Is this the worst defect rate on eBay?

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Stuart has been selling on eBay for about 10 years or so in one way or another, so you could probably class him as an experienced seller. However he has the worst known defect rate on eBay – 32.5% (at least until we can find someone to beat his record!).

Stuart explains that until about three weeks ago he never realised you could block buyers from countries you don’t want to send to. Even worse if you don’t do this buyers from those countries can still buy from your listings even though you don’t offer international postage on them. Here in Stuart’s own words is what’s happened:

What went wrong

We would get 2-3 buyers a month from the USA buy fragile items we could not send, we did the polite thing sent them a message and said we were sorry we could not dispatch the item to the USA opened a case and then it was closed.

The bloody annoying thing is that only a couple of weeks prior to finding this issue with our USA defects did we discuss selling the smaller, non fragile items to the USA as we were receiving a lot of interest from there.

I called eBay and explained the situation and the problem that there is no point in us listing anything for there as we are soooooo far below standard it will take a month of Sundays to get it back. Not interested nothing they can do! Basically eBay have now shot themselves in the foot as I can’t list products. Instead I emailed Amazon and within 24hrs we opened a USA account and sold the first item within 48hrs.

eBay is crackers and still keep cocking this type of thing up! All they had to do was think ‘ah yes we can see this not really a defect as you don’t list in the USA and it’s an honest mistake. To now help you list in the USA (plus make us some more money) we will wipe the defects for cancelled transactions so you can have a fresh start’ easy, simple and makes total business sense, doesn’t it?

Go to JailWhat can Stuart do?

Stuart added that it might be worth a warning to others thinking of international expansion, unless it was just him that missed the memo about blocking countries…. warning delivered!

I wish we had some constructive advice for Stuart, surely eBay’s defect rate is not intended to punish eBay sellers but more to educate them on how to improve. Now all Stuart can do is sit there for a year until the defects drop off his dashboard.

A year is a long time to wait and I can promise eBay it won’t make him a better seller. He’s already learnt what he did wrong and put steps in place to prevent it occurring again.

Come on eBay… how about some parole for a reformed seller?

What’s your defect rate?

Are you still top rated? What’s your defect rate for UK, Germany/Austria, USA and Global?

40 Responses

  1. To answer the last line questionaire:

    My Statistics as a start are:

    Feedback 100% (10344)

    UK: 0.75% Defects TRS OK
    Germany: 0.51% Defects TRS OK
    USA: 0.51:% Defects TRS OK
    Global: 0.09: Defects TRS OK

    Would be good to hear from others here if you still made it to TRS in the 4 regions on the seller dashboard.

    And I guess it is not even worth calling Ebay Customer Support today, there are probably hours of waiting time or did anybody try to call them today regarding defects?

  2. I have have kept my TRS with a 1.25% defect rate though I don’t really feel like celebrating as I know so many will be hurt by this new system through no real fault of their own.

    I feel I have more satisfaction that I have beaten Ebay & foiled their attempt to sabotage my business by getting my defect rate down from an initial 3.42% than any feeling like a good seller or having happy customers. I suspect this may well be a common feeling amongst most who have managed to retain TRS too, what a sorry state of affairs.

    How did I get my defect rate down? Simply by popping a signed letter in with all items shipped asking buyers to choose “Other” as a method of contact in the event of a problem. However even this is seen by Ebay as “undermining the feedback system” and not allowed. So essentially Ebay are hoodwinking buyers into opening cases when they think they are asking a question and any attempt by a seller to inform our customers about this against Ebay T&C. One has to ask why Ebay seem to be trying their best to get sellers to rack up defects through this misinformation to buyers?

  3. There lies the difference between EBay and Amazon. Where Ebay won’t or can’t resolve a seller problem Amazon can. Not all the case here but Ebay don’t employ people to look at, read, understand and resolve a problem at all, Amazon can and do and usually in under 24 hours.

  4. Can I ask what maybe a stupid question.
    Is the defect rate based on the percentage like feedback is.
    If it is then if you can, sell something that is VERY cheap and you can sell quickly in lots of sales, thus dissolving the negativity.

  5. This is ridiculous…

    After I’ve read this article, I’ve checked my dashboard for USA/Global/Europe etc.
    I’ve now just noticed I have 1 defect (Neutral feedback) for Germany/Austria/Switzerland…

    I know which transaction this relates to, and I’ll explain what happened:

    A buyer contacted me from Germany to see if I would send to Germany. I responded by saying unfortunately I didn’t offer international delivery at this time.
    The buyer then bought the item and had me dispatch it to a UK address which then forwarded it on to them in Germany.
    They then left neutral feedback stating that they were annoyed they couldn’t have it dispatched to Germany.

    I’m lucky as this is one occurrence and you’re allowed up to 5, before the defect rate is judged off a percentage.

    I just find it bizarre that ebay would hide it away on the dashboard for USA/Europe etc. It really is hidden, I look at my dashboard religiously, but I never change it to the USA/Europe view because I know I haven’t sold there!

    I tightened up my buyer requirements a couple of months ago, so luckily this hasn’t happened since that transaction.

  6. Blocking specific countries doesn’t work.

    We blocked Israel (nothing ever arrives there) and Russia / Ukraine (ongoing war).

    We still get people buying from those countries, seemingly not blocked by Ebay.

    The Ebay system is total pants.

    Besides, you can never be top rated in USA unless 90% of your items have tracking. Why bother.

  7. I’ll share mine – as its a mixed bag and there is little I can do to change it

    We struggle from the leadtimes that ebay put on sales, and also the fact that it is now quite hard just to ask a customer where the item is – many customers open cases without realising

    I also agree with Andy R – as low value items , these are not tracked overseas, so little we can do to get TRS in USA

    Our dashboard shows:

    108133 Positive Feedback (last 12 months): 99.7%

    UK & Ireland TRS+ 0.53% defects

    USA Above Standard 1.69% (This is from customers opening Item not received case because of the silly lead time that Ebay put on USA delivery times – most are closed as they arrive within the 10-15 days we predict

    Germany, Austria: Below Standard 5.61% defect – This equates to 1 cancelled transaction (customer asked to cancel), 18 Not arrived (but arrived after cases opened , and 4 of those were flippen Brazil and Puerto Rico that we have blocked as countries– again Ebay have got silly lead times

  8. UK: 0.89% Defects TRS OK
    Germany: 0.00% Defects
    USA: 0.00:% Defects
    Global: 0.88: Defects

    We stopped 95% of all international sales after DSR’s were implemented. This was due to the higher risk of theft and negative feedback.

    We used to do a fair bit on international sales, however its just not worth risking our account. I assume there were many that followed the same tactic.

  9. I was kicked off ebay earlier this month because on 20th July my account dropped below standard from above standard, the reason, my item as described DSR was 1.06%, all other DSRs fine, feedback rating 98.6%.

    After spending a total of around 5hrs on the phone to customer services I’ve given up trying to get a reason for the harsh decision and exhausted all appeals.

  10. What is Stuart worried about?

    Customers don’t see your TRS status, just that you don’t have the logo.

    You don’t get any discount for overseas sales even when you are TRS.

    Your international performance doesn’t impact on your rating for UK.

    Too many folk are caught up in navel gazing or is that defect gazing to grasp the bigger picture.

    Stuart, ignore all the bluster and tales of woe, just get on and flog the stuff to Yanks if they want it. The worst that can happen is they don’t buy it and that was your default position up to now anyway.

  11. I don’t think anyone has to worry in sale terms. As after hours of searching anyone who has lost their TRS are still above anyone who have lost their TRS. I truly see no change in search terms. And to be honest as a buyer who know who is a TRS. Even as a TRS ourselft with only 0.81% defect sale are Sh** Thank god for Amazon and website sale.

  12. Can anyone tell me the purpose of being a TRS outside your own country?

    1. As someone said above – no fee discount
    2. Best match is a broken and dysfunctional search system – TRS does not work effectively to promote positioning in Search results. So many crass examples on ebay it is totally tiresome

    So, what is the point?

  13. “Stuart explains that until about three weeks ago he never realised you could block buyers from countries you don’t want to send to.”

    And how is that ebay’s fault?

    “Even worse if you don’t do this buyers from those countries can still buy from your listings even though you don’t offer international postage on them. ”

    And yet when it kept on happening he kept doing the same thing instead of investigating how to stop it happening.

    Did he think that ebay didnt allow seller to only send dosmetically? – what about items too big to viably send abroad or items like aerosols that Royal Mail do not allow for international postage.

    He is the author of his own downfall. I’ve no sympathy whatsoever.

  14. Perhaps the answer is to open a new account selling the same items in the US? Start it fresh and don’t let the same thing happen again.

  15. That’s unfortunate. I may be mixing up stories but didn’t Stuart also get banned from eBay entirely for an entire year back in 2008 or 2009 simply because an old employee got his account somehow linked up with his and eBay would do nothing about that either?

  16. If sellers had been properly warned there would be mass culls because ebay didn’t like their “business model” (selling internationally) they would have all blocked places like China – and maybe not have been banned.

  17. I don’t know where the 5% TRS comments are coming from?
    TRS is now 2%.
    Any more than 5% is ‘below standard’ and incurs restrictions.

    This may seem an ‘insanely high’ limit for unhappy customers (actually, unhappy isn’t correct as a defect covers so many eventualities your customer may well be very happy with their purchase or the outcome of their issue but still = a defect in ebay’s eyes) when selling something such as a phone charger or a box of biros.
    How about selling used items, or items where description is open to interpretation eg, colour, feel. It’s then a different story.

    Or defects due to the way the customer has navigated through to contacting you.

    How about having a case opened for item not received where in the body of the case message the buyer advises he’s missed 3 deliveries & asks us to rebook a slot as he can’t figure out how to do it on his phone & he can’t phone the depot to do it as he’s already binned the courier contact calling card?

    Or case opened for item not as described where, again, the case message is: please can I return it, sorry I only read the title where it says Renault Clio, I didn’t know what ‘Mk 2’ meant, but now my brother says it doesn’t fit because my car is older.

    Our customer service is top notch and we very rarely have bad feedback.
    But our postive feedback and defect rate now show 2 very different stories!

  18. Ive been a member of ebay for 10 years, have approx. 1900 positive feedback. Recently had a influx of customer returns, of which whilst unfortunate – all were fully refunded and handled properly and fairly with full refunds + postage made. However some customers refused to return items and instead demanded partial refunds else they would leave negative feedback. I refused to refund partially and instead offered a full refund upon items return – this resulted in no item being returned and negative feedback on my account. Now – heres the interesting bit – I complained about the feedback being unfair to ebay – and it has since all been removed by ebay – so 100% positive again – but next thing I know – defect rate is below global seller standard at 11.5% based on last 12 months and now I have been “Indefinitely suspended from ebay”. I’ve tried to call eBay to talk about it and was told “the executives upstairs have decided that you can no longer trade on ebay – ever!” So with over £13K sales, 10 Years an account holder, and 1900 positive feedback – eBay have sacked me off overnight. I even wrote a letter to the “head office” in Ireland – no response. I’ve tried to set up other accounts – but they have been blocked as have been linked to my main account. They wont even communicate with me. I heard a seller in the USA is taking ebay to court over these “bad business practices” as they always seem to rule in favour of the buyer. I prey for the result of this case to win in the plaintiffs favour as the repercussions against ebay could be massive. As I was in process of setting up a small business (and using ebay as my main outlet) I now find myself at risk of bankruptcy as I can not shift any of my stock nor pay bills.

  19. Gutted. We have traded for seven years and turned over five million quid. Our eBay manager left in May and wasn’t kind enough to tell us of the changes – on 21st August our defect was 5:2 we lost 90% sales and are now restricted, we could lose our business and have payments for pre ordered stock we can’t pay for, we set on seven full time staff so now the tax payer will fund benefits for them and we might all become homeless … Thanks eBay our loyalty and paid fees mean nothing our defects are for items reported not received that were received and average star ratings, we send letters we have a phone line we bend backwards, our biggest downfall has been cancelling orders at customers request 52 cancelled sales … we are now going to go bankrupt …. for those who have no sympathy all I fan say us, thanks for my future job seekers allowance 🙁

  20. Roughly speaking the same thing happened to me, my USA defect rate is at 17.5% due to problems with a courier & some lost parcels. Now ebay have restricted me from listing even in the UK even though I am a TRS in the UK & most other regions apart from the USA. Surely this cannot be rite! It will be into December before a couple of defects drop off then hopefully should be able to list again. Any advise would be appreciated!


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