eBay.co.uk Seller Release: Dispute measurement and new feedback tests

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Introduction of Seller Ratings on Buyer Protection Cases

The major change coming to eBay UK is similar to eBay.com and is the introduction of opened buyer cases as a measurement in seller performance. For the UK there’s an allowance of 0.5% of transactions or two cases for Top Sellers and for all other sellers a maximum of 1% or 3 opened cases. There’s also the limit of 0.3% of transactions or 2 cases that the seller has failed to resolve which could also lead to sanctions including loss of seller status and listing restrictions.

Opened buyer cases in the resolution center will begin to be measured from the seller assessment on 20th September this year, and will be evaluated over either a 3 month or 12 month period depending whether the seller is high or low volume (more than 400 transactions per quarter).

eBay will also begin to actively protect sellers from buyers who attempt to threaten feedback extortion, feedback bomb, leave positive feedback but consistently leave low DSRs or leave abusive or inappropriate feedback.

Item Specifics: Condition

More descriptive item condition values will be introduced to expand the current “New” and “Used” which are the only options currently in many categories. There’s a look up table where you can check the item specifics for the categories you trade in.

Selling enhancements

Bulk editing functionality will be introduced in Selling Manager and Selling Manager Pro as well as a bulk edit in My eBay with spreadsheet type functionality to modify listings. You’ll also be able to preview changes before setting then live on the site.

From mid June business sellers will be automatically opted in to eBay Auto Answers (although you do have the option to opt out. Auto answers give the ability to have boiler plate responses to questions such as, item condition, postage & packaging information, if payment has been received (if the buyer paid with PayPal), tracking information (if the seller used eBay or PayPal postage labels) and if returns are accepted. It’s worth noting that once you’ve turned Auto Answers on you also have the option to block buyers from asking questions directly from the view item page forcing them to use the Auto Answers. If they want to message you they’ll have to do so directly from your user profile, not from view item pages.

eBay will also be updating some successful buyer and payment email templates. A new “order confirmation” email will display all transaction details, seller’s business contact information and, from July 2010, their return policy. A “payment reminder” email will be sent if the buyer hasn’t paid after 2 days although the seller can opt out of this and a compulsory reminder email will be sent to all buyers who haven’t left feedback.

There’s a reminder about the Unpaid Item Assistant which has been live for a few weeks now. Rather than manually opening unpaid items if a seller’s only acceptable payment method is PayPal eBay can automatically open and close unpaid item resolutions with an option for the seller on how many days to allow for the buyer to pay.

Testing of new options for leaving Feedback

eBay will be running more tests for new buyer feedback options. In place of the current DSR ratings are simple yes/no answers to topics such as “Was the item what you were expecting” along with a 0 – 10 Net Promoter type score.

eBay say that the tests are aimed at simplifying the Feedback process whilst obtaining more accurate and objective responses from buyers. If eBay roll out a revised feedback system on the back of the tests they’ll give advance notice well in advance.

Free subtitles for Product Photos in Catalogues

If your image is used as an eBay Catalogue photo then you’ll not only get a credit link but eBay will also give you five free subtitles as a thank you.

37 Responses

  1. This has to be a fairer way of assessing sellers. If buyers leave low ratings, they should be forced to leave an explanation, so that we can learn from their experience and improve our business.

    Ebay need to recognise that just because an item is returned, its not necessarily a bad experience. There are sellers out there that have goods that naturally get returned (clothing, shoes / anthing that is not a part number and a perfectly engineered product). ITS HOW THE RETURN EXPERIENCE IS HANDLED – THIS DETERMINS HOW THE BUYER FEELS ABOUT THEIR BUYING EXPERIENCE.

    My wife recently bought a pair of Ugg boots from an outlet, and had a good buying experience. Item arrived in 2 days, well packaged etc. However there were a bit big on her – why? Because Ugg are just bigger than other brands. Is that the sellers fault? NO. Is it ebays fault? No. Is it Ugg’s fault? no…. its just the nature of lots of manufactures producing goods to a size that’s not universally adobted.

    Is is a bad buyer experience? ABSOLUTELY NOT? Why not – because she was able to return them for an exchange – so she is delighted with the buyer experience, even though she had to use the resolution centre to return.

    My wife is a devout Amzon buyer – she says they make it simple to buy, return, exchange goods. Amazon are a great retail operation – I know because I sell on there. I dont even look at my Amazon dashboard, because their criteria is fair and simple…not loads of data to understand and jump through hoops to keep under check (e.g. upto 5% returns rate for any reason, NOT 1% item as described).

    I know some of the guys at ebay, and they are all decent people who care about the community. They are just doing a job. The people who need to read all these comments about change to the selling community are the number crunchers who are seriously playing with people lives, and probably dont even sell or experience 1st hand the difficulties of running a business, where customers cant look or touch or try on an item b4 purchase. Look at Amazon guys and see how they operate – its near on perfect…why? because the people making the decisions there are retail experts…this is the difference I think?

  2. What John said.

    I never hear from Amazon, they never hear from me. I sell, the end.

    As for that feedback page, I made my feelings quite clear last year, I think it is a pile of total crap. Currently 40% of buyers leave feedback of those about 60% of those leave star ratings. This will now get worse, and to top it all off if a buyer has not left feedback eBay will now start hassling them to leave it.

    Having had the pleasure of meeting many eBay execs from HQ I really struggle some days to understand WTF is going on.

    Another win for Amazon.

  3. bloody monkeys
    and an ebay stick ,thats what we are,
    in and out of TRS like a fiddlers elbow,
    buyers will need a diploma soon, so they can leave feedback
    or be frightened to buy on ebay because their hassled to death over feedback

  4. eBay is caught in a spiral.

    The more the seller complication, the more sellers find other platforms attractive.

    The more the buyer compliaction, the more buyers find other platforms attractive.

    End of.

  5. Will it never end, what did we do to upset them this time?
    In a subjective selling area like clothing what chance do you have, when sizes and even colour are open to interpretation I am sure Pink on my monitor looks different on somebody elses.
    It’s also nice that we are getting rated now on Royal Mails performance. Will this get suspended during a postal stike, snow, volcano?
    We will assimilate this as we have all previous changes but if it effects us adversely then it will be time get out.
    My hope is that Amazon don’t rush to embrace all disaffected eBayers and turn Amazon into the overcrowded hyper competetive market place where the rush to the lowest price means that decent business model cannot be sustained…
    Will this be another storm in a teacup? We have ridden such storms before but I am not sure that we have it in us to be bothered to jump through another hoop when there is so much more wrong with the eBay that isn’t addressed…
    My glass is half empty

  6. Hi northumbrian,
    Thanks for sending a refund of GBP 397.80 to your buyer. A final value fee of GBP 11.06 has been credited back to your eBay seller account.

    Because the buyer received the refund, this case is now closed. You don’t need to do anything else.

    if I dont need to do anything else and the case is closed
    why are ebay? going to use it to bugger up my seller dashboard

  7. This is all a bit of a shame — the Resolution Centre was just starting to get good: a place to handle problems with escalation options. It presents a uniform method of handling problems with transactions across multiple sellers, and that must be good for consistency of buyer experience. It is also integrated with eBay refunds of FVFs and resolutions are viewable when feedback removal is being considered. Great.

    Now I am to be penalised for using it.

    So all my listings and (remaining) communications with the buyers will be stressing how much quicker it is if they call my 0800 number to resolve any issues they have and urging them not to use the Resolution Centre. I’ll consider dangling the carrot of refunds of return postage fees for not using the Resolution Centre and the stick of adding buyers who use it to my BBL.

    I can’t run the risk of suggesting that they open the no fault return option (the one way of processing a refund in the resolution centre which does not score against me) — that flow is too complicated for me to be sure that fewer than 0.5% will select a reason other than “changed mind” — even in the group who changed their mind.

    I really don’t mind one way or the other, but I’d just spent two days changing my internal CS processes and communications to accommodate a greater use of the RC; it feels like a bit of a waste to so quickly move the other way, but this needs changing before September rolls around.

  8. I don’t know about everyone else, but a less than 0.5% dispute rate is simply impossible. I have international buyers opening cases all the time because of slow international delivery times, even though I send items same day and provide tracking!

    If you had 1000 transactions in a month that would mean more than 5 disputes would take you over the threshold!

    There should be a system in place to take into account that an item has been sent, and the tracking information provided, to prevent such emphasis being placed on ‘Item not received’ cases.

  9. @10

    The prime monitor for UK/IE sellers is sales to UK/IE buyers so your International Sales will not impact your status (assuming that you are UK/IE based).

    Bad stats for US sales will impact on eTRS status on the .com site and affect best match placement etc. on there.

  10. Regarding the new Feedback options being tested (stand by for the roll out), it doesn’t look as though the option presented gels well with the current system. If adopted what would happen to all previous feedback..?

  11. Today I spent 1.5 hrs with my account manager sorting out 2 low DSRs that were not justified.

    Here is an example:

    Item: XXXL Shirt
    Feedback: Neutral + 1 Star “item as described”
    Root cause: After emailing customer, I found out that indeed the tag and measurements were correct – it was the fact it just did not fit him. Was that my fault? NO. Am I a crap seller? NO…

    This 1 feedback dropped me out of TRS this month…but more importantly it brought me closer to the 1% threshold…go over 1% and effectively I have no business (0.8% I have no sleep!)….sales drop…I get assessed over 12 month not 3…I am dropped in search.

    After 5 years of building a business, one or two finger-happy buyers can effectively ruin my operation….and looking at these changes it can only get WORSE.

  12. I’m willing to bet that the blocked buyer list will soon be a thing of the past.

    email from eBay today advising that we may not qualify for TRS after September due to a high number of cases of INR and SND. We have exactly 1 unresolved case! (in 17,000) odd transactions. (and that case was someone whos order was returned to us as not collected by Royal Mail).

    Time to spend some significant time and money on the website.

    ps The thing i realy don’t get it that despite all this TRS hoops to jump through there are still a large number of clearly poor sellers on the site.

  13. I’ve tried wading through the many posts on the PS Board and can not seem to see this clarified anywhere – is it open “disputes” or “disputes escalated to claims” that penalise us?

    After a number of calls to ebay over the years, and speaking to a Paypal rep at ebay Uni in 2007, if a customer messages me about non-receipt, after the normal actions I will agree to refund, but ask them to open an INR in paypal which I immediately refund. This was in response to a few issues I had where the buyers feedback or other clues suggested that they had a habit of claiming INR, and the dispute would at least keep a record of habituable claimants.

  14. Bad enough that they removed our ability to defend against a silly negative, in any way.
    Now we have to except more abuse to obtain sleep! Bad enough coping with sky high seller fees, in the same market as non-registered sellers we stand no hope. I think I will walk, after three years things will only get…

  15. I just logged into my seller dashboard, and there pops up a screen with the new September criteria…and guess what I’m screwed…amazing…and I am Top Rated with 100% feedback.

    I reckon there will be so many people demoted in search, that I will get back to the top lol

  16. why is ebay just not getting it? Our Amazon sales are so easy, the feedbacks really simple and we are definitely doing so much better.

  17. eBay should just go and knock on Amazons door and ask them how to run an online business. How to keep Sellers and buyers happy along with big hight street names.

    Also NOT try to be too smart and get their wires crossed and end up putting people off. eBay need to get 100 sellers over a few months and sit them down on a round table and ask them what they think is the best practise. Then do the same thing with 300 buyers.

    Ofcourse nothing is free, maybe give sellers 1 month 50% selling fee discount. Maybe give buyers £50 off vouchers which will be valid for 6months.


  18. Another nail in the coffin….

    I think this quote from the first reply really conveys my feelings.

    “The people who need to read all these comments about change to the selling community are the number crunchers who are seriously playing with people lives”

    I am actually a little worried about these changes and how it could affect my business. We bust our balls to maintain Top Rated and feel as if we have become a slave to DSR’s. We provide an excellent service but postal strikes, lost items, DSR/negative threats coupled with newbies who don’t realise the consequences of feedback/DSR’s can really kill us.

    Now we have to worry about a new set of hurdles. Would some from eBay please explain to me why you created a dispute resolution system/console and are now penalising me because my buyers choose to use it?

    Deep down I always had faith that eBay would realise that these draconian policies are confusing for both parties and are just pushing sellers away. Now with these upcoming changes I am not so sure anymore…

    Rant over, thanks for listening!

  19. what ebay really needs to do is to get the balance right,
    they need to make the rewards good enough to suffer all this bollocks,
    a few hundred quid fees discount, just does not feel worth the hassle and trauma,
    and the level playing field is a ski slope

  20. I had one buyer open an INR case – contacted me (for the first time) to say “Sorry about opening a case, didn’t really want to but eBay system was very keen to push me down that route”.

    I sorted the issue same day and they left me glowing feedback.

    Now, thanks to this crackpot scheme, I get a black mark and risk to my TRS status for something I sorted out in a highly professional and timely manner – and that wasn’t even my fault (postie hadn’t left a ‘while you were out’ card) in the first place.

    The folks who dreamt this up might be whizzo with numbers and processes but they sure as hell aren’t retailers.

    Come on eBay – you MUST rethink this one.

  21. Let’s face it guys, ebay can’t (or won’t) be what we want it to be. We have Amazon and our own websites for that. The solution? Either be flexible enough to fit in and thick skinned enough to take on board/ignore the “critisism” of low scores and disputes being stacked against accounts*, or reject ebay and be brave enough to stand on your own webbies and Amazon.
    * if you sell the same stuff elsewhere and don’t get the same grief maybe it’s the buyers and not ebay that’s the problem?

  22. We are fed up with ebay and the abusive feedback system.

    We just received a negative from a buyer for “NOT SPEAKING HIS NATIVE LANGUAGE”?

    To note that all the emails sent were in his language and he received his order, thank you very much.

    We do not see how this crap system is protecting sellers.

  23. We recently had a neg & wondered what was wrong. The buyer had actually listed a phone # & we rang him. he said he had not got his items & eBay TELE HELP had TOLD HIM to NEG the seller.
    He vsaid he had not wanted too & agreed to imediately regrade the feedback.

    I rang PS support & for once got a good person & he told me, it was the phone service for buyers & they were not mesn’t to tell buyers thsi. He agreed to remove the feedback & ‘refund a months shop fees’ as compo.

    Before he’d dome this tyhe buyer revised the feedback & closed all disputes. I asked the PS rep when we would get the credit & he said well not know as the buyer had changed the feedback, before the credit was processed.

    The new system would maje this far more dangerous than now & Customer service seem to take delight in telling buyers to NEG sellers for whatever reason.

    All very unfair………thanks ebay. SOON very Soon you will loose another seller………and it’s all your fault mates!!.

  24. if you sell the same stuff elsewhere and don’t get the same grief maybe it’s the buyers and not ebay that’s the problem?

    …you may have a point, although eBay are setting the buyers expectations too high and market a “nil risk” buying experience. Unfortunatley some buyers see this nil risk as “steal me if you want”

  25. I direct all customer to use the Resolution Centre for unreceived items, but nobody ever does and I don’t hear from them again. I shall be continuing to direct customers to the Resolution Centre, TRS or no TRS I won’t loose any sleep.



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