Simpler, more objective seller standards

Reflecting your hard work and
giving you more control

New updates to seller standards

eBay is committed to helping sellers grow their businesses. Sellers have told us they want a set of performance measures that are less subjective and easier to manage. We’re excited to announce changes to help make seller performance standards simpler, more objective, and truly reflective of your level of service.

As of February 20, 2016, the following will no longer impact your defect rate

  • Buyer feedback
  • Detailed seller ratings (DSRs)
  • Return requests that are successfully resolved with your buyer
  • Item not received requests that are successfully resolved with your buyer

The new seller standards will focus on what matters most to buyers

New seller standards will focus on what buyers care about the most—getting the item they ordered on time, and effective customer service to resolve any requests for help. A new, simplified defect rate will include just two measures: Seller-cancelled transactions for items that are out of stock or cannot be fulfilled for any other reason, and cases that are closed without seller resolution. A new on-time shipping metric will measure shipping performance, based on what you can control—shipping your item on time.

See what’s changed

New on-time shipping metric

You'll be recognized for on-time shipping if tracking shows your item was either shipped within the stated handling time or delivered by the estimated delivery date. If there's no tracking available, we'll check with your buyer. If your buyer confirms the item was delivered on time, you'll be recognized for on-time shipping.

Shipments will be considered late only when:

  • Tracking shows that the item was delivered after the estimated delivery date and there's no acceptance scan within your handling time, or there's no confirmation from the buyer of on-time delivery; or
  • The buyer confirms that the item was delivered after the estimated delivery date and there's no acceptance within your handling time, or there's no delivery confirmation by the estimated delivery date

What's changing?

  • Buyer feedback and detailed seller ratings will no longer be included in the defect rate

    Negative and neutral buyer feedback and all detailed seller ratings (including those for ship time and items not as described) will not count toward your defect rate. They will continue to be displayed to buyers on the feedback profile page, but will not impact seller performance evaluation.

  • Returns will not count as defects when you resolve the issue with your buyer

    Return requests for items not as described—such as an item that’s damaged or defective, has parts missing, or doesn’t match the listing—will not count towards your defect rate when you successfully resolve the issue with your buyer. Returns will only count as a defect when the buyer asks eBay to step in and help and eBay finds the seller responsible.

  • Item Not Received requests will not count as defects when you resolve the issue with your buyer

    Item Not Received requests will not count toward your defect rate when you successfully resolve the issue with your buyer. They will only count as a defect when the buyer asks eBay to step in and help, and eBay finds the seller responsible.

  • Two key customer service metrics will be used to measure seller performance: Defect rate and on-time shipping

    1. The new simplified defect rate will include two basic measures:
      • Seller-cancelled transactions when the item is out of stock or cannot be fulfilled for any other reason.
      • Cases that are closed without seller resolution—when the buyer asks eBay to step in and help resolve a request for item not received or returns and eBay finds the seller responsible.

      Note: As it is today, all US sellers will still be required to maintain a maximum of 0.3% of closed cases without seller resolution.

    2. A new on-time shipping metric will measure shipping performance

      You'll be recognized for on-time shipping if tracking shows you either shipped your item within your stated handling time or delivered the item by the estimated delivery date.

      When there's no tracking, we'll ask your buyer to confirm that the item was delivered on time through a new question in the feedback process. If your buyer confirms the item was delivered on time, you'll be recognized for on-time shipping.

      Shipments will be considered late only when:

      • Tracking shows that the item was delivered after the estimated delivery date, and there's no acceptance scan within your handling time, or there's no confirmation from the buyer of on-time delivery; or
      • The buyer confirms that the item was delivered after the estimated delivery date, and there's no acceptance scan within your handling time, or there's no delivery confirmation by the estimated delivery date

      When there's no tracking information available and no response from the buyer, the transaction will not be included in the on-time shipping calculation.

      Download the on-time shipping infographic for more details.

  • The new, on-time shipping metric will protect sellers when they ship within the stated handling time and upload tracking

    The new on-time shipping metric holds you accountable for what you can truly control — delivering your item to the carrier within your handling time. It is intended to protect you from things outside your control, such as carrier delays and other delivery issues.

    Here's how it works:

    You'll be recognized for on-time shipping when one or more of the following occurs:

    • Tracking information includes an acceptance scan that indicates the item was shipped within your stated handling time.
    • Tracking information includes a delivery scan that indicates the item was delivered by the estimated delivery date (Note that the estimated delivery date is calculated based on your stated handling time and your specified carrier).
    • No tracking information is available, but your buyer responds positively to the new item delivery question at the time of feedback confirms the item was delivered by the estimated delivery date

    Shipments will be considered late only when:

    • Tracking shows that the item was delivered after the estimated delivery date and there's no acceptance scan within your handling time, or there's no confirmation from the buyer of on-time delivery; or
    • The buyer confirms that the item was delivered after the estimated delivery date and there's no acceptance or delivery scan within your handling time, or there's no delivery confirmation by the estimated delivery date

    When there's no tracking information available and no response from the buyer, the transaction will not be included in the on-time shipping calculation.

    Download this handy infographic to see how easy it is to be recognized for on-time shipping.

  • An overall return rate will be included in the seller dashboard along with your monthly standards evaluation to help you manage and minimize returns

    Although returns will not count as defects when you successfully resolve the issue with your buyer (without the need for eBay to step in and help), your overall return rate by category will be included in the seller dashboard to help you monitor and keep track of your business. For example, you'll be able to see your return rate for listings in Clothing and Accessories, if applicable. eBay may alert sellers if their overall return rate is very high within their category. eBay may also provide recommendations to update your selling practices in order to help minimize returns.

  • Updated seller performance requirements went into effect February 20, 2016

    With fewer situations counted as defects, the performance requirements to be a Top Rated seller and the minimum performance requirements to sell on eBay will be adjusted. This will help ensure we're rewarding our top-performing sellers and setting the right customer service expectations

    These updates impact how seller standards are calculated, but we expect there will be no significant changes in the number of Top Rated sellers. Our intention is to make eBay a more fair, consistent and predictable marketplace where sellers are recognized for delivering great service.

    To qualify for Top Rated seller status in the Global Standards program, Canadian sellers can have a maximum of 0.5% of transactions with defects and a maximum of 5% of transactions with late shipments.

    To qualify for Top Rated seller status in the US Standards program, the threshold will be a maximum of 0.5% of transactions with defects and a maximum of 3% of transactions with late shipments.

    Note: Canadian sellers won't be required to meet Top Rated Plus returns, handling, and tracking requirements in order to benefit from the 20% Final Value Fee discount for Top Rated sellers. However, they still need to meet these requirements in order to see the Top Rated Plus seal on their listings with eBay.com. Learn more.

    To meet minimum performance requirements in the Global Standards program, Canadian sellers can have a maximum of 2% of transactions with defects and a maximum of 9% of transactions with late shipments (that do not meet the new on-time shipping requirement).

    To meet minimum performance requirements in the US Standards program, the thresholds will be a maximum of 2% of transactions with defects and a maximum of 7% of transactions with late shipments. Learn more.

    Note: In addition to meeting the requirements for the new defect rate and on-time shipping, all sellers will still be required to maintain a maximum of 0.3% of closed cases without seller resolution.

  • New listing requirement for US Top Rated sellers went into effect May 1, 2016

    A good return policy and quick and easy returns are very important for today's online shoppers. Research shows that the average shopper expects to have at least a month to return an item to an online retailer*. As online buyer expectations continue to evolve, the eBay Top-rated seller program needs to keep pace.

    As of May 1, 2016, listings from US Top Rated sellers must offer a 30-day money-back return policy to earn the Top Rated Plus seal on eBay.com. The handling requirement (same day or one day handling) still applies.

    Exceptions

    Listings in the Electronics category will be excluded from this longer returns requirement but will still be required to offer 14-day returns with money back.

Here's how you can make the most of the new standards

For most sellers—sellers who are already providing great service and meeting buyer expectations—these updates will not require significant changes. Just keep delivering a great experience by following the best practices below.

How to keep your defect rate low:

  • Make sure you've got items in stock. If your item becomes unavailable, end your listing as soon as possible
  • Resolve issues with buyers promptly before the buyer asks eBay to step in and help

How to meet the on-time shipping requirement:

  • Specify an accurate handling time in your listing—one that you are sure you can meet (Handling time is the time between when you receive payment and when you deliver the package to your postal carrier)
  • Deliver your package to the carrier within your stated handling time and select the same shipping service as specified in your listing
  • Whenever possible, make sure tracking gets uploaded so you can keep your buyers and eBay informed of the shipping status

Helpful tips

  • Consider using PayPal labels for automatic tracking upload as well as discounted rates
  • Consider using the Canada Post pick-up service for easy pick-up and automatic acceptance scan—Canada Post will scan and collect your packaged items at your workplace for a small fee

More tips for providing great service

  • Describe your item accurately, use lots of pictures, and include item specifics in your listing to set the right buyer expectations and minimize returns
  • Clearly state your return and payment policies in your listing and offer a 30-day return policy when possible to meet buyer expectations
  • Review the new customization features in the returns process to help streamline and expedite returns through automatic approvals, refunds and replacements

Frequently asked questions

Find your answers here

  • Why is eBay updating seller standards?

    Our ability to capture accurate objective information about transactions has improved over the years, and we are now able to remove some of the more subjective factors in evaluating seller performance. Sellers have told us they want a set of performance measures that are less subjective and easier to manage. This update will help protect you from factors outside your control, make your seller performance more predictable, and help you focus on increasing sales and providing great service.

  • Why is eBay changing the maximum defect rate from 2% to just 0.5% for Top Rated sellers and from 5% to 2% for all other sellers? Won't this make it more difficult for sellers to meet the standards?

    Since we are removing many of the factors previously counted in the defect rate, we also had to recalculate the maximum allowable defect rate accordingly to ensure that we are continuing to recognize and reward sellers who provide great service and setting the right customer service expectations.

    These updates impact how seller standards are calculated, but we expect there will be no significant changes in the number of Top Rated sellers. Our intention is to make eBay a more fair, consistent, and predictable marketplace where sellers are recognized for delivering great service.

  • When did the new standards go into effect?

    • The new standards went into effect on February 20, 2016.
    • See the timeline below for more details:
    • November 5, 2015

      Starting November 2015, sellers have access to a preview in their seller dashboard to help check their progress towards the new seller standards.

    • February 20, 2016

      First evaluation with the new seller standards.

      Sellers with 400 or more transactions in the previous 3 months will be evaluated based on the previous 3 months, and sellers with fewer than 400 transactions over the previous 3 months will be evaluated based on the previous 12 months.

      A new returns summary will be added to the seller dashboard to help sellers track their overall return rate.

    • May 1, 2016

      Top Rated sellers need to update their listings to offer 30-day returns with money back in order to qualify for the Top Rated Plus discount and benefits (Electronics category excluded).

    • May 15, 2016

      First invoice reflecting the new listing requirements for Top Rated Plus discount and benefits.

  • Why is eBay waiting until next year to launch the changes to seller standards?

    We've spoken to hundreds of sellers over the last few months, and we understand that most sellers want these updates implemented as soon as possible. However, it's critical that we launch the changes to seller standards as consistently as possible across all regions. We also want to give all sellers time to review, prepare and plan for these changes.

  • What happens if I'm not meeting the minimum performance requirements?

    If the only seller performance metric you are not meeting is for on-time shipping, your seller level will remain above standard. However, we may restrict the shipping options your listings can offer, including restrictions on stated handling time. Sellers with these restrictions will be notified accordingly

    If you're not meeting the minimum performance requirements for defect rate or for cases closed without seller resolution, your seller level will be considered below standard and we may put limits on your selling activity, or lower your search placement until your performance improves. We may also restrict you from selling items on eBay if your performance falls significantly below the minimum requirements

  • Will both my global and US performance seller standards change?

    Yes, the new defect rate and on-time shipping metric will be used to calculate both your global and your US seller performance standards. Under either program, you must maintain a defect rate of 2% or lower.

  • How can I see what my performance will be under the new standards?

    As of November 5, 2015, you'll have a monthly preview in your seller dashboard to track your status toward the new performance metrics.

    Your seller dashboard was updated to reflect the new seller standards as of February 20, 2016.

    Sellers with 400 or more transactions over the previous 3 months will be evaluated based on the previous 3 months, and sellers with fewer than 400 transactions over the previous 3 months will be evaluated based on the previous 12 months.

  • What counts as a seller-cancelled transaction?

    Any transaction cancelled through eBay or refunded through PayPal because the seller no longer has the item or chooses not to ship the item will count in the defect rate as a seller-cancelled transaction. Transactions that are cancelled because the buyer no longer wants the item are not counted in the defect rate.

  • What can I do to avoid seller-cancelled transactions?

    Follow these best practices to help avoid seller-cancelled transactions:

    • Keep your inventory well stocked. If you subscribe to Selling Manager Pro, you can set up alerts to tell you when your products are running out.
    • If your item becomes unavailable, end your listing immediately.
    • Store your items in a safe, secure area to prevent damage or loss.
    • If a buyer contacts you to request a cancellation or refund, use the eBay seller cancellation process in and select the appropriate reason for the cancellation.
  • What counts toward cases that are closed without seller resolution?

    When a buyer asks eBay to step in and help resolve an issue with a return request or an item not received request—and eBay determines that the seller is responsible for the issue—it will count as a "Closed case without seller resolution", and will be included in your defect rate. It will also count toward the separate requirement for closed cases without seller resolution. If eBay closes the case in favour of the seller or determines that no one is at fault, it will not count as a defect and will not impact your seller performance.

  • How can I successfully resolve return requests so they don't count as defects?

    Sellers should try to work with their buyers to resolve return requests without the need for eBay to step in and help. As a seller, after you review the return request, you can choose to offer a full or partial refund, replacement or exchange. If the buyer is satisfied and does not contact eBay for help, the return will not count as a defect. The return request will only count as a defect if the buyer asks eBay to step in and help and eBay finds the seller responsible. If eBay closes the case in favour of the seller or determines that no one is at fault, it will not count as a defect.

  • What should I do to make sure I meet the on-time shipping requirement?

    To meet the on-time shipping metric, you should focus on providing an accurate handling time in your listing, using the shipping carrier that is specified in your listing, and upload tracking or use PayPal labels for automatic tracking upload.

  • How will eBay confirm on-time shipping if there's no tracking?

    If you don't upload tracking or there's no tracking available, we'll ask your buyer to confirm if the item arrived by the estimated delivery date. Buyers will see the question when they leave feedback and will be presented with a simple yes/no option to confirm whether the item arrived by the estimated delivery date. You'll be recognized for on-time shipping if the buyer confirms that the item arrived by the estimated delivery date.

  • How is the new on-time shipping metric an objective measure of shipping performance?

    Current seller standards measure shipping performance based on buyer feedback, detailed seller ratings and requests for items not received.

    We're changing the way we measure shipping performance based on what you can truly control—shipping your item on time. We'll check objective tracking information to confirm whether your item was shipped within your stated handling time or delivered by the estimated delivery date. You'll be recognized for on-time shipping when tracking shows an acceptance scan within your handling time or a delivery confirmation by your estimated delivery date. If there's no tracking information, we'll ask your buyer a simple yes/no question to confirm whether the item arrived by the estimated delivery date. This new, more objective approach to measuring shipping performance will help protect you from things outside your control such as carrier delays and delivery issues.

  • Are Canadian sellers still exempt from the tracking requirement to be Top Rated under the US program?

    Yes, Canadian Top Rated sellers will still be exempt from having to upload tracking information on 90% of their transactions with US buyers in order to qualify for the US Top Rated seller final value fee discount.

    As before, the Top Rated Plus seal on eBay.com will only be shown on listings offering 30-day returns and 1-day handling, and listed by sellers who upload tracking information on 90% of their transactions with US buyers.

  • What is an acceptance scan?

    When you ship your item, the carrier often scans the package. That scan captures the date the carrier received your item and is included in tracking information as the date of the acceptance scan. That's why it's so important to upload tracking information to eBay for every transaction. eBay uses the acceptance scan date in tracking information, when it's available, to confirm the date you shipped the item. Then, even if the item is delivered late by the carrier, the transaction will be counted toward your performance as on-time shipping.

  • What is a delivery confirmation?

    The package is scanned again by the carrier when it's delivered. That scan captures the date the carrier delivered your item. When you upload tracking to eBay, that information also becomes part of the package tracking information. If the delivery scan confirms that the package was delivered within the estimated delivery date, the transaction will be counted toward your performance as on-time shipping, even if there was no acceptance scan within your stated handling time.

  • What happens if there's no tracking information available to confirm that the item was shipped or delivered on time?

    If there's no tracking information to confirm that the item was shipped or delivered on time, eBay will ask your buyer if the item was delivered by the estimated delivery date. If buyer responds the item was delivered on time, you'll be recognized for on-time shipping.

    When there's no tracking information available on the transaction and no response from the buyer, the transaction will not be included in the on-time shipping calculation.

  • Am I required to offer 30-day returns to maintain my Top Rated seller status on eBay.com?

    As a Canadian seller, you are exempt from meeting the 30-day returns requirement in order to become Top Rated on eBay.com. However, you do need to meet this requirement, as well as the tracking and handling requirements, in order to get the Top Rated Plus seal on your listings.

    A good return policy and quick and easy returns are very important for today's online shoppers. We're updating the requirement for Top Rated Plus listings to include 30-day returns to keep up with the expectations of today's online shoppers. Research shows that online shoppers expect to have at least a month to return their item.*

  • What can I do to make sure I meet the new seller standards?

    Follow these best practices and tips to help meet the new seller performance requirements.

    How to keep your defect rate low:

    • Make sure you've got items in stock. If your item becomes unavailable, end your listing as soon as possible
    • If you subscribe to Selling Manager Pro, be sure to set up alerts so you know when your products are running out
    • Resolve issues with buyers promptly before the buyer asks eBay to step in and help

    How to meet the on-time shipping requirement:

    • Always specify an accurate handling time in your listing—one that you are sure you can meet. Handling time is the time between when you receive payment and when you deliver the package to your carrier. Specifying the right handling time helps in setting buyer expectations and increases the accuracy of your estimated delivery time.
    • Use a tracked shipping service whenever possible.
    • Deliver your package to the carrier within your stated handling time and select the same shipping service as specified in your listing
    • Make sure tracking gets uploaded so you can keep your buyers and eBay informed of the shipping status

    Helpful tips

    • Consider using PayPal labels for automatic tracking upload as well as discounted postage
    • Consider using the Canada Post pick-up service for easy pick-up and automatic acceptance scan—Canada Post will scan and collect your packaged items at your workplace for a small fee

    More tips for providing great service

    • Describe your item accurately, use lots of pictures, and include item specifics in your listing to set the right buyer expectations and minimize returns
    • Clearly state your return and payment policies in your listing and offer a 30-day return policy when possible to meet buyer expectations
    • Review the new customization features in the return process to help streamline and expedite returns through automatic approvals, refunds and replacements
  • Do I still need a high feedback score in order to be a Top Rated seller?

    There is no specific requirement for feedback score. However, your feedback score is still displayed to your buyers, and it’s a reflection of your service levels on eBay. You should still use the insights you receive from feedback to identify opportunities you may have to increase your customer satisfaction.

  • How does eBay calculate the estimated delivery date?

    Estimated delivery date is based on your stated handling time, the selected shipping service, and when you received cleared payment.

  • Is the current maximum requirement 0.30% cases closed without seller resolution changing?

    No, we're not changing the current maximum requirement of 0.30% cases closed without seller resolution. This will continue as a separate requirement in addition to the new defect rate and on-time shipping requirement. This requirement will apply to all sellers and reflects the importance of resolving issues with your buyers quickly and effectively.

  • How will these updated standards protect me as a seller?

    The new, simplified standards help protect you from factors outside your control such as carrier delivery delays (so long as you ship within your stated handling time) and subjective buyer feedback. That will help you focus on increasing your sales and improving your customer service. If you make sure the items you list are in stock, satisfy your customers, work with a customer if an issue arises, and ship within your stated handling time, you will be set up for success.

Helping you succeed

These updates are based on what matters most to buyers, and are designed to simplify what you need to focus on. As long as you have the items you list in stock, ship items within your stated handling time, and satisfy your customers by resolving issues if they arise, you'll be set up for success.