eBay.com TRS Tracking requirement postponed

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eBay have for at least 90% of shipments as part of the qualifications for Top Rated Seller status. Originally the announcement stipulated that tracking would have to be uploaded from the 1st of May in time for Top Rated Seller assessments on the 20th of June. Sellers now won’t be assessed on this requirement until the 20th of July which means you only need 90% of more shipments to include tracking from the 1st of June.

The reason given for the delay is that many Top-rated sellers have said they need more time to meet the new requirement to upload tracking within handling time on 90% or more of US transactions. Essentially it’s a one month grace period although eBay acknowledge “the number of sellers who have already risen to the challenge of the new criteria and now offer the services online buyers expect—including tracking”.

On the surface this is good news, lots of sellers have already complied and are now providing their buyers with a much better service and those that aren’t have another month and so won’t lose Top Rated Seller status. However looking at this from the point of view of the compliant sellers eBay have just cost them a wedge of money for no advantage. Tracking costs money and sellers have invested in tracking to meet the new requirements. Why shouldn’t they be advantaged compared to sellers who couldn’t be bothered/didn’t want to invest/have been offering cheaper shipping (which even if “Free”) has put them at a price Best Match advantage for the last month?

It’s simply not fair to change the rules one day before the requirements come in. The new requirements were announced on the 28th of February so sellers had over two months to get their shipping compliant. To suddenly give a months grace means the winners are the sellers who have no intention of complying and took the decision they’d never provide tracking and to those who couldn’t comply within 60 days but can within 90 days. The sellers who lost money providing tracking for the month of May have a justifiable reason to be a bit miffed.

It also occurs to me just how many sellers will be able to comply within 90 days but couldn’t get ready within 60 days? I suspect this might not be the smaller sellers who are generally fairly nimble to accommodate eBay’s changes. The chances are that eBay have decided to shift the goal posts to accomodate the medium to large sized sellers.

5 Responses

  1. I’d hazard a guess this has nothing to do with medium sized sellers and everything to do with one or two large sellers on ebay.com

    This is the eBay we’ve come to expect though… :-/

  2. Amazon.com already require this, and they also measure whether its actually arrived, and assess you on this.

  3. The policy remains fundamentally flawed in concept.

    1. It is a trade barrier to international sellers for whom the cost of tracking goods to the USA is enormous, and for which the customer won’t pay. This gives huge advantage to domestic US sellers

    2. The research on which the decision was based is also flawed. What is the betting the question was simply “Would you like this” without reference to the cost. Everybody would like free tracking. However, the evidence is clear in my experience. If you offer it as an option it is hardly ever requested because it costs a lot more. Therefore how much do the buyers really want it? Only if it is free, and for international shipments there is simply no way to absorb that into the margin unless the item is very high value.

    I thought Ebay were trying to promote international trade, not make it more difficult.

  4. If it spreads to the UK, I will lose my TRS status. I sell small items for no more than £5 with free postage, and tracking is simply neither feasible nor necessary. On the rare occasion that something goes missing, I simply re-send and take the hit. Also, tracking numbers do not guarantee delivery in any case. More flawed eBay research… Small sellers being squeezed out, do we think?

  5. There is a very important point. I sell Books. ebay stipulates the maximum postage I can charge is £4-00 which for even a modest handback means that I cannot charge what the Post Office charges me.

    With a Second Hand or “Remainder Book” that does not matter as all I do is adjust the Book Price to take this shortfall into account(subject to the market being able to support it). But I cannot do this with New Books.

    The publisher has printed on the book the full price. This is the most that I can reasonably charge(although I do regularly see others charging over this Publishers Specified Price).

    So will ebay a) increase the specified Postage from the current £4-00 to what the Post Office currently charges and b) if it becomes compulsory that we all Track will ebay further increase the amount we can charge. As I expect the answer to both to be No it will make life more and more difficult to sell Books on ebay.


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