eBay UK clarify “descoring” confusion

By Dan Wilson April 27, 2014 - 11:41 pm

It seems fair to say that there is a great deal of confusion regarding the new seller standards, defect rates, so-called “descoring” and whether sellers can legitimately request any inaccurate defects be cleared from their scorecard.

The new Seller Dashboard went live the week before last. We first wrote about the new Seller Standards last month and we considered “descoring” last week. It’s been interesting to read the many comments we’ve received and also the emails you’ve sent. Thanks for taking the time.

At the crux of the importance of this issue lies the fact that the new defect rate really matters to sellers. A Defect Rate of more than 2% will cost you your Top Rated Seller status. Above 5% will deem you to be Below Standard. So a handful of defects per 100 trades really do matter. And it’s fair to say that even one unfair/untrue defect could have detrimental effects on a professional eBay seller. The stakes are high.

eBay have provided Tamebay with this statement following our last article:

“As a rule, eBay does not remove feedback or descore defects even if it is unwarranted or the issue has been resolved.”

It continues: “Where a case has been found in the seller’s favour this will not be counted as a defect and will not count toward the percentage of cases closed without seller resolution. Any case that escalates to eBay or PayPal for review and is found in the seller’s favour, or found to be no fault of the buyer or seller, will not count against the performance rating.”

It seems fair to reiterate eBay UK’s comment from last week when Tamebay first wrote about “descoring”:

“We advise sellers to use the information now available on the seller dashboard preview and the transaction defect report to identify root causes of any defects to prevent them occurring in the future. Rather than focusing on a single defect, sellers can use these tools to understand any trends or patterns in performance as this is what will benefit both sellers and their buyers going forwards.”

“Where sellers can see defects for cancelled transactions or unresolved cases we’ve seen this is most likely when the process flows on eBay haven’t been used. We advise sellers to always make sure the transaction is logged correctly and any communication with the buyer is through eBay. This way we can see what is happening which is really important.”

“The reason that we are making these changes is based on data that highlights what matters most to buyers and we’ve seen when such defects occur the buyer will shop less on eBay. This is why the new performance standards have been aligned with buyer expectations.”

So, what’s the score? I think it can be fairly summarised thus: there is no official eBay process that permits sellers to appeal and seek a defect to be “descored”. But it seems that it is something that eBay customer support reps can do. As we’ve seen in comments, a number of sellers have successfully appealed defects with eBay CS. But no formal process exists.

And, of course, there should be an appeals process to descore dodgy defects that act a black mark on a seller’s reputation. But from a practical perspective of CS person-power I can understand they might be reluctant to initiate one.

Don’t worry if you’re still confused. So am I. The new Seller Standards regime doesn’t come into play until August. We have several months to seek clarity…

  • David T.
    4 years ago

    Well…that just about sums up ebay doesn’t it? Ill thought-out processes; left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing; the buyer is king and who cares about the sellers – there will always be plenty more.

    In the meantime, sales are back to snail’s pace after the latest ‘improvements’. If this continues there won’t be enough sales to get anyone to TRS standard.

    Ebay is grim and getting grimmer.

  • admiralhardinge
    4 years ago

    Ebay say : “As a rule, eBay does not ……. descore defects even if it is unwarranted”

    Frankly this is disgusting, and totally unethical – a real black mark on eBay’s corporate “standards”

    Is this a company you want to build your business with?

  • Rich
    4 years ago


    “Where sellers can see defects for cancelled transactions or unresolved cases we’ve seen this is most likely when the process flows on eBay haven’t been used. We advise sellers to always make sure the transaction is logged correctly and any communication with the buyer is through eBay. This way we can see what is happening which is really important.”

    We have 7 cancelled transactions for not having item in stock or sold to someone else.

    We have never cancelled for this reason, when we check in the dashboard we can see 6 of the 7 transactions all put through eBay. However on these transactions we used “other” as the reason for cancelling the transaction. These are return items as they did not fit the customer, or did not suit the customer.

    I feel the big worry is the “item not received” how can a seller manage this? Things do go missing in the post, customer don’t always pick them up from the post office after being left a calling card. Sadly there are also dis-honest customer who will simply say they have not received the item.
    We feel that once we are forced to use the manage return system things are just going to get worse. eBay is like a sitting time bomb for sellers.

    Guess we will just have to see what happen, if sellers start losing TRS status and there are no TRS then I can see that being good for buyers 🙂

    • admiralhardinge
      4 years ago

      The only real value I can see in TRS is the discount. It certainly doesn’t seem to influence Cassini search results, despite ebay’s claims.

      Check out a search for any item you sell where there are several sellers in the market, and I bet you’ll find better search positions for items from non TRS sellers, probably with worse deals, above your item – or is it just my items that are like this?

    • Gary
      4 years ago

      If you are not worried about discount then forget about the new defect regime. It only affects those who want discount. Do your own research on this. I have an equal number of “free post TRS” and “pay post not TRS” listings and I can’t tell one way or the other if “free post” increases sales. When I search my listings appear in any random order sometimes at the top sometimes not so no ebay search consistency at all. Only around 40% of my BIN sales get a discount and 0% of my auctions do. So if I a loose all TRS discount it amounts to around 0.6% overall and I am not going to loose any sleep over this!

      Maybe this “not loosing any sleep over 0.6%” is what ebay hope for as all these 0.6%’s x 1000’s of TRS sellers add up.

    • JD
      4 years ago

      But do remember that if your 7 deadly sins exceed 5% you get kicked out!

  • Mike
    4 years ago

    We have had 3 people buy and pay for items over the weekend who have then decided they do not want the items so we have refunded them, does this now count against us?

    • mw
      4 years ago

      Yes as far as I understand it.

    • Mike
      4 years ago

      Thanks, so we get punished for buyers remorse, whoever is making these decisions at Ebay needs to be sacked, they not only pushing more and more sellers further away.

  • Stuart
    4 years ago

    I have a question that no one seems to of answered, what was so wrong with the old system of TRS? What was going so badly at ebay that they decided they need to change it all again?

    • David T.
      4 years ago

      They were giving away too much in discounts. Now they come up with a ridiculous plan that has its own rules – which not even ebay seems to understand – that many sellers will fall foul of.

      Hey presto – no more discounts and more money for ebay.

      The TRS thing doesn’t really bother me as the rules are so daft that we’ll all break them (in ebay’s eyes) whatever we do, so the number of TRS will reduce dramatically, diluting any advantage.

      The lack of discount is the most annoying, but ebay has been doing so many annoying things over the past 18 months or so and sales are so poor, I hope sellers will leave in droves.

      The problem is, as I’ve posted before, where to go? I am still amazed that there is no real alternative to ebay on the auction side.

    • Alex
      4 years ago


      Someone else has figured it out:

      Defects = Removal of TRS = More £ for eBay

      Why is anyone confused?

    • Gary
      4 years ago

      Discount used to be linked to sales volume which made good business sense both for the seller and ebay. Where is the incentive now on ebay to sell volume?

  • David Brackin
    4 years ago

    That’s odd that they say that they don’t descore.

    I have the live chat transcript from last week where I asked how to get something descored and I was told that there is a team that looks after that: the “Appeals Team”, according to Customer Support.

    Odd to have a whole team dedicated to something that they don’t do.

    • james
      4 years ago

      does seem odd doesnt it? i’m finding the section on my dashboard where it tells me how many feedback they removed this year particularly perplexing, now that i know eBay dont remove feedback. one of them must be lying surely? na, eBay wouldnt lie to us.

  • Broono
    4 years ago

    I have had eBay live chat session ended on two occasions today when I asked ” I would like to discuss the removal of incorrect defect scores against our DRS ”

    Chat Session Ended, Goodbye. (5010)

    On the third attempt I cut and pasted the above , as soon as I got connected. I was informed that seemingly it was a technical fault that got me cut off, twice. Now there is a defect requiring action.

    The issue we had on cancelled orders was not a stock issue at all. We cancelled and refunded immediately 13 customers who chose to ignore the minimum purchase requirement on the listing picture, the listing description and the clear description line that advised that any order place below the minimum would be cancelled and refunded. ( over 200 customers understood / read the purchase requirement. No cases were opened.

    Upshot is
    I’ve consulted this for you and can see that we’ll need to escalate the request to our relevant team fro review and for possible re calculation.

    Me: what are the relevant team called ?

    ebay The relevant team are second level support which handles account related appeals.

    So no DSR DEFECT TEAM in place , yet.

  • janet
    4 years ago

    Ok, im utterly confused, bewildered and downright lost for words right now & im hoping someone here can clarify an issue i currently have.
    The issue is as follows, buyer bought item, claimed Not As Described, i said return for full refund. sometime later buyer messages asking where refund is, i advise i have not received item back, buyer escalates case to customer support, i confirm no item received back, Ebay as buyer for tracking but dont receive tracking info, Ebay make decision today.
    First i receive the following message from Ebay sent to my inbox…..
    “Customer Support has reviewed the case and made a final decision.
    This case was decided in the buyer’s favour. You won’t have to reimburse your buyer for this transaction.

    The buyer returned the item without authorisation and did not provide tracking information for the return. You don’t need to do anything else”

    So according to Ebay the Buyer returned the item WITHOUT authorisation and CANT provide tracking but the case is still found in their favour but i dont have to refund them????

    I then went into resolution and Customer Support has left the following messages…….
    Customer Support comments:
    “Since eBay Money Back Guarantee only covers items purchased with PayPal, we decided not to issue the buyer a refund. You don’t need to do anything else for this case.
    Final decision:
    This case was decided in the buyer’s favour. Although, you won’t have to reimburse your buyer for this transaction, the case will still be counted when determining your seller standing.
    Transaction information:
    Any remaining funds from this PayPal transaction are available”

    Firstly can i draw your attention to the 1st comment, the item WAS paid for with Paypal but i assume that since the buyer cant prove return they are not going to refund them.
    Secondly the 2nd comment says that the case was found in favour of the buyer ????, if that is the case then why is the buyer NOT getting a refund?
    And lastly why is this been held against me? (I ASSUME THEY MEAN A DEFECT)…if im at fault then surely i should refund they buyer?, if im not at fault then i dont refund (which is the case) so why is it held against me?

    All these messages simply contradict each other and make absolutley no sense whatsoever.
    Have Ebay refunded the seller themselves? If so fine but why should that go against me?, i didnt ask them too!!!!

    Im sorry that this is long winded but i would appreciate your views on this and ask if you think this is worth appealing?
    Thanks in advance

    • JD
      4 years ago

      Perhaps please Dan could get eBay to clarify that?

  • northumbrian
    4 years ago

    this is ebay the buyer was good enough not to return an empty box purposely or maliciously damage the item ,so ebay consider the seller at fault

  • Jane
    4 years ago

    I know how to get unfair defects descored – Alan on the Powersellers board explained it. It relates to this statement:
    “Where a case has been found in the seller’s favour this will not be counted as a defect and will not count toward the percentage of cases closed without seller resolution. Any case that escalates to eBay or PayPal for review and is found in the seller’s favour, or found to be no fault of the buyer or seller, will not count against the performance rating.”

    So if you get an INR case where the buyers asks ‘Can you confirm when you posted as I want to make sure I’m in when it comes’ or a SNAD case that says ‘Love the item but it’s too small – can I change it for the larger size?’ or anything else that shouldn’t be a defect against you, here’s what you do:

    When the buyer contacts you with their problem DO NOT be helpful, sort it out and NEVER refund. Instead what you must do is ignore the customer for 8 days, then escalate the case to eBay for their decision. Then they will judge you. If by some chance they happen to agree the case should not have been opened or was opened in error, they may descore you.

    Of course, in the meantime, your customer is blazing mad because you haven’t bothered to deal with their issue. They may even have sent the item back to you in this time, but you still mustn’t refund, even though eBay tell you elsewhere you must refund immediately. Obviously the buyer will hate you and never buy from you again. As well as the poor customer service you have given, they will also get messages from eBay saying ‘the seller disagrees that the item is SHAD/INR’ They’re gonna love that – talk about adding insult to injury!

    But the reason you have to do this is simple. The ONLY way a seller can have a case looked at (and possibly get it descored) is to escalate it. And you can only do that after the case has been open for 8 days. And as I have already found, if you deal with the customer professionally, refund on return, etc, the case gets closed automatically and you then have no opportunity to escalate it.

    I found this out when I asked where the ‘escalate’ button was. So now you know – the only way you can escalate a case is to thoroughly annoy your buyer first.

    Perhaps someone can explain exactly how this system improves the buyer experience?

    • 4 years ago

      I have noticed that many of the same names keep turning up in my sales. So obviously I have regular loyal customers. If i follow the route of annoying them they are unlikely ever to come back again.

      So while I might avoid the worst results from the transaction that has gone pear shaped. It is likely to be the very last transaction from that customer.

      So in the long term is that really to my benefit???

  • Hereford United fan
    4 years ago

    I have already done this kind of thing twice now.

    I actually quite like the system. I am £25 better off.

    Both customers were very annoyed and said they would never use eBay again.

    Then one of them purchased off me on Amazon.


    Not quite sure it is the result eBay wanted or expected though.

  • ebay user
    4 years ago

    CS official line is ow that the percentage thresholds allow for accidental defects.

    just had a customer accidentally open item is not as described case – when i phoned him, he said that was accidental, the ebay system streamed him through to that option .

    CS says even though buyer, seller and Ebay themselves all recognise this was opened by accident, it’s ebay’s policy to let the defect stand!

    sound like a retroactive policy to guard the CS people from the overwhelming work of sorting out these problems in a defective idea –

    why then don’t they spend a little time sorting out the way buyers are streamed to communicate with sellers?

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