Topics in this issue:
- eBay news – The new defect rate.
- This change, not so good.
- GSP glitch.
- Ask Molly – Do you actually take offers?
Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of The eBay UK Bulletin.
It is not very busy at HQ so loads of time to build inventory ready for the Christmas rush. It is mainly toys but I know quite a few ladies who would be more than happy with a new thermostatic radiator valve or shower hose in their stocking, so best list it all.
In this amazing issue of your fave bulletin, details of the impending changes to the measurement of defects and a really good idea (not) around delivery times. Enjoy.
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1. EBAY NEWS – THE NEW DEFECT RATE
It is long overdue but at last eBay seem to be trying to make the defect system a little simpler. It could all go horribly wrong but at least it will be easier to understand.
From 20 February 2016, the following will no longer count towards your defect rate:
- Buyer Feedback.
- Detailed seller ratings (DSRs).
- Returns requests that are successfully resolved with your buyer.
- ‘Item not received’ requests that are successfully resolved with your buyer.
Instead, the only criteria used to determine your defect rate will be:
- Seller-cancelled transactions.
- Cases that are closed without seller resolution.
The maximum percentage of transactions with defects will become 2% of all transactions. This is reduced to 0.5% for ‘top rated sellers’.
There are a few other measures but this is the main thrust of the changes. On the face of it I approve.
Any thoughts? Please let me know at the usual address.
2. THIS CHANGE, NOT SO GOOD.
OK, so eBay have the right idea with defects but seem to have lost the plot a little concerning the next proposed change: the ‘on-time delivery metric’.
This is a great idea that basically allows your buyer to decide if the item was delivered on time. We all know how unpredictable the Royal Mail can be.
It is slightly better if you use a tracked service as your item is considered as being ‘on time’ if it is recorded as being accepted by your courier within your stated dispatch time. This would be fine for items Molly sends via ‘Hermes’ as the barcode is scanned when collected or dropped at a ‘parcelshop’.
For items sent using Royal Mail ‘signed for’ the situation is not so clear. These are only scanned upon delivery so no courier acceptance there. The other point about this service is that a signature is not always obtained so no time of delivery either.
None of this matters if your buyer clicks the option confirming that the item arrived on or before the estimated delivery time, but you know as well as me how hit and miss the Royal Mail are.
So what to do? Well, not much really as the cost of tracking cheap items is just not viable and this alone should see the new target of 9% (4% for top rated sellers) late items smashed out of the ballpark. The forthcoming changes to the Royal Mail PPI CRL option should see more of Molly’s parcels traveling via Hermes but the large letters will remain untracked.
Miss this new target and eBay may well step in, they say:
“If you don’t meet the minimum stated on-time delivery rate we may restrict the delivery options available to you, including the dispatch times you can offer on your listings.”
I can’t wait.
3. GSP GLITCH
I spotted a glitch this week on a couple of my items concerning the ‘Global Shipping Programme’. Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of the GSP and the latest sale was for 6 kilos of brass finger plates from internal doors sent tracked to Ireland for a shipping cost of £8.39. Great value.
Having bought the plates my buyer contacted me and asked why he couldn’t pay, very odd. I looked into the issue and found that I could send him an invoice, something that can’t be done within the GSP, checking within the listing confirmed that the GSP box was clicked so I may have a problem. Did my buyer assume that the shipping would be free? Time to contact eBay for a quick chat.
Molly – “Hi, I have just sold this item to a buyer in Ireland but they can’t pay. I have confirmed that the GSP is checked on the listing which it is but I can’t see the shipping fee. I can also send an invoice which is not possible when the GSP works correctly.”
eBay – “I noticed that your item was not eligible for the Global Shipping Programme. If you list an item through Global Shipping Programme then, it shouldn’t have an excluded postage location list on the listing. As you had excluded postage locations hence, the Global Shipping Programme was removed from your listing.”
This is of course incorrect as listings for eligible items with an exception list can be sent via the GSP. eBay go to great lengths to explain this on their GSP help page.
Molly – “That is strange, the listing still shows GSP as an option and with no other international rates entered an overseas buyer should not be able to buy it.”
eBay – “I can understand that however, when you exclude postage locations, the system automatically opts out your listing from the Global Shipping Programme. Creating an Exclusion list postage locations nullifies the Global Shipping Programme.”
Wrong again, in fact you can even get the GSP to override your exceptions list and send to countries that you normally exclude.
eBay – “If you selling an item through GSP then, you can only sell your item to the GSP eligible countries. Providing alternate international postage will opt GSP out from the particular listing.”
Wrong. This is a Q&A from the help pages:
Q – Can I make a single listing available to buyers in countries that aren’t covered by the Programme?
A – Yes. Set the Global Shipping Programme as the first international postage option for your account. Then select an additional postage method for countries that aren’t included in the Global Shipping Programme.
eBay – “It might be possible that the buyer requested a total which opted the GSP out for this particular item.”
eBay - “I’m sorry but I’m not able to find any other reason why the this item didn’t go through Global Shipping Programme.”
So that was the end of the chat, good advice. I relisted the item and sure enough the GSP worked fine, contacted the buyer, talked them round to buying the item again with the shipping fee and all went well.
Two points of note: firstly if you spot a problem with the GSP shipping costs cancel the listing and re-list it. Secondly if you have a problem and have to contact customer support then be wary of their answers.
4. ASK MOLLY – DO YOU ACTUALLY TAKE OFFERS?
Not a question from a reader this week, but instead one from a potential buyer, or as it turned out probably not actually a buyer.
“Do you actually accept offers as I have made a few on different Sindy dolls over the last month and have never had a reply, even saying ‘no’?”
Great question and the simple answer is yes. However if the offer is too low or made within a few hours of the item going live on the site then it is unlikely to be accepted. As your offers were less than half of my starting point then they won’t be accepted. If of course the item has been on eBay for months with little or no interest then a half-price offer becomes more attractive.
As a rule I don’t reject offers that are too low, I just let them expire after 48 hours. The fact that I am considering offers can be seen by other potential buyers. The number of competing offers is shown when the ‘make offer’ button is clicked. Seeing that competition exists may result in a better offer being made or the item brought outright. Having current offers, even poor ones, is good for business.
If you have a question about eBay or home working in general, please send it to me at the usual address. I will reply personally to every email I receive and, remember, there are FREE copies of my book available for the best questions, tips or stories.
– END NOTE –
Check out Harriman Intelligence for the latest news from Molly HQ.
Now here’s an interesting thing. Sometimes when I send out the wrong moisturiser, which does happen quite a lot, I have to send the correct one and at the same time enclose a stamped envelope for the return of the incorrect item.
Nothing special so far but when a ‘penalty to pay’ card dropped through the door the other day I realised that I must have understamped the return envelope, maybe it wasn’t a ‘large letter’ after all. With £3 to pay in order to receive the package I tell the Royal Mail guy that I don’t want it, he says that it will be returned to the sender, turns it over, sees my address label and hands it to me. [Ed: Was he not at all suspicious that you had been sending makeup to yourself?]
There is a lesson here: stick return address labels on anything you can.
Author of the bestselling title, The eBay Business Handbook, available direct from the publisher Harriman House.
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