessive fees I do have to increase my prices to cover fees so a 9.99 items has to be listed for 12.99 to ensure I retain 100% of the original profit margin which is small at best.

eBay is the corner stone for my internet business. I got hooked up with them many years ago and I know how they work. However I would never recommend to anyone because of the fees and just the over all complications of selling on line. A seller would have to figure it out like I did.

eBay has fair exposure but nothing like it used to have. Their interference in every facet of the sale from communication to shipping, return policies and resolutions and blanket solutions for individual circumstances is mediocre at best and does not afford one to offer personal and excellent service to the buyer as I would like.

While some of the more anti-seller sentiment seems to be more relaxed than in the last few years, the fees are still very high, and the learning curve for dealing with all the rules and ins-and-outs is even higher. For those of us that have been there a long time, and have been keeping up with the changes as the happen, it makes sense to stay; however it is no longer a good "first stop" on the road to online selling. So many people have built businesses by starting on eBay, because it was designed for anyone to use. But these days, you should really start somewhere else first as a casual seller, and then work your way up to eBay. So it's not someplace I would recommend for "newbies". But someone whose been selling on Etsy for a while, for example, and wanted to branch out, I might be inclined to point them to eBay... unless the sales continue to drop there.

I list on eBay primarily. It has some bugs that cause items sold to relist, and variations to default to original quantity. Sales could be much better though. With 350+ items, I do not see the sales that others seem to. I market my products and that helps some. I just upgraded to a premium store. They need 5 levels of store subscription i.e. Basic Plus and Premium Plus to help with growth. The jump is too big from premium to anchor. Fee are better here, although I think the FVF on shipping should be eliminated.

Been an eBay seller for over 15 years. Profitability is not as good for me but eBay may not be to blame. Instead, it could be a shifting marketplace and economy changes. Their customer service is not consistent. Sometimes I call and they are polite, professional and resolve my issue quickly and efficiently. Other times I get bounced around or the customer service rep isn't knowledgeable. The other day I called (issue still not resolved) and was put on hold for over 2 hours. Yes, I could have hung up. But I sorta wanted to see how long it would take them to pick up again. Finally I relented and hung up. eBay's seller communication is good when you've sold an item and they inform you you've got paid and need to ship. They also do a good job of sending best practices on selling via email. But sometimes I feel like there is so much information coming at me from so many subsets. There has to be a way to make it more organized. It is fairly easy to list something on eBay, although there are some sticking points for me. And there are multiple places on eBay to go for information - seller hub, eBay community, help pages, my store, my eBay. Again, I wish they'd streamline this. I would definitely, and already have, recommend eBay to others as a selling venue.

eBay is still at the top in eMarket. Their return policy is not right. Here they think of themselves and not about sellers. Customer take advantage and return goods, after use for the day or damage goods with following using instructions and eBay (STUPID) policy take the funds from seller account and give to the buyer. I have lost quite few time, because buyer (1) did not follow the instructions (2) Used item for his/her birthday or special occasion and returned for full refund. Only thing I hat about eBay is the return policy, while we have written all about the return policy on each listing. More people come on eBay to make their purchases. That/s why eBay is No.1 at the moment. We sell every day something on eBay but sometimes on Bonanza.

eBay changes things too often. They demand too much out of the seller. I ship every 24 hours but you would think there would be a place to announce late shipping which might occur. There isn't. Their programmers are not the best.

I would love to have a level between Basic and Premium Stores. I don't use auction listings as much as BIN and wish there was some way to link between the 2 Like 500 free listings I could use all of them with BIN and some auctions thrown in.

eBay is a good venue to sell on. I just wish they would give you more flexibility as a seller. For example: If I am forced to offer 30 day returns to stay top rated, stop allowing 45 day returns. It's not a cohesive system.

I've contacted eBay several times about the new listing template issues of taking forever to update drafts and it's been this way for a year and still no resolve. No problem with any other sites and using a new computer so there has to be an issue at eBay's end. Just wish I could get it fixed. It's pretty frustrating to spend 25-45 minutes extra daily to wait on my listings to update so I can submit them. Other than that, I've made the most money online through eBay.

1) I do not understand eBay's justification for taking a percentage of shipping fees when I buy my shipping labels from PayPal, now a separate company. 2) Why does eBay offer free listings to some accounts and not others? 3) Why does eBay play games limiting free listings to only 50 per month? What is the criteria for this? 4) It is very confusing when eBay offers periodically 500 free listings one time for BIN only, then the next time it is only for auctions. The seller keeps having to read the fine print very carefully and converting unsold listings back and forth in order to comply. eBay used to be a lot more fun.

I sell mainly vintage jewelry and housewares. It is very flooded on eBay with international sellers calling their items vintage and dominating the search pages with very low priced, low quality items.

eBay interface for sellers is very clunky at times - makes it difficult for me. Customer support - well, it is non-existent. You always get someone in another country who is not as knowledgeable as you would like.

eBay charging their final value fee against and profiting from item's shipping charge is outrageous. Not allowing sellers to leave negative and/or neutral feedback for problematic buyers is also an extremely poor business practice. Without sellers, eBay would have very little revenue in my opinion and should treat sellers with the respect they deserve since the sellers are who built their empire.

I'm a 15-year Top Rated power seller with 100% feedback and my eBay sales over the last few years have dropped about 65% while paying higher and higher fees.

eBay is competitive, but sacrifices its sellers in that goal. Changes up everything too much and is highly complicated and frustrating. If it was not for the high volume of visitors I would not bother because it takes hours and hours of tedious work to sell on eBay and it takes a long time to learn all the little things you must do or look out for. Then they change it up on you! Have been really hurt by their policies toward sellers a few times.

eBay is not seller friendly. Policies change and are retroactive in many cases changing a seller's standing from "top-rated" to "below standard". eBay is not fair to their sellers in many cases of dispute in which the buyer is obviously in the wrong. I do not recommend eBay to new sellers.

I have been selling on eBay for 18 years and profitability has gone way down as fees have gone way up. I think starting out on eBay as a new seller is much more difficult now than it was. Keeping up with changes can be tedious.

Overly complicated selling process. I was completely confused throughout the entire transaction. I also don't think it's fair that eBay holds the money from sellers until AT LEAST 3 days after the buyer receives the item. There are sometimes fraudulent buyers who will claim the item was never delivered, which leaves sellers out of inventory and money. No seller protection at all.

eBay is a great place to sell odds and ends in front of a big customer base. eBay doesn't seem to care about its sellers. eBay better not forget who contributes items and works with buyers directly and that is SELLERS. Sellers are the backbone of the eBay website since we provide and source products for their website. They make money on us sellers so respect is due to sellers.

Using the website on a desk top with chrome the eBay site is great, their down fall is the App from the App Store. I use the App on my Apple iPad and wish the app would be worked on and enhanced. It's awful. I sell on eBay now and then, but not like before back in the day 2002-2014 as their New Added Fees turned me off. I sold one Christmas I believe it was 2014 and I saw all the new "Final Value Fee Shipping" that's insane after we already pay a "Final Value Fee on the item" and then pay PayPal their fee. eBay I use to love but no more as they are Fee happy. I am happy I found Bonanza in 2012 and learned how to use their site this past year for efficiently.

I have been selling on eBay since 1995 and I can tell you they get worse every year, especially in the customer service area to sellers. I consider it a necessary evil to sell on this site since it is such a large venue, but I am slowly weaning myself away from eBay. They are not as friendly to sellers or care for their sellers who are their real customers, and they seem to get worse every year. Their glitches have gotten worse and they don't fix them for weeks at a time, even when they get lots of complaints. The customer service reps are highly unknowledgeable, and it is easier to get a response and action from a brick wall.

eBay is the only game in town when it comes to global site visits on a daily basis. I think this company should be regulated, much like a bank or utility, as eBay obviously feels it is impervious to any legal actions thrown at it by its members. I thought monopolies were illegal in the U.S., but it would seem that eBay has somehow escaped government regulation, for now.

Sellers Choice Awards:
We thank all readers who took the time to rate the marketplaces. If you have comments about the survey results or the survey itself, please feel free to post them in the EcommerceBytes Blog.

About the author:

Ina and David Steiner are publishers of and have been writing about ecommerce since 1999.

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