Home eCommerce Blog eBay tightens the screws on sellers (yet again)

eBay tightens the screws on sellers (yet again)

Is it just me, or should eBay’s upcoming ‘New Seller Responsibility Policy’ announcement be renamed ‘eBay Management using Sellers as Whipping Boys (again) Policy’?

The new policy is expected to introduce more changes that will cost us time and money, all in the name of deepening the pockets of a select few down at the eBay HQ.

The new Seller Responsibilities policy combines existing policies and best practises with new ones, which according to sources, includes a collection of common-sense guidelines for sellers to follow. As part of this policy, eBay will soon prohibit sellers from offering shipping insurance as an option. Instead, sellers will be required to make sure their item arrives as described in their listings. (Maybe we should all buy delivery vans?) Sellers are encouraged to attach the cost of shipping insurance onto the item cost or incorporate it into the handling charge.

Ever since Donahoe took the reins last year he has focused on improving the buyer experience as key to transforming eBay into a more mainstream retail experience, and these changes apparently come in light of this new initiative.

What gets me confused is eBay's claim that this new policy is to make sellers more responsible and eliminate the risk for buyers. However, it has always been the responsibility of the seller to ensure that packages arrive in the right place and in the right condition. Therefore, this has got me thinking that this new policy is less about increasing seller responsibility and decreasing buyer risk, and more about making profits.

Why? Because eBay suggests to sellers that they include insurance in the price of the item they are selling which will mean an increase in Final Value fees for them!

This means that the only thing that will change in terms of Donahue's 'buyer experience' is the increase in price they will pay for items.
Am I right, or am I wrong? How will this affect your business? Share your thoughts on this by posting a comment below.

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7 Comments Add your comment
I don't think this new policy will effect my business what-so-ever. I offer shipping insurance, but most of my buyers don't even bother with it. I guess if I were selling products other than clothes, it would be a different story. Reply
So many complaints about eBay and PayPal. Just do as I did and walk awy from ebay. After 4 years of selling I had enough and closed my account with both eBay and PayPal. As long as I had a active account I always found my self going there. Now that I dont have it anymore, I dont miss it. Reply
In my opinion new policy is more convenient for the buyers and sounds like a trouble for sellers.. But this change will definitely reduce the risk for buyers and put more responsibility on seller Reply
An interesting post, I'm passionate about the idea of insurance on certain items, keep reading and you'll understand why. I'm only still a small ebay seller (but I plan on growing on eBay) and predominantly use Australia Post for shipping, any large items that Aust Post can't handle I use a 3rd party shipping company online. Am I understanding this right in saying that it will be mandatory that all items will be required to have insurance and that the seller needs to add this to the cost of an item? Why? It seems completely ludicrous to me. In my opinion what they should be making mandatory is that the seller includes insurance as an OPTION to the buyer in the shipping costs, it is then up to the buyer if they want to pay extra for insurance or not. It's their money after all. I always offer to ship an item via Regular post, Express post or Registered Post (this includes insurance) and the online shipping Co. I use have insurance included by default. I believe that the buyer should have the choice of how much they want to spend on shipping wherever possible, not only that it will be completely ridiculous to enforce insurance on some items. I always strongly recommend insurance on an item that can be damaged thru the post, particularly as Australia Post is hopeless, they simply don't give a damn about using any care in handling parcels. If it's one thing I've learnt, it's how to package items securely, even then it's not enough for Aust post. I'm certain even if I shipped things in a steel box with everything virtually embedded in high density foam Aust Post will still find a way to damage it. I would love to use couriers, but for smaller items they're just way too expensive. I am thinking of making Registered post the only option for breakable items, only because of Aust Post's lack of care. But I certainly don't think that should be reflected in the cost of the item. So I guess my point is that to have the idea of enforcing insurance is fine if it is in fact out of genuine concern for the buyer, but to MAKE the seller or the buyer pay for it in the cost of an item is ludicrous. The cost of an item has got absolutely nothing to do with insurance. I thought the whole idea of eBay is to find a bargain, by enforcing insurance it is effectively reducing the ability of finding a bargain. Besides which, if you need to include insurance in the cost of an item how much insurance do you put on it, by whose recommendations? eBays? Aust Post? Fedex? And what about dropshipping items? How is that going to affect doing business with dropshippers? I think eBay might be opening a can of worms with this one, particularly if their approach is as you say it is. Cheers. Reply
Hi Alan, In regards to your question about whether eBay will make insurance mandatory for sellers, eBay has not yet released their policy on this but according to sources*, no, it is not mandatory. However, as the new policy states that sellers will now be responsible for the item getting to the buyer in one piece, eBay recommends that sellers get the item insured to protect themselves and attach this cost to the item's cost. Yup, as you said, the cost of shipping has nothing to do with the cost of the item you are selling. Interesting point about how this will affect dropshipping. Any dropshippers out there who have concerns about this new policy? *http://blog.auctionbytes.com/cgi-bin/blog/blog.pl?/comments/2009/7/1247938302.html Reply
Well the only purpose to tighten the policy is not to alert the sellers but also smoothing the process of transaction. As we take paypal ... that play a vital role to make online transaction more secure . . . so I really appreciate the effort of ebay toward new policy and the article writer that provide the information. Reply
I think the new policy will increase my profits because it cut short my expenses. Coz my business mostly consists on buying. Reply
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