eBay Multi-Variation listings 4X price restriction

By Chris Dawson June 2, 2016 - 1:35 pm

eBay MVL smIf you sell using the Multi-Variation listing format on eBay, you need to be aware that there are some restrictions on price.

Tamebay reader David discovered that when he went to edit one of his Multi-Variation listings eBay wouldn’t let him – there’s a price limit for the highest cost variation to be no more than four times the cost of the lowest price variation. This probably isn’t an issue for products like T-Shirt, but it’s likely to cause issue for those selling products by length, items which can ship with significantly different features or if you’re selling both small and large quantities.

When I tested listing a Multi-Variation in a computer cable category, the eBay messaging said “Buyers are also often confused by a wide range of prices in a single listing. Although you may not have been aware of this, the maximum price difference between variations for this category is 4X“.

eBay offer further advice saying “If you’re offering different items or items with a price difference greater than 4X, please go back and list them separately. If you’re offering different quantities or wholesale amounts of an item, please add the word “lot” or “wholesale” to your listing title so that buyers can that different quantities are available“.

eBay Multi-Variation Listing 4X Price Restriction

I can understand the quantity or wholesale listings, but this causes an issue if I’m looking for something like ribbon, Ethernet cables, TV cables, material and any number of other products which are basically cut to length off a reel. There’s likely to be a big difference in cost between a 1m cable and a 50m of cable which will prevent you offering both lengths on the same Multi-Variation listing.

David who was selling cables told us “End result of all this for me, I ended up having to put my prices up for the shortest size cable, so bad value for the customer at the end of the day“.

Will this maximum four times price between your lowest and highest cost variations impact you? What will your solution be – adjust your prices or split your products into multiple listings which will be harder to manage and each individual listing will perform less in Best Match than a single listing with recent sales from all variations?

  • James
    5 years ago

    This is symptomatic of the idiots in decision making at eBay.

    This is an issue which no one is complaining about. Instead of wasting their time in things like this why not sort out some of the real issues with multi-variation listings.

    How is it still not possible to change the order of variation listings? I come across so many listings where the seller has obviously added an item on to their listing and because of the stupidity of eBay’s platform they can’t move it from the bottom of the listing into a logical order.

    Imagine the mess this creates as the seller can’t organise any new additions alphabetically. This has been a problem for years.

  • Rich
    5 years ago

    At least it will stop the sellers who offer a sample size of a product at a very cheap price to manipulate the rankings in lowest price first view of items.

    • James
      5 years ago

      Surely it would make sense for their algorithms to disregard the “sample” item if the sample item is not getting comparative or relative sales to the other options within the listing. It should be clearly obvious if say 99p item makes up 1 sale in 200 in a listing.

      Rather than setting arbitrary restrictions like 4x which as demonstrated above makes no sense.

    • Fred
      5 years ago

      I think they’ve got this largely right but should have had a setting for items sold in variable lengths that removed the restriction. The number of sellers who dominate the top of search results by offering an empty product box or one of last week’s toenail clippings for 99p makes searching for the best deal a complete pain in the neck. Usually the people who do this don’t have the best price but are getting sales through this manipulation. Few of them are selling a small sample. Most of them are selling something that nobody is going to buy as their low price item.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    eBay have had this in place for years – this is nothing new!

  • Malcolm
    5 years ago

    I literally suffered with this problem for a few years until recently. I sell cable, and the specific category office>computer>networking>networking cable would never allow my most expensive variation to be more than 4x the price of the cheapest variation. For example a particular cable comes in 4 different colours and 12 different lengths (from 0.5m right up to 50m) the 0.5m cable was listed at £1.95 and the 50m cable I wanted to list at £14.95 but the system would never allow as buyer would “get confused and it does not create a good buying experience”.

    The size difference between my shortest cable and longest is 100 x, the postage price difference between the shortest cable and longest cable is 5x bare in mind we have to offer “free” postage this simply does not work.

    So basically I was forced to list in the wrong category because of this stupid restriction and face listings being taken down for miscatogrisation. I tried time and time again to ask eBay to remove this stupid 4x price difference restriction but they didn’t and the only work around was to list each length separately. So instead of a buyer being able to purchase a cable or multiple cables from the same listing they had to manually try and find all my other listings.

    How on earth does eBay come up with these rules is beyond me. Fortunately the cable category has now had this 4x price difference restriction removed.

    • Fred
      5 years ago

      From the buyers point of view, if someone puts 2m cable into the search, its a nightmare trying to find the best price because the search results start with a mass of people selling the RJ45 connector or a 1cm cable for a quid. eBay obviously only log the presence of a 2m cable in the listing, but do not feed the 2m cable price into the search. The listing contains a 2m cable but the price is probably far from the cheapest even though its at the top of the lowest price inc P&P search.

  • 5 years ago

    I had this and I added ‘Lot’ into the title and eBay let me list with greater than 4X difference…

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