eBay Service Metrics and peer benchmarks

No primary category set

On the 20th of July this year, eBay will make their eBay service metrics and peer benchmarks available in the Seller Hub.

For the first time you’ll be able to compare your eBay ‘item not as described’ ‘returns’ and ‘item not received’ as compared to your competitors, in the same category. This rate will be graded as either Low, Average, High or Very High in comparison.

Consequences for low eBay Service Metrics and peer benchmarks metrics

Very High rates will be punished in one of two ways: first you will pay an extra 4% in FVFs on any items in those categories, and secondly eBay will add on extra time to their listings’ delivery options.

While it’s not been confirmed, we believe it’s likely that consequences will probably apply from October 2018.

This will almost certainly impact your position in search results but it’s worse than just a lower search ranking – the lower your ranking the less sales you get and that will also impact your recent sales metrics which will push you even lower in search results – on eBay sales are rewarded with more sales and lack of sales means an even sharper drop in search placement that will impact your future business even once you metrics improve.

Which eBay Service Metrics and peer benchmarks metrics will you be measured on?

The eBay Service Metrics and peer benchmarks metrics will you be measured on will be:

  • How often you receive return requests for “items not as described” including:
    • Doesn’t work or defective
    • Doesn’t match description or photos
    • Wrong item sent
    • Missing parts or pieces
    • Arrived damaged
    • Doesn’t seem authentic
  • How often you receive buyer requests for “items not received” defined as the percentage of your transactions where buyers requested information about an item that was already expected to have arrived, or where tracking shows the item as delivered but the buyer has not received it.
  • Peer benchmarks: comparisons of those rates to similar sellers
  • Insights into why your buyers are making these requests
  • Tips to help reduce rates of these requests

Which sites will eBay Service Metrics and peer benchmarks metrics apply to?

  • eBay.com
  • eBay.ca
  • cafr.eBay.ca
  • eBay.co.uk
  • eBay.com.au
  • eBay.de
  • eBay.fr
  • eBay.it
  • eBay.es

What is the look back period?

  • Sellers with 400 or more transactions during the last 3 months are evaluated on their transactions during the previous 3-month period
  • Sellers with fewer than 400 transactions during the last 3 months are evaluated on their transactions over the previous 12-month period

How will you be rated?

eBay will rate you against your peers as “Low”, “Average”, “High”, or “Very High”. You’ll only be on the receiving end of consequences if you’re rated very high.

It’s important to realise that eBay aren’t interested in a particular number or percentage of unsatisfactory transactions – it’s a moving target. What eBay are trying to do is set the bar for “Very High” low enough that hardly any sellers will be impacted but high enough to catch the bad sellers that we all know are out there. They will have intentionally set the stats to catch a low number of sellers to start with, but as with previous measures that we’ve seen eBay may start to tweak the numbers upwards if it’s not catching all the sellers they’d like to see improve, or indeed as standards across eBay gradually are driven up.

85 Responses

  1. Brill…. another rubbish idea!

    We sell Electronics and get loads of ‘Doesn’t work or defective’ returns being opened due to buyers not reading the user manual or being generally stupid. Some people even open a ‘Doesn’t work or defective’ return just to ask a question.

    I’ve just gone through my last 15 ‘Doesn’t work or defective’ returns. 11 didn’t come back, and of the 4 that did just 1 was actually faulty. Indeed, how is that even my fault? I don’t make the bloody things. I’m not Samsung or Sony.

    eBay being eBay, this will no doubt be counted as 15 and certainly not 4. The reality is that it should be 1 but that will never happen in a month of Sundays with eBay.

    And we all know that people open a return for ‘Doesn’t work or defective’ or ‘Doesn’t match description or photos’ to avoid paying return postage fees.


  2. More absolute rubbish from Ebay.

    Please sort out the completely useless “Messaging System” still in place from the year 0.

  3. if we were worried about this or thought we were being unduly impacted
    we would bite the bullet,
    include a free return label in every package and a leaflet with contact details and instructions

  4. of course ebay seem not to understand all this drives up costs and overheads
    rather than increasing fees for the bad guys ,hows about reducing them for the good guys as an incentive ,

  5. Look ebay is junk these days it is an awful site to sell on. It has been for the last year and a half.
    Constant issues, problem customers, badly managed. The Place is just full of scammers who will abuse it, just like they did last time they brought in the draconian defects system, and all that did was drive everyone into Amazon hands.

    The dodgy sellers will still find away they always do, as ebay has made it so easy for them. Even when you report the dodgy listings they let them stay on.

    Whole lots of innocents will get caught up in the net. It is another CON to try and fleece us for yet more fees. 10 years and we have never know it so poor on ebay now.

    HOPE the same rules apply for their big brand buddies like Magpie

  6. The second potential punishment measure of eBay adding on extra dispatch/delivery time to guilty parties listings’ delivery options is a terrible idea. Punish someone, sure, but this policy is plainly dishonest.

    Even if they’ve put a clause into contracts that means they can’t be taken to court for libel, it is basically saying this: “Hi. We’re ebay. Behave, or we will tell lies about your business.” They’re damaging their own brand in the process. Crazy.

  7. “or where tracking shows the item as delivered but the buyer has not received it.” !!!!???
    So I will get a kicking from eBay if I stick to their rules, send goods tracked, tracking shows delivered, but scamming buyer claims item not received?
    I think I will retire now.

  8. Seems like the basic idea is ‘shape-up or ship-out’. But, as we all know, eBay is riddled with glitches so can you really trust them? They never own up when things go wrong and we know they are at fault.
    Moving target is a big worry as we all know eBay are actively draining anyone and everyone for as much as they can get now.
    The ‘contact seller’ option leads buyers to open cases where they are not required.
    it’s far too easy for a buyer to say something is not as described rather than admit they made an error and pay for return postage.
    I don’t see how this will help. If I fall foul of this, I’ll be ‘shipping out’ as 14% FVFs is too much.

  9. I spoke with ebay about this the other week as I got a general email stating my returns are high and may be charged a higher fee. When I called up I was assured I was ok as even thou quite a few of the returns are where the buyer is claiming something is not as described. As they did not get esculated for ebay to resolve is still 0%
    Out of the 16 returns cases opened in the last 90 days 5 were trying to claim not as described yet either did not send it back or if it did come back nothing wrong with it. Yet ebay take no interest in this other that to tell you to report the buyer. They tell you to call up if you have a problem with a buyer and when you do they tell you nothing they can do as they have not seen the item and decide in the buyers favour leaving you with a defect.
    Has anyone had a different response from ebay if they have spoken to them in regards to the 4% charge for high level of returns for item not as described/damaged etc?

  10. We had our global account knocked down from Top Rated to Below Standard by a screw up by Ebay support so I really wouldn’t trust these metrics.

    A South American customer graciously waited 80 days for their rather large order and then opened a case for every item. As often happens since Ebay and PayPal separated we couldn’t refund any of the cases and had to ask Ebay support to escalate the cases and refund them all. We got assurances from Ebay that all defects would be removed.

    About a week later I noticed that none of the defects had actually been removed. I contacted Ebay support and they said not to worry as they will all disappear on the 20th when the evaluation takes place.

    Come the 20th and of course the defects are still there and our global rating is knocked down to Below Standard. After about 10 emails I get through to what seems to be Ebay US support and while they understand the problem they say nothing can be done as they can’t remove defects older than 90 days (defects are counted from the order date and remember the customer waited 80 days).

    Fortunately for us the 4% fees are only applied when your entire account rating drops to Below Standard so we haven’t been affected by just our global rating going down but what is going to happen when someone is financially punished for Ebay’s own glitches?

  11. I think eBay just kicked me in the nuts, but won’t tell me what I did wrong..

    Sales today (so far) Monday 9th July 2018


    2x £8.00
    1x £12.00

    Average is usually £200 per day but Mondays is usually higher.

    Amazon: £675.00 – many sales and more pending.

    Ok so we are having a bad day on eBay, it can happen, well beat me with a muddy stick, the £12.00 order just cancelled, I kid you not!

    All my items are listed as “The item is listed as a Top Rated Plus item | For this item, the seller provides: eBay Premium Service”.

  12. Ebay eBay ebay. Lack of ideas or mostly bad ideas….. I wish I could change it as I see a lot of bad things there. Who is working for them…. Kids????

  13. In regard to the new metric of item being returned as not as described….

    This is a brand new metric that we (as sellers) will be judged upon by eBay. The metric will be based on each category that a seller sells within. It must be remembered that the peer comparison category will be the parent category and NOT the child (end category). This means that, for example if you were to sell in the category ‘vehicle parts and accessories’ you would be judged, by eBay, against all sellers within that category, no matter what they sell. Vehicle parts and accessories covers such a broad spectrum of goods and products. One seller within that category may sell ‘de-icer’ and another may sell ‘brake discs and brake pads’. It follows that a seller who sells de-icer is bound to have less returns than a seller who is selling brake components; in turn this means that eBay (arguably unfairly) will be potentially comparing sellers who are selling products that are ‘Worlds apart’ from one another meaning that a seller may be unfairly punished with a 4% increase in final value fees through no fault of their own.

    Keep in mind that this punishment is 4% of gross sales for ALL products within a particular category and a potential downgrade in best match with the downwards spiral that usually follows….

  14. One of the worst ideas eBay have yet to dream up. Their previous update, taking away much of the onus on sellers beyond their control was a remarkable move in the right direction. Now they are taking three steps backwards. It’s going to anger a lot of people.
    Currently one of my selling accounts has a 5.7% SNAD, because I only have a small handful of transactions a year and a European buyer decided not to read the description at all. If they ever decided to apply the penalty, I would just close up the account. I’ve been buying far more on eBay than I sell, and I’m probably not alone in that. eBay should remember if they alienate their sellers, they are also harming a great many buyers.

  15. Quote:

    ‘These new metrics and benchmarks are just for your reference, and will not affect your seller performance standards evaluation or rating.’

    yeah, for the moment they won’t….

    So basically, someone at the bottom will always be getting fined.

    Can’t see it any other way.

  16. First the bad sellers will go. Then the less bad sellers will fail the ‘test’ so they will go. By now it’ll be the decent sellers who’re failing the ‘test’ so they’ll go. And finally it’ll be the good sellers whore failing the ‘test’ so they’ll go too.

    Madder than a box of frogs.

  17. I think the existing metrics are enough to keep sellers in check and keep out the bad sellers.
    So what is this absolute RUBBISH they are dreaming up now?
    What’s wrong with the existing metrics? We’re already measured on several points, this is totally unnecessary.

  18. Buyers will have those that offer a lower standard service , yet ebay knowingly profit from it
    Cant be right

  19. Could it be these sellers paying the extra 4%
    Are fairly reasonable and provide an adequate service, buyers find-acceptable , but ebay Are squeezing them for more

  20. This is not good and has not been thought through properly by the “powers that be” at ebay. Its open to abuse and discourages sellers from promoting and using managed returns to name but two problems.

    Some of my colleagues are already trying to promote their own return service so as to avoid potential bad metrics during the ebay managed returns process. thats not good !

    The threat of an extra 4% on the seller fees is horrific. Remember this is not an increase of 4% of your fees but 4 percent of your TURNOVER. The whole thing is ill-conceived and not thought through and I am sure the folk who have introduced this new metric have not looked at their ebay history. Similar things were in place in the past and it does not promote good customer service – it forces the opposite where sellers will be trying to get cases closed in their favour just to have the defect auto-removed rather than concentrate on sorting the issue for their customer. None of it is good.

    How can we fix this? it is important to provide ebay with examples of how “unfair” defects are being raised against your account (whether it be item not received or returns). Only give them with valid examples and dont waste their time. There are folk at ebay who also think this is not a good metric for sellers but in order for them to present this case up higher – they need examples.

    I know I may not be popular with ebay for saying this as I know this topic is already a large call driver but I think it is important to contact them now with valid examples of how defects are being raised against our accounts “unfairly”. remember, we are already in the qualification period even though we will (apparently) not see the defects appear on our accounts till 20th July. You know the criteria by reading this thread.

    The more ‘good” examples of unfair defects ebay have the better chance they have of presenting a case for amending this new metric.

    At the very least we can hope to empower ebay customer care / concierge / customer service to be able to remove or appeal the defects. At the moment they are not appealable / removable.

    An increase of 4% across my shops would cost me net over £2500 extra per month. With my current commitment to reinvestment in stock and working capital that is more than I am “taking home’ per month. I am in a category that receives a lot of returns and all too often the customer clicks the “item damaged”, “item not as described” etc thinking this will entitle them to a free return when we offer free returns anyway (even if it is buyer remorse). sellers should not be penalised for providing good customer service and be at the mercy of “bad” buyers.

    I maintain that ebay are trying to do the right thing – this is not intended to generate more revenue. That is not the purpose of the exercise. The purpose is simply to get rid of bad sellers but this is not the way to go about achieving this.

    If ebay want to give me a small (air conditioned) office, a MacBook, a coffee machine and a map of Ireland I will happily come over and sort this out for a modest salary. A company car would be nice too – nothing fancy – as long as it has air con, I have my own Garfield to stick on the window – he is the only one grinning at this metric.

  21. @ Andy R

    Your an idiot- this impacts you as well. this impacts all of us. and to think that other things dont impact me when I sell on the same platform is , well, idiotic.

    I say something positive about ebay – I get criticised, I say something that is not good, I get criticised.

    If you think I am representing this just because it suddenly impacts me (I think I have already said it) you are an idiot. I mean no offence from this – just stating a fact.

    There is no doughnut with this metric – there is only hole.

    Your motive on here is apparent. you just want to prove you are right about your particular point of view. Me on the other hand I will state what is “right” whether that means making criticism of ebay or not. Its not about who is right or who os wrong its about WHAT is right and what is wrong.

    This is my first criticism of ebay on here – that doesnt make it wrong. Is that why so many folk write as aliases on here?

  22. Not very constructive Andy R. Patterson is right . This effects all of us and for the first time it doesn’t impact your search standing it directly effects your profit.

    @ Patterson – you are wasting your time trying to help folk like this. I read your posts with interests and am baffled by the aggressive reactions you receive. Bottom line , if you say “black” , then “Andy r” is going to say “white”. He is a small minded man who cannot see the full picture.

    Thank you for the advice on this metric.

  23. My defect rate is “very high” and I am worried what is going to happen. I got a warning email from Ebay a few weeks ago.

    Alan Paterson can I get some advice from you? Is there any way we can talk on phone. I can’t afford an increase of this size . It was only when I read your explanation of the increase that I realised how much this actuall was. I thought my fees were increasing by 4 percent but that’s not it. They will go up by 1 third! And Ebay staff are not allowed to remove them ? I sell on the clothing category most have been raised because of customers trying to get a free return and marking not as described . They don’t fit! There is a difference! And I am getting penalised ?! Is there anyway you can phone me. What do we do?

  24. Thanks for your reassurance Alan but it doesn’t help much. I am still very concerned.

    How do you know my business?

    Who is this prick Andy R? I been reading back through his posts. Is he for real?

    Hate trolls

  25. eBay Customer is so hit and miss, especially if you don’t get to talk to people in Dublin.

    I have just managed to get transferred from some wonderful sounding person in a remote call centre that I could hardly understand to Dublin and spoke with a very interesting listing specialist.

    He took me through a lot of things and explained in detail were he thought I was going wrong and what things to change.

    Lets see if they work.

  26. The best customer support is the one you provide for yourself
    treat any help from ebay as a bonus added extra

  27. My Company specialise in shoes and that is all we sell on eBay.

    Shoes are a nasty thing to sell online because people all have different sized feet… granted, we go by shoe sizes but you may have a customer with slightly wider feet nearer their toes than another or a customer with a slightly higher arch than another…. every customer has a slightly different shaped foot…. and like it or not a customer needs to try that shoe to see if it fits before they can wear it OR return it! Yes, we get a lot of returns by the very nature of the item we sell and this is through no fault of our adverts but because feet are a funny business. Customers do tend to select a reason of ‘non remorse’ to return their goods so that they get free shipping for the return…

    Our peer category is ‘Clothes, Shoes and Accessories’. This category includes everything from shoes to t-shirts, dresses, socks and fashion accessories. My Company only sells shoes. Shoes have a high rate of return whereas socks do not, neither do t-shirts nor belts or ‘fashion accessories’…. however, my Company is being compared against all of these different selling items from other sellers, as they are all included in the comparison peer category.

    My Company is potentially being penalised for specialising in shoes – this is grossly unfair. I cannot sustain another 4% fees on gross sales as this would cost my Company another (on average) £4,800 per MONTH extra on such fees through no fault of our own.

    Maybe if I sold socks or belts I may not be writing this and be laughing at the ‘peers’ which were selling shoes but unfortunately I appear to be on the wrong side of the fence through no fault of my own and through a new policy that is at present vague at best.

    Note: eBay are introducing the 4% extra on gross sales in October and basing it on the months of July, August and September – their evaluating has already started however we have not yet been told the complete rules – how can this be fair?

  28. i thought this new metric ‘peers’ tool was meant to be available today?no doubt delayed or doesnt work as usual!!and then will be sprung on us with no notice

  29. @ Alan Paterson,thanks for that update.where did you read or hear that from?I’ve not seen any announcements on it yet?

  30. @ Jodie, I was anxious to see the peer to peer metric so when it didnt appear I had been phoning ebay concierge (I think you could call it “pestering” them lol – sorry concierge).

    Anyway I finally got to speak to an agent who knows exactly what is happening. There has been other “amendments” and “tweaks” which I dont understand well enough to attempt to explain on here.

    However, there has been improvements and ebay are listening.

    “Warning” emaisl were sent out last month and again today for sellers who are in the high and/or very high category (only very high triggers an increase in fees).

    If you have not received any warning emails yet your account should have no problem with the peer to peer return metric.

    It also looks like they have put back the INR peer to peer metric till next year.

    All is starting to look better and (in my opinion) more accurate and “fairer”

  31. ebay customer support say there are exemptions to the service metrics penalty. Meaning not all return claims will count against sellers. However, they say, “we can’t share this… to avoid circumvention of policy.”

    Isn’t the whole point of exemptions to allow people to circumvent the impact of bogus/malicious returns?

    Of course sellers want to circumvent them.

    It’s eBay that want to prevent us from doing so. But then, a claim is money!

  32. Currently my peer to peer metric is showing very high for the 3 month qualifying period. I have been through every single return case opened for the last 12 months and 1/3 of them I would argue have been opened for the wrong reason. Most of them trying it on or have not read the condition report or description.
    Yet I am top rated with 0% transaction defect, not delivered or closed without seller resolution. If I have done something wrong I will attempt to put it right as the 0% shows. A lot of time when a buyer has opened a return for not as described due to them not reading the description or condition report, once it is mentioned to them they usually happy to pay return postage. Problem solved we both move on.
    Now it will be a case of fighting every return opened for the wrong reason causing me and ebay more work when I call to try and get the reasons changed along with frustrating buyers as it slows the return process down.

  33. @ rob whereabouts is your new peer to peer metric showing?as we cant find it anyway?i thought the rollout had been delayed?

  34. Something really important to bear in mind is the increase isn’t 4%. The actual (fees) increase in a 10% final value category is 40%. Whilst I’m not currently affected, it’d be a 45% increase in final value+postage fees in the category I sell in.

    This is a massive increase in costs for anyone on normal business margins and demonstrates yet again that no-one at Ebay seems to have any idea how businesses operate.

  35. This recent message from ebay says it all
    Anout ebays attitude
    Its one thing receiving the hospital operation old chesnut from buyers but when ebay get in on the act its ridiculous

    Thank you so much for choosing eBay. We are so thrilled you are with us and a part of our eBay family.

    We just wanted to reach out to you in regards to xxxxxx that your buyer, xxxxxcommitted to buy from you.

    Your buyer reached out to us today as she was feeling well enough to call us and let us know that she is terribly ill and has been in and out of the hospital the last two weeks dealing with a surgery that she had. She was released and felt better and started bidding on your item, but within the last week fell ill again. So ill that she is unable to continue to bid or purchase any more items from you or anyone else. Her stay at the hospital and things becoming pricey have led her to needing to ask you to cancel the order. She is a valued customer of ours and has never had any issues for the many years she has been with us. She is terribly sorry that this is the situation and really hopes to continue her business with you when she starts to feel better. She is just hoping that you can understand and cancel the order for her as she does not want this situation that she is in to leave her with a negative impact on her account? If this is something you can do, we would be ever so grateful to you.

    If there is anything we can do for you to help this situation, please do not hesitate to give us a call or email us at your convenience. Rest assured this cancellation will not affect your account as the buyer is asking to cancel. None the less, if you feel uncomfortable about it, you can always reach back out to us.

    If you have any further questions, comments, or concerns, please do let us know as we are always here for our valued customers such as yourself.


    eBay Customer Service

  36. Were auction only
    It spoils an auction
    Plus there is little point in ebays non paying bidder program if buyers just cancel at will for any reason
    We think we will have a stay in hospital
    When our ebay fees are due
    And ask not to pay

  37. Auction wreckers are a big concern on eBay now. Plus Tinker, eBay benefit from another listing fee if you do bother to re-list. I wonder how many hundreds of thousands, if not millions of re-lists eBay profit from each year?

  38. With regards to this service metric change, I’ve been giving thought to the false and malicious return claims that sellers face.

    With that in mind, I’ve just been looking at the Fraud Act 2006. In particular, the part concerning Fraud by abuse of position.

    It’s interesting to read what warrants such abuse and how my interpretation of eBay’s Returns Service Metrics proposal reads alongside it.

    “(a)occupies a position in which he is expected to safeguard, or not to act against, the financial interests of another person,”

    EBay provide a marketplace for buyers and sellers to transact. Sellers expect to be protected by eBay, insofar as, false claims against sellers, by buyers, that can be shown to be false, do not negatively impact on sellers performance, standing, or financial position.
    For example, where a false return claim that can be shown to be such, does not attract an unwarranted penalty or negative impact on the seller.

    “(b)dishonestly abuses that position, and”

    eBay proffer that it is fair to penalise a seller for the bogus or malicious acts of a buyer; making a return claim that is without merit. In my opinion, this is not a morally correct, virtuous or fair act on eBay’s part. As eBay control the marketplace, they are using their position to impose penalties, regardless of how just or warranted.

    “(c)intends, by means of the abuse of that position—
    (i)to make a gain for himself or another, or”

    eBay stand to financially benefit from the additional seller fee of 4% points, as well as, the imposition that it places on sellers who then have to work harder and pay more to eBay to improve their standing.

    “(ii)to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.”

    1. Sellers suffer the financial cost of the additional seller fee 4% points penalty
    2. Sellers listings will be downgraded in search results, making it harder to improve returns rate calculation, meaning it’s harder to avoid the penalty
    3. Sellers will lose their top rated seller status
    4. Sellers will lose any final selling value fee discounts they have earned. For example, if they are a TRS.

    A legal expert may have a different interpretation, but it certainly gives food for thought.

  39. So Alan Paterson only starts to complain now, well, you should have heeded the advice of other Ebay posters here.

  40. This week, I noticed my returns rate had dropped. With only a handful of returns, I decided to seize the opportunity to better understand which returns eBay are identifying as ‘bad’, with regards to this new returns Service Metric.

    Having already seen I’d a number of “Escalated” returns that matched the number reported, I was expecting it’d be these. I was wrong. It turns out, the number reported had a status of “Return closed”.

    Speaking with a customer support rep., the specific returns involved were identified. Looking through them, I found one where the return reason was “Changed my mind”.

    “Changed my mind” isn’t even a SNAD, for heaven’s sake.

    Another return had been closed by the buyer, after he acknowledged having made a mistake, saying the item wasn’t faulty as reported, which resulted in no return ever taking place. The other two were misuse of returns cases, with one of them resulting in eBay telling me there was nothing I could do about the misuse, other than to give a full refund. After pointing this out, the rep. came up with the usual, ‘I’ll need to defer to the specialist team… they’ll get back to you in 24-48 hours, after reviewing your account’. I’m not holding out much hope; this happened in June, and I’m still waiting on someone getting back to me.

    The more I try to understand this new metric, the more confusing it gets. Perhaps, I should forget logic and common sense; eBay certainly seem to.


eBay Feedback Removal gets fairer

eBay Feedback Removal gets fairer and more consistent

eBay Roadshow Bristol – 11th July

eBay Roadshow Bristol – 11th July

eBay Payments to ditch American Express from August

eBay Payments to ditch American Express from August

eBay for Business Awards 2024 – Win £10,000!

eBay for Business Awards 2024 – Win £10,000!

New eBay Explore AI shopping discovery experience

New eBay Explore AI shopping discovery experience

ChannelX Guide...

Featured in this article from the ChannelX Guide – companies that can help you grow and manage your business.


Take a look through a selection of the latest articles on ChannelX

Register for Newsletter

Receive 5 newsletters per week

Gain access to all research

Be notified of upcoming events and webinars