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eBay 4% final value fee fines start to be levied this month

By Chris Dawson February 4, 2019 - 10:00 am

eBay UK’s previously announced service metric requirements included a new fine for sellers who were judged to be the worst offenders on eBay. One of these metrics focused on poor buying experiences based on buyers claiming items were Significantly Not As Described (SNAD). 4% final value fee fines will now start for sellers who fall below a randomly determined level based on peer measurement.

From the 1st of February, if you are judged to have very high rates of “Item not as described” open requests, you will incur an additional 4% final value fee fines in the categories where you are judged to have “very high” open SNAD requests. This is not a site wide penalty, so for instance if you generally sell hand tools and have few SNAD complaints but also sell motor parts where you have a high incidence of SNAD complaints then you’ll only incur the 4% final value fee fines in the motor parts category.

The fines were originally due to come into effect last year, but were postponed from the 1st of October 2018 to the 1st of February 2019 to give you time to get used to the new Service Metrics dashboard and to improve your performance (compared to your peers) if necessary.

Maximum fee caps do not apply to the additional 4% final value fee that is charged to sellers who are not meeting the minimum performance standards or who are rated “very high” in open “Item not as described” return requests.

There is a get out of jail free card – if you are assessed as ‘Very High’ in a category, but have fewer than 10 “Item not as described” open returns or your “Item not as described” rate is under 1% in a specific category during the evaluation period then you won’t incur the 4% final value fee fines.

This is one of the metrics on eBay which really is a moving feast with no way to determine your performance until after the fact. For instance, if you’re trundling along and your metrics look great, but suddenly your competitors all have a great month with no SNAD cases (or simply quit and stop selling in the category) you could find yourself at the bottom of the table for the same performance which kept you safe the month before. Equally, if you’re in the 4% final value fee fines bracket and suddenly a clutch of your competitors have a disastrous month then you could be suddenly elevated out of the fine zone as you’re now better than your peers without actually improving your service.

eBay 4% final value fee fines peer assessment criteria

For SNAD returns your peer groups will be determined by sellers who:

  • List on the same eBay site and in the same category
  • Share the same assessment lookback period (3 or 12 months), as determined by transaction volume
  • Have a similar average selling price
  • Sell items with similar item conditions (generally new or used)
  • Sell items with similar buyer-facing delivery estimates

Have you started to receive eBay 4% final value fee fines?

We would urge all sellers to visit their seller dashboard and check their metrics. Otherwise the only way you’ll discover that you are being charged 4% final value fee fines will be when you receive your next eBay invoice either around the 15th of February or at the end of the month. The last thing you want is an invoice up to 50% or higher than normal and then to discover that consequently you’ve been selling at a loss for the whole month.

Whilst we are crossing our fingers that Tamebay readers aren’t impacted by fines, if you find that you are the first to start seeing 4% final value fee fines on your eBay sales please get in touch. We’d like to hear your thoughts and what you think you can do to get out of the Very High class of sellers.

  • 2 weeks ago

    Since Ebay introduced their metrics system, I am having to spend my valuable time each week on the phone to concierge, in order to get errors corrected.

    These errors now impact on sellers livelihoods, but Ebay has failed to ensure that are recorded fairly.

    By my reckoning, there are now FOUR different measures for rating seller performance on Ebay. Which is simply crazy.

    Ebay is disappearing up its own backside.

    Each time I complain, I am told that Ebay is working to resolve these issues.

    Really?

    I simply don’t believe them any more.

  • Brendan
    2 weeks ago

    This is an absolute scam by eBay. We sell in motor parts and we’re now possible facing pecuniary measures on the basis of buyers who claim SNAD? 99% of our returns are because the buyer bought the incorrect part for their car but refuse to pay return postage so select wrong item sent.

    Ebay management should are an absolute disgrace. No real innovation, no real leadership. Just introduce stealth fees for short term gain. Then they will write this BS increase in turnover on there own CV’s and the absolute spoofing will continue.

  • Dave
    2 weeks ago

    Agreed, this is a scam. It can’t be described any other way.

    I had a look at our returns the other day, and 92.5% of them are wrong. People pick the wrong reason to get free shipping. Plain and simple. Our current returns rate should be 0.24%, but it’s sitting there at 3.24%.

    The most damming thing about this metric is that every single one of our items ARE as described. We sell electrical kit from the major manufacturers (Sony, Panasonic, Samsung etc). We don’t design or manufacture this stuff. If its DOA or fails within a short time period, why should we get the blame? If you go and buy a new telly from John Lewis and it packs in within a couple of weeks, who’s fault is that?

    We’re not near the ‘Very high’ range, but that’s not the point. My business is being judged on something that I can’t influence and have no way whatsoever of mitigating against.

    If they want to judge us on returns, then judge us on how we handle returns, resolve problems and issues and how we put OUR customers front and centre (if we were allowed to do anything other than refund them….).

  • Jonah
    2 weeks ago

    We haven’t got concierge so we can’t appeal anything. It’s no use being patched through to the Philippines call centre as they read to you off a script. We will carry on until we get hit by the extra 4% fee then it’s good bye eBay for ever. Remember- sellers are also buyers, I leave,,,, my buying power leaves too.
    Amazing, nearly all my returns are SNAD. I must be such a bad seller,,,,, after all I’ve only survived on the platform for 17 years.

  • SAM
    2 weeks ago

    Just got of the phone got through to someone in the US Gabriel he says said I was doing really “awesome” anyway when we got past all the BS we got onto laborious process of removing the things.
    RMG are as big a disaster as eBay right now you cannot win…
    eBay has gone into such rapid decline in the last year it will not matter anyway it has become such a poor earner.

    SCAM Bay all it is these days…Get Devin and Rob out…

  • Mark Rammond
    2 weeks ago

    eBay have long held an agenda to cajole sellers into providing “fast n free” tracked postage akin to Amazon Prime, plus then also to let the buyer use the item for two months – double that offered by Amazon Prime – then return it at the seller’s additional expense, which presumably would rarely be offered online.

    In fact this proposition of free postage, free returns and a 60 day usage period is just not offered anywhere.

    True, you could offer so called “free” postage on a big spend to sweeten the deal. True also if you sell over-priced brand new catalogue new items you might be able to eat some returns, especially if you pass the cost elsewhere. True also you might hope the take up of returns on day 31 to 60 might be low so it won’t cost much.

    But all of them are pure costs; and a (false) promise of improved visibility doesn’t necessarily off-set them.

    So sellers did not rush to do this.

    So eBay is now, bit by bit, using coercion to push this agenda.

    14 day returns has been pushed to 30
    Returns are automated at the seller cost
    The service metrics are now in play

    Ebay intends to manipulate sellers by getting every single unsubstantiated complaint ledged against the seller; and the Filipinos won’t remove them.

    The seller can only potentially bring down the 40% fee increase by telling customers that they don’t need to lie any more; just click here and it is all free.

    Of course it is all free.

    • RatsoRestorations
      2 weeks ago

      Yup, when calling Ebay about a customer trying to buy through the GSP and getting no joy customer services asked if I was happy with sales. When I said they had fallen by approx 1/3 in the last 18 months they suggested I should be willing to push my listings up to next day delivery to go up the search results table. As I`m a low volume, one man business that spends most of his working week actually refurbishing the products I sell I simply cant guarantee a next day service-pointing this out to Customer Services got pretty much an “ohh well that`s that then” response…… Perhaps I should put all my listing on nest day, then fail to deliver and pay the 4% fine instead? I would have thought being a seller with a 100% satisfaction record counted for something-not to Ebay it seems….

  • Sam
    2 weeks ago

    We too are in a vehicle parts and accessory category and almost every day buyers are opening SNAD returns if the parts or accessories are not compatible. Ebay doesn’t care and support is non existent. This is nothing but a scam to make more money in seller fees and fines. We strongly feel we are being bullied by eBay.

  • Surely the key point here is that sellers are being assessed in comparison to other sellers in their sector? So if buyers are claiming SNAD against you as a seller, they are also claiming against your competitors.
    A Very High rating is not judged against a set figure, but against the other sellers, meaning that only the worst performing sellers will be punished.
    The question is how are the better than average sellers making it work for them? And if they can do it then so can others.

    • Jeeves
      2 weeks ago

      This is a poor argument by Ebay for many reasons.

      First, we have no way of verifying these supposed “averages” that Ebay provides…..and there is a very big financial reason for Ebay to lie about these figures (since they can then start charging the extra 4% to certain accounts).

      Second, the whole “level playing field” that if one sellers gets false return requests then they all must (making it a level playing field) is rubbish, too. These are businesses and fines/penalties are being leveled for supposed INAD counts being too high….which means that I don’t even ONE to count against me that is false and I should have the right to have that de-scored.

      What if a court sentenced you to prison on a crime you were innocent of….but then told you that you “are on a level playing field” because there have been instances of other innocent people being sentenced to prison? Doubt that would go over too well, would it?

  • Sam
    2 weeks ago

    Well compare to our competitors we carry a much bigger range of jump starters, pumps and power packs. In the last evaluation we have had 9 SNAD returns opened and only one was correct as the power pack arrived damaged. All 8 others were a case of not compatible or didn’t like it but buyers chose SNAD for free return. These returns have put our account at risk.

    This is why comparison cannot be made;

    Whether you sell tub of grease, polish, phone holder or a power pack, it will be listed under the same Vehicle accessory and parts category.

    So when eBay is comparing sellers like us (selling electrical, maintenance accessories, charges and pumps etc.) with our competitor mostly selling low value general car accessories, air fresheners, polishes etc.. (where chances of SNAD are extremely low) …what chance do we have of maintaining our status and how can that be a fair and honest comparison?

    Just because our lines are of technical nature and have to listed in the same category as above, does this mean we should be declared and treated as a worst performing seller??

    • Dave
      2 weeks ago

      Similar to me Sam.

      We’re in Sound and Vision. Our average selling price is close to £150, yet there are hundreds of thousands of listings under £10.

      A fair comparison cannot be made.

      I can compare it to my website however. If I look at the same stock and take the same amount of sales, I had 16 returns for eBay and zero for my website.

      The only difference is that you don’t get to lie and get free return postage on my website.

  • Sam
    2 weeks ago

    Well compare to our competitors we carry a much bigger range of jump starters, pumps and power packs. In the last evaluation we have had 9 SNAD returns opened and only one was correct as the power pack arrived damaged. All 8 others were a case of not compatible or didn’t like it but buyers chose SNAD for free return. These returns have put our account on risk.

    This is why comparison cannot be made;

    Whether you sell tub of grease, polish, phone holder or a power pack, it will be listed under the same Vehicle accessory and parts category.

    So when eBay is comparing sellers like us (selling electrical, maintenance accessories, charges and pumps etc.) with our competitor mostly selling low value general car accessories, air fresheners, polishes etc.. (where chances of SNAD are extremely low) …what chance do we have of maintaining our status and how can that be a fair and honest comparison?

    Just because our lines are of technical nature and have to listed in the same category as above, does this mean we should be declared and treated as a worst performing seller??

  • Richard
    2 weeks ago

    Want to know from UK sellers here whether they actually have started charging the 4% or not?

    Rumor had it this was pushed back to February in the UK because UK consumer laws are more consumer-friendly in the UK and basically Ebay would not be able to get away with charging this in the UK.

    I get the impression they changed their mind and will not charge this 4% in the UK but most certainly aren’t going to announce this fact due to fear of US sellers starting to backlash even more over them being charged the 4% (I know of a few US sellers with TRS status/over 99.8% feedback who are being charged this ridiculous 4%……equating to thousands of dollars per month in extra fees). I got the impression if there isn’t some sort of appeals process enacted by Ebay US for this in the next seller update that lawsuits are going to be commenced.

  • Eddie
    2 weeks ago

    Ebay needs to wake up… Its simple Higher fees = higher prices, Higher prices = Less Buyer , Less Buyer = Less Sellers, Less Sellers = lower ebay revenue, lower ebay revenue = Higher fees. and the circle will just grow till it pops.

    Also ebay need to see all that is happening is sellers are blocking buyers DAILY !!!!!!!!!! No buyers = No Sellers = No Ebay !!!!!!
    To Ebay ” Do not bite the had that feeds you” If its a fake claim remove it……. Give sellers the ability to NOT refund Return shipping on Fake claims…… The list gos on……..

  • Marcin
    1 week ago

    Same as other sellers in vehicle parts. Last time we had 17 SNAD cases where only 2 of them were correct. Rest of them were chosen by buyers because they though there will be Free Return Shipping even that we are offering free returns for all our listings, so they do not have to lie… But it doesn’t work, they still open the SNAD cases.

    The thing is that even we have 2 employees which are double checking the compatibility for the car parts and still there are very high rate of the SNAD cases.

    If the buyer finds that the part doesn’t fit his car, he should open this under the reason “DOESN’T FIT” which is not equal to SNAD so it is not counted against your performance, but they still choose “WRONG ITEM SENT”….

    The explanation can be in this, that eBay didn’t explain the Return Reasons for buyers, so they do not know which one they should choose….

    If we receive the 4% penalty, which I believe we will receive in next evaluation then we will sue eBay, because they do not allow to remove such SNAD cases. I don’t care that I am compared to our sellers, because I don’t know how eBay compares me. I am interested in my busines and I know that I operates fine so I shouldn’t pay any additional penalties, because I don’t have any possibilities to avoid SNAD cases!!

    Thank you
    Marcin

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