Seller non-performance slashed from 90 to 30 days

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It was only a couple of weeks ago that sellers were recieving emails from their Account Managers advising of unnanounced changes to the Seller Non-Performance Policy (SNP). Today we’ve discovered another significant change courtesy of Eddie from AuctionTrax

The emails sent out at the end of last month advised sellers “If you have any negative or neutral feedback in the last 90 days, I urge you to file a Mutual Feedback Withdrawal form” (My emphasis) as there is now no grace period with a warning if sellers fall foul of SNP.

Now in an unannounced change the time frame has reduced from 90 days, and . This should be good news for high volume sellers who may have the occaisional awkward customer as the previous two month period of feedback will no longer be counted, but for low volume sellers just one or two negative or neutral feedback could be one too many.

A seller’s Buyer Dissatisfaction Rate (BDR) is measured by negative/neutral feedback, low detailed seller ratings and/or Item Not Received complaints. If your BDR rises above 5% in the previous 30 day period it’s likely that you’ll face sanctions, which are likely to include a 30 day suspension.

35 Responses

  1. richard @ eBay View Listings | Report 16-05-08 18:40 BST 12 of 76
    OP: Everyone thinks that they are not a NPS but believe me it is easier than you think to fall into this catergory

    pink plonk : Over a typical year, about 1.5% of sellers will be sanctioned in this programme. Collectively, they account for over a third of all buyer complaints on the site.

    I offer this as context for why we’re taking a harder line here.


    [edited by admin to remove email address]

  2. richard @ebay View Listings | Report 20-05-08 07:26 BST 54 of 77
    Morning everyone,

    I wanted to reply to a few of the subsequent qs and comments on this thread:

    Its like getting rid of people just cuz you can, cuz you think it will look good. Its so arbitrary

    Well, we sanction 1.5% of sellers, who cause over 30% of all buyer complaints. If you ran a business where 1.5% of customers caused over 30% of the problems, what would you do?

    If you are intent on culling, then do it without claiming a neutral is meaning a buyer is dissatisfied (or reperesents complaints), please.

    Oh, but they do. I had the pleasure of reading through over a thousand neutral comments earlier this year. They’re left less than 1% of the time – and believe me, they represent unhappy buyers. (Please don’t go and post neutrals from happy buyers, of course they exist too). A buyer who leaves a neutral is about two-thirds as likely to reduce their spending afterwards as a buyer who leaves a neg.

    The article that I posted a link to (and in fact a pink on these boards) suggests that Ebays belief is that a neutral is nearly always a dissatisfied buyer that was just too scared to leave a neg. Now they need not be scared – they can neg at will with no fear of reprisdal so….. future neutrals should just be neutrals as if they had wanted to neg they could have…

    We’ll see if this happens. If you’re right, and you may be, then we’d expect to see the neutral rate fall. As I did with DSRs, I’ll post actual data here when we have it so you can see what the trends are.

    Richards persistently ‘warm, cheery, delightfully helpful posts’ mean I cannot help but wonder about the person behind the persona

    Most posters on this board are serious sellers who do a significant amount of business on eBay. I try to respect that by getting straight to the point and sharing either relevant facts and data or my unvarnished view.

    BUT no matter how you look at it, a neutral is not a positive.

    Very true. I understand the concerns about neutrals (and I have a lot of sympathy with the argument that says scrap them in due course), but I hope we can all agree about this statement.

    Under NPS rules ebay are classing it as 0.667% of a neg.

    This is because all our data shows that it does about two thirds of the damage of a neg. (To be precise, we give it 66.7% of the weight that we give a neg).

    if you rent a shop in the high street does the landlord question whether your customers are satisfied or not or does he just come and collect the rent ? ebay is no longer a venue it is now a seller of your goods on thier terms but with you paying for the privilage

    This isn’t what the infamous phrase ‘eBay is only a venue’ means. It’s a legal definition that means that as we don’t see or handle items sold on the site, that we can’t be liable for their authenticity or quality. It’s a critical legal protection that essentially allows us to operate.

    ‘eBay is only a venue’ doesn’t mean, and has never meant, that eBay doesn’t get involved in transactions. We provide the transaction platform, market to buyers, collect fees from sellers, provide listing and search services, set and enforce policies, mediate (in an automated way, and via the feedback system) in disputes and provide customer support.

    do the guys in charge realise the trouble that is breaking out? care to fiddle while Rome burns?

    Not to underplay people’s concerns, but I’ve lost count of the number of times that sellers have announced to me (sometimes in colourful terms) that such-and-such a change would mean the end of eBay. This change is in a sensitive area, of course, and may have knock-on effects on other parts of the site if the pos/ neg rates change, but overall it’s a way to drive out bad sellers faster and make good sellers more visible, and we’re confident it’ll do just that.

    Neutral according to the Cambridge online English dictionary is “no opinion”. It does not mean “a little bit disattisfied”.

    Here on the site it means that the buyer is usually disappointed with the transaction, and about two-thirds as likely to leave as they would be if they’d left a neg. So we treat it as such.

    That is a forlorn hope I am afraid, it is his way of doing things. Ruchard sums up the corporate attitude of Ebay really. He declares the truth and then leaves.

    I simply don’t have time to post all day, unfortunately. It’s nothing to do with corporate attitude, there are only so many hours in the day.

    ebay should review and take off neturals that are clearly meant to be positives. But they dont.

    Generally we don’t second-guess the opinions behind a feedback rating. We remove comments that are malicious or defamatory, but we just don’t have the resources, nor would we do a good job, of reviewing about 1.5 million neutral feedback a year (in the UK alone) and descoring those with positive comments on them. (By the same logic, we should change any neutrals with negative comments on them into negs, though, right?)

    Richard has come up with some crackers that would suggest he does not have a service industry background. Comments about sellers leaving and being replaced by three new ones

    I really don’t think I ever said this – could someone find this post? It’s been repeated so often that it’s become received wisdom. Still, I may be wrong, so if anyone could find it I’d be grateful.

    the rules for NPS have changed… a neut is now a neg… if we dared treat our customers the way ebay treats theirs we would all be meeting at the local dole queue… cos not one of us would have a customer left…

    1 in 30 of your buyers aren’t happy with your items or service. Also, as your feedback makes clear, neutrals are generally bad experiences for buyers.

    Thanks everyone – I look forward to reading more on this thread.


    [edited by admin to remove email address]

  3. comment ragarding a suspended user with NEUTRALS ONLY OVER 30 DAYS

    richard @ebay View Listings | Report 20-05-08 17:06 BST 31 of 72
    I fear this is going to be a common problem

    Only 1.5% of sellers are sanctioned in a year – and these sellers are responsible for a third of bad experiences for buyers.

    I sympathise with the OP – you’re an edge case – but it is only edge cases who come onto the boards. The vast majority of sellers who get sanctioned richly deserve it, and don’t come onto the boards to protest. Those who do create the impression that we’re catching a large number of near-innocents – which isn’t the case.



    [edited by admin to remove email address]

  4. I never ever would consider myself at being at risk of being suspended from Ebay, however we have sold 3 items to the same buyer in Spain, leaving positive feedback to the buyer on receipt of payment.
    We were due to despatch items today but received an email from Paypal putting a temporary hold on the funds, I will email the buyer and advise that we cannot send until Paypal allows us to. Last month on this id I had 130 positives and 1 neutral. We are away for 2 weeks holiday commencing Saturday therefore would expect feedback for the next 30 days to be around 60. If this buyer from Spain negs us three times whilst we are away this would potentially amount to 5% and put us at risk of suspension.
    This has seriously undermined my confidence in my Ebay future, am I being paranoid, surely 30 days is too short a time period, especially given holidays etc.


  6. This is really worrying, the four posts I’ve seen on the UK boards are from people whom I’d have no problem whatsoever in buying from, their stats are fine. What are ebay playing at?



  8. ‘Paypal putting a temporary hold on the funds, I will email the buyer and advise that we cannot send until Paypal allows us to”

    @Dave – this is a new feature with paypal. i would advise you to call them, as in theory the buyer has paid for the item, paypal are just holding the funds until one of the criteria is meant. dont quote me here, but i think its the following:

    if 21 days pass and no INR report received, money will be depoisted into your account

    if buyer leaves positive, then funds are released.

    As i said i would double check with paypal regards to this, as buyer could potential leave you negative as they have paid for items!!!

  9. Seller non-performance was set up by eBay so that eBay can reduce the amount of discounts it is supposedly distributing. They are in arrears with us as they owe February, March and May. Somehow they paid April. And we are PLATINUM POWERSELLERS who went to sleep May 18, 2008 with a PERFECT 100% FEEDBACK SCORE only to find over night that we were 99.8% without having received a negative!

    Like many others, we removed our eBay listings, May 18, 2008 and now see other sellers are also TOO SCARED TO SELL ON EBAY

    One-sided feedback is PATENTLY UNFAIR! eBay’s new policy means a buyer can give a negative or neutral EVEN IF:
    >> Buyer never contacts seller for resolution of problem.
    >> Buyer doesn’t read description and is dissappointed.
    >> Buyer has an unconfirmed and unverified address (and seller is not obligated to ship).
    >> Buyer says he never receives item (yet postal records confirm delivery).
    >> Buyer doesn’t purchase insurance (and experiences a problem).
    >> Buyer pays late or doesn’t pay at all.
    >> Buyer has a bad day.

    And on Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs):
    >> Buyer can leave a low score on shipping and handling EVEN IF s/he recevied FREE SHIPPING!
    >> Buyer can leave a low score on speed of delivery, EVEN IF s/he choses MEDIA MAIL (the slowest rate) or
    >> Buyer can leave a low score on speed of delivery EVEN IF s/he choses to pay by ECHECK (which takes 4-5 days to clear and slows delivery)

    It’s time to check out of eBay!

  10. I think , that the most concerning here is that there is no way to improve anything if you get suspended for this.

    No feedback withdrawals , you can’t sell to get more new feedbacks and the most important thing: a few bad feedbacks may get you suspended forever and the customer does not even need to have paid in order to leave a bad feedback for you

  11. we are not bothered at all,
    weknow we are honest we know we give good service,
    if ebays conditions and regulations are too severe and we are suspended
    then so many others will be, and
    thats ebays loss
    its never going to happen

  12. Mandy,

    I think , that the most concerning here is that there is no way to improve anything if you get suspended for this.

    There are a few things you can do, to hopefully improve your SNP% in time for the reveiw after 30 days.

    Leave feedback for ALL buyers that have now paid, and ‘encourage’ any way you like those buyers who have not yet left you feedback – this should up your +ve feedbacks received during the 30 day sanction. Also resolve any outstanding INR or SNAD claims (if you have any) – as they also counted in your SNP %.

  13. No sellers no buyers.

    Do we really think that they are two types of people?

    I would love the site populated with sellers of all types.

    That means buyers everywhere.

    This SNP is going to hit the small casual sellers the worst, 40 sales with 1 neg and 1 neut means they are suspended for thirty days.

    That also applies to the sellers of large expensive items.

    I think this policy will reap its own whirlwind and whoever is sitting on top of this powder keg probably wants to take note of the fuse as it is fizzling away quite happily.

    There is a time to be determined and there is a time to listen. There is also a time to fail.

    This is Ebays time to listen.

    Before they fail.


  14. #14

    I understand that you cannot buy or sell or use your account when under 30 day suspension Eddie.

    So your suggestions would be impossible?

  15. @ Mark
    You’re wrong there Mark. Sure lots of sellers buy on the site, in fact lots of sellers buy lots and lots 😉

    However consider competitive sites – they have lots of sellers, but no one sells much!

    The reason is that you have to think of a pot of money. Sellers in general want to make a profit so they want to take more out of the pot than they put in.

    The best eBay user is the buyer (or buyer that sells very occaisionally) and pours money into the pot that they never take out again. If buyers aren’t pouring money into the pot and leaving it sellers can’t take more out than they put in and can’t make a living.

    Bring on the buyers is what I say! 😆

  16. We are currently selling less than 100 items per month. We have a 11,500+ feedback rating but one single neg could result in a 30 day suspension – which we would now have to ride out for the duration as the mutual feedback withdrawl process is about to be… well, unmutually withdrawn.

    All of my currently counted negs were left by non-payers after I initiated UPI Disputes. Does that mean I risk suspension if I initiate any more UPI’s before the new hub for reporting unfair feedback comes into play?
    (conversely, 2 of the 3 buyers who negged me are now NARU – if they had left me +ve feedback, it would have been removed but the negs currently stand)

    Frankly, I have to question the decision to employ officious witchhunters within the ‘Trust & Safety’ Department.

  17. we are quite excited about this new ebay
    overall we think this new broom thats sweeping thru will do ebay and ourselves more good than harm.
    we are prepared to give it our best shot,

  18. Aaaargh, must remember to plug my brain in before I post!

    I would need 3.2 negs in a month to risk ‘sanctions’, not 1.

    Either way, to report UPI’s or not report UPI’s, that is still the question.

  19. “overall we think this new broom thats sweeping thru will do ebay and ourselves more good than harm.”

    I think overall, it will make next to naff all difference. It’s just making things more complicated than they need to be – probably so the hangers-on can stay on the gravy train. Well good luck to them, it may make my bosses think I’m less expendable than I really am too!

  20. I am a seller that buys.

    If Ebay pushed me out due to bad decisions, do you think I would continue buying?

    How many buyers become sellers?

    There is no such thing as one class Chris.

    I cannot even remotely find any way that I could even consider that a correct statement.

    Based on my own personal experience.

  21. Mark let me ask you a simple question:

    Based on your own personal useage of eBay do you make more money from selling on the site than you put back in through buying?

    If you take more money away from eBay than you spend on the site then you need buyers to balance your selling (withdrawing money from the pot) by putting the money back.

    That’s the pure and simple economics of eBay and why buyers that don’t sell (add money to the eBay pot) or don’t sell much (don’t withdraw much from the eBay pot, leaving it there for you) are so critically important.

  22. Remember we are looking to the future. For me eBay is still a good viable venue but it is certainly a very different site to what it once was.

    What initially made eBay so popular is no longer there, in my opinion. I’m not sure if what eBay is becoming is what buyers want (the proof of the pudding etc.), we will have to wait & see. But word of mouth is very powerful and is what helped to make eBay what it is today (not the eBay men adverts). Lets hope that lots of bad customer experience (not just buyer experience) doesn’t come back and bite eBay’s butt. I’m sure lots of eBay customers who were once telling their freinds about this great new web phenomenon are now telling their friends something quite different. 🙂

  23. Apart from the low volume/high value seller which is a seperate issue, the low volume/casual sellers are the ones most likely to offset a good proportion of their gains as sellers by also buying. Yet these are the people who are getting the worst of every change that eBay is making. The high volume sellers, who will never buy a fraction of the value of what they sell, are protected. Anyone with any statistical experience knows that the higher the sample the more reliable the resulting figures. And before anyone reminds me powersellers can lose their status. They lose discounts, low volume sellers lose everything.

  24. Well I am taking a 4-6 week selling break from eBay in an effort to get my head around all the changes and to give it time to settle down.

    I sold at a Car Boot sale at the weekend and ended up holding a Master Class on eBay for about 20 people ! What was really quite shocking to me was that most of them were only buyers and had no understanding of the DSR system. Several of them said “I collected my …….. and left a 3 for P&P and Delivery Time because that is what you do on every other survey if it doesn’t apply”. 2 people said they left 1’s when they had collected, as they didn’t know what else to do – that is 1’s in 2 DSR categories!

  25. as far as we are concerned ebay are attempting do do the right thing,
    ok there will be mistakes , though we believe their basic thinking is sound,

    We are tired of buyers comments etc, conditioned by past experiance, to expect the worst ,

  26. After the recent experiences of Auctioning4u/clocktronics it is enevitable that ebay/paypal are cracking down.
    THEY (ebay/paypal) allowed that situation to get totally out of hand, with suddenly (after receivership) eally bad comms & slowness of dealing with byers complaints by ebay/paypal/adninistrators.

    If the lion gets it’s leg bitten, then the rest of the pack pays the price.

    It’s the ebayers (mainly sellers) that are now paying for the lax way in which ebay have conducted their business in the past, that is causing a completely tightening of rules now.

    Ive fallen fail of BNP, and beleive me, Ebay just do nothing about helping you to sort it, just square trade etc.
    It is also very difficult to have to address ‘mutual feedback request’ when you know the buyer is at fault. They become smug with getting away with causing us ( the seller) all sorts of problems.
    Sometimes this akin to the person that buy a pint of beer, drinks 90% of it, then goes back to the bar & complains it was soure, and demand a refund’.

    I suppose all any seller can do is do your best, and hope most buyers will treat us as they would expect to be treated themselves……Hopefully

  27. Hi

    I too have embraced and welcomed the changes, (including for the first time laving positive feedback on receipt of payment) and had the SNP change to 30 days not coincided with my holidays I probably would have discounted it as just another change. As I stated earlier I have a specific problem with a buyer from Spain which if goes pearshaped I could receive 3 negs, this in conjunction with me only selling half of my normal items in the next 30 days could see me falling foul of these new guidelines and suspended. I will do everything possible to stop this happening and my judgement is that I will be okay, however it has brought home how slim any sellers tenure on Ebay is at the moment.
    My plans to ensure that this does not become an issue in future is to :

    1)I have 5 selling ids I will only have one ongoing, the risk is that a problem with one id could affect all of the others – this will be inconvenient for buyers as I sell different products/countries on each id.
    2) I will block it so that buyers can only but 1 item from me in any 10 day period, again disadvantages buyers and myself, but gives me peace of mind
    3)I will only leave feedback when asked to do so via a message from a buyer, the logic here is that if there is any hint of SNP issues I can sent outstanding feedback to several hundred buyers and expect to received a short burst of incoming feedback to defray any potential issue.
    4) I am raising my prices to align them more closer with what I am charging on other venues this will compensate for the lower sales expected from points 1 and 2, and from the lower sales estimated from the increase in prices.

    I would urge any other sellers, especially those that take holidays to look at their own Ebay business model and adapt it

  28. North

    Until yesterday my attitude was very similar too yourself, just get on with it and make as much money out of Ebay, and I will continue to do this.

    I recall about a year or so ago you had your 10 minutes of fame, you were comletely innocent and Ebay stood by you.
    Roll forward to today, do you think the “Reborn Ebay” would have acted the same, or would they have gone into blinkered mode and narued you on the day of the press attention

  29. Try getting 3 Neutrals ( for the first time in 8 months I think)

    Cannot sell for thirty days with no appeal – is that Fair ?

  30. littlewoods-clearance 97.7
    the_big_discount_store their on 95.2% oto trading grattan freemans
    dellfactoryoutlet on 98%

  31. Hi Richard, glad to see you are keeping an eye on the ball, if I am not mistaken you are head of Trust and Safety, perhaps I may bring something to your attention.

    This is a member of ebay if you take a little peak at his feedback you might spot something, sadly after 5 weeks it appears the Trust & Safety Dept. cant spot it??

    There latest reply…..”Hello,

    Thank you for sending us your report about item number 200221568020

    Let me reassure you that it’s our top priority that eBay remains a safe
    and reputable place to shop. We’ve reviewed the eBay member you’ve
    brought to our attention and taken the appropriate action. It’s
    important to bear in mind that not all of the actions that we can take
    are visible to you or may not be visible immediately. However, let me
    assure you again that we’ve taken the necessary action.”

    I was just wondering now you have the information if you could ask your Dept. to review the information I have presented to them…’s a couple of more snippet’s

    Funny, seems to be a connection between them

    Why would some called justdeals-uk leave feedback for someone called justdeals-au….surely a company wouldn’t buy from itself?

    Did I forget the German account called justdeals-de…sorry my mistake. Lets play spot the shill bidder?

    Yah go me, I won.

  32. Having read the ‘new’ SNP rules, I assume I am right as to the following:

    NO more than 5% negative/nuetral feedbacks within 90 days.

    No more than 5% negative/Nuetral feedbacks within 30 days.

    Ebay seem to be making up the rules as they go. There are so many sellers on ebay that are clearly in breach of these rules, but nothing is done about them.

    It would be reasonable to ask them (ebay) to apply their rules on a proper & even basis, instead of allowing some really bad offenders getting away with it then jumping on some & not others.

    ‘Whats good for the goose is……………etc



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