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Update on Seller protections for eBay UK Sellers

By Chris Dawson April 20, 2020 - 12:39 pm

eBay have published an update on the seller protection measures in place for eBay UK Sellers, to ensure their seller Performance is not impacted in case of delays or interruptions of postage services that are beyond their control due to the Coronavirus.

To save you having to constantly harangue eBay customer support staff, if your account gets dinged by a buyer eBay will automatically remove the metric without you having to do anything. There’s no need to ring up the moment you get a negative feedback or a late delivery.

  • Your account Seller Performance Standards level will be protected from being downgraded from the 20th of March until the 19th of June 2020.
  • Your Late Delivery rate and seller cancellation Defect rate will be automatically adjusted. eBay will automatically remove your Late Delivery count, Seller Cancellation defects, and related Negative or Neutral feedback received for transactions between the 1st of March to the 31st of May 2020.
  • Your item not received count (INR) in Service Metrics, along with any related Negative or Neutral feedback, will be removed automatically for transactions betweenthe 1st of March to the 31st of May 2020. This will be done as long as valid tracking was uploaded before the delivery is scanned and the following occurred:
    • On transactions where both seller and buyer are in the same country, the item was delivered within 10 days of the estimated delivery date.
    • On international transactions, the item was delivered within 30 days of Estimated Delivery Date.

eBay will be processing these defect removals and related Negative or Neutral feedback as frequently as possible. However, it could take up to a week for them to be removed, so there may be a period of time where you see those on your account.

Your account Seller Performance Standards level for the 20th of June evaluation will be evaluated based on transactions over the last 12 calendar months up until the 19th of June 2020, minus the defects eBay removed. However, if you’ve sold more than 400 items in the past 3 months, you’ll instead be evaluated based on the last 3 months up until the 19th of June 2020, minus the defects eBay removed.

As always, we want to make sure that we deliver the best possible experience for your buyers. Please ensure you continue to deliver a great product aligned to your buyer’s expectations. At the same time, we understand there may be situations at the moment where you can’t get an item out the door as fast as normal or you have to unexpectedly cancel an order. We want to reassure you that you won’t be penalised for being unable to carry out usual operations that are beyond your control.

  • Gemma
    7 months ago

    eBay have been really helpful lately and Amazon need to take note. So far we’ve had A-Z claims debited from our account due to no signature being obtained (despite the fact that no delivery company is obtaining signatures at the moment), Amazon sending emails to customers asking for reviews while the item still in transit, resulting in negative feedback which says “item isn’t here yet” and when said item turns up just one day late to Scotland (which I’d consider pretty good in the circumstance) Amazon will still not remove the feedback.

    It would be really helpful if Amazon would break the habit of a lifetime and recognise that sellers and the delivery services are trying really hard in difficult circumstances.

    • Karl
      7 months ago

      So true. eBay are trying to find that balance between keeping both sellers and buyers happy. Amazon only care about buyers at any cost to sellers.

  • jodie
    7 months ago

    our INR cases on the service metrics has all of sudden gone through the roof as royal mail are delaying items so much,so were now very high for the first time,so god only knows what will happen now? and as we sell low value items without tracking they wont protect us….

  • alan paterson
    7 months ago

    Watch out if you are posting items from a local post office or mail box.

    With no notifications to customers (that I am aware of) Royal Mail are only collecting ONCE per day from many post offices and post boxes. So you may THINK that you are posting your item on time but in fact it could be sitting in your red post box / post office till the following before it is processed. this problem is compounded if it is a Friday.

    Certainly the collection times on the mail boxes are no longer applicable.

    This would give an explanation as to why INR cases are increasing. Not only do you have items taking longer to arrive due to the Corona virus disruption but you also have sellers unwittingly posting their items 1 day late as they have unknowingly MISSED their collection for that day. If you miss the collection on Friday your item could be sitting till Monday before being processed adding 3 days to ebays estimated delivery time.

    At least sellers with scheduled collections should not be effected by this.

    Its frustrating as there seems to have been no notice from Royal Mail and I would expect Post Offices to put at least a note in their window to inform customers the new collections times.

    Where I live if you were to post after midday in any of the local post offices or Post Boxes your mail would be sitting over night and not even collected till tomorrow (let alone processed).

    Post office counter staff and postman seem not to understand the importance of this and I had to “extract” the information from them today. this info should be apparent and announced at least on PO web site or at least in their window / door and a note put on post boxes to indicate the displayed collection times are not applicable at the moment.

    Its good that ebay are protecting us but it would be nice not to get the defect in the first place.

    One of my clients posted just over a dozen parcels this afternoon using a trackable service. Nobody in the Post office told her that she had missed the last collection. She was about to go home and upload the tracking to ebay. off course if she had uploaded the tracking numbers there would be over a dozen defects on her account – as the tracking would show she had posted 1 day late (based on her dispatch time).

    Many sellers blame ebay for an “inaccurate” defect system. Most of the time the couriers / PO are to blame for not doing what they tell ebay they are doing. I know this is a difficult time but I think they should at least give the information so we can at least adjust our dispatch times accordingly. For a company like the Post Office that are meant to be built on communication – they do not communicate well. This has apparently been happening for weeks! and I think will be a big part of the increased INR cases on many accounts.

  • Jim
    7 months ago

    Get a grip
    Royal mail are doing a sterling job
    They have more worry over than ebays defect system

  • Oliver
    7 months ago

    Royal Mail are doing a good job with the staffing issues in my view. However buyers seem to believe Royal Mail staff have the vaccine and that they are fully manned…

    I’ve got loads of cases opened, all parcels from Easter weekend and I try to explain to the customer the problem and get told… “but all my other items have arrived”. I reply did they all come through the same sorting office? “No they reply. Each sorting office have they own issues.

    I’ll see in a week or so how things pan out…

  • 7 months ago

    Wouldn’t it be novel if eBay removed the “estimated delivery date” from listings during this unprecedented situation. Especially given the official statement from RM that the estimated delivery window have been removed from their SLA

    or maybe a pop up or message to remind everyone that there is, you know, service disruption in the UK and around the world… if they hadnt seen the news…

    We then wouldn’t be getting the ridiculous and pointless additional workload of answering an almost overwhelming number questions, or worse, cases, like “why is my delivery late” or “item not turned up yet”

    It has been so hard to remain professional with some of the moronic, thoughtless and downright rude demands buyers have been asking – some have been fabulous and realistic about it, others need a reality check.
    Sometimes I want to just ask then to book a Tesco delivery slot and see if that happens in 3 weeks let alone 3 days.. or maybe they should just look outside…

  • Alan Paterson
    7 months ago

    i wasnt saying they were not doing a good job – i am giving an explanation as to why the INR have increased. If yours havent increased you can ignore my post. However, if sellers have experienced an increase they need to know why so as they can make adjustments to their dispatch time on ebay or simply post their items early in the morning.

    “Royal Mail doing a good job” is not the issue and if you think i was sniping at Royal Mail you have completely mis-interpreted my post.

    Remember the consequences for very high service metric defects is 4% increase in sellers fees. For some of my clients that would send them out of business and it is a good job that ebay are protecting us.

    “Royal Mail doing a good job” has nothing to do with the fact that every post box in the UK at the moment is potentially displaying the incorrect collection times meaning your item could be up to 3 days late. Now thats a problem……… you want to ignore that – thats up to you. Again – its fortunate that ebay are protecting us.

    All that is required is to TELL us sellers that there is only 1 collection per day now from post boxes and post offices and that collection is quite early. Providing we are armed with that information we can sort the rest out ourselves by increasing dispatch time or making sure items are posted early in the morning. Sellers are fully aware that the royal mail are under strain and have staff off sick – that is not my point.

    I have no problem them collecting once a day. i have no problem them collecting at 9am in the morning. My issue is not being informed and as a consequence receiving service metric defects and late delivery defects damaging my clients accounts.

    If you know anything about late delivery defects you will know that you are immune to the defect if you upload a tracking number that shows an acceptance scan of your packet. If you upload this tracking number and it has not had an acceptance scan you will effectively be GIVING yourself defects.

    All i am saying is watch out for this as it is happening. `Sellers are puzzled – there is no need to be – this is what is primarily causing it. I have lost count the good sellers i have seen quite over the defect system.

  • jodie
    7 months ago

    royal mail are doing a fantastic job and we should be grateful they are delivery at all,but my point is some customers and ebay arent seeing the obvious issues what are happening as alan has just stated above,is pretty much common sense whats going on.lol. mainly what were finding is people are opening INR cases as soon as they can and then when we explain whats happening ,one or two days later there item arrives slightly late and they then close the case,happy days but the problem is were still getting that defect,which they are unwilling to remove

  • jodie
    7 months ago

    also bearing in mind all our items we sell are low value so not tracked,and our INR service metric before the lockdown came into place was 0.62% which was some how in the high category!lol. even though i think thats pretty damn good without any tracking,its never been higher than this before and now since the lockdown its shot up to 1.04% which i still think is great in the current circumstances and were now classed as very high!lol
    cant get my head round it

    • Alan Paterson
      7 months ago

      @ Jodie, yes the service metrics do appear to be a bit insane.

      Many sellers don’t get it so I thought I would try and explain. it is not a “static” defect rate for the service metrics. it is a differential. that means you are evaluated on the DIFFERENCE between you and your peers. This is why the percentage changes significantly but a sellers evaluation can remain constant. This is happening at the moment with the current situation with the Corona Virus.

      Your percentage could remain the same over the year but you could go from “very low ” to “very high” evaluation without your percentage changing.

      The percentage has went up recently as there is problems with items arriving on time given the current climate. However, as we are all experiencing the same problem SO the theory is that the DIFFERENTIAL should remain the same.

      People get scared with the word “differential” but really in this case it literally means “the difference”. So the percentage could change significantly but the differential remains constant if it is a nationwide problem that all sellers are experiencing.

      Anyway – what’s MEANT to happen but I have been saying to ebay that it doesn’t work like that in practice. Defects are like buses – they often all come at once. For a system like this to work the differential calculation needs to be taken over a very, very long period of time. ebay are evaluating most sellers over a 3 month period!

      Your 0.62% is nothing to do with being in the “high category” its to do with the DIFFERENCE of the 0.62% and that of the nationwide average of your peers. For example if your Peers were 0.9% then your score of 0.62% would be classed as “low” although it has not changed. In this example although your performance has not changed it has changed when compared to your PEERS.

      Mathematically it makes sense but practically when applied to a very short time frame its crazy. I think some at ebay must realise it isn’t accurate or else they would not be protecting sellers from it during the pandemic. If it did work – something like a pandemic should not effect the evaluation as everyone is experiencing the same problem.

      An idea to minimise these defects further……….

      To minimise the defects from items not received some of my clients are sending emails to everyone who has not left feedback within the estimated delivery time. The message basically encourages them to respond if the item has not arrived. This minimises the buyers opening cases (instead they simply respond to the message which is also far easier for them) but can be time consuming. It can also encourage buyer abuse although from my experience this is minimal.

      Another reason to avoid an INR being open is that it effects sales. ebay will deny this. but I have charts showing a persistent drop in sales when an INR is open. I assume it must have some connection with visibility in best match and be part of the best match algorithm. I want to stress though that ebay say that this does NOT happen. Whatever the case we should try and prevent INR being open if we can. There is some control we can exert and it doesn’t take much to significantly change your differential.

      Hope that might be of some help.

  • Carolyn
    7 months ago

    @ Alan. Thank you for your last post. I think I understand the service metric percentage now. Ebay were confusing with their explanation and it made little sense to me.

    Have you any more tips in keeping service metrics down?

    Do you take a consultation fee?

    • alan paterson
      7 months ago

      @ Carolyn, I have tips on everything.

      I don’t take a consultation fee so you would have to accept tips for free. I am not doing telephone calls at the moment because I am a bit breathless ( I got the COVID-19 back in March).

      ebay is my hobby so any advice / guidance is free of charge. Someone did try to buy me a car once (dont do that).

      When I give free advice I don’t feel as bad if it doesn’t work!

      🙂

  • dave jones
    7 months ago

    Ebay are now circumventing their own publicity over the protection to sellers.

    They are now issueing mc011 temporary selling restrictions to sellers whos sales have increased significantly (only ebay know how temporary but seems permanent). This is an automated process triggered through increased sales volumes, this used to stop you listing anything new until any concerns ebay might of had are resolved. Once issued the companies effected have no telephone contact with ebay to rapidly resolve this just an email us option and ebay might reply in 3 or 4 days.

    Now this has changed whilst your ebay listings still show, buyers when they try to buy are being told they are unavailable. So sales and income instantly hit zero, so effectively suspendension by another name.

    This is happening to large established sellers as well as small with multi years good feedback, top rated sellers. sellers in good financial standing.

    Most of these sellers have large amounts of money tied up in supplying ebay customers as volumes have increased due to the high street being shut and ebay have effectively pulled the rug from under them.

    Usually this is happening to sellers who deliver via royal mail who are suffering delays (despite ebays stated covid policy of as long as a delivery arrives within 10 days a seller will not be penalised in any way)

    Im aware of hundreds of staff of various companies who have now been laid off over the last 14 days as a result of this. It is undoubtabely in the thousands if not tens of thousands.

    Ebays official reasoning is “theyve done nothing wrong, but theirs a chance they might do due to the increased volumes their selling on the site”.

    These increased selling volumes for large numbers of those sellers still trading is not due to increased listing on the site but increased sales per listing.

    Ebay are well aware of this issue but doing nothing to assist the sellers effect and thus all the people who are losing their jobs because of this.

    Unfortunately an example of ebay shafting their own business partners on the site.

    you can find plenty of examples of this now on the ebay seller forums, although a lot of sellers will not say anything for fear of upsetting ebay and not getting their selling priviliges (shouldnt it be a right if your doing it right?) returned if ebay ever act

  • sam
    7 months ago

    Problem with posting at the moment is tracking doesn’t seem to work at all.
    Some delivered with good buyer stating such, others subjected to scamming ‘not (allegedly) received’ refunds.
    Wondering chances of getting stock cost and post fee back on a bookmaker site.
    EBay are doing other good promotions though.

  • Nick
    7 months ago

    I have issue with this statement by eBay:

    “On transactions where both seller and buyer are in the same country, the item was delivered within 10 days of the estimated delivery date“

    Over Easter not one single package posted on 14 & 15 April was delivered until the first packages started to land 2 weeks later. When you consider this includes items bought the Thursday night before Easter, customers thing it is 3 weeks.

    So now we are seeing bad feedback arising acknowledging our help but saying it was delayed. As this is longer than 10 days I guess eBay won’t do anything to protect us, despite having uploaded the tracking when we dispatched the packages. Why 10 days? We replaced all items when customers could not wait, at our cost as the original eventually arrived in most cases.

    So as RM took longer than 10 days why does eBay think the feedback is valid when under 10 days it is not?

    It is almost impossible to check the tracking of hundreds of items a week, having to do the Captcha tats every few times we try to check the tracking, and of course some customers told us they received their package after we notified of a replacement being sent, when the tracking did not show it was delivered.

    This eBay seller protection is worthless.

    And if you specify RM48 on your listing eBay will still show delivery expectation in 2-3 working days. Clearly this is not going to happen in a long while.

    We upped our delivery expectation to 3 days dispatch even though we ship same or next day. We also upped to 5 day courier as that is the longest possible without choosing an international delivery option. EBay just will not allow us to reflect the reality of Royal Mail delivery times.

    Unfortunately we have variation listings where some variants are small (cheap) and sent by slow RM. Some are large and sent by next day courier. I wish we could specify different couriers for variations – as they all get tainted with the slow delivery – which isn’t slow enough to match actual RM performance or fast enough for the majority of what we sell that we send by courier.

    We are now only sending large letter size packages by Royal Mail and anything larger by courier, and just did this before Easter and still had a huge amount of customer support to deal with over late delivery – and now starting to get the negative feedbacks.

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