eBay answer your questions regarding eBay Service Metrics

By Chris Dawson September 28, 2018 - 10:26 am

eBay sellers have had a lot of questions concerning the new eBay Service Metrics and potential fee surcharges that will apply to those who fall into the high risk category. When we announced that the metrics were to be delayed until the 1st February many breathed a sigh of relief, but it’s important to realise that the metrics aren’t going away and now is the time to check your seller dashboard and take action before the penalty fees apply.

“It is also clear that eBay are determined to do something to change the behaviour of the handful of sellers who would have been caught up in these metrics – this metric is not going away, so we’d all do well look out for the additional explanatory videos and guidance on how the metrics work. I’m sure we’ll be talking a lot more about returns over the next six months.”
– David Brackin

eBay have been reading the questions on Tamebay and on their own forums and have released a video to address some of the issues raised. In the video they answer:

  • Why are you really doing this? Is it just a “stealth fee increase”?
  • How do you work out who my “Peers” are?
  • I’ve been classified as in the High rating bracket. Am I going to be charged extra?
  • How is the surcharge calculated? Is it 4% of the final value fee I’d normally pay or is it an extra 4 percentage points?
  • I’m a small seller and I’m worried that just one or two bad transactions could push me into the Very High rating bracket. Is it time to stop selling on eBay?
  • I sell used items and I describe their condition accurately. But even when I do, some buyers expect something new and perfect to arrive. This isn’t fair.
  • Can Service Metrics impact my overall seller performance?

Monitoring your eBay Service Metrics

In a second video eBay offer advice on how to to monitor your eBay service metrics in the seller dashboard:

  • 11 months ago

    Nice video, but all it’s helped me to do is download my report and work out the following

    5% of my returns over the 3 month period were genuine (that’s 1 return guys)
    17% of items were never returned, yet it still counts?
    78% came back to us at our cost but were exactly as described, the buyer was reported for abusing the system and the item re-listed and re-sold.

    We sell electrical items. People don’t read the manual and open a return. It’s my fault obviously.

    • Mo
      11 months ago

      I think they’ve exactly talked about this in the seller centre, their argument is that you’re being compared to other sellers who experience the same level of risk as you and therefore it is fair, are you a very high in the dashboard?

    • Mike
      11 months ago

      @Dave I’m in a similar situation to you, with metrics to match.

      I take no reassurance from eBay’s video, which I find patronising, and dimissisive of the very real issues you and I face.

      eBay’s broad brush approach to this penalty fee means innocent sellers, targeted by bad buyers, or negligent/belligerent buyers, will face the very real prospect of being penalised unfairly.

      Do eBay care? I think not.

      In eBay’s rose tinted world, all sellers suffer the same, in equal measure, which makes this penalty acceptable. In my world, it is a quick fix with little regard or concern for those unfairly caught out by it. I believe eBay’s shortsighted view is misplaced and immoral.

  • Emily
    11 months ago

    Under UK law you can not charge a penalty for something that hasn’t happened. Ebay are charging business sellers a penalty on return requests. They can’t do that a request can be closed by the buyer with no further action or time out without a return occurring.

  • Janet
    11 months ago

    The video calculates the additional fee incorrectly a payment described as a ‘fine’ or ‘penalty’ is treated as outside the scope of VAT.

    They cannot just add 4% on to the rates already charged as the current rate is a table but not the additional penalty.

  • Janet
    11 months ago

    Predictive text……it should say the current rate is vatable.

  • Harvey
    11 months ago

    You cannot charge a penalty under UK law for something that a person or business hasn’t done. Ebay are including all SNAD return requests regardless of the outcome of the case. Not all SNAD cases opened are issues the seller caused or was responsible for. Cases that the seller is the victim of malicious and bogus SNAD claims could be legally challenged.

    • james
      11 months ago

      half of what ebay does on the daily is less than legal, and could be easily challenged by a lawyer.
      but nobody ever pays a lawyer to do so, the small minority that have, ebay settles before court then carrys on like they always have.

    • Harvey
      11 months ago

      @ James – you don’t need a lawyer to go to the small claims court. Just knowledge of what law they are breaking and evidence to back up your claim.

  • Lucy
    11 months ago

    I have just checked all the ebay account holders who have been listed on my SNAD report , they are still buying on eBay, many are still buying from me. Some of these people left a positive feedback comment after the issue was resolved. How is that a bad buying experience. I by the way had an email in June and July saying my return metrics were very high.

    A penalty is usually charged to compensate for any loss the issuing party has sustained or acts as a deterrent for poor levels of service.

    Ebay and I are still getting sales from my SNAD account holders, so my penalty can’t be compensation.

    And on service levels I calculated 0.085% were actual returns I was responsible for. Taking out requests that didn’t result in a return, requests that were closed by the buyer without a return, cases won against malicious buyers and false SNAD claims where items were reported as defected but worked and the buyer just wanted a free return on a buyers remorse case.

    Ebay calculated my return rate as 3% and said via email I could be subjected to the penalty charge. They refused to allow any appeal on the cases that should not count against me.

    I also have been checking my legal stance on this penalty charge and feel strongly that if challenged legally ebay would struggled to explain how I can be charged a penalty on cases I was the victim of and cases that didn’t even happen.

  • Rob
    11 months ago

    The only way to protect yourself against the 4% fee is not sell on ebay any longer and take business elsewhere.
    ebay buyers want and expect things for nothing, recently started selling on Amazon and have no where near the listings I do on ebay yet never had one message asking for money off. Yet get them daily on ebay. It is the culture they have created everything should be given to them. If you don’t give them money off, then they just open a not as described case and supported by ebay

  • 11 months ago

    Another point to note is
    Items not received INR’S are now treated the same as SNAD claims – too many and your metric is too high then you incur the 40% increase in a specific category. This is stupid, the item could be delayed or lost but stupid sellers will open a case either way.
    Ebay want to punish sellers any way they can.

  • David
    11 months ago

    How many times does the video need to talk about after sales. The service metrics penalty charge is measured on return requests. Return requests are a lottery, they don’t have to be opened for the correct reason, or even opened to return an item, some buyers ask a question via a return request and then close it.

    Your after sales can be fantastic, the buyer who opened the return can even tell you so but if a return has been opened the barometer starts to climb on your metrics.

    The start of the video is full of after sales chatter but what is that going to do for the seller with the fast rising metric barometer. In short nothing.

    Talk about closing the barn door after the horse has bolted. After sales is that barn door.

  • Lucy
    11 months ago

    I struggle to see how as the video states the majority of sellers are better than their peers. If that is the case, why spend so much time and money on a metrics system and a video that will only affect a few sellers. Why not just tackle the few bad sellers and stop all the negative vibes that this service metric penalty charge is causing.

    Also if a seller is deemed so bad that ebay feels the need to charge them a penalty fee are they on the other hand still a top rated seller.

    What it says to me is you are a top rated seller, but are unlucky to have been handed a few return requests this month in the ebay lottery. So pay up and hope your numbers don’t come up on the ebay sweep stack too often.

    The whole metrics system is totally unfair, I notice the video didn’t tell us why the returns or not appealable. And how they can justify charging a penalty on things that haven’t happened and may not happen, like calculating on return requests, not actual returns.

  • Terry
    11 months ago

    Nothing new or illuminating in these videos.

    Simply reinforces how unfair the entire thing is.


    They still have not joined up the dots to explain why charging ‘Very High’ rated sellers an extra 4% is going to improve the buyer experience. Stopping these ‘very high’ rated sellers from selling on E-Bay might improve the buyer experience, charging them more and letting them carry on regardless will not !

    Similarly, unsettling and generally hacking off every genuine seller on the planet is not likely to improve the buyer experience either !

    A turd wrapped in Christmas paper is still a turd ! Pardon my French !!

  • Trumpton
    11 months ago

    There will ALWAYS be a small number of sellers, in the very high bracket.

    It doesn’t make sense that in 2019, your seller performance could be “Average”. And then in 2020, your exact same level of performance could fall into the “Very High” Bracket.

    So in 2019, Ebay deem you to be a good seller, but in 2020, you are a bad seller.


  • TomT
    11 months ago

    I won’t bother watching their justification video as it will just wind me up. I’ve gathered enough of what it is like from the comments.

  • rob
    11 months ago

    They say if you have below 10 item not as described cases then you won’t be hit with the 4% penalty. Is that that the same for all sellers no matter if you have sold a million items or if you have sold a just a few items.
    Is it the same for a 3 month look back period and 12 month period?

  • Elizabeth
    11 months ago

    In the Health & Beauty category it says the peer rating is 0.1%. I mean, seriously!

    • Elizabeth
      11 months ago

      Replying to myself here! But what I should have put, of course, is that my allocated peer rating in Health & Beauty is 0.1%.

  • Sophie
    11 months ago

    The peer rating is questionable, no one indepentent of ebay assess how it works. I don’t feel comfortable that the company who make all the money from the metrics set the peer groups up.

    • Elizabeth
      11 months ago

      I agree. How they have worked out individual peers seems like it could be subject maybe not to apples and pears but to Bramleys and Pink Ladies! It feels too woolly and opaque to summon up the faith in its apparent objective. Cynical me can’t help feeling it’s more about not wanting to reimburse final fee credits. Personally, I’d prefer that but still keep on record persistent refundteers so that they might be more transparent to sellers before any transaction is made.

  • Terry
    11 months ago

    We are being tasked here with trying to limbo under a target that is pulled from data we cannot see or validate, that moves around every month in ways that cannot be understood until the period in question is over, and to make it as hard as possible, we are all being assessed as guilty for every return and late delivery regardless of whether it is genuine or not.

    All in the name of the buyer experience apparently.

    I call total BS on this.

    My apologies, but I am very suspicious when I am told that having someone follow me around with their hand in my wallet is for my own good !

  • 11 months ago

    The only justification for this 4% “fine” is to make money for Ebay.

    We’ve got the same phoney 0.1% peer rate in our collectables category.

    Having had several years now, Ebay management (Wenig) has realised two things:-

    1) They don’t know how to increase sales on Ebay. They’ve tried and failed. Throwing hit and miss “innovations” at the site hasn’t worked. TV ads reminding people Ebay doesn’t just sell “used” items are pathetic. Is that really the best they can do to promote the site ???

    2) To keep revenue growing, they have to make as much money as they can from sellers – fee hikes, “fines”, in-house payments etc etc.

    Rather than deal with problems (which they can’t or won’t), why not make money from them?

    Amazon also have their own inbuilt problems and selling there is no picnic either.

    But one thing you can say.

    Bezos is a winner.

    The future will see Amazon keep growing and Ebay, if it survives at all, will end up being bought out by Bezos, or someone else.

    Ebay is no longer too big to be taken over – we may even see Paypal go past them in revenue in a few years. Better prepare for the fact that Ebay won’t be around for much longer in the form we have known it.

    The hidden Ebay strategy is probably to set the site up for a sell-off, leaving Wenig and Co to walk away with big pay-offs, which they don’t deserve. The process may well have started already. Nobody’s listening to the gobbledeespeak video announcements any more, Devin.

    Sellers should all have lifeboats ready for the day the Ebay ship finally sinks.

  • 11 months ago

    Not looking forward to this at all. I sell low volume, mainly secondhand items, and some buyers are idiots, pure and simply. I have proved this to fleabay many a time, but they NEVER respond. I had someone post me negative feedback 1 hour after they won the auction. I couldn’t of got it to them if I had a helicopter. Did fleabay help me? NO. I have plenty more examples. But until they have a competition, I’m stuck with them.

  • Rob
    11 months ago

    Just add 5% on to all your listings (4% + VAT ) and move on – simple

    If every seller does this then we will all be back to where we started from – except that all buyers will be paying an extra 5% to cover the seller’s higher ebay costs – this is only fair as buyers are causing the problem in the first place by expecting easy and free returns

    At the end of the day the seller has the right to pass on (expected) increased costs

  • 11 months ago

    I shut my shop yesterday. I have 30days more of putting up with all this hassel, then all the listings finish
    After over 10 years selling the relief if amazing. I didn’t realise how much of my time ebay had taken over my life, not to mention the stress

    This was one step too far and the finial straw

    Ps I dread to think what they’ll come up with next!!!
    Just think I won’t have to ever open up another seller release, with bated breath, ever again

  • BFT
    11 months ago

    So, eBay have moved the start of the 4% stealth fees to February 1st? What perfect timing! We have been forced to offer extended return times over Christmas, so all the returns in January will fall nicely in time for our financial kicking.
    Anybody know if Onbuy is growing fast or stagnating?
    Is there a good plain English guide to starting on Amazon/moving from eBay to Amazon?

  • Adam
    11 months ago

    I’m so glad I’m getting out of the eBay game. I’ve had nothing but a top service for 5 years, never below 100% positive feedback, never above 3% late delivery (except for a misunderstanding which eBay cleared up), and yet I’ve been slowly stripped of premium service as eBay move the lines more and more and I’m not willing to keep up anymore. Sales are being affected as low rated sellers who offer a crappy service are being given the spotlight way more often than they should. I’ve searched my products a bunch of times only to have my screen filled with a terrible seller, slated as “eBay’s Top Pick” or something like that, and non obvious clicks to get to other decent sellers.

    Life’s too short for that. I’ll use eBay to unload what stock I have left, cancel the shop when it becomes cheaper to list without one, then run for the hills and let everyone else work themselves to the bone to line the pockets of multi millionaires, and let them carry on moaning as eBay forces them to keep up or get fined. If you think you can keep up with massive brands with huge financial clout then good luck to you, if not then I’d get plan B on the go sooner rather than later.

  • Charlie
    11 months ago

    @Adam and @Lyn….Are you seriously going to close your store over this. Please provide EbayID so your comments can be verified. I find it so hard to believe you cant just increase your prices by 5%….That’s unless your one of the pile it high sellers which will not be missed

    • Rob
      11 months ago

      @Charlie, for a lot of people I don’t think it is just the 4% fee. It is the tipping point of a lot of things with ebays attitude towards sellers.
      The potentially of a 4% increase in fees some months which could cost me hundreds of pounds for cases opened for not as described when they have not read the listing or looking for a free return does not sit well with me. If I have done something wrong I will sort it and always have done as currently have 0% cases opened for ebay to decide, but why should I pay to sort it when the buyer is trying to get a free return and also pay hundreds of pounds extra?
      I have very little trust in ebay at the minute. and it is back to 3/4 years ago where us against them again.
      ebay claim it is to improve the buyer experience. Would be interesting to see what percentage of returns for item not as described are for business sellers compared to private sellers.

  • Harvey
    11 months ago

    Legal challenges are the solution, Ebay cannot charge a penalty under UK law for something that a business hasn’t done. Ebay are suggesting including all SNAD return requests regardless of the outcome of the case.

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