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Do you want cheap Chinese or quality British products? eBay thinks it knows!

By Chris Dawson June 29, 2020 - 9:00 am

eBay have made some changes to how Best Match works and it could make the difference between seeing cheap Chinese products at the top of search or more expensive quality goods from Britain. Before we carry on, it’s worth noting that not all Chinese products are cheap and there are certainly some cheap British products, but the trend is that there are more cheap Chinese products than British.

It’s no secret that eBay has been deluged with cheap Chinese products in recent years, often shipping from China adding a delay of days to weeks until the product arrives.

Don’t get me wrong, some buyers like cheap Chinese products and don’t mind waiting for them to arrive, but equally there are plenty of buyers willing to pay a little more for a similar product from a UK seller with a UK warranty and consumer rights and crucially that will arrive faster. You can’t get both cheap and fast and different buyers have different priorities.

Now, eBay have for the first time started to personalise Best Match to include a price propensity feature. eBay already includes the price of the product, along with item popularity (sales velocity), shipping, regions, seller details, etc in Best Match so what’s different I hear you ask? Well, the price in Best Match, all other things being equal, generally just sticks the cheapest to the top but the price propensity feature takes into account the buyer’s past price preference.

Previously, when users searched for a product on eBay, the Best Match algorithm would show the exact same results, irrespective of the buyer’s individual needs. What the price propensity feature means is that if a buyer has a history of buying cheap Chinese products then that’s what eBay will try and show them. If a buyer has a history of buying more expensive British products then that again is what eBay will show them.

Price propensity feature is just the first of the personalisation preferences that eBay want to build into Best Match. There are many other factors that eBay are exploring as part of this project. One that I would dearly love to see is items that ship from the UK and even more so for eBay to realise that often I would prefer items that arrive next day or within two days… although if they would only add a ‘next day delivery’ search button or even enable me to narrow search to products qualifying for eBay Premium Service that would probably be easier and quicker to implement than building in personalised search features.

  • Robin
    3 months ago

    Another lot of bs from eBay 🙁 sorting /filtering by postage would be easiest and fastest to implement – but wouldn’t let eBay to control what is shown to buyers…

    • Often it quicker to order goods from China than the UK as some sellers just hang on far too long until they post them out. Often had deliverys from China arriving within 7 days and a UK delivery taking 4 weeks, or UK sellers buying to order from China and costing more.

  • 3 months ago

    Shame eBay won’t add “days to delivery” into the search so buyers can filter out Chinese pretending to dispatch from the UK.

    • 3 months ago

      In the US the filter option around the Guaranteed Delivery element can roughly approximate that based on days to delivery, though it’s not an exact match. The closest available on the UK site is the Item Location, and as you’ve noted there are sellers that will pretend to be domestic when they’re actually international.

  • 3 months ago

    Being a regular buyer on ebay I love the fact you can, most of the time, remove those sellers shipping from China. You can usually tell by shipping time those that pretend they are in the UK although I have been caught out by some who aren’t.
    This is what most annoys me about Amazon, there is no way to remove the Chinese shippers from your searches and I can’t always be bothered to search through 30+ pages of results to try and find what I want, the only way I can see is to tick the prime box which removes lots of UK Marketplace sellers also. which I would prefer to keep.

  • Ratso
    3 months ago

    Sounds like a good idea to me – Ebay are not going to fix everything at once (or indeed ever in some cases) but people would do well to applaud when they do something positive rather than concentrate on the things they haven`t all the time……

  • Peter D Boyt
    3 months ago

    I would avoid china on principle. Especially in light of virus pandemic

  • 3 months ago

    I have always used the filter UK only in my searches that is the simplest way to remove them, although I too have been caught on ocassion annoyingly, Amazon I don’t use for this exact reason-no filter I don’t want to wait for months for something to arrive after I’ve paid for it and then for it to be cheap quality I would rather pay a little extra.

  • Paula
    3 months ago

    About 10 years ago Ex-CEO Devin Wenig signed a “deal with the Devil” with China, to give them priority treatment. The Chinese sellers do not pay listing fees so they can flood the site with CCC (cheap Chinese Crap.). They do not get punished for manipulating search, not sending the product or the RIGHT product, or breaking other rules.

    They lie about where their item is made, where it is stored (warehoused) and from where it is shipped, and least of all they lie about the products’ quality and brand.

    They can get away with shipping items which do not meet National or International laws for levels of lead, phthalates, pollutants and other dangerous chemicals, because it is almost impossible for Customs and Import offices to control what they import.

    And now eBay wants to give them even more priority placement on the site. Why am I not surprised? Ebay has sold its soul to the Devil.

    • ifellow
      3 months ago

      Alot of fake goods as well.

      1st eBay floods the with Chinese sellers, then it Charges a massive Promoted listing fee, taking fees to over 20%.

      I closed my shop, thinking about pretty much not even bothering with eBay soon. Its only my Royal Mail collection keeping me going at the moment. If it wasn’t for that I probably wouldn’t even bother.

  • Dave
    3 months ago

    Quality British products… Having a laugh right… Since when the British make anything of quality

    • Ratso
      3 months ago

      You need to open your eyes Dave and you will see that we still have some great products made over here. Unfortunately alot of British people cant be bothered to look for them and would sooner buy cheap and easy rubbish and then watch the last of our industries fail while moaning about not being able to buy quality British items……..

    • Paul Farrell
      3 months ago

      I’ve been buying from China for quite a long time and my verdict is :
      Don’t bother, 99% off it is crap. Britain does still make quality products, you just have to look for them. Another reason why I don’t buy Chinese stuff is the Coronavirus, I won’t even buy a Chinese takeaway anymore.

  • 3 months ago

    I know it’s the same Chinese crap sold by British *importers” (cheap cables, batteries etc) but it gets here quick and I like to think the sellers have done a bit of product research and picked the best of a pretty poor bunch. What amazes me, looking at the feedback of the Chinese sellers who are based in “Aberdeen, London” is that many buyers say the product is rubbish/faulty but not worth returning!! And then they wonder.

  • Donnette Jolly
    3 months ago

    I am most appalled with Chinese sellers who relentlessly keep buyers at bay when they requested for a cancellation for an item or refund. They are getting away with ‘murder’ so to speak. They are manipulative and greedy. Payments from the bank for items usually keeps in pending for about two days before the money is released by PayPal. Yet Chinese sellers used this to their advantage to not respond to buyers early request for a cancellation. They give an excuse to say that the item is already posted, which often is a lie. This is something that Ebay should address urgently. Definitely it will give buyers piece of mind than an awful refund process.

  • Haroon
    3 months ago

    It’s all economics. Britain needs to change or go bankrupt. Need a universal income and the removal of minimum wages. Minimum wage is what has really destroyed Britain.
    People only pay for labor, materials are free on this earth.
    Why does a meal cost 7.00 here yet other countries are less than 1.00.

    Think about it. Covid 19 is an excuse for redundancies that were going to happen anyway. Best time to announce bad news and not her in the spotlight.

  • Alan Peterson
    3 months ago

    It will not make any positive impact on the true magnitude of legal floundering and deliberate disregard for what is already an open and weak Law here in UK.

    Chinese companies appear to be UK based by exploiting the use of UK addresses and so even if UK has been selected this is pointless.

    Secondly, VAT should be collected by EBAY and compulsory for all international sellers.

    Thirdly, UK sellers must be given priority in ranking. This is our economy and our market which needs protecting. Enough is enough.

    We are too open doors. Nothing will change unless there are strict enforceable laws which are governed fairly.

    We are only as weak as our laws and even weaker as the way in which are laws are governed.

    • Alan Paterson
      3 months ago

      Above…… not to be confused with Alan Paterson

  • Chris
    3 months ago

    I always try not to buy Chinese products but it’s a tough ask. The west’s drive for lower production costs and cheap retail prices has enriched and emboldened a nasty, arrogant pernicious regime that as we speak is flexing it’s evil tentacles across the globe. I always select UK only in the ebay filter but it still includes items from other countries. Some years ago I read a book that analysed parts of the bible. One quote has never left me. “and the East shall come to rule the west because the west will build walls of untempered mortar”.

  • 3 months ago

    Say no to Chinese goods 👍

    • NorthCrystal
      3 months ago

      So what do you do when you want to buy electric socket from Screwfix, or summer hat from Sainsburys? Some of those items are made in China.

  • Billy
    3 months ago

    Best to buy British as Chinese items poor made lots clothes not size it says

  • 3 months ago

    I would like the option to take out anything from China out of my search. eBay does not give you the option. So you have to look at where something is coming from rather than having it in the filter option.

  • James
    3 months ago

    The UK seller is hugely disadvanted compared to a Chinese seller regarding shipping costs as they have extremely favourable rates compared with a UK seller by using United Nation’s Universal Postal Union (UPU) Terminal Dues agreement who class China as a developing economy.

    I ‘think’ the Low Value Consignment Relief (LVCR) £15 limit regarding VAT and import duty is going to be scrapped following brexit negotiations so overseas sellers will have to apply that themselves on goods coming in which may explain some changes in the near future to level up the playing field for a UK seller and if the P&P can be sorted out and not ‘subsidised’ by the UN agreement all the better. It would then, by a small miracle, allow a UK seller to actually turn over a resonable and fair profit for their endeavours.

  • Mark Golledge
    3 months ago

    Came back from work today to find a member of Royal Mail staff damaged my property this morning 3rd July 2020 @ 10am, like everyone else tried all the “contact us” deliberate loops on their site and phone only ending up where I started.
    Have evidence of damage, quotes for a replacement and delivery card which proves they are responsible but surprise surprise no where to send the invoice or evidence to, as a result got numerous others involved so I’m giving Royal Mail exactly 14 days notice from today to respond and sort out their mess or I will be going further.

    Totally unacceptable and unprofessional

    • 3 months ago

      You might want to go mention that on a thread about royal mail 👍

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