eBay Seller Peformance Standards For Sept 2010: Some Clarification Provided

Posted on May 12, 2010. Filed under: eBay, Tips - for the eBay Seller | Tags: , , , , |

eBay recently announced their second “bucket” of changes for 2010 and one of those changes deals with new Seller Performance Standards .  

I have read the Update details and visited the Special Forum Boards and still there were a few things that were unclear to me.  I spoke with two eBay representatives today and got some clarification regarding these new Seller Performance Standards that go into effect September 2010.


Seller Unresolved Cases 

Beginning September 2010, all eBay sellers can have no more than 0.3% of their transactions resulting in an unresolved case.  That is 3 cases for every 1,000 transactions.    So, this requirement is of extreme importance to sellers.

* A case is designated as “unresolved” if a seller does not respond to an eBay / PayPal case and the buyer ultimately receives a refund.

* A case is NOT designated as “unresolved” if eBay / PayPal find in favor of the seller and do not award the buyer a refund.

* A case where the seller responds but ultimately eBay / PayPal finds in favor of the buyer will most often, but not always, be designated as an “unresolved” case. 

* See below for how a case is defined when a chargeback is involved.



If a buyer initiates a chargeback before opening a case with eBay / PayPal then they will be prevented from opening a case.  When that occurs, there is no “case”.  So, as a seller, if I know for sure that I would win a chargeback (for example, if I have proof of delivery when the buyer says they never received the item) then I would want the buyer to initiate a chargeback with their credit card company (which doesn’t count against me)  rather than open a PayPal / eBay case (which does count against me even if I “win” the case).

When a buyer opens a case and then afterward initiates a chargeback, eBay / PayPal close the case without resolving the matter but the closed case is not designated an “unresolved” case counted against the seller.

Disputes vs Cases

Disputes or claims will not be counted unless they are “escalated” into a case.  At that point, all cases will be counted against a seller’s performance no matter the outcome.  So, obviously, it is in a seller’s best interest to communicate with a buyer right away and attempt to resolve the matter before it is escalated.

If a buyer files a dispute with PayPal, they are allowed to escalate the dispute into a case (a)  immediately if it is an INR [item not received] dispute where $2500 or more is involved, (b) only after 7 days if the dispute is an INR dispute where less than $2500 is involved or (c) immediately if the dispute is one where the buyer claims SNAD – Significantly Not As Described. 

If a buyer opens a claim against a seller through the eBay system, they can escalate to a “case” when (a) the seller has responded to the buyer’s claim or (b) if 7 days pass without a response from the seller.

So, as a seller it is important to first recognize where a buyer initiated the complaint (either with PayPal or with eBay) and that will help you determine the best course of action.  For example, if a buyer opens a claim through the eBay system, it might be wiser to communicate with the buyer via phone to resolve the matter AND THEN respond via your eBay console to document how the matter has been resolved.  In that way, you have 7 days to come to an agreement with the buyer before they escalate and, thus, ultimately avoid a black mark on your account since the buyer most likely won’t escalate at that point. 

Removal of Cases Toward Counts

If a buyer is suspended, his/her cases will be removed from sellers’ counts automatically.  It is unclear at this point how cases that are opened mistakenly will be removed.  There is no way at this time for eBay representatives to classify a case (either open or closed) as one that was opened in error but by September there will be a process in place to handle these small number of cases.

The Human Factor

I was assured that the entire evaluation process as it relates to these new seller standards would result in no automatic adverse action being taken against any seller.  I was told that a “human” would review a seller’s particular stats before any consequence was handed out. 


My Personal Opinion / Assessment 

I think eBay’s Seller Performance Standards are incredibly complicated.  They are complicated by design because eBay is trying to establish some very objective standards to differentiate “good” sellers from “bad” sellers without painting themselves into a corner.  The complexity in the rules was created out of eBay’s desire to leave themselves a “grey area”.  This area is one that gives eBay the legal ability to make a judgment about a seller’s “right” to sell on the platform.  Personally, I don’t like rules that are complicated and I don’t necessarily trust eBay to make good decisions about an individual seller’s “goodness”.   However, I do believe that eBay is providing enough detail about the complicated rules so that any seller who has the time and desire to sift through and figure it all out can do so. 

And there is nothing I am going to change about my business practices that would affect my selling status on eBay and that is probably true of most sellers.  Most “good” sellers are going to keep on doing what they’re doing and let the chips fall where they may.  And most “bad” sellers don’t think of themselves as bad sellers or simply don’t care; they’ll keep selling on eBay doing the same thing they have always done until the day their seller privileges are suspended.  So, at the end of the day, my final assessment as to how these new rules affect me personally is quite simple: ain’t no thing but a chicken wing. 

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4 Responses to “eBay Seller Peformance Standards For Sept 2010: Some Clarification Provided”

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> eBay sellers can have no more than 0.3% of their transactions resulting in an unresolved case. That is 3 cases for every 1,000 transactions.

This does point out that volume sellers will have more margin for error on eBay than ‘Mom & Pop’ sellers.

eBay Seller Performance Standards:
“The time period over which cases are counted depends on sales volume: For sellers with 400 or more transactions over the past 3 months, it’s 3 calendar months. For all other sellers, it’s 12 calendar months. ”

By example suppose 1 Feedback equals 1 Transaction. eBay promoted seller Buy has 38,973 feedback for a 30 day period. That’s an estimated 347 unresolved cases Buy could have, over a 3 month period, before eBay takes action.

Incidentally Buy has 289 Neutrals and 173 Negatives during that one month period.

> That is 3 cases for every 1,000 transactions

Where as for sellers with under 1,000 transactions, this is literally ‘3 strikes and you’re out.’

Abet this does explain the advice given to sellers by eBay Customer Service to increase sales volume.

> Most “good” sellers are going to keep on doing what they’re doing and let the chips fall where they may.

Being a “good” seller is no protection against 3 bad random complaints over a one year period. One can continue to be a “bad” seller by increasing volume.

eBay is asking sellers for 99.7% customer satisfaction. In real life retail a 80% customer satisfaction rating is considered outstanding. Last year eBay had a 79 rating (out of 100), and Amazon an 86.

Of course there is the other part (eBay typo included) to open cases:

“Starting in September, Top-rated sellers can have opened cases on no more than 0.5%of transactions, and all other sellers on no more than 1.0% of transactions. ”

These changes will occur during the Christmas shopping season. That time of year where buyers leave sellers little or no room for error.

Should be an interesting fourth quarter triage.


“All right, at ease… there’ll be no more moaning in this outfit… the next man who moans is going to be very sorry….”
“Take him out and shoot him.”
General Dreedle, Catch-22 (1970)

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This new policy will decrease the amount of discounts that eBay have to give out. Lots of small volume, top-rated sellers will be walking a tight rope. Watch eBay raise the carrots and lower the sticks again later this year, just as they have done for the past two years.

Man, I love selling on Amazon and Craigslist!

Thanks for the clarification, but it’s still complicated and not totally clear in some areas.

It’s clear though that eBay does not want the occasional seller of unique items who has a 100% feedback score.

The occasional eBay sellers don’t have time to keep up with ALL new rules and how best to “play the eBay game” so you don’t strike out!

Also, eBay is making it really easy to put a competitor out of business. Hope this does not affect too many eBay Drop Off Store consignment sellers.


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