Tamebay Comment: eBay UK changes are a step in the right direction

By Dan Wilson September 22, 2015 - 1:28 am

Who would have thought that when eBay made announcements over a week ago to dramatically reform the punitive and illogical Defects system, that some readers here on Tamebay would mourn their passing?

But some did.

You might have missed the massive slew of changes that they announced. We reported them on Tamebay and they are well worth digesting. Here are the key changes:

eBay UK Seller Release: Objective Standards – instead of subjective buyer inputs, eBay will measure you on objective data making it easier for you to avoid defects.

eBay UK Seller Release: New Returns Experience – An improved Returns flow for buyers with more flexibility for sellers.

eBay UK Seller Release: Integrated Tracking – Making it easier to avoid delivery defects when you use tracking.

eBay’s New Seller Hub Coming in 2016 – an improved seller dashboard. Long overdue!

There was never any question of eBay sorting out everything on the seller wish list in one attempt. There’s a lot that needs doing, for starters. And eBay has always favoured evolutionary rather revolutionary change. But what we were looking out for were bold changes. And we got that. There can be no argument that the direction of travel is entirely correct and encouraging.

The one concern we do have is about timing. These things have been announced but most will not come into force until 2016. Some could be even as much as 6 months away. It is a concern that eBay doesn’t seem able to introduce its own reforms more quickly and that means sellers will be facing another peak Christmas selling period under the old regime. In 2015, we would expect even the grand old dame of ecommerce to be more nimble than that.

And we had hoped for some movement on fees. But maybe that’s coming?

So it’s two cheers for the 2015 eBay UK Autumn seller release. And it would have been 3 cheers if the changes could happen sooner.

  • radroach
    2 years ago

    Good news for many sellers I would imagine, though as a seller of low value items unsuitable for tracking, never having had a managed return, with no negative feedback and a negligible defect rate, I guess I only have the new seller hub to look forward to.

  • tinker
    2 years ago

    this is like saying thank you to someone who has just stopped kicking you in the bollocks, it should never of happened in the first place

    • Tony C
      2 years ago

      A-men to that :)

    • Gerry007
      2 years ago

      So a nice class action by all the sellers they chucked off during this bad period might be in order OR maybe ebay will invite them back (those still in business) to sell again…..

      Got to ahve a laugh haven’t you!!

  • Don’t moan about the timing, at least it means after Christmas. eBay usually “bugger up” things before Christmas :p

  • james
    2 years ago

    i’m wholeheartedly behind the changes; and i’d rather they left any major overhaul like this until after peak.

    just like when they started hammering us with the defects, this does require some kind of crossover period; where sellers can see their performance under the new system, while still being rated under the old system, and make any changes as required during this time, before it becomes the standard.

  • Mike
    2 years ago

    How many u-turns can eBay make? Frankly this will open up eBay as the land of Dell Boys where a thousand complaints can be rewarded with Top Rated Seller status. Product discription, quality and and after sales service will count for nothing on eBay.
    So whats the value of my 100% positive feedback?

    • 2 years ago

      I’m not sure that 100% positive feedback has been of much value for some years.

    • Simon M
      2 years ago

      >> I’m not sure that 100% positive feedback has been of much value for some years.

      Disagree – it’s of huge value if I’m a buyer considering which of 10 sellers I should purchase from.

      As much as folk around here hate defects (I’m indifferent, with only 2 defects over the past 12 months) I’d still wager that the number of defects is roughly directionally proportional to feedback, give or take a bit.


    • 2 years ago

      I suspect that only a minuscule number of eBay buyers take the time to examine the feedback of 10 different sellers before buying..

    • Roger C
      2 years ago

      I can’t agree. Remember that to (probably) almost all eBay buyers this forum and both it’s information and views is unheard off, they therefore will make decisions on what they read on the “listing page”.

      Whatever I buy on eBay I always check the feedback and then see why the figure isn’t perfect, usually a point or so loss often shows just a breakdown in communication and a buyer leaving feedback too early, that doesn’t effect my purchase.

      But, now and then, you see less than say 97%, even less than 95%, and a similar study can show genuine problems. So I ignore that seller.

      It’s an excellent “guide” but it’s how it’s used, and unfortunately how eBay keep moving the goal posts, that undermines it’s usefulness.

    • Tinker
      2 years ago

      Were often incensed by buyers who single out a specific negative feedback ,ignoring tens of thousands of positive feedback, to justify some self righteous delusion

    • Gerry007
      2 years ago

      That’s funny Dan….!!

  • Simon M
    2 years ago

    That’s still a minuscule number of buyers more than my competitors with less than 100%.

    I suspect it’s more.


  • Paul
    2 years ago

    I think it is still a case of, “Be careful what you wish for”.

    A more relaxed way of measuring sellers’ performances may just let more competition in. All the bad sellers who couldn’t cope with the old system will now be ready to start flooding eBay with their tat and will be immune from eBay sanctions aimed for bad sellers so long as they fulfill the basic obligations.

    Although I hated the old defect system, it did removed a lot of the chancers from my very specialised category, and made it easier for me to operate.

  • Andy R
    2 years ago

    Can anybody on these boards explain why it should be a defect for the Ebay seller when a courier / Royal Mail delivers late?

    For small items it’s hobson’s choice – Royal Mail.

    For bigger items, you can switch to courier A, B, then C and back to A again.

    As most late deliveries are random events, there is nothing a seller could do to predict or prevent these.

    Why doesn’t Tamebay campaign for an end on Ebay to the unfair defect nonsense for late delivery?

    The only valid reason to penalise a seller would be for not sending or late despatch.

    Otherwise it’s completely beyond.

    Buyers are already protected from non-receipt by Ebay / Paypal rules and distance selling laws.

    Enlighten me, someone, do.

    • Chinny Raccoon
      2 years ago

      I’d guess it could apply where sellers send the item by a slower service than described in the listing- eg Sold with ‘Standard Delivery by RM 1st class’ but actually sent by RM48, which I have experienced before.

      Also, if the seller picks a poor unreliable courier.

    • Andy R
      2 years ago

      The answer then would be for the seller to state a slower delivery service on the items details, charge for a more expensive service and then deliver via that faster service.

      So you would always beat Ebay’s delivery estimates, the customer gets a better service than they were expecting and you avoid defects.

      Except that none of this nonsense would be necessary if Ebay was fair to sellers.

      It’s like the Mad Hatters Tea Party – which is why we left Ebay.

  • radroach
    2 years ago

    The penultimate sentence in the original post is intriguing:

    “And we had hoped for some movement on fees. But maybe that’s coming?”

    Anybody have any thoughts / theories on what such movement might involve in practice?

  • john
    2 years ago

    Ok yes its a step I the rite direction. However it will need tweeked.

    As a seller we are still being ripped off by buyers. INR claims are growing and even if a buyer is blatant ebay does nothing.

    We could also do with the throttling of sales to be stopped.

    As someone else has said the defect system should never have existed. Ebay is not a fledgling company things should change for the better.

  • Roger C
    2 years ago

    I’m not sure I’m seeing another area that may cause confusion, if not conflict, in the future and that is “tracking”. eBay would seem to hope this becomes compulsory and, upon face value, who could say they are wrong?

    But about a month or so ago I got pilloried on here on a post relating to “eBay feedback” as I stuck to principles on the definitions between “despatch” (as mentioned in feedback) and “delivered” (as most seemed to think feedback should be given on) and it clearly showed this part of eBay feedback wasn’t being used correctly.

    For several weeks now I’ve seen a growing trend in my purchases, I’m getting very quick “eBay messages” saying my “goods are despatched” and quoting a tracking reference. Yet clicking on that tracking reference simply shows that the goods have been notified to the courier, awaiting delivery to a collection point or similar. In truth my “despatched” goods are still sitting with the Seller . . . yet he could now claim he “immediately despatched the goods”.

    Despatched means it’s left the sellers premises, after that it’s “en-route”, so this zeal to appease eBay is a false statement . . .

    . . . and if sellers treat “tracking” that way in large numbers then it’ll undermine much of the reason why it’s a good thing.

    • james
      2 years ago

      hence the “acceptance scan”.
      your goods are not officially despatched until the courier has an acceptance scan linked to that tracking ID you provided.

      if you mark as despatched, then dont actually despatch on time (according to the tracking) you will receive a defect.

      for our own despatches, we have collections starting from 9am, several more throughout the day, but these dont show on tracking until well after 6pm.

      you got “pilloried” because you talked utter nonsense, made up stuff, and blamed the seller for your failure to read the despatch/delivery times. – we’re still waiting on your item number in that discussion for verification of the facts.

    • Roger C
      2 years ago

      “Made up stuff . . . “, “still waiting on your item number in that discussion for verification of the facts.” Why on earth do you think I would “make up stuff”? My comments were utterly factual and borne out by how eBay presents it’s feedback system.

      Patently you are one of the many probably unable to understand the English language and it’s definitions that well, best you ask any friends you have to buy you a dictionary for a Christmas present?

      Seriously, my comments on that thread showed 100% that the PRESENT eBay feedback system is NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE and needs being overhauled to integrate today’s world . . .

      . . . and YOUR words “if you mark as despatched, then dont actually despatch on time (according to the tracking) you will receive a defect” show that, once again, I have identified a possible area for future problems.

      Thank you for your support . . . now keep to this thread lest you be considered a troll.

    • Mark_H
      2 years ago

      How does the acceptance scan work with drop off locations.

      I can take parcels to my local Collect+ and MyHermes stores up to 10 pm, however they will not be picked up by the courier until the next day. Had I dropped off the parcels earlier then they would be collected the same day, and probably arrive a day earlier.

  • Matt C
    2 years ago

    What a strange article.

    Considering Tamebay exists as a resource for small to medium sized online retailers, it seems bizarre to me that Tamebay could write such a positive post about the changes.

    While there are planned improvements to the current defect system, these improvements could be completely wiped out by the dispatch/delivery monitoring they plan to implement and the restrictions they will place on sellers who do not meet the new standards.

    Worry times for small/medium eBay traders.

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