What does eBay Premium Service mean to a buyer? We know that what it means to you as a seller is a whole heap of effort to maintain relatively high standards and offer a great service which comes at a considerable cost, so to buyers it should represent the very best of eBay sellers who offer a stellar best in class service and it would seem reasonable that that’s the expectation for buyers and if they don’t get a supremely great service they have a right to feel a bit miffed.
“The listings where you’ve chosen to offer eBay Premium Service will also display the eBay Premium Service badge to let buyers know that you offer high levels of customer service.”
The eBay Premium service badge is supposed to denote the listings on eBay which offer the best – the premium – service to eBay buyers. It’s intended to instil confidence and let buyers know that you are an exceptional seller and that not only will you dispatch fast (suggesting a speedy delivery) but that you’ll also look after them if there’s problem with their purchase. It’s a good thing for those sellers able to meet the standards as they are rewarded by being flagged in search results and on the eBay view item page.
That’s why it infuriates me when I see sellers gaming the system. Today I was looking at a listing from a Chinese seller shipping a £1.11 product from China and offering Premium Service.
eBay say that in order to qualify for the eBay Premium Service, you must offer the following on each listing:
- A minimum returns period of 30 calendar days. Make sure you correctly specify your returns policy.
- 1-day or same-day dispatch.
- An express delivery option – offering delivery within 1 day.
- A free delivery option.
Sellers need to earn the badge – you can’t buy it. The first step is to complete over 100 problem-free transactions, plus any transactions must consistently get 5-star ratings from buyers. eBay say that the check sellers to ensure that they provide premium service.
The Chinese seller in question does indeed offer a free delivery service – the delivery estimate is between Tuesday the 5th of June and Wednesday the 4th of July. That means it will take between 17 to 45 days to receive your item.
The seller also offers what they claim to be an Express Delivery option via an ‘Other 24 Hour Courier’ service but they’re charging £50.00 for this service. It’s irrelevant whether that’s what it costs – it’s a £50.00 delivery charge for an item costing just over a quid.
The problem is that this isn’t a Premium Service experience and if buyers are sucked into purchasing with the free delivery option based on eBay’s promotion of the seller’s service they could well be disappointed at the slow arrival. That in turn will devalues the eBay Premium Service proposition from sellers who do provide a genuinely great service.
eBay need to clamp down on sellers who game the system. It’s hard to blame the Chinese seller for finding a way to qualify for premium service within the rules – for them it makes sense. What’s needed are caps on postage charges and for the free delivery option an expectation (and indeed a policy) that to qualify as Premium Service that items will be delivered in a relatively short time scale.
Ecommerce has moved on from the days when items would take up to 45 days to arrive. The norm for high street retailers is that products will arrive next day with Express Delivery and with two or three days for economy deliveries. eBay Premium service needs to be aligned to the same norms.