eBay UK Seller Release: Objective Standards

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eBay Feedback RemovalWithout a doubt the flag ship of eBay’s revolves around more objective seller standards. eBay feedback as we know it (as least as far as relevance goes) is being thrown out with the trash.

The changes below come into effect on 20 February 2016 for UK sellers and you’ll be able to preview your performance against the new standards from 5 November 2015.

Put simply, eBay are updating seller performance standards to recognise when you deliver a great buyer experience. This means instead of subjective buyer inputs, eBay will measure you on objective data making it easier for you to manage your performance.

What’s changing?

From 20 February 2016, the following will no longer count towards your defect rate

  • Buyer Feedback.
  • Detailed seller ratings (DSRs).
  • Returns requests that are successfully resolved with your buyer.
  • Items not received requests that are successfully resolved with your buyer.

Instead, eBay will use only the following existing criteria to determine your defect rate

  • Seller-cancelled transactions.
  • Cases that are closed without seller resolution.

Defect Metrics

Due to eBay measuring less criteria to calculate your defect rate and because the two ways you can get a defect are much more under your control, eBay are changing the defect rates allowed:

eBay UK Seller Defects

New on-time delivery metric

eBay are introducing a new on-time delivery metric, measuring delivery performance based on what you control – posting your items on time.

When will a delivery be considered on-time?

An order will be counted as being on time as long if:

  • Item tracking status shows as ‘Accepted’ within your stated dispatch time.
  • Item tracking status shows as ‘Delivered’ within your estimated delivery time.
  • The buyer confirms that the delivery was made on time.

We’ve already seen eBay asking the question “Did your item on or before the [Estimated Delivery Date]” and it appears that this is a much more reliable metric than the current Detailed Seller Requirement which on a desktop asks “How quickly did the seller dispatch the item?” but on a mobile is truncated to “Dispatch time?”.

Whilst non-tracked items clearly won’t be as protected as tracked items, the specific question about the arrival date is certainly better than asking how quickly an item was dispatched.

Deliveries will be considered late only when…

  • You do not upload tracking information and your buyer states that the item arrived after the estimated delivery date.
  • Tracking shows that there is no acceptance scan within your stated dispatch time and the item arrived after the estimated delivery date, plus your buyer either does not confirm that the item arrived on time or states that the item arrived after the estimated delivery date.

Delivery Metrics

The on-time delivery metric won’t affect your defect rate. However, eBay may restrict your delivery options, including the dispatch times you can offer on your listings which could in turn prevent you from offering same day despatch or Fast & Free, lower your position in Best Match and prevent you from being Top Rated.

Ontime Delivery Metrics UK

To enable eBay to measure on time deliveries they’ve invested in more courier integrations covered on this post.

59 Responses

  1. Some great news here.

    However I question the delivery metrics over lower value items you simply can not send tracked. This combined with ebay’s over estimate on delivery times which is always a dissapointment.

    If we could see some change on these estimates such as 1st class next day, then this would be perfect.

    Also ebay will really need to be all over any delivery days caused by issues outside of our control, such as weather, strike action, motorway closures and more importantly bank holidays!

  2. This is good news but ebays delivery estimates are not accurate. Posating 1st class indicates to the buyer that they will get the item next day, however we all know that this can take 1-3 days, so why should we be penalised for somthing out of our control. I sell low end items under £5 so is not worth me sending them tracked. I have a next day delivery option but why would anyone pay for this is 1st class post is giving them the same day. Ebay should at least add on another day to the estimated dates to make it more realistic.

  3. Zen a is right
    I too sell lots of items £5 and under…no one is going to pay for tracking
    It would be ridiculous…
    As Stuart says
    The postal service cannot be used as a hard and fast example when there are a number of issues beyond our control which can hold up post for literally days.
    I myself post sometimes on the same day, mostly next day…couldn’t be quicker
    What happens to it later???? Is beyond the sellers control….
    I say be very careful when drawing up these rules….they should be made a lot more flexible …..and sensible understanding people realise this…
    ( you will always get the odd ones!!!)

    I once posted an item Christmas Eve …. And the buyer was angry because it didn’t arrive day after Boxing Day????? …..do I know why? Yes probably the backlog of Christmas post??? Did she know why? NO……some simply have no understanding

  4. If ebay didnt provide the most ridiculous estimated delivery times this wouldnt be an issue but they constantly provide best case scenario delivery times not taking into account time of year, bank holiday, weather effects etc.

    so from reading the only solution is to provide tracking which means you have to bump your price up meaning ebay take more money off you and make more money off you.

    Its unlikely anybody who doesnt use a tracked service (or the more expensive Royal Mail 1st class delivery) will ever be able to be Top Seller as RM second class delivery is 3-5 working days as a rule.

    Nice scam ebay, another nail in the coffin for a lot of sellers as they shift to becoming less and less like an auction site for regular people.

  5. haha typical ebay, today i get Seller release email and yet ebay is down at the moment, cant log on/in “web page not available”. Ebay love tinkering and changing a site that doesn’t even do the basics properly.

  6. •Seller-cancelled transactions.

    With the greater importance attached to cancelled orders I expect there will continue to be an issue with buyers sending messages to cancel, the wording of the cancellation email and buyers not confirming the cancellation request.

  7. So an untracked item that the buyer doesnt bother to leave confirmation of delivery (late or otherwise.) attracts a defect? that’ll be fun then. I never leave feedback for low value items, so I guess every seller will get a defect…I hope I have got this wrong.

  8. phew! thought I was going to have to buy the stuff from Amazon to save my fellow ebay sellers from defects (and no, I am not going to nonce about leaving feedback for sundries..)

  9. I think I’ll be in the minority when I say removing defects is a bad idea. As far as I can see, there’s going to be very little to differentiate between good sellers and bad sellers if negative feedback isn’t even considered for best match results. All a bad seller has to do is resolve the issue without ebay’s help and use tracked post. The items could be cheap rubbish or incorrectly described but as far as I can see that won’t matter anymore.
    Or have I misunderstood?

  10. An outbreak of common sense at ebay towers?! Now, if they can just sort that search engine out…..

  11. Overall good News, however I do agree with many sellers concerning the delivery Times. My shop sells low Value Jewellery making Supplies mostly under £ 2.00 per Item incl free second class Postage. Tracked Delivery is available, but no Customer would choose or has ever chosen this Option on these low Value Goods. We cannot control the Royal Mail and ebay’s Delivery Estimates are too tight. If ebay would accept ” Proof of Posting” Documents on non tracked orders that would mean a vast Improvement for Sellers with low Value Items. ):

  12. I’ve already posted this on the other post about “more courier integrations” but it’s relevant here (and no one else appears to be replying to that post).
    I too post relatively low priced items where the customer virtually never selects the tracked shipping option because it’s too high a percentage of the original item price.

    What I would like to know, and I’m surprised I haven’t read / found the answer yet, is…..
    Will the Royal Mail “barcode ready” initiative from October (possible start) / April (info available) count towards the tracking acceptance that eBay require?
    I appreciate that barcoded parcels with Royal Mail (excluding TRACKED services) will not be tracked. I understand that they will be scanned at point of receipt (sorting office rather than at my collection) and then only rescanned at point of delivery.
    But will this count?
    I can’t see why not.
    And for INR cases, will this information also count to prove that the seller has dispatched an item – hence giving the seller protection from a defect / refund?
    Perhaps the answers to my questions are out there somewhere and I just haven’t looked hard enough but if someone knows the definitive answers to the above would they kindly share the knowledge for the benefit of those in the dark?
    Thanks in advance

  13. I wonder if DMO is a boon for us low-value sellers?

    Every item I send out now via DMO is recorded in the Royal Mail website, and paperwork (and hence a PDF) can be provided to eBay with those details.

    Therefore, if a customer claims the item was late, but my paperwork shows it was sent within the dispatch estimate, then in theory, eBay would not count that as a defect. See the following line from the FAQ on eBay website:

    >> Remember, a delivery will be counted as on time if you can show us that the order was either dispatched or delivered on time, or both.


  14. So what happens in the mean time? are ebay going to send sellers off into the twilight zone for bad old system dsrs

  15. There changes are a huge welcome. But eBay NEEDS to address some current issues internally for these to work and for sellers to “like” eBay again.

    1. Is Chinese listings still going to plastered across the UK website on the front page? (Type baby shoes into eBay – first page all from China) When I list on eBay Germany, I am down the bottom, not up the top.

    2. If someone opens a return case or leave neg/neutral feedback – Are we will going to punished and have sales restricted for a few days like currently happens?

    3. Is Cassini going to Stop these “Rolling Blackouts”? Items being hidden, buyers not being able to pay? We know this is not “Glitches” but infact Cassini doing what it is supposed to do. Promote Chinese and Outlets (You know, the ones who eBay signed contracts with)

    4. Are hidden limits going to be stopped? Ever notice why your invoice averages same price month after month? This is due to internal eBay limits. These were leaked by an eBay employee last year. eBay needs to be more transparent with these as we are paying them money. We cannot grow our business on eBay at all, yet our website grows monthly, due to eBay Hidden Limits.

    – Site Wide Limits (SWL, referred to as “selling limits”)
    – Silent limits (limits placed on an account that can’t be seen by the seller)
    – URC limits (User Risk Code, limits reduced or placed on an account due to concerns)
    – Category limits
    – BTAC limits (Building Trust by Reducing Counterfeits, for branded items)
    – Hot item limits
    – Multi-Account limits
    – Velocity limits
    – feedback limits


    Other than that, they are on the right path.

  16. Hi Guys

    Agree with many, these are welcome changes, i am not convinced this is a result of ebay listening, i think this is more likely desperation to get sellers back on the platform and liking it once more.

    I also agree with all the comments about the estimated Royal Mail / Courier delivery dates, they are a joke, we should not be held accountable to estimates and ebay should not over promise and let the sellers take the abuse from the customer when Royal Mail miss their delivery estimate by a day or two.

    Personally i would be interested to now see if they will consider reinstating people who have previously been banned due to the old defect system, my initial thinking is that it is very unlikely, ebay do not easily backtrack and admit to mistakes it seems.

    As an example, we lost access to the USA and Germany ebay markets soon after the ebay defects system first came in. Under the old system we had too many items arrive a few days late (no fault of our own), customers opened cases and then closed them again a couple of days later. We had no tracking as the items were low value, and ebay would not remove the defects because late delivery reports from customers counted as a defect even when the customer closed the case later. 99% of the items reported as being delivered late were closed as being received by the customer, yet we fell below standard and ultimately they blocked us from these markets with no appeal.

    Interestingly, under the new system, it appears that we would have been fine in our specific situation because the customer closed the case as resolved.

    So what are the chances of us ever being reinstated due to the change in policy, i do not hold much hope!

    If we waited to do our expansion to other markets we would have been asolutely fine today and still selling in Germany and the USA, but due to ebays previous failed attempts of the making us jump through hoops with the orignal defect system we have lost out to two big markets.

    As said, a move in the right direction overall, but i feel ebay need to be more flexible in their atttitude, penalising sellers for ebay’s past mistakes is not fair and they should really be willing to give concessions to sellers when they mess up.

    I may try to appeal to the UK president again about our account when these changes come into effect, but i expect the same old ebay responses, i doubt they will back track on past poor decisions.

  17. My items are not costly enough for tracking. I may need to allow an extra day for delivery now which means I will lose the “Fast and free” logo. Though not sure if it ever did any good. I know everyone complained about the old system – but I have never had a neg. on either of my shops.

  18. spare a thought for all the Customer support reps not dealing with defect removal ebay can now do without LOL

  19. Long ago I set my FREE postage option to 2nd class but actually dispatch 1st class. That help stay inside the estimated delivery date.

    Tracking v proof of postage. eBay could accept proof of postage but it would create more work for them. Hopefully this new system will free up more time for them to accept a scan of a receipt or Cert of postage as evidence.

    If a cert of postage is good enough to make a claim from RM then it should be good enough for eBay.

    Maybe eBay want us to spend more money on signed delivery & to hell with small value items. Maybe there is more than meets the eye between RM & eBay.

  20. i was talking to CS last week and was told about an announcment that would help my woes! and emailed tamebay to give a heads up.

    good news, although, reading the comments, yes, proof of post is good enough for RM so should be for ebay! i also am around the £5-10 mark sales, and £2-3 for tracking on my items is a good chunk for buyers to add on top, although my items are hard to find some many buyers will pay what i estimate the costs to be, and have recently sent 75-80% items tracked for DSR worries!

    im on the cusp i guess, as of now im projected to be below standard due to one buyer who left ALL LOW dsrs for all the questions on the current system, despite my saying to ebay, if he was that unhappy id take a return off him, and they rejected my appeal, even though his 16 low ratings are half of my 12mth total! surely this should single him out as a bad buyer, as i said to ebay, if i bought 16 items, and one was bad, i wouldnt rubbish the others from the seller!

    new system i’d be a shining star it seems, but at the moment im scared they could close me at any moment! they should have a grace period for those that are close to or on below now, as it seems unfair a seller who is usually great, can be banned under old system, eg current, but would be, and have been told would be great under new!

  21. Generally this relieves the pressure and some of the crazy draconian rules. However, ebay still needs to learn how to accurately reflect good sellers in the Search results. Cassini and Best Match have from Day 1 been little more than a joke. I have said many times the only people who think a Best Match item is Best Match are ebay. The results make no sense to anybody else.

    I’m just waiting now for ebay to say fee discounts have been removed because it will be too easy for everyone to be well rated.

    On the delivery estimate issue I don’t support the view that a seller has no control on what happens with their shipping company. This isn’t true. Every seller has a choice on who they buy shipping from, and if the shipping company doesn’t meet the commitments then the seller should be using someone else. The point is this is a commercial decision we all have to make, taking into account the risks and costs of alternatives. We have to take responsibility for our business decisions. HOWEVER, Ebay are wrong to put in harsher commitments than the shipping company offer. Therefore if Royal Mail say 95% of First Class will be delivered next day (or whatever the figure is), then a seller achieving 95% on time delivery should be absolutely fine. The estimate should state 95% delivery within 1 day. I ship approx. 200 packages a week, and I think Royal Mail do meet this commitment. People like to moan about them, but complaints from here are few and far between.

  22. Well if Royal Mail achieve 95% deliveries next day, and eBay will remove your TSR if you go above 4%……can you spot the problem already??!!

  23. ~
    Buyers don’t want to pay for a guaranteed or a tracked delivery, they just want their stuff.

    eBay just want the money.

    Spot the dichotomy?

  24. We hear constantly about standards for Ebay sellers, but what about Ebay customers?

    Since leaving Ebay in July, we’ve seen a marked drop in the number of items reported as not received.

    Compared to our website and the two other sites we now use, items not received have dropped by 90%.

    We should have seen 20 items not received in Aug based on the Ebay average. It’s actually just 2 for the non-Ebay sales.

    We’ve been selling on another collectables auction site for over a year now and are yet to have an item fail to arrive. Coincidence?

    Same items, same delivery services.

    Standards are needed for customers who play the system on Ebay and take advantage of the deck stacked in their favour.

    Royal Mail tracking on Signed For is useless as well – only about half actually get signed for and, guess what, Ebay will back the customer every time.

  25. Sounds even more complicated to me. I don’t pay attention to this anymore. I offer all the delivery options and ship wihtin 1 working day everything I sell and that’s it. I don’t even check my DRS’s or metrics or whatever else there is these days

  26. I talk straight, I’ve been trading in eBay since 03. It is and always will be unless a viable alternate comes along, be a place for cheap stuff and with cheap comes chancers both buyers and sellers.

    Sadly and I mean this sincerely no one gives a monkeys if ur top rated, 100%, if u r selling mass produced items u will encounter chancers,

    Buyers want it cheap and fast.

    eBay had and still hasa low barrier to entry, this is why there is chancers.

    If u r genuinely a brand of ur own then I urge u to concentrate more on Facebook, pinterest and ur own website.

  27. Trying to decide how much of the change is cosmetic. Removing certain subjective judgements from the defect system means less defects, therefore greater chance of achieving/maintaining TRS, therefore ebay have raised the bar – status quo and financially no change for ebay.

    On time delivery is accurately measureable (apparently), risk to TRS is now focused on delivery – potential financial benefit for ebay as more expensive tracked postage becomes the risk reduction method for sellers.

    30 day returns, greater risk for sellers, possibly need to cover that with an increase in price – financial benefit for ebay.

    Overall, less defects for sellers, less arguments with CS, less time/money spent sorting it out – financial benefit for ebay (and less time wasted for sellers, a good thing).
    Benefit for sellers is less risk of being downgraded and kicked off the site for defects, am guessing that only applies to a small number of sellers.

    Ebay have total control over search placement, what they do and don’t include in the algorithm is their choice. If the buyer is still able to leave negative feedback, DSR’s for NAD, comms, return cases etc. ebay can still use these for search ranking.

    For search exposure and sales that could be like a change from shouting ‘bad dog, go to your kennel’ when a seller misbehaves in ebays view, to patting them on the head and saying ‘good dog….go to your kennel’.

    Correcting flawed processes/systems is not an improvement, it’s a correction as shouldn’t have been implemented. Good to recognise flaws and correct them, but think ebay should have big signs in all of their offices saying something like ‘Have you thought your idea through thoroughly’ and ‘Doing 70% of the job is not good enough’. Still have a long, long, long way to go.

  28. The biggest problems I find the the on-time delivery metrics is that a buyer can leave feedback up to 60 days after a transaction is complete. How many people would remember the exact date they received their goods?!

    Also, this metric does not take into account both auction sellers and sellers of custom items.

    Frequently I get paid straight away but emailed and asked to hold off sending so they might bid on other auctions and combine shipping. I’m happy to do so, and have never had less than 5 stars for shipping to date, but when posed with the question about when goods were received, the less savvy buyer could easily downgrade a seller on their shipping metric, not realising the consequences.

    Sellers of custom items, frequently have to wait to hear back from customers who have already paid, to finalise certain details. They again are caught out by this one glove fits all approach to eBay dictating everybody’s supposed delivery times.

    As items that seem to take a long time are liable to result in an email from a customer, or potentially even an open case, on where are my goods, does eBay really need this shipping metric? What if next year, or two years down the line, they suddenly turn around and say, the shipping metric is now considered a defect. I wouldn’t put it past them to retroactively punish sellers if they feel the need for another seller cull.

  29. I send all my parcels 1st large letter recorded due to their value (30£ plus). It’s cheaper than a courier and beneficial for insurance and generally RM deliver the next day. However, probably 1 in 5 items never track as delivered via Royal Mail, even if the parcel has actually been received. So no good for me.

  30. My impression with a small but very troublesome number of ebayers is that the mere fact of having to pay or wait for the order is grounds for refund, and the reason is simply what affords the quickest refund.
    Ebay for its part stoked up buyer expectations from the get go and has never seemed to realise that sometimes the customer is always wrong!
    Simply don’t have so many problems on other sites.

  31. I am slightly worried about the changes. I think it will attract the type of ‘dodgy dealer’ seller that eBay tried so hard to get rid of in order to improve the image of the site. And it will create more competition for us good sellers.

    Now, if you have some fake items to sell, or iffy electronics that one found in a skip and aren’t sure if they actually work, there is nothing to stop you selling them on eBay and accepting returns in order to avoid defects. As a result, it would be virtually impossible to lose one’s eBay account. And I’m not sure this is what eBay intend.

    I hated the defect system and my BBL would grow by 4 or so daily because anybody who asked a question that looked like they might be trouble never got a reply and went straight to BBL. This, and removing one item that was providing 60% of defects, enabled me to get my defect rate down to 1.3% (from 4%). I may be able to relax my BBL criteria slightly, which would be a good thing for eBay in general assuming others do the same thing.

    As all of my items are sent tracked, I would essentially be immune from booted off eBay. And I intend to carry on providing good customer service. HOWEVER, the new rules mean that the barriers to entry have been lowered significantly and will allow the chances and scam sellers to return, and this is not a good thing in my opinion. I know of people who are clinging on by their fingernails under the old system, and this is not coincidence as they are sloppy on eBay and the defect metric was very good at picking off the sloppy type of seller that eBay wanted to get rid of. Now, they’ll be perfectly safe. Hmmm.

    I see that a year or two down the line, eBay will have started to pick up a bad reputation again.


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