Just a little over 3 months ago, I took the plunge into reselling clothes on eBay after reading Laura’s and Kelly’s blog My Dear Trash. I learned so much, and their blog became my go-to source for selling clothes.
About 2 weeks ago, I found out Laura was permanently banned from selling on eBay. Without notice, eBay closed her store forever. Read about her experience here, here and here. I could not believe it and was very upset because I realized this could happen to any one of us.
Laura hit the nail on the head when she said selling on eBay used to be a casual experience, fun and full of opportunities. Those of us who have been selling on eBay for years remember those “good ole days”. But times have changed.
Twelve years ago when I started, selling on eBay was like having a virtual garage sale. There were no eBay stores and no fixed prices. Buying and selling online was still in its infancy and people were still skeptical about online commerce.
As wonderful as eBay was at that time, there were many problems, such as unscrupulous sellers and feedback abuse. I stopped buying on eBay because of bad experiences. At the time, eBay had a hands-off approach. Over the past 2-3 years, eBay has made many changes. Most were necessary and some were good.
Fast forward to the present, e-commerce has grown by leaps and bounds, and folks are more comfortable shopping online. The competition is fierce and that means those of us who have been selling on eBay for years have to change how we do business on eBay. It is no longer that “casual, fun experience”. Laura said: It was how I'd worked eBay for over 6 years. She didn’t see the writing on the wall and is now banned from selling on eBay FOREVER.
UPDATE: Laura is working on an appeal with eBay and will keep us posted. I’m rooting for her!
In 2008, eBay introduced Detailed Seller Ratings (DSR), which are feedback ratings left for sellers anonymously by buyers, to influence search results. What I didn’t realized until recently was how important these ratings are. I assumed they were only for search results – the higher your score, the more prominent your listings. NOT SO MUCH! Pay close attention, now …
DSR ratings are used to evaluate seller performance. Not only does eBay use DSRs to determine where to place your listings in search results but it also uses them to evaluate your status as a seller. More importantly, if your performance as a seller falls below a certain level – as determined by your DSRs – you will be banned from ever selling on eBay! This is what happened to Laura. Read more about Detailed Seller Ratings at AuctionBytes.com.
What about Feedback? Feedback is basically a forum for buyers to leave comments and reviews of their experience with a seller. It’s impact on seller evaluation seems to be minimal (if non-existent). A seller can have 100% positive Feedback, but may have low DSRs. I assume that negative feedback will be reflected in your DSR ratings; and low DSRs will get you booted.
I don’t necessarily see seller performance evaluations as a bad thing. What I have a problem with is who is doing the evaluating. Seller performance evaluations are not done by eBay staff; they are done by your buyers. Upset enough of them and you will no longer have a business – at least not on eBay. And there is no appeal process. Right or wrong, doesn’t matter. Enough low ratings (1s and 2s) and you’re out the eBay door faster than you can blink!
I see the writing on the wall. I understand that competition in the e-commerce world is fierce and we must provide the best customer service. I get it. But I think there has got to be a better way than shutting someone’s store without fair warning and at least an opportunity to improve!
Since I don’t see that happening, we need to be proactive to protect our seller performance and status. How do we do that? Laura provided some recommendations in her post, but I would like to add to that in my next post.
To be continued …