eBay UK sellers are receiving emails from Account Managers this morning advising them of unannounced changes to the rules regarding seller non-performance:
- there will be no more 30 day grace period for sellers whose buyer dissatisfaction rate falls below 95%.
- if your BDR falls below 95% over a 90 day period, you will immediately have your account suspended from selling for 30 days and all listings will be removed.
- if after 30 days, your account has not shown “a significant improvement”, you will be indefinitely suspended.
- if you are indefinitely suspended, you will not be able to use any other accounts, or to open new ones. (The implication here is that the accounts will be completely suspended from all activity, not just selling, but the email doesn’t explicitly say this.)
Sellers who had fallen foul of the previously had the opportunity to trade their way out of trouble, perhaps by selling a lot of cheap items quickly to try to increase their feedback percentages. This will no longer be an option.
To be a victim of the , sellers must have 5% or more of their buyers unhappy, as evidenced by neutral feedback, negative feedback or item not received complaints, over a 90 day period. While this would be difficult for most eBay sellers to achieve, as we’ve seen with DSRs, it’s likely to be the high-value, low-volume sellers who are hit hardest. The DSRs themselves are not currently taken into account for this score, though eBay have said that this may change in the future.
eBay do offer some tips on how to improve your chances of staying registered on the site:
- sellers who have received any non-positive feedback are encouraged to file for mutual feedback withdrawal
- sellers who have filed for MFW and had no response are encouraged to email AMs to see if the feedback can be removed under any eBay policies.
I am exceedingly concerned at the effect this will have on the eBay buyer experience. It’s likely to lead to *much* more bullying of buyers by sellers who no longer have anything to lose by harrassing people into feedback withdrawals.
And of course, for sellers, it means that you can’t trade your way out of a bad spot. 30 days sitting there with nothing for sale is unlikely to improve anyone’s score much – indeed, when sellers seem to have disappeared from the site, they’re much less likely to be given the benefit of the doubt by buyers who will naturally assume they’ve done a runner.
Worse still, if you’ve had a flurry of negative feedback – maybe because of a faulty batch of stock or a missing mailbag – then selling nothing for a month will give you 60 days worth of feedback as previous good ones drop off, and you’ll probably be down to 90% by the time your suspension is up. In other words, if you get to a 30 day suspension, you can probably wave goodbye to your eBay account.
But the thing that shocks me more than anything is that this change is not being officially announced. “Although it has not been announced…” begins the AM email. Frankly, this isn’t good enough. There should have been a post on the Announcements Board, not a sneaky little email to those of us lucky enough to have an Account Manager.
Updated to add Just to clarify: sellers need a minimum of two negative feedbacks to be sanctioned under the SNP policy (or they did last time eBay actually revealed any details of that policy). So one negative cannot get your account suspended (or so I understand).