To TRS or not to TRS, that is the question!

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TRS FeatWe’d like to welcome Emma from eBay in her first guest post on Tamebay. Emma has offered to give some more background, answer some questions and give some advice on selling tactics around the new Top Rated Seller Account and Listing requirements.

Hello I’m Emma Shardlow from eBay……

There have been many questions from the seller community around last week’s eBay seller update, specifically around the changes to the eBay Top-rated seller programme. We do listen to your concerns and comments at eBay and I’m personally responsible for the eBay Seller Council where sellers gave us great feedback on this proposed initiative.

I’d like to take this opportunity to address some of the concerns, provide more clarity around some of the updates and, ideally, share helpful information on what sellers can do when these changes come into effect in the autumn.

1. “This is an eBay fee hike and I can’t offer free postage”

This isn’t intended as an eBay fee hike. If you look beyond individual listing postage options and think about the whole postage strategy of your business, you can offset the costs so you’re not paying more to eBay. For example, you could offer a free slow option and, to offset some of the free cost, a slightly more expensive (than previously offered) standard option as well as a fast but expensive option. This prevents more fees going to eBay, but allows you to still meet the new requirements.

You may also see an increase in sales, as buyers like the fact that you provide postage ‘options’ rather than a slow standard delivery or free delivery. Plus, towards Christmas, you could expect your express delivery take-up to be higher further offsetting the costs of your free option.

2. “My postage discounts now make no sense”

If you offer free postage on all of your items and a buyer buys more than one item from you, they’ll still benefit from purchasing multiple items and won’t find the postage cost buried in the item price if you manage your free shipping costs across your business and adjust your shipping strategy as identified in point 1.

Equally, if the buyer actually prefers to buy the first item at standard postage cost, get their item slightly faster and receive the postage discount on the remaining items, then that’s great – they’ve paid you the additional postage, they get their item faster and you’ve made more margin from selling multiples of your item.

3. “You expect me to work weekends and bank holidays now!”

Delivery estimates will take into account weekends and bank holidays.

For example, if a buyer chooses to purchase an item from you at 4 pm on Friday and you offer:

• Same-day dispatch with a 2 pm order cut-off time
• 1-day express delivery service with a 2 pm order cut-off time

And the buyer selects either service, eBay would show the estimated delivery date as Tuesday. If Monday were a bank holiday, the estimated delivery date shown would be Wednesday.

4. “I can’t meet any of the new listing requirements”

If you sell antiques, collectables, items that are made to order or it’s just impossible for you, then try and retain your account level eTRS status and you’ll still receive your increased visibility. While, unfortunately, new listing-level requirements may not be achievable for all sellers, eBay is working to better the overall online retail experience for buyers with a consistent shopping experience with eBay Top-rated sellers. We’re confident that this commitment to consistency will ultimately drive more traffic to the site and more business for our sellers.

5. “What about the international sellers listing on”

Buyers have told us they want to have their item quickly, especially when it’s badged as being from one of our Top-rated sellers. They want options for postage and they want to be able to return that item if needs be, and this is very difficult for international sellers to provide. International sellers can still enjoy the eBay Top-rated seller benefits if they can meet these requirements, but if they can’t on a particular item, we can’t present that listing to the buyer with an eBay Top-rated seller badge.

Please remember…

You don’t have to be top rated on all your listings, as it may not make sense to try and meet the requirements for all your products. For example, you may have an expensive camera or a rare item like a military button that’s of high value and needs postage insurance; it doesn’t make sense to offer a free delivery on these items. Remember you’re in the same boat as everyone else selling these items; your item is probably in demand because it is good value or rare and so the badge won’t have much impact on these listings in terms of differentiation with buyers. Don’t forget you can still be top rated at an account level and still benefit from better visibility than those who provide a service that’s not as good.

6. “Why?”

eBay did not undertake the decision to make these changes lightly and we’ve completed countless pieces of research to get to this point; these updates reflect our desire to improve the platform and attract more buyers to the site and to your listings. The requirements set in 2009 must evolve in line with how ecommerce has evolved – as online buyers become more demanding and want more from their ecommerce experience, we have to make sure we exceed their expectations. To do this, we need to be able to make certain promises to get buyers “through the door” – for example by offering them the same postage options and the same returns timeframe on all eBay top-rated seller listings from autumn.

Additionally, existing Top-rated sellers have asked eBay to “raise the bar” for entry into the programme. Most of our ebay Top-rated sellers already provide exceptional service, these updates ensure we reward those of you that work so hard to achieve this status, it will also allow us to provide clear guidelines for buyers on what the badge means and, ideally, provide leeway for buyers to make the programme work for them.

258 Responses

  1. I’m currently snowed in with 15 foot snow drifts on Kintyre.
    All I can do is what I have always done, give my customers the best possible service I can.
    I can’t be super-fast, it’s almost impossible where I am based, so I have no idea if this is the final straw for me.
    I hope not :/

  2. Increasing standard postage fee is just going to drive more sales to the free postage option.

    But that’s OK, if we get more Free postage sales we can just increase the standard postage fee more.

    Ad infinitum…

  3. Where does the buyer power of feedback fit into all this? Buyers can still score DSR’s and leave negs. Maybe not for despatch time or shipping but they will hit you on description and communications and leave a feedback neg if they feel shipping has been loaded. So one way or another your TRS status is lost if you have the “no refund do nothing” culture. ebay appear to be encouraging this culture with their 2013 update rather than coming up with the processes to discourage this. Whilst at the same time overlooking the impact of feedback entirely!

  4. Hello Emma,

    Good to find some eBay engagement with sellers on this, thank you.

    For what I sell multiple purchases of generally low value items would be the norm. My record eBay order was 222 items (to Japan).

    I would not have got that order and indeed many other multiple item orders if the item price had been loaded with any shipping charge whatsoever. My prices would simply not stand comaprison with those offfered outside eBay or indeed on eBay from ‘private’ sellers.

    eBay needs to be very careful when advocating prices that may not stand comparison. Further, shipping prices are generally rising at a faster rate than product prices.

    FWIW I have always offered postage options, the take up of ‘express’ is minimal.

    Frankly I am very disappointed that eBay is going down the ‘free’ postage route. I also would have difficulty in justifying ‘free’ as the prices would simply not be comparable to stack this up.

  5. Thanks for the article, but its a shame no-one from eBay can be bothered to post on their own forums about these issues 🙁

  6. So, selling antiques, collectibles by auction style format etc, the ebay answer is tough TRS is not for you or loose money; cheers ebay; once again the shift towards large company fixed price approach whilst forgetting the core community and roots that made ebay what it is. This just reinforces the importance of not relying on one platform as the plug can be pulled at any point.

  7. Ebay should have 2 tranches of TRS.

    There should be the option to be TRS without Free Shipping for those selling primarily Internationally.

    This policy has basically stopped us selling Internationally on Ebay as Antique Dealers as nobody can find our items because we cannot offer free shipping as it inflates the prices too much.

    We use to pay Ebay £1800 a month.

    Now they are lucky to get £180 a month.

    But that was obviously their choice…

    We get the message loud and clear.

    You don’t need us anymore, or want us…

    The “flea market” sellers were an embarrasment, you wanted them to leave.

    Guess what?

    We are leaving.

    We have not listed anything new on Ebay for nearly a year and are just selling whats left.

    Nice own goal Ebay.

  8. If you want to check that out, then have a look at the url above.

    Our Ebay shop is on holiday but will probably likely close in the next few months.

    According to Ebay, we are not good enough as sellers.

    Yet our feedback couldn’t really be much better.

    But because we don’t offer “free shipping” we are not good sellers.

    The TRS programme is not about whether one is a good seller or not, it is about whether you fit the profile of the sellers that Ebay want on the site.

    It is just a form of social engineering that came in when JD took over.

    The small independent Antique Dealers don’t fit the profile, so they have been squeezed out…

    But life goes on without Ebay….

  9. “Equally, if the buyer actually prefers to buy the first item at standard postage cost, get their item slightly faster and receive the postage discount on the remaining items, then that’s great – they’ve paid you the additional postage, they get their item faster and you’ve made more margin from selling multiples of your item.”

    No, its crap, the buyer pays single item “free” postage rate on EVERY item plus the postage fee for the faster service making products much more expensive and much less appealing to customers.

    Give us a tool to provide the value our customers demand by discounting the item price on free postage for multiple items and stop trying to dress this up as “value to customers” when it simply is not! Kindly remove your head from the sand, open your eyes and do a few quick calculations on lightweight low value items and you will quickly see that free postage simply does not work when purchasing more than one item!

  10. No – it isn’t good to see ebay engaging in discussion everywhere apart from on their own site. That is another slap in the face for sellers.

    I would suggest to Emma that she urgently needs to engage with ebay sellers – in the proper place – on ebay’s site. not on face-kiddie-book or anywhere else.

    Ebay has discussion forums – which ebay have ignored over several serious issues in the last fortnight.

    Frankly, sellers over there are getting very very angry. I don’t have a facebook account – nor do I wish to have to come to tambay to find ebay CS posting.

    I cannot remember the last time I was this angry with the way ebay are communicating with us.

    Frankly – if this is their example of CS – then I won’t be taking their advice about mine from them.

    And prey what is the seller Council? A couple of outlet store managers you meet for a coffee?

    Never heard of it.

    So – get some guts Emma – come and face the people who really work hard on ebay – day in and day out – and answer our questions, in Ebay’s own community – not in some other place.

    Oh – and get a proof reader – there are more contradictions and typos in that release than even ebay have managed for a while.

  11. Emma, why on earth are you posting on a 3rd party site (no disrespect to Tamebay) when there was a special discussion board set up on eBay’s own forums?

    There are loads of unanswered questions on there, and posting elsewhere and ignoring your own boards is just plain rude. You talk about raising the bar for customer service, maybe you (and eBay in general) should consider doing the same.

  12. To address some of the points made;

    “Delivery estimates will take into account weekends and bank holidays” – this isnt’ true. Yesterday (Sunday) I saw a listing that offered next day delivery, and was promising delivery for Monday, which is pretty much impossible.

    eBay’s delivery estimates are pretty useless currently, and I for one have zero confidence that this will change any time soon.

    “existing Top-rated sellers have asked eBay to “raise the bar” for entry into the programme.” – I haven’t asked for that.

    Despite the cut and paste soundbites we keep getting, it really is a way for eBay to increase fees.

  13. What Emma meant to say was…

    OMG I’ve been pushed forward to answer for this load of carp so here goes.

    I and many others who work at ebay realised long ago that they have no need for a marketing dept as it makes loads of wedge.

    In order to keep our well paid jobs we come up with silly ideas that we then convince ebays faceless management are a good idea, of course most of them are just stupid but who cares?

    The good news for us is that they then need the marketing team to dig them out of the hole and spin the ‘that was a dumb idea’ into ‘we’ve listened to our customers and are making some changes’
    therefore keeping our job secure.

    Happy Bidding!

  14. Hi Clarky,

    Thanks for your message. What I was saying with that section was the fact that if a buyer pays the standard rate and you have postage discount rules in place then they will still receive your postage discount when buying multiple items from you depending on what rules you have in place. For more clarification on this and setting up these rates please see here:

    Creating flat postage rules:

    Flat postage rules let you offer discounts to buyers who purchase more than one of your items. You can charge for delivering the item with the highest P&P cost, and then add an additional lower cost for each additional item that they purchase from you. You can also subtract P&P costs for each additional item purchased, or offer free P&P on additional items. Select the Add an amount for each additional item option, and then enter a P&P cost for each additional item.

    Creating promotional postage rules

    Promotional postage rules apply to all listings that have combined P&P discounts. When buyers qualify for your promotional postage rule, the promotion takes priority over existing flat postage rules.

    When you create a promotional postage rule, you can offer buyers special discounts if they buy multiple items or spend a certain amount. For example, you can create a rule that gives buyers free P&P as long as they spend at least £25 and buy 2 items. You can also charge a maximum P&P amount for a single order. For example, you can specify that a buyer be charged no more than £5.00 for P&P if the buyer purchases more than one item from you.

  15. “Additionally, existing Top-rated sellers have asked eBay to “raise the bar” for entry into the programme.”

    dont you mean some mega large outlet sellers are trying to force the little guys out?

  16. Hi All

    Thanks for your comments, we have pinks who have been monitoring the boards, answering questions etc and I for one am on the boards as well. This same piece has also gone up there. I also wanted to acknowledge the conversation on Tamebay and make sure there was a voice here as well.

  17. Thanks Puddleglum, we are working with all types of sellers in forums such as our Seller Council, focus groups, seller visits and research events. The desire to ‘raise the bar’ actually came from smaller sellers and was even recently raised at one of the Seller Council sessions.

    Big brands often have their brand to help raise them above competition and so dont usually ask for the ‘bar to be raised’.

  18. sorry emma your seller council is not balanced or sensible if this is the outcome

  19. The postage rules only work if postage is shown seperately. They do not work for “free shipping” items.

    There may have been a desire to “raise the bar” at the council meeting but not at any price and I would guess that at no point was an additional seller cost mentioned.

    Why not simply leave fees as they are but say that the first £4 of the price of any “free shipping” listing is “fee free”.

    On a £20 “free shipping” item fees are paid on £16 as £4 covers shipping and this £4 is a maximum cap beyond which fees are paid. The “fee free” cap could be £1.50 on a £5 “free shipping” listing.

    ebay achieve the same “free shipping” aspiration without upsetting sellers.

    This would work for auctions also so many more auctions with low 99p starts could offer “free shipping”.

  20. Emma, please direct me to all these pink posts on the powerseller board, because I’m obviously so confused that I can’t find them.

  21. Hi Emma:
    As you know there are a lot of posts on the official Ebay Discussion Board on this topic.
    I know “Ed from Ebay” posted there today and there are over 200 comments by TRS on that board.
    Do you think you could also enter that group and give the TRS sellers there some input too? I think it would be much appreciated by them

    Here is the Ebay Official Discussion Thread:


  22. hi,
    to be honest which your not being, there has been no ebay pinks on the powerseller board answing questions.
    A link was posted by a seller to the discussion board set up for these changes, but no link was posted by a pink on the powerseller board.
    Ebay sellers pay your salaries the least you can do is *** *** **** ********* ********* *** ***** ********* ***** **** ***** **** ****** answer the questions a lot of very worried sellers have.

    [* Comment partly deleted by admin as per Comments Policy]

  23. I have to say that I don’t understand why eBay would open a dedicated thread on the PS board and choose to post here instead, it doesn’t make any sense. Surely you must pay good money to have that forum hosted and maintained, so it would make sense to use it. Why open it if you don’t intend to answer the questions asked?
    Personally I’m not that bothered about any changes anymore, because I’m no longer relying on ebay for the bulk on my income. ebay could be a fantastic platform to sell on, it has a lot going for it, but it’s just to high risk for a medium-sized seller who can’t hide behind a high number of sales~feedback/stars.

  24. Did ebay fail in its negociation with Royal Mail for all paypal paid postageto be weight based? or are we to await Amazons’ purchase of Royal Mail for ebay sellers to really be dropped in the mire? This is just a price hike, very cleverly arranged to avoid the mass swing to cheaper, poor quality couries such as myhermes, isn’t it?

  25. cant quite grasp the logic of being considerded less that top rated because I chose to show and charge for a postage cost ,rather than hide it in the price, though I can give world class service and value in every other respect

  26. A slight aside
    If Emma is convinced that eBay staff are adequately dealing with matters on the eBay boards, perhaps she could explain:

    Re the:’were have all the shops gone’ thread on the Business sellers board.

    Some CS staff and a pink have stated it is a glitch at the link is definitely coming back
    Other CS staff are saying it was deliberately removed and it not coming back.
    (One CS member even linked to a 7 year old announcement)
    Clearly both can’t be right. Either some severe confusion or somebody is not telling the truth

  27. I hate the deception of free postage and don’t buy multiple items from sellers offering so called free post.
    We have set postage of £1.95 irrespective of the number of item bought . So a customer buys say 4 dog toys and only pays £1.95 whereas with free post the same order would cost £5.85 more.
    And this means we will not TRS – it is a load of cobblers and a con.

  28. Thank you, Emma, for removing my post from the PowerSeller board.

    As a matter of fact, the word “incognito” is not a term of vulgar abuse. You might do well to consult a dictionary before issuing sanctions to board members.

  29. Guys,

    Emma has already explained this.

    ‘The point is to not put your postage cost in your item price.’

    We just need to start losing money on every sale instead and the problem will be solved.

    Happy selling 🙂

  30. hellooooooooo,,,,, any seller council members out there that would like to contribute.?????

    there are a few sellers here, that need to be counciled, lol

    failing that is there anyone out-there that thinks the new TRS conditions are an enhancement

  31. careful bas, you no that free discussion is not allpwed on ebay forums, anything amounting to the truth is removed.
    gets more like 1930’s germany everyday.

  32. One basic question to Ebay:
    Why not just adapt how has done it. Get your discount any badge if you offer 1 day Dispatch and 14 day money back returns.
    Would that not have been a simpler and tested option?

    There are so many improvements such as “multiple shops for one seller” and other announcements in earlier versions (due for 2013) of the Seller News that seem to have been forgotten.

  33. Its heartwarming to actually find a “pink” nowadays.

    It really would be nice to have some sort of discussion about this but I fear that you will only answer the questions you want to Emma ,rather than anything thats thrown into the mix.

    MY BUYERS have got options to get stuff , free , or a slightly faster service with recorded delivery ……….

    Never ever have I been asked to send something next day special delivery in 8 years and nearly 20 thousand transactions.

    I dont say that it doesnt happen , Im sure there are sellers selling time sensitive items or stuff that MUST be there tomorrow , but those guys know that already and offer this as an option already.

    How did you arrive at this choice ? Did one person mention it? Was is voted upon in this hallowed seller council?
    Did they feel the need for compulsory free shipping was upon us again , despite it being a miserable failure last time it was foisted upon us.

    I think your stretching the truth just a little here ……….

  34. So once again we’re using .com statistics to justify stupid changes to the UK site? And the “engagement” with UK sellers is limited to a seller council that was announced only on Tamebay? Last July? Tame is about right!

  35. As I sell ALL auctions, £4.99 starts, no reserves. All different weights etc there is absolutely no way of offering free P&P.
    I currently subsidise postage at cost or less. You have given no hope at all for our kind of seller, which is where eBay originated from. THANKS FOR NOTHING!

  36. Just had a brilliant idea! If somebody buys immediately (does not click “watch”) they are entitled to and get free shipping.

    If they elect to “watch” and wait around watching they loose the right to free shipping and have to pay for it if they subsequently buy (the listing remembers they have “watched” if they stop “watching” in an attempt to get around this and then buy). What an absolute incentive to buy in a hurry whilst at the same time penalising those who “watch”. This could be a sales winner and on this basis I might actually go for it! 🙂

    Why don’t ebay come up with these ideas?

    Quick impulse buyers get rewarded. Those who are slow and have to watch and think are penalised.

  37. I am sure Amazon are laughing all the way to the Bank with this latest farce! Give free postage and recoup on other services,Has got to be the qoute of the year! What planet are these people on? You are treating both your buyers and sellers with utter contempt,and I foresee a big problem for eBay following these changes, you can only push people so far,you have a forum that is lacking pinks,and regarding the mythical seller council is their a buyers council to see how buyers feel about your changes? How about a common sense council? that may be interesting, anyway I just hope you don’t become a scapegoat for eBay when this all goes belly up,Emma…

  38. I am really astonished by eBay’s decision to enforce ‘free postage’ on all sellers in order for them to retain Top Rated Seller status. I can do nothing more than emphasize again some of the points that have already been made on the eBay Powerseller and Special discussion boards as well as above.

    While it cannot be taken as a reflection on everybody’s opinion, the opposition to the new Top Rated Seller requirements on the eBay boards is extremely high. There are a handful of sellers posting in favour of the change, but on the whole most sellers (I would guess at 90% – 95%) are strongly opposed to mainly the ‘free postage’ enforcement and to a lesser degree the Express delivery enforcement.

    We have been trading on eBay for 6 years, turnover a few hundred thousand pounds a year. We have had one negative feedback in over 15,000 transactions in the previous year. Our DSRs are above 4.9 in all areas.

    We are STRONGLY opposed to the enforcement of ‘free postage’ for a number of reasons,

    1) It is not free. Postage is an expense of being in business. Buyers know it, sellers know it, we all know it. Call it inclusive if you like, but it certainly isn’t free. Our postage costs for last year were around £20,000.

    2) Free postage is used as an incentive by buyers (and lots of top retailers – John Lewis, Boots, Top Shop to name a few) to encourage a higher basket spend.

    eBay’s seller update begins,

    ‘They [buyers] expect fast handling times, speedy, low-cost postage and straightforward returns options’

    Indeed so where does ‘low-cost postage’ suddenly translate into ‘free postage’. In my opinion buyers expect fair and clear postage charges. Don’t forget a buyer can see the postal charges BEFORE placing an order.

    3) The combined postage dilemma. Many sellers, including us offer buyers discounted postage when multiple items are purchased together. We save on postage, so we pass it on. Happy seller, happy buyer – both parties happy (eBay take note – you may be happy, but listen to your customers (sellers). Many of us are frustrated with the constant changes and stealth fee rises).

    It is not uncommon for us to sell 3, 4, 5, 6 items to the same buyer. There are many examples of the true cost to buyers now compared to when the changes are enforced, and sadly in most cases buyers will lose out spectacularly. For us £2 shipping and free for additional items v inclusive shipping means a buyer will be worse off,

    4 items at £10 each + £2 shipping = £42 NOW

    4 items at £12 each (inclusive price) + free shipping = £48 WITH NEW TRS REQUIREMENTS

    4) It is a fee rise for us whichever option we take.

    a) Keep fair postage for our customers offering top service and combined shipping discounts = loss of Top Rated Seller discount (around £4000 a year).

    b) Offer ‘free postage’ which would mean around £3000 a year additional fees, coupled with a likely drop in sales as there would be no ability to combine orders which lots of customers currently benefit from. It also means offering either a second class postage option or increasing prices further to compensate. Effectively buyers would pay the eBay fee rise. Our postage is simple – everything first class. Adding ‘free postage’ means having multiple services, which means slower order processing, mail split more ways, one shipping label will no longer fit all orders. The hassle factor would increase a great deal for us.

    However eBay dress it up ‘This isn’t intended as an eBay fee hike’. Well the bottom line and my bottom line is IT IS A FEE HIKE.

    5) Top Rated Seller. What’s the point? eBay claim we will still get a search boost, but for sellers who don’t comply with ‘free postage’ we will no longer get a discount or any reward for offering outstanding service. We have been Top Rated from day one. We don’t need to attain it. We just deliver great products at great prices, process orders fast and provide unbeatable service, before and after a sale. The Top Rated Seller badge takes care of itself. A great reward for being great at what we do. So without a discount what IS the point? I think this update will mean a lot of sellers lose heart and will no longer deliver the great service that (it appeared) eBay wanted from us.

    The ironic thing with this seller update though is sellers are not really talking about the fee rise (and it definitely is a fee rise), the problem lies with eBay attempting to change individual sellers’ business practises and lump everyone in together, when in reality there are a great number of fantastic sellers who run very successful businesses in different ways.

    I am not against ‘free postage’. If it works for a seller then that’s great, but if that model doesn’t suit a seller then they shouldn’t be forced to adopt it. Our customers are better off without.

    We are frankly disgusted by the enforcement of free postage and seriously hope eBay will listen to the vast majority of sellers before implementing this change.

    eBay is diverse; it is what makes the site great. Many of us are experienced in retail, understand every aspect of our businesses and will embrace positive change. This change will be detrimental to buyers and sellers. Let your seller’s flourish and make eBay a stronger marketplace.

    eBay please continue to provide a great platform for your buyers and sellers to trade on.

    eBay please do not treat all retailers on the site the same. LISTEN TO YOUR SELLERS.

  39. Just a thought (with my buying hat on) but please Ebay/Emma correct me if iam wrong….

    If TRS follow your advice and build postage costs into the actual price of each item, so i buy an item for £10.00 but £2.00 of that is actually postage but i need the item quickly so i opt to pay for express delivery and lets say that’s £6.50, am i not paying for postage TWICE!!! and in reality iam paying £8.50 for postage!

    I thought Ebay have always frowned on sellers who overcharge for postage but now you seem to be actively encouraging it!

    How long do you think it will be before buyers realise they are basically been conned (dont forget most sellers on Ebay are also buyers) and end up avoiding TRS like the plague.

    The last time Ebay forced free P&P on selleres it DID NOT work..remember Ebay…so why do you think it will work now?

    This ludicrous policy will do nothing to “enhance” anybodies buying experience (how can a buyers experience be enhanced when he/she is been ripped off!!)…How hypocritical of you Ebay, you have buyer protection to stop buyers been conned but now you yourselves have become the conmen!!
    Eventually TRS will see a drop in sales which in turn will mean Ebay get less in FVF’s….Its a NO WIN situation and i see the only winners will be the buyer but only because they will spend more time searching none TRS knowing damn well that they can get the same item cheaper but with equally as good service.

    Well done EBAY, I wonder which overpaid member of your “think tank” came up with this one!!

  40. Does this now mean we can charge what we want for postage within reason, and not discount on multiple items as I will lose TRS anyway because of the new rules,

    So can I make a little more on postage ?.

  41. I really can’t believe eBay honestly expect us to take any of Emma’s opening statement seriously.

    1. I have always offered buyers a choice of 1st or 2nd class – approx. 2% select 1st class, I used to offer Recorded Delivery – but as no one ever used it I dropped it. I have only ever once in 10 years been asked for Special Delivery. Judging from my feedback and DRSs MY buyers are perfectly satisfied with the 2nd class delivery option and the price charged.

    2. That won’t work, because 98% of MY buyers will select the ‘free’ delivery option.

    Equally, if the buyer actually prefers to buy the first item at standard postage cost, get their item slightly faster and receive the postage discount on the remaining items, then that’s great – they’ve paid you the additional postage, they get their item faster and you’ve made more margin from selling multiples of your item. –

    I have no idea what that means! How will any of MY buyers be getting a postage discount? No matter how you spin it the cost of p&p has to be included in the overall price charged one way or another. I won’t be making any margin at all if buyers opt to buy elsewhere at the cheaper overall price they will easily find.

    3. And when will that start? Because it certainly didn’t happen this weekend. (see thread on PSB)

    6. So, why have you at the same time reduced the sales volume required for TRS?

    Why didn’t you simply add a TRS+ level for those who could achieve extra criteria? Then at least you wouldn’t be demoting existing TRSs who have done absolutely nothing wrong.

    Reading this garbage on a day when eBay have managed to make my life a nightmare by –

    1) reverting an MVL on auto-relist to original quantities so I have a) sold 2 of an item I only had 1 left of resulting in a refund and grovelling apology to a buyer (oh and no the refund doesn’t show in SMP or on the invoice/packing note). Plus I now have to do a complete stock-take of that range and put the stock level right.

    2) Stripped out postage discounts on my best selling item so a buyer has been charged £4.25 p&p instead of £1.25 – result – yet another refund and grovelling email and had to go and revise the listing.

    Now, I suppose I’ll have to double-check all my listings for quantity and combined postage discounts. Do you have any idea how long all these things take? Why don’t you try getting the site to work properly instead of making all these constant tinkering changes? Maybe more buyers would be attracted to the site if it actually worked properly?

    Oh and just to make my day complete, I have someone accusing me of selling FAKE incense! Good grief, you couldn’t make it up! I’d have to sell in the millions to get any sort of profit from selling FAKE incense at £1.49 per pack!

    After running a reasonably successful and continually growing business for 12 years, I am now very close to just running down my existing stock as quickly as possible and getting out of this eBay stupidity.

  42. If Ebay want to reduce the number of TRS badged listings why do they not simply remove any TRS listing with illegal terms and conditions? There are any number of supposedly ‘top’ sellers stating ‘return refunds for item price only’, ‘outgoing postage not refunded’, ‘outgoing postage cost will be deducted from refunds on returned free post items’, etc.

    If TRS badges were removed from any seller with those or other illegal conditions it would a) cut the number of TRS sellers and b) go a long way to clean up the site and improve its reputation.

    It’s not hard to search for such listings, so it shouldn’t be that difficult to find and remove them.

  43. I operate from overseas. It will be impossible to meet TRS standards. Was unhappy at first, but thinking about it anyway I really chafe under meeting existing standards so no great loss.
    I tried offering free postage some time ago. It meant putting prices up and business tailed off. Customers on the whole do not make reasoned decisions.
    Would be good to see someone from Trust and Safety do an article.

  44. Emma:
    I have just read this post on the “Official Ebay Discoussion Board” this post is not by me but ba another member and I feel it is the opinion of a lot of TRS posting on the Ebay Discussion Board please see below:

    “Chris ( Ed ), the frustration is now anger, that not a single member of your team, has had the courage to come on this board and answer questions directly, clarify specific points raised, and provide some justification for the changes ahead. It’s a farce.

    Why was that posted on tamebay, when you have just admitted to no interaction on these boards. It’s nothing short of a disgrace, and a betrayal to long standing sellers.”

    I would also like to ask why You or someone from you team is not interacting with TRS on the official Ebay Board?
    I think it is important to post here on Tamebay but the primary discussion forum should be the Ebay Discussion Board especially as the thread was opened by Ebay.

  45. Emma,

    We joined Amazon about 6 weeks ago, we left yesterday.

    We got penalized for not responding quickly to a message from a buyer who was thanking us for responding quickly.

    I’ve been around eBay for about 10 years now, I was pleasantly surprised to find that another platform exists that is even more demented than eBay, bravo.


    TRS (not for much longer)
    99.8% 4.9 5.0 4.9 5.0

  46. Whilst i sort of agree with Ebay that offering buyers several postage options is a good thing can i ask that in light of this are Ebay/Paypal going to change their strict rules on INR claims.
    Currently if as a seller you cannot produce a tracking number which proves delivery you dont have a leg to stand on in any INR claim….isnt it time therefore in light of these new shipping choices that the responsebility for INR changed.

    If a seller offers several shipping options, including tracked & none tracked and the buyer choses a none tracked service but the item doesnt arrive then shouldn’t that be at the buyers risk, so long as the seller can provide proof of posting. The buyer was given the option to pay for a tracked service but chose not to,therefore that should be at THE BUYERS risk and not the sellers.
    With rising postage costs here in the UK its obvious that most buyers will usually select a cheaper postage option,which is understandable but then why should the seller be penalised if that item does not arrive..The buyer had the chance to pay for tracked but chose not to, his choice, his responsebility!…Just a thought?

  47. Why is everyone getting so uptight ? Sellers saying that they are going to close their Ebay shop because of these latest hikes is just plain ridiculous.
    With Ebay I find it’s better to work your own way and backwards. Work out what profit you want to make from an an item and then price the item accordingly by adding all the Postage costs and Ebay/Paypal Fees to give you your Selling Price.
    You will probably sell less, have more margin, be more relaxed, but you won’t become a slave to Ebay.
    This method will give you more free time to work on other ways of selling on the Internet.

    Dont become a slave to Ebay and it’s TRS system. It can consume all your time and drive you nuts !

  48. Having seen so many eBay changes that made little or no sense, followed by the usual righteous indignation and threats of departure, etc… I’m aware of one thing.

    a) EBay do not listen to a broad spectrum of their sellers

    b) EBay also don’t take into account the cultural differences between their markets as evidenced by the whole “Free shipping” debacle which is considerably more effective in the US compared to the UK where we are a much more cynical lot, especially when such shipping usually ends up going via Hermes and a sort of compactor process.

    c) Most of the folks threatening to leave rarely do, and if they do, well, we don’t really hear from them again and EBay certainly doesn’t notice any ill effects.

    The end of the day the frustrating thing is this silly PR exercise of saying what sellers want to hear while acting in a diametric opposite manner. Case in point is the Community forums and lack of staff response. This PR article followed by carefully chosen posts to reply to with the aim of belittling the commenter to score points rather than actually answering questions that are appearing multiple times.

    What can we do about it? Not really a heck of a lot.. Doubtless some of you are considering the exit, while others are looking at some carefully planned test strategies, possibly with a new/alternate seller ID and others still figuring that the whole TRS is a waste of time anyway and much better to go with the honest approach.

    Ultimately only time will tell what really works.. If the bulk of folks are right, most TRS sellers will lose their badges because they followed the advice given to fleece customers via other services and got caught with low DSRs. Others will perhaps see their sales drop on Free Shipping items simply because UK folk are allegedly less than trusting of such sellers (will they quickly get used to it I wonder)… and others may well get fleeced by scammers looking to take advantage of the budget postal options and their inherent lack of tracking, etc…

    For myself, I can’t keep my TRS rating because of the express shipping option which would preclude me from looking after my son one day a week. It’s a no brainer frankly and family aren’t going to lose out because of this change.

    So, really it’ll be interesting to see how it all pans out… My guess, we’ll see a lot of TRS disappear one way or another and in 6 months time there will be another review and a TRS+ category or some such…

    @Emma: I really would stop hiding behind your careful cherry pick routine of responding to posts on here and trying to tell the world that black is white and vice versa.. Please re-read all of the questions, summarise the ones most frequently asked and respond to them PROPERLY. Your credibility and usefulness would increase markedly as a result.


  49. Could I just clarify something, please?

    There are several people named “Chris” who are posting to this thread.

    Earlier on, someone asked whether Chris worked for eBay.

    And one Chris replied that he did not.

    However, I didn’t think that the question had been referring to that Chris.

    The thing is, there is a person on the eBay forums posting as “Chris” on Ed’s ID.

    And Emma has said that she (Emma) has been posting on the PowerSeller forum. If she has, she must obviously have been posting as “Chris”, because no other Pink (except James the Green Truck and Ed the Silent) has been posting there.

    It is getting very confusing when the eBay Pinks are using each other’s IDs, or using different names all the time.

  50. Well I for one feel LIBERATED!

    Bar one month (shortly before the grace period was introduced) I have been a TRS since its inception.
    The discount is now derisory and I didn’t notice a drop in sales when I briefly lost TRS, so I guess TRS placement “boost” isn’t too critical in my category. However I have been proud to be a TRS.

    When the changes to TRS were announced first felt like a kick in the guts but the more I think about it the more liberated I feel.

    I do NOT want to meet the new TRS requirements. It is just not worth it for me or my customers. Put simply, to attain the new TRS standards I would need to put my prices up.

    So now I no longer have to worry about my stars but I will still offer great service, just as I did before TRS was invented:

    >> I will no longer have to load some of the postage costs onto the item price to protect my P&P DSR.

    >> I will no longer have to rush to dispatch within 1 day (despite specifying 2 day dispatch) try to protect myself from Royal Mail delays or the odd buyer who thinks 2 day dispatch (when they have selected 2nd class post) is too long.

    >> I will no longer have to check my dashboard daily for new lows.

    >> I will no longer have to spend hours running reports trying to track down buyers who leave lows so I can block them.

    I know I am far from alone in these thoughts. Somehow I don’t think that this is quite what eBay intended – or was it…

    Finally to Emma I would just like to say, please could you give a link to just one post that you have (ever) made on the eBay discussion forums?
    We would really appreciate your input here:

  51. Hi Chris,

    The requirements for Germany and US are also different, for US you also have to offer tracked shipping and for Germany a 30day returns timeframe.


  52. Emma says that there is no need to increase prices, the postage costs can be absorbed through offering upgrades to other services. I should say that until last year when Royal Mail put their prices up, we did offer free postage with an upgrade to 1st class and next day courier at a nominal cost, until it became impossible to absorb. I can say from experience that buyers only ever see the word “Free”,they pay no attention to the postage method and will hardly ever select an upgrade, so the idea of using a “Free” slower service is a nonsense that will inevitably result in low DSRs (people who purchase from a TRS expect items quickly) and not enough upgraded sales to cover the cost of the “Free” postage – eBay have obviously never seen a Royal Mail monthly invoice for 200 packets a day….

    Looking at the wider picture, there is something that has not yet been mentioned that I think should be considered. Notwithstanding the above, and assuming that we go along with Emma’s notion that we don’t increase prices to subsidise postage, the proposed move to free postage will have a serious impact on another aspect of our business. We also sell a large number of items on Amazon. If we offer free shipping on eBay and do not increase prices, we will either have to lower our prices on Amazon or get kicked off Amazon for breaching their price parity rules. We have no margin to reduce our Amazon prices, and given that our profits on Amazon are better than eBay with fewer customer related problems, I know where we’ll be concentrating our efforts.

    Finally, I thought it might be worth reposting a comment I placed on the other thread – apologies to those of you who have already seen it.

    “Gemma says

    11:39 pm on 20/03/2013

    I’ve been trying to work through a few scenarios and can’t make the figures add up. If I’ve got this right, we sell an item for £10.00 + £3.50 P&P and pay 10% FVF. We don’t qualify for TRS as we don’t offer “free” postage and pay so eBay £1.00.

    If we sell the same item for £13.50 with “free” P&P we qualify for TRS. We pay the 10% FVF, so £1.35, but get a 15% discount (20p). Hang on a moment… that means we pay eBay £1.15 – an extra 15p for the privilege of being a Top Rated Seller and providing their “excellent fulfilment”? Really? We’re expected to accept that?”

    When I first read the seller release my first instinct was to do everything possible to hang on to TRS. Now having read the forums and considered all the issues we we won’t. I cannot justify ripping off customers for a badge and a “discount” that costs us money. My advice to anyone considering chasing TRS? Don’t. Look at the bigger picture, think about all the implications carefully and you will succeed despite eBay’s changes. We will still keep offering offering the same great service and our customers will come back to us. eBay might not value us or consider us a Top Rated Seller, but we’ll still be in business next year with our reputation and integrity intact.

  53. I sell collectables on eBay, thousands of them each year… I have hardly any competition as most of what I sell is very hard/impossible to find.

    I have been a TRS and Gold Powerseller for ages but there’s no way I’m offering free shipping – though I do currently offer buy one item and everything else is free, which I guess doesn’t count under the new regime.

    I have the email addresses of over 3,000 loyal buyers and my own website, push me some more eBay and the paultry £18,000 I give you and PayPal each year will be given to a web-designer instead to add an auction feature on there.

    Please can someone at eBay realise that we’re not all selling mass-market material.

  54. If average sales are £13 per shipment and you send parcels then TRS costs money. 25% UK TRS discount required.

  55. The people making these decisions at eBay have probably never run their own business. They are just employees that get a guaranteed minimum level of income every month.

    They don’t fully appreciate the intricacies and subtleties between different products and markets. They have no first hand experience of running their own business in an online environment and so I find it quite insulting when they pipe up in places like this telling sellers how to adopt their strategies to deal with the latest fee hike.

    The fact of the matter is, eBay like any publicly traded business are under pressure to constantly grow and increase profits. The squeeze keeps getting placed on the seller, eventually they will ruin their own platform. eBay is just not a safe place on which to build the bulk of a business because no one can anticipate their next change.

  56. Hi all,

    This is a fascinating thread. But how is it working for you?

    – Are you getting answers you want? Or is it that you don’t like the answers provided?

    – Why are several of you so bothered about where you interact with eBay staff? Tamebay, eBay, the pub, the moon, over a cup of tea. The forum for discussion strikes me as an odd complaint. Ask the questions, maybe get the answers. Don’t quibble the forum. Does it matter? REALLY?

    – Time to drop the snark, the sarcasm, the jibes and the private jokes. Jokers make jokes. Ecommerce professionals are here for profits, not laughs.

    – People read what you say. Remember that. Some of you look like maniacs when I read your long rants, unreasonable demands and intemperate comments.

    Tamebay’s about doing business well online. Selling more. And selling more profitably.

    That’s all. :o)

    Dan Wilson

  57. I’ve built my business up away from eBay, but I’ll always be grateful to eBay for giving me the platform to get off the ground.

    One of the great things about running my own business is the sense of fulfillment that comes from making my own decisions. I have the freedom to take responsibility for how I conduct my business. That’s hugely empowering.

    I suggest that a lot of the sarcasm and jibes on this topic is being driven by feelings that those rights to independence and self-determination are fatally threatened. The imposition of requirements beyond what people feel they can cope with or control. The classic definition of stress.

    If there is something for exasperated sellers to take from this episode it is surely never to be in a position again where eBay policy changes can be allowed to cause them such anguish.

    Build up your selling off eBay as an urgent priority. Take control of your own business by building revenues elsewhere. If you list on eBay, make sure it works for you, not the other way round.

  58. These new changes are a really big problem:

    I have never modified my ebay business practices with the intention of becoming TRS. What I have tried to do is price fairly, encourgage multiple purchases by discounting P&P, communicating politely and promptly, packing carefully, and posting reasonably frequently (but not every day, beacuse other work commitments don’t allow it).

    And because customers like this, and leave feedback accordingly, I have been TRS for quite a while.

    But now, if I want TRS, I have to deliberately not do some of the things which work best for my customers. It’s daft!

  59. ebay are advocating gouging on postal charges. If they did not have a feedback system this would be great!

  60. Regarding postal discounts and free postage etc.

    When are eBay ever going to roll out to us mere mortals the “save more when you add other items” Bundle options?

    I am sure my postage is similar to lots of compaines in that the cost goes down the more I send to one address. I have to work on the assumption that I will only ever be sending one item to a single consignee, so I have to build in the highest cost of delivery in to every item.

    So when will this be fully rolled out there are sellers who have this add on, why not everyone?

  61. I have come back here to say this – because we still have absolutely zero engagement from ebay on their own forums – which is beyond absyssmal. I can’t remember when it was so bad.

    Now – many of the people posting on here and the PS board have studied Marketing – or have practical experience of selling.

    I studied Marketing 30 years ago – and the basic lessons I was taught in the first few lessons are being forgotten – or ignored.

    People can only answer the question they are asked – and by asking that question – you may be making an assumption that makes your research invalid.

    Consider this question;

    What should we do with murderers?

    1) Hang them
    2) Life imprisonment
    3) Counselling
    4) Up to the Judge

    The question is flawed, because it assumes that we all commonly agree that murder is wrong.

    It seems so obvious to the person setting the question that it is – that they don’t consider putting a let-out answer for anyone who thinks that it can be justified.

    Similarly, many ebay questionnaires make this mistake. I remember the one that assumed that all sellers thought customer contact and questions were a nuisance or wrong – and gave us a choice of 4 ways of getting customers to stop bugging us.

    Similarly, all questionnaires I have seen from ebay about postage have assumed that everyone likes to get their items cheaper – and that everyone likes not paying more for postage.

    I have not seen a question I could answer with regard to this – as I like seeing the postage charge.

    If you put out a questionnaire, which strongly implies that postage really can be free – and further assumes that people will see that as a good thing – then of course your results will show that people like that.

    The only thing I am not sure about is if ebay do this through incompetence and prejudice to prove their own mantras true – or whether they deliberately set out to reinforce their own prejudices by using carefully worded questionnaires.

    What I do know, is that if I had handed in any of the ebay questionnaires as a piece of work to my Marketing lecturer at college – I would have failed the course.

  62. So if this seller council thing is not Masonic though there is a gagging order on those that attend?

  63. Blimey, this thread has some great traction.

    Initially I read the announcement as:-

    1. eBay want you to lie to your customers and pretend delivery is free but also make it really slow so the buyer chooses a faster delivery method.

    2. If they choose the fast option screw the buyer and charge more for postage.

    3. Offset the amount you screw the buyer against the losses you make on offering a service that doesn’t exist (free shipping)for those that choose that option.

    4. Become a slave.

    5. Pay eBay more fees.

    In return eBay give you a badge and some discount.

    What have I missed?

  64. TSR Status and any subsequent discounts are unpredictable variations in the selling process.

    Failing to reach the necessary bench mark or maintaining the elusive status is subject to the erratic behaviour of others and is beyond the control of sellers. To rely on a discount, which is itself subject to unexpected change is putting too many eggs in one basket.

    If you achieve TSR status and the accompanying discount – Great, but don’t rely on it or form a pricing strategy based on something so flimsy.
    Ebay want you to seek TSR status, customers don’t care what badges you have.

    Ask yourself what does a customer see first and foremost. I would suggest it’s the product image and product title, followed by a product description.

    I have seen numerous sellers holding TSR status, list with poor quality images or poor product descriptions, and I don’t think TSR status holds much value for such listings.
    All sellers know that a buyer feedback score is meaningless, so why worry about a little badge.

    Focus more on sales and less on intangible discounts. Sales must always drive a sellers pricing strategy and let discounts take care of themselves.

  65. Ebay can only influence pricing strategy if you let them by chasing TSR status.
    Decide you own pricing and postage. Don’t be a hostage to EBay, because as sure as eggs are eggs there will be another batch of nonsense following on from these changes.

    I fell victim to the first ‘Free Postage’ for CDs/ DVD’s a few years ago – what a total farce, that was.
    Hours and hours of hoop jumping for no benefits whatsoever.

  66. My final thought on this entertaining thread is this; I think Emma’s bosses have sent her here as a sacrificial lamb, to face the ire of angry eBay sellers, and they’ve taken their frustrations out on her.

    If indeed her bosses have done this, well they should be ashamed of themselves.

  67. Well we are within touching distance of 200 postings. I find myself wondering, as this item shows no sign of cooling off, what the record number of posts is to one subject? Perhaps Chris D has figures in this regard?

  68. I’m going to agree with Joe. I don’t think what he said was rude at all. I took it as being sympathetic with the position that Emma most likely finds herself in.

    In any case, this thread is all academic to us, as we’re shutting down our eBay shop prior to the changes, and will be trading solely from the website that we are about to set up.

    We’ve been enclosing a note with all of our sales, letting people know where they can soon find us. The response has been gratifying, to the point where one person signing up for our future newsletters has said she’d rather give us the extra money than eBay.

  69. I don’t think there was any deliberate intent to insult any person by any contributor to this post, but sometimes people don’t give sufficient thought to their comments before committing to publication. I know that I have fallen foul of rash comments and will almost certainly put my foot in it (again) sooner or later.

    Emma stepped up to the plate and presented her case and for that she should be applauded.

    To suggest that she was a sacrificial lamb is to imply that she has been duped by her employer and was naïve in creating this post. I don’t think this is the case and although I am more than happy to knock eBay I think we need to be careful when our comments can be directed towards any individual.

    Emma presents a case and the volume of comments reflects the relevancy of the subject, and maybe, just maybe some of the comments will have some impact.

    Chris may have commented about ‘rambling posts’ and Dan generalizing about maniacs sounds about right, but neither comment has any personalization attached to it.

  70. To go back to a point that Dan made about where ebay engage with us.

    I am sorry – but it is important – and I will explain why.

    As already stated – ebay set up a special board for discussing the Spring Updates. For the last couple of years, whilst James was our board Pink; this board was a focused point where we could ask about ambiguities ( to put it nicely) in the wording, points that weren’t clear -point out things ebay hadn’t thought through – etc – and James would take them away – get answers or put points across and come back.

    That system worked well. It was focused, it engaged with the people who are interested in engaging, day in and day out – ie the people who use the community boards.

    It put clarification in a place where people could be directed to it in the months following – if someone asked on the boards later.

    Importantly, it acknowledged that the ebay discussion board community was valued within ebay.

    This time, someone has copied James in their use of wording and splitting the topics – then run for the hills.

    It took another day to put a link on the community header – and then no one has been back.

    In the last 10 days ebay have introduced the new dispute thing – which is full of bugs, issues, miswording and problems – and not one member of their staff has even been on a thread to say ” we hear you – passed this on” – as James would have done.

    They have crashed the listings or several thousands of users – and left them without income for a week.

    = Total silence – not even an apology.

    Then – to top that – people suddenly find ebay “engaging” on Facebook – (which you have to join to see) – and on here.

    As I said earlier – it is playing to the gallery.

    By all means – try to involve more sellers and buyers – but nothing is gained by slapping down the ones that already engage with you.

    Personally, whenever an issue has brought a fresh wave of posters to the boards; they have arrived saying much the same as the regulars are already saying.

    I think as far back as the com Vis crisis of 2007 – the freepost on books debacle – the shop fee hike of 2006.

    And everything since. All have brought fresh posters to the boards, and I can never remember anything that has brought a fresh “faction” of people who had a significantly different take on what ebay was doing to the regular board users of that time.

    So – what you see there, broadly expresses the concerns that are out there. To find out what those are then, no one needs to go to Facebook.

    Finally, without the support of other posters, many of us would not have got through the disaster that happened to us a week ago. The ebay discussion boards are significantly valuable – and ebay should recognise that.

    Personally, I would like to see James back – or someone who manages the boards in a similar way.

    The boards are a resource ebay should heed.

    They should also heed the people who are paying them fees.

  71. Here Goes!!!

    I attend the Seller Council.

    They normally last about half a day.

    Yes we do sign a NDA.

    There is a diverse mix of sellers from different categories represented as we get split into smaller groups of similar categories for the sessions.

    There are also new sellers as well as people who have been on ebay for many years.

    I can assure you that the same arguments, points of view and comments are brought up by the sellers that seem to be mirrored on here, including the obligitory “well that’s us finished on ebay if this goes ahead”.

    I will also add the tone is always quite level headed, which is almost always the case when people are in the same room as opposed to behind a keyboard.

    Each seller council will focus on the next seller release, but there is also time for a “what would you like too see” session as well.

    I remember the 1st seller council i went to, there were a lot of sellers asking for more free images!!

    I got involved when Tamebay asked for volunteers and they passed my details on.

    I do not have to travel too far, but some do.


  72. Here is my take on this as a Power seller with 30k feedback and TRS since it was first started. Not once been close to losing TRS.

    The overall idea was excellent as it was what buyers wanted.

    ie: Good Prices. Free-post. Excellent Service etc.

    My main problem with the recent changes is the amount of new dispute cases opened. This is a big mistake. The problem with Item Not Received emails even prior to this was bad enough. But now a case is automatically opened when a message is sent. IMHO ebay need to do something seriously about buyers who mis-use the Item not received process.

    We have our own ‘internal’ procedures in place to try and prevent such claims and many do back down and the item ‘finally’ turns up. Our losses since this recent change have increased 300% as the case is open and ebay will eventually refund the buyer if no signature is obtained, even though we send 100% of our items as Recorded Signed For. No signature and some buyers think it is freebie time. (Royal Mail are now getting even worse with many recorded signed for parcels being posted through letter boxes, signed by the post person or left with neighbors with no signature. Ebay need to seriously address this issue or the site will eventually become a Thieves Paradise as this catches on what buyers can do if no sig is obtained.

  73. Its nice to see someone from ebay talking about these things.

    I have just closed my Amazon US account because of the lies that Americans leave when they have to pay to return an item to UK. Amazon’s response is woeful.

    I have also deactivated my buying account, and will be purchasing all goods on ebay (if available), never again will I shop with Amazon.

    For all the moans about ebay, the staff do care, and their service is 10x better than amazon. Keep up the good work emma, and remember communication (good or bad) is always better than nothing at all. Credit to you for putting your name to your post – that give you alot of credibility in my eyes.

  74. Why on earth in the past week have i had alod of cases brought against me? what have they changed? ive gone from never having a case for lost item/description etc to ten this week. wtf?

  75. Just read this and totally agree:

    Positives of the new TRS standards: You get an as yet undefined ‘maximum listing visibility’

    Negatives: You pay more FVFs than you would with a non TRS listing

    Sounds like a crappy reward for being ‘Top Rated’

  76. As a collectables seller I was thinking the same about TRS in that section. A very high number of sellers of used “one offs” will not be showing a TRS badge and so in those sections where these types of products dominate it will be a TRS desert.

    Also have to remember overseas sellers won’t be able to obtain TRS either as they won’t be able to offer a next day delivery option (trouble is they will be able to but at a cost of £100 or more and I am surprised that ebay will allow this and condone it).

    So in terms of search it will make very little difference in these catagories. It is very simply and obviously a way of ebay gouging more fees out of collectables sellers. So obvious in fact that I don’t know why ebay cannot show some honesty here. ebay recognise that TRS may not be for everybody so why penalise those where it clearly is not?

  77. In addition to one or two others that have posted here around some posters obsession with Seller Councils, we are two attendees.

    We sign NDAs

    We aren’t large outlet sellers (heaven forbid). We’ve been eBay sellers for over 10 years, nearly 18000 feedback in that time (hardly a large ratio). We sell niche products, in the main, costumes. Some of you may know us from the PS Forum

    Our invitation to the events, held several times a year, originally came from James (the Pink as was). We took it up despite the fact that we live and work 250 miles from Richmond. We considered it to be a worthwhile use of our time to get some insight and found it to be beneficial and informative. Some may think we’re crazy, but there you go.

    The Seller Council sessions are set up so that there are a mix of different sellers representing various categories within eBay. So a discussion around a certain area can be looked at through different eyes. We’ve met lots of eBay staff and always found them to be willing to listen and very friendly. Emma is a lovely lady :).

    You have a chance to meet sellers you’ve conversed with on eBay forums, new sellers (new invitees always seem to be appearing), eBay staff, and network with them all at some point during the session.

    As Emma stated above somewhere, seller council aren’t the only way eBay garner opinions. It would be preposterous if it were, as it’s such a small cross-section, so I think the focus on them is misguided.

    As for being “church-wardens” and the “blind faithful”. Hardly. We became very anti-ebay at one point, probably influenced a lot by the PSB, but learnt to work with changes and now see it as a means to an end.

  78. we admit it were obsessed just cant work out why sellers would attend these councils giving ebay product testing and consultancy free of charge, telling them how to tweak their system to make even more money, then signing agreeing to keep stum,

  79. just to be clear, we dont hate ebay we adore ebay its made us very rich. its the eighth wonder of the world,
    though its a business and we treat it as such

  80. Hi all,

    I haven’t posted before but felt I had to say my piece for Emma as I am now really annoyed with eBay.

    Here is my list of the things I totally disagree with & agree with.


    1) Basic Shop price increase by £5 for 20 free listings. Would rather it stayed as it is.

    2) Removal of info & backgrounds from pictures. I am assuming this is only for gallery pictures? My wife sells things for the home & garden. I sell mobiles & coins. We have been on eBay for 10+ years, first as buyers & then as sellers. As huge buyers on eBay I always use the info in Gallery pictures to find not only what I want to buy but the sellers I have bought from before & trust. Removing this info & identity IMHO will make it extremely difficult for buyers to find what they want, the sellers they want & service level they require. A well designed image (especially by a small business) says the seller is passionate about their business & will take care over your order. As already said 20,000 listings of dongles all looking the same but actually being many different makes & capacities will be a nightmare. I know for a fact my Gallery images have made me stand out against my competition (much bigger sellers). They allow me to sell at prices above the stack it high sell it cheap guys & it gets me much repeat custom. I need this as they can buy better & have lower overheads. Removing all this info from images is a very BAD move from both a buyer & sellers point of view.

    Amazon works with plain images as they have a catalogue system whereby all sellers list against only one listing. The buyer can find this straight away & then only has to choose a seller however in reality 99% of the time the buyer will choose the Buy Box Seller. With eBay everyone will look the same which is stupid. Every business should be able to create it’s own individuality not look the same as a person selling an odd item from home. Amazon is Amazon & eBay is eBay. eBay should stop trying to believe eBay can be like Amazon. Different animals & each good at what they do/are.

    My wife sells Garden items & she gets many comments the stock images don’t really show the item properly. They receive the item & then complain it’s not what they expected. A photo with the item in a garden to give sense of scale & what it really looks like really does alter sales & delivers excellent customer expectation minimising returns. As already said people do NOT read descriptions & in our experience often not titles either.

    I sell an Olympic Album & in several places within the description inc at the very top I put “Not suitable for loose 50p’s”. I also have supersize images showing they are not suitable. The amount of returns to start with was 6 out of every 10 Albums. Once I put the info across the picture returns stopped immediately. People either didn’t buy wrongly or sent a msg to double check first. eBay are totally wrong to have clean pictures it does NOT suit this platform, full stop. It DOES suit Amazon for said reasons. Even on Amazon though there can be subtle differences between what one seller & another is selling even though it’s the same item 7 same EAN. This can happen due to the manufacturer changing the spec so some stock is pre chabge & some post change. Sellers then note this difference in the “Condition Note” however most buyers do NOT read this & we have had lots of returns due to this. Customers email to say item was not as described. I send msg back to say pls read the listing “Condition Note”, “oh yes they say”. So we end up losing original P&P costs & Amazon charge the seller 20% of the fees for the privilege of refunding a customer. Communicating info to buyers on both platforms is most definitely best done via the images & is 100% proven in reducing returns, poor customer satisfaction, bad feedback. Good images def increase sales, past customers recognise your listings immediately & return to you without having to trawl a long list looking for a tiny name.

    3) Removal of Quidco & TCB in Jan 2013 & introduction of Nectar Points. We buy a huge amount of items on eBay, probably £100,000+ in 2012. Quidco was a very relevant revenue stream for us as a big eBay buyer. Nectar points are worth a v small fraction & to us are totally useless. Much of our buying will now be done direct with other supplies where items are often cheaper. A huge revenue loss for eBay. I suspect the removal of Quidco will take many buyers incentive away to buy off eBay.

    4) TRS or not TRS. Basically this is eBay putting a gun to sellers heads. Stay a TRS by offering free P&P. 99% of eBayers will choose free P&P so in effect you pay 10% fees on the shipping cost & get 15% back. As the shipping cost on many items is a big proportion I would say we shall lose approx 10 to 12% of the 15% TRS discount in extra fees on the P&P cost. So by staying TRS we shall be financially worse off. I am not convinced staying a TRS will generate more sales to offset the loss.

    12 months ago we started selling on Amazon & we have found many of our items sell better on there than eBay. We also achieve a better price for them albeit this is offset somewhat by higher fees. This has meant we have had to raise our prices on eBay due to A’s price parity policy. With Amazon we offer FREE P&P on every item we dispatch. Amazon’s clientele are used to the free P&P model as they have very much been brought up with it (with FBA)& IMHO are a clientele who want a speedy fuss free transaction, much more so than eBay. We also use FBA & these items are always free Supper Saver del.

    Now with A it astounds me that a buyer will buy an FBA item at say £14.00 (free P&P) but them pay £3.30 shipping upgrade to get 1st class same day dispatch. If they bought the item directly from my biggest competitor or me they would pay £14.00 get same day dispatch up to 4pm & 1st class but no extra £3.30. Amazon buyers DO pay large shipping upgrades quite often but eBay buyers do NOT, period. Amazon’s buyers affinity to paying large shipping upgrades is one thing that has astounded me coming from eBay where everyone penny pinches. I have had people buy a coin at £13 (FBA) & then pay Amazon £5.35 for Special Del. In the last few days running up to Xmas 90% of our A buyers paid £1.50 extra for an upgrade to 1st Rec (from 2nd Class) where as eBay buyers only about 10% upgraded.

    Two completely different platforms & on the whole two completely different sets of buyers. A buyers are more affluent & are not nearly so price conscious. Service is key. If Emma was working for A & said work the cost of free shipping sales into shipping upgrades then I would say, “ok yes that may be possible”. With eBay she has not got a clue of how businesses run on there & the client base eBay attracts. It is 100% not possible, the uptake is too minute. Even at Xmas 90%+ of eBay buyers will go for free shipping or least cost. This doesn’t apply to all categories, mobile phones is an exception. With mobiles people often want the item NOW & I do get shipping upgrades on these all year round & a heavy take up at Xmas. Mobiles & other similar electronics are not all eBay sells, the vast majority of items eBay sells buyers will always choose least cost option.

    At the moment I enjoy quite a few multiple sales against my big rival on a very competitive item. He offers free P&P & has much lower postage costs than me due to his being a average weight based acc with R.Mail. I just pay P.O. prices. The only way I achieve this is by being TRS & being able to offer buyers a shipping discount on multiple buys.

    He is £9.99 free P&P. I am £8.49 + £1.49 P&P but 75p P&P on 2nd & subsequent items. So a buyer buying from me saves 75p on each item after the first.

    If I now have to go to FREE P&P to keep TRS I shall be dead in the water. 1) I shall not be able to compete on price as margins are miniscule already & as a small business I shall have nothing I can offer the buyer to attract them to buy from me. Take away my nice Gallery image & I shall be dead too. It is very sad as we have been on eBay for 10 years but we are both already selling more on Amazon than eBay now. Amazon business is growing & we can see our eBay sales declining further. Free P&P ONLY suits BIG sellers that want total hassle free trans & have large economies of scale & certain small sellers or certain items they sell. It does not suit everyone or everything & should not be mandatory. FREE P&P for TRS will kill many many small businesses which need to be able to offer the very very price conscious eBayer something better on bulk deals.

    A big competitor & colleague of mine offers free P&P on most items just due to how big he is. Due to this though he gets a large amount of requests from buyers wanting to buy multiple items at a discount as they know the shipping cost for multiples will be lower & they will be paying an over inflated inclusive price. My colleague will then direct them to his website where everything is priced as cheaply as poss & all P&P is calculated on an actually order basis.

    When I offered free P&P on a couple popular items I was hit with the same requests.

    All eBay will do by making free P&P mandatory for TRS is drive more buyers to request discounts from sellers who then take business off eBay. This is a loss to eBay but also very time consuming for the seller having to deal with all the requests. Once a buyer is re-directed to a sellers website that will be the buyer lost from eBay for good. As a big eBay buyer who often buys multiples I ONLY buy from sellers who offer separate P&P to item price.

    Royal Mail is changing their prices again on 2nd April & introducing a “Small Parcel” instead of a packet. 1 weight band from 0g to 1kg at £2.60. Our instant reaction was “oh dear that will make some of our small items uneconomical to sell” as we have a couple items which sell for £3.60 & the post cost is £2.60 on top. Then we thought “well perhaps this will now encourage buyers to purchase more multiples as we can charge £2.99 P&P for all orders under 1kg”

    Now free P&P is mandatory for TRS we can’t do this & I know we shall lose loads of sales. Big sellers can do Free P&P & keep prices v low as they have an av weight system with R.Mail. Small businesses who use the P.Office or a small business acc with R.Mail & bound by the individual set price.

    As said by others the range of items, from 99p light items, 99p bulky items, to antiques & collectibles & furniture is far too diverse to make free P&P mandatory.

    5)Another BIG problem with eBay, which also ties in with the free P&P thing, is discounts & Free items. Neither of these are a problem with Amazon as they offer a full promotional system which allows a huge away of discounts & free items for all possible scenarios.

    As eBay has no system for free items or discounts sellers have to offer free gifts in their descriptions. ie buy 2 get 1 free. However in order to get buyers into your listing the seller HAS to communicate this offer via text on the Gallery image. Now that is being removed buyers will have no idea this offer is on. A seller can’t put it in the title as the offer may not apply for the whole duration of a listing especially a “good ’til cancelled” one. This leaves the only option to use the 2nd line of text under the title at £1.05 ish per 30 days. This not only is a huge on cost for small sellers but in my own experience very costly when ones are forgotten about which could have been removed. To manage 200 listings with subtitles is a job in itself to ensure all still relevant & needed.

    eBay offers NO discount system. If free P&P is mandatory for TRS then one way around this would be the ability to offer a discount for multi-buys, ie £1 off each purchase after 1 up to a max of x etc. Then pay fees only on the discounted price the customer pays. Sellers prices would still have to rise to incorporate the extra fees paid on P&P but at least it would allow sellers to secure multi buys without all the hassle of directing customers off eBay or losing them altogether.

    6) Amazon has just launched a fantastic new feature, EMAIL TEMPLATES. I wonder why they have done this. Perhaps because it is a great idea & one of the most useful & time saving features available to a seller.

    eBay you were CRAZY when you removed this option & the option to contact a seller from the buyers transaction page. I lose so much time every day without this. Please bring it back.


    1) Raising the TRS bar. This is fine & I am quite happy to try to comply with tighter metrics to achieve TRS.


    For us Amazon self fulfillment & FBA is proving to be far better for both of our businesses in terms of revenue & so much less hassle. Sorry eBay but you are losing us as sellers & as buyers. We both trade just under the VAT threshold at present & so our 150K per year is more & more going towards Amazon. You have already driven many small businesses away from eBay to Amazon & will continue to do so with your proposed changes.

  81. Forgot to Say.

    Also as eBay mention sales made via mobiles, ipads & tablets etc is going up & up all the time. As stated by a seller on here when they buy they don’t read descriptions or look at different shipping options.

    In my experience the people who buy on mobiles DON’T read descriptions nor look at shipping options. I have found, & buyers have told me, they look at the image, then buy on that basis & then checkout at the default P&P.

    Many many times I have had to refund these buyers. However now I have put the “key” info into the Gallery image my Sales & Customer Satisfaction are up & cancellations & returns down.

  82. Personally, I think just asking sellers to meet the ‘Fast n Free’ requirements would have been quite sufficient.

    In addition (and slightly off topic) – what we didn’t get this release was clarity on postage in multi variation listings, especially if a listing’s MLV SKUS attract different postage charges (e.g. light-to-heavy items) and, how this will integrate with postage rate tables for special domestic areas, which are still woefully inflexible.

    A big thumbs up for Free Images. Numerous sellers asked for this in the seller council – eBay have listened. Makes sense with the growth in mobile.

  83. ps We only ever offer Free P&P (the majority of our listings are Fast n Free but, sadly, won’t qualify for the 2 day Top Rated criterion) and I advise those sellers I consult to, where at all feasible, offer same.

    For two reasons: once you charge for a postage service, buyer’s expectations go through he roof. Secondly, multi purchases make the seller more profit. In my experience, buyers rarely seek discounts on what is perceived as ‘free’. Yes, it means slightly higher FFV on single purchases, but more margin on multi-item basket sales.

    I appreciate free P&P doesn’t make sense for some sellers, but where possible – especially if you are effectively up selling items through a well organized listing categories/ shop template and cross promotions (Sales Maximizer) then free P&P is the way forward.

  84. Personally, I think just asking sellers to meet the ‘Fast n Free’ requirements would have been quite sufficient.

    In addition (and slightly off topic) – what we didn’t get this release was clarity on postage in multi variation listings, especially if a listing’s MLV SKUS attract different postage charges (e.g. light-to-heavy items) and, how this will integrate with postage rate tables for special domestic areas, which are still woefully inflexible.

    A big thumbs up for Free Images. Numerous sellers asked for this in the seller council – eBay have listened. Makes sense with the growth in mobile.

  85. In effect what has been done by Ebay (possibly accidentally, and they are hoping it will cool off and go away) is give TRS’s a kick in the rear. To quote part of the Ebay posting above ‘If you look beyond individual listing postage options and think about the whole postage strategy of your business’ could have been added – think about the whole strategy of your business, do some research, look around, you may be surprised at what you find.

    Ebay seems to get carried away sometimes with its corporate importance and brand, and forget that it is just an electronic platform/marketing device that businesses use out of convenience to reach customers, and customers use out of convenience to reach sellers. It isn’t the distributor, or manufacturer, or seller of the goods on the site. There are many existing similar global platforms/brands that could adapt to provide a similar service.

    Ebay as a whole, its entire existence and brand, is a synergy of the thousands and thousands and thousands of disparate (spelling is correct, not desperate :-)) sellers using the platform, there is nothing else.

    Please look after, and respect the intelligence of your existing loyal customers Ebay (the sellers using the site, as that seems to be forgotten sometimes as well).

  86. no doubt you will be pleased to hear this is my final post we feel that tamebay has lost its integrity and is to closely associated with ebay to be an independant voice

  87. Has anyone else noticed that over the last 5+ years 95% of talk about ebay has been negative? First buyers complain so Ebay slap the sellers in the face. Then sellers complain so ebay slaps them in the face again. Now we most people complain and Ebay decided to make life more difficult for everyone… I love the logic!
    Here is my logic on postage….
    I pay what i feel is appropriate for p&p. If i think they are charging too much then i go else where. Let the customer decide. We arent fooled by ‘free p&p’.. Nothing is free! It just means its built into the price you pay.
    why do Ebay continue to make things more complex? Im a regular seller and buyer and so see things from both sides.
    The only postage options should be slow, standard and express. non of this ‘free’ crap. Personally unless im after something in a hurry i want it cheaper. People arent stupid we shop around online as we do in normal shops!

    I would say well done to Emma for actually engaging on this board, can’t be an easy job towing the ebay line in a den of angry sellers. Yes would be nice to see more on the ebay boards but hell this is most input ive ever seen from ebay employee in all the time ive been with ebay!

  88. Not only has this thread got legs, it has a lot of arms as well.

    I want to reply to Chris T posted 10:36 am on March 30th, 2013 – but way way up the page.

    I don’t particularly want eBay to consider sellers. I want them to adopt a holistic approach to making it as easy for both buyers and sellers as possible. eBay will say that that is what they do.

    But they are patently not going to be doing this sometime soon for buyers and sellers of small items where 20 can be shipped for the price of 1.

    I had a chat with a CS rep who said that there was no problem, I could just send an invoice in PayPal. I asked how that would work when I already had 20 postage added payments and the buyer wanted 19 postage refunds – not another invoice. Ah simple he said I could just refund.

    I think I will start invoicing eBay for 19 x 20p, and a (substantial) admin charge if this should start happening.

    Happy days.


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