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
    3 years 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
      3 years 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
    3 years ago

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

  • Trumpton
    3 years ago

    More absolute rubbish from Ebay.

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

  • 3 years 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

  • 3 years 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
    3 years 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

  • 3 years 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
    3 years 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
    3 years 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
      3 years 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
    3 years ago
    this link totally contradicts it though saying they wont punish you for it?

  • rob
    3 years 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?

    • Mike
      3 years ago

      My experience with eBay is that whether speaking, chatting or messaging, it is all a lottery.

      You speak with person A and they tell you one thing.

      You speak with person B and they tell you something different.

      B contradicts A, and the C contradicts B, and so it continues.

      Trying to get a straight, honest and informed answer seems akin to platting fog; a waste of time and effort.

      Trying to take any person at their word is dangerous. You can easily be lulled into thinking you’ve got the answer you want and it has substance. Tread carefully.

      I’ve been told so much nonsense and I’m sure there’s more to come.

  • K
    3 years 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?

  • 3 years 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
      3 years 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
    3 years 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
    3 years 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
    3 years 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
    3 years 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.

  • 3 years 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
      3 years 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
      3 years ago

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

    • alan paterson
      3 years ago

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

    • Ross K
      3 years ago

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

    • 3 years ago

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

  • Mr Jones
    3 years 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
    3 years ago

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

  • Northumbrian
    3 years 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
      3 years 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
    3 years 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.

    • 3 years 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.

    • FD
      3 years ago

      @alan, When you write, “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.”, whom are these people and how can I send them a few of my good examples?

  • alan paterson
    3 years 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
    3 years 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.

    • 3 years 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
    3 years 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
      3 years 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
    3 years 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
    3 years ago


  • 3 years 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
      3 years 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.

    • 3 years 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
    3 years ago

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

  • Dave
    3 years ago

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

    I feel his pain.

  • Dave
    3 years 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 years 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

    • alan paterson
      3 years ago

      @ Jodie, the visibility of the peer to peer metric has now been put back to August so you wont see it now till next evaluation 20th Aug.

      Off course we are now in the qualification period with the first “assessment” on the 20th September and first increase (if any) in seller fees in October for those who do not meet the benchmark.

  • Jodie
    3 years ago

    @ Alan Paterson,thanks for that update.where did you read or hear that from?I’ve not seen any announcements on it yet?

  • alan paterson
    3 years ago

    @ Jodie, I was anxious to see the peer to peer metric so when it didnt appear I had been phoning ebay concierge (I think you could call it “pestering” them lol – sorry concierge).

    Anyway I finally got to speak to an agent who knows exactly what is happening. There has been other “amendments” and “tweaks” which I dont understand well enough to attempt to explain on here.

    However, there has been improvements and ebay are listening.

    “Warning” emaisl were sent out last month and again today for sellers who are in the high and/or very high category (only very high triggers an increase in fees).

    If you have not received any warning emails yet your account should have no problem with the peer to peer return metric.

    It also looks like they have put back the INR peer to peer metric till next year.

    All is starting to look better and (in my opinion) more accurate and “fairer”

    • Dave
      3 years ago

      The only thing that you can guarantee with eBay is that they’ll ALWAYS put the cart before the horse. I can’t remember a single change in the last year that hasn’t been delayed and then delayed again or rolled back because its been so badly thought out or implemented. Do they bother to tell us that it’s delayed? Of course they don’t.

      In fact, I can’t think of a single change that has improved the selling experience for us sellers in the last 18 months. You know, eBay’s actual paying customers. I do remember however having to re-write all of my listings 3 times (4 if you include putting all my pictures back last month) due to changes that haven’t given me any tangible return on sales.

      Only yesterday did my Seller Hub correctly report my eBay Premium Service qualifying listings, some 23 days after implementation.

      @ Alan, it’s not starting to look fairer if the returns are measured on a one-sided metric. We have no right to reply once a return has been opened, for whatever reason the buyer selects. Even if we contact the buyers and advise them that they’ve selected the wrong return reason (90% choose ‘doesn’t work or is defective’ because they can send it back for free then), all they can do is cancel the return and never ever open one again. On the odd occasion where one of my buyers has gone through the bother to contact CS to change the return reason, they’ve been unable to help. It is crap!

      The only thing we can do is to click the link (after the return is closed and refunded) to say that we don’t agree with the buyer’s reason for return. But I would presume that does the exact same thing as the report a listing/buyer does. Sweet FA.

      Do we get a defect as soon as a return is opened? Do we get the defect after the item has been returned and we’ve refunded them? Do we get a defect if the buyer then cancels the return? Who knows.

      As I’ve mentioned at the top of this thread, we sell home A/V gear and loads of people don’t bother to read the manuals and set stuff up incorrectly. They then decide that it’s clearly got to be faulty and open a return. Bang, defect. Over 70% of our returns opened on eBay don’t come back because there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s the idiot with the remote control that’s the issue. How is that my problem? Why should that cost me an extra 4%? Can I do anything about it to mitigate it? God knows….

      We’re not a huge outfit. We have 10,000 feedback, 100% positive with no negatives or neutrals. It’s like that because our customer service is bloody good and we work very hard on it. Why should we bother if we’re hit with a price hike for something that we simply cannot control.

      Before we get penalised by eBay returns, they HAVE to completely revamp the returns process.

    • alan paterson
      3 years ago

      @ Dave. I agree with much of what you have said and have had similar experiences with many of your points.

      When I used the word “fairer” I meant relatively speaking to what the peer to peer metric rules were when first launched. we are already in the qualification period and already there has been positive amendments. This is a good thing (relatively speaking).

      If you have not had a warning message yet on ebay messages then your account will be within tolerance and you will have nothing to worry about reference 4% fee increases.

      You only get a defect for “bad” returns like “item not as described”, “defective” etc – you dont get a defect just for a return being open – it depends what the buyer selects as the reason for the return. given your explanation above that may not help however………..

    • Dave
      3 years ago

      Indeed Alan! Here’s an example of one of our returns that’s currently open. It’s a TV Soundbar/Subwoofer:

      Details from the buyer. Reason:

      Doesn’t work or is defective

      Hi I got yesterday .but sub woofer is not working .i wants change it.inm going to send it back.plz send me u r address I wanna send it back

      A quick message with a copy/paste of the connection instructions from the manual (which they have, its brand new) and I’ve not heard a peep from them since, some 20 days ago now. Clearly it’s up and running, but so is my defect I would expect.

      So, when that return times out does my defect also go? I asked CS but I gave up the will to live as they had no idea obviously… It’s stuff like this that eBay just completely ignore and have a blanket rule for.

      It just appears to be another money grab from eBay as one would assume that someone somewhere in eBay has thought about this and decided to let it be so.

    • alan paterson
      3 years ago

      Hi Dave, I sympathise. The straight forward answer is “I dont know” if the defect will automatically drop off.

      My category is equally as frustrating. However, some defects WILL be appealable. Common sense you would think that the example you gave would be appealable but common sense is not very common with this particular metric.

      ebay are working on it and there has already been improvements. I am sorry I couldn’t help with your particular example.

  • Mike
    3 years ago

    ebay customer support say there are exemptions to the service metrics penalty. Meaning not all return claims will count against sellers. However, they say, “we can’t share this… to avoid circumvention of policy.”

    Isn’t the whole point of exemptions to allow people to circumvent the impact of bogus/malicious returns?

    Of course sellers want to circumvent them.

    It’s eBay that want to prevent us from doing so. But then, a claim is money!

  • Rob
    3 years ago

    Currently my peer to peer metric is showing very high for the 3 month qualifying period. I have been through every single return case opened for the last 12 months and 1/3 of them I would argue have been opened for the wrong reason. Most of them trying it on or have not read the condition report or description.
    Yet I am top rated with 0% transaction defect, not delivered or closed without seller resolution. If I have done something wrong I will attempt to put it right as the 0% shows. A lot of time when a buyer has opened a return for not as described due to them not reading the description or condition report, once it is mentioned to them they usually happy to pay return postage. Problem solved we both move on.
    Now it will be a case of fighting every return opened for the wrong reason causing me and ebay more work when I call to try and get the reasons changed along with frustrating buyers as it slows the return process down.

    • Mike
      3 years ago

      From this new Service Metrics perspective, there’s no point fighting any return.

      eBay are saying the mere fact a return claim has been made is enough to use it against you.

      Once a claim is opened, you’ve had it.

    • alan paterson
      3 years ago

      @ Rob – not exactly. Buyer remorse returns are not counted.

    • Mike
      3 years ago

      Yes, Alan, you’re correct.

      I’m referring to SNAD items, which most of my buyers choose, regardless of whether it is a legit. reason or not.

      From what I’ve been told, once they choose SNAD, it’s game over.

      I’d be happy to learn it’s different! 🙂

    • alan paterson
      3 years ago

      @ Mike. I think we may hear that in the very near future.

      I am certainly hoping …………

  • jodie
    3 years ago

    @ rob whereabouts is your new peer to peer metric showing?as we cant find it anyway?i thought the rollout had been delayed?

    • alan paterson
      3 years ago

      @ Jodie, those sellers that are at risk are receiving messages from ebay through ebay messages for the last 2 months. The message informs them that they are at risk and shows them their peer to peer metric for that month (based on the last 3 months or 12 month depending on the size of their account).

      The last one of these emails were sent out on the 23rd July. If you have not received this message then your account should not be at risk of not qualifying and I would suggest you have nothing to worry about.

      Only those sellers who are “high” or “very high” are receiving this message from ebay therefore they are the only sellers that have seen their metric. everyone else is still in the dark.

      Rob will not be seeing this on his seller dashboard as this has been put back till 20th August.

    • Rob
      3 years ago

      @Jodie, yes like Alan has said the high or very high group will of received an email on the 23rd stating where you sit in regards to your peers. I am in the very high group. When looking at my returns approx 1/3 are buyers remorse, 1/3 hold my hands up something has got damaged during delivery or I have missed a defect when listing and the other 1/3 are buyers opening returns for the wrong reason as they have not read the listing or trying it on to get money off or free returns.

      I have phoned and asked if the “non business” sellers who clearly run a business on ebay are used in the ratings. The first couple of people I spoke to did not have much of an idea but then got through to a supervisor who was not sure but taking questions higher up. As she could see my account does not have defects and I sort things out with customers yet I will end up paying an extra 4%.

      I just think the people who have created this have not thought it through very well and it will affect the wrong group of business they are trying to target. Things go wrong in any business, the sign of a good business is when they try to put things right and the customer is happy and problems get resolved. I would like to think my feedback and top rated reflects that.

      If it is linked to your seller level, late delivery etc then fair enough if you have low scores in all of them. But to base a rating on which button a customer has clicked when returning an item has not been through through very well

      If this is a money making exercise then surely better to go after the sellers on here who run a business yet register as private sellers and get 10% off them in final value fees and to stop giving them free listings and lower final value fees.

    • alan paterson
      3 years ago

      My sentiments exactly Rob.

      ebay do listen though and I am hoping there will be some amendments to how the percentage is calculated.

  • AC T
    3 years ago

    Something really important to bear in mind is the increase isn’t 4%. The actual (fees) increase in a 10% final value category is 40%. Whilst I’m not currently affected, it’d be a 45% increase in final value+postage fees in the category I sell in.

    This is a massive increase in costs for anyone on normal business margins and demonstrates yet again that no-one at Ebay seems to have any idea how businesses operate.

    • Mike
      3 years ago

      @AC T My understanding is that it isn’t just the additional 4% point increase.

      Anyone considered “Very high”, also gains a defect, will lose their Top Rated Seller status (if they have it) and lose their TRS FSV fee discount.

      In my case, all that would equate to a 5% point increase, meaning 50% increase in selling fees.

      All this based on a SNAD return claim, regardless of anything being returned or not, whether it is proved to be legit. or not, and with no way to correct any wrongs over 90 days old.

      I have a real case of a buyer opening a SNAD return and closing it 20 minutes later. He simply hadn’t pushed the battery connector far enough into the item to power it. He apologised via eBay messages saying “Sorry mate, my mistake”, and left positive feedback and comment. And eBay say it legitmately counts against me.

    • 3 years ago


      I think what you are saying is the real problem with eBay, buyers should be FORCED to communicate with sellers prior to leaving a complaint or a return, it is then how you deal with the issue that would effect your status as a seller.. And should you not deal with it promptly then you will be punished accordingly

      If you purchased something from your local high street you would not take court action without speaking to the shop first.

      Buyers also need to take a little more responsibility for what they do, including responding to sellers messages. Sometimes they just do not respond and we have to cancel the order.

      Every day we have to correct so many delivery addresses that are wrongly formatted or just do not make sense.

      This is of course the same problem on Amazon.

  • Tinker
    3 years ago

    This recent message from ebay says it all
    Anout ebays attitude
    Its one thing receiving the hospital operation old chesnut from buyers but when ebay get in on the act its ridiculous

    Thank you so much for choosing eBay. We are so thrilled you are with us and a part of our eBay family.

    We just wanted to reach out to you in regards to xxxxxx that your buyer, xxxxxcommitted to buy from you.

    Your buyer reached out to us today as she was feeling well enough to call us and let us know that she is terribly ill and has been in and out of the hospital the last two weeks dealing with a surgery that she had. She was released and felt better and started bidding on your item, but within the last week fell ill again. So ill that she is unable to continue to bid or purchase any more items from you or anyone else. Her stay at the hospital and things becoming pricey have led her to needing to ask you to cancel the order. She is a valued customer of ours and has never had any issues for the many years she has been with us. She is terribly sorry that this is the situation and really hopes to continue her business with you when she starts to feel better. She is just hoping that you can understand and cancel the order for her as she does not want this situation that she is in to leave her with a negative impact on her account? If this is something you can do, we would be ever so grateful to you.

    If there is anything we can do for you to help this situation, please do not hesitate to give us a call or email us at your convenience. Rest assured this cancellation will not affect your account as the buyer is asking to cancel. None the less, if you feel uncomfortable about it, you can always reach back out to us.

    If you have any further questions, comments, or concerns, please do let us know as we are always here for our valued customers such as yourself.


    eBay Customer Service

    • 3 years ago

      @Tinker I seem to be missing your point?

      “Rest assured this cancellation will not affect your account”

      I have never had a big problem with people canceling an order but when they do cancel I am grateful they do in time before I post it. Saves me posting it and them returning the item.

      eBay are not going to penalise you for this, so they say. So everybody is happy, or not?

  • Tinker
    3 years ago

    Were auction only
    It spoils an auction
    Plus there is little point in ebays non paying bidder program if buyers just cancel at will for any reason
    We think we will have a stay in hospital
    When our ebay fees are due
    And ask not to pay

    • 3 years ago

      @Tinker Unfortunately we live in a world where we have to accept certain things when we sell on line.

      Have you tried your local Auction house? Maybe you would be better selling there.

      The question you need to ask yourself is: Would you rather a person returned an item that they did not want or not send it in the first place?

      If you send it you lose out on postage and the sale and the time it takes to get the item returned to sell it again.

    • Tinker
      3 years ago

      So where do you draw the line on acceptance?
      Who is allowed to break the rules
      And why?
      Or do we just choose those that suit?
      Making a bid is legal and binding
      Ebay supporting payment evasion is a dangerous precedent

    • 3 years ago

      @Tinker Yes ” Making a bid is legal and binding” but they also have a legal right to return the item.

      I understand what you are saying but for you to send an item costs you money, if they do not want it, they return it. How is that good for your business? You are now out of pocket and have to pay to re list the item.

      Should they be the type of buyer to say there was a problem with the item then you pay the return costs, so even more out of pocket and more frustration.

      So from a totally selfish point of view I would be happy to not have my goods go round in a circle at my expense.

      I am assuming that as eBay have stepped in they would allow you to relist the item free of charge.

      We would also like to think that the person that cancelled the transaction has some metric put on their account to monitor buyer behaviour.

      eBay were only asking if you would consider cancelling the sale, you have the right to refuse and risk the item being returned.

    • Tinker
      3 years ago

      The point is they have not paid
      the only penalty we have available to us against non payers
      to try snd contain and check this behaviour on ebay
      is being circumvented
      Actively aided and abetted by ebay

    • 3 years ago


      eBay were just giving you the option, you could say no and make the buyer pay, foot the bill for posting the item out and take the risk of having the item returned, maybe at your own expense.

      Should you have forced them to pay and had the item returned I am guessing you would not be too happy, so why take the risk?

      Your business = your choice = your risk

    • Tinker
      3 years ago

      My point is exactly about ebay giving us the choice
      Ebay should be more firm with non payers
      Were well aware of returns and how to deal with them

    • 3 years ago


      And eBay gave you that choice, the choice of letting them off or not was down to you, eBay just put forward their request.

      The decision was yours!

      I take it you refused and told them that you wanted the buyer to pay, you did not let them off. You sent the goods out and the buyer is happy?

      Dealing with returns is simple:

      1. Buyer returns something they do not want, you refund them, your left out of pocket.
      2. Buyer claims your at fault and you pay for the return, your even more out of pocket.

      So I am sure you are well aware of how to deal with them.

    • Tinker
      3 years ago

      Payment was not received
      The goods were not sent
      The buyer received a non payment strike on their account,
      They were always not going to pay
      A return was never a concern
      Ebays collusion in payment evasion is our concern

    • 3 years ago


      There was no collusion they simply put forward a request from a buyer, how you chose to deal with it was up to you.

      To me, a return is always a concern if you force somebody to buy something they do not want, it would be easy for the person to pay for the item and then not take it from the delivery driver and just let it be returned followed by a INR or take the item and claim it was damaged on arrival, returning to you a damaged item that you could not sell.

      A while back I clicked the buy now button rather than add to basket, this forces you to complete the purchase or get a strike. My reason for not wanting the item was that I actually repurchased double the amount. On contacting the supplier they refused to cancel the first order, so I completed the purchase. I no longer buy from that supplier. I am sure they felt they were doing the right thing. After all, you can’t let them get away with it can you…

    • james
      3 years ago

      non-paying bidders are a small nuisance, but really not the end of the world.
      for the few that bid, don’t pay, and never hear from them again, they get strikes, they get banned eventually.
      for this particular case, where the woman has called up ebay, and given a very valid reason for non-payment, has given ebay an emotional plea, which they forwarded to you, and you can be fairly certain this is a one-off event, she isn’t calling ebay again every day after not paying for another item, and another item, and another item, if that were the case they’d tell her where to go.
      under these mitigating circumstance, you’re just being a tool insisting on payment or a strike, it’s completely un-necessary, and not condusive to furthering your own sales, or ebay sales as a whole. it really does not benefit anyone at all.
      according to you ebay offered to cover your back, so you’d have lost nothing by doing the decent thing, but you chose not to be decent.
      hopefully you never find yourself unexpectedly in hospital, with commitments you suddenly can’t meet, and find the people you ask for help completely unwilling to facilitate you under any circumstances.

  • Jonah
    3 years ago

    Auction wreckers are a big concern on eBay now. Plus Tinker, eBay benefit from another listing fee if you do bother to re-list. I wonder how many hundreds of thousands, if not millions of re-lists eBay profit from each year?

  • FD
    3 years ago

    With regards to this service metric change, I’ve been giving thought to the false and malicious return claims that sellers face.

    With that in mind, I’ve just been looking at the Fraud Act 2006. In particular, the part concerning Fraud by abuse of position.

    It’s interesting to read what warrants such abuse and how my interpretation of eBay’s Returns Service Metrics proposal reads alongside it.

    “(a)occupies a position in which he is expected to safeguard, or not to act against, the financial interests of another person,”

    EBay provide a marketplace for buyers and sellers to transact. Sellers expect to be protected by eBay, insofar as, false claims against sellers, by buyers, that can be shown to be false, do not negatively impact on sellers performance, standing, or financial position.
    For example, where a false return claim that can be shown to be such, does not attract an unwarranted penalty or negative impact on the seller.

    “(b)dishonestly abuses that position, and”

    eBay proffer that it is fair to penalise a seller for the bogus or malicious acts of a buyer; making a return claim that is without merit. In my opinion, this is not a morally correct, virtuous or fair act on eBay’s part. As eBay control the marketplace, they are using their position to impose penalties, regardless of how just or warranted.

    “(c)intends, by means of the abuse of that position—
    (i)to make a gain for himself or another, or”

    eBay stand to financially benefit from the additional seller fee of 4% points, as well as, the imposition that it places on sellers who then have to work harder and pay more to eBay to improve their standing.

    “(ii)to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.”

    1. Sellers suffer the financial cost of the additional seller fee 4% points penalty
    2. Sellers listings will be downgraded in search results, making it harder to improve returns rate calculation, meaning it’s harder to avoid the penalty
    3. Sellers will lose their top rated seller status
    4. Sellers will lose any final selling value fee discounts they have earned. For example, if they are a TRS.

    A legal expert may have a different interpretation, but it certainly gives food for thought.

  • 3 years ago

    So Alan Paterson only starts to complain now, well, you should have heeded the advice of other Ebay posters here.

  • Mike
    3 years ago

    This week, I noticed my returns rate had dropped. With only a handful of returns, I decided to seize the opportunity to better understand which returns eBay are identifying as ‘bad’, with regards to this new returns Service Metric.

    Having already seen I’d a number of “Escalated” returns that matched the number reported, I was expecting it’d be these. I was wrong. It turns out, the number reported had a status of “Return closed”.

    Speaking with a customer support rep., the specific returns involved were identified. Looking through them, I found one where the return reason was “Changed my mind”.

    “Changed my mind” isn’t even a SNAD, for heaven’s sake.

    Another return had been closed by the buyer, after he acknowledged having made a mistake, saying the item wasn’t faulty as reported, which resulted in no return ever taking place. The other two were misuse of returns cases, with one of them resulting in eBay telling me there was nothing I could do about the misuse, other than to give a full refund. After pointing this out, the rep. came up with the usual, ‘I’ll need to defer to the specialist team… they’ll get back to you in 24-48 hours, after reviewing your account’. I’m not holding out much hope; this happened in June, and I’m still waiting on someone getting back to me.

    The more I try to understand this new metric, the more confusing it gets. Perhaps, I should forget logic and common sense; eBay certainly seem to.

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