eBay UK Summer Seller Update Released

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eBay have just released the latest Seller Update for the UK, and it’s all good news. Top of the list is stability and certainty for business sellers with a grace period for Top Rated Sellers and incentives to speedily resolve buyer protection cases. Longer item titles and cross promotion tools will be welcome and expansion of eBay product catalogue in motor parts and electronics should make it easier to list and easier to buy on eBay.

Grace period for Top Rated Sellers

eBay want to be a trusted and reliable business partner for sellers, and to do this they’ve introduced some protection for Top Rated Sellers. It was only a month ago I wrote about how a statistical blip of low DSRs could take a seller from being Top Rated to lowered in search. At the time I said “Business continuity and the certainty that you’ll be able to trade next month are what sellers need in order to invest in their eBay business.”

In order to achieve this eBay are introducing a grace period if they fall below the Top Rated Seller DSR requirements. Rather than worrying that a one off issue could result in loss of Top Rated status sellers can concentrate on selling and invest in their business with a greater level of certainty.

You must have been Top Rated for three months to qualify for a grace period, but then for high volume sellers measured over 3 months there is a two month grace period. For low volume sellers measured over a year there is a 4 month grace period to get your DSRs back in line. If however your DSRs then drop below “Above Standard” during the grace period then you will lose Top Rated status immediately – it’s a buffer zone not carte Blanche for sellers to run amok.

Incentive for early resolution of buyer protection cases

If a buyer opens a buyer protection case without first contacting the seller via eBay My Messages, and the seller resolves the case within 3 working days the case may be excluded from the seller’s performance evaluation. After every buyer protection case eBay survey the buyer and the question is asked were they happy with the seller resolution (specifically how the seller resolved the case, not were they happy with the transaction). If they buyer is happy with the resolution then the case won’t count against the seller.

eBay will also be reducing the time before a buyer can refer an unresolved case to eBay from 10 days to 8 calendar days. This shouldn’t affect the majority of sellers – after all if you can’t resolve an issue in 8 days you’re unlikely to do so in 10, plus with the incentive to resolve cases within 3 working days that should be the target for all sellers.

Cross Selling

It’s no great secret that eBay have been testing the Product Bundles feature on the site and eBay are continuing to trial cross selling features with small numbers of sellers. Look out for more announcements for this feature in 2012.

Longer Listing Titles

In line with eBay.com longer listing titles will be coming to eBay UK. By the end of the year titles will get an extra 25 characters taking them from 55 to 80 characters.

Vehicle Parts Catalogue

Motor parts sellers will benefit from the new vehicle parts catalogue. This will show all the vehicles that a part fits in just one listing removing the need to list for each make and model. It should also reduce questions from buyers and returns.

Listing against the vehicle parts and accessories catalogue will give listings a boost in search results over those not using the catalogue. In the future search will allow buyers to search by their make and model of car and search results will then only contain listings using the catalogue.

Product catalogue expansion in Electronics

Since eBay product catalogue was introduced for some electronics products in May eBay say it has had a positive reception with buyers and sellers. This will be rolled out to more categories from the 1st August (Apple laptops, Apple Desktops, iPads, Tablets and eReaders, Printers, Routers, Hard Drives, Monitors and Televisions) and further categories from January next year.

Catalogue should reduce questions from buyers ensuring that basic information about the item is within the listing and that they can compare like for like. That is of course so long as your product is in the catalogue – it would be great to see the ability to add products to the catalogue at the time of listing if they’re not already present and this feature is coming for GPS devices by September.

Category and item specifics changes

From the 22nd August look for changes to the categories and item specifics for Computing, Consumer Electronics, Jewellery & Watches, Mobile & Home Phones and Vehicle Parts & Accessories. If you list in these categories the chance are that you’ll need to revise all your item specifics or at least check that they’ve been correctly migrated.


Overall this is a great seller update for most businesses trading on eBay. There is an increased stability enabling businesses to have confidence to invest in eBay from both the Top Rated Seller grace period and the fast resolution of buyer protection cases.

Some sellers will have a considerable amount of work to do amending listings to match eBay product catalogue or to amend item specifics, but in the long run those that do should see dividends from more sales to their listings.

24 Responses

  1. Too little too late if you ask me…

    Sellers are being hounded and suppresed by ebay.
    There is too much pressure on customer service and no safety net for sellers when buyers are pushing there luck.

  2. Stop tinkering with reactions all the time and listen to your sellers…

  3. With the titles being changed from 55 to 80 characters I hope they let us revise current listings rather than have to relist and lose sale history and standing. The title is about the only thing left you can’t revise once you’ve had a sale.

  4. Interesting set of changes. Some sensible stuff in there, including a softening of the position on the TRS hurdle and the bizarre “cases opened” hurdle (rather than cases unresolved). All good flexibility.

    The three days hurdle will have to be seen to be understood — when is the case resolved? If the buyer emails and then opens a case ten minutes later having had no response (actual timings from one of my buyers last week) and then gets a reply the following day saying we’ll send a courier to collect and give him a full refund when it returns to us — is that resolved? Or is it only resolved when the courier delivers it back to us four days later?

    Similarly if he is asked to post it back to us (for a full refund and the cost o the return postage) and does it at the weekend, is that soon enough to count it as resolved, or is it only when the refund is granted.

    Where this needs to head eventually is that the cases are opened without any penalty on either side and then when one side gets frustrated (buyer doesn’t get a promise to refund) then they can escalate and the three day clock starts then.

    The whole catalogue experiment is a disaster. I’m struggling to believe that they are pressing on with this further. I suppose someone needs a few more months of playing around before they are reined-in by an adult. It’s a bad idea, badly implemented and that’s bad for buyers more than sellers. It just leads to disappointment where the catalogue is wrong (pretty much everywhere) – and promotes BBEs.

    The power of eBay vs Amazon is a lot like the battle in the search space fifteen years ago. eBay’s more like Google’s free-form search to Amazon’s version catalogue-based version of Yahoo’s Directory — and we know who won that battle in the search space.

  5. Chris – may I ask where you get the part about buyers being surveyed after cases being closed? It’s not in the eBay announcement and as yet I’ve never been surveyed (as a buyer) after a case.


  6. We went from TRS to blocked in 6 weeks have not been able to list for 10 weeks now with a business account…our crime, 3 clowns (2 of them were business sellers on eBay, selling different items to us?) who would not accept that international mailed items can take longer than 3-5 days to arrive in the UK even when all our ebay listings state delivery is at least 7 days to the UK.

    eBay is just a joke nowadays as no serious business can take these risks

  7. As this will lead to eBay handing out more discount to Top Rated Sellers who would otherwise have been demoted, I’m a bit concerned as to how they are going to claw back the loss in final value fees.

  8. Overall good news, good to see some protection for eTRS, and, personally, I’ve long been arguing for longer titles (esp with the duplicate listing policy). free subtitles would have been nice.

  9. Well I welcome the TRS changes, this happened to us over the last three months, a two month blip and now back on track fingers crossed by the end of the month.

    It is finally a very good idea by ebay to help you over come any issues you may have, I still feel some more information on why you have been marked down on TRS would be a good idea, going from 0 to 15 in one month with no change in what we charge for postage seemed very strange!

  10. A well thought out seller release, which shows ebays full commitment to improving the service they give to business sellers, and a reflection of their desire to attract inventory from other sites, such as amazon. I fully welcome it. Why people constantly diss ebay I dont know. If you dont like it leave and sell elsewhere.

  11. Here here John. eBay ‘aint perfect, from from it, but your comments are most valid.

  12. yes go on bugger off the lot of ya, we
    would love to see a few less sellers
    more room for us


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