Thursday, 29 November 2007

Detailed Seller Ratings on Ebay

Ebay have got this fairly new thing to help you discern who to buy from called detailed seller ratings. Basically, as well as giving positive, neutral or negative feedback, you now also rate the seller 1-5 on 'Item as Described', 'Communication', 'Dispatch Time' and 'Postage and Packing Charges'. Guess what? I have a bone to pick with the whole thing.

Bar this incident where Myrtle_Mingface101 decided to ignore etiquette by not contacting me before leaving neautral feedback when she was unhappy with the item, I've got 100% feedback. Thus I can understand not having a full amount for 'item as described' as she clearly went 'Ooh, curse you, that's a 1 all round', and it's effected the whole rating.

But Communication is 4.7, Dispatch time is 4.7, and Postage and packing is a lowly 4.4. Here's my issue...who isn't rating 5? Not being one to blow my own recorder or anything, but I know that if there's anything to communicate, and usually bar sending an invoice then there isn't, it's done quickly. What are people after; an item or a penpal? Also, who the hellll is rating under 5 for receiving their item the day after they've won it? I always send the items as soon as I can and with most of my auctions timed to end on a Sunday, this means Monday morning. Short of biking it there myself, it's not going to get there quicker. After I get it down to the post office and mark as 'dispatched', it's out of my hands with a 'Good luck and God speed, Royal Mail'.

Finally, postage and packing charges and god knows why this was even included in the first place: If you think the postage and packing charges are unreasonable, you don't buy from that seller. There's no lack of choice about it, there are hundreds of items to choose from. You've never had so much choice as a consumer, online or offline, so if you buy something and are informed beforehand that you will be charged £4.50 for the postage and packing on a hoody, which includes padded envelope, 1st class recorded delivery and pays towards the the extortionate 70p I have to pay to park my car near the post office...I'd say I'm just about breaking even. If the item's bigger, the postage charge goes up. After all, I'm selling second hand clothes here, not mum's finest china. There's not an awful lot that can go wrong.

I can only hope that one day Ebay will get the balance right between keeping buyers and sellers happy - maybe they should make everyone new enroll in an Ebay Etiquette Course (with multiple choice for the absolute thickies). I leave you with the words of someone from this message board, who I think sums the situation up quite nicely.

eBay will someday 'stupid' themselves right out of business. It's
been a slow, drawn out, painful (for sellers) process with eBay but I do believe
that they are past their prime and that someone will come up with a better
online selling solution than what eBay has to offer.

Well, I can dream, can't I?
What's that? I can't dream? What? eBay is charging fees to sellers who dream
now?$1.50 for every dream and if it's eBay related it's an extra $1.00 per
dream?! And if the dream lasts longer than 9.99 minutes they raise the fees up
to $4.70? And if you dream in color they charge an extra $0.75 for gallery. And
if the dream becomes reality then it's an extra 22.95% fee? Soon eBay will rule
the world!


pink jellybaby said...

well, someone opened a 'dispute' with me becasue they hadn't received payment a few days after i won it. She then said it wasn't her policy to send a reminder before opening a dispute. I very stroppily pointed out that some of us have better things to do than sit on EBay waiting to win and pay for things and actually i hadn't had time to get to a computer in a few days and it was unfair that she'd opened a dispute without sending a polite reminder first.

James said...

I have to disagree somewhat, I think the new seller ratings are a good idea. The problem with the normal feedback is that people aren't truthful on it, because you know if you leave bad feedback (or neutral) there is a fair chance so will the other person. I recently bought a signal booster for my TV and when it arrived it was the biggest pile of rubbish you have seen, it did nothing to boost my TV signal. I emailed the seller who just said that if I sent it back he would test it and if it was broken send me another one. The problem was that it worked in the sense it picked up a signal, but then so does sticking a bent coat hanger in the back of the tele. In the end I just cut my loses, and bought one from a local shop. The problem is I didn't want to leave negative feedback because, I was afraid they would leave negative feedback too. So in the end I just didn't leave any feedback.

There are some people on ebay who are amazing and send stuff really quickly, well packaged etc and others that can be a bit of a nightmare yet everyone seems to have a ridiculously high rating.

I like the anonymity of the new ratings as I think it is more truthful. For example I recently bought a CD that was described as 'New', yet when it turned up it had blatantly been opened, ripped to iTunes and then sold on. I didn't care one bit as it was going straight on my computer, but if I was buying it for a present I would of been disappointed. Now if I would of sold it I would of described it as 'Used', but in immaculate condition. So although it didn't warrant a standard negative feedback I used the new seller ratings to score them down on the item description.

I ordered a DVD where the seller forgot to send it for two weeks till I prompted him and a CD where the seller allegedly sent it to the wrong person. In the end all was good and I didn't dare leave negative feedback (in the old sense) but I wapped them on the dispatch time.

My point if you have followed me this far, is I think there should be a way of distinguishing between those super duper ebay sellers and the sort of people who knowingly sell Jodhpurs with holes in them without putting it in the item description (joke) and the old system failed to do that.

Having said all that I am a few ratings away from seeing my detailed sellers ratings, so I may see some red mist when I get to see those.

Perpetual said...

The problem with Ebay that I find, is that I try to maintain my 100% feedback rating, despite seemingly having a habit of buying things from people whose concept of speedy dispatch is 3 weeks after I've paid them. For that reason the new system works, but I fear Ebay has become a victim of its own success and is no longer the place it used to be for grabbing a bargain, or selling that piece of tat you found stashed away somewhere.

I almost bought a book on there this morning, that according to the seller was hard to find and difficult to get hold of. Luckily i checked on Amazon, where it was not only in stock and cheaper, but probably in much better condition too!

Jo said...

PJB - Classic case of people not following the 'unspoken rules'... ebay advises people to send reminders (or I had to before I opened a dispute with a non-payer) and then after a week you can open a dispute.

James - Yes, I see what you're saying - but that's presicely my point about the detailed seller ratings being wonderful for the buyer, but absolutely crap for the seller. For someone like me, who seldom buys anything from ebay and only really sells, there's no real protection against perfectionists who somehow expect to get their item the day it's won. No doubt the DSR's also protect against the people who put the item at 1p and the postage at £45 to escape paying fees, but in my case (bar the jodphurs incident) I'm selling stuff where there's not alot of margin for error. I also pride myself on the fact that I ship items really quickly, like next day and recorded (for my safety so people can't say they didn't receive it and claim back) yet it's on 4.4 (or 4.5 now i think). It would be good if there was a balance between keeping buyers and sellers happy, which ebay can't seem to get right.

Perpetual - Ebay is usually my last port of call for books etc. I agree it's not the same 'goldmine' it used to be, especially with fees often being higher than the item sells for! Saying that, my friend Miss Pink recently got 2 Karen Millen dresses on there for about £30 which was a bargain. You just have to know where to look. I like it for electricals and things.

James said...

Surely 4.4 (or 4.5) is a really good rating. I can't remember the exact wording but isn't 3 like normal/acceptable, 4 good and 5 excellent.

So your buyers are saying you have completely exceeded what would be deemed as normal. It all comes down to perception about ratings too. It's like when people rate things out of 10, some people believe 5 to be average others 6or7.

If you believed someone to be average looking would you grade them as 5/10 or 7/10?

Blue soup said...

I'll keep this short and sweet: I have no idea what you are talking about (as I have yet to be bitten by the eBay bug) but you sound like you know what you're ranting about so I'm impressed :)

Alex said...

The problem with all the big companies is they try and monetize everything. I was quite please when I read This article On the "are you feeling lucky" button on Google. Apparently, it's costing them $110 million in lost Ad revenue, but they keep it anyway because:

"'it's possible just to become too dry, too corporate, too much about making money' and the 'I'm Feeling Lucky,' button reminds you that 'people here have personality.' "

Refreshing! But worrying that my personality only exists because of a button.

I have to be honest, i've been turned off ebay for a long time. I've yet to grab a "bargain" on their, because the bidding gets that high I might as well just use a second hand site like gumtree.

Miss Understood said...

I haven't used Ebay for ages, so I'm yet to experience this. I agree with you, though. It seems the seller can end up with a poor rating just because of someone's impatience or pettiness. Surely, if it was a Q & A rating (eg, Did the item arrive within 7 days...yes or no) then there would be no room for such nastiness.

Jo said...

James - Average is 7. But my point is that if you pay for an item and it gets sent as soon as possible, arrives the next day - how do they then justify as rating you anything other than 5? That's always the case with me, and I can't see how I can get that item to them any quicker. It's baffling and misleading to future buyers.

Blue soup -It's alright love, just smile and nod ;)

Alex - Ebay's redeeming feature for me is that its more secure than something like gumtree, where no one has any real obligation to play nicely. Nice one for the article though, I'll have a read. On the subject of the 'are you feeling lucky' button, I remember my mum in her not understanding the internet days getting really angry at me because she thought it was something dodgy. "Go back! Whats that on that website about feeling lucky? What are you looking at?" Err, google, mum.

Miss understood - That would be a much more sensible idea, although this is an anonymous rating system and I can't see how that one would be.

Anonymous said...

I think you have hit the nail on the head here!

I sell 'Buy It Now' items and I too have not got 5 for 'Dispatch time' even though I post items every day of the working week. If I get orders up till about 6.30pm I rush to a late postbox collection on my bike risking life and limb. If the buyer not to far from me I will usually drop their item off by hand within a couple of hours.

In the feedback comments people say how fast delivery was but why doesn't my 'Detailed Seller Ratings' reflect that?

And as for the 'Postage and packaging charges' you are right, it should not be included. Buyers know the cost of P&P before they purchase the item so how can they complain afterwards? Some buyers seem to forget the costs involved for P&P and think the price they see on the package is the price they should have paid.

I have a SmartStamp subscription that costs me £5 a month, plus I bought a Dymo label printer and the special labels aren't cheap. Then there's the cost of the packaging and the time spent packaging it up. And then of course my petrol (not to mention the wear and tare, insurance etc. on my vehicle) and parking costs when I go to the post office.

I think some people just select lower rating because they expect far too much!

Anonymous said...

DSRs are completely bogus. Ebay pulls a seller’s DSRs out of thin air. DSRs DO NOT reflect the numbers buyers actually leave.

Ebay arbitrarily decides each month how many 5%, 15%, and 20% PowerSeller discounts they want to hand out. Ebay then fudges each seller’s DSRs to go with the number of discounts handed out.

So Ebay adjusts an actual 4.8 to a 4.7. Whatever Ebay needs to ensure only so many sellers get a discount that month.

Anonymous said...

It absolutely agree with the previous phrase


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