eBay changes from a buyers perspective

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It’s easy to forget recent changes on eBay other than the most visible – the feedback changes. There are several others though, that should be well received by buyers.

  • Feedback: The main thrust is that buyers can now leave honest Feedback without fear of retaliation and of course can also rate sellers in greater detail than ever before. The real benefit from buyers however, is that in future they can see how fast you ship, how accurately you describe your items, how good your communications are and how fair your postage costs are. If that information gives buyers greater confidence in buying from you it’s great news. With more than 7 billion Feedback comments left on eBay in the future a great feedback reputation will be more meaningful than ever.
  • Buyer Protection: From the 3rd June every sale on eBay will offer PayPal and for buyers that choose to pay with PayPal they’ll have free protection of up to £500.00 on every purchase they make. Again buyer confidence should be increased, with about £900.00 traded worldwide every second on eBay buyer confidence is key.
  • Customer Service: eBay is rolling out customer support via telephone for UK members. In the past this has been just for sellers, but top buyers are also being given access for instant help with any issues using the site. Over a million eBay users now have access to phone support.
  • Business Registration: Business users are required to identify their status and also have to comply with certain laws regarding service standards such as accepting returns. Buyers can shop with more confidence in the service they should expect and receive when trading with a business seller.
  • Protection from Fraud: eBay is constantly a target for fraudsters and eBay employ over 2,000 trust and safety employees around the world as well as working with local law enforcement. It doesn’t just stop there though, eBay have masked buyers IDs so that bidding is anonymous, protecting buyers from fake emails and false second chance offers.

eBay have committed to improving the site for both buyers and sellers. Mark Lewis when speaking at Catalyst 2008 talked about having “A deal to strike” between eBay and sellers. In return for eBay bringing confident buyers and providing sellers the incentives and tools to list, sellers would need to provide a great selection of products at a great price with fantastic service.

The selection of products, competitive prices and fantastic service is what buyers not only want but demand of online merchants today. If the recent changes give buyers greater confidence leading to increased purchasing, then it’ll prove to have been the turning point in eBay’s history.

16 Responses

  1. I agree with most of the changes as they should give the buyers more confidence.

    That increased confidence could have been brought about by other methods that wouldn’t have created so many problems, or perceived problems for good sellers, but that’s another story in itself.

    Two areas concern me as a seller.

    I sell low volume highish value so the effects of a negative or ‘non positive’ feedback will have a far greater impact on me than on a volume seller.

    My larger, and more expensive items have to be either collected or sent by pallet which isn’t trackable online. eBay now say that I cannot refuse to accept PayPal if a buyer wants to use it. This carries a greater risk for me, and one that I cannot mitigate against.

  2. There is an aspect of the Business Regulations which directly contradicts the advice we are continually given to shred documents and to keep all personal information as secret as possible. The trader who works from home has no choice about having their full name and address available to everybody. I wonder how many burglaries have resulted from information obtained from eBay. PO Boxes should be allowed as I presume eBay has to be supplied with the full details to action the business registration in the first place.

  3. I’m curious to know if the £500 Buyer protection will still be valid with a large number of sellers dropping under the 98% feedback mark with the feedback recalculation.

    The Paypal T&C’s were last updated on 14th May, but the 98% criteria still remains in the small print.

  4. The trader who works from home has no choice about having their full name and address available to everybody

    Yes and no – you can use your accountants address, or if a Ltd, your registered office address. Use of a Virtual Office address is ‘open to interpretation’ as in reality it is no more than a PO Box with a geographical address (according to some Trading Standards depts) so would not suffice for the eCommerce Regs 2002.

    PO Boxes should be allowed as I presume eBay has to be supplied with the full details to action the business registration in the first place.

    Actually no, the eCommerce Regs 2002 say a PO Box is a no-no, both my eBay address and Paypal confirmed address are a PO Box, but I would still have to use a geographical address that is not my PO Box address

  5. With reference to the £500 protection when paying via PayPal it’s *up* to £500, for sellers that don’t qualify the level of protection would be £150. Whether the 98% will change for PayPal is anyone’s guess

  6. As a buyer/former seller my view is slightly different. DSR’s are farcical when you have a five star system that evaluates anything less than a 5 as being bad. The vast majority of stars should be 4, but then people would be being suspended left, right and centre. I have no faith in the DSR system being used in this way. If it were used as an additional resource and sellers weren’t being sanctioned via it, then it would have use because people would leave more realistic marks.

    Feedback is beyond a joke. Decent sellers are going to get suspended that leaves the field open to more scammers. I have no faith in that system as it stands. If the sellers hub actually has any teeth I may well change my view on that. However again, scammers paradise as it stands and that again means good sellers being lost and bad ones having more visibility. There will undoubtedly be an increase in bad buyer behaviour.

    Buyer protection sounds very good and should improve faith for buyers. Hopefully it delivers what it promises.

    Business registration I’m very much in favour of and it’s about time that arrived.

    Protection from fraud I’m torn on. Bidder 1, Bidder 2 to protect people from fake second chance offers is ok, but Bidder 1, Bidder 2 doesn’t inspire me that shilling isn’t going on. The American system is somewhat different. I’d like to at least see a feedback score alongside bidder 1, bidder 2.

    Customer service, very much overdue and I know it’s only for the top buyers, and that certainly wouldn’t include me but that’s fair enough, you spend more, you get better customer service. I think that’s a far better scenario than we have now.

  7. Sorry to harp on again about Business addresses, but it is relevant to both buyers and sellers. In the Business Centre of eBay website it states full contact details must be on the About Me page or on a Shop page not more than one click from the main shop page. I have checked 8 registered random business sellers and not found a single address. In fact, one even stated that as they don’t operate from a shop all contact to be through the eBay message facility.

    Instead of imposing ever changing requirements on sellers, why is eBay not enforcing the laws of the countries it operates in? To leave it to the honesty of the seller whether they put their address on is not good enough. It may also be a better indicator to the buyer if the seller is open about their operation than Feedback and DSRs which are so open misinterpretation.

  8. The most frustrating thing I find as a buyer is that you have to add the postage fee of each seller to find the best deal. I appreciate that it is difficult to have a postage inclusive price because of complications with posting items abroad but with the new International Visibility Scheme would it be feasible to revisit this issue

  9. Chris at #7.

    The details can also be on the listing. If they are there then they don’t need to be anywhere else.

  10. Dave #8

    You can search ‘price + p&p lowest first’ on the drop down menu

  11. Owen # 9

    I looked on the items first because that was how I found business IDs to check. The listings only had town and county. I thought it had to be a full address?

  12. It should be Chris. Looks like they aren’t complying then.

    I misread your post slightly when you only mentioned two out of the three possible locations, sorry.

  13. On the subject of feedback from the buyers perspective.

    Just been talking to my wife, who buys on eBay but doesn’t sell.

    She sees buyers feedback as worthless now as there is nothing to distinguish a good prompt payer from a complete waste of time. They might as well say this buyer has completed x number of transactions, because that’s all it indicates.

    As a buyer she is savvy enough to check who she’s buying from and can spot negs left in retalliation by sellers, and feels it rather insulting that eBay feels that she needs nursemaiding to such an extent.

  14. It’s typcial of things that are happening in all sorts of areas, not just ebay. Everything seems to be brought down to the lowest common denominator. Because there are some dozy buyers who haven’t the sense or can’t be bothered to do some checking before being buying from a distance seller, all buyers have to be treated as if they need their hands holding.

  15. the business reg process on eBay is not an eBay policy!! its the EU ecommerce Directive of 2002! if you have your own website you need to comply with these rules too. i dont understand all the fuss. obviously it will be hard for eBay to police, but thats where the community comes in, like always!! REPORT THEM if you feel these sellers are not complying!!!

  16. Sorry Abs, I wasn’t aware I was making such a fuss. I’m just a newcomer to eBay trying to see if there is still a business opportunity on the site. As I would be a sole trader, living alone, the safety aspect is a consideration. Eddie has already told me about the 2002 eCommerce Regs and I am currently trying to read them! I always understood that is was alllowable to use a PO Box on a website and only have full details registered with your provider; but I may soon know differently if I can interpret the legal jargon!


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