eBay invoice problems cause merchant confusion

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eBay has apparently been telling sellers that they owe money they have already paid and then sent reminder emails reminders to sellers. Did you receive an unexpected payment reminder from eBay?

eBay has since sent apologies for the erroneous emails and any seller who is worried should check their My Messages for proof. Basically, and this is generally good advice when it comes to emails from eBay, trust your seller account’s emails online, rather than emails in general, when it comes to money. On Facebook and other social media it is clear that a great deal of merchants have been affected in the UK, Europe and USA and elsewhere.

There has been anxiety that erroneous emails questioning whether merchants have paid up, or not, might lead to selling restrictions. We haven’t heard of that yet. Indeed, eBay has emailed all impacted sellers to say that there isn’t a problem with account deductions and rather just an email eBay invoice billing error.

The Tamebay message couldn’t be clearer. There has been a billing problem. If you need reassurance, it’s best to log into your account, using a new browser window ,and that will reassure you. We don’t think the problems extends beyond emails. If an eBay message related to your account isn’t in My Messages, ignore. If you are ever in doubt, be cautious and contact eBay directly. And, universally, trust your instincts.

On August 20, we sent you an email with the subject line ‘Keep your account in good standing – payment needed’, indicating that your payment was due. That email was inadvertently sent to you. We’re sorry for the time you may have spent reviewing and responding. We value your time and we apologize. Your account is in good standing and there is no action required by you.
– eBay

And here is the screengrab:
ebay, Bay invoice

75 Responses

  1. eBay tell half the world they are in debt, before apologising, and it’s they who are going to be working out the new return rate Service Metrics, for sellers and “our peers’.

    Worried? Too right!

  2. I too received an email with the above detail regarding unpaid fees. However, the week before this I also received an email to both my email account and My eBay messages account saying the following about an item that I did not sell. At first I thought it was a phishing email (which I normally ignore and delete) but as it turned up in the eBay message system too I was concerned.I rang twice to eBay. The first contact to the Ebay customer rep was unsatisfactory as they appeared to be a) unable to understand that I wasn’t the seller and then b) unable to give any explanation how this had happened or if it meant that my account or someone else’s had been hacked. They promised an email and phone call back – no follow-up response by the next day. When I rang for the 2nd time I was told not to worry and I had to insist that they send me an email to say that it was an error and I would not be liable for the item. Still no explanation. They did send me an email but managed to get that wrong as it said I had “never BOUGHT the item”. Don’t know if anyone else has had similar problems but maybe eBay systems has some problems that are just starting to surface?

    First email said
    Action required for eBay return 5091510524 by 08/17/2018- SR# 1-173165776489
    I’m contacting you about the return request 5091510524 filed for Newborn Rumparooz Kanga Care Lil Joey All-In-One Cloth Diapers – Unisex by 232879036383.
    I’ve reviewed the details of the request and found that the best resolution is to ask the buyer to return the item to you for a full refund. Because the item was not as described, we’re asking you to pay for the return shipping.

    We are giving you 3 business days from the opening date of the claim give you time to arrange the return shipping with the buyer. Please note that if you don’t resolve the issue by 08/17/2018, we’ll issue the buyer a full refund on your behalf without requiring the item to be returned.


    Mac S.

    Trust & Safety

  3. yep we got the email and then apologies
    no harm done really
    we know we were in good standing
    the worry is that they decide to end listings in error . apologies would not cut the mustard then

  4. I got the 2nd email but not the 1st one. Usual joined up thinking by Ebay, sending me an apology for something they didn’t do.

  5. it’s like everything they do these days says”competent and trustworthy”, isn’t it?

  6. Got the first email and checked Paypal and could see I had paid my last invoice. All the latest seller release are about sellers raising standards yet ebay’s is slipping more and more of late and communication about changes is shocking as no is ever able to give you a clear black and white answer as to what is going on.

    The new service metric is a prime example, ebay pages and policy says seller with less than 400 sales over a 3 month period will use a 12 month look back. Yet when looking at the service metric it uses from 1st June. Again no communication about if they have changed this or not and customer service don’t have much of an idea as to why the contradiction. It is at the point where it is embarrassing how poor communication is and the amount of errors and glitches they have.

    Shame we can’t open a not as described against ebay when we pay our fees.

  7. Got both emails,,,,, shock horror errors and glitches on eBay,,,,,,, who would have thought?
    The company who repeatedly ask sellers to raise standards yet have non of their own. You couldn’t make it up.

  8. Due to the lack of information on the new metrics, I am closing my eBay store after the bank holiday weekend. I can’t afford the extra charges and can’t risk incurring any charges at the new rate, so moving off eBay is the best option. All my other metrics are really good, but this month I have had two misuse of returns and two SNAD cases opened. I resolved both SNAD issues, and the buyers closed the cases without any returns being required, but all 4 will count against me. My peers are less than half a percent so ebay will punish me even though I haven’t done anything wrong.

    Ebay make mistakes and think an apology is the answer. A seller is told they are a bad seller just by the number of return requests being opened, even though as my examples prove they don’t reflect the true picture.

    EBay send a sorry email for a real mistake.

    We get a penalty charge for doing nothing wrong.

    Typical eBay; they set poor standards and then go and invent poor standards for others.

  9. I’ve had a bad experience, with this scary email.

    But, it’s given me an idea, and I think this is the perfect opportunity for eBay to rethink their new service metrics penalty.

    Instead of increasing seller’s final value fees by 40%, every time a buyer opens a return request, sellers should be allowed to write an apology instead.

    After all, if it’s good enough for the goose, it’s good enough for the gander.

  10. For last week every time I revise an item all my images disappear. I spoke with Ebay customer services they reluctantly admitted this was an issue yet I still have to re-upload my images every time I amend a quantity…Bad news especially as I have some listings with 40 variations :-(.

    Any other having this issue

  11. The email was sent first and they picked up on it so managed to stop the internal Ebay message from being created which made it look very much like a spoof email.

    Good advise, only read and react to internal Ebay messages when it comes to money matters.

  12. I have been on ebay for well over a decade rising to top seller and I don’t trust them one bit. I agree with other posters who say that when we have an issue raised against us – justified or not – we are punished. When ebay mess up they simply apologise. They are push-push-push supposedly in favour of improving selling standards when in fact most changes are designed to elicit more money from sellers. The result is an unstable platform with hard-pressed sellers worrying what will happen next. And I would contend that some moves are counter-productive. For example, they are raising sub-title fees from £1 to £2 (+ VAT) a month. Well, I don’t know about anyone else but that has prompted me to remove all my sub-titles and thus they will lose fees. Of course, most changes do not give us any choice but to obey.

    To say that ebay regulations are unfair is an understatement. What happens if they remove some listings and apply 30-day loss of privileges to your account and then you win an appeal? Do they re-instate your listings complete with sales totals? No, they don’t. Do they restore your privileges? No, they don’t. You have to suck up the punishment even though you did nothing wrong. Shameful. Does it make any difference if you have 100% feedback and an exemplary record? No, it does not. They prefer to side with a dodgy buyer who has little or no feedback at all.

    So why do we stay with ebay? Because it is the biggest marketplace other than the even more restrictive Amazon. Yes, you can try to lure buyers to your own web site with cheaper prices but that has limited success as people behave like robots. Every time I win a direct sale I regard it as a victory over the American megacorps. I am tired of the master-slave relationship in which sellers do not feel valued. Wish there was an alternative but there is none on the horizon as yet.

  13. Just had another email from eBay

    “Unfortunately, your account no longer meets 1 or more of the eBay Top-rated Seller requirements based on Global seller performance standards. This doesn’t apply to your performance in these regions: the US; the UK and Ireland; and, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.”

    My seller level shows as being above standard

    Transaction defect rate 0%
    Late delivery rate 0%
    Cases closed without seller resolution 0%

    Transactions 3

    To be an eBay Top-rated Seller, you must have at least 100 transactions during the past 12 months and be a PowerSeller

    I sell more than 3 items a day let alone in the last 12 months.

    eBay are losing the plot!

  14. We were told the returns service metrics would be working correctly by the end of August. Mine are still not allowing me to download a report and are calculating three arrived damaged in July and that doesn’t correspond with the reasons given against the actual returns. Over a full year I have only had one arrived damage claim.

    The September sales will be calculated at the new penalty rate on my account if these errors in the metrics are not corrected in the next three days. I also am moving stock off eBay as I have no confidence in the new system and fear a large fee bill in October calculated.

  15. @Katie A
    if mr paterson was a little less sanctimonious
    and less personal with the insults. he may be tolerated a bit more by those of us not in need of his sermons

  16. Like so many people commenting on the new returns penalty charges. It seems so unfair that all your other dashboard metrics can be zero but if you go over the 2% returns rate you get hit by a 40% fee increase. I have 5 SNAD returns over the last three months one the buyer let time out without a return, even though I provided a label and accepted the return. Another the buyer closed the case as I answered a question about the product and they had no need to return the item as they had made a mistake on how it worked. Two of the five the items came back working even though they chose doesn’t work or defective to get a free return and the last one of the five returns the buyer broke the screen on an item. All 5 count against me and I am just a fraction of a percent off very high. Another return and I get hit with the 40% increase.

    Like so many other sellers on eBay without communication from eBay by the 1st September I am looking at other platforms to sell on to avoid this unfair penalty.

  17. @Emily

    Dont beleive anything patterson says i think he sells on fantacybay!

    I am top rated but lost the discount even though there is free 2nd class, 1st class and next day delivery plus 30 days return, all because i have 1 day dispatch time not same day!!.
    These metrics are all about ebay gaining revenue by not paying sellers 10% discount on fees and they fully know it, no way is it about ebay trying to punish bad sellers as paterson claims. They also make good money on return postage too and back buyers all the way with the false returns they raise. Its opened the door for scammers who can claim anything they like if they dont like it or break it on purpose to get a discount and avoid paying return costs. Ebay are so desperate for buyers and revenue due to failed quartly targets and crashed stock value.

    Its due the past few years of ebays implementation and introduction of these metrics, returns glitchy platform bad implementation of features that sellers are so fed up with many have moved to other platforms as i have myself though still sell on ebay.
    You only have to looks at ebays stock price which is less than it was a year ago!!. Etsy has TREBLED amazon has DOUBLED yet ebays is flat. But they will keep plodding down the same route punishing sellers like litle young school children if delivery is a day late to to courier or weather etc.

    Time is overdue for major management change thoughout ebay, cant wait to see Q3 results.

  18. Hello,

    We don’t mind robust discussion here at Tamebay. But please keep your points to the professional and factual issues and refrain from insults and personal remarks. We all want everyone to be successful in business. So let’s keep things businesslike.

    There’s a whole internet out there for slanging matches and ding dongs. ;o)

    Best wishes to all,

    Dan Wilson,
    Editor, Tamebay.com

  19. Just checked my eBay dash board for the return metrics penalty charge. The details haven’t updated yet, hopefully they will tomorrow as I was told the metrics would be correct by the end of August. From what they said sales from the 1st September will incur the 40% increase if your returns are high. I just want to see what my rate has been calculated at against my peers.

  20. Well I suppose it’s now down to how lucky or unlucky you are,,,,, if you sell high value lower volume items like antiques then you only need one odd ball plonker with multiple item purchases to do you real damage. Our eBay fees are regularly over 4K a month, we aren’t going to wear a final value fee price hike of 40% and like many of our peers will instantly close should this come to fruition. Shame really that 15 years of hard work trading on the eBay platform should come to this. It seems like eBay come up with more jaw dropping nonsense each year,,,, so what it’s going to be like in say 5 years time is an eye watering thought.

  21. So a couple of comments on here are talking about the 40% increase. I thought the penalty was 4% on top of losing the 10% discount if you had achieved it.

    We currently pay 9% less 10% discount making the fees 8.1%, so I assume that would revert to 9% + 4%

    Which would be a 58% increase.

    Or have I got the above wrong?

  22. How do we know if the peer group ebay put us in is correct. I am in toys and games. I sell drones. The civil aviation authority class my stock as aircraft. Yet eBay class them as toys. My peers could be someone selling colouring books, who I imagine would get fewer returns. So up against them I would be very high every month and subject to 57% increase. It seems wrong the company that will take all this penalty charge money is the one deciding who your peers are. Creative analytics can make ebay a small fortune very quickly.

  23. For some catagories fee increase can be up to 58.9%!!
    If your in 11% fvf and had 10% discount = 9.9% + vat = 11.88%
    With the penalty it becomes
    11% + 4% = 15% + vat = 18.87% fee – a massive 58.9% increase!

    And this is how Rob Hatteral is improving things for business sellers! – pha!

  24. I, this morning bought a NEW Dell XPS 15 9570 i7-8750H 16GB 512GB PCIe SSD FHD GTX 1050 Ti + Fingerprint thru Ebay seller; paid for it, good with this comment: “Thanks for another purchase Samuel! Your order is confirmed. We’ll let you know when it’s on the way. In the meantime, we have more things you’ll love at unbeatable prices!”. About 5-10 minutes later, I got an email from Ebay saying: “Your recent eBay transaction may be from a compromised account” with this quoted: “You were recently involved in a transaction for the following item:
    352446603241 – NEW Dell XPS 15 9570 i7-8750H 16GB 512GB PCIe SSD FHD GTX 1050 Ti + Fingerprint
    We’re writing to let you know that an unauthorized third party may have accessed the seller’s account to list this item. The item has been removed from the site, and the transaction was cancelled…”
    To me until now, Ebay still haven’t fix their S/W yet; hackers are still at large !!!

  25. I appreciate this message is not well aligned to the original article, but the replies seem to have deviated since then, so it seemed resaonable to put this here.

    I spoke to E-Bay CS a week or so about the new service metrics. I spoke to what sounded like a genuinely interested rep in the seller standards team (Dublin).

    I raised these points:

    a) The peer percentages are numbers which, whilst they may be supported by data, that data will never be made available to sellers. The rep said there had to be a degree of trust, to which I responded that there was no trust. I suggested that E-Bay should pick a fixed percentage that they deemed acceptable, and stick with that. Trying to give a veneer of respectability by linking it to invisible peer data does not promote trust, quite the contrary.

    b) Nobody likes to be held responsible for things that are not their fault, the argument that everyone gets fake SNAD’s and so on, and therefore they can count for all, is going to stick in the throat of EVERY SINGLE SELLER. I was told that these defects would be appealable, but I will believe that when I see it. How does kicking a seller for these things, whether valid or not, help with the ‘level of trust’ ?

    c) There is no scale on the side of the charts, whilst I can see my percentages, and those of my peers, I cannot see what percentage constitutes very high, high, medium and so on. I can infer what I think it might be from the chart, but without a scale on the side, I don’t know if I am 1 return away from Very High, or 20 away.

    d) The main issue with this though is that given this is based upon peer metrics, then the percentage which constitutes very high is going to move around all the time. So, in effect, we are all being measured against an invisible moving target (what is low this month, may not be next month, but we will never know why). Assume for a moment that this mechanism works, and the poor sellers either sort themselves out, or leave E-Bay rather than pay the 4%. The resulting ‘improvement’ will filter through into the peer metrics, which will mean that the ‘average’ will reduce over time, thus continually raising the bar on everyone. Taking it to an illogical conclusion, if everyone is perfect and has no returns, the average is zero returns, what happens to the first person to get one ?

    e) To sit alongside d), there is now the shift to automatically accepting not as described returns, and the highlighting of the ‘return this item’ button in the purchase history. Both of these measures are going to drive returns up. I believe therefore that sellers will be squeezed from both ends, first by buyers opening more returns than before, and second because the improvement in the peer averages is going to lower the targets for everyone.

    f) The download report function does not work, and the returns I am currently being assessed with do not tie up with the cases I can see in my resolution centre.

    g) How many of these alleged poor sellers are actually the casual sellers attracted by click it, list it, sell it message. They are going to skate underneath all this, yet I cannot believe that the percentage of problems they cause is lower than that of, lets call them professional sellers. A poor buyer experience is exactly that, regardless of who the seller is.

    h) It does not seem at all appropriate to compare against peers where one sells brand new items (and should perhaps therefore expect less returns), and one who sells used items, perhaps in some instances already with disclosed defects. The category is the same, sure, but are the returns rates in such circumstances the same, I suspect not.

    Despite considerable time dwelling on this, the fact that the penalty is financial says only one thing to me, and that is:

    ‘Its OK to be a poor seller on E-Bay, provided you pay the extra fees.’

    This just simply cannot be the correct message if E-Bay is going to have a rosy future.

  26. Thank you Emily.

    The CS rep I spoke to asked me if I understood why they had created this, to which I replied, yes, because you have some sellers who you deem are not of the required standard.

    I don’t think anyone (aside from bad sellers) would object to the principle of dealing with bad sellers, i.e shape up or ship out. So my question is, OK, you have some bad sellers, you obviously know who they are already, so why are you not dealing with them by forcing improvements or kicking them off ? Why, instead of dealing with the specific offenders, create this monstrosity of a mechanism which has single handedly ticked off every single seller you have on the platform, regardless of whether they are good or bad.

    I suspect they won’t kick these sellers off, not because of the loss of fees (buyers will buy from better sellers I would imagine), but because these bad sellers will take their stock with them, and E-Bay’s GMV figure may fall as a result.

    The Stock Investors have been hoodwinked into believing the GMV figure is meaningful when in reality, its at least partially hogwash. There are an awful lot of drop shippers on E-Bay listing stock from other platforms that they don’t physically possess, so there is an element of double counting going on here anyway. Profit and cashflow are what is important, not GMV.

    The route to propsperity for E-Bay involves doing many things, but a good start would be to improve or remove the bad sellers, and leave the good sellers to get on with selling rather than wasting hours fretting about service metrics.

  27. In the Seller standards dashboard I see a Returns rate box that shows 0.10% for Transaction period: 01 Jun, 2018 – 31 Aug, 2018

    My one return was a delivery to Argos and it shows

    Reason: Buyer didn’t show up

    Would this count in the metrics?

    Are sellers going to get penalised for buyers not collecting items?

    If not then why does it show up?

    The one thing you can say about eBay is that you can not trust them to get it right.

  28. My metrics for the return penalty charge are wrong too. It says I had three arrived damaged last month. When you go through all the individual return reason codes for the full 12 months. I have only had one arrived damage claim. The other two seem to be like the peer groups imaginary statistics created by eBay to charge 58% more in fees.

  29. From what ebay customer services are saying the first invoices with the penalty charges on will be the September invoice payable in October.

    So every sale from tomorrow onwards would be charged at the new penalty rate if you are rated as very high. If the metrics are wrong now how do we all know what rate September will be billed at?

    They update the metrics on the 20th of each month so I presume it will be the 20th September when we see what rate we will be charged. As June, July and August returns will be accessed on that date.

    For the very high sellers they will have already had 20 days of sales at the increased rate.

  30. My returns metrics seem to have changed today, even though they’re for June/July/August which has clearly passed.

    Yesterday, I was at 2.95%, peers @ 3.32% – both in the yellow average band
    Today, I’m 2.6%, peers @ 4.24%. I’m in the green low band with my peers at the top of the yellow average band.

    How is it that my metric has gone down?

    Also, if someone opens a return on an item that was sold in August, is that added to the August period, or will that be on Septembers figures I wonder?

    And surely, if the average in my category is 4.24%, that should be smack bang in the middle of average, because thats the average!!!!!

  31. @ Dave

    I was told by eBay customer services that the month the sale occurred is the month the return is placed against.

    My metrics haven’t changed but maybe they are still working on them.

  32. People here worried about the peer to peer metrics, there are solutions such as create a brand new account. I do think Alan Patersons advice is nonsence, bascially you are saying Ebay is not out to punish and rob the sellers, but they clearly are.

    Join Ecrater, the fee’s are so low there 🙂


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