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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:17 am 
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Do many people know about ebay's new Top Rated Seller program?

For buyers its the star ranking left when giving feedback. Do most people know how important they are? For those who don't, the stars are used by ebay to determine Top Rated Sellers, which does come with a fee discount, but more importantly is used to determine how far down the list ebay places items. Getting stuck on page 3 is a good way to sell nada, nothing, zitch. So making TSR is very important.

5 stars is the best a seller can receive.

But ebay has decided that although they give discount based on the average score, sellers are AUTOMATICALLY DISQUALIFIED if they receive 2 1-2 star scores in any category within A YEAR, or .5% of the total transactions, which means 3 1-2 stars for 600+ sales!!!!!!!!!!!! And if the buyer bought multiple items and left a 1 star for shipping for each item, they all count as separate stars. Although only 1 point toward your feedback total. And ebay has made the star score anonymous, even to themselves. So the seller doesn't know who left it or why. Which makes it totally useless as a way to encourage better service. If the seller doesn't know what the problem is how can they fix it?

But ebay does not make it clear to buyers how ROYALLY SCREWED a seller can be by a 1 star score. Now I'm not saying 1 or 2 stars is never deserved. But realize its MUCH worse than leaving negative feedback. So if buyers never contact the seller with any problem, and left positive feedback, does the seller deserve a hit to the tune of hundreds of dollars in fees and a huge decrease in sales?

And there is no recourse to contest the score even if TOTALLY unfair. Just ask the sellers who ship every item FREE and DON"T have a 5 star rating for shipping cost!

As someone who sells on ebay, and has been hit by 1 stars I really want to make sure ebay buyers understand how the system works. I really appreciate if any readers of this thread can pass on the details to the nonTFL readers they know. Thank you for any help.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:21 pm 
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I have to say, as I buyer, I did not fully understand how the system affected sellers, nor that discounts were given.

I, too, can see how the discount can seem arbitrarily unfair. This is especially true when you consider some sellers may move thousands of items, monthly, but have one unsatisfied customer.

Usually, the only time I give someone low scores is in the communication department. As, most items I buy are gifts for the kids, it is important for me to know when to expect said items, because if a box shows up, the kids want to see what is inside. My postal carrier does not ring the bell when putting an item on the step, so I could wait a week to a month, sitting at the window, wondering where something is.

If the seller sends me a message saying "Your item is shipping on..." or "I have had delays, I cannot ship until three weeks from now...." I give them 5 stars. But even if I get the item three days later, if there was no email (unless the auction notes specifically say all items shipped at 'X' time frame), I give 0 stars for communication. I just need to know what and when to expect something, so I am not just sitting here, when a boy comes in with a box yelling, "Hey, what's in here????"


I won't even downgrade someone's score for time of shipping, even if it takes them two months, as long as they keep sending me updates (I will wait one week to email them, if I have not heard from them after the auction end, and as long as they reply, still give them full stars).


The other categories always get 5 stars, because I go all the way to page 53, if necessary, to find the best deal (and make sure I can see everything that is supposed to be included, if the item is loose), and rarely ever buy from someone using stock photos.

I may be the exception, but hopefully the info I have provided helps.


Like I said before, my heart goes out to you on this matter, as I was unaware everything that the Star system did to punish you. I don't think I will change my habit, though, because the simple email to let me know when to expect it (unless specifically noted in the comments of the auction), is one of the most important things the seller can do for me (as I try my hardest to handle everything else before the purchase).

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 5:06 pm 
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I think what can be frustrating for sellers is that its the number of 1 or 2 stars that automatically disqualify them, rather than their average score.

As one seller posted on ebay's board, using the exceptions rather than the norms is the most statistically inaccurate way to calculate quality.

Even if a seller can avoid having 1 problem in 200 sales, they could easily get a buyer who is deliberately posting false scores. There is a lot of speculation that some sellers are doing that to sabotage their competition. Or even a buyer who just made a mistake, some have admitted thinking that they thought 1 was the better rating.

In my case even with the 1 stars disqualifying me, my lowest average is 4.87, all other categories average 4.90 or higher. And a score of 4.9 or better is ebay's highest category. I will be disqualified for either 3 months, when my oldest stars age past 1 year, or another 180 sales, assuming no one else stars me. That many sales might actually take longer at the current rate. 2 sales in the last couple days. I average 15+ normally.



I've always sent shipping notices with the tracking number. And lately I've found more and more sellers have started doing so too. So that is 1 thing the TRS program has improved.




Personally I very seldom leave 1 or 2 stars.

I can only think of 2 instances.

In the first I bought 2 G1 guns, and the seller charged $6 to ship them. They were sent without tracking or insurance. The postage charge on the package was $1.22. Almost 5 times the actual cost seemed excessive to me.

In the other, a package was late in arriving. So I contacted the seller, they claimed a personal issue had delayed its shipping a week, but that it had shipped on a particular date. No problem. But still I don't receive it. No response from the multiple other messages I sent. Finally it arrived. The post mark was dated 3 weeks after the later day the seller claimed they shipped it. 30 days after payment for something that said it was to ship within 3 days also seemed excessive when the seller didn't notify me or respond to my messages.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 10:06 pm 
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I find useless the "Communication" category. I would drop it for "package quality". Although I appreciate when a sellers tells me when the item was shipped, I don't make big deal of it. Instead, I have had dreadful experience because of diecast cars shipped loosely into a Jiffy bag, hitting each other and arriving damaged.

Also - This year shipping is taking longer to arrive here, so I always check the stamp against the payment date for "speed". We also had a government employee strike which effected.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 10:55 pm 
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In my experience I try to always give 5 stars.

Accurate Item Description - 5 stars. In the one instance where I received something that wasn't in the condition listed, communication smoothed over all troubles. He/she still got 5 stars.

Communication - 5 stars unless the item takes 3-4 weeks and there is no communication inbetween (1 star typically only if they refuse to reply to emails)

Speed of Shipping - 5 stars unless the post mark date is say 4 weeks out without any communication. I do check post marked dates on this.

Reasonable Shipping & Handling Charges - Unfortunately this one varies. If I purchase a TF that I paid $15 shipping and it was packed in a bubble envelope and shipping came to an actual $4 and change. That is one star. If I purchase a TF that I paid $15 shipping and it was $7 shipping and it was packed in a box within a box with packing peanuts and/or bubble wrap carefully that is 5 stars in my book. I do include how well the package was packed in this category, however if I pay $4 for shipping I don't expect much more than some newspaper and a bubbled envelope.

I always star the sellers in a fair manner in my mind. If the seller doesn't deserve a 5, I don't give them a 1. I might only drop them by 1 star.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:28 pm 
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YES, I'd love a well packed category. I've suggested that multiple times when speaking with customer service.

I actually once received a group of 6 transformers mailed in a plain manila envelope, not even a bubble mailer. Certainly not separated by anything.

When I ship stuff I make sure everything (including all the accessories) is separated, padded, and sealed in plastic. Which requires a considerable amount of shipping supplies.

I certainly have no problem with a handling charge when the seller packs things well. But even if carefully packed $7 seems way too high a fee. I try to keep it within $1 of the postal charge. More than $2-$3 and I wouldn't give 5 stars.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:39 pm 
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Usually I give leeway (sp?) on the shipping costs. I know how much bubblewrap and packing peanuts cost. It isn't cheap. Even when used carefully.

That is the next category I would like to see, but I would hope that buyers take into effect that if you pay $4 for shipping and shipping is $4 there is no room for the seller to include expensive packing materials.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 9:52 pm 
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Packing an item doesn't have to cost you heaps to be well done. I have gotten very well protected items wrapped with recycled materials (and better, more environment friendly than peanut foam). Wrinkled newspaper, FINE for me. I can take a handling fee up to USD 5, considering I never request from abroad large items. However, I don't tolerate as handling:

- Time spent at the post office. If I started to complain about that, I would have to ask the sellers that money back, as my time counts too, right?

- Gas. Not my problem. Walk, it's healthy.

- Filling forms. Yeah, right. The CN22 is a green piece of paper which is smaller than paper money, you have to just declare what's inside the box, declare its value and sign it up. Three things to write, is that too difficult? A CN 23 has a bit more, but, not that much.

- Finding the items for sale. My favorite of all...

Yes, those are quotes of rip offs I have had. Ebay is explicit about not accepting those reasons as part of the handling fee.

However, always buyer beware. Whenever I see those quotes upfront, I simply move on.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:26 pm 
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Yeah I do my best to minimize shipping costs. I reuse everything I can. Every box I come across, bubble wrap, peanuts, styrofoam inserts, I even carefully remove the postal paper from wrapped packages and just flip it over and reuse it. And I have a relative who works at a hospital who saves all their empty little boxes for me. Waste not want not.

Only the supplies I actually purchase count toward handling fees; mainly bubblewrap, ziplocks, postal paper, tape, and labels.

The 1 time I actually used UPS to ship international they charged a $5 fee for doing the customs forms. Now I do everything through the Post Office.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 1:22 pm 
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The good news:

Every transaction I have performed in December has asked me to fill in a new "test questionnaire" designed to replace the star system, as they "have been listening to you!"

The bad news: I haven't bothered to fill one out yet, as the three sellers I have dealt with have yet to leave me feedback yet, even though I paid within moments of the auctions ending, and sent them communications thanking them for having shipped the items so quickly and safely.

I know many sellers are burnt out on leaving buyers feedback, as they can only leave positive or nothing at all (unless this has changed), but as I pay within minutes, and do not bug them unless I haven't seen something, or heard from them after significant amounts of time after auction's end, I deserve something.

Why should I bother if they do not? Their feedback means a lot more to them, than mine does (as a buyer) to me.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 1:45 pm 
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Yeah I got to agree with you there. When a buyer pays feedback should be left. The only times I don't do that are for international shipments that the buyer doesn't use insurance on. For those I hold off until I know the package arrived safely.

I find it even more annoying when a seller hasn't left me feedback even after the item arrives and I left them feedback.


Its really good to hear about the potential replacement system, assuming that one is actually fairer. Honestly I would have been happy if they just changed the TSR system so it used the average score rather than the .5% low feedback.

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