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New eBay Policies Take Effect

Changes affect Top-rated Seller program, returns and images.

June is here, and with it come several changes announced in February as part of eBay’s Spring Seller Update—including changes to the Top-rated Seller program and to the eBay return policy

Changes to the Top-rated Seller program take effect on June 20. The new returns center will debut at the end of the month, though no official date has been given. And starting today, only listings with a one-day handling time and a 14-day or longer return policy with a money-back option will get the greatest boost in Best Match.

eBay reminds sellers in a recent announcement that late-June may seem off on the horizon, but that they should “take action now.”

Top-rated Seller changes

Starting June 20, eBay Top-rated Sellers who haven’t uploaded tracking information for at least 90 percent of their sales to U.S. buyers during the month of May—within their stated handling time—will lose their Top-rated status.

However, sellers who lose the status in June have a chance to regain it on July 20, when eBay will re-evaluate listings for sales made from May 1 through June 30, eBay notes. The marketplace adds that it will examine listings again on Aug. 20, and every month thereafter. It will then look at transactions during the previous three months to determine if a seller is eligible for the Top-rated status regarding the tracking requirement.

Other changes to eBay’s Top-rated Seller program include lowering the annual sales requirement to $1,000. Currently, the requirement is $3,000. eBay adds that sellers must offer a 14-day or longer return policy to receive the 20-percent discount on final value fees that all Top-rated Sellers now enjoy.

The new returns center, changes to photos

eBay also reminds sellers that at the end of the month, it will debut its new returns center. With it, buyers will be able to initiate returns in their My eBay accounts, and print return shipping labels and packing slips for items they want to send back.

The eBay return center is intended to automate the return process, but has stirred controversy among sellers.

Changes to eBay policies will continue to roll out in July, when eBay will begin allowing up to 12 free photos per listing and require that all listings have at least one image. eBay adds that it will not allow borders or text on or around pictures, and that catalog images cannot be used as a listing’s main image.

For more information on the new eBay policies, see eBay’s General Announcements.

About the author

Olga Munoz
Olga Munoz is editor of In addition to writing news and feature articles about e-commerce, selling trends, online marketing and other topics of interest to online sellers, Olga manages the site's social media efforts. A journalism graduate of Chico State, Olga says her favorite part of being a journalist is learning interesting facts that help put stories into perspective, attending industry events and meeting interesting people "that leave you smiling, even in tough situations." Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

  • Barbara Davenport

    As of 6/12/12 Ebay’s policy for the Final Value Fee is based only on your sales not your shipping.  They charge you Final Value Fee on the sale and the shipping and only discount you on the sale not the shipping.  After an hour on the phone with them they could not produce this policy in writing for me to see.  My point was that they defined FVF as sales and shipping when they charge us and when they discount us it is only on the sale.  They difined FVF as sales and shipping when they take the fees from us and then redefine FVF when they discount us for our excellent service to just include sales. They can’t have it both ways.  They are charging us on shipping that we make nothing on and then don’t even give us a deserved discount. I will update when I hear back from Ebay on this matter.  They said it would take a couple of hours but that was yesterday….. A policy that is not in writing?

    • Spenomusicinc

      i agree barb,we’ve been an ebay top rated power seller since 1998. we have NEVER made any money on shipping, ( usually ) loose money as we included insurance @ no charge to buyer !! i also don’t charge handling even though we buy packing material tape,boxes etc……..this is totally unfair to sellers and a LARGE part of ebays new found corporate manipulation. how much do you think ebay profits from this ??? we are with you,mike

  • Lee

    I have been a Top Rated Seller ever since the program was put into effect. I like every caring seller have worked hard to keep this status. The new tracking upload has made me lose this and the 20% discount that comes with TRS status. Now you tell me the extra profit for ebay on this. I do all my shipping with ebay so it will have the tracking information sent to the buyer. Well in the past 2 months I have had some printer issues and had to take some items to USPS for shipping. Most of my items are shipped First Class mail and when shipped from USPS you don’t get tracking numbers. So because rather than sitting around waiting for my IT guy to come repair my printer problems I lose my discount because I took my items to the postal service to get the items to buyer on time. It only took 1 month to lose my rating along with many others. This makes no since other than for ebay to have a lame reason to take our discounts for more profit to them. It is all about the bottom line to them and when the P is down on the P&L the easiest place to get it from is taking it from us, the sellers, ebay’s paycheck for all those big suit policy makers that have no idea what the sellers are doing to try to keep up with policy changes that are not our fault. The only way to get a tracking number is to either ship Priority or Express mail. Now you tell me who would buy a small $3.00 item and then pay $5.35 for shipping. Well the answer is no one would be buying. So in that case I make no sale, ebay makes no money, the buyers go to other sites and the sellers must follow. Well looks like a downward spiral Mr. ebay policy men and women. With the return policy, 1 day shipping, tracking download, kissing the buyers butts you have made the sellers leave. If you have no sellers, you have no income so without any income you big suit wearing collage boys will be out looking for a job. Just how long wth it take for this to happen you might ask. My answer is not very long treating your sellers(your customers) like this. You need to let the sellers take care of our customers and ebay should be taking care of us, the sellers, their customers.

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