Why eBay DSRs should be retired as worthless

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eBay introduced Detailed Seller Ratings in an attempt to differentiate between good sellers and bad sellers. eBay knew that Positive, Neutral and Negative feedback didn’t identify poorly performing sellers so initially eBay focussed on high DSRs in an attempt to raise seller standards. When this still couldn’t differentiate eBay switched to focussing on low DSRs which indicated the worst customer experiences.

Since then DSRs have become less and less useful. Firstly sellers are still unable (officially) to identify bad buying experiences due to the anonymous nature of DSRs. Secondly the DSRs are becoming automated thus worthless.

First the simply for offering free shipping. So long as the buyer doesn’t pay for carriage you get an automatic 5 stars.

Second on eBay.com under some circumstances the . If you specify 1 day handling, upload U.S. Postal Service, UPS, or FedEx supported tracking information by the end of the next business day and tracking shows confirmed delivery 4 business days from when the payment clears then eBay.com bans the buyer from rating you and gives you an automatic 5 stars.

Now eBay have taken over communications with buyers. They’ve removed all bulk email capabilities and handle all payment, dispatch and feedback emails to your customers. It’s time for eBay to make the communication DSR an automatic 5 stars in all instances bar where the buyer sends a message to the seller. If they buyer doesn’t initiate any communications then the seller has no need to communicate and it’s hardly fair for the seller to be rated on eBay’s standard automated emails.

Finally we have the Description DSR. Arguably this can be ranked by the buyer, but eBay are rapidly moving towards a catalogue based inventory. I’m seeing ever more new products listed against eBay’s catalogue information with no (or at most minimal) seller description added. If a seller is listing against eBay catalogue data (which is now mandatory in many categories) then there’s an argument for an automatic 5 star DSR for the catalogue data as it’s out of the seller’s control.

As 50% of DSRs can already be an automatic 5 stars, and as the communication DSR most definitely deserves to be an automatic 5 stars, do they have any value left or should the be retired in the near future? When the DSRs are greyed out and automatically awarded just what’s the point of having them?

46 Responses

  1. Totally agree Chris, the whole system is full of flaws and is generally pretty unfair to the seller.

    I send out around 60-70 packets a week all round the world, sometimes they get stolen – one did the other day, I refunded the buyer in full (even though I didn’t have to) and my reward was neutral feedback and low marks, cheers!

    One curious thing about the new global rating system is that it says more about a nation’s temperament than about how you’re selling – in the USA my ratings are 5.0 or 4.9 for everything, in the UK, they’re about 4.7 and in Europe they’re around 4.6 despite the fact I’m selling the same items in the same way.

    I really dislike DSR, simple feedback linked to what you’ve sold with maybe an overall star rating would be better (and simpler) for everyone.

  2. plus
    if you sell loads you can get away with murder,
    though get just a couple of sales wrong if you sell little in quantity though you may be selling items worth thousands of pounds, and your buggered for months

  3. DSR’s fly in the face of Domestic and International Law !

    Every person is entitled to hear any allegation against them and No punishment without trial.
    Anonymous buyers can allege poor performance and there is no way to responded and eBay punish sellers with poor DSR’s without any attempt to establish the accuracy of the facts.

    Accounting records – EBay use DSR’s as a performance indicator which in turn effects TSR status and possible discounts, which means that DSR’s are an accounting document and as such eBay have a duty to ensure they are accurate.

  4. I will be very surprised if DSR’s last more than another 12 months.

    My expectation is that a Net Promoter Score will be along soon.

  5. Nortumbrian – I can’t agree more, as a private seller who is getting rid of a collection of sporting programmes I’ve been buggered for the last three months because of one person who took umbrage to the fact that the Dutch postal service held onto his package for a bit, and I’m sure that was the person who marked me down as a 1 for everything.

  6. It is not so much about the DSR system of marking sellers and we can argue until we are blue in the face about the rights and wrongs of how buyers score sellers.

    It is absolutely about how eBay use the system. If eBay made the system a stand alone entity for buyers to review and make their own judgement and did not draw from the DSR data for the purposes of manipulation then the system as it stands is probably OK.

    The fact that ebay do use the data to manipulate search, provide fee discounts and ban sellers from selling is open to question.

  7. Most of our buyers I would say 75%, prefer to order and pay over the phone, of the ones that do order online only about a 1/4 actually bother to leave any feedback.

    The whole thing is skewed towards bulk sellers but we’ve learned just to ignore it and get on with doing a good job, eBay’s opinion of my operation is about as interesting to me as buying a bottle of non alcoholic scotch, as for the buyers, I’m sure ebay think they are all idiots who need guiding.

  8. ebay think were all idiots just phone customer support to confirm it
    I know those guys have a job to do, though when some snot nosed brat with nowt ,tells me how I should conduct my business its a tad annoying

  9. We recently lost our TRS status on an account, we have had the status ever since it came out.

    Our sales jump from 300 ish a month to over 800 and have done over the past three months. We went from having say the odd one low mark to it taking us over the threshold by 0.05%!

    Oddly at the same time we had someone from ebay ‘reviewing’ our account as a general thing they were doing in offering telephone guidance to sellers.

    Basically I was told we need to offer free shipping on our items to stop this. But really that is not a far deal for the consumer, as a lot of customers by two or more items from us if I added the shipping cost to the product they would in effect be charge twice as we always combine shipping!

    I asked several times why this had suddenly happened to us with no reason as we hadn’t changed anything, not products, postage charge or anything we do on ebay for this to happen…I was told there was nothing they could do to help!

    Very frustrating indeed as I know we are a good seller and I want to find out what the issue is that is causing this but can’t find out what.

    Basically at the moment it is looking like it is better to sell less on ebay as we would of kept our TRS status….who is losing out there ebay?

  10. Good point norf.

    We’ve not been able to send an invoice for over 3 weeks now, all support tell me is it will be fixed in 42 hours or I get “do you know how to send an invoice?”

  11. The dsr system was flawed from the start.

    Donahoes own words …” We don’t have the skills to be a retailer”…His words not mine, How can Donahoe create and implement a policy that directly controls the Retailers ability to sell when eBay does not have the skill to sell in the first place.

    Their lack of skills exemplified in their words and policies implemented to “control the Retailers” to whom they have nothing in common with in the first place….. And for that line of thought he gets paid millions…go figure.

  12. Lets name some things that are worthless on Ebay……DSR’s Worthless,Best Match Worthless,All the Crap on Ebay Worthless,John Donahoe WORTHLESS!! Forced Paypal Greedy!

  13. I must disagree with your assessment on the description DSR. The items you sell may be cataloged but if I buy a “Brand New” copy of “Fallout: Las Vegas” from you and it turns out to just be “Good” I’m going to ding that star and rightfully so.

  14. As a regular reader of Tamebay I have noticed that articles by Chris or Sue relating to eBay’s inability to manage eBay generates more comments than other subjects. Clearly the professional sellers amongst us are interested in a whole range of subjects relating to online trading, but it is eBay’s incompetence which really unites us in our annoyance and frustration.

  15. Ebay has stated that Feedback and DSR’s are only “opinions”. Ebay then treats those “opinions” as facts and uses them as the basis for seller punishment or banishment.

    Ebay is damaging and destroying sellers because of unverified “opinions”.

  16. Will ebay be making moves to adopt a more Amazon-style feedback system of feedback for sellers service and reviews for products (and never the twain shall meet)?
    I think the wheels are already in motion ….

  17. Feedback is not unique to eBay, as we know. I had a call from a company called TrustPilot, get this…They wanted me to pay them so that my customers could leave feedback about us.

    …No prizes for quessing what I said to this guy.

    Firstly, the feedback is not removeable and you are tied in for 12 months (at a cost of over £1000)!

    My god, people actually pay companies like this…Don’t get me wrong, “reviews” have their place on the internet (not feedback, there’s a difference) but to pay another company is just daft.

  18. My wife has just had her Ebay account suspended for ever! she can no longer sell on Ebay due to buyers giving her 1 or 2 stars for postage? The amount she charged for postage just covered the cost of the stamp! She spoke to Ebay this morning and was told that even though they thought her postage costs were fair if the buyer decides to only give you 1 or 2 stars that is what they take to assess your account. She has over 3400 as a score and no negatives in the years she has been selling on ebay. As you can imagine she is devastated as she was only selling our kids clothes and had spent hours listing over 50 items only to have them pulled the next day! I think there is a hidden agenda with Ebay as they only seem to want corporate accounts – long gone are the days when Ebay was for the person on the street wanting to sell a few personal items! I wouldn’t mind but a buyer can clearly see the cost of postage on the item listing, if you don’t wish to pay it don’t bid!! The Middle East is currently enduring riots to get rid of dictatorships – me thinks Ebay is getting too big for its boots!

  19. Hi,agree with the DSR comments,this is a worthless system that:

    1 Doesn’t tell you who it is from

    2 Buyer can give you a green dot then 1’s for stars.What is that all about.

    Ebay needs to get it’s act together otherwise,it will find it’self on it’s own.

    Go back to the feedback system,that you originally had,or anyone giving 1& 2’s must contact the seller beforehand to work things out.

  20. Ebay is out of touch with business reality. I have two low DSRs out of more than 400 given to me. My average score is 4.9 in each category. Both ratings were unwarranted and as I say – simply there are more stupid people (percentage wise) in this world than ebay has accounted for (0.5%!). So eventually you are left with no margin of error, you make one genuine mistake out of 400 things you have done right and you are a bad seller now! The second thing, if only I could rate ebay somewhere with 1 star, they change things and some things are broken. I remember there was a time when bulk emails weren’t sent out or were sent with a week delay. Needless to say, I was rated 3 and 4 stars for communication instead of 5! I bet some sellers got 1s and 2s as well. And then they decide that it is better for me to send feedback reminder by default which torment my buyers. And idiots work at ebay – when I inquired if they could change unreasonable stars I got, they asked ME to identify the bad transaction, knowing that ratings givers are not disclosed. Imagine a seller with thousands of transactions doing this – guessing back and forth! I just wanted to contact the buyer, give him the money back for postage and hopefully turn him into a happy buyer which in turn could change that bad rating! NO, can’t do that!

  21. At the end of the day, eBay is a platform to allow sellers to hawk their wares.

    eBay should remember where their money comes from – it’s not from the buyers is it?

    Maybe one day eBay will stop treating sellers as a bunch of idiots and/or crooks.

    Dear Mr eBay, without sellers, there is no eBay – period.

  22. The DSR’s are totally subjective and as a seller having to complete them as a buyer once i realised how confusing the ratings were. Sellers know it’s a method to force free P&P as that’s the only part they can’t get full fees on (just the Paypal aspect)
    However to restrict or ban sellers on the basis of DSR’s is criminal.
    eBay would argue however that without them internet selling would not be what it is today. Retailers would also rub their hands at the reduction in spare room sellers undercutting those with overheads.

  23. I think the important point to draw from the concessions ebay has already made is this one; that ebay have aknowledged that buyers are not to be trusted rating sellers in certain circumstances. This is the most interesting thing about them suspending stars for tracked mail in the US, and for Freepost items – and for collected items, even for the ash cloud.
    It is important because what it says is “That we realise that customers are messing this up or not understanding or penalising unfairly because they may have another agenda or simply just not understand ……..”.

    The logical follow-on from that is the question “Well ebay, are you saying that customers are only incompetent/spiteful/muddled in these limited cases?” If so – that is ridiculous – if not – then you have already made your own case for abolishing the stars. The argument already applies to every star left by every buyer.
    The fish…………:)

  24. They should have fixed feedback first before grafting on the stars.

    Any system in which less than about a 96% positive rating indicates a bad seller is already broken. Trying to grade sellers on top by counting statistically insignificant low ratings makes it even worse.

    Is a seller who gets 0.6% lows and thus a demotion really less trustworthy than a 0.5% who doesn’t, when the count difference may be just 1, and the reason for getting it down to a failure of the buyer to read a listing?

  25. I have a full time business on ebay and have 100% positive feedback and over the course of the year i have had 4 low ratings (mainly from buyers who didnt understand how big 4cm tall is on an ornament). I had positive comments of smaller than expected! what the hell??? The worst thing about it was my low ratings which have took me quite close to getting banned.

    Im fed up with ebay and use ebay mostly as a buyer more than a seller, as im only a small business owner, but if i get banned from there, i will never be buying from there again.

    outlet sellers have atrocious feedback and they seem to avoid these bans! so why pick on small businesses – i thought the uk government is after small businesses!

    Im fed up with the stress these dsr’s cause! If there were no dsr’s, the only stress I would ahve is worrying about feedback, but these dsr’s are pathetic and shouldnt be giving me ill health, but at present the only platform i use is ebay!!!!

  26. I’m a TRS on eBay right now but will lose this at the next evaluation due to 3 low scores.
    My biggest worry is getting banned, as I know that eBay don’t want me and I would be easy to get rid of.

    I have over 1000 +ive feedbacks and sell about 500 items a month.
    Average DSRs are 4.9 across the board.
    Despite this, I go to sleep and wake up scared because I know they are after me.

    What kind of world do we live in?


    We’ve seen all of the above over the last few years.
    We pulled many listings simply because ebay has simply stopped listening to their sellers unless they are TRS.

    But buyers know what they are doing & just over the last month decided to list a few things (seasonal items) that sell well.

    Using a fairly dormant ID, 100% feedback, with ‘less than 10 DSR scores (so no rating), we thought lets see what happens.

    So 1 month later, 20 feedbacks, 15 DSR ratings & HEY back to the ebay norm:

    Item as described 15 = rating 4.9
    Communication 15 = rating 4.7
    Dispatch time 15 = rating 4.9
    P & P charges 15 = rating 4.6

    What to do, as this system is simply just broken.

    One item is very small & weighs only 70g when packed, BUT is packet post @ £1.58p to post (we charge this).
    Other sellers of a similar item has all 5’s.

    Ebay have simply given to much power to the buyer as we do not know who, why this is happening AGAIN…….

    By the way thank god for our own shop

  28. Its amazing how many people thought these dsr’s were a great idea and now not so.

    The DSR’s have been used and abused. And were never going to be used as intended due too human nature amongst other factors

  29. One of the problems with the current system is that there is simply too many choices (can any one explain the difference between a 4 and a 5 star rating?) and buyers have no clue as to the consequences of those choices.

    A better way would be to do away with stars a replace them with a simple yes or no.

    A little notification telling a buyer that their choice could effect the sellers ability to sell wouldn’t go amiss either.

  30. One of our sites looks like failing this month, 0% for 3 ratings and 0.6% for dispatch.
    Can anyone name any other industry where 99.4 % satisfied customers isn’t considered impressive ?
    We already operate same day / next day dispatch , and have no plans to improve on that.

  31. I do agree that DSR’s were another horrible idea by a corporate stooge who is totally out of touch with the user base of the company he works at. It just shows really how far out of touch the top brass is at ebay, and how far ebay has gone from when it first started. Now ebay is a company that EVERYONE hates, but uses because they have to at the moment. Before it was a company everyone LOVED and used because they loved the community friendly feel and vibe. I think ebay will be a distant MySpace/AOL type memory 10 years from now, and replaced by the new next best thing of the day. Every giant corporation once thought they could never be toppled or worse be bankrupted. Im going to name three companies, as previously stated, MySpace, AOL, and IBM. Where are they now? Yes they’re still around in a ghost image type form, but totally irrelevant in the online world. Im sure I could come up with many more if I thought long enough. Facebook is currently king of the castle, but word is already floating around that they just recently peaked, and are on thier downslide, theres even talk that they’re going to do a IPO this fall, and sell the company off completely, as they also see the writing on the wall. Who would have ever though Facebook would be toppled? Twitter still isnt profitable, and another CEO just left. The only thing really keeping ebay afloat is Paypal, and thier recent sale, at a good profit, of Skype. But with so many people unhappy with them, I think their days are numbered, I give them less then 10 years, probably around 7, MAX.


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