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eBay UK: Detail on 18 month no sale 10p fines

By Chris Dawson March 4, 2015 - 9:03 am

10p smThis week eBay UK announced that from summer 2015 they are going to impose a . We’ve managed to get some more detail on how this is going to work.

Timings

First off this isn’t going to kick in until the Summer on a yet to be specified date. From then on listings which haven’t sold within 18 months will be charged an additional 10p fee on top of the usual insertion fee when renewing the item.

From the go live date eBay will look backwards and identify all listings that have been on site for 18 months, but haven’t had any sales. These are the listings which will be affected, plus any listings that reach 18 months in the future without a sale.

10p additional fee EVERY MONTH

This is the important bit… The additional 10p isn’t a one off fee, this will be a rolling charge. For every relist starting from the 19th relist you’ll be paying an additional 10p on top of the normal Good Til Cancelled fee.

Avoiding the fee

Get a sale!

Obviously this is easier said than done, but there are a number of things you can do to increase your chances of a sale.

Wherever possible use multi-variation listings or Motors fitment. This will have several desirable effects:

  • If you sell one of any variation on a listing then you’ll avoid the 10p charge
  • You’ll get increased Best Match exposure on all variations on the listing if you get sales on any variation
  • If you don’t get a sale within 18 months you’ll only pay one 10p per month charge, not one of each variation which is what will happen if they’re all on individual listings
  • If you have a one off product which hasn’t sold for 18 months consider simply sending it to auction to liquidate the stock and reinvest in more saleable stock

Relist!

Cancel you listings before they hit the 18th month and relist. This will also have several benefits, a fresh listing could very well appear higher in Best Match than an 18 month old listing that’s never sold!

  • Reshoot photos, revise titles and descriptions, make sure your listing displays well on mobile. Use this as an opportunity to make your listing more attractive and saleable
  • Double check the Category you’ve listed in and Item Specifics, eBay mess with (aka update!) these so often they’re bound to be out of date after 18 months

Monitor your eBay Invoice and use tools to identify aged listings!

These 10p fines will start to add up. Sadly the more outdated listings you have the more unmanageable your eBay invoice will be and the harder it will be to scan it each month to catch the listings attracting fines.

We’re hopeful that tools will be made available to identify old listings without sales so that you can manage them before you start getting fined.

  • Martin
    2 years ago

    I spoke to Ebay CS today, and they told me Ebay will be introducing a filter so sellers can see potentially affected listings.

    The Active Listings Without Recent Sales status mentioned yesterday comes into effect between 6-12 months , and also is sensitive to any views or watchers an item may have. So an item without sales but lots of watchers may not appear in this screen.

    • Andy R
      2 years ago

      The filter mentioned only seems to apply to GTC listings not auto-relisted 30 day shop items.

      These do not show up as filtered, as we ended the 143 listings as GTC, which we didn’t even know we had.

      A tool will definitely be needed.

      Judging by the slowness of the Ebay system since the Greedbay announcement, the problems are starting already.

    • Jonathan Browne
      2 years ago

      If they don’t develop a tool, so I can at the very least cancel the 200 listings a day of mine that I won’t have time to “modify”, and my listing fees go from £250 to £1,250 per month, if that happens ONCE, I am OUT, and they lose a £10,000 a year customer.

  • Jonathan Browne
    2 years ago

    Ebay blatantly don’t understand the “long tail” idea. I have 15,000 listings, mostly in the £2.00 – £3.-00 area. At least 10,000 of them are over 18 months old, and I make sales from that breadth of catalog every single day. If I change nothing, my listing fees go from £250 to £1,250 a month even before selling a thing. I already pay £700 or £800 in fees a month. The problem is even if I was (and I am) so reluctant to try any other channel, and even if they put the fees up and up, I’ll still keep paying, but I physically can’t modify and change 200 listing a day. Every Day. FOREVER. I’ve sucked up every one of eBay’s changes, with or without complaint, eventually, I just roll over and get back eBaying, but this one breaks the model for me. I can’t comply if I was absolutely desperate to. I will finally HAVE to listen to people telling me to get my own site together.

    • Jason B
      2 years ago

      I have just looked at one of these sellers who has the best part of 150k listings, the total sales for the last 3 months is just shy of 3,000 sales with an unscientific guess that they are clearing around £6,000 per month. This account will be screwed by this new fine. But the though of dumping the best part of there stock was possibly not part of there business plan.

    • Simon M
      2 years ago

      I sympathise 100% with Jonathan (I’m a competitor of his in the same industry) – we also have listings over 18 months old that we get sales from regularly.

      This is the very nature of the type of product we sell – introducing 10p a month per listing will break those of us with a large catalogue of products.

      S.

  • Tony Benson
    2 years ago

    Advising people on how to sell on eBay for listings that haven’t sold for 18 months seems quite pointless, if anybody finds themselves in this position then a map to the nearest car boot sale or even the local tip may be more useful.

    As far as I understand it this is eBay’s way of generating a little revenue for items listed that never sell on Buy It Now but merely serve to advertise a company’s product to drive traffic to an external website or phone number bypassing eBay sales fees.

  • james
    2 years ago

    “introduce a tool”?

    eBay already tells you if your item hasnt sold in 16 months.
    go to turbolister, scroll right, and sort by the “ebay notes” header.

    • Simon M
      2 years ago

      And if you don’t use Turbo Lister…..?

    • james
      2 years ago

      then you either dont care that much, or can manage 15 minutes to install it.
      – using turbolister was my one-line answer to all these issues, i’m sure there are other answers if you dont like mine.

    • Jonathan Browne
      2 years ago

      Yes, introduce a tool. Have something that tells you in advance which items will incur a penalty.

      It seems to be easy enough in SMP to alert me to which items could be “improved” in the “Improve Your Items” box. They will obviously have to track the items in order to invoice, is it too much to ask to be notified ahead of the penalty date, within that box?

      I do use Turbo Lister. Extensively. You obviously have never tried to maintain a database of 15,000 items using TL, as it becomes all but dysfunctional over 5,000, even on a very powerful machine. The most items I keep on TL is 2,000 if I want to get anything done. It’s another thing need eBay desperately need to overhaul.

  • james
    2 years ago

    if you regularly get sales from a listing, then you dont have to worry. its not the age of the listing, it needs to be 18 months since you last sold an item from that listing.

    if you auto-relist every 30 days, then you dont need to worry either. none of your listings are older than 30 days.

    if you use GTC, and your item has been sitting there for the past year and a half, and hasnt had a single nibble in all that time, then you get charged an extra 10p for wasting space.
    – i’ve half a dozen items fitting this description. the 10p might be the boot i need to do something about them.

    if you genuinely have over a thousand listings which have been using space for over a year, without a single sale, dont bother revising them, just end them and find somewhere else to not sell them.

    • james
      2 years ago

      if you genuinely have 1000+ waste of space items, and want to persist in failing to sell them, just:

      go to turbolister (backup and) delete your ended items.
      go to active items and end all of them.
      go back to ended items, and relist all of them.

      all 1000+ listings are now brand new, you can now continue not selling them for the next year and a half before you get charged 10p.

    • Jason B
      2 years ago

      If we assume an item that has been languishing for 18 months will never sell, then we should also assume that eBay will not be bringing any new buyers to the platform. I sell around 300 items a month and some of the items are ones that have been listed for a while. My business model requires large amounts of items listed to sell a small number of them but enough to earn a living. It’s easy to make throw away remarks when you are listing 3 or 4 items a month but when you are listing thousands, this takes time and dedication. For some this could be years of work that now may be dismantled by a pointless new rule. Who actually cares if a football programme or postcard has been on eBay for more than 18 months? I can see this new rule in leading to more people setting up there own websites with eBay as a marketing tool to push buyers towards it.

    • james
      2 years ago

      its a self-fulfilling prophecy – if your item hasnt had a sale in 18 months, its already buried right at the very bottom of search results, so is less likely than ever to sell.

      if you cant find the time to update them, or dont expect a sale, then end and list anew, and you wont get the 10p charge. and your chances of bagging a sale with that listing will improve for a while.
      – get a sale early on you may even turn it around.

      if you have so many that 10p a month sinks your business, then thats a ridiculous amount of space being wasted.

      you wouldnt accept this level of non-performance in a B&M store – every space on your shelf should be earned.

      ebay may not have the same finite space considerations, but customers do have a finite patience, and if they need to crawl through ten pages of junk nobody has bought for two years, then they’ll leave the site before ever seeing the good items.

      if your business philosiphy is to bulk-generate poor quality listings, at a minimal cost, then just sit back and wait for passive sales, you’ll get no sympathy from me when ebay decides this is clogging the site with junk. they’d be right.

    • Jason B
      2 years ago

      There is a very easy answer, when listing, rather than having GTC, make the longest listing period 18 months and when the time is up these listings will fall into the unsold file. But I guess this is more about revenue raising than tidying up the site.

    • Jason B
      2 years ago

      Another thought that is not being mentioned, maybe the market place has some blame if things don’t sell. With eBays 10% postage tax making it more expensive to post and ever increasing fees, then just maybe eBay’s self -fulfilling prophecy of increasing costs push up prices and make items less likely to sell. Maybe eBay should take a hard look at itself and ask why items are not selling and shoulder some of the blame and invest in new markets and encourage new buyers to buy these items.

    • Jonathan Browne
      2 years ago

      I had a bricks and mortar store for 25 years, and for the type of collectible items that myself or Jason B is talking about, I very much did carry items in nice organised racks, for years, and would sell items that had sat in exactly the same way as they do here. It’s called the long tail model and it works splendidly for many specialists, and others, including say, Amazon. Coins, stamps, vinyl records, maps, books, vintage magazines, and many many other niche items will sell nicely from this model, they just aren’t high velocity items. At the risk of repeating myself, I sell items that i listed prior to Sep 2013, EVERY SINGLE DAY. They are not junk listings, they are not a waste of space, either on the site or the room I keep them in, I just have a nice wide range for my customers to browse. I’ve worked for 30 years to build the diversity of stock, and after spending 25 years in B & M online, went online only, to spend the next five years loading that stock onto eBay. I don’t turn the lot over every 30 days, like W.H. Smith’s, because I’m not just bringing iPhone cases in from Alibaba. So as far as 10 pages of junk goes, as far as I’m concerned, for me and the hundreds of dealers in various interesting and diverse categories, you couldn’t be further from the truth.

  • ken wallis
    2 years ago

    if I make a bid then for some reason I have to cancel what would I have to do

  • elvis
    2 years ago

    “The additional 10p isn’t a one off fee, this will be a rolling charge. For every relist starting from the 19th relist you’ll be paying an additional 10p”

    So If product “A” has been listed for 18 months, without sale I get charged 10p, then a month later with no sale, the listing fee will be a 20p charge, then a month later with no sale 30p listing charge?

    Have I read this correct?

    • 2 years ago

      No… not quite

      Firstly you might be paying nothing, 4p, 9p or 26p per listing per month depending what level eBay shop you have (Free allowance with any shop or Anchor, Featured, Basic, No shop ). That’s what you’ll pay for the first 18 months

      From the 19th month and onwards (if you’ve not had a sale on the listing) you’ll pay 10p, 14p, 19p or 36p per listing per month – 10p more than for the first 18 months, not 10p added on each month.

    • elvis
      2 years ago

      Got it, thanks ;-)

  • Andy
    2 years ago

    The very USP eBay was built on they are now trying to get rid of no more used vehicle parts or used computer parts collectable coins and stamps the list goes on why not just rename the site eAmazon or eChinesetat and have done with it.

    eBay is eBay because you can find anything on eBay even if its been sat waiting for you to find it for the last 3 years this is why eBay is a special place to buy from its eBays USP

    • Jonathan Browne
      2 years ago

      Exactly! As a buyer, only last week I needed a window mechanism for a 12 year old car, the garage said would be £300 for the part, but they recommended I buy from eBay, and they would fit it. I found it almost instantly for £75. (There were only two of these items available, so “Best Match” is irrelevant in long-tail models, james)

      Moreover, I did have a look elsewhere on the net to see if I could find it cheaper, or indeed anywhere else, and gave up after 30 minutes.

      Long-tail dealers are EBays USB, as you say, and once these items are listed, the items are stored until a sale. There really isn’t the time in the day to keep messing with listings that are only 18 months old. It’s actually not any great length of time. 5 years, maybe, or 10, but 18 months is just the other day.

      Those who say “just cancel and re-list”, well, if you could do that, what would be the point? Not cleaning up the site, for sure. So either eBay will insist that the listing has to be changed in some way, or it’s just an exercise in finding ever more imaginative ways of shaking the money tree. However, I’m telling you now, like freepost on books, or the picture changes, it’s unworkable. It will not work.

    • 2 years ago

      If you have the time there is an alternative source of odd bits for old cars. That is the Auto Jumble at such places as the Traction Engine Rally. With Easter rapidly approaching the Traction Engine Rally Season is starting. From Easter until the end of September there is Rallies just about every weekend in just about every part of the Country. At almost every Rally there will be a number of Auto Jumble Stalls.

      So go along enjoy the Vintage Vehicles and the Stalls and hopefully after a conversation with each of the Auto Jumble Stall Holders you will find one that has the bit that you want, and even a few bits that you did not know that you wanted.

      Even if you do not find the bit you want you will have enjoyed a very pleasant day out in the Sun, looked at a lot of Vehicles and talked to like minded people. Much better than spending the weekend behind the Computer.

    • 2 years ago

      While wandering around in the Sun sounds an idyllic way to spend a weekend and one I’d heartily approve of… if there was some dirty oily bit of car oojamaflip I needed I’d hope I could locate it on eBay within five minutes (if it was available) and so would have the other three days, 23 hours and 55 minutes of the Easter weekend free to enjoy the sun ;-)

    • 2 years ago

      Thank you Chris. There is a point that I failed to mention. At an Auto Jumble the Stall Holder is very often happy to haggle on price. After all he knows where he got it from and how much it cost him. He also knows how long he has had it in stock. So perhaps he is sick and tired of hauling it around the Rallies(perhaps he has had it for 18 months and feels like charging himself 10p for keeping it in stock. Also he knows what it fits and if it is a particularly undesirable car such as a Lada perhaps he is glad to see the back of it. However I would guess that you should be able to get it for less than the prices quoted and there is no post & packing.

  • Chris
    2 years ago

    Say for example you have got 100 listings that have been on past 18 months, whats the best way to give them the best chance of getting them gone?

    End/Relist and cut the price hugely?
    Send to auction 99p?
    End completely, sell elsewhere?

    Any other options?

    • chrissieboy
      2 years ago

      as a business seller the cost of auctions are prohibitive on low priced items. the long tail model works very well for me also, better return than money in the bank. we can’t all be ithingy sellers and there are numerous reasons for items not selling quicker than 18 months and much of the blame lies at ebay’s door i.e broken search, geographical sales, hidden listings, outages etc etc. it’s not that the items are tat just that they can’t be found until their turn comes round again

    • Gary
      2 years ago

      Strange how a 99p auction does not sell first time and when I relist later second time around it fetches £3 to £4. Then when I auction off a long standing BIN to find that the auction ends up at a higher price I am puzzled. And then there is the item I have had on the website for 12 months which I then move to ebay at a significantly higher price. It then sells on ebay. All are part of lifes mysteries!

      Use a website to sell for the 12 to 18 month items and ebay for clearance. Save a fortune on fees.

    • chrissieboy
      2 years ago

      ebay is one long mystery, the mystery being why we continue to bother with it at all, it’s a slow painful death of a once great idea

  • 2 years ago

    don’t worry people..help is at hand.
    i’m setting up a site specially for slow moving ebay listings.
    http://www.ebaytoilet.com

    sh$t your listings away!

  • 2 years ago

    Great blog Chris.

    Quick question—if you have an Anchor shop and relist one of your 50K listings that hasn’t sold after 18 months, will you be charged £0.10 per item?

    Thanks

    • 2 years ago

      If you relist using “Sell Similar” so that it gets a new item number then you’re good for another 18 months without a sale and without 10p fines.

      Will be interesting to see if multi-channel management companies like your SellerExpress can make the cancel/relist process painless (and possibly automated) for sellers of long tail products… although that’ll piss off eBay it’ll please sellers!

    • 2 years ago

      Thanks for the info and the “sell similar” tip.

      The developers have already begun conversations with our customers to minimise any disruption this change could create.

    • Jason B
      2 years ago

      That’s worth knowing, I have been speaking to eBay and multi channel website providers this week. Unfortunately there is no onsite tool telling the seller how long there item has been online for but i expect we will know more in April. We are now considering opening a stand alone site that we can send our older listings to. With the purpose of driving traffic from our eBay sales with discount sweeteners and other offers. And scaling our eBay ambitions back for now. This announcement will be a complete game changer for us and maybe it could be a good thing. We are coming round to the opinion that as a seller we may have been too complacent with our eBay shop and this could be the shake up we need. I do feel this will affect eBay profits as even more sellers open there own websites and look to other platforms.

    • Simon
      2 years ago

      This then begs the question, with many listings now converted or using the “OutofStock” option, if you end the listing and then relist it will or could be on the original ebay ID.
      I suspect the original ebay ID will attract the further fee wheras RE-listing without the OOS option will be completely new.
      Oooh I gotta phone ebay CS and ask them that question.
      B-)

  • Blondie
    2 years ago

    I have studied all sides of this argument regarding a “fine” of 10p a listing if the listing has run for more than 18 months without a sale, and I actually understand where Ebay are coming from in this instance.

    Yes in an ideal world people should keep their stock fresh with listings that are competitively priced but surely if you pay a standard shop fee with say 1,200 listings “free” then it is personal preference if you want to list obsolete, unwanted and/or overpriced items.

    • Jason B
      2 years ago

      I think it depends on the category, for example, the music category i would say would be full of items that have been there years and still sell well after the 18 month period. But fortunately for that category you can move to discogs and list for free and pay less for final valuation. If i’m looking for an obscure band i know i can find it there. As for the overpriced items, surely there must be a link to the ever increasing fees and the higher prices. Don’t forget when eBay brought in the postage tax, sellers simply raised there price. When eBay begun, it was a place that sellers could list without having to get there own website but much has changed and sellers and buyers are getting smarter. I buy less from eBay now, I look there and then google the seller. Most business seller have a website now and you can save tons by dealing direct. I recently bought flooring from a seller that i found on eBay by doing this. I’m not the only one, and this is where i feel eBay is out of touch and a little lost right now. I can remember talking to my Yellow Pages rep during the 90’s when i got my first computer with pay as you go dial up. I asked him was he worried about the internet, he laughed and said ‘when you have burst pipe, are you really going to turn on your computer, log in, and search for a plumber?, everyone knows where there Yellow Pages is’. I guess back then they did not realise they were dying and i feel maybe eBay doesn’t either, I think the Rep was trying to convince me that i should change my advert to colour as this new feature was going to revolutionise the yellow pages.

  • john
    2 years ago

    Another stupid money grabbing rule.

    Ok I get why they are doing it, to keep inventory fresh and looking good. Also to get a few quid extra from sellers.

    Many items do not sell because the search is garbage. its not always because the product is garbage.

    This new rule yet again will see inventory disappear from ebay. the inventory range on ebay is shocking. if i need something, i know also have to search amazon and aliexpress.

    So to summarise you pay your insertion fee, ebay do not guarantee viability and if it does not sell in 18 months they fine you 10p….nice earner lol

  • Andy R
    2 years ago

    Re. the 18 month thing.

    I’ve been onto Ebay CS today and am still none the wiser.

    Can the knowledgeable bods on Tamebay definitely say whether only GTC items will get charged the 10p and not 30 day listings relisted either manually or via auto-relist.

    Spent a frustrating half hour on the phone with Ebay and they could not tell me definitely yes or no.

    Usually find more sense on Tamebay than Ebay, so perhaps someone here has got the answer to this one.

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