eBay Service Metrics and peer benchmarks

By Chris Dawson July 9, 2018 - 7:00 am

On the 20th of July this year, eBay will make their eBay service metrics and peer benchmarks available in the Seller Hub.

For the first time you’ll be able to compare your eBay ‘item not as described’ ‘returns’ and ‘item not received’ as compared to your competitors, in the same category. This rate will be graded as either Low, Average, High or Very High in comparison.

Consequences for low eBay Service Metrics and peer benchmarks metrics

Very High rates will be punished in one of two ways: first you will pay an extra 4% in FVFs on any items in those categories, and secondly eBay will add on extra time to their listings’ delivery options.

While it’s not been confirmed, we believe it’s likely that consequences will probably apply from October 2018.

This will almost certainly impact your position in search results but it’s worse than just a lower search ranking – the lower your ranking the less sales you get and that will also impact your recent sales metrics which will push you even lower in search results – on eBay sales are rewarded with more sales and lack of sales means an even sharper drop in search placement that will impact your future business even once you metrics improve.

Which eBay Service Metrics and peer benchmarks metrics will you be measured on?

The eBay Service Metrics and peer benchmarks metrics will you be measured on will be:

  • How often you receive return requests for “items not as described” including:
    • Doesn’t work or defective
    • Doesn’t match description or photos
    • Wrong item sent
    • Missing parts or pieces
    • Arrived damaged
    • Doesn’t seem authentic
  • How often you receive buyer requests for “items not received” defined as the percentage of your transactions where buyers requested information about an item that was already expected to have arrived, or where tracking shows the item as delivered but the buyer has not received it.
  • Peer benchmarks: comparisons of those rates to similar sellers
  • Insights into why your buyers are making these requests
  • Tips to help reduce rates of these requests

Which sites will eBay Service Metrics and peer benchmarks metrics apply to?


What is the look back period?

  • Sellers with 400 or more transactions during the last 3 months are evaluated on their transactions during the previous 3-month period
  • Sellers with fewer than 400 transactions during the last 3 months are evaluated on their transactions over the previous 12-month period

How will you be rated?

eBay will rate you against your peers as “Low”, “Average”, “High”, or “Very High”. You’ll only be on the receiving end of consequences if you’re rated very high.

It’s important to realise that eBay aren’t interested in a particular number or percentage of unsatisfactory transactions – it’s a moving target. What eBay are trying to do is set the bar for “Very High” low enough that hardly any sellers will be impacted but high enough to catch the bad sellers that we all know are out there. They will have intentionally set the stats to catch a low number of sellers to start with, but as with previous measures that we’ve seen eBay may start to tweak the numbers upwards if it’s not catching all the sellers they’d like to see improve, or indeed as standards across eBay gradually are driven up.

  • Dave
    2 weeks ago

    Brill…. another rubbish idea!

    We sell Electronics and get loads of ‘Doesn’t work or defective’ returns being opened due to buyers not reading the user manual or being generally stupid. Some people even open a ‘Doesn’t work or defective’ return just to ask a question.

    I’ve just gone through my last 15 ‘Doesn’t work or defective’ returns. 11 didn’t come back, and of the 4 that did just 1 was actually faulty. Indeed, how is that even my fault? I don’t make the bloody things. I’m not Samsung or Sony.

    eBay being eBay, this will no doubt be counted as 15 and certainly not 4. The reality is that it should be 1 but that will never happen in a month of Sundays with eBay.

    And we all know that people open a return for ‘Doesn’t work or defective’ or ‘Doesn’t match description or photos’ to avoid paying return postage fees.


    • Eliah
      2 weeks ago

      Sales Bad
      Glitches Bad
      They need to sort out the missing images and page views before making sellers do more metrics. Which from experience I know can be wrong.

  • jodie
    2 weeks ago

    im confused it says on ebay announcements that this wont be used to effect sellers dashboard etc
    heres the link for it

  • Trumpton
    2 weeks ago

    More absolute rubbish from Ebay.

    Please sort out the completely useless “Messaging System” still in place from the year 0.

  • northumbrian
    2 weeks ago

    if we were worried about this or thought we were being unduly impacted
    we would bite the bullet,
    include a free return label in every package and a leaflet with contact details and instructions

  • northumbrian
    2 weeks ago

    of course ebay seem not to understand all this drives up costs and overheads
    rather than increasing fees for the bad guys ,hows about reducing them for the good guys as an incentive ,

  • SAM
    2 weeks ago

    Look ebay is junk these days it is an awful site to sell on. It has been for the last year and a half.
    Constant issues, problem customers, badly managed. The Place is just full of scammers who will abuse it, just like they did last time they brought in the draconian defects system, and all that did was drive everyone into Amazon hands.

    The dodgy sellers will still find away they always do, as ebay has made it so easy for them. Even when you report the dodgy listings they let them stay on.

    Whole lots of innocents will get caught up in the net. It is another CON to try and fleece us for yet more fees. 10 years and we have never know it so poor on ebay now.

    HOPE the same rules apply for their big brand buddies like Magpie

  • 2 weeks ago

    The second potential punishment measure of eBay adding on extra dispatch/delivery time to guilty parties listings’ delivery options is a terrible idea. Punish someone, sure, but this policy is plainly dishonest.

    Even if they’ve put a clause into contracts that means they can’t be taken to court for libel, it is basically saying this: “Hi. We’re ebay. Behave, or we will tell lies about your business.” They’re damaging their own brand in the process. Crazy.

  • BFT
    2 weeks ago

    “or where tracking shows the item as delivered but the buyer has not received it.” !!!!???
    So I will get a kicking from eBay if I stick to their rules, send goods tracked, tracking shows delivered, but scamming buyer claims item not received?
    I think I will retire now.

  • Steve @ Recaster
    2 weeks ago

    Seems like the basic idea is ‘shape-up or ship-out’. But, as we all know, eBay is riddled with glitches so can you really trust them? They never own up when things go wrong and we know they are at fault.
    Moving target is a big worry as we all know eBay are actively draining anyone and everyone for as much as they can get now.
    The ‘contact seller’ option leads buyers to open cases where they are not required.
    it’s far too easy for a buyer to say something is not as described rather than admit they made an error and pay for return postage.
    I don’t see how this will help. If I fall foul of this, I’ll be ‘shipping out’ as 14% FVFs is too much.

    • SAM
      2 weeks ago

      We think they are a really dreadful company to deal with. it is all a sham to try and get more FEES. the site is corrupt and badly managed, one set of rules for a few and a different for the rest.
      Your right they are just trying to milk it for everything they can, and destoying it a bit more everyday.
      They need tp create more revenue there clearly loseing the battle with Amazon and the traffic is in decline so they come up with this.
      Simply put you cannot trust them.

  • jodie
    2 weeks ago
    this link totally contradicts it though saying they wont punish you for it?

  • rob
    2 weeks ago

    I spoke with ebay about this the other week as I got a general email stating my returns are high and may be charged a higher fee. When I called up I was assured I was ok as even thou quite a few of the returns are where the buyer is claiming something is not as described. As they did not get esculated for ebay to resolve is still 0%
    Out of the 16 returns cases opened in the last 90 days 5 were trying to claim not as described yet either did not send it back or if it did come back nothing wrong with it. Yet ebay take no interest in this other that to tell you to report the buyer. They tell you to call up if you have a problem with a buyer and when you do they tell you nothing they can do as they have not seen the item and decide in the buyers favour leaving you with a defect.
    Has anyone had a different response from ebay if they have spoken to them in regards to the 4% charge for high level of returns for item not as described/damaged etc?

  • K
    2 weeks ago

    We had our global account knocked down from Top Rated to Below Standard by a screw up by Ebay support so I really wouldn’t trust these metrics.

    A South American customer graciously waited 80 days for their rather large order and then opened a case for every item. As often happens since Ebay and PayPal separated we couldn’t refund any of the cases and had to ask Ebay support to escalate the cases and refund them all. We got assurances from Ebay that all defects would be removed.

    About a week later I noticed that none of the defects had actually been removed. I contacted Ebay support and they said not to worry as they will all disappear on the 20th when the evaluation takes place.

    Come the 20th and of course the defects are still there and our global rating is knocked down to Below Standard. After about 10 emails I get through to what seems to be Ebay US support and while they understand the problem they say nothing can be done as they can’t remove defects older than 90 days (defects are counted from the order date and remember the customer waited 80 days).

    Fortunately for us the 4% fees are only applied when your entire account rating drops to Below Standard so we haven’t been affected by just our global rating going down but what is going to happen when someone is financially punished for Ebay’s own glitches?

  • 2 weeks ago

    I think eBay just kicked me in the nuts, but won’t tell me what I did wrong..

    Sales today (so far) Monday 9th July 2018


    2x £8.00
    1x £12.00

    Average is usually £200 per day but Mondays is usually higher.

    Amazon: £675.00 – many sales and more pending.

    Ok so we are having a bad day on eBay, it can happen, well beat me with a muddy stick, the £12.00 order just cancelled, I kid you not!

    All my items are listed as “The item is listed as a Top Rated Plus item | For this item, the seller provides: eBay Premium Service”.

    • Darren
      2 weeks ago

      I think something has gone pear shaped at eBay, only 1 sale in the last 3 days, would usually have at least 30 in that time.

  • Patryk
    2 weeks ago

    Ebay eBay ebay. Lack of ideas or mostly bad ideas….. I wish I could change it as I see a lot of bad things there. Who is working for them…. Kids????

  • Dave
    2 weeks ago

    In regard to the new metric of item being returned as not as described….

    This is a brand new metric that we (as sellers) will be judged upon by eBay. The metric will be based on each category that a seller sells within. It must be remembered that the peer comparison category will be the parent category and NOT the child (end category). This means that, for example if you were to sell in the category ‘vehicle parts and accessories’ you would be judged, by eBay, against all sellers within that category, no matter what they sell. Vehicle parts and accessories covers such a broad spectrum of goods and products. One seller within that category may sell ‘de-icer’ and another may sell ‘brake discs and brake pads’. It follows that a seller who sells de-icer is bound to have less returns than a seller who is selling brake components; in turn this means that eBay (arguably unfairly) will be potentially comparing sellers who are selling products that are ‘Worlds apart’ from one another meaning that a seller may be unfairly punished with a 4% increase in final value fees through no fault of their own.

    Keep in mind that this punishment is 4% of gross sales for ALL products within a particular category and a potential downgrade in best match with the downwards spiral that usually follows….

  • Gareth
    2 weeks ago

    One of the worst ideas eBay have yet to dream up. Their previous update, taking away much of the onus on sellers beyond their control was a remarkable move in the right direction. Now they are taking three steps backwards. It’s going to anger a lot of people.
    Currently one of my selling accounts has a 5.7% SNAD, because I only have a small handful of transactions a year and a European buyer decided not to read the description at all. If they ever decided to apply the penalty, I would just close up the account. I’ve been buying far more on eBay than I sell, and I’m probably not alone in that. eBay should remember if they alienate their sellers, they are also harming a great many buyers.

  • Noel
    2 weeks ago


    ‘These new metrics and benchmarks are just for your reference, and will not affect your seller performance standards evaluation or rating.’

    yeah, for the moment they won’t….

    So basically, someone at the bottom will always be getting fined.

    Can’t see it any other way.

  • 2 weeks ago

    First the bad sellers will go. Then the less bad sellers will fail the ‘test’ so they will go. By now it’ll be the decent sellers who’re failing the ‘test’ so they’ll go. And finally it’ll be the good sellers whore failing the ‘test’ so they’ll go too.

    Madder than a box of frogs.

    • alan paterson
      2 weeks ago

      @ ACS I agree completely with your point.

      However, can I ask……. why is a box of frogs mad? Did you shake the box? Have you fed the frogs? why are they in the box in the first place?

    • Ross Kennedy
      2 weeks ago

      @ Patterson . It’s a metaphor. There is no pattern to the movement of a box of frogs lol .

    • alan paterson
      2 weeks ago

      @ Ross there is always a pattern if you look long enough.

    • Ross K
      2 weeks ago

      @ Patterson. Really? You are overthinking this. Forget about the frogs. Go phone Ebay and sort this silly metric .

    • 1 week ago

      @Ross Alan has found his humorous side, don’t put him off now.

  • Mr Jones
    2 weeks ago

    I think the existing metrics are enough to keep sellers in check and keep out the bad sellers.
    So what is this absolute RUBBISH they are dreaming up now?
    What’s wrong with the existing metrics? We’re already measured on several points, this is totally unnecessary.

  • Northumbrian
    2 weeks ago

    Buyers will have those that offer a lower standard service , yet ebay knowingly profit from it
    Cant be right

  • Northumbrian
    2 weeks ago

    Could it be these sellers paying the extra 4%
    Are fairly reasonable and provide an adequate service, buyers find-acceptable , but ebay Are squeezing them for more

    • alan paterson
      2 weeks ago

      @ Northumbrian. You make a fair point and something ebay are obviously going to be accused off with the consequences of sellers failing to meet the criteria of this new metric.

      I dont think that is the motive – the metric will be genuinely to deter bad sellers. The entire thing is a bad idea. In the past all metrics have made sense.

  • alan paterson
    2 weeks ago

    This is not good and has not been thought through properly by the “powers that be” at ebay. Its open to abuse and discourages sellers from promoting and using managed returns to name but two problems.

    Some of my colleagues are already trying to promote their own return service so as to avoid potential bad metrics during the ebay managed returns process. thats not good !

    The threat of an extra 4% on the seller fees is horrific. Remember this is not an increase of 4% of your fees but 4 percent of your TURNOVER. The whole thing is ill-conceived and not thought through and I am sure the folk who have introduced this new metric have not looked at their ebay history. Similar things were in place in the past and it does not promote good customer service – it forces the opposite where sellers will be trying to get cases closed in their favour just to have the defect auto-removed rather than concentrate on sorting the issue for their customer. None of it is good.

    How can we fix this? it is important to provide ebay with examples of how “unfair” defects are being raised against your account (whether it be item not received or returns). Only give them with valid examples and dont waste their time. There are folk at ebay who also think this is not a good metric for sellers but in order for them to present this case up higher – they need examples.

    I know I may not be popular with ebay for saying this as I know this topic is already a large call driver but I think it is important to contact them now with valid examples of how defects are being raised against our accounts “unfairly”. remember, we are already in the qualification period even though we will (apparently) not see the defects appear on our accounts till 20th July. You know the criteria by reading this thread.

    The more ‘good” examples of unfair defects ebay have the better chance they have of presenting a case for amending this new metric.

    At the very least we can hope to empower ebay customer care / concierge / customer service to be able to remove or appeal the defects. At the moment they are not appealable / removable.

    An increase of 4% across my shops would cost me net over £2500 extra per month. With my current commitment to reinvestment in stock and working capital that is more than I am “taking home’ per month. I am in a category that receives a lot of returns and all too often the customer clicks the “item damaged”, “item not as described” etc thinking this will entitle them to a free return when we offer free returns anyway (even if it is buyer remorse). sellers should not be penalised for providing good customer service and be at the mercy of “bad” buyers.

    I maintain that ebay are trying to do the right thing – this is not intended to generate more revenue. That is not the purpose of the exercise. The purpose is simply to get rid of bad sellers but this is not the way to go about achieving this.

    If ebay want to give me a small (air conditioned) office, a MacBook, a coffee machine and a map of Ireland I will happily come over and sort this out for a modest salary. A company car would be nice too – nothing fancy – as long as it has air con, I have my own Garfield to stick on the window – he is the only one grinning at this metric.

    • 2 weeks ago

      @ alan paterson

      Well, well, well. You’re looking at the HOLE instead of the DOUGHNUT, remember !

      Something happens that impacts you and now you suddenly become a critic as well.

      There is a word for people like you, but I can’t print it in polite company.

  • alan paterson
    2 weeks ago

    @ Andy R

    Your an idiot- this impacts you as well. this impacts all of us. and to think that other things dont impact me when I sell on the same platform is , well, idiotic.

    I say something positive about ebay – I get criticised, I say something that is not good, I get criticised.

    If you think I am representing this just because it suddenly impacts me (I think I have already said it) you are an idiot. I mean no offence from this – just stating a fact.

    There is no doughnut with this metric – there is only hole.

    Your motive on here is apparent. you just want to prove you are right about your particular point of view. Me on the other hand I will state what is “right” whether that means making criticism of ebay or not. Its not about who is right or who os wrong its about WHAT is right and what is wrong.

    This is my first criticism of ebay on here – that doesnt make it wrong. Is that why so many folk write as aliases on here?

  • Ross K
    2 weeks ago

    Not very constructive Andy R. Patterson is right . This effects all of us and for the first time it doesn’t impact your search standing it directly effects your profit.

    @ Patterson – you are wasting your time trying to help folk like this. I read your posts with interests and am baffled by the aggressive reactions you receive. Bottom line , if you say “black” , then “Andy r” is going to say “white”. He is a small minded man who cannot see the full picture.

    Thank you for the advice on this metric.

    • 2 weeks ago

      fyi Ross K, Paterson has been a pain in the ar*e on this board for a long time.

      Weighing in with his “pearls of wisdom” when others have been struggling with the problems Ebay has caused them down the years.

      Paterson’s trite rubbish defending Ebay has annoyed a lot of posters on here, so it’s particularly sweet to call it out when he is being two faced – as he is now that he’s found something that hurts him.

      So you can both take your doughnuts and your holes and do what you like with them.

      Two positive suggestions for you both:

      1. Dig out that contact email for Rob Hattrell’s office that was on here last year and make your cases to him. It got the farce over the watermarked images overturned.

      2. Don’t be 100% reliant on Ebay

  • Katie A
    1 week ago

    My defect rate is “very high” and I am worried what is going to happen. I got a warning email from Ebay a few weeks ago.

    Alan Paterson can I get some advice from you? Is there any way we can talk on phone. I can’t afford an increase of this size . It was only when I read your explanation of the increase that I realised how much this actuall was. I thought my fees were increasing by 4 percent but that’s not it. They will go up by 1 third! And Ebay staff are not allowed to remove them ? I sell on the clothing category most have been raised because of customers trying to get a free return and marking not as described . They don’t fit! There is a difference! And I am getting penalised ?! Is there anyway you can phone me. What do we do?

    • alan paterson
      1 week ago

      Please try not to worry Katie. The goal here should be to have these defects “appealable”. As long as the “unfair” defects can be removed everything will be fine. Ebay are a very fair organisation and I am very confident that they will allow this and that should sort the problem. We should know shortly.

      I have spoken with them since my last post and they now have enough “examples” so no need to phone them with more.

      Customer sentiment meetings are held on a regular basis to give the customer service / concierge staff the voice they need to represent the sellers. I am confident that the system will work. From my experience ebay ALWAYS try to do the right thing. As long as common sense is applied to the removal of “unfair” defects everything will be fine.

      what you are describing are “buyer remorse” returns and these are the very defects that we are asking to be appealable / removable.

      No point us talking on the phone as it will all be speculation and I cant add anything more than I have written here.

      try not to worry, I believe am familiar with your business. You are doing an excellent “job” and you are one of the last sellers that ebay would be wanting to jeopardise with an increase in seller fees. Yours / mine are not the type of businesses that this metric is intended to target, one tweak is all that is required to make it right.

  • Katie A
    1 week ago

    Thanks for your reassurance Alan but it doesn’t help much. I am still very concerned.

    How do you know my business?

    Who is this prick Andy R? I been reading back through his posts. Is he for real?

    Hate trolls

  • Northumbrian
    1 week ago


  • 1 week ago

    eBay Customer is so hit and miss, especially if you don’t get to talk to people in Dublin.

    I have just managed to get transferred from some wonderful sounding person in a remote call centre that I could hardly understand to Dublin and spoke with a very interesting listing specialist.

    He took me through a lot of things and explained in detail were he thought I was going wrong and what things to change.

    Lets see if they work.

    • Rob
      1 week ago

      If I get through to someone in the other side of the world who repeats everything I say to them so they understand, I ask to either be put through to Dublin or politely say I am hanging up and will call back till I get through to Dublin.

      Even if speaking to customer care in Dublin you might not get the outcome you want if calling about a case, least they listen and understand.

    • 1 week ago

      @ Rob I think you got it in one there, not all problems can be solved, but at least if you speak with somebody in Dublin they understand what you are saying and you feel like they had a go, if they can.

  • Northumbrian
    1 week ago

    The best customer support is the one you provide for yourself
    treat any help from ebay as a bonus added extra

  • Dave
    4 days ago

    As we wait for this to happen tomorrow, I recommend havind a read of this:

    I feel his pain.

  • Dave
    4 days ago

    My Company specialise in shoes and that is all we sell on eBay.

    Shoes are a nasty thing to sell online because people all have different sized feet… granted, we go by shoe sizes but you may have a customer with slightly wider feet nearer their toes than another or a customer with a slightly higher arch than another…. every customer has a slightly different shaped foot…. and like it or not a customer needs to try that shoe to see if it fits before they can wear it OR return it! Yes, we get a lot of returns by the very nature of the item we sell and this is through no fault of our adverts but because feet are a funny business. Customers do tend to select a reason of ‘non remorse’ to return their goods so that they get free shipping for the return…

    Our peer category is ‘Clothes, Shoes and Accessories’. This category includes everything from shoes to t-shirts, dresses, socks and fashion accessories. My Company only sells shoes. Shoes have a high rate of return whereas socks do not, neither do t-shirts nor belts or ‘fashion accessories’…. however, my Company is being compared against all of these different selling items from other sellers, as they are all included in the comparison peer category.

    My Company is potentially being penalised for specialising in shoes – this is grossly unfair. I cannot sustain another 4% fees on gross sales as this would cost my Company another (on average) £4,800 per MONTH extra on such fees through no fault of our own.

    Maybe if I sold socks or belts I may not be writing this and be laughing at the ‘peers’ which were selling shoes but unfortunately I appear to be on the wrong side of the fence through no fault of my own and through a new policy that is at present vague at best.

    Note: eBay are introducing the 4% extra on gross sales in October and basing it on the months of July, August and September – their evaluating has already started however we have not yet been told the complete rules – how can this be fair?

  • jodie
    3 days ago

    i thought this new metric ‘peers’ tool was meant to be available today?no doubt delayed or doesnt work as usual!!and then will be sprung on us with no notice

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