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    eBay DSR’s, just buyer perception, simples!

    By DBL | January 16, 2011

    Postal Fraud, Feedback Extortion & Non Paying Buyers, all in a days work for the eBay Seller? And then you get low DSR’s to go with it, but it’s all down to the buyers perception, you just need to know what that is … simples!

    In 2008 eBay stopped sellers leaving negative feedback for buyers, shortly afterwards they introduced the Detailed Seller Ratings where sellers were rated on four different transaction criteria. These being Item as described, Communication, Dispatch Time and Postage & Packing Charges.

    The problem here is that eBay’s DSR’s (Detailed Seller Rating Stars) in some circumstances, especially for the low volume seller, allow one buyer to seriously affect a sellers business on eBay. Buyers give their own perception of these four parts of the transaction.

    Originally this was to clean up the site and rid eBay of bad sellers and fraudsters and promote those with a good reputation of service. How much it has worked will no doubt be the subject of a further post. Unfortunately, as a by product of this change a small proportion of buyers are using the feedback system to extort extra goods, discounts & refunds, holding sellers to ransom.

    How does this happen?

    When a buyer leaves low (1 or 2) DSR this counts against a seller, when the overall score of percentage or count go above more than 2 or 0.5% in a given period according to sales volume this can lower you to an ASS (Above Standard Seller) see video below, worth noting Standard Seller is the lowest you can be in the UK.  This among other criteria, can lower your search position.  Therefore lower visibility can lead to lower sales. eBay says TRS (Top Rated Seller) status can increase sales by 25% but this will also depend on all the other hoops to jump through for Best Match search.

    Buyer perception, let’s look at each DSR.

    Item as described – Is the item as described in the listing? If you sell clothes this is certainly a difficult one. I once read feedback such as, ‘that was never a size 12, way too small’ perhaps more so after Christmas due to festive indulgence or maybe just because a size 12 from one manufacturer is different to the size 12 made by another.

    If you’re selling clothes make sure you measure the item and note these in the description ie sleeve length, measure the width and length when lying the item flat etc.. I’ve seen negative feedback on the sale of a book say ‘Was good but the ending was rubbish.’ Is this a product review or rating the seller?

    Maybe it was meant by eBay to be ‘Did the seller describe it’s condition correctly, pointing out any faults, marks or is it pointing to the Sale of Goods act where the item must fit the purpose ie if you buy a jumper can it be used as a jumper, if only it was that simple.

    It’s too vague, should this be changed and be category specific or do you long for the days of just negative and positive feedback?

    Communication – Did the seller communicate too much or at all? The Communication DSR is again down to individual perception.  I personally just need to know when my payment has gone through and when it’s on it’s way. If I ask a question I would expect an answer within 24 hours at most although a swift answer will more likely get a sale.  Again all down to individual preferences and perception.  Some buyers require immediate answers at 4 in the morning or else!

    Dispatch Time – One of the most talked about DSR’s of late due to the recent weather.  Buyers perceive this as delivery time, the time they get the item in their hands rather than how fast the seller dispatched it from their premises into the postal system.

    I personally resent having my business marked on the performance of Royal Mail especially when I get it out of the door from receipt of cleared funds to the postal system within 24 hours at most.  As a seller I am responsible for the item until it arrives in the hands of the buyer, I know that, but should my business be affected by other business operations (and weather) out of my control?

    On the US site if you dispatch via USPS and add a tracking number you will automatically get a 5 star rating for dispatch time, good news if you use this service or can afford to use a tracked service on a low value item. If this comes to the UK I hope that eBay add more couriers to their list to be able to enter tracking numbers against as at this point there are only five being, Royal Mail, DHL, Parcelforce, MyHermes and Home Delivery Network If you use TNT you’ve had it!

    Hopefully Red Laser has the technology to add bar codes from RM tracking labels via my smart phone to the eBay app and also My eBay making it a faster process.

    Postage & Packing Charges – Free P&P on eBay comes with an automatic five star DSR rating (nice one) although if you offer a faster service at an extra cost in addition, you run the risk of being marked down for that.  Buyers don’t often realise that P&P is more than just the cost of the stamp but includes, packaging material and packaging labour costs (or it should do) and I have had one buyer say that if P&P is free they’ll give a five otherwise it’s a one…your views on that please!

    eBay Buyers:

    If you’re happy with the service leave 5 stars for your seller, if you’re not, tell them and give them a chance to put things right, good sellers will put it right.

    If you change your mind after you’ve purchased that’s OK you have a right but please, tell the seller.

    eBay Sellers:

    Please file a UPI (Unpaid Item) dispute for all non paying buyers if everyone does it eventually the UPI process will suspend them and enable other sellers to prevent them from buying.

    As for the feedback extortionist, add them to your BBL (blocked buyer list) and move on, if a buyer is trying to extort discounts, further goods, refunds etc, call eBay before you act and DO NOT under any circumstances give in to their demands. Get eBay to Add a note to your account, it may help if they leave you a negtive.

    Don’t forget that 100% feedback is nice but it’s the DSR’s that will affect your search and selling reputation. That odd red dot will not stop you selling. And don’t forget to set those Buyer Requirements, they’ll help stop some buying with existing UPI strikes in the first place.

    Long post, rant over, I hope you found something new or I hope you’ll comment and share something more …

    Anoraked out  🙂

    Topics: Anorak Selling Tips, eBay, General Observations | No Comments »