Which of your eBay DSRs can you control?

No primary category set

There’s been some lively discussion regarding eBay DSRs over the past few days here and here. The big question appears to be should we be rated on things outside of a seller’s control?

There are four DSRs buyers rate us on on eBay, so lets take a look and see which we can do something about and which really are in the lap of the gods:

How accurate was the item description?

I don’t think many sellers could argue that they’re not fully responsible here. However it’s worth noting more and more buyers purchase with mobile devices and see a limited view item page. I myself am guilty of buying from the top of the page and not bothering to read the full sellers description.

If you really want to ensure buyers agree with the quality of your description rely more on the title, the picture (s), the item condition and the item specifics than on the description lower down the page. Make sure any highly relevant information is at the top of the page, especially now you can have 80 characters in item titles.

How satisfied were you with the sellers communication?

Well this one is really down to eBay now. They’ve set up automated messaging on our behalf and taken away our ability to bulk email customers.

It’s a difficult one to manage with no automated messaging unless you’re using third party tools (which generally cost money!) and want to double up on messages sent by eBay. If there’s one DSR that you could argue is outside your control this is it.

How quickly did the seller despatch the item?

We all know that buyers don’t care how quickly you despatch their purchase, they’ll rank you on how quickly they receive it. I hear a lot of sellers complain about this DSR along the lines of “I posted it second class as promised and I have a 5 day handling time specified”.

To be honest buyers these days don’t care how long you need to pack an item or which postage method you use – the vast majority still expecting to receive their purchase tomorrow or the day after. I’d encourage all sellers to offer premium delivery services with an option to downgrade to cheaper slower services if the buyer wants to save money.

I know that’s contentious – faster services cost more, make you uncompetitive and less profitable. However you have to balance the service with your DSRs, search ranking and resultant sell through rates. This DSR scores a “could do something about, but possibly it’s not in my interests to”.

How reasonable were the P&P charges?

This DSR is a straight choice. Do you offer free post in which case don’t worry – you’ve got a five star DSR, or do you charge for postage, make a little more profit, have a (from observation tiny) disadvantage in search in which case you have to trust your buyers to consider your postage reasonable.

So that’s the four DSRs, P&P can be guaranteed if we wish, Description and Despatch time are under our control, Communications is pretty much out of our control without a lot of work or external software.

What do you do to keep your DSRs high?

36 Responses

  1. I used to understand the value of feedback.

    But the system Ebay currently has, is totally unjust and in my view immoral.


    Because it encourages buyers to mark people on things outside of the sellers control.

    I really wish Ebay was subject to its own philosophies.

    Allowing us to grade its service.

    Unfortunately, they do not practice what they preach…

  2. Communication & dispatch ae our big problem.
    Comm’s, as you say Chris, we have no control over, and the only way I see it working fairly, is for the ebay ‘update’ message appearing in the buyers mymessages, then they can’t say they didn’t get it!!.

    Dispatch is another bad ball game..and if RM actually delivered the items [and on time] we would be OK.

    Just had an email from a buyer, that we posted to Recorded delivery on the 31/01 TILL not arrived.

    On checking other items sent same post, a recorded delivery one, has no info [ie; not yet delivered] but has arrived because the buyer emailed us so.

    So far, since last Oct, we’ve lost nearly 60 packets, RM rep, isn’t very helpful, although we did received some compo, for the 1st lot. BUT the problem is not going away & we’re still loosing stuff…..

    So can I control dispatch DSRs ….NO is the answer.

    We pay mini wage rates + 5-10% and still only charge 40p more than RM charge us, which comes nowhere close to our cost.
    Giving Ebay 10% of our P&P charge is not on in the main….

  3. DSRS need fixing. They’re far from perfect. I suspect there may be be future iterations and evolutions soon enough … who knows?

  4. I respectfully disagree that Communication is out of our control. As a buyer and as a seller, I know that even a single email from the seller saying “thank you for shopping with us, we appreciate your business” — or words to that effect — can make a 5-star difference.

    Buyers may not realize that eBay’s notices are from eBay rather than from the seller, but they surely notice when an email is direct from the seller thanking them personally!

  5. With items that are difficult to tell the size of from the photo, I’ve started putting a graphic in the photo itself with arrows along one side showing the size.

    This was prompted by a spate of complaints from customers who hadn’t read the description where the size was clearly stated in bold text.

    As for the suggestion of offering premium post first with a cheaper (or free) option, I’d have to disagree. I tried this for a month and it had a severe impact on sales because I just didn’t look competitive in a basic search.

    because ebay have the percentage set so low, you can have 998 delighted customers a month ,then only 2 members of the silly sod club with various targets to aim at ,which only need a near miss and your stuffed,

  7. though its sellers who need to get their head right on this, if your ebay business model relies on being TRS, you will always have the noose round your neck waiting for ebay to open the trap door

  8. DSR have long been a real issue on the site. Let’s be honest, they are there to judge sellers and to provide eBay themselves with a criteria on which they base discounts. The idea that they are there to improve the Buying Experience is complete rubbish. Always has been, always will be. There are a few that somehow believe this but as a seller it is clear that the criteria is all wrong.

    Description, yes it is all on the seller, and quite rightly too. We are obliged under any criteria you want to go for to provide a 100% accurate description of the goods. Fair enough.

    I would argue that the Buyer has an obligation to read the listing as well, but that is another matter.

    Communication. As others have pointed out, eBay have removed a lot of the email elements themselves. For those of us that sell across platforms, have a lot of sales to contend with it is hard to hand hold everyone. A better criteria would be for eBay to monitor questions asked through the system, how fast you get round to them is a good indicator of the time you take over a customer. I personally answer them as they come in during working hours and I answer a bulk in the morning when I start. I don’t answer anything during the evening or Sundays, that way lies madness as you do need time for yourself.

    Despatch time. Ebay allow sellers to put the despatch time on their listings. Personally I think that if a seller sends the item out in that time and can show it then really what’s to complain about. However we live in a next day society so I see where they are coming from on that. I don’t like it but I live with it. I can’t work faster than I work so I accept whatever consequences that may bring.

    Postage charges. When eBay introduce a cap in a category (like mine, footwear) then frankly the postage charge should be a 5 immediately. I send by courier, it costs more than the £6 once you factor in packaging so really I resent anyone not giving me a 5 on that. I also resent eBay setting a level that does not reflect the actual prices that sellers pay either through courier or Royal Mail. I mean, go to parcel2go or any other 3rd party courier guys and see if you can get a next day service for under £6 on a 2-3KG parcel!

    They are a corporate policy designed to give them the cover they need to charge what they like and avoid giving discounts. Call me cynical sure, but really what other use are they?

  9. What do you do to keep your DSRs high?

    Absolutely nothing.

    I gave up worrying about DSRs a long time ago.

    I do what I do and if that aint good enough for everyone then so be it.

    You cant please everyone so stop trying to.

  10. The very best button for me on eBay is the one that reads “block bidders”

    If someone is giving me problems or seems highly likely to in the future, then that’s the button I use – it’s the only control us selling folk have left on eBay, the rest of it is down to eBay’s completely unreasonable algorithms – the sooner DSR ratings are scrapped the better.

    Sellers are eBay’s customers and should be treated way better than they are (and that also goes for PayPal too…)

    I do have a perfect rating (after nearly 12,000 transactions) but this is down to luck rather than judgement.

  11. I have for a long time argued that buyers shoudl also have star ratings (DBRs) fro a) communication and b) timeliness of payment. eBay only works when there are sellers AND buyers – so why can we not rate buyers? After all, some buyers can take 2 weeks, a month etc to pay, then use slow echeques etc, yet all we can give is positive feedback which cannot contain a negative comment, or we do not leave feedback at all. Buyers would buck up their ideas if we were able to rate them.

  12. I think the biggest hope we have, is that Amazon switch to a very easy non-complex system.

    Then Ebay is sure to copy them and our problems are over…

  13. Funny thing is amazons feedback system is so underused it might as well not have one.

    That fact doesnt stop sellers from selling, so why is feedback such a big deal on Ebay?

  14. I have never left feedback on Amazon. The fact is I buy a lot online and the only place where I leave feedback is eBay. I do it as a favour for sellers as I know that my 5***** will help them counter the odd rogue buyer. Hate having to be forced to leave comments all the time.

    As a buyer I am not bothered whether I receive feedback or not. It is my money why should I be rated on it? That in itself can put buyers off using eBay.

  15. Dsr ratings are a con

    if a buyer is miffed your getting low stars across the board.

    if a buyer is unresonable your getting low stars across the board.

    Some buyers will not rate you at all.

    The star ratings are not black & white. They are minipulated depending on a buyers perception.

    Ignore the DSR’s. Refund on the negs and get them removed.

    You have no controll over dsr’s.

  16. I have a good percentage in regard to Buyers leaving Feedback. The last line of the paperwork that I put in with my delivery says “Please remember the old Saying “The Job is not completed until the paperwork is Done”. Please Leave Feedback. If for any reason there is a problem please contact me on(and then I put my phone number) before leaving Feedback. The original of this usually shows a little boy sitting on the potty I do not include this sketch.

    I estimate that well over 90% of my customers leave feedback and the vast majority(99% are glowing reports)and the odd few are just very good. I have only had 2 adverse. One I deserved although I think the customer went a little far(it was a 99p item) and the other I am convinced was an error by the buyer because when I contacted him about it he didn’t realise that he had left an adverse feedback. So all in all I feel that I am not doing badly. Although it may be because the bulk of the books that I sell are Specialist that I am dealing with predominately a very nice bunch of customers and this might be an influence.

  17. ebay is a knightmare full stop.

    will be glad ov the day when we push that button “close account”

    need to work on other channels to replace the income from ebay such as pixmania, play, amazon and our own website, then just get rid of ebay, ebay customers have you jumping through hoops, over garden walls and running the great north west run come to that lol oh and they want it yesterday and for peanuts and if you dont do it you get a big fat red dot and many 1 stars for ur trouble

  18. I agree to a certain extent that DSR’s are out of our control in as much as, if the Buyer is having a bad day you are onto a loser!

    Last year i went thru a bad patch, got very slap dash with my Selling and paid the price. I lost my discounts, lots of low DSR’s and a few neg’s. In the last 7 months only 1 low DSR! How?

    Item Description:
    I actually reduced what i said about the item but improved the quality of the picture. Let the Buyer decide!

    Seller Comm’s:
    I use eBay’s automated email system but if a Buyer emails me with a question i try to answer within an hour or two, cetainly never more than 24. Nothing more annoying than waiting 2 days to be told it wont fit!

    Despatch Time:
    Had a lot of problems with this. I now always despatch within 24 hours. If you pay Monday evening, its in the Post first thing Tuesday and always 1st Class. Sending 1st Class made a hell of a difference. I think the psycology is, if the item arrives promptly then the Buyer is already pleased with the item even before they open the packet! Less likely to leave low DSR’s.

    P&P Prices:
    Charge the Seller exactly the same as the price on the packet. If it says £2.48 on the Stamp then thats what they get charged. The cost of the jiffy bag and tape? Tag these costs onto the price of the Item.

    So, ok, ok, i know this wont work for everybody but it has worked, or is working for me and i am well on my way to getting my discounts back and becoming a ‘Top Rated Seller.’

    Yes DSR’s are basically bullshit but i guess nobody is forcing us to sell on eBay!

  19. I’d be more interested in “Which of your eBay accountS’ TRS can you control?”

    Just figured out an exploit for a 98.5% feedback seller with 4.4 shipping time, who got TRS for one of his 30 accounts. After cooling down for months, he came back with 50-100 nasty US$0.01 auctions.

    Many of his listings were just pushed to the top of search results under the grand Best Match algorithm.

    I may be too unfamiliar with eBay rules.. got to “back to the basic”…

    FYR, article# 251001613647


eBay test product review ratings in seller feedback

eBay test product review ratings in seller feedback

New eBay Feedback Verified Purchase tag

New eBay Feedback Verified Purchase tag

eBay feedback changes to increase Trust & Relevancy

eBay feedback changes to increase Trust & Relevancy


Negative review redress for Amazon Brand Owners


Meta cracks down on fake feedback on Facebook and Instagram in the U.S.

ChannelX Guide...

Featured in this article from the ChannelX Guide – companies that can help you grow and manage your business.


Take a look through a selection of the latest articles on ChannelX

Register for Newsletter

Receive 5 newsletters per week

Gain access to all research

Be notified of upcoming events and webinars