eBay.com remove feedback complaining about import taxes

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They will remove non-positive feedback left complaining about customs fees charged to buyers, or customs delays.

However, in order to be eligible for feedback removal, sellers must point out in their listings that cross-border transactions may incur import duties and that these are not included in the shipping fees; they’re also advised by eBay to clarify that they will not mark items as “gifts” to avoid duties. Notices about import duties must be “prominently” included in the listing and be in a font size no smaller than the rest of the item description.

Sellers who trade within the EU might like to also add that trading within the EU should not normally incur customs fees; in my experience, UK and European buyers are not necessarily aware of this, and need some reassurance.

The announcement has been made on eBay.com and there has been no corresponding announcement for any other eBay site, so it’s not immediately clear whether the new policy will apply to non-US sellers or not.

48 Responses

  1. Are they going to remove any negatives and neutrals ( as well as DSR’s ) for the last 12 months…?
    If so, this would be a great move.
    A little too late for some of us who can now no longer sell.

    One question I have though:
    If they will remove the feedback – why won’t they consider it under the feedback extortion policy?
    I had MANY customers ask me to label shipments as gifts AFTER they had purchased and threatened me with poor DSR’s and feedback.
    My Top Seller Manager always said that those threats were not extortion.
    Customs Fraud is fraud and I would be the one getting caught if I did it – NOT the buyer.

    So we will see how far eBay is willing to go.

    PS – If you are or were a Canadian seller that has been hurt by eBay/Paypal Policy or Technical glitches – contact me as I have a Canadian Law Firm willing to file a suit against eBay/Paypal if enough of us step forward.

  2. I would think thats its canadian buyers who have caused this announcement
    they are positively painful about customs and shipping fees

  3. Should be embedded eBay policy. Am sure that it is/was but bu**ered if I can find it.

    Why does this have to go in the item description?

    The law is the law, any buyer / seller in any country is bound by the law of that country.

    ‘Font of a size no smaller than the rest of the description’

    Largest or average? I can see that this might dominate a (brief) description.

  4. no chance of us putting all that tripe, on our auctions, we want to attract people not frighten them away,

    we consider its a cost worth paying, for bids, we will take the negative if needs be,

    though we have never had a negative for shipping or customs charges in 10 years

  5. Norf – exactly!

    Got 3 from one buyer and a post receipt threatening email for more.

    After a ‘discourse’ with eBay they were removed.

    Whatever happened to good old common sense?

  6. “Customs Fraud is fraud and I would be the one getting caught if I did it – NOT the buyer”

    It has long been established that is the BUYER who could be held to task, not the seller, also there are NO reported cases of a buyer being held to task just because they received an item marked as ‘gift’ or below the allowed amount. This is well documented on the eBay International forum – many times.

  7. The thing I don’t understand about this “new” policy is how exactly is it new? I read the eBay forums constantly and for several months I’ve seen other sellers quote this rule about removing feedback only if it states buyers are responsible for the import taxes. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of a new policy that was already on the books.

    And I’m with Norf on this one. I’m not putting this in my listings.

  8. Another one they should add is buye who are allowed to leave negative AFTER a Non-Payer dispute has been opened, if information is exchanged or not.

    I had one buyer leave neg:
    “I have already paid for this”

    then emailed a day later saying the transfer had not gone through… oops?
    I called eBay and the REFUSED to remove it… I mean under these circumstances it’s common sense right? so what if we exchanged posts in the dispute console, the feedback speaks for itself.
    and this is the feedback that got me suspended from eBay as I got 5% neg in 30days (the 30days I sold 3 items – the month before that was 85ish…. but was on vacation at the time, catching up on disputes etc…..)
    Now hows that for some bull shite?
    Silver Powerseller suspended. because of some technicality.

    THEN i got my sister to start using her account and they suspended her accusing HER of being me… what a joke! We are a family business with 6 of us working (2 part timers)…. If Employee A get’s suspended the ‘franchise’ is sold off to employee B ….. 2 seperate ppl, 2 accounts, 2 businesses…. But as far`as eBay is concerned they don’t want to know about it… There needs to be alot of SERIOUS changes to feedbacks and allowing BUSINESSES to trade on eBay, meaning if a biz is owned by 4 people, and 1 acc. gets suspended, the Business name can be altered, paperwork updated and trade as new business under any of the 3 remaining owners accounts… right?

    Just because 1 account holder on the network is suspended, eBay have the audacity to claim EVERYONE using that network is the owner of the suspended account….. wrong.

    I have had to go to drastic measures because of this original suspension which turned a multi-employee business to nothing! Even if I ‘sold’ the business to one of my employees it was still not allowed lol… So I actually had to move locations (over $6000 in moving costs) just to start selling under one of the co-owners personal accounts.

    When will REAL business accounts come into effect? where 10 employees can operate 1 Business name account, rather than having a shareholders company in one employees personal ebay account?

    (sorry for the off topic – its along the lines of how this feedback system branches off into so many other areas)

  9. #6 Sorry, UK law (UK mind, I make no comments for anywhere else) states that misrepresenting an item to avoid customs duties is a criminal act on the part of the sender.

  10. #9 Exactly. Which is why eBay requiring sellers to make prominent ‘warnings’ in listings to protect from bad feedback is pants.

  11. I take a different stance on this.

    First, I don’t think you’ll ever be audited unless you are wholesaling large amounts of goods or cars or something.

    For my business the benefit of declaring gifts and the repeat buyers it brings outweighs the sales lost from the few negative feedback regarding this issue we get. Feedback isn’t a good in itself, it’s just a multiplier in the profit equation, and sometimes it isn’t the highest priority.

  12. 11
    at one time many thought downloading pirate software ,dvds, and games , file sharing etc etc was ok ,or they would never be audited or caught,

  13. how can folks insist seller integrity and honesty, then demand and condone that sellers carry out a criminal and fraudulent acts for their own financial benefit

  14. Josordoni – do you have reference/link for that (Uk law stating the sender is responsible) as that would set the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons on the International forum.

  15. Every time a sender completes a CN22, the sender signs and dates the declaration:

    ‘I the undersigned, whose name and adress are given on the item, certify that the particulars given in this declaration are correct ………….’

    Completion and certification of a CN22 ( or CN23 if value of goods exceeds £270) is not optional.

    Anyone completing such a form ‘gift’ when the goods are not a gift makes a false declaration.

  16. This is another one of those Ebay illusion “carrots” for sellers. It seems to outsiders that they really are trying to help by enacting this policy and so Ebay can say the same. In real-time practice, this policy is pointless because NO ONE leaves negs complaining specifically of customs in the feedback. Again…Ebay….work on the real feedback problems.

  17. #19 the comments are the problem. Noone should be allowed to leave comments. Just rate the transaction via the stars and be done. It’s only the comments that winds people up.

  18. #18 – The REAL problem is that international buyers, who are upset about packages delayed in customs or about having to pay a customs fee, will leave glowing feedback, but give low marks in the DSR’s.

    Ebay calls the DSR’s anonymous, but if you are a small seller, like I am, it is easy to see, when a buyer “dings” the DSR’s.

    Low Monthly DSR’s = Seller gets kicked off eBay.

    (And eBay consider Low Monthly DSR’s to be, that ONE DSR is below 4.1)

  19. northumbrian & ebuyerfb – I have had a notice in my eBay listings for years … in 4 languages … that customs fees are the buyers responsibility.

    Guess what?

    The buyers never read past the title (an sometimes the description.) 🙂

    I don’t feel that I’ve lost any business because of this.

    There are much bigger issues, caused by eBay themselves, which have hurt my business, but a customs notice is not one of them.

  20. Jimbo….based on our experience….and we have tens of thousands of feedback across several ID’s….these are the main issues with feedback still.

    1-DSR’s. I think we all know they are worded wrongly. I don’t know even know how they could fix this. When you are giving someone 5 options (5 stars) to rate a transaction, you are just asking for nitpicking.

    2-Neutrals. Get rid of them altogether or make them neutral. Don’t sit here and say they are neutral now when they still aren’t….they still count in buyer dissatisfaction. Is there any rational reason why? None. What good is your 100% feedback rating if you have 5 neutrals and might get suspended?
    It makes no sense.

    3-Feedback revision. Why limit it? Ebay should be encouraging people to work things out. Ebay says they want to differentiate rare problems from those who abuse it. BS. This would be a logical argument IF buyers had to actually contact the seller first before leaving FB….but they don’t. In other words, feedback revision has to be used to fend off people who suddenly leave negs……which leads to number 4. This BS about getting rid of mutual feedback withdrawal because of abusers could have been dealt with by the simple job that they initially did….not letting sellers neg buyers. They went way overboard with getting rid of that.

    4-Buyers who are leaving neutrals/negs without contacting the seller first. My biggest pet peeve. Ebay has made it VERY easy to request contact information to call a seller. Ebay now makes buyers check off three boxes….yet 80% of the neutrals/negs we have gotten since May 19 and probably before were from buyers who can’t take 20 seconds to email us before. How the hell can we solve a problem we don’t know about?

    I don’t care about customs negs…..or this or that. How about changing feedback problems that are affecting 99% of the actual sellers on Ebay? Who has ever had a neg because of customs? Get real.

    If Ebay was SERIOUS about feedback….they would either reword DSR’s and get rid of feedback altogether (because this would eliminate morons who leave feedback) or they would have made a mandatory dispute console for feedback like they have for unpaid items, INR, SNAD.

    THAT would seperate the sellers who are good and have occasional problems against those who are horrible and off the site. If sellers don’t want to resolve a possible neg in the dispute, they should be off the site after a few.

    However, don’t penalize me because we offer great service but just happen to sell to more morons in our category who refuse to follow Ebay policy than the seller who sells yarn to old grandmas in their categories.

  21. If a buyer negs you…..that is going to hurt your sales more than them leaving you all 1’s with a positive. Sorry….buyers don’t care if your DSR is 4.6 and not 4.9. However, they do care if you have all 4.9’s but 2 negs on your first page of feedback from buyers who didn’t contact you about a problem.

    DSR’s are just a number……whereas feedback is a big red mark and a comment. Personally…..suspension wise…..I think sellers should be more worried about the 5% total than the DSR’s standards. It takes ALOT to get under 4.1…..especially if you sell a decent amount. It does NOT take alot to get near 5%…..especially when Ebay counts neutrals.

  22. #23 I also have tens of thousands of feedback across several ID’s. I’m happy with feedback as it is (although feedback for buyers does seem a bit pointless).

  23. #24 ” It takes ALOT to get under 4.1…..especially if you sell a decent amount.”

    But if you are a little seller it takes hardly any.

    Is it just me that thinks that is wrong?

  24. #26 Nope, not just you.

    T/O eBay last 3 months £100k ish, feedback recieved, around 90, it would be a different story if I was selling items for £5.00, I would have feedback numbers to fall back on, as it stands one bad delivery could wipe us out, eBay I hope are aware of this, we could get suspended today and eBay could loose 25k a year just because of ONE problem. It really needs addressing.

  25. ebay works great for us , we dont give a bugger about DSRs, Feedback, ,5% ,
    John Donahue. Meg whitman. Uncle Griff.
    Uncle Tom cobbly and all.


    to EBAY INC

    please dont block their plughole!

    there ya go its been addressed 😈 😆 😆

  27. #28 If you don’t need the money and eBay has no effect on your life style thats the only attitude to have Norf. Good luck to ya.

  28. ebay has a great effect on our life style
    it puts the petrol in the aston, and buys the airfares 😆

  29. #26, I am in agreement there. I don’t know what to say to fix that. We had a few accounts where we sold very few items and we stopped selling on them because all it would have taken was 1 or 2 morons to mess it up. We just started selling the items on our ID’s with lots of items where that would not be a problem.

    Again…the 5% is still bigger. I could have 20 feedback and get 1 neg and be at 5% whereas if I had all 5’s and that 1 guy left us a 1 for DSR’s…..we would be nowhere near 4.3….let alone 4.1.

    Personally, I think they should exempt anyone who gets less than 50 FB per month from DSR/5% buyer dissatisfaction rating.

    Another thing they can do……for the 5% buyer dissatisfaction rating is count it against the total number of SALES in a 30 day period….not total number of feedback received. Why should sellers be penalized for buyers who don’t leave feedback for them? They (Ebay) basically are assuming anyone who does not leave feedback for a seller means the transaction was bad.

  30. Bad English in my last sentence…I meant to say Ebay basically assumes that a buyer was unhappy with the sale if they don’t leave feedback at all for that sale which is BS.

  31. @ # 33

    The problem with your solutions is that many of the worst sellers on eBay are the extremely low volume, occasional sellers. The kind that wait 2 weeks before shipping your item priority because they have no real attachment to eBay. Then again I like getting good deals off of them since no one else wants to deal with them and bid accordingly.

    The other problem is that many times a buyer or seller won’t leave feedback on a slightly negative transaction. Counting it the same as a positive wouldn’t necessarily be right. eBay considers a neutral to be 66% of a negative (supposedly because a buyer is 66% as likely to leave eBay forever after leaving a neutral as compared to a negative) so a better solution might be to determine what weight to give the “no feedback” case.

  32. Ebuyer…..is that the supposed reasoning for neuts being 66% of a negative? If so, that is moronic. I had not heard this before but it wouldn’t surprise me under “Ebay logic.” In other words….under that reasoning….any buyer who has ever left a negative has left Ebay after.

    As for smaller sellers….I agree….I would have to think about that one more. However, I know something could be put in place that would easily stop stuff like that from small sellers. The system as it is…is broken.

    However, there has been talk from Griff (he has a thread posted on the EBAY US seller central board) that Ebay will eventually REQUIRE actual and documented communication from a buyer to a seller before they can neg the seller…..however no specifics were provided. He just posted this a few days ago.

  33. @ # 36

    That’s what I read somewhere early last year. I don’t recall the link but I believe it was from a Q&A with eBay. This was using data from back when sellers could leave negatives so I’m sure the real number has changed but I don’t believe the calculation has.

    Amazon forces buyers to communicate with sellers before making a claim. My own feedback site requires communication before buyers can leave non-positive feedback. It wouldn’t be difficult at all for eBay to do it.

  34. #1 I understand it sucks to get suspended, but I find it funny how your teasing a class action lawsuit. I agree that the SNP policy is ridiculous (because it counts positive feedback where somebody left a 1 or a 2 in the DSR’s, and neutrals) but our opinions are completely irrelevant.

    eBay in the user agreement states that they can get rid of you for any reason they want. Theoretically if they don’t like your last name they can get rid of you so I think your so called “class action lawsuit” would get laughed out of court.

  35. It’s a fact confirmed by Brian Burke that there are less neutrals left on the eBay now.

    The overall number of “non-positive” feedback hasn’t changed significantly since sellers were blocked from leaving anything other than a positive. What has happened is the desired affect that buyers previously leaving neutrals are now leaving negatives.

    There are now fewer neutrals and more negatives left by buyers, but the overall number of neutrals and negatives combined left by buyers hasn’t changed.

  36. we were worried when the new feedback system was introduced, though now if anything we get less non positive comments, which is quite possibly because these days ,we go just that little bit further ,and are that little bit more patient ,
    which of course is the required effect that ebay intended,

  37. Most buyers are sensible and woudl take a lot for them to leave a negative. However, it’s the numpties that get me every time. Like a buyer making a purchase and 8pm and saying I need this for tomorrow or don’t bother sending!

    Or I paid for 1st class delivery and it took 3 days to arrive?!? They are few and far between but a small seller would only need to be UNLUCKY and get 2 or 3 of these in a row and BANG they’re gone.

    The positive and negative rating should be removed completely and just have the stars, I only get pi**ed at negs when they insult my integrity or are out right lies.

    The comments are useless also when it comes to INR’s, you receive Fb saying great item, received really fast and paypal won’t even take that into account. They just spout the usual about subjective comments, could have been left in error etc.

  38. @38

    The main problem I have is that of technical glitches NOT being posted or communicated to buyers and sellers. Those glitches, when there have been so many – can caused huge problems for any sellers, large or small.

    Also, I have issue with the contradiction in information that ebay and Paypal tell you.
    I understand what you are saying about the USER Agreement, BUT when an eBay TopSeller Manager ( or any other eBay/Paypal Manager ) tells you one thing and THEN eBay does the opposite – THAT is also where I have an issue. I feel like I was lead along, all the while paying eBay/Paypal fees with reassurances that these tech issues beyond my control and on the eBay/Paypal server side – WOULD NOT AFFECT MY ACCOUNT STANDING.

    If I offered up the same lousy, misinformation to my customers, I would be gone in a heartbeat.

  39. Chris, I get a ton of neutrals but my buyer satisfaction rating is “good” so I’m guessing the neutrals aren’t weighed as heavily as negatives.

    I have 1,500 positives and 36 neutrals and 2 negatives and my buyer satisfaction rating is “good”

    Either way if you read the comments on these neutrals, a significant amount of them sound questionable. I just got one today that says “good item”. Well if the item is good, why leave neutral? I had one yesterday where the buyer says “fast shipping”.

  40. @ # 43

    If you do the math your negatives and neutrals (at 66%) are less than 2% of your feedback. eBay doesn’t start cracking down on your until 5% so no doubt they consider your buyer satisfaction “good”. I think auctiontrax has a calculator you can use to figure your BDR.

  41. @ # 39

    The overall number of “non-positive” feedback hasn’t changed significantly since sellers were blocked from leaving anything other than a positive.

    Not so sure. If you go back to this article you wrote in November you stated that the average was 1 non-positive out of 1000 but then it was later revealed that it had become 8 negs out of 1000. A factor of over 8x seems kind of significant to me.


  42. The 5% figure also takes factors other than FB into account, impossible to calculate with any real degree of accuracy.

  43. The real question is why are neutrals still be counted then as 66% of a neg when Brian Burke has admitted those buyers are not leaving negs instead of neutrals…..

    They have over and over admitted those who leave neutrals now must mean the sale was just that neutral…..yet they have not updated this on buyer dissatisfaction rating criteria.

    As for the account standing thing….being good, needs work, etc. there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to it. They need to come up with clear guidelines for what specifies each.


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