eBay is one of the most popular online marketplaces where you can buy and sell anything from books to video games, furniture, clothing, electronics, and more. One thing that sets eBay apart from other sites is its tiered system for sellers.
eBay's seller levels and performance standards are designed to help buyers identify sellers who offer quality service and competitive prices. If you're new to the game and not sure where to start, this blog will give you the basics of what each level entails as well as how they differ from one another. Here's everything you need to know about how to become an eBay top-rated seller and other benefits that comes with it.
eBay Seller Performance Levels
Many people don't know the differences between eBay seller levels. It is essential to understand these because they can affect how you sell on eBay.
eBay's tiered system for sellers helps buyers shop with confidence. and assess top-performing sellers based on their monthly sales and quality of service. eBay evaluates their sellers every 20th of the month and assigns them one of the following seller levels:
- Top-Rated: This level is given to top-performing sellers on eBay who provide exceptional customer service and meet the minimum performance standards and sales requirements.
- Above Standard: This level is given to sellers who meet the minimum performance standards and provide good customer service.
- Below Standard: This level is for sellers who failed to meet eBay's minimum sales and good customer service requirements.
How to Track Your eBay Performance Levels
Your seller level is assessed every 20th of each month. If you want to check your seller performance level, go to your account, then seller dashboard. This dashboard lets you check your current and projected performance levels.
Being in the Top-Rated level comes with perks and benefits, including the Top Rated Plus seal on qualifying listing. Having this seal boost the confidence of buyers to shop on your account. If you are on the below standard level, you can find more information on the dashboard to improve your performance and meet the minimum standards.
eBay Minimum Performance Standards
eBay determines the seller levels assignment based on the number of sellers' recent transactions and the quality of customer service. The length of time considered in this monthly evaluation depends on how many recent transactions the Seller had.
- Sellers who have had 400 or more transactions over the last three months are evaluated based on their sales and performances in the previous three months.
- Sellers who have had less than 400 transactions over the last three months are evaluated based on their sales and performance in the previous twelve months.
These evaluation timelines are applied to ensure eBay provides a fair evaluation to all its sellers. Their current and projected level is displayed on the seller dashboard, which lets them improve their performance, control their handling times, and work on problem resolution.
How Seller Performance is Being Calculated
The minimum performance standards for sellers guarantee a smooth and excellent customer buying experience on eBay. eBay also puts the best interest of their sellers in assigning their seller levels.
eBay evaluates seller performance on two significant factors.
- The Seller's transaction defect rate
- The percentage of Money Back Guarantee cases closed without the seller resolution.
Top Rated Sellers, late shipment rate, and tracking validation are part of their evaluation.
Transaction Defect Rate
Your transaction defect rate is an important metric to determine your seller level assignment and how well you handle your customers. This rate is the percentage of your total eBay transactions that had 2 out of 3 kinds of defects.
A defect can be measured when:
- Seller canceled the transaction (i.e., item is out of stock)
- Claims under "Item not received" or "Item not as described," and eBay Money Back Guarantee decides to favor the buyer.
- Paypal Purchase Protection cases are closed without seller resolution, and Paypal decides in favor of the buyer.
The defect rate is calculated by the number of defects divided by the total transactions. For example, you had five defects after selling 100 items. Then your defect rate would be at 5%.
To avoid having a high transaction defect rate, you have to closely manage and monitor your inventory and enable the out-of-stock feature that automatically hides listing when your item is sold out.
Case Closed without Seller Resolution
Another metric you must take care of and closely monitor are cases where eBay has to step in and resolve the problem. Case closed without seller resolution are cases filed by the buyer where the Seller fails to issue a refund or accept returns.
These cases are added to your defect rate when:
- eBay Money Back Guarantee cases are closed without seller resolution.
- PayPal Purchase Protection cases are closed without seller resolution.
You can prevent these from adding to your defect rate through the following:
- Be Honest to your listing. Describe your items as accurately as possible. If your item has flaws or defects, you can add close-up photos of it so buyers will know what to expect.
- Be Responsive. Always answer your buyer's request (refund or returns) to avoid eBay from stepping in to resolve the problem.
- Include your return, handling time, and payment policies in your listing description - the more information you provide, the better.
Late Shipment Rates
To maintain the Top-Rated Seller standing, you must make sure to send your items on time. Shipping your purchase on time shows professionalism and provides exceptional customer service.
When a seller fails to ship the purchased item on time, it will be added to their late shipment rates. Late Shipment rates are calculated based on the number of transactions you send past the handling duration stated in your listing or were not delivered within its estimated delivery date.
Late shipments will be added to your metrics if:
- Your tracking states that the item was delivered after its estimated delivery date. However, If there is an acceptance scan or a confirmation from the buyer that the delivery was on time, it will not be counted on your late shipments.
- The buyer confirms that the delivery wasn't made after the estimated delivery date. However, suppose there is an acceptance scan within your handling time (stated on your listing) or delivery confirmation by the estimated delivery date. In that case, this will not be counted on your late shipments.
Tracking validation is when a seller uploads the tracking details together with their stated handling time. The tracking must have a clear shipping label and details, confirming that the Seller sends the item on time.
Top Rated Sellers must ensure that they upload a validated tracking on time to avoid issues with the buyers. Tracking validation is part of eBay Top Rated sellers' metrics to ensure that they provide excellent customer service and follow eBay's best shipping and delivery practices.
Sellers who provide validated tracking information will likely have lesser claims under "item not received" and help boost buyers' confidence that their items will arrive within the estimated delivery date. If your using one of eBay's shipping carriers, you are protected against buyers' "item not received" claims and open an eBay Money Back Guarantee request.
How to Become a Top Rated Seller
Becoming one of eBay's top sellers comes with its perks. Aside from the benefits sellers gets from being in the top-rated position, it also indicates their professionalism and exemplary customer service.
To be on the Top-Rated Seller, you have to meet the following requirements:
- You must have an active eBay account (at least 90 days)
- You must have at least 100 transactions and $1,000 in sales with US buyers over the past twelve months.
- You must agree and follow eBay's selling practices policy
- You must meet the requirements for the following:
- Your transaction defect rate must not exceed 0.5%
- Your cases closed without seller resolution must be at 0.3%
- Your late shipments must be less than 3%
Your level will automatically be updated at your subsequent evaluation if the following qualifications have been met.
Top-Rated Seller Benefits
Being in the top-rated position qualifies you for exclusive benefits. On top of it, if you offer same day or one business day handling time and 30 days or more extended free returns, you will get the following additional benefits:
- Buyers can see a Top Rated Plus Seal featured on search results and listing descriptions.
- You will get a 10% discount on your standard value fee (total sale amount, including shipping and tax.)
The discount will not apply on the following when:
- The $0.30 per-order option of the final value fee.
- The discount final value fee will not apply to sales in categories if the Seller is rated "very high" on service metrics under "item not as described" returns.
- The discount only applies to the country where you are "Top-Rated ." You have to be residing in the US if you are an eBay Top Rated Seller.
What Happens if Seller Fails to Meet Minimum Performance Standards
Being in the top-rated position is fulfilling and satisfying for most eBay sellers. But, what happens to sellers who are below standard or those who fail to meet the minimum performance standards?
If being in the top-rated position has its perks and benefits, being in the below-standard position comes with penalties and consequences. Sellers in the below-standard position must improve their performance and meet the minimum standards. Failure to do so will result in higher additional final value fees and penalties.
Consequences of being in Below Standard Level
Buyers will not see if you are on the below standard level. However, eBay may place penalties, limits, and restrictions on your account. If you repeatedly fail to meet minimum standards every monthly evaluation, you can face the following consequences:
- Higher additional value fees from 5% to 6%
- Lower visibility on your listings as these may be placed lower in search results.
- Account limitations or restrictions from selling or registering a new account
- Your eBay income may be put on hold.
- You are restricted from using Promoted listings tool. This includes an inability to create new campaigns or edit your existing campaigns.
- Your eBay store may get a downgrade to the Basic Level if you fail to improve for more than 60 days.
- You are restricted from accessing the partial refund tool.
These restrictions and limitations vary depending on your monthly evaluation. However, permanent selling restrictions will apply if your store has been below standard for at least two consecutive months.
Additionally, eBay may perform immediate actions for urgent concerns involving fraud or threat to the buyer experience. If you experience any account limits or restrictions, check your e-mail for any messages or notifications from eBay. They provide information on why you are experiencing limits or restrictions, together with what steps you may take to improve your performance.
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