eBay UK Seller Release: New Seller Standards (Defects)

By Chris Dawson August 12, 2014 - 1:10 pm

As previously announced eBay’s kick into effect on the 20th of this month at the next seller evaluation. We’ve heard from many sellers about how they’re struggling to cope with defects and so have eBay and they’ve listened and responded.

Today eBay announced that they are simplifying the after-sale experience with the aim of helping to prevent any unintended defects from buyers. Here’s what eBay are doing:

Improved post-sale experience

From September buyers will be able to initiate all after-sale requests from their My eBay purchase history. That includes any questions about the item, delivery and requesting a return or refund. eBay are also creating a more straightforward and consistent returns experience.

Clearer & ‘no-defect’ options when a buyer contacts a seller

eBay will add a clear option for buyers to contact you the seller when they want to ask a question about using an item. When buyers select ‘I have a question about using my item or I want to send the seller a message’, it won’t count as a defect.

Simpler cancellation process

A more streamlined cancellation process is being introduced. From September, when a buyer requests to cancel a transaction, you can initiate the cancellation from the sold items section of My eBay. You should select ‘buyer-requested cancellation’ so this won’t count as a defect. You then won’t have to wait for the buyer to agree with the cancellation, it’ll be done and dusted.

You can also cancel a transaction if they can’t fulfil the order for any reason, without waiting for buyer approval. However, this will count as a defect.

Updated terminology for eBay Money Back Guarantee

eBay will update the term “case” to be a “request” within eBay Money Back Guarantee from September. That means when a buyer contacts a seller about an item not received or not as described this will be a request, rather than an open case. This will still count as a defect. If the seller and buyer can’t resolve a request and hand it over to eBay customer support team, it’s still called a case. If a case is decided in your favour, it won’t count as a defect.

Here at Tamebay we’re still a little bemused by this one. It basically means that if you think you’ll win a case you don’t resolve the issue, you sit and wait until it’s referred to eBay and then when eBay rule in your favour you don’t get the defect. An example could be that the item was tracked and the tracking shows delivery took place, the buyer then finds the item and tells you they’re happy but you have to leave the case open for eBay to adjudicate. If you close the case with a happy buyer you get an unwarranted defect. If you leave the case open you don’t get a defect but eBay unnecessarily get an unhappy buyer.

Improved seller protection & New defect removal policy

eBay are updating their seller protection policies to include a to replace the existing Feedback removal policy, adding new safeguards so that sellers can sell more confidently, and an easier way to manage and respond to buyer queries.

When will defects be removed under the defect removal policy?

  • The buyer didn’t pay for their order and an unpaid item case is recorded against the buyer.
  • An eBay Money Back Guarantee or PayPal Buyer Protection case is ruled in the seller’s favour.
  • eBay takes action on a buyer for activity that violates the buying practices policy.
  • eBay or PayPal instructs you to hold a delivery or takes action to cancel the transaction.
  • eBay can determine through valid tracking that the defect was the direct result of systemic delays in delivery or communication. Examples include: wide-scale postage carrier delays, items stuck in customs, or power outages due to extreme weather.
  • Debs
    3 years ago

    Is it just me or is it not really that different? They have just changed the ‘terminology’ but basically it means the same (in terms of defects)??

    1 – Clearer & ‘no-defect’ options when a buyer contacts a seller

    There have always been means of contacting the seller post sale which doesn’t cause a defect. The only time it caused a defect was if the buyer selected ‘INR or INAD’ as a reason for doing so as then it routed them into opening a case.

    2. Simpler cancellation process

    You have never meant to get a defect for cancelling a transaction unless you selected something that put you at fault – like ‘ I ran out of stock’ or ‘I sold the item to another buyer’. If it was at the request of a buyer then it wasn’t a defect anyway??

    3. Updated terminology for eBay Money Back Guarantee

    They may have changed the terminology from ‘Case’ to ‘Request’ but it still counts as a defect??

    So in short, in terms of defects not much has changed it seems. Although granted the processes are now a little ‘smoother’ (assuming they work).

    Or do I have this all wrong?

    • 3 years ago

      The idea is to guide the buyer to the right option so

      1 – Clearer & ‘no-defect’ options when a buyer contacts a seller – look at the first option presented, it’s now “contact”, “Return”, Resolve a problem” so hopefully buyers will pick the non-defect issue as it’s top of the list instead of a defect causing option being the first choice.

      2. Simpler cancellation process – you can easily cancel a transaction without having to wait for the buyer to agree, no hanging about and no issues with the buyer clicking the wrong box so it’s easier for the seller. Plus there’s a clear differentiation between cancelling on buyer request and cancelling because out of stock.

      3. 3. Updated terminology for eBay Money Back Guarantee – We’d love to see a process where a non-defect resolution could take place without eBay having to adjudicate (which means waiting for days until it can be bumped to eBay). This I think is still the worst part of the defect system as the seller can’t close the case without it being a defect until eBay looks at it, even if that’s what the buyer wants.

    • Debs
      3 years ago

      Yes I understand…they have not really changed the rules or terms under which you will get a defect – you will still get them for all the same ‘reasons’ but hopefully now it is easier for a buyer not to ‘generate’ a defect.

    • Debs
      3 years ago

      Under the ‘old system’ there was a chance to improve your seller standing, by pleasing the buyer following an ‘issue’ and then asking them to revise their Neutral/Negative FB. Now however the damage is done when the defect is created and that is not reversible (even following a change of FB). No wonder customer service from some sellers has gone downhill.

    • 3 years ago

      I have noticed that once you open a ‘defect’ case with a seller nothing happens as they have already lost. It doesn’t make the buying experience very good.

      Over the last 12 months as a buyer I have opened 20 cases (I buy lots off eBay) but they were all resolved and I just didn’t leave feedback. However, some of my favourite sellers have now given up if I have an issue or if I need to return. I am now too much of a risk to them because I open 1 case?

    • john
      3 years ago


      We block all buyers that leave negs under old system.
      Under new system we will block anyone that gives us a defect.

      This is to protect our business not from the buyer, but from the effects of ebay rules.

      if this ever becomes a problem for ebay I would assume they will take away sellers ability to block buyers.

  • Richard
    3 years ago

    Why o why has eBay got so complex, if only it was run by people that understood retail and the general public. The time chewed up by non selling tasks just keeps increasing for no benefit. The vast majority of small businesses selling on eBay are one or two person operations and there’s only a finite number of hours in a day.

    • john
      3 years ago

      As a buyer I don’t think its improved my buying experience. However these new rules, as soon as a defect is created CS is more or less pointless from the sellers point of view. Similar to if a neg is left under old system there is not much point in bending over backwards providing CS.

    • Richard
      3 years ago

      The whole process seems to be having the exact opposite affect that eBay is after which isn’t good for either eBay or the buyer. eBay have far more to lose over this than sellers, as sellers have a choice whether to sell on eBay or not.

  • Gary
    3 years ago

    I post a lot of items each day 1st class and would receive a non receipt claim almost every other day. All those defects are beyond my control. So why only when there are wide scale delivery problems? Has anyone at eBay bothered to read Royal Mail Service updates each day? What about regional flooding which causes delays…are those defects removed? How about not blaming the seller for problem deliveries?

  • Debs
    3 years ago

    I just love this paragraph in the ebay newsletter….

    Why are you changing the term case to request?

    We’re changing this term based on your feedback. The term request better reflects a more neutral interaction between you and your buyers. Requests for item not received or not as described still count as defects.

    So in one sentence they are stating that a ‘request’ is neutral…and then in the next sentence they are stating that it will still be a defect – HARDLY NEUTRAL THEN!…LOL

  • Gareth
    3 years ago

    I remember hearing a few months ago, that a group of sellers (large and small) went to a conference (in London I think) with eBay staff, who were very sympathetic to their cause. All signed an agreement not to repeat anything in detail that was discussed, but there was a lot of talk about their being a few u-turns in light of the outcries. Well it appears nothing really has changed – same ill conceived system. I didn’t expect anything more.

    I’d like to add that 8 unique buyers may potentially get you banned on a 12 month evaluation – 5 on a 3 month evaluation), but a single buyer with multiple transactions can make you below standard and still obliterate you in Best Match.

  • Dave from Trumpton
    3 years ago

    If the seller and buyer can’t resolve a request and hand it over to eBay customer support team, it’s still called a case. If a case is decided in your favour, it won’t count as a defect.


    An eBay Money Back Guarantee or PayPal Buyer Protection case is ruled in the seller’s favour.


    So after a defect, whats the point of customer service ? Stupid stupid Ebay.

  • Ajay
    3 years ago

    All these new measures are to simply promote a “better buying experience” as a powerseller with 7 years plus experience, I have to say that eBay are trying to exercise every trick in the book by keeping on introducing new performance measures. Business is business, where there is a problem good or bad there is a way of dealing with it, what eBay want is for us sellers to bend over backwards beyond our legal obligation and provide an extremely good service even at the feet if fraudulent buyers.
    In my view, eBay had it right a few years ago, reward sellers by issuing a discount off FVF’s for have a good performance. Currently the set discount criteria is almost impossible to attain and sellers aren’t bothering because its not worth chasing.
    The message to get across to eBay: “don’t manipulate sellers on eBay to match Amazon’s amazing customer service, it ain’t going to happen”. Amazon work off a 1% margain to provide the service and product at the right price, there is no way us independent sellers can match that let along the big high street and supermarket chains

    • Ian A
      3 years ago

      Strongly agree, I’m already 3.22% so have no chance of regaining my top rated discount below 2% despite being 99.8% positive 5 stars etc. As a one person sole trader business I simply don’t have time to spend hours appealing defects. Demoralising penalisation of good sellers just so eBay don’t have to discount fvf fees. It’s backfired as I’m not even paying half the fees I was as I’m spending more time working elsewhere. Fed up of the whole thing

  • Claire
    3 years ago

    We’ve got 2 ebay shops been trading with no issues 99.9% on both and we’re getting hit with fraudulent feedbacks at the moment and people emailing saying ‘I’m just going through my feedbacks and I’ve noticed this item hasn’t arrived so I’d like a refund’. I’ve reported 2 in the last 2 days so far this week on feedbacks but these won’t help my defects and because we send normal Royal Mail we haven’t got a leg to stand on INRs either. So if you lose your TRS do you get the chance to regain it the month after with the rolling figures? We’re finding this new system utterly demoralising and we’re doing everything now to divert customers directly to us and away from our eBay accounts. They’re doing nothing to help our business so they don’t deserve the fees in my eyes.

  • Andy R
    3 years ago

    Don’t forget, Ebay will only allow 3 escalated cases to be found against you after which you will still lose your status.

    So kicking it up to customer services only works if you’re sure you will win.

    Particularly annoyed by defects for Royal Mail not delivering the item. As long as a prompt refund is given this should NOT be a defect for the seller.

    When challenged on this, Alan at Ebay said it was fair as the seller could choose which carrier to to use !!!

    We sell postcards – what choice do we have ?

  • Tony
    3 years ago

    Does not matter how you wrap it up, eBay is so complex….it makes me smile, because I have not changed how I do business for well over 5 years. All my items arrive to customers (due to the premium carriers I use). We offer far in excess of the service I would personally expect if I purchased online, yet we have (albeit small) levels of defects, mostly for items not received….yet everything has been received. Its trigger happy foreign buyers who cant read, follow tracking that cause the problems. Nothing will ever sort that out.

    Its quite depressing, so I just dont read that stuff anymore – keep the policies coming – I just wont read them – cant be arsed. Oh I trade at 100% positive / no negs and less that 1% defects, so I guess ebay look at me as one of the ‘good’ guys – dont feel like that though!

    • Martin
      3 years ago

      Totally agree Tony. Doesn’t matter how good you are, ebay demonise you. I have excellent figures, provide excellent service, but just fed up with constantly having the ebay stick wielded over me. It is harder and harder to keep up with all their initiatives, always involving extra work. They have completely missed the old KISS – Keep it Simple, Stupid management approach. Can you imagine what may happen if not just buyers, but sellers felt ebay valued their efforts and really worked to make seller’s business more efficient and more profitable

  • Rich
    3 years ago

    I use Etsy now. I don’t seem to get nearly so many difficult customers and when there is a problem it seems a whole lot easier to resolve. Everything happens with a click or 2 of the buttons.
    Ebay seems to get ever more complicated however. I understand Ebay are in a bit of a tricky situation, but the start and finish is the whole feedback/ratings system is poor. Really hate this.

  • Chris
    3 years ago

    @Chris Dawson

    “1 – Clearer & ‘no-defect’ options when a buyer contacts a seller – look at the first option presented, it’s now “contact”, “Return”, Resolve a problem” so hopefully buyers will pick the non-defect issue as it’s top of the list instead of a defect causing option being the first choice.”

    Its all good having the “contact ” at the top….. but as soon as it goes through to the next page “I haven’t received my item yet” & “Item I received is not as described” are at the top and both of these directly point the customer to open a case. (even if the dont mean too!)

    If they are going to choose the top one on the first page as its the easier option, surely they will do the same on the next. Nearly all the time I could advise a customer where their item is…. if they just sent a regular question.

    Its far too easy to open a case in error (even i have dont this in the past) we are one of the lucky ones and managed to keep our TRS…………… why can they not make it nice and simple, cases can only be opened 24 hours after a message has been sent, give us a chance to resolve.

    Its making it harder to give great customer experience, as if they have already opened a case, we have lost the battle.

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