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eBay Fall 2012 Seller Update to Bring TRS Changes

Sellers to get a new fee, new top-rated emblem, more protections.

When fall comes around, eBay sellers will notice a few things have changed on the site—some that will please, and others that will do the opposite.

These changes will be part of the Fall 2012 Seller Update, which eBay announced today. Changes include a new fee for auctions, the end of the current Top-Rated Seller badge, new seller protections and more.

Michael Jones, eBay’s vice president of merchant development, says the changes “will help [sellers] reach more of the new generation of e-commerce buyers drawn to eBay this holiday season and beyond—and make [their] selling easier and more profitable.”

But, like previous Seller Updates, some of the policy changes may make some sellers unhappy.

A new auction fee

The new fee may be one of those “unhappy” changes, says Rebecca Miller, an eBay seller of more than 13 years. It will apply to auctions that are ended early with bids on them, Jones writes in his announcement. This will begin Oct. 1 to prevent “buyer frustration.”

eBay explains that “ending auction-style listings early reduces buyer confidence in eBay and makes them less likely to purchase from eBay sellers in the future.”

The fee will be equal to the item’s final value fee, had it sold, and will apply to most categories, eBay reports.

However, eBay acknowledges that in “rare” circumstances, a seller may need to end a listing early, so each year, sellers won’t be charged for the first auction they end early that has a bid.

Miller says she hopes the new penalty will keep those sellers who try to sell a single item on multiple sites at the same time from taking advantage of the system.

“However, there are times when honest sellers have no other choice than to end an auction early,” she continues. “This new policy will help some and hurt others, but overall I think it’ll be good for the site.”

A new Top-Rated emblem

Jones also notes in his Fall 2012 Seller Update announcement that a new Top-Rated Plus badge will debut in September for Top-Rated Sellers who offer a one-day handling time and a 14-day or longer return policy with money back. The current Top-Rated Seller emblem will be retired for all categories but Motors.

eBay explains that sellers can continue to be Top-Rated without specifying the one-day handling time or 14-day-or-longer return policy, and continue to get greater exposure in search. However, these sellers will not have the Top-Rated Seller emblem or earn the 20-percent discount on final value fees that Top-Rated Sellers currently get.

eBay says it’s making the change to “enable buyers to quickly spot the listings offering the services they want most. The new seal will reinforce the fact that these important services are widely available when you choose to shop and buy on eBay,” it states in its explanation of this requirement.

Miller says sellers who are Top-Rated should be identified as such, regardless of their handling time or return policy.

“You are Top-Rated for a reason: good service!” she says.

More seller protections

However, the new seller protections, which begin in February, should be welcomed by many.

These will require buyers to contact sellers before opening a Buyer Protection case, and give sellers three days to resolve the issue before a Buyer Protection case can be opened, Jones writes.

He adds that open Buyer Protection cases won’t be used to measure seller performance. Only the cases where the seller is found to be at fault will count.

“This could mean an immediate positive impact on your performance rating,” he adds.

Jones also tells sellers that reporting buyers who violate policies will be faster, as eBay will open an enhanced reporting hub.

One poster on an eBay seller forum says he’s happy to see that sellers will have three days to resolve the issue. However, he was “not crazy about” the new auction fee.

Other changes

Jones adds in his announcement that, starting in October, a photo will be required in all eBay listings, and that during the week of Oct. 22, sellers will be able to write notes about an item’s condition. These will display near the top of the item page and should help “avoid buyer questions and prevent issues with items not as described,” eBay notes.

Sellers will also be able to upload up to five photos through My Messages and eBay will also give vehicles that include a history report a boost in Best Match, Jones notes.

“Research shows that purchase rates are higher whenever a buyer views a full vehicle history report on eBay,” the marketplace explains.

eBay will hold a Town Hall Meeting about the Fall 2012 Seller Update Wednesday at 5 p.m. PST.

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.

  • eBay is on thin ice in terms of pissing off established sellers with the new policy changes. The attrition of ebay management is also quite visible.

    • Guest

       I got into selling on ebay full time last summer, after selling off and on for years, and discovered just how hard they’ve been making it for sellers over time. I’m going back to school for IT because I don’t see it as being a viable business portal long term for small time sellers. It really is a shame, but I also don’t see ebay as going anywhere or relenting until they do finally reach that tipping point. Unfortunately they’re going to take a lot of people down with them when it happens.

  • Sheilaho

    I am really furious about losing my top rated seller status and, more importantly, my 20% discount.  I have worked long and hard to get my top rated status,  and yet, because I cannot despatch within one day, I am to be penalised to sellers who can simply take an item off a shelf, shove it in an envelope and post it!   I sell customised, handpainted items which take at least two days to complete – how on earth can I possibly despatch such items within one day?  I suggest ebay think very carefully about this – there are a lot of sellers who will be affected. 

    • Personalizedcustomgifts

       I agree with Sheilaho.
      I sell personalized gifts, engraved and printed items. Production time is 2-3 days so I cannot possibly offer a one day turn around. This is so unfair! I have spent years building a great reputation, have excellent feedback but now no Top rated seller badge to show for it. eBay should take into consideration those of us who sell items that cannot possibly ship in 24 hours. I am furious and frustrated that sellers keep getting hit with fees and penalties every single time eBay updates anything.

      • Guest

         I hadn’t even considered sellers like you when I first found out about the requirement changes. They’re trying to push out anything but generic retail operations which is a shame.

      • AutoReWire

        Changes always affect us one way or another.  So far Ebay’s changes have been positive for our sales.  However, losing our Top Seller rating because we can not ship within 24 hours will most likely hurt our sales.  If it does in fact cut into Ebay’s profit or if enough of us that are affected complain loud enough they might concede to a two tiered type of of rating.  One that show a top rated seller that ship next day as “Top Rated Plus” with large logo and one that is just a top rated seller maybe with a small logo.  I do believe that the top seller rating makes a difference for some sellers who compete against another seller who is not top rated.  Feedback is also a big factor… maybe more so than being a top rated seller.  I know it is when I am a buyer…

  • Kate

    I think eBay needs to go to no perks for any reason and even the playing field for new and old – when no one can buy, bribe or barter a better position then maybe everyone will feel they are being treated equally

  • Jan

    I just read on the front page of this article that Ebay made a huge profit. Can anyone quess how? Clearly by taking our 20% discount they can keep all of that money. Last night I sold a nintendo for $319. Now I had to pay for the system, then I paid ebay $18 and paypal $11. I had a profit of $6. That won’t even pay for the relist fees and the store fees that go along with the $18 +$11 that I just got charged. This whole new system is cleaning out all of us sellers and breaking us. Now I hear they are taking away our hard earned emblems. Buyers will never know what a good job we’ve done. I’ve already moved my items to several different auction houses. I have to keep some things in ebay because of my buyers but when I get to a point of sales from the other houses, I will close my ebay store and only list the few items I sell the most. I will give buyers a much lower price by going to the other auction houses and sooner or later ebay will lose. I’m staying away from all those big outfits too. Amazon is another one that has taken their site to the extreme. All these rules have made business worse and when you can’t make a profit because they set the shipping fees, you will never make anything. Shipping has doubled but they think we are still in the dark ages. Another thing, is ebay charges of a fee for shipping now. Shouldn’t our sales count include this money. If they can charge us a fee, it should go into our total for sales. But they don’t and that can keep a seller from making the $1000 mark in a month but with the shipping it would go over. All of ebays rules have made it worse and I’ve noticed that in the items I sell, none of the sellers that sell the same have changed their shipping to 1 day(same day according to the customer support for ebay). None of us can ship in 24 hours let alone the same day. Shipping doesn’t work like that and they know it.

  • Blondies-place

    I just lost my top rated seller status because I sell bookmarks, and the shipping if I use the paypal (they decide) printed labels, I have to charge my customers too much for a good value. I purchase special envelopes to ensure that they are not bent when they recieve them, which is extra cost, plus then add on paypal postage prices and voila,,,it is too much for a $1-$2 item. So I add the $.88 postage as opposed to the $1.64 postage that would be required if I printed it. So, even though my stats are extremely high, I get punished.  No discount and my customers will wonder what I did to not have that badge in place.  Ebay just keeps making it harder. are we requiring printed postage so the post office can stay in business?  I aready pay taxes for that!  Not a happy seller here!

  • Gonzo

    Im an Ebay seller. I think we should all organise to Boycott ebay, even though it will be difficult to do. This company is making huge profits form us genuine sellers. I know what you guys are talking about about making $10 profit or less on items – sometimes, I wonder whats the point. We work for ourselves for a reason, but yet it seems we are working for ebay and paypal.

  • ebay seller

    I have an idea for you sellers making custom items and sellers who cannot ship out within 1 day.  I’ve sold 13,000 items on ebay in the last 10 years so I have a lot of experience with shipping and I am also a top rated seller.  For top rated seller status, ebay wants the tracking uploaded by midnight PST the next day after payment. That likely doesnt mean you have to ship out the next day.  I know with the post office, I have made labels and didn’t actually send them out for up to 3 days after the post mark, never had a problem with it.  With fedex online, once I made a label and didn’t take the package to fedex kinkos until the next day after the date stamp on my label……they did not care.  With fedex, I only did that once but with the post office I’ve done this many times and never had a problem.  I suspect if you just get the tracking uploaded within a day then do the actual shipping within a few days of your label date, you will count for ebay’s 1 day handling.  Without testing, I cannot say this will definitely work but I will guess that it would work out in this manner to keep your top rated status and discount.   Note, I’ve never sent a package by post office with a post mark date that was AFTER the date I mailed it, so the reverse might not work, meaning if the date stamp says Aug 4 and you try to mail it Aug 3, that might be a problem, I do not know. Having a date stamp Aug 5 and mailing it Aug 7, that is not a problem and what I was referring to above. Just wanted to clarify so no one gets mislead.

  • Baglady728

    Just another way for ebay to slap down the small sellers with the one day shipping they don’t consider us who live 20 miles from a post office and out in the country where u r not going to leave packages sitting on the side of the road to get rain, sun, stomped and run over, some days i might only sell a $8.00 purse no i am not driving at the cost of gas 40 miles everyday to mail it,i mail on monday ,wed, friday,take your 20% ebay go ahead punish you good sellers,

  • Dqcla

    There are many very good and well stated objections to eBay’s newest round of changes. I am NOT a PowerSeller, nor do I think I ever will be. For starters, I simply don’t sell very often. That’s not to say that I don’t have a HUGE inventory of all things scrapbooking, card making and rubber stamping. The bottom line for me is that I have a disability (Multiple Sclerosis) that is very unpredictable. Nearly everything on my calendar is written in pencil, as I don’t know how I’m going to feel from one day to the next. I have gone on several “Selling Sprees”, only to end up exhausted and unable to continue on selling on a consistent basis. I promise… I’ll get to my point here soon! LOL!
    I don’t wish to go on ad nauseum about my particular malady(s). And because I am an infrequent seller, most changes they plan to make don’t effect me. BUT… what has moved me to write here today is in consideration for OTHER people with disabilities that sell on eBay as a means of supplementing our meager checks from Social Security Disability. (I want to be clear in saying that I am extremely grateful for ANY check that helps me survive… and I’m sure I’m not alone there! But honestly, it’s not even CLOSE to what anyone needs for survival in these tough economical times.) So again, I can imagine that there are many others like me out there, just trying to “get by.” And so this brings me to my problem with eBay and their never-ending greed!
    A disabled person may be INCAPABLE of shipping in one day. But their particular disability has allowed them to build a great eBay business… and enjoy the rights & privileges for which they have worked very hard. Perhaps even harder than most, given their disability.
    And now those that have “made it” to Top Seller status are going to lose their recognition of the same, AND take away their 20% discount because they cannot promise 1 day shipping. UNbelievable!! UNthinkable!! INexcusable, thoughtless GREED!! And believe me, I feel for ALL the rest of you out there, too!! How on EARTH can you punish the very people that have made eBay what it IS today??? I’m simply incredulous, and offer my sympathies to all of you folks out there that are going to suffer (YES, eBay… I said SUFFER!) the consequences of these new rules. Right now, the idea of trying to sell again makes me sick to my stomach. Take away their badges, indeed!! I don’t know how anyone responsible for this CRIME sleeps at night! Shame, shame, shame on you eBay!!! This is going to come back to bite you in the ass, eBay… there’s not a doubt in my mind! With attitudes/thinking like yours, you’d best enjoy the view while you can; cuz you have just brought about the beginning of the end for you and your Ivory Tower!! You can only push people so far… the clock is ticking!

    • Fishingships

      I too am in the same situation as you, Dqcla, I am disabled and have been since 1991, after a horrific accident (hit by a car while riding my bicycle).  I too cannot deliver within 24 hours due to the disabilities I suffer.  I too, agree with you on the nonsensical decision to hurt the very people that built eBay.  I am a 13 year eBay customer/seller, only I do not sell on a regular basis.  I typically sell items that I have acquired BEFORE my accident, and all of them are of the highest quality.  I have to do it for the same reason as you… money above my SSI.   I am looking at different avenues to do this, but I am not able to do the quality research to find the best alternatives.  Do you or anyone else have any recommendations?


  • Kickinrox888

    I’ve been a Top Rated Power Seller on eBay for a few years. I tried the 1 day ship w/14 day return to keep the badge, but found it was nearly impossible with so many small auctions I do each day. I bagged it. Now, I’ve been selling without the badge because I’m doing a 3 day S&H. My sales have remained firm & even gone up. I plan on doing my best & not letting the Top Rate or even a little neg feedback (from nutty impossible to deal with customers) cause me to panic or worry. There are so many new buyers each day, sometimes I wonder if they even read or notice anything.

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