Learn how eBay evaluates performance, protects its sellers, and helps you handle sticky selling situations.
eBay evaluates sellers by judging how closely they follow our seller standards, which are a set of performance measures that reflect your level of service on eBay. These measures reflect what matters most to buyers: receiving their item on time and effective customer service. Seller standards include your transaction defect rate and number of cases closed without seller resolution.
Each of these ratings is calculated as a percentage of total transactions, and helps to determine your seller level, which in turn determines how you’ll be allowed to trade on eBay. Your seller level is evaluated on a monthly basis, based on your performance in these areas. You can view your current seller level in your seller dashboard.
Learn more below about each aspect of your performance and how it affects your seller level, as well as tips on how you can continue to meet expectations and provide great customer service.
Transaction defect rate
The transaction defect rate is the percentage of your transactions that have defects. A defect is a transaction that's considered to create an unfavourable experience for buyers. The transaction defect rate takes into account the number of:
- Seller-cancelled transactions due to items being out of stock or unable to be fulfilled for any reason
- Cases that are closed without seller resolution. This includes eBay Money Back Guarantee and/or PayPal Buyer Protection cases that sellers haven’t resolved, and that either eBay or PayPal has found in the buyer’s favour.
Cases closed without seller resolution
A case closed without seller resolution is any case where the seller is unable to resolve a buyer's issue before the buyer asks eBay or PayPal to step in and help.
There is a minimum number that all sellers are expected to meet. The percentage requirement applies after your account has exceeded the maximum number of occurrences.
Percentage of cases
Maximum number of occurrences
Cases closed without seller resolution
Sellers with more than 400 transactions over the previous 3 months are evaluated based on their transactions over the previous 3 months. The rate for sellers with fewer than 400 transactions is calculated based on the previous 12 calendar months.
Sellers who are Top Rated must meet higher requirements than those above.
For each transaction, buyers and sellers can rate their experience by leaving feedback. Feedback ensures that buyers and sellers do business fairly. Making your buyers happy will get you positive feedback, which helps you build a network of repeat buyers, and a reputation that will build trust in potential customers.
After a transaction, sellers can leave the buyer a positive or negative feedback rating, along with a short comment. Buyers can leave a positive, negative, or neutral rating, plus a short comment. Sellers get +1 point for each positive rating they receive, no points for each neutral rating, and -1 point for each negative rating.
In addition to leaving positive, neutral, or negative feedback for a transaction, buyers can rate specific aspects of the transaction with detailed seller ratings (DSRs). Sellers receive DSRs in the following areas:
- Accurate item description
- Seller communication
- How quickly the seller shipped the item
- Shipping and handling charges
Buyers rate sellers in each of these areas on a scale from 1 to 5. To keep your detailed seller ratings high, make sure you describe your item accurately, communicate with your buyers, ship the item as quickly as possible, and keep shipping charges reasonable.
Tip: Feedback comments and detailed seller ratings don’t affect your seller level, but a positive feedback score will encourage more buyers to do business with you.
Buyers will consider your DSRs before making a purchase, so keep yours as high as possible. Buyers don’t see your defect rate, but they still see your feedback rating and all four detailed seller ratings.
You can achieve automatic 5-star ratings in some areas by meeting certain criteria:
- 5 stars for shipping and handling charges if you offer free shipping and we know the buyer chose that option.
- 5 stars for shipping and handling time if you specify a handling time of 1 business day, upload tracking information within 1 business day of receiving cleared payment, and your item is delivered within 4 days of receiving payment.
- 5 stars for communication if you specify a handling time of 1 business day and upload tracking within one business day; or, there are no buyer- or seller-initiated communications in eBay Messages, and no pending eBay Money Back Guarantee or PayPal Buyer Protection cases; or, there are no requests for contact information between you and the buyer.
Learn more about how detailed seller ratings are calculated and how you can keep them high.
We adjust seller performance metrics when we have objective information available in our system, or through carrier tracking systems that show that the seller fulfilled all elements of the transaction.
In most cases, we automatically remove defects, adjust your late shipment rate, and remove feedback in instances that fall within our guidelines. You can download a full report of your defects, including those we’ve adjusted, from the Transaction defect rate section of your seller dashboard.
Learn more about our defect removal policy.
As a seller on eBay, the majority of your transactions will go off without a hitch. Here are some proven strategies to help you avoid defects and keep your transactions running smoothly:
Clearly describe the item
- Set buyer expectations by outlining the item's condition accurately—new, used, or refurbished.
- Thoroughly describe any flaws, such as damage, functional problems, missing parts, or odours.
- Include multiple pictures of the item from a variety of angles, especially if there are flaws.
Let buyers know when they can expect their item
- Offer a specific, branded shipping service. An estimated delivery date is shown to the buyer for each shipping service you offer, and is calculated using your specified handling time, as well as the carrier's delivery estimate for that shipping service. If you must choose a generic shipping service, make sure the shipping service you choose aligns with the buyer's expectations.
- Specify the right handling time. Your handling time is a commitment you make to your buyer. That's why it's important to choose one you know you can meet—or even beat.
- Upload tracking information for all your transactions. Tracking can sometimes add cost, but it's worth it for the peace of mind and protection it affords both you and your buyer. Uploading tracking information helps to avoid buyer cases for items not received, and helps to prove that items were delivered on time.
- Use signature confirmation on big-ticket items. We recommend that you purchase signature confirmation for items worth $750 or more.
Make payments easy to avoid unpaid items
- Make it easy for buyers to pay you by accepting PayPal.
- For listings that allow it, such as auction-style listings with a Buy It Now price, require immediate payment.
- Enable the Unpaid Item Assistant to automatically open and close unpaid item cases as early as 2 days after the transaction ends.
- Protect yourself further by using buyer requirements, including the block buyers feature. This lets you block buyers who have unpaid items or other policy violations on record, buyers in certain countries, or specific members.
Use the Resolution Centre to respond
- Buyers often have questions before, during, and after a sale. Help buyers by providing detailed information in your listings using auto answers, communicating shipping information as soon as possible, and responding right away to any questions buyers send you directly.
- If a buyer opens a case in the Resolution Centre for an item not received or not as described, be sure to respond promptly within 3 business days.