Sellers who have a score of 3.9 or less on P&P charges will appear “much further down the list of items”. eBay say that this group of sellers accounts for just 0.5% of sellers on the site, but that they are responsible for a disproportionately high number of buyer complaints.
The change in search sorting is being introduced during the week beginning December 17th, “after the main Christmas trading period is over”. eBay encourage sellers to review their P&P charges to make sure that they are fair.
I’m pretty happy about this change. 3.9 is an extremely low score even on P&P stars, which tend to do worst of all DSR criteria; sellers would have to be seriously overcharging to score so badly. Chris and Randy worried in comments yesterday about sellers finding it difficult to increase their star ratings, but I think just about every eBayer would agree that if you’re scoring 3.9 or lower, you’re not the sort of seller we really want on eBay, because you’re damaging our businesses too. The buyers who are stung by over-charged P&P tend to be the new ones who don’t know how to fully read a listing, and those are the buyers who need a little bit of looking after; more experienced buyers know how to manipulate the search results to find these disadvantaged listings, and might decide that paying over the odds for P&P will still net them a bargain.
So far, so good. I don’t think this will be the last change eBay make around DSRs on the site over the next year: John Donahoe has mentioned it, and so has Bill Cobb. eBay UK’s Richard Ambrose has also started a thread on the Q&A board soliciting opinions (shame they didn’t get that link right in the announcement!) – but please leave us a comment here too and let us know what you think.