Now eBay are divorced, what should they change?

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Jane, known as the eBay Anorak, is an eBay Specialist Consultant with a very healthy client base of different sized UK & International businesses across many categories. She also manages listings for a local company, and both listings and fulfilment of a global European based company’s UK shop and her own eBay UK shop, these are all Top Rated Powerseller accounts. With 13 years experience in addition to that of many UK clients Jane helps on a continuous basis, today she’d like to add her twopen’th on a few things that she think may need a tweak… perhaps you have a few to add?:

Now eBay and Paypal have split, eBay can excel once again, I really believe that. Listening to their sellers, as I know they have made an effort to do previously is more important than ever and now is the time to act on what sellers are saying rather than ‘taking it on board’.

Despatch and Delivery

Quote from eBay. ‘In general, a defect occurs when part of a transaction, such as how long it takes to dispatch an item, doesn’t match what the seller described or promised in the listing.’ Please note the word ‘dispatch’ this is not the same as delivery.

  • Add another day to expected delivery time across the board it’s unrealistic it gives an unrealistic expectation for buyers
  • Please accept certificate of postage as a valid proof of posting of non tracked items, again if it goes missing for whatever reason I’ll replace immediately but don’t give me a defect for missing items with reasons out of my control.
  • Perhaps a barcode to use similar to that used when a customer returns an item via the Managed Returns Flow that is scanned in the post/parcel office again ‘proof’ of postage on a non tracked item, this is despatch time.
  • If I’m a Top Rated Seller (TRS) with eBay Premium Service (EPS) badge It’s unlikely I’ve not sent the order and I shouldn’t have a defect if Royal Mail/courier has lost it or my buyer is making a fraudulent claim, I will replace it as it’s my duty as a business seller to get the product to the buyer, if I replace in these circumstances remove the defect.
  • You should already have a list of suspicious addresses, please act on them, their are too many Item Not Received (INR) claims, you can cross reference them with Royal Mail who also have this information, this can aid the decision when siding with a buyer who continually claims non receipt.
  • Buyers are claiming INR by just going through messages now not via returns flow so it isn’t as easy to trace, sellers will not direct buyers through the returns flow for fear of another defect, this needs to change, let me direct them through the returns flow without fear of a defect and replace the item. eBay can track this with ease and act on those who repeatedly claim INR.

Customer Service

  • When I put something right take the defect away. A company is only as good as it’s customer service, if I put it right you have a happy customer that will shop with me (and eBay) again, take the defect away if the customer is happy.
  • On the note above about customer service eBay you need to be consistent in your customer service answers across all channels be it phone, chat or email, this is not currently so.


  • Let businesses verify their status like Amazon have, give a level playing field to registered businesses versus those non registered sellers. This will rotect buyers or leave them more informed pre purchase in the future.
  • When verifying a business let me do a very short multiple choice quiz to make sure I know the law on returns etc
  • Police your policies, don’t make sellers spend time and big money changing text and borders on pictures while their competitors blatantly violate this policy seemingly without detriment to search ranking
  • Sort out the location abuse issue.
  • If I’m a UK buyer default the search to UK only and let me select Rest of World if I want to.
  • Put the buyer ID on all case flow pages
  • Remove product reviews from feedback and the defect with it, it should not affect a seller’s business if a buyer doesn’t like the ending of a book.
  • Let me enter dimensions and weight on an individual variants in a listing and let me select options, click and collect and GSP by variant, not all variants are created equal when it comes to despatch.
  • I need proper holiday settings that will count down to my return that does not allow a buyer to open a claim for INR until the usual postage time after my return. Make my return date display more clearly on the mobile app. Currently I put holiday settings on for a week or so and eBay tell a buyer to expect it in a couple of days, this needs to sync with my holiday settings. eBay are giving the Bad Buyer Experience and impossible expectations here.
  • Sometimes, if there’s a major problem. I need to speak to someone who has the authority to fix it, the ‘someone will contact you in 48 hours’ when a business and jobs are in jeopardy is not acceptable.

Just a few things, I’m sure there are many many more ways to improve. What are your suggestions for improvements to the current platform?

20 Responses

  1. For me it’s time for a clean up on the site, promote high quality listings with great pictures and from UK sellers, there is too much rubbish to trawl through from China.

    If something is broken on the site, react quicker and we need something in return if this happens for a reasonable amount of time.

    Plus focus on what ebay used to be known for, smaller sellers and business offering unique products with great service, most of us are still here we have just been ignored for so long now, in favour of superdry pants and 50% of drills.

  2. all good stuff from Jane

    but why did the two businesses need to divorce in order for eBay to change?

    perhaps its just that ‘kick in the pants’ that many types of divorce may (with luck) deliver

  3. I agree with most of the above and would add..

    SEARCH: If I put a one word search term in the box, it would be nice if the results list started with those that match that term rather than overwhelming me with answers that eBay search think appear similar to that term. Partially right answers should rank below totally right answers, or am I being too logical?

    PROBLEMS: When we contact eBay with a problem they should give clarity about who might deal with the issue and how they can be contacted. It should not be a bland assurance from somebody in Manila that your issue will be fedback to the appropriate department, which we all suspect means it will hit the wastebin in nanoseconds.

    TREAT SELLERS LIKE ADULTS & REALISE THEY MIGHT ACTUALLY HAVE SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE TO CONTRIBUTE: There is a Powerseller community board which one would think should be a cherished source of informed feedback to eBay. In practice most subjects are ignored rather than addressed and anyone posting is treated like a child and can get banned for the most minor transgressions like pasting in appropriate sections of messages, mentioning Amazon or referring to moderation in any way. [I’m currently banned for 30 days, my crime being I warned another poster not to refer to eBay staff as Minions as I had previously been banned for making a similar reference. My appeal was denied, thanks *******!]


    [Edited to remove eBay staff member name]

  4. Sorry I missed one out.

    RESOLUTION CENTRE: If a customer in another country, for example Germany, buys an item listed on eBay UK and subsequenty raises an issue through the resolution centre, why do I have to deal with the issue in German on If the item had been listed on that site then fine, but a UK listing should be dealt with in the UK resolution centre. I know there are online translators, but it is very clumsy with the menu structure of the resolution centre.

  5. Nice list from Jane. Ebay need to be a lot more intelligent. TRS and long standing high feedback sellers are not fraudulent fly-by-nights, so how can they justify not accepting a photo of a box showing buyer provided incomplete address as proof both that an item was sent, delivery attempted but returned to seller? And even the buyer admitted he got it wrong! Bizarre.

    If a seller offers a tracked service option on every listing why should they ever get a defect if the customer then chooses untracked economy?

    Why should they get a defect when the buyer hasn’t paid attention to their mail and picked up the card saying a delivery has been attempted and the parcel is at the sorting office? This is as much as 50% of INR claims.

    GET RID OF BEST MATCH – the only people it makes any sense to are the ebay people who manage it. Even CS don’t understand results when you challenge them. It throws up rubbish results, it costs buyers substantial money by making “best match” items that clearly aren’t. If the buyer is in the UK then it is no good telling the buyer Best Match is in Germany because they have sold more of an item, and had more views when there are UK sellers out there offering the identical product with 100% feedback, 1 day despatch, 1 day delivery, a better overall price because of international mail rates. I can show example after example where best match just produces nonsense. It is an insult to sellers and buyers alike.

    I am getting so tired of all this unproductive nonsense I am thinking of retiring earlier than planned and closing up shop.

    Ebay needs root and branch reform and a clear out of some of the low performing people who must work there. They also need to start reacting to their customers, and take personal and corporate responsibility for some of the many errors they make.

  6. I missed this one off …

    Add all types of payment method now. Google Wallet, Apple Pay, Android Pay and also Samsung pay. if 60% of sales are touched by mobile let peeps pay on mobile with whatever they want to 🙂

  7. sound sensible and in the main do-able suggestions ,

    what is the point of this ebay seller council bollocks if problems like this still exist and need implementing

  8. Well said Jane and Martin makes some good points too. Let’s hope eBay take these very sensible and workable suggestions on board. Sellers, especially business sellers have suffered too long, and yes, eBay’s crusade for a “great buyer experience” has just in some cases created a “poor buyer experience”.
    As a UK seller if I sell to Europe and they claim they have not received the item and open a case then I am given just 8 days to resolve it. Not a problem if I am refunding, but if I am sending a replacement item out then the time is tight before the buyer can escalate.
    The main problem is that the people at eBay who make the policy have never been a seller on eBay and don’t know how it actually works or affects sellers. That is why to succeed they need to listen to sellers or create some sort of network of sellers to regularly meet with to “test” out their policies to make it fair for all.
    Regarding “items not received”. Could this not be shown on buyers feedback page every time? Let’s have some transparency.

  9. Returns!

    A complete overhaul of the ‘Managed’ returns system is required. It’s not fit for purpose and has clearly been thought out on the back of a (very small) fag packet. Its destroyed my TRS status which I’d held for years until this thing arrived. Out of my 41 returns in the last 6 months, just 4 probably deserved defects (approx. 1500 items shipped). Its massively frustrating that I’m being penalised because of such a rubbish system with zero interest of removing defects from CS.

    Allow buyers to choose the option to have the item sent back to them or replaced, not just a straight refund. I sell consumer electronics, sometimes these fail and need replacement/repair but that does not mean that my customer no longer wants it, nor is it my fault. A defect should not be placed on the sellers account for this type of return.

    Give sellers control back over returns and the authority to refuse to pay for return shipping if it’s a incompatibility or usage issue, or if the item is found not to be faulty and the buyer doesn’t want the item back. The buyer should be allowed to contest this if required. Again, a defect should not be placed on the sellers account.

    Allow sellers to close returns if the customer hasn’t returned the item after a period of 14 days. Defects should also be removed in these cases.

    In addition:

    • Add a notes section so that the seller can add case notes to returns
    • Have a direct link to the sales record from within the returns page
    • Refunds should be instant, even if the sellers Paypal account has zero balance after the nights settlement withdrawal

    All basic stuff and not exactly much to ask don’t you think. Fed up of losing sleep, customers, discount and status over this.


  10. I don’t think showing it on a buyers page is a good idea as they may be genuinely lost but I think eBay should act on those habitual offenders.

    There was a time when eBay encouraged a seller to push the buyer through the case system as we believed eBay were monitoring this and were going to act on their findings. Instead they used it to go against a seller, utterly betraying those sellers who believed eBay would act on these.

    Make buyers open a case for INR and don’t give them a defect if they refund or replace the item

  11. A very well constructed article, and most sellers would agree. The problem ‘is’ ebay.

  12. As a long standing eBay seller, this report and these responses must be the best I have read about eBay it terms of reforming itself. Because of eBay’s failures, it drove us to Amazon (although we didn’t wish to + Amazon had been getting in touch for years to join). After a year of trading on Amazon, the stability of our business has been strengthened. I am not confident that eBay will listen which would be a shame, if they do then they will have sellers who will start to have a happy marketplace again.

  13. Funny thing is well we are here evaluating the long term sustainability of this company the company is spending hundreds of thousands celebrating the split with PayPal.

    The staff members were all out partying yesterday in their carpark while we were all waiting for them to pick up the phone. They’re celebrating what could be the beginning of the end. The only cure is hard work and good business decisions so they haven’t got off to a good start.

    I totally understand PayPal celebrating…

  14. Get rid of the idiots at PayPal altogether and let sellers use there own merchant accounts, or even just remove the fact that you have to offer PayPal to sell anything, still offer it if you want (personally will never use them slim balls again) but it shouldn’t be a must to offer PayPal to sell on eBay, this would open up a lot of new and old sellers who have been banned from PayPal

    so let just say a seller sell a £50 item, buyer pays via credit or debit card to seller, eBay charge a small fee to let you do this

    now there will be issues where a buyer wants a refund and seller wont be held back by PayPal disputes and in this case eBay decides the outcome, if the buyer wins there seller has say 7 days to refund to buyer or there eBay account is locked until payment is made to buyer, thus screwing PayPal and there scum workers out of the profits

    or simply open up a new eBay payment all in one site like amazon this will probably the only way eBay will survivor
    they wont survive the way they are going getting smacked all over by PayPal, eBay is pay pals bitch at the minute simple as that……………………………………………………………………

  15. we still have the ability to block buyers below X feedback, or with X negative in Y months….
    we cant give bad buyers bad feedback, so this feature only supports sellers blocking other sellers.

    its about time each customers return/issue rates were clear to sellers, then allow an option to block bad buyers from purchasing your goods.

    ebay allows a maximum of 5% defects, so if a customer is known to generate defects on at least 10% of their purchases, i dont want their custom under this system.


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