Why has eBay updated seller standards?
Our ability to capture accurate objective information about transactions has improved over the years, and we are now able to remove some of the more subjective factors in evaluating seller performance. Sellers have told us they want a set of performance measures that are easier to manage and not based on opinions. This update will help protect you from factors outside your control, make your seller performance more predictable and help you focus on increasing sales and providing great service.
Why has eBay changed the maximum defect rate from 2% to just 0.5% for Top Rated Sellers and from 5% to 2% to avoid falling below standard? Won't this make it more difficult for us to meet the standards?
We are not raising the bar with this standards change. We have simplified the defect rate requirements by removing five of the previous seven defect types from the new defect rate. As a result, we had to recalculate the defect rate to ensure that we're still rewarding our best sellers and providing expectations for all sellers in meeting the minimum standards to sell on eBay.
We expect the majority of sellers to benefit from these changes since the new measures are simpler to manage and easier to control. Sellers will be rewarded when they deliver the service that buyers expect and won't be impacted by subjective buyer feedback and opinion.
Since we're removing many of the factors previously counted in the defect rate, we had to recalculate the maximum allowable defect rate accordingly to ensure that we're continuing to recognise and reward sellers who provide great service and setting the right customer service expectations.
These updates impact how seller standards are calculated, but we don't anticipate any significant changes in the number of Top Rated Sellers. Our intention is to make eBay a more fair, consistent and predictable marketplace, where sellers are recognised for delivering great service.
When do the new standards go into effect?
The new standards go into effect on 20 February 2016.
- Preview of new seller standards will be available in your Seller Dashboard to enable you to check your progress.
20 February 2016: First evaluation with the new seller standards
- Sellers with 400 or more transactions over the past three months will be evaluated based on the past three months and sellers with fewer than 400 transactions over the past three months will be evaluated based on the past 12 months.
- New returns summary report will be added to Seller Dashboard to help sellers track their overall returns rate.
What happens if I'm not meeting the minimum performance requirements?
Your Seller Dashboard reflects your current and trending seller performance, including detailed reports that can help you diagnose areas that require your attention.
If you're not meeting the minimum performance requirements for:
- "Late shipment rate" – we may email, call or alert you in your account and may limit some of the postage options available to make sure buyers have the right expectations on delivery times. You'll still be able to run your business on eBay, as we will not restrict your selling activity.
- Defect rate or cases closed without seller resolution – we may put limits on your selling activity or lower your search placement until your performance improves. We may also restrict you from selling items on eBay if your performance falls significantly below the minimum requirements.
Have performance seller standards also changed on other eBay sites?
Yes, the new transaction defect rate and "late shipment rate" will also be used to calculate your seller performance standards on other eBay sites.
The transaction defect rate and "closed cases without seller resolution" requirements are the same for all eBay sites. However, there are some differences in the requirements between the US, UK, German and Global standards programs (Australia is in the Global standards program) for late shipment rate. You should check the relevant eBay site to understand the requirements for that site.
What counts as a seller-cancelled transaction?
Any transaction cancelled through eBay or refunded through PayPal because the seller no longer has the item or chooses not to send the item will count in the defect rate as a seller-cancelled transaction. Transactions that are cancelled because the buyer no longer wants the item are not counted in the defect rate.
What can I do to avoid seller-cancelled transactions?
Follow these best practices to help avoid seller-cancelled transactions:
- Keep your inventory well stocked. (If you subscribe to Selling Manager Pro, you can set up alerts to tell you when your products are running out.)
- If an item becomes unavailable, end your listing or update your listing quantity immediately. If you activate the out-of-stock feature, we can automatically hide your multi-quantity, Good 'Til Cancelled listings when they reach a quantity of zero.
- Store your items in a safe, secure area to prevent damage or loss.
- If a buyer contacts you to request a cancellation or refund, use the eBay seller cancellation process in and select "buyer requested" as the reason for the cancellation. Buyer-requested cancellations do not count as defects.
What counts toward cases that are closed without seller resolution?
When eBay or PayPal is asked to step in and help resolve an issue with a return or an item that wasn't received and we determine that the seller is responsible for the issue, it will count as a "closed case without seller resolution" and will be included in your transaction defect rate. If we close the case in favour of the seller or determine that no one is at fault, it won't count as a defect.
How can I successfully resolve return requests so they don't count as defects?
Sellers should try and work with their buyers to resolve return requests without the need for eBay to step in and help. As a seller, after you review the return request, you can choose to offer a full or partial refund, replacement, repair or exchange. If the buyer is satisfied and doesn't contact eBay for help, the return won't count as a defect.
The return request will only count as a defect if eBay is asked to step in and help and we find the seller responsible. If we close the case in favour of the seller or determine that no one is at fault, it won't count as a defect.
What can I do to make sure I meet the new seller standards?
Follow these best practices and tips to help meet the new seller performance requirements.
Keep your defect rate low:
- Make sure you've got items in stock. If your item becomes unavailable, end your listing or update your listing quantity as soon as possible.
- If you subscribe to Selling Manager Pro, be sure to set up alerts so you know when your products are running out.
- If you use multi-quantity, Good 'Til Cancelled listings, enable our out-of-stock feature to automatically hide listings when the quantity reaches zero.
- Resolve issues with buyers promptly before the buyer asks eBay to step in and help.
Keep your late shipment rate low:
- Make sure tracking gets uploaded so you can keep your buyers and eBay informed of the delivery status of your item.
- Always specify an accurate handling time in your listing – one that you are sure you can meet. Handling time is the time between when you receive payment and when you deliver the package to your carrier. Specifying the right handling time helps in setting buyer expectations and increases the accuracy of your estimated delivery time.
- Deliver your package to the carrier within your stated handling time and select the same postage service as specified in your listing.
- Consider buying and printing postage labels on eBay for automatic tracking upload as well as discounted postage.
More tips for providing great service:
- Describe your item accurately, use lots of pictures and include item specifics in your listing to set the right buyer expectations and minimise returns.
- Clearly state your return and payment policies in your listing and offer a 30-day money back returns policy when possible to meet buyer expectations.
- Review the new customisation features in the returns process to help streamline and expedite returns through automatic approvals and refunds.
- For more detailed tips, visit our page on selling best practices.
Do I still need a high Feedback score in order to be a Top Rated Seller?
There is no specific requirement for Feedback score. However your Feedback score is still displayed to your buyers, and it's a reflection of your service levels on eBay. So you should still use the insights you receive from Feedback to identify opportunities you may have to increase your customer satisfaction.
Can I dispute a buyer's claim of an item not arriving on time when tracking shows it did arrive on time?
Yes, however it's not enough for you to have the tracking information – you must upload tracking information for the transaction to eBay so that eBay can review the tracking information and make a decision. If eBay determines that you sent the item within your stated handling time and determines that you weren't responsible for the delivery delay, we'll remove the late shipment from your record.
How do these updated standards protect me as a seller?
The new, simplified standards help protect you from factors outside your control such as carrier delivery delays (so long as you upload tracking and send the item within your stated handling time) and subjective buyer Feedback. That will help you focus on increasing your sales and improving your customer service. If you make sure the items you list are in stock, send items within your stated handling time, upload tracking and satisfy your customers by resolving issues if they arise, you'll be set up for success.