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What Does It Take To Be Top Rated?

A look at eBay's ever-evolving Top-rated Seller requirements

In today’s technological world, entrepreneurs are looking for ways to get ahead and remain competitive. If you want to be successful as a seller on eBay, it’s necessary to stay on top of the marketplace’s ever-changing policies, and to keep a good grip on the Top-rated Seller badge.

A Top-rated Seller has a consistent history of providing great customer service. They essentially maintain a regular sales volume and receive high feedback scores. A number of benefits come with the badge, including fee discounts, in some cases, and improved search results standings. Buyers know that when they see a Top-rated Seller badge on your listing, you have a proven record of meeting high standards.

There’s no charge for obtaining the Top-rated Seller badge, and you cannot purchase it. Once you meet the requirements set by eBay, the company will automatically add the TRS badge to your listings. Below we discuss what it takes to be a Top-rated Seller and what’s changing with the program.

There’s no charge to become a Top-rated Seller. Once you meet the requirements, eBay will automatically add the TRS badge to your listings

Benefits of being Top-rated

For those who make it their business to gain regular sales on eBay—in other words, if you sell a lot—having Top-rated Seller status is like being rewarded for all your hard work.

eBay offers the following perks for those who carry the badge:

  • Improved standing for fixed-price listings in Best Match search results
  • Expanded seller protections for unpaid items, and on PayPal
  • Priority customer support
  • USPS rate discounts

Additionally, Top-rated Seller listings with a one-day handling time and a 14-day or longer return policy receive:

  • A 20-percent discount on final value fees (not including the final value fees paid on shipping cost)
  • And the greatest advantage in Best Match search results.

Steps to achieving Top-rated status

To gain Top-rated Seller status, you have to meet the following requirements:

  • Be registered on eBay for at least 90 days.
  • Maintain at least 98-percent positive feedback.
  • Maintain a minimum of 100 transactions and $1,000 in sales with U.S. buyers in the past 12 months. Another way to look at it is to have eight or nine sales a month, averaging about $84 each.
  • Upload tracking information within your stated handling time for 90 percent of your U.S. transactions.
  • Have no more than 0.5 percent low DSR scores (1 or 2 stars) across all four ratings.
  • Maintain a minimum number of eBay Buyer Protection and PayPal Buyer Protection cases, based on eBay’s calculations.

Changes that affect existing Top-rated Sellers

Before Top-Rated Seller status even came along, there used to be only two types of eBay sellers: PowerSellers and “regular” sellers. The PowerSeller was one who met a list of requirements—which are very similar to today’s Top-rated Seller requirements—and there were different levels based on your annual sales volume.

If you have already been enjoying TRS benefits, take note of the new rules so you can remain competitive and keep your status

It used to be that the lowest PowerSeller level required a whopping $12,000 a year in sales.

“Back in the day, being a PowerSeller actually meant something,” says Rebecca Miller, an eBay seller of more than 12 years. “It was a big deal to have that PowerSeller insignia next to your name on listings.”

Today, PowerSeller status is more like a stepping stone to the much more desired Top-rated Seller badge. Many sellers, like Miller, who have been with eBay for years and worked hard to earn PowerSeller status, feel their caliber has been diminished with rules that keep changing.

But, while it may be easier than ever to become a PowerSeller, the rules for attaining Top-rated status have become more stringent. If you have already been enjoying Top-rated Seller benefits, you will want to take note of the new rules so you can remain competitive and keep your status.

  • Only the listings from Top-rated Sellers that include one-day handling and a minimum 14-day return policy with a money-back option will qualify for 20-percent final value fee discounts and receive the greatest exposure in search results. Top-rated Sellers who don’t offer these extras will still get a boost in Best Match, but they will not receive the Top-rated Seller discount.

  • Tracking or delivery confirmation numbers must be uploaded to eBay for at least 90 percent of your shipments to U.S. buyers within your stated handling time for you to continue to qualify as a Top-rated Seller.

  • Previously, you had to transact a minimum of $3,000 a year in sales, but eBay recently decreased this amount to $1,000.

  • For Top-rated Sellers who do not have eBay Stores, the maximum standard final value fee for auction-style listings increased from $100 to $250.

  • Previously, sellers could offer three- and seven-day options for return policies, including “Merchandise credit” and “Exchange” options. Today, sellers may only offer 14-, 30- or 60-day return periods, or “No returns accepted.”

If you want to achieve and maintain an eBay status that keeps you competitive, stay tuned to the policies.

About the author

Sarah Brown
Sarah Brown is a freelance writer who writes about e-commerce and small businesses. She recently graduated from Chico State with a journalism degree and is also a budding online entrepreneur, having launched two Web businesses and her own line of handmade products. Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

  • Treasures

    What does it take to be top rated? What a joke! It is a title only. Customer service is getting worse and worse. Ebay keeps changing policies so they will not have to grant the discounts. Soon less and less will be top rated… 

  • TheFleasKnees

    Would somebody explain, please, exactly HOW one “downloads” tracking information? Ebay told me you just ship thru ebay. Is that correct? I am desperate to find any other information on this! Am I the only one who has no idea what this means??? TheFleasKnees

    • Yes Thefleasknees~I am new to this too and it is sooo easy I wish I would have used it sooner.Once you print the shipping label through ebay~you pay from your paypal account~once shipping label is printed your buyer automaticley gets  notice package is shipped with the tracking number listed also!

      • sueL

        ……….however,  that little notice ebay send the buyer doesn’t make buyers happy and many still seem to expect a separate email.  I used to always email them and say their item was packed and would ship, blah blah, then ebay started w/ the notice “your item has shipped” so I stopped w/ the emails. Started getting small dings on my communication.  Had to start little emails again but now, I save each and every email address so when I finally leave ebay, I’ll have a mailing list to tell them where I went.  That day can’t come soon enough.  I WILL NEVER TAKE RETURNS 30 DAYS OUT.  Why not just tell people we will rent our items.

        • spt1

          I agree with the new returns schedule…I think it is rediculous. People use our products, return them and then want a full refund or threaten to leave negative feedback….so unfair!

  • Treasures

    When an item has been paid for you should 
     go to the dispatch action tab and a pop down menu should appear and allow you to add the tracking number, at least that is how it works via selling manager pro on the UK site. Good luck!

  • Terri

    My main problem with this new policy is the next day shippping.  I could comply with everything else (even if I dont like the long return time)  but there is not way I could ship next day.  I really feel lilke I have been dumped on by Ebay.  I am not a company just an individual trying to make a little extra money.  I know who cares I know not Ebay.  I worked hard for my top rated status and my discounts its just not right!!

  • Anonymous

    This is such a bunch of whooy!  Early on in the article it says “A Top-rated Seller has a consistent history of providing great customer service.”  And NOTHING could be FURTHER from the truth.  Since it is driven by the FB system and more specifically the DSRs, so many perfectly good sellers are not TRS because a buyer had a bad day, had a headache, didn’t read the listing, or just felt like being contrary.  It only takes 1 buyer out of every 200 transactions to mark down a seller and that will keep them from obaining TRS.   So to get TRS is just luck of the draw.  Some fantastic sellers just had a couple of buyers that left them great FB, but for whatever reason they had they dinged their DSRs.

    Now of course there are the new requirements that are coming into play.  So all the old rules apply except you no longer have to be a Power Seller and to get the lower level of TRS you now need to be loading at a minimum of 90% of your tracking.  You won’t get your discount anymore, but you will have the lovely ribbon on your account.  You now have to jump through even more hoops before you can get the discount anymore.

  • Gypsy

    I noticed that even though one of the requirements for Top Rated Seller is to have a minimum 14 day return policy, yet I’ve noticed that there are TRS that maintain No Returns Accepted. What’s up with that?

    • Rick

      They don’t receive the discount on listings with no returns accepted or on listings with longer than 1 day handling

  • Kysco13

    I’ve purchased items from TRS’s and have received the same crappy service from some of them that I’ve received from sellers who don’t have the badge. Sometime’s I think that eBay gives the badge away too easily, especially to sellers who have been registered for a very short time and who have minimal sales. I recently purchased a toy from a TRS because of their location (less than 300 miles away)…I needed this item within a few days. Well, as it turned out, it took a week to arrive but the seller printed the label the very same day so that, to eBay, it appeared they had shipped that day and it wouldn’t hurt their #’s. When I checked the tracking number, it showed the label was printed one day and accepted by the Postal Service 5 days later! I am not one to leave negative feedback, but this comes very, very close. Especially when the seller promised me that if I purchased the item, they would ship the very same day.

  • kevin

    I sale big ticket items and cannot reach a 100 per yer is that a must ?

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