I'm a diehard thrifter and garage sale addict! I love the thrill of the hunt! And I love making CASH from trash so I also resell on eBay and Etsy. I share my successes to inspire you ... and my failures so you learn from my mistakes. Please join me on this wild and crazy ride of making cash from trash!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Don’t Get Banned from Selling on eBay ~ Check Your DSRs Before It’s Too Late!

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”.  (I've been on eBay since 1999.)  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!

Photo courtesy of AuctionBytes.com

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 realize 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 …


  1. Are you joking??? How ridiculous! I had no idea those ratings were important and sometimes (out of just pure laziness) ignore them. I thought it was optional for a buyer to leave the ratings with the feedback. I have never rated my sellers low (the ones I bothered to do the DSRs on...and this was certainly not the sellers fault when I didn't do one).

    Wow, I personally don't think it is fair to sellers OR buyers (what if your favorite seller is banned all because you were too lazy-along with 1000's of other busy buyers/sellers-to leave a DSR).

    Wow! I thought I might start selling on ebay, but now I am really hesitant!

  2. I am anxiously awaiting your follow up post! Just amazing that they are so anti-seller now. What will happen when they don't have any sellers anymore?!?

    I am also anxiously awaiting my first feedback! How nerve wracking that is! Two of my three sales received there items yesterday, so any minute now.

    Have a wonderful day!

  3. After reading what happened to Laura, I am now keeping better track of my DSRs. I am sure alot of buyers do not realize what impact a low dsr score can have on a seller. I feel new buyers should have to read a tutorial on DSR's before they can rate us. I believe alot of the low dsr's come from newbies who just don't know.

    1. I am just a buyer at this point but as soon as I get my merchandise I give feedback right away. If there is a problem with something I go to the seller first because I don't want anyone getting bad scores if I can help it. Just in one week I had 2 problems with the same seller. I did email her about it and she replied I'll try to do better. I still gave her 5 stars but I doubt I'll buy from her again or at least not for awhile. I always assumed the scores would have to mean something since most sellers ask for 5 stars and to contact them if there is a problem. I only didn't give 1 seller a feedback because I didn't want to say what I was really thinking very mad so I just didn't leave a feedback. But 1 in 5-6 years isn't so bad. I wish there was a way we as buyers could help this lady out. doesn't seem fair to me.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing my story. It is still very painful to be banned from ever selling on eBay. Selling was my passion, something I loved to talk about and share. I've brought so many people into the world of eBay, only to lose my own opportunity. I'm working on an appeal with eBay. I'll keep you posted and I love your blog. You are WAY talented and have an amazing future ahead of you.

    1. I just got word that I was banned- evidentally, my compliance with all they asked so cases opened weren't counted against me WERE counted against me and then when I couldn't pay for some items I bid on because of documented debit card fraud where someone emptied my account -they used that to further justify talking away something I loved, something that kept me from homelessness and gave me the means to escape a domestic violence situation.
      I am devastated- absolutely heartbroken and very scared...I had a seller rating over 99%?! I just found out at can't believe it nor can I stop crying- I have called and pleaded, begged. They told me to have a drink, I'm a teetotaler, and Google other options because I was no longer welcome. Hurts terribly. How did you get them to give you an appeal?

    2. Sorry that happened to you and we also lost an Ebay business due to a bad run of low DSRs left by buyers who had no clue of their impact or just didn't care. The DSR ratings are a very poor measure of seller performance because a run of idiots can take down a credible business. This needs to be reviewed by Ebay, who incidentally is losing market share. Our Ebay business used to be fun and we worked very hard at our presence, now it is just some silly contest that has no credible rules. Such a bummer for Laura, you and countless others. I symptathize. :( Suzy

  5. We started listing on Ebay 12 years ago. They didn't advertise like they do today. So we suffered with high listing fees, selling fees etc. Ebay really didn't have it together. Sellers have to pay to list an item for 7 days, it doesn't sell you pay again. But we stuck with it.

    Ebay started with the stores, great! We paid every month to keep a store open and then per item listedin the store, and we still made money. So we spent $500 - $1,000 on Ebay every month buying, bought box lots at auctions etc, really started a warehouse.

    Then Ebay changed management and started using the DSR scrores - and if you don't meet all of the scores to their standards they warn you and in our case doubled our fees. Half of what we made ever month went to Ebay. We struggled, but kept trying. We had grown our store to over 4,600 items, so we really weren't looking to quit, we had tons more to list. We had lots of details on sizes of the clothing, listed all the songs and artists on the thousands of records, VHS, DVD's etc. Yes we had a lot of work involved, hours and hours. We could make $1,800 a month minus all fees and shipping.

    But when our DSR's didn't make it we ended up making $1,800, paying Ebay $900, then pay the paypal fees, pay for all of our shipping fees, buy our shipping supplies and hope for the best.

    With over 4,600 items listed, 12 years on EBay, 98.9% feedback, Ebay shut us down, we lost all of our descriptions, information on thousands of items. I called Ebay, I said "are you kidding" they said we could continue to buy a $1,000 worth of items on Ebay every month, but we are banned from selling on Ebay every again the rest of our lifes, no matter what we do.

    Heck we used to do powerpoint and teach others to sell on Ebay. So here we sit, with tons of items to sell and we are banned from Ebay forever. We don't buy much anymore, we don't have the money to.

    Would we ever suggest that anyone put their whole heart and sole into Ebay again, NO. We lost alot and we really didn't have much control over it. You do, but you don't. Ban someone for life??? Seriously??? IMDREAMINGTOO

    1. I am very sorry this happened to you. I may suggest that you sell your items using a new Ebay ID with a new PayPay account; that way they won't be able to recognize you (also use a different email). We had to do this when Ebay shut us down for bad ratings and over 2K items to sell. They closed our PayPal and Bank Accounts. It was unfair, injudicious and hurt us badly. We lost a house over it since it was our primary income source at the time. I would never recommend an Ebay business to anyone since it is a very punitive environment . Sorry again for your troubles. My best, Suzy

    2. Sounds terrible. I feel bad for those who solely rely on Ebay profit to live but it is a terrible investment for there are just too many elements out of seller's control. You want to have most control of your business, not Ebay or any other entity. It really was a mistake to invest so much into Ebay, buying 1000's of products without selling them right away. I see it all the time. People relist and relist. If you are unable to sell an item after a few relists, it is taking up needed shelf space. In reality, a seller should have at most 500-1000 items at any give time. Anything more is wasted space. Chain stores move things quickly, clearance is key. And ensure products you sell will profit at least 50% at clearance sale in your store. Anything lower is waste of time. I will buy an item at $5, which I know for sure I can sell for $30-$35 at clearance in my store. Most times I sell items at 6x the purchase price. I wish ebay would close stores that are not this successful because it is really stupid sellers are buying things at $2-4 and only selling them at $10-15. Clothes mainly. The time spent writing the descriptions deserves more than a few dollars payout so it is just mind boggling. Ebay is trying to keep their good name. Cannot blame them. If you were working as a franchise but your store isn't profiting targeted goals for region, company would demote you. Game of the trade.

  6. My frustration is this limit issue, and some people don't know how to leave feedback, its ebays loss but i guess there 100's dollars is pennies to them and they just don't care about us little guys

  7. It has seemed that Ebay has sided with the buyer more than the seller. I got frustrated years ago because time after time, I was on the back end of scams. The effort we put into our listings seem wasted because we get negative feedback from some made up story anyway. I still sell on Ebay from time to time but I help others learn tips and tricks to help soften the blow. Great article and absolutely true!

  8. I have been on eBay since the beginning, as an early adopter of the internet, I saw Ebay being born! It was such a beautiful idea... I was in love with it, I was one of the first people to use Ebay!

    For the last 12 years I've been selling consistently on Ebay with perfect ratings. I have 100% postive feedback to this day. Last October I had a glitch, one of my products was much more successful than anticipated and the scond batch arrived a bit late, another product was delivered to me late. I emailed anyone affected and delivered the products still within delivery windows, and still got 100% positive feedback, but several customers marked my shipping rating down a bit because the shipping times hadn't been fast. A few customers opened cases and they were solved amicably.

    I closed my store and went on extended vacation. I come back to it and I find that my store was banned, closed forever. I'm banned permanently from Ebay because of slow shipping marks. I just spent two hours on the phone, nothing can be done, ever, furthermore, my husband and son are also banned from Ebay forever because they are in the same houesehold.

    I'm in tears and flabbergasted. I feel abused, I have never in my life been treated like this. Twelve yeras of selling down the drain because two of my products experienced a problem that was solved. I've sold hundreds of items with no problem, I have 100% feeedback after 22 years! They don't care. Nothing can be done. This is so awful I have no more words.
    I cannot comprehend what is going on. I'm a perfect seller, I know exactly what I'm doing, in twelve years this is the first time I had a problem and I fixed it, quickly too. How is this even possible? They said it was an algorythm and that they don't review the accounts individually. That they used to, but not anymore. How is this even possiible. Twenty years on Ebay without a fault and they ban me forever because a few people said I had late shiping FOR THE FIST TIME????

  9. Awesome post and great thoughts! Personally I am managing my ebay stores, and I am taking helps from some eBay experts from Sellers Engine and according to me they are doing awesome. So what my point is, Need to consult with some consultants before starting an business.

  10. Many of the clients we work with have been banned from eBay and PayPal one way or another. For them to return to selling has been a hassle.

    eBay & PayPal's policies have become even more ridiculous.