PowerSeller FVF discounts : a tale of woe

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You’d think that offering discounts to your biggest and most loyal customers would be a good thing, wouldn’t you? A thing that would make them want to spend more money with you, maybe even like you. But eBay have managed to turn their PowerSeller FVF discount scheme into one of the biggest fiascos I have seen in my eight years’ trading on the site.

First there was the Seller Dashboard, which didn’t roll out until more than a month after the new pricing scheme. Imagine if you asked *your* customers to guess the price they’d have to pay you. This should have been implemented at exactly the same time as the new pricing, even if that meant delaying the fee changes.

However, it gets worse. Imagine if you promised your customers a discount, and then charged them the full whack. That’s exactly what happened to me.

When the FVF discount scheme was announced, one of the first questions asked was how it would affect those of us who don’t trade on our national site: French residents who list on .co.uk, UK residents who list on .com, and so on. For a company that promotes international trade, it seemed a little bizarre that eBay didn’t think of this one for themselves. For a few days, Pinks made different statements. Some said that sellers would only be entitled to discounts on their national site, so if they sold elsewhere, they’d have to pay full price. Others said you’d get a discount based on your local site, but it would apply on sales from other sites too.

Then came the good news: an eBay employee, asked specifically about my account, said I would get the discount because it was based on your main trading area, in my case, eBay UK.

Have I got a discount? Dear reader, I have not. Nor have I got access to the seller dashboard. It seems French sellers stay French, even if they’re selling on eBay UK.

Now I know a lot of people are tempted to get protectionistic about this, but lets be logical: if I only get the discount by being UK-registered, that’s a pretty huge incentive to start lying about my location, put something in my listings about “your item may ship from my holiday home in France”, and get 35% off my fees. I won’t. But I would bet money that thousands of sellers from across the world who make their living on eBay UK are thinking of doing exactly that right now. I thought we’d largely cured the location misrepresentation problem, but this discount scheme might bring it all back again.

We asked eBay to comment on this more than a week ago, but they’ve been either unable or unwilling to clarify the position. I still don’t know whether I’m not entitled to the discount I was promised, or whether someone’s forgotten to push a button somewhere.

And it seems I’m not the only one with a problem. PowerSeller Lynne from told me earlier today “I keep on checking and as of now the dashboard is still showing ‘not calculated’. My April invoice should have been available from yesterday, and that isn’t up yet either.”

A [PS login required] suggests that Lynne’s problem is far from unique. Some sellers are having the dashboard waver between ‘not calculated’ and ‘no discount’; some are told ‘no discount’ when they have four green ticks indicating they’re entitled to the discount; others are seeing their figures drop at the last minute, and inevitably this raises questions about their accuracy.

I loved the idea of this scheme when it was announced; rewarding good sellers seemed exactly what eBay needs. But in reality, the whole thing has become a farce that even eBay staff don’t seem to understand. It’s causing good sellers an immense amount of frustration and worry. It’s going to encourage location misrepresentation. This half-ready scheme should never have been launched until it was properly ready: sometimes, it feels like policy is being made up as we go along.

51 Responses

  1. We are a UK company, based in the UK and only sell on eBay UK, we have DSR scores above the threshold and on our invoice on the 1st of this month no discount was applied, after being fobbed off and repeatidly lied to by the PS clowns on the phone we managed to get a “it will be added to your next months invoice along with next months should you qualify”
    Great, remember “seller rewards” ? we have an outstanding voucher worth £50 from JULY 07 that was never issued to us. After much “looking into things” eBay got back to us last week and said “although we canot issue you a voucher we have given you a months free SMP subscription, which A) is worth £4.99 and B) we already get with our featured shop subscription.
    So apart from getting 9.9% of what we are due in value and effectivly paying for it twice they are now “looking into it again” i wonder if this will be the case with the new discounts ?

    Does anyone sell birthday cakes by the way ? I might send one to eBay to forward onto our £50 !


  2. Ah, Clarky, you remind me of my “free Anchor Shop” that I was charged £450 for which put my seller account over my credit limit and so stopped me listing. 🙄

  3. I am in the same position as Clarky, havent bothered contacting PS Support yet, hoping that they will sort out on 1 May invoice.
    Its all a bit Terminal 5ish

  4. Id say Terminal 5 is a bit eBay-ish myself not the other way round, atleast T5 will work properly once they have ironed out the bugs 😛

  5. Still nothing showing on the dashboard… 👿 but that is better than getting nothing at all. Whilst I know that it won’t have altered your listing strategy at all Sue, nevertheless it is extremely frustrating to be subjected to such illinformed customer service.

    On the PS thread, the resident pink says:

    “With sellers now so focussed on discounts the percieved delay in invoicing is a big deal, whereas before you’re invoice wasn’t as vital, if you get my drift. Invoicing has always been done in batches nothing there has changed”

    well in one way, yes, but then the Dashboard says :

    “Your discount is calculated a few days before your invoice is issued.”

    So how few days is a few days when the invoice is late already?

  6. Rather than jump the gun I’m waiting for my 15th of month invoice to be issued… fingers crossed 😆

  7. Or maybe they found they are giving away too much?

    For me I calculate savings of around 20% of total bill per month. and I’m only silver!!!

  8. oh dear sounds like a disaster, im almost glad im suspended, lol well not but at least im not trying to chase the discounts, I remeber asking about when it would be applied and how and they gave me a massive answer that im not sure Stephen Hawkin would understand!!


  9. Getting the same as Clarky here too, I’ve given up bashing my head against the wall with repeated posts on the PS board trying to get some sense out of anyone. PS support deny there’s anything wrong, three times. They tell me that the data showing I’m not a PS and that I got no DSR’s in 4 weeks is correct, it’s so daft you really couldn’t make it up.

  10. Hi All,

    I rang PS support today, and as Pinkie said on board, as we pay more attention to invoices now, we are expecting them right on the 15th if your mid months billing. however, from speaking to PS, (apparently, they dont even now when invoices go to print, as this could help sellers manipulate the process). so the guideline they have given me is that your snap shot of your dsr is taking between the 10th-17th of each month, and invoices are then amde public after that. A friend of mine expericned this too, as she is 1st of the month billing, she received her discounts and invoices on the 4th April. So lets just wait and see.

  11. i hear you Sue 🙁 can i just ask tho, as your a french reg user listing on the UK site, is that the issue?

  12. Abs, I’m not sure. That’s what I’m trying to find out, and that’s what I’m still waiting to hear back from eBay about. They told me weeks ago I was getting it, but it ain’t on that invoice they just took the payment for 😥

  13. Sue,

    I was under the impression that (for the time being at least) discounts only applied to listings on the site your registered with?

    If your relying on the opinion of just one ebay representative then maybe he/she made a mistake.

    My impression is that this might be fixed but the systems are not yet in place.

    I may be wrong as I can’t be bothered to go find the various places I gained these impressions.

  14. Thank you for your comment Ed.

    Perhaps I need to make this clearer. I was told I was getting a discount. By someone who represented themselves as having both the authority and the knowledge to make that statement.

    Frankly if any of us is relying on statements made by eBay staff on this issue, at best we are going to be extremely confused.

  15. Sue, Chris, Just to muddy the waters even more 😕 have you seen this bit on the Chatter?
    “Sellers do NOT need to have received 10 Detailed Seller Ratings during the period to qualify for the discount.”

    Now IIRC this completely contradicts a Pink posting on the subject a week or two ago and leaves me and sellers like me (low volume/higher price) even more confused than we were before 🙁

  16. Sue,

    That last paragraph of yours just about sums up the current situation… 😆

    and I’m an eBay fan. 🙂

  17. No April invoice showing yet but you can see the discount if you download the relevant period into a spreadsheet.

    I can confirm that mine is exactly 25% of FVF’s for the period. 🙂

  18. Hi
    I’ve been redirected here from the UK powerseller board as I too am based in France so registered with EBay fr. I seem to meet all the criteria for the UK seller discounts
    1. Registered business seller
    2. Powerseller
    3. DSR’S over 4.6 I think (can’t access my seller dashboard, I just get a message saying that I am not eligible to access this page!)

    I am billed on the 1st of the month so my invoice for this month has been paid with no sign of a discount.

    I’ve tried asking EBay UK but they just send my messages to EBay France who reply that they are not running the same discount and suggest I ask EBay UK!!!!!

    I ONLY list on eBay UK never on the French site. I have read and re read the rule for qualifying for the discounts and nowhere does it state that you have to be registered on EBay UK, just a registered business seller on EBay.

    If I could access my seller dashboard maybe it could tell me a bit more so anyone based in France who can access their dashboard could they tell me how I would be really grateful.

  19. Salut Lynne,
    You’re in exactly the same position I am then. I don’t think there’s anything either of us can do but wait until eBay have something to say on the matter. I’m not aware of anyone in France who can access the dashboard (Jo, can you?) – certainly none of my accounts can.

  20. at least the french are coming to their senses , the french euro vision song entry is in ENGLISH 😆 😆 😆 😆

  21. I linked back to another discount thread (up there on the right…

    https://www.tamebaynew.wpengine.com/2008/03/ebay-double-discounts-for-month-of-march.html) and about half way down on March 20, Jo of French Connection remarked

    “I was informed though that it would not be based on my location” ❓

    There was a thread on the PS forum (I can’t check at present 😡 ) where a Pink confirmed that PS discounts are applicable only for listings in the country where your account is registered. If you know any different I’d be delighted.”

    So I wonder, was that before or after you were advised differently Sue?

  22. @ Lynne: IIRC that was before. At that point, I had heard three different stories, hence my desire to confirm once and for all that I was getting a discount. And I was told yes, it was based on “your main country of trading” or something like that.

    I’m sorry to keep having to repeat myself here. 🙁 I’d just like to ask everyone else: if you’d been promised a discount and then not gotten it, wouldn’t you be a tad miffed?

  23. Jo, you must be so fed up with me! So sorry….. 😳

    Biddy, a tad miffed is a very delicate way of saying how I would be feeling in your shoes…. 👿

  24. Brian, re your quote from The Chatter: “Sellers do NOT need to have received 10 Detailed Seller Ratings during the period to qualify for the discount.”

    Echoing information given out on the boards, if you check your seller dashboard immediately below the display it states “*To qualify for a discount, you need to have received at least 10 ratings in the past 30 days

    They’re just a couple more contradictory statements, although in fairness one might apply to .com and the other applies to .co.uk only.

    The implementation has just been a total disaster and very much gives the impression that it’s been made up as they went along, with different information being given out by different people at different times 🙁

  25. ….




    OWFDSPE for short… (that probably wouldn’t work…)

    Now wouldn’t that be a nice and simple system?

    Same FVF discount for same DSR ratings worldwide.

    How many of Ebays users are “outside” the current FVF/DSR scheme?

    Those that list on “other” sites (for obvious financial reasons).

    Those that do not have their own “home” site so cannot get a FVF/DSR discount.

    All these are NOT being encouraged to participate in the FVF scheme as it is not open to them. (Discounting the less than exciting list on the UK site for 30p extra per listing malarky idea that is the current offering).


  26. Your scheme lacks porn porns, Mark 😀

    I certainly think they should just make the discounts applicable to the site, regardless of the location of the seller.

  27. I suppose I should have known 🙄

    edit three seconds later: of course in Mark’s case por n por ns is probably apposite….

  28. I think ebay have dropped a bollock

    rather than discount fees and all the complications its caused
    they should simply have awarded listing upgrades
    free gallery, or free bold or free highlight, etc etc matched to a pre set star level

  29. On a serious note though Sue, I hope they do pull it all together at some point.

    It seems so overly complicated and it is only going to get worse as each site implements a “different” FVF/DSR system.

    And all those sellers that do not have a “home” site, will never be eligible.

  30. no one will ever convince me that ebay needed to do all this palarver ,to attract the big fish

    if microsoft, disney, canon ,hp, dell,

    dont have a discounted deal already
    I am the queen of the may


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