eBay ramping up protection for sellers
eBay are ramping up their seller protection measure, starting in the US and the enhancements will be coming to the UK in the near future. On hearing the news I asked Rich Matsuura, eBay’s Director of Seller Protections, how the changes would help sellers and in particular to answer a recent comment on Tamebay regarding items “missing” in the mail.
Recent comment on Tamebay
Rich explained that eBay are focusing on three specific areas to protect sellers. Some measures have been announced before, but there’s some really good stuff coming online for which we can share the details today:
eBay aim to deliver high quality buyers
In general eBay have a really great buying community. This should be self evident, the number of sellers who have run their eBay business for many years with great feedback attests to the number of fantastic buyers using eBay.
However there are a few would appear to be habitually delinquent and eBay are aiming to boot them off the marketplace. Currently in the US, UK and Germany, eBay are running detection algorithms looking for patterns of behaviour that buyers are abusing the system. They’re spotting buyers with a pattern of too many claims or who leave poor feedback.
Monitoring buyer/seller communications
eBay have also started to data mine communications between buyers and sellers searching for keywords indicating fraud. Whilst as a seller you might not want a buyer to open a case against you and so instantly refund them, eBay will be monitoring messages sent through eBay and keywords such as “not received” will trigger a closer look at the buyer.
Buyers who attempt to get free items or claim items arrive significantly not as described to achieve a discount are also being identified from messages. In some cases eBay simply outright suspend the buyer. eBay also explained that they’re getting pretty successful at identifying and rehabilitating buyers who appear to be going down this route.
Seller Protection Tip: Use eBay Messages
As a seller keep all buyer communications on eBay.
eBay.com are already starting to push all communication though eBay member to member communication and this will come to the UK soon. eBay are also going to ensure a message from a buyer to the seller has to go through eBay prior to the buyer opening a claim. Ensuring messages are sent through eBay means that they can be data mined to identify delinquent sellers.
Buyer Expectation Policy
eBay are focused on putting the right policies in place. This includes laying out when can feedback be removed, how can eBay can make claims more fair. For example already in certain claim circumstances eBay already pay out to both the buyer and the seller when everyone is doing things correctly.
eBay have also launched a in a single place making it pretty clear to the buyers what eBay expect of them on the marketplace. Most of the policies aren’t new, but for the first time they’re all in one place leaving no doubt as to the standards buyers should be held to.
Making feedback fair / Report a Buyer
eBay have added many measures to protect sellers including auto five star DSRs, not allowing buyers who don’t pay to leave feedback and Item Not Received protection. One of the newest ways eBay are helping protect sellers is the Report a buyer project, eBay launched a new and improved report a buyer hub.
Seller Protection Tip: Report that buyer!
Rich Matsuura explained that they want to encourage sellers go through report a buyer flow if they run into problems. That feeds right into the detection algorithms described above and helps define bad buyers a lot faster than before. A lot of reports get filed where looks like buyer is having a one off bad experience but are great in general, but other reports are quickly flagged as looking abusive and eBay can get those buyers off the site quicker.
eBay are also removing feedback from picky buyers – they simply descore the feedback when not representative of a seller’s normal behaviour. eBay are already communicating more with regular reports of feedback protection and will do more in future.
What the new seller protection measures mean for you
Specifically addressing the comment from Whirly on Tamebay above, Rich Matsuura said we “Should be seeing a lot fewer of these cases in the future”. eBay are well aware that some buyers are, to put it bluntly, taking the mickey. Overall it’s a very tiny percentage of buyers, but it’s an annoying few that negatively impact sellers. eBay aim not to only protect sellers from feedback and claims, but to eradicate these buyers and evict them from the site.
eBay Seller Protection Workshops
eBay are holding a workshop on Thursday the 13th of December which is already fully subscribed, so have another planned for the 9th of January 2013 10am Pacific Time. Many sellers aren’t aware of the seller protection work eBay are doing. eBay want to give overview of seller protection, walk through upcoming enhancements. As well as answering sellers questions they’d like to get feedback to enable them to prioritise and focus on biggest pain points.
If you’d like to attend the January workshop you’ll need to register in advance before all place fill up.
how about doing something about the partial discount ransom where a buyer makes a multiple purchase ,then ebay puts on hold the whole payment even though the buyer has only complained about one item
lets get real here ,its all lip service and bluster, without buyers both ebay and sellers are buggered , ebay needs to look at their customer support process rather than algowhatsitis and graphs deep mining and all that other tripe, how about some natural justice and common sense ,from a human , rather than the tick box culture
How many sellers who are having difficulties with buyers actually contact humans at ebay.
A very small percentage I bet as they know what to expect and simply connot be bothered to waste their time with the humans at ebay.
At least the tick box culture is automated and bypasses the ebay humans.
What all sellers want to see is hard evidence that ebay are walking the walk with this and not talking the talk.
ebay works very well for us its the 8th wonder of the world despite our whinging,,we dont want an overkill knee jerk scatter gun reaction by a computor, that alienates buyers ,similar to the DSR sillyness that sellers suffer,ok we see the point in DSRs and it makes ebay a better place, though apply similar to buyers and they will go elsewhere
and a customer support human that spoke english as a first language or could understand UK regional accents would be a great help
I wholeheartedly agree! It is so infuriating when you have to email a report to a department that handily cannot be contacted by phone only to get a response to a question that you didn’t ask.
In my opinion I think ebay should revamp the cancel sale options to include things such as “claimed non receipt” as all sellers will do their level best to avoid any open cases in the resolution centre.
As much as I want ebay to be aware of this I think they simply are not, there is currently no way for them to tell the difference between a customer return and an INR that a seller has dealt with themselves.
I agree that buyers are overall good and important to the site and unless a buyer goes down the resolution centre route I do not expect ebay to intervene. I do expect ebay to look at a buyers history and retrospectively act when malice has been found which at the moment the simply cannot do!
exactly !we want ebay to only sanction the excessive and criminal and leave the every day normal buyer to us , all we ask is ebay dont load the dice against us
How about eBay letting sellers leave item not arrived feedback so we can set our own parameters when setting buyers requirements like if more than 4 within 12 month period we can exclude the buyer from purchasing. This then would help all sellers.
What about the criminal activities of some of the staff employed by postal and shipping agencies?
Buyers should not be treated as criminals if it is not their fault.
And this time of the year unfortunately is a time when temporary staff who can be a little inept at what they do are employed.
In the Whirly example above how random were these losses or were they in a similar area for the most part at a similar time of the year?
ebay v. website may not be the whole story. ebay buyers may be in different parts of the country as a result of how search works.
good point, sellers already suffer from and are penailised for actions of others beyond their control
And that is a good point. ebay punish sellers for the criminal activities of shipping agencies.
And now they are about to punish buyers!
In my opinion only a fraction, if any, of my GNR claims result from PO fraud, but rather the 1 or 2% rogue buyers mentioned in the article.
If there is an unfortunate buyer being targeted by Postman Prat in a systematic way, then that is still an unacceptable situation that the buyer needs to be alerted to, since it is effecting the seller, probably his ratings and ultimately Ebay’s reputation. What else can be done?
I expect Ebay’s first tactic would be to suggest to the seller that he might want to review address security, rather than terminate the account.
A buyer/address would still be high risk if the fault lies with the postal service, not the customer.
It would be useful to pass on the information to Royal Mail or the police if there are regular patterns of non delivery to some regions.
When I have a problem and have written a long email describing in great detail the problem I would like something other than a standard email reply telling me I should try harder. To have some sign that somebody in ebay CS has at least read my email and understood the problem would be a start and then to have an email reply that was at least relavent.
ebay are not doing this out of love, their pocket is hurting ,or they are being pressurised by the powerfull,
had it occured to them that many buying and selling problems are caused by their system?
What concerns me is that Ebay are only now considering that they need to work on this…
How many years has this been a problem?
Far too long. Let’s hope this is a turning point.
Currently it’s a bit of a farce if your a low volume high value seller, eg. someone buys 3 small items, we weigh them, frank them and post them, buyer turns around and says only received 2, we know full well we posted 3 by checking the postage paid, as soon as this situation occurs we are screwed.
@Gary buyer demographics pretty much the same on all platforms for us.
The wife bought nearly all our Xmas presents on eBay this year, only the electronics had tracking, the rest she could have had for nothing, that’s a very sad situation.
I have had 4 parcels that should have been ‘signed for’ which were either left on my doorstep or pushed through the letter box this week. One by yodel. I could have had 4 items ‘free’ if I was such a person.
Yodel ran off because the parcel was opened and an item missing.
If you check the online tracking you will probably find a forged signature.
A great article that reflects very well on both Ebay and Tamebay. Xmas appears to have come early. I don’t understand the criticism really.
It is not criticism it is cynicism.
cant see how it reflects well on ebay when its took the best part of 20 years to get even this far in trying to protect sellers
Well let’s hope that this is now consigned to the past. Retrospectively, of course, Ebay deserves criticism for its fanatical belief that the buyer was never in the wrong. In mitigation, how many of us were sure of the scale of the problem, it only became clear to me this year when evidence became available and I had been assuming genuine loss not fraud.
OK, i have traded for years, and have jumped through all sorts of ever shrinking hoops that ebay describe as new policy and better opportunities, knowing that there is not a market like it, so its buy in or get out.
It must be the time of the year because i have had lots of issues recently, but here is one that is exasperating!
I sold an item. the buyer although not in the UK, asks for the item to be sent to a UK address which is a shipping agent in Middlesex, so i think that its a big buyer who fills a container and has it shipped to them. i have sold a few things to this same ebay id before with no issue. Recently i received a complaint about a damaged item, and i questioned the buyer as to how it was forwarded to them, as i was not willing to be held responsible for a badly shipped item when it had been handled by a third party. They opened a dispute…£250 on hold, they wanted £150 part refund, i refused, they said £125 then? i refused, they said £100 then? i have tried to get them to give me their address on the dispute as ebay say i have to have proof of the item being forwarded to Japan, where the item is, though they have yet to admit it, i said i would go to the address in London to inspect the item and packaging in order to resolve it, they said i could not do that.I asked on the dispute who i was talking to, they said-in broken english- they were an employee in the warehouse in the UK, I checked out this company and they advertise themselves as ‘Allied Partner of ebay.com for Japan’ what happens is, that ebay uk items are listed on a site in Japan called sekaimon.com and mainly non speaking japanese bid on the site and the site bid on ebay UK on their behalf and ship the item to Japan, i think they charge 15% on top of the costs, on the website of the shipping company SAL in Middlesex,it says “The item you sent to our location is strictly inspected by our QA team. If the condition is OK enough, we re-ship it to Japan.” So my item was unpacked, checked, repacked and sent to Japan and i am held responsible. i reported this to ebay under incorrect contact information, and they say they cannot comment as their is an open dispute, but i must get proof it was forwarded to Japan…Guess what? Ebay own this company with Yahoo in Japan!!!!! they full well know that it was forwarded! The claim should be between the buyer in japan and sekaimon, and not with me. anyone else know about this? They have 10 bidding names on ebay.uk the name i sold to is a bidding name that could be proxy bidding for any number of japanese buyers, not just for one, hence their 4000 plus feedback per month for one name, just a buying name, so 100% feedback.
Would be interested if anyone or Tamebay knows anything about this?
I put a question on the ebay seller forum and after ten minutes the moderator deleted it!
If this is part of eBay’s vision of the future for ‘International Trade’ then I am not sure that I want to be a part of it.
I know that this forum is frequently read by peeps from eBay, perhaps a comment from one of their Execs. would be welcomed?
Yes, a comment would be good, there are other comments on the internet regarding this situation. I am really fed up of banging my head against this wall of hypocrisy when i am forced to conform to ebays policies and yet face these double standards. This company has 18 USA Ebay id’s.
Ebay say that negative feedback is a ‘reflection of a buyers experience with you’ i say it is statistics and not relating to the facts of a situation, they count negs when evaluating DSR’s but do not know if that is a vengeful comment or false comment. i just lost my Top rated seller status for ‘Opened cases’ 1 is the one i have described, another was for an item a buyer said was fake that was made in the 1960’s, an impossible claim, but gave me a neg for both items he bought in one transaction, purely a vengeful act, ebay say its a ‘reflection of his experience’ they know it may take nearly a year before these cases slide round the DSR evaluation. Not satisfied with that, ebay have now put all my listings out of view in the Best match default search, so my items cannot be seen 6 pages down the listings, this is a childish punishment, for something i could not have changed, 3 negs out of 4500 feedback, then they keep sending me monthly reminders of how i can improve my selling technique, when they know that the DSR’s are fixed in time, not in my ability to change them, it takes a year before a negative leaves my account, not a month. Also most of my sales are International and these DSR’s are based on UK sales, which i cannot change by selling more items to make the cases a smaller percentage of my allowance as i am not selling in the UK, there is a recession, only rich people buy my items. Grrrrr!
Usual ebay rubbish though.
I know of a scammer who has sent the self same message through the ebay messaging system claiming non delivery to at least a dozen sellers (that’s the ones I’ve been contacted by and spoken to on the phone in 3 cases!).
I’ve phoned ebay who claim it’s being looked into, but that was last Friday and he’s still buying and scamming and opening cases.
And the eBay rep I spoke to on the phone – he said the “report a buyer” link – well, so far, it isn’t quite working properly. Or at all depending on how I interpret the fact that I know 8 sellers have reported this buyer yet he’s still active.
Believe it when you see proof, this is so far all hot air.
I’m no expert but unfortunately you don’t have a case in law as far as I can see but that may depend on the jurisdiction. Generally, the customer has a right to cancel.
Nevertheless it sounds a bit fishy. I think I’d have invited the customer to open a dispute for item not as described on ebay. This would protect you too as the customer would be obliged to return the item. I see there is a dispute and hope it is an ebay one. Then simply agree to refund for return in order to get it off your back.
If the customer fails to return then you are ok. Also you can then use the report a buyer function as you suspect that this is a bogus call to obtain a part refund. If it is the customer will almost certainly have done this before.
It’s quite distressing when this happens and is one reason why I would not sell high value items. You have to square up to this and build it in to your margins as the law of the land is unlikely to help.
There is a very simple solution.
Give the control of who can buy back to the sellers. Then ebay do not need to be involved with this at all.
Customer Satisfaction, Trust and Safety, The Buying Experience and many similar terms – all BS
Let’s not forget that eBay is a business – First and Foremost they put PROFIT before anything and everything else.
I have no problem with Profit first, but lets not kid ourselves that eBay is caring / sharing or any shade of Pink and Fluffy.
Every single change is approved by accountants and they have the final say. If eBay choose to do so they could practically eliminate fraud and all the ‘Complained of Behaviour of Buyers and Sellers’ (The same complaints of 5 years ago and which will still be here in 5 years time).
Why doesn’t eBay make eBay the safest most secure platform it could be? – Because it would negatively impact upon PROFIT.
I love a good old moan and groan, as do many here, but let’s face the facts eBay do not listen to sellers, they listen to accountants.
Yes not all pink and fluffy, but I think the backdrop to this is that Ebay are forging partnerships in the shipping business and may want to clear the pitch of bad buyers who may cost them dear, ie, could be an accounting decision.
Further when established sellers call it a day I imagine that does not go down well at all at head office, again, a solid financial reason why they may want to act decisively.
I suppose the proof will be in the pudding, but it seems inconceivable that Ebay would go to these lengths to construct a spoof!!
I think sellers need to get real here.
1. Ebay is a hugely complicated business that needs to run things for the best interests of their shareholders. If you think about it that motivation is no different from exactly what you or I do in running our own businesses.
2. How many problem cases do you really get? You should build a loss element into your financial plan, as all sensible business does, and do’nt sweat over the detail of things you can do little about.
3. The move from ebay is very welcome. They encourage us to settle quickly if possible before the dispute process starts, creating an open season for fraud. This move and their algorithm searching should catch the vast majority of fraudulent buyers, so don’t diss what will work in your favour and will improve this situation.
4. My biggest criticism of ebay is that too many of their development staff are business inexperienced. Too many of the problems we have are entirely predictable and should be covered before new changes or programmes are introduced.
5. Interested in the Japanese shipper story. I have made a number of shipments to them without problem. I think I’d simply ask the complainer for their address, and if they are in Japan I’d say 2 things.
a. I never shipped to that address and therefore they are not covered by dispute policy, because they are not the buyer.
b. If they have a problem then return the item from the delivery address in the UK. I will refund post from that address only, and refund or replace the item.
Remember distance selling regs only apply within the EU. Did you do the quiz Tamebay featured a few days ago? I thought I knew my law well, and I got a couple wrong. Worth looking at.
We might not get that many problem cases but those few can cause very serious problems. As an example I have had effectively one problem case in the last 12 months. It was for 3 Books(the customer opened a separate case for each book) that the customer said he had not received. So even after he had had his money back he still put in 3 x lots of stinking foul DSR’s which ebay took at face value and hammered us with restrictions for almost 6 months.
Percentage wise fairly negligible but it has significantly reduced our turnover for the year(estimate at least 50%) all because ebay decided to maximise the harm that that one problem caused.
Whilst I do enjoy ribbing you about steam trains etc you have my sympathies with the situation you found yourself in Chris.
eBay started to protect our TRS status a couple of months back as we went 1 low score over the limit for dispatch, but because we have so few low scores during the 3 month period none fell off the back, so we still have exactly the same score as we did when eBay stepped in to protect us, the next low score to drop off is 1 from Feb 2013, so possibly we might regain TRS in March.
99.9% 4.9 4.9 4.9 5.0 We are a disgrace. 😀
I have never taken much notice of anybody “ribbing” me about Steam Locomotives. After all I have a long history(about 45 years) of being involved in one way or another in Steam Railways. I was one of those who hauled scrap steam, locomotives out of the famous Woodhams Brothers Scrapyard in Barry South Wales and the Locomotive I am most known in regard to was requested by HRH Prince Charles to haul the Royal Train. So there is nothing you can do or say that will really worry me in regard to Steam Locomotives(especially Great Western Railway ones).
However I am still very annoyed about the way that I was treated in regard to the savage restrictions that ebay placed on my account because I was targeted by a Fraudster.
This is why WE LOVE YOU Chris.
Now that really worries me!!!!. While its me against the rest I feel happy but when others state “Love” and “Affection”(even if they are joking) I really get worried.
This is welcome news from ebay. We all want the problem customers removed from the site (as well as rip off sellers).
What I am concerned about at the moment is why my account manager is being taken away with little warning, and no real explanation. We are doing over 50k a month on ebay and its something that I think is a backward step.
This is excellent news: the marketplace playing the role that the marketplace can uniquely provide (and must provide).
I do wonder how the algorithm will capture all the variety of approaches and veiled threats that we’ve seen and it will have to learn some novel spellings of quite a lot of the English language. But if what it does is help targeted human intervention then that’s a good step forwards.
We all want great sellers trading with great buyers. The tiny number of rogues are grains of sand in the icecream: and that’s disproportionately annoying for it’s size.
Dosent take much data mining. 2 key words simple as this
1) DB Trigger Any email that contains the following key words
Where is my item or Refund
In all rip off cases this is the classic case of buyer ripping of seller
Email from Dick Turpin
Hey where is item? I just returned from holiday and its not here. Can you give me tracking No or Hey I ordered this for a Birthday present 6 weeks ago I want a refund cos I had to buy something else
Ow that old chest Nut
Customer knows seller isn’t going to send a £10 item with Tracking.
Dick Turpin gets refund, Dick Turpin dosent leave Feedback. Dick Turpin has green light to try scam on again with new seller.
Seller puts prices up and others customer have to pay extra for Dick Turpin the Ebayer
Ebay are not protecting it’s sellers. This is absolute rubbish and the fact that ebay are trying to promote the fact that they are doing this is an utter lie.
I have just recently been left negative feedback by a buyer that didn’t pay for the goods, had an unpaid item case opened against them and was never posted the item due to the fact that they didn’t pay – so how and why were they allowed to leave feedback at all – let alone negative feedback.
I have been trading on ebay since 2005 and had 100% feedback with over 2000 sales. I pride myself on my feedback record and I try to be a very good seller and meet and even exceed customers expectations of my goods and me as a seller.
Ebay has not supported me in any way shape or form and has refused to remove the negative feedback even though the buyer threatened me.
I am more than disgruntalled, I am utterly upset, angry, furious and to no end as the big machine known as ebay couldn’t give a stuff about the little guy once again.
SELLER PROTECTION MY A**E!
If you opened an unpaid item case and closed the case and had your ebay fees refunded then the buyer cannot leave any feedback. You need to make sure you close the case to block feedback.
If you closed the case and feedback has been left then if you report this to ebay they will remove it. It is a technical glitch.
today ebay refunded £75 to a buyer out of their own pocket , when they did not return goods and have totally ignored the resolution process other than the initial claim, in A not as described case which we escalated ourselves,, the buyer was asking for a partial refund of £60 out of a total sale of £415, one item is still being held and being reviewed by ebay,
so were still out of pocket by £415, and the buyer has the goods and what they demanded
how is this seller protection?
if I were that sort of person , ebays methods would give me great encouragment to claim a partial refund on the air I breath ,never mind an ebay sale, I would tell all my friends to
Chris or Dan there is a whole message missing above hence the p s
and we have not been at the mulled wine
Got caught in moderation filter for some reason, sorry about that
ebays methods are contagious, its one way being rid of me
Totally automatic and not intentional, sorry about that. We have to have software to protect the site though, it is a rare day we don’t get at least 1000 spam comments :O
if it were me I would not have any comments at all if it were so dangerous
There used to be a “Buyer Expecting more than what was listed in auction” Policy. it seems to have vanished.
More buyers are scamming sellers. Scam sellers were never as big a problem as scam buyers are now.
In the old feedback system you could see scam buyers and sellers. now scam buyers are hidden.
Let me NEG a buyer, Funny how that will sort it….lol. And after that let me block buyers based on % rating and negs. Job done.
BTW aprox 5 years ago we never bothered claiming for lost items as we never had many and was not worth the hassle.
Now we claim for all lost items as the amount of money involved makes it is worth while.
Just wanted to say thank you. Spoke to a lovely Irishman at ebay today – 100% feedback re-instated due to the fact that the buyer was a non-responsive buyer.
Thank you for your support Gary – greatly appreciated.
Here’s an example: I had a customer claim GNR for a low value item sent to Oz. I had already profiled this one as a risk, so sent registered post. Now up until recently that hasn’t meant much, but as things are becoming more and more trackable I phoned up Auspost on the off chance: was told attempted delivery to Nateen on 17th, but redirected to St leonards, and then get this, one more redirection also to St Leonards!
When I checked the buyer’s feedback, he had already berated one seller for slow delivery and left a negative.
I maintain there is no such thing as lost post to UK (and Oz).
plenty nicked though
In reference to the Sekaimon story there is an interesting thread on ebay forums, that gives further information about this operation and its outcome: