Saturday, October 11, 2008

More eBay Changes Part XVII

Hey, spammer dude—your spam comments to my eBay posts are deleted by me within six to twelve hours of you posting them. You are wasting your time!

P.S. You put one on this message anyway, and I deleted it. I have changed my blog settings to 100% comment moderation, so I will delete your comments before they post.

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Here is my current seller dashboard:


The 30-day DSRs show 4.99, 4.99, 5.00, and 4.90. It is not mathematically possible for the two DSRs to be exactly 4.99. They should either be 5.00 but are displaying incorrectly as 4.99, or else they are significantly lower than 4.99 and are incorrectly inflated.

I have received fifteen feedbacks from buyers in the last 30 days, so I can have no more than fifteen 30-day DSRs. Since two DSRs show 4.99, then I must have received at least one DSR of less than 5. However, fourteen DSRs of 5 and one DSR of 4 would average to 4.93—not 4.99. In order for the 30-day DSRs to average to 4.99, I would have to have a minimum of 67 ratings—66 ratings of 5 and one rating of 4 would average to 4.99. This is further proof that the seller dashboard numbers are not accurate.

Someone on the eBay message boards said exactly what the problem is. Since sellers have no way of knowing what ratings were left, they are suspicious of the data. How can we know whether the numbers are even close to correct when we are not allowed to see the raw data?

The other problem is that sellers have no way of knowing who left which ratings. On Amazon, sellers can see how many stars each buyer left. EBay has taken Amazon's system but made it worse. EBay thinks the secrecy is a good idea and encourages buyers to be honest (meaning leave low ratings) by the way the feedback form displays:


There is no harm in letting sellers know who left what ratings. Sellers can no longer leave negative feedback for buyers, which was the most common way that unscrupulous sellers retaliated. The only other way a seller could retaliate would be to file an unpaid item dispute against the buyer. Since eBay is about to go PayPal only, all buyers will have proof of payment through PayPal. A seller cannot successfully file an unpaid item dispute against a buyer in retaliation for a low DSR when the buyer has proof of payment.

If the ratings were revealed to sellers, then sellers could learn from their mistakes. Sellers need to know which buyers were not as satisfied. After all, how can sellers improve when they do not know which buyer was not totally happy?

Sometimes buyers do not tell sellers when a transaction has a problem. I do not tell sellers when a book ends up with a scuff or a bumped corner due to inadequate packaging. It is easier to keep quiet and accept that some books will get slightly damaged.

I do tell sellers when packages arrive postage due, because a postage due package is the most annoying transaction occurrence to me, aside from something like complete destruction of the package. I have had to wait in line at the post office to pick up packages that arrived postage due when I was not at home. How annoying!

There is a chance that not all buyers will tell a seller when a package arrives postage due. Let's say that the seller used a priority box turned inside out for media mail shipping, thus causing the postal service to upgrade the package to priority. Instead of telling the seller, the buyer might give the seller a one on the shipping price DSR. The seller would deserve it. However, if the seller receives several feedback comments in one day, then he or she has no idea who had the problem or what the problem was. Some sellers do not know that it is wrong to use priority packaging for media mail. These sellers will never learn when buyers do not communicate.

Sellers need to know who had the problem in order to figure out how they can improve their service. EBay expects sellers to improve without any specific information.

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In other eBay news, I have noticed an increase in sellers posting to the eBay message boards about 30-day selling restrictions. Most of them seem to be sellers of designer merchandise, but others are people who have received a neutral or their DSRs are a little low. In general, the sellers are shocked and confused about what is happening. Many of them are low-volume sellers, so one or two low DSRs caused them to be blocked. It appears that eBay is already rolling out the new policy on blocking sellers with DSRs of 4.3.

I have read that eBay may not enforce the PayPal only policy until the beginning of 2009. It seems that eBay is concerned about the holiday season and may realize that now is not the time to change everything.

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