eBay UK bolsters Seller Protection

By Dan Wilson July 9, 2014 - 2:23 pm

eBay Seller Protection TeameBay UK is starting to open up a bit more about what it does to protect sellers from buyers and how it might well have protected you already. It’s all welcome news.

eBay say that around 30k sellers each month are now being helped by the new measures they’ve put in place to protect sellers from unfair buyer behaviour. Crucially, this information relates to the DSRs, and defects, buyers can potentially levy against sellers.

Here’s one example of new information that eBay have published that demonstrates how they are operating. This info of from the new Seller Protection help page:

  • New detection methods help us identify high-risk buyers who might be bidding on several similar items at once. We’ll take action before the non-payment even happens.
  • We identify buyers that haven’t paid so we can automatically remove any negative or neutral Feedback and low Detailed Seller Ratings they might leave for you.
  • When an unpaid item case closes without payment, we’ll block the buyer from leaving Feedback and add a strike to their account. This can lead to buying limits or suspension.

How might you know whether you have benefited?

Have you checked out the Seller Protection part of your seller dashboard yet? Last week, eBay emailed thousands of sellers alerting them to this enhanced information.


Needless to say, these data will differ from seller to seller but it’s good to know that sellers can know access the info to show that, in the background, the eBay wheels are whirring to take the sting out of some seller experiences automatically.

It’s unreasonable to expect that eBay might lay bare to all exactly what their processes and practices are in this programme of proactive activity against poor buyers. But it’s clear indication that it’s something that is going on behind the scene and resources have been allocated.

eBay Seller Protection (UK) CovereBay have also released a PDF guide to what they’re doing

I can well imagine some eBay sellers judging these measures to be weak, too little and too late. But I think that may well be an ungenerous assessment. In any case, having the dashboard with an indication of how many times a seller has been protected, must put an end to the perception that eBay never find for a seller or protect a seller in cases that involve a dodgy buyer.

That said it is a little frustrating that we don’t know more about those incidents. But it is also understandable.

Rather like the secret service in a nation, exposing and making public processes, rules and indeed successes, could hamper future efforts. It seems to me though that eBay is on the right track.

  • tinker
    4 years ago

    elvis lives

  • john
    4 years ago

    They have been doing this for ages. And its more or less only for NPB. So its more or less automated.

    90% of non paying biders can be blocked in your setting in ebay if they have X amount of strikes anyway.

    you should also be able to block if they have open/closed disputes
    Giving the power to the seller to block buyers via more complex criteria would be a lot more helpful.

    Especially with the new returns rules. To have the power to block buyer by the amount of returns/neutral/negs etc Cause lets face it if the buyer makes ebay money at the expense of the seller then ebay do not delete the buyer.

    You should also be able to block by open/closed disputes.

  • gutspiller
    4 years ago

    Ebay doesn’t do anything. For years I’m having a problem buyer. He creates a new account buys a few items with me and other sellers and never pays. Just a few months later he creates anohter account and starts all over again.

    A 0-feedbacker with easily 10 strikes on his account. However all these accounts stay active. The only way to protect you from Ebay is to leave Ebay.

  • Paula
    4 years ago

    I agree gutspiller.

    These “protections” might keep the “average” buyer in check … the ones who just don’t know the rules, and who don’t know about DEFECTS or how things work on eBay.

    But the true scammers learn to adapt very quickly to new regulations and systems, intended to protect Sellers.

    They know exactly what it takes to get a reimbursement out of eBay’s pocket, while leaving Defects in their wake.

    And any protection that exists doesn’t go nearly far enough. If a scammer buys 10 items and claims the Seller only sent one of them, eBay will always take their side.

    If a scammer c&p’s your description and then systematically lies and says that each of the points in your description is completely false, eBay tells the Seller, “You can’t prove what you sent them, so we have to side with the Buyer.”

    If a competitor wants to organize a few friends and bomb your account, eBay does nothing to stop it, and says, “There’s more where you came from.”

  • Alex
    4 years ago

    More bollocks from the monster.

    Lets see how many sellers feel “protected” in August!!

    • Alex
      4 years ago

      Also, why do TameBay promote eBay?

      Lets face it, we all know that come August the new Defect Policy will be implemented in line with the randon opinion of the idiot at Customer Service. Depending on who you call and speak with (which will be mostly for the purpose of contesting something) most decisions will be inconsistant and unfair, as per normal. God knows CS don’t implement current policy fairly so do you really think Defect will be fairly applied?

      Why don’t TB take a stand? This site could do much more to encourage eBay to reconsider Policy.

      These changes suck. Please take a side and help matters. Why so little support?

    • 4 years ago

      The question posed is why we don’t take a stand at TameBay….

      The first obvious answer to that is that we actually do, often, make highly critical and also constructive comment on eBay policy. We have leveled numerous criticisms of both managed returns and the new seller standards since we first reported them in April, for instance.

      But TameBay isn’t a lobbying organisation for eBay sellers. Firstly, we aren’t a membership organisation so there is no clear group for whom we would be lobbying. TameBay will reflect our views and often those of readers but unlike, say, a trade union collectively TameBay doesn’t have a position.

      Secondly, what would we lobby exactly? Just a quick look at the comments on this thread shows a diverse selection of views. To lobby requires a clear set of shared interests informing a defined set of demands. That isn’t, I don’t think, actually possible in the context of TameBay remaining a vital information resource from a very disparate and diverse set of readers.

    • john
      4 years ago

      I would say tamebay is more critical of ebay than they were 4-5 years ago.

      Still kind of on the fence but its sometimes the best place to be until the fence rots lol

  • john
    4 years ago

    Put the protection in the sellers hands. Give us full control. Ban by region , postcode negs, neutrals, disputes and returns . There is no need to hold this back from the seller other than for eBay’s own greed.

    There may be a case for sellers not being able to use such a vetting criteria properly but that’s the sellers problem.

    • Alex
      4 years ago

      Intresting idea but I don’t get it. Sellers control eBay? Cmon…. but maybe I’m missing something.

      Please explain the mechanics of your proposed system.

    • john
      4 years ago

      There is no reason why a seller cannot block buyers that start too many disputes/defects. OR leave too many negs or neutrals.

      there is only 2 possible reasons for not letting sellers do this .

      ebay greed or ebay have deemed that sellers would not be competent to use that sort of system properly.

    • Alex
      4 years ago

      Ahhh….. Now I understand. Interesting idea.

      You are proposing that sellers should have a greater number of variables when blocking buyers. Things like anyone in certain postcodes, defects, feedback, race, religion, nationality, friends, football team, cats vs. dogs, Eastenders vs. Corrie, etc…..

      Sorry but I don’t think its practical.

      I have a simple approach: I block anyone who causes trouble for any reason, and especially if I don’t like their name!!

      Works great for me!! 🙂

    • 4 years ago

      I keep wondering how the Postcode blocking would work. As an example my postcode is shared by 10 addresses. So if you banned my postcode that would mean that all 10 addresses would be blocked. Yet while I might have done something to upset you my 9 neighbours would be completely innocent.

      But perhaps you would not ban my Postcode only the first bit in my case TR. This covers well over half of Cornwall. seems a bit drastic if it is only me who has upset you. Or perhaps TR1 or TR2 again these cover significant populations.

      There are only a handful of ‘customers’ since I started that have upset me enough to think about banning them and to date I have not bothered banning any of them. Mind you none of them have come back to buy again so my not having banned them has not caused me any problems. Might be different if one did come back and annoyed me for a second time.

      Mind you it maybe that on the whole I tend to get a better class of customer.

    • chrissieboy
      4 years ago

      or maybe it’s because of the type of product you sell e.g if you sell new and sealed products you are far less likely to get SNAD than someone selling used items. Although not practical to alter it, it is harsh that sellers of used goods have the same description feedback criteria as sellers of new items

    • john
      4 years ago

      I have been doing ebay for over 12 years …there is probably only 3 times I have encountered multiple purchases from the same street.(well that I have noticed). I personally would not use postcode blocking.(however I have seen people mention that they get loads of items nicked sending to certain area’s) ….again blocking by inr would sort that.

      Many problem buyers are encountered after the purchase. I do not think it is unreasonable to be able to block if a buyer has made X amount of returns in a month….or X amount of complaints/defects started.

    • 4 years ago

      I have noticed an interesting thing once or twice in the past. I will get an order from a customer in say Crewe. He has ordered a particular Book. I post it out and then within say a week or 10 days I will get orders for another 3 or 4 from addresses close to Crewe.

      In my case I would explain it that as it was a specialist Book it is likely that friends have all been looking for it and one turns up having bought it from me and his mates then all follow him and order from me.

      They may not be in the same street or postcode but all within a couple of miles. But as I generally get a better class of customer I end up with several orders and several Positive Feedbacks.

      The few that I would have thought about banning only one was a real pain in the neck and the others just nuisances. But in the event I did not bother to ban anybody.

      One that did annoy for a time actually was a regular customer. But I think that I sorted out his problems but to date since he has not ordered again…but of course there is no guarantee that I have had something that he wanted since.

  • 4 years ago

    This is not new. Basically eBay have updated their policy wording to now include that they remove defects. Everything else has already been in place and it’s simply spin to make it look they’ve improved something.

  • Kevin A
    4 years ago

    Interestingly, I see from your screen grab that eBay are protecting 30,000 sellers each month.

    Funny then, that on my dashboard they are protecting 60,000 sellers each month

    Fudge, fudge, fudge

  • tinker
    4 years ago

    proof of the pudding and all that
    we suspect there are few sellers who are confident or happy with ebay seller protection

    • Alex
      4 years ago

      Few? I don’t know any. Casual or occasional sellers maybe. Professional sellers? None!!

      Fact is that Pro sellers generate eBay’s revenue but will be caned with Defect. Bad buyers will be able to take advantage and good sellers will pay the cost. If you have a problem and call CS then expect to wait hours (the password fiasco had typical waits of over 45 minutes). Defects will flood CS in August and September.

      My advice is end all your listings and take August off.

      Cmon, you know you need a LONG holiday anyway!! Nows a good time. 🙂

  • Chris L
    4 years ago

    My biggest wish would be that “opened INR cases” do not count as a defect when they are closed by the buyer as the buyer is satisfied.
    When I look at my defect report almost all of the are INR cases opened and then closed 2 days later as the buyer had got the item or it was at the Post Office.
    Unfortunately the buyer (who is a satisfied customer) closed the case as he was happy and we get a defect stuck on us which sits there for a year.

    I would also like to request TB push Ebay on this change as this is what will damage most sellers.

    Chris @ TB: Is there no way to put up some kind of petition to Ebay on this point?

    • 4 years ago

      No need for a petition, eBay read Tamebay and your comments 😉

      To be honest over the years there have been many petitions and so called “boycott eBay strikes“. None have had the slightest effect as buyers just kept on buying.

      If you really do want a petition I point you towards the petition protesting against eBay charging fees on postage. Not had much effect and still struggling to reach 1000 signatures. Feel free to start another and add a link to it in comments, but I fear it’ll go pretty much the same as the postage fees one.

    • Alex
      4 years ago

      Chris, I agree it makes no difference.

      What’s more, to to sign the petition you must give your full address and other personal details, and then verify your participation by receiving an email with a link. That must surely put many off and I guess thats why only 956 have signed so far (compared to the 14,000 that signed the petition for free trade online ( which also appears to have actually achieved something.

      And anyway “petitioning” eBay (LMAO!!!) is a fruitless exercise. Do you really think that will change anything? eBay will simply ignore it like they do most things.

      Nonetheless, they now have 957 signatures as I just signed it!

      Suggest you all sign it too.

      Hey Sam: Thanks for the tip (see post below) , Its good to know that I can scam 9 people every two months without raising suspiscion and I could really do with a free flat screen TV, Ferrari, yacht, Lear Jet, hooker (can I defect if crap?), Carribean holiday, etc…

      Rock on eBay! Something for everyone. What a great community! 🙂

    • tinker
      4 years ago

      if ebay read this please can you be consistent

      contacted TOP CUSTOMER support about a negative that was plainly wrong
      dublin gave us a blunt no,
      yet it was removed overnight using the web form

    • Abbas
      4 years ago

      What web form link did you use?

    • john
      4 years ago

      These petitions / strikes have never worked because the sellers have never been united in anyway.

      There is no union or large organisation we are all affiliated with. Anything that is not controlled by ebay is manipulated by ebay.

      paypal now owned by ebay.(all payments now controlled by ebay)
      Dispatch/postal system now manipulated by ebay

      How long before we have to buy packaging material via ebay ??

      I am also now concerned that sales are now throttled/manipulated. The search is now in full control of ebay regarding sales. I have said before it is only a matter of time before they get caught overstepping a line.

  • Sam
    4 years ago

    We reported a scammer who had been claiming “empty packs” and “item not received” from almost every sellers. We reported him and next day he was no longer a registered user.

    But the worrying part;

    During a discussion with a very polite resolution team member based abroad, she commented that anyone making 10 to 15 claims will be deemed suspicious. We were shocked and immediately expressed our concern that, does this mean a scammer can get away with 10 claims in 60 days and it will be considered OK? Didn’t get a satisfactory reply.

    Now really worried about what is going to happen from August.

    On top of that you get a defect for putting up with this!

    Till recent changes we were doing just fine and felt protected. These glossy charts and unverified figures can’t make us feel protected especially with new beat the seller policies.

  • davelovesebay
    4 years ago

    Not effect me !.
    Me Hong Kong.

    Even me 97 % Feedback me no. 1 in search box ha ha ha. Beat UK seller price 10p, everytime !

    NO FEE

    My warehouse in London ‘really’.

    Soon buy 1 bed flat London only 2 million Dollar and go up 1001 % one year !

    • Gerry007
      4 years ago

      Chris Dawson….

      Would be good to have a like/don’t like voting (thumb up/down) system…. then I could like this comment.

  • Gerry007
    4 years ago


    Just under 2 years ago, we lost 1 of our ebay accounts as ebay deemed us (after 9 years) not fit to be a seller on ebay anymore.

    Two years on, we are now 35% up on turnover, and we put all our energy into our own sites (we simply rely on google to show us in search results and are often high up on the 1st page). Amazon has been good for us too, we achieve better than 10-15% increase margins & no hassle with most buyers.

    I am sad for the many sellers on ebay that come August, they are going to get hammered & hammered again by ebay buyers…

    I sleep well at night nowdays.

  • Naimee
    4 years ago

    A difference few changes can make,

    Q: What did we see in the above picture of seller protection team few months ago?
    ANS: Team of eBay protections team with “reassuring smiles” that they are here for us.

    Q: What do we see now?
    ANS: Few people from anti seller team “smirking”.

    • 4 years ago

      Amazing how one day people look at a picture and think smiles and the next they think smirks isn’t it!

      One thing I do know is regardless what sellers think the people at eBay actually do care and want to do their best for their customers even if it doesn’t always seem so when you hear of new policies that seem like the end of the world… Mind you, I remember when DSRs were announced, Sue and I were quite vocal about them and they turned out as not too much to worry about for most sellers….

    • john
      4 years ago

      ye to hell with the dolphins….After all as long as I am alright.

      I am alright but I need the dolphins to make me look good. lol

    • maz
      4 years ago

      Yes that’s true Chris, few misjudgments and policies of penalizing sellers for everything which is out of their control, can change perceptions overnight. We no longer feel protected.

      We have been using managed returns for nearly a year and highly recommended it to other sellers. We had few buyers who abused the paid returns process but we refunded and moved on as that was the only way to keep the DSR unaffected. We have 5 glowing stars and not a single case closed by resolution, if there was an issue, it was dealt with courtesy and ended with a happy customer.

      DSR did not worry us and we welcomed every change and saw it as a policy to benefit sellers. We still can’t get our head around the fact that regardless how well we deal with the issue, a defect will stay and buyer simply asking a question can cause a defect.

      Today we had a dispute where one elderly customer asked a technical question without reading instructions. We called and helped and explained the impact of his dispute. Poor guy had no idea as he was not familiar with eBay system, he closed the case and left a positive feedback but defect stays. Yesterday despite available tracking buyer opened a dispute and then later closed it after realizing it was left with his next door neighbour.

      How can we feel protected when these defects are flying in from left right and centre. This change alone is enough to change perception of eBay seller protection policy.

      You are right DSR did not affect many but these defects will have a major impact and will switch off many good sellers.

      If you have a say and eBay listens to you then please suggest a revision of defect policy which will then have a positive impact.

      That is;

      Managed returns do have a positive impact and customer do feel protected and looked after when they realize they do not have to pay for faulty or damaged returns. Don’t penalize sellers with a defect if they are paying for returns.

      If buyer leaves a negative or neutral after returning at sellers cost via managed returns, then that means he is still unhappy so count that as a defect.

      Do not count closed cases without resolution as a defect. Do not count revised negatives or neutrals as defects. (So far there is no incentive to reach out to put it right).

    • DBL
      4 years ago

      I have to agree with you. We’ve been using Managed Returns since January and returns have reduced. The reasons given for return have been too big, too small and a couple change of mind. Customers are finding it easier and more official to return things. No customers have said that it’s a SNAD to get the postage paid so far but if they did I would use the report button to pause and escalate the return for eBay to look for it. It will also help rid the site of all those illegal seller return policies.

      As for the defects for ‘Where’s my item’ questions, those that have already been delivered next door or at the corner shop or turn up late due to RM not delivering on time I don’t think is fair as is a defect for neutral feedback.

      While I understand ebay have to act on the data they have access to, telling sellers to send buyers down the case route last year and turning it around so it goes against a seller this year is unfair. A grace period or to validate all sellers on 3 months rather than 12 for low volume sales would be a fairer way to implement the new defect system.

      All sellers are going to be operating under the new system and I’m also with the opinion it is’t going to be as bad as people think it will.

    • tinker
      4 years ago

      I would use the report button to pause and escalate the return for eBay to look for it

      elvis really really does live!

    • Chris L
      4 years ago

      I agree with you there.
      For those 2 cases closed by the Customer you now have 2 defects sitting on your account for either 3 months or 12 months depending on how much you se..
      And as far as I know there is no way for Ebay to de-score them?

    • maz
      4 years ago

      Yes Chris eBay may probably de-score and i had two de-scored a month ago. Believe it or not it took 47 minutes on the line. Spoke with seller support and they had to pass me over to guys dealing with de-scoring.

      Unfair defects are coming in constantly and if we start calling eBay each time, we will not be able to do anything else other than increasing our blood pressure. It’s not easy and pleasant to sit there with a phone receiver stuck to your ears waiting nearly an hour to have an issue resolved which isn’t even your fault.

      After last de-scoring experience we gave up and will run with the flow and see where it takes us. I am of the view now that eBay is after our TRS discount and will not stop till we are TRS.

      Another thing Chris, due to neutral counts, soon there will hardly be any sellers left with 98% to 100% feedback score. It will take time for eBay to realize how many people are being put off from buying on eBay from sellers with under 98%. On one hand they are assuring customers that it is a safe place to buy and on the other hand they are so determined to mark down the sellers with everything possible that they are not thinking about the consequences.

      They were once considering review feedback to be removed just like Amazon and when I asked the question during defects webinar, they replied no the idea is no longer being considered. Another good idea dropped.

  • sammi
    4 years ago

    I do not see anything here new. Same old same old. I actually moved a lot off my stock away from ebay totally the other week. Buyer fraud on the site is becoming more and more of an issue.

  • tinker
    4 years ago

    we have no confidence at all in seller protection
    when a buyer returns ,
    because they failed to understand or read clear conditions/descriptions results in possible sanctions

  • Chris L
    3 years ago

    Chris @ Tamebay
    Is there a way we can “pin” this topic to the top of the page. It seems to be one of the most important discussions in the Ebay Category for a long time and something that is hurting all sellers and would be great if we can get more feedback on it and that Ebay may actually read it?
    Thanks in advance

    • 3 years ago

      We aim to please and any topic that attracts a lot of comments will likely make it onto the “Most Talked About” list in the righthand column of the Tamebay home page.

      It’s automatic, not an editorial decision, but this topic is currently top as it’s had most comments 😀

  • Chris L
    3 years ago

    Just started work today and the alarm bells are ringing.
    New Case: INR
    Checking tracking I can see that there was an attempted delivery and the item is now at the Post Office awaiting collection.
    Ebay thinks all buyers know that they should just email their seller if the item has not arrived.
    In practice this is not how it happens. The buyer goes to “Help” and the first thing they see is “Item not received”
    They click on this and there we go…. “open a case”

    Now I have to wait 10 days and keep my fingers crossed that the buyer does not close the case so that I can pass it on to Ebay in 10 days for them to close so that the defect is removed.
    This is the most customer unfriendly procedure that Ebay has ever created.
    Normally we would just ask the buyer to close the case as they are happy and have received their item.
    With the new system we then wait 10 days and pass it to “Ebay Small Claims Court”. The case will be decided in my favour and the Buyer will get a mail saysing “Sorry Buyer, we ruled against you, you have lost the case”.
    I cannot understand how that is meant to be a “Better Buying Experience” as ebay is promoting the new seller standards to be.

    We really need to all push Ebay that opened INR cases that are closed to the buyer satisfaction are NOT counted as a defect.

    I would ask all sellers who have similar problems to bombard Customer Service so that they can see that this is a real problem and a complete thinking mistake by the top floor Ebay executives who thought this nonsense up.
    Obviously the people who made this decision have never sold or bought on Ebay or maybe even never worked in Customer Support.

    Anybody else think the same?

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