Frequently asked questions: Other updates
A more consistent buyer experience to drive more sales
More relevant search results to drive more sales
Revising your listings
A more consistent buyer experience to drive more sales
Limits on shipping and handling charges in some categories
What are maximum shipping and handling charges?
In Books, Movies & DVDs, Music, and Video Games eBay will be enforcing limits on what sellers can charge for shipping and handling. For specific information by category see Maximum Shipping Costs.
Why are you establishing maximum shipping and handling costs?
Buyers have told us that shipping costs on eBay are too high, and this is causing them to make their purchases elsewhere. This is hurting both our sellers and our buyers. Setting maximum shipping and handling costs based on historical date of what buyers have told us is reasonable will keep more buyers satisfied and drive more sales for sellers.
Why were these categories selected?
We are starting with categories where we believe buyer expectations are particularly heightened to free and reasonable shipping. Our goal over time is to bring reasonable shipping limits to more categories.
How did eBay determine the maximum shipping and handling costs for a category?
We based our maximum shipping & handling costs on recent transaction data of what sellers are charging and what buyers have told us is reasonable.
Do the maximum shipping costs include handling costs?
Yes. Handling costs are included in the maximum amounts.
Why are you setting limits on shipping charges lower than my actual costs to ship?
We based our maximum shipping & handling charges on recent transaction data of what sellers are charging and what buyers have told us is reasonable. We know that what buyers consider to be reasonable will be less than sellers' actual costs in some cases. We believe that by offering buyers at least one shipping option that they deem reasonable, sellers will increase their overall sales and conversion.
Are there shipping cost limits for international shipping services or expedited shipping?
No. Maximum shipping and handling costs apply only to the first flat rate shipping service to the U.S.
What can I do if the maximum shipping and handling costs do not cover my expenses for packaging and shipping?
The maximum shipping and handling cost may not cover sellers' shipping costs in some cases. In the event that it does not, you can do one of the following:
Yes. If you are listing your item on the U.S. site, maximum shipping costs will apply for sales to the U.S. regardless of the location of your item.
How will limits on shipping charges affect my cross-border sales?
Maximum shipping and handling charges should not affect your cross border business. Sellers will be required to set at least one domestic shipping cost under limit, and can set alternative options for expedited and/or international shipping. International sellers listing directly on the U.S. site will be subject to shipping cost limits on their first domestic shipping cost.
In categories with maximum shipping costs, why is there a shipping cost DSR?
We are only setting a maximum shipping and handling cost for the first shipping option. Sellers can still set their price lower than the maximum shipping cost on that option as well as have alternative shipping options. Therefore, we will keep the shipping cost DSR in place.
How will the shipping calculator work with these shipping limits?
We recommend the shipping calculator to be used for items that are being sold in a bundle, in quantity, or for larger items or heavier than the average standard sized items listed in the category you are listing in. You may use the shipping calculator to set actual size and weight of the item, including packing materials, to calculate actual shipping cost. We will monitor items using the shipping calculator to make sure that those that are over the limit differ from the assumptions that we used to establish the maximum shipping costs.
Will this apply to other categories in the future?
We currently do not have other categories scheduled. Consistent with any other major change we've made to our policies, we will let our sellers know well in advanced to adjust their listings.
Now Extended Through June 2009 Rewards for free shipping
What specific benefits do I get when I offer free shipping this holiday season?
You qualify for doubling the PowerSeller fee discounts if you:
Find more information on the PowerSeller Final Value Fee Discounts.
When and how will I start seeing the double PowerSeller Final Value Fee discounts for free shipping?
If you qualify for the double PowerSeller Final Value Fee discounts, you will see them on your monthly invoice applied to the Final Value Fees for your previous month sales. The first time you receive your discounts, here's how it will work:
The double discounts are for new listings only.
How does free shipping improve my exposure?
Free shipping is one of the factors used in Best Match to help your listing appear higher in search results.
Will free shipping help my shipping cost DSRs?
Listings with free shipping average higher shipping cost DSR scores (4.8) than items without free shipping.
Checks and money orders no longer allowed
Originally posted August 20, 2008. Updated January 8, 2009.
What's changed with payments on eBay?
As of October 22, 2008, checks and money orders are no longer allowed as payment methods on eBay. All items appearing on eBay.com must be paid for using either:
Are there any categories excluded from these payment requirements?
Vehicles (Motors), capital equipment (Business & Industrial), Adults Only and Real Estate will be excluded from the new payment requirements. Specifically, the following categories will be excluded:
We made this change to better meet buyer expectations for a consistent, more secure checkout experience on eBay and, in turn, increase buyer confidence in shopping on eBay. We are confident this will ultimately result in more buyers and increased sales for sellers. The change directly benefits sellers by making payments faster and more reliable, enabling sellers to ship more quickly, and increasing buyer satisfaction.
How does this change make payment to sellers faster?
Electronic payment methods give sellers more immediate access to funds. This allows for faster fulfillment and shipping, which should increase buyer satisfaction and the detailed seller ratings buyers leave for sellers.
How does this change make payment to sellers more reliable?
Using online payment methods lowers unpaid item rates. eBay listings that don't accept PayPal or credit cards are more than twice as likely to experience an unpaid item than listings that only accept PayPal or credit cards. Also, as of October 22, 2008, PayPal now protects all US sellers on eligible transactions through its improved seller protection at no additional cost, with no annual coverage limit. See eligibility.
How does the change increase buyer confidence?
Buyers have a more consistent and secure payment experience on eBay every time they shop. Right now, 1 out of 5 eBay transactions send buyers off eBay to complete their purchase. Buyers' experiences vary greatly depending on the seller and their payment provider. Their experiences are inconsistent and unpredictable, and that lowers buyer confidence in eBay and leaves buyers more vulnerable to online fraud. By using only integrated electronic payment methods in eBay checkout, buyers will be able to stay on eBay to pay.
Buyers will likely have fewer bad experiences, and if something does go wrong, they now have more recourse. Buyers who pay with a check or money order on eBay.com are 80% more likely to file an "item not received" dispute, and 50% more likely to leave a negative feedback than buyers who pay with PayPal or a credit card. Also, as of October 22, 2008, PayPal raised the coverage limit for PayPal Buyer Protection. Eligible transactions paid with PayPal on eBay.com are now covered by PayPal Buyer Protection with no coverage limit and at no additional cost. See eligibility.
Is eBay planning to eliminate third-party checkout?
Yes. We realize that checkout services offered by eBay Certified Solution Providers are valuable services to our sellers. But they also require buyers to leave eBay.com to complete payments for eBay items. We are working closely with these providers to integrate the experience they provide buyers into eBay checkout in 2009, in a way that is not disruptive for eBay sellers. Ultimately, it's eBay's goal to have buyers always pay for their purchases within the secure confines of eBay.
What about Google Checkout, Checkout by Amazon or Amazon Flexible Payment Services? Will these payment methods be offered?
No. The electronic payment methods available on eBay already provide security and protections and are already used by the vast majority of our buyers and sellers. eBay also offers several other electronic payment options in addition to PayPal, namely ProPay and starting in early February 2009, Paymate and Moneybookers. Google's and Amazon's products and services compete with eBay on a number of levels, so we are not going to allow them on eBay.
Do these changes affect all eBay sites?
These changes only affect the U.S. eBay site. Check other countries' individual sites for more information and updates.
What is eBay doing to educate buyers about these changes and keep them shopping on eBay?
The vast majority of buyers already use the approved electronic payment methods to purchase items on eBay, and these changes won't affect their shopping experiences on eBay. eBay is educating and providing incentives to buyers who were heavy check or money order users to retain them. In addition, as of October 22, 2008, eligible transactions paid with PayPal on eBay.com are covered by PayPal Buyer Protection with no coverage limit and at no additional cost. See eligibility.
If I already offer one or more of the approved payment methods, what do I have to do to comply and when will I need to make changes to my listings? If you already offer only the approved electronic payment methods to your customers, you're already meeting the new requirements. If you offer one or more of the approved electronic payment methods and methods no longer allowed, as of October 22, 2008, your listings only display the allowed methods. You will need to remove any reference to the prohibited payment methods from your item descriptions by January 15, 2009.
What if I only accept checks, money orders or other payment methods that are prohibited?
As of October 22 you need to do at least one of the following:
Yes, you must remove references to prohibited payment methods from your templates and item descriptions. This will not be done automatically. If prohibited payment methods are included in your item description, your listing will be in violation of the new Accepted Payments Policy and, as of January 15, 2009, may be removed from eBay.
What is the deadline for removing references to prohibited payment methods from my item descriptions?
As of January 15, 2009, the removal of prohibited payment methods from item descriptions will be required.
What payment methods can a buyer choose when paying on pickup?
Buyers may choose whatever payment method seller and buyer agree to when they pay on pickup, including checks, money orders and cash. A seller may specify "Contact me for payment methods to pay on pickup". However, sellers are not allowed to request payment by prohibited payment methods. Also note, sellers may not select "pay on pickup" as a sole payment option in their listing. At least one of the approved electronic payment methods must always be an option for buyers. PayPal Seller Protection is not available for transactions paid by PayPal where the seller allows payment on pickup.
Is there an easy way to change my listings?
Yes. To remove item description wording in a large number of listings, we recommend that you use "search and replace" within Turbo Lister. To find detailed instructions, please read the instructions archive in the "Revising Listings Quickly and Efficiently" workshop that was conducted on October 7, 2008.
What should I do if a buyer demands to pay with checks or money orders?
We know that some buyers still want to pay with checks and money orders, even after this policy change went into effect. When this happens, explain to your buyers the benefits that come with electronic payments:
What should I do if I have long-standing, repeat customers who insist on paying with checks or money orders, even after I explain the benefits of electronic payments and offer suggestions?
We know this may happen occasionally. A seller can accept check and money order payment from a buyer if (and only if) the buyer requests it. We will not take action against a seller who is trying to accommodate their buyer, complete a sale and be in compliance with the policy. Sellers cannot in any way solicit check or money order payment from a buyer. This is considered abuse of the payments policy. Remember also, you can refuse to accept these payment methods. If the buyer doesn't pay, you can file an unpaid item (UPI) complaint. Buyers who insist on paying with these prohibited payment methods in a UPI claim will lose the claim and will not be allowed to leave negative feedback.
What happens to my feedback if a winning bidder refuses to pay using the payment methods specified in my listing?
If the buyer refuses to pay using the payment methods specified in your listing, file an Unpaid Item (UPI) dispute. If the buyer fails to respond to eBay's requests for more information through the UPI process, provides an inadequate response such as nonsense words, or insists upon paying with an unapproved payment method, any negative or neutral Feedback left by the buyer will be removed.
What if a buyer threatens negative Feedback to demand payment by a method not specified in my listing?
You should immediately report the buyer to eBay. If there is clear evidence of undue pressure, eBay may take action. If a buyer shows a pattern of this behavior, eBay will most likely suspend the buyer and any negative or neutral Feedback the buyer left for any sellers will be removed.
What will happen if I ask a buyer to use a prohibited payment method?
Requesting prohibited payment methods from your customers either by email or in your item description is a violation of the new Accepted Payments Policy. Violations of this policy may result in:
Learn more about how to create a PayPal account and the many benefits of accepting PayPal as payment method on eBay.
How can my buyers pay for items over $10,000 with PayPal? Isn't there a per transaction sending limit of $10,000 when using PayPal?
In October, 2008, PayPal enabled payments of more than $10,000. Furthermore, as of October, 2008, for a limited time, eCheck pricing for sellers will remain capped at $5 on transactions over $10,000. This enablement of transactions greater than $10,000 does not apply to purchases of vehicles in eBay Motors, capital equipment in the Business and Industrial category, the Mature Audiences category or the Real Estate category.
What other improvement to PayPal are coming?
Concurrent with and prior to the changes in late October, PayPal is making many improvements for eBay customers. In addition to making PayPal safer with expanded Buyer Protection and Seller Protection, we are also making PayPal faster and easier to use on eBay.
An Internet merchant account is an account that allows sellers to receive credit card payments from online customers through a secure payment gateway to a credit card processor. A Payflow Gateway Service will be available at no extra cost to all eBay sellers with an Internet merchant account in March, 2009. You can create an Internet merchant account by contacting your bank, or by contacting a merchant credit card processing company. Transaction fees may vary, so compare several options before you open an account.
I don't have an Internet merchant account. Can buyers still pay for my items with a credit card?
Yes. If you offer PayPal, your customers will be able to pay you with a credit card through PayPal.
I have an Internet merchant account. How do I accept payments? Is this changing?
To accept direct credit and debit card payments from your buyers to your Internet merchant account, simply add credit card as a payment option to your listings. You may also want to offer additional checkout instructions to let the buyer know how to send their credit or debit card information to you. By March 2009 a Payflow Gateway Service will be available at no extra cost to all eBay sellers with an Internet merchant account. This will allow buyers to enter their credit card information directly and securely in eBay checkout.
When will direct credit card payments to my Internet merchant account be integrated into eBay checkout?
Sellers with Internet merchant accounts will be able to accept credit card payments directly through eBay checkout in early 2009. By March 2009 a Payflow Gateway Service will be available at no extra cost to all eBay sellers with an Internet merchant account. With this service, your buyers will be able to enter their credit card information securely in eBay checkout and their payment will be routed directly to your Internet merchant account. This option will offer a more convenient and secure option for your buyers and greater efficiency for sellers. Sellers who are currently using a third party checkout solution to process credit card payments may continue to do so after January, 2009.
How will direct credit card payments to my Internet merchant account work and what do I need to do to use this option?
In checkout, buyers' credit card information will be sent securely to the seller's merchant credit card processor via the Payflow Payment Gateway. To take advantage of this option, sellers will need to have several things in place:
No. There are no additional charges by eBay if you accept credit card payments directly through your Internet merchant account on eBay.
How can I accept payments through ProPay, Paymate or Moneybookers?
You'll need to sign up with these payment providers first to accept payments through them. To sign up with ProPay, go to www.ProPay.com. When you sign up with ProPay, you'll be sent through eBay's authorization process for third-party service providers. You'll be asked to give permission to ProPay so they can process your payments. After your account has been set up, you'll need to add ProPay as a payment method to your listing in Sell Your Item (SYI) or another listing tool. Fees and services may vary, so visit www.ProPay.com for more information about this alternative payment option. Beginning in February, 2009, you will also be able to offer Paymate or Moneybookers. To sign up with Paymate, go to www.paymate.com/eBay. To sign up with Moneybookers, go to http://www.moneybookers.com/partners/us/ebay.
New seller standards: minimum 4.3 on all DSRs
What are the minimum DSR requirements to list on eBay?
Starting November 3, 2008, sellers will be expected to have a minimum of 4.3 over the past 30 days in all four detailed seller ratings (DSRs): item as described, communication, shipping time, and shipping and handling charges. Sellers with less than 10 DSRs over the past 30 days will be evaluated on their DSRs over the last 12 months.
Is this new Seller Standards policy likely to impact a large number of sellers?
No. The vast majority of sellers on eBay, about 96%, have DSRs at or above 4.3. The main purpose of this new policy is to protect the interests and reputation of that large majority from the impact of the few sellers whose customer satisfaction levels are below a reasonable standard.
What happens to sellers who do not meet the DSR requirements by November 3, 2008?
Sellers with a DSR below 4.1 will be blocked from listing on eBay.com. Sellers with a DSR below 4.3 but higher than 4.1 may have their listings further demoted in search results.
What does it mean to be "blocked" from selling? Is this the same as suspension? How long will a seller be blocked?
Sellers will not be allowed to list, but will not be suspended. Sellers will continue to be blocked from listing as long as their DSRs are not at least 4.1. Blocked sellers may list items again once their DSRs meet or exceed the threshold. Blocked sellers can accomplish this in the following ways:
No, existing listings will not be removed but sellers will be blocked from new listings and from relisting, and Good 'til Cancelled listings will not renew. Blocked sellers are encouraged to complete existing listings and earn high DSR scores to meet the minimum standards and regain listing privileges.
hat happens to sellers who meet the thresholds by November 3, 2008, but fall below the threshold in the future? Will they have an opportunity to improve?
Sellers who fall below the 4.3 standard will be able to improve their DSRs by improving their selling practices on future listings. Sellers who fall below 4.1 will not be given any advance warnings before being blocked, but can try to improve their DSRs by improving selling practices and getting higher ratings on any existing or recently completed listings.
How are DSRs evaluated? Are DSRs rounded?
DSRs are based on the last 30 days of activity; sellers with less than 10 DSRs in 30 days will be evaluated on the last 12 months. DSRs are rounded, therefore a Shipping Time DSR of 4.05 will round up to 4.1, whereas a DSR of 4.04 will round down to 4.0.
What about new sellers or people who sell only occasionally with no DSRs?
Sellers with less than 10 DSRs in the last 12 months will be allowed to sell and will be evaluated using 12-month DSRs once they have 10 or more.
Will sellers from other countries be held to the Seller Standards?
Sellers from other countries listing directly on eBay.com, eBay Motors Parts & Accessories, and Half.com will be held to the standard.
Do my DSRs from outside the US count toward these requirement limits?
All DSRs are included in the computation of your scores. While international shipping and handling scores are on average lower than domestic, they impact typical US sellers by less than 0.02 points.
Will Seller Non-performance continue to be enforced?
Yes. Sellers are expected to maintain a Buyer Satisfaction rating of "Good" in their Seller Dashboard. Any rating below Good puts the seller at risk of violating the Seller Non-performance Policy, as well as loss of PowerSeller status, demotion in search, selling restrictions and other sanctions.
How will sellers be able to monitor their position in their Seller Dashboard?
Sellers will be able to monitor both their 30-day and 12-month DSR scores in their Seller Dashboard.
How can I improve my DSRs?
For tips for improving your DSRs, see the Seller Feedback best practices.
More relevant search results to drive more sales
Surfacing the best inventory in Best Match
What's changing about how Best Match search results are sorted?
In Best Match results, the items within each listing format (e.g. Auction-style and Fixed Price) will be sorted based on different criteria—the most relevant criteria for the format—and then intermingled. Store inventory items will continue to be displayed at the bottom of search results.
Why are items of different formats sorted differently in Best Match?
The criteria to determine what is a relevant item is different for Fixed Price and Auction-style listings. For example, time remaining is not relevant for Fixed Price items but is important for Auction-style listings about to end. For these reasons and more, exposure for these two formats is based on different criteria.
What's most important in Best Match search results for Fixed Price?
For Fixed Price listings, item relevance and detailed seller ratings will continue to be important factors in Best Match, but instead of Time Ending Soonest, the focus will be more on total cost (price plus shipping) and recent sales history, favoring items that are selling the fastest. The best way to improve your recent sales history is to take advantage of the new 30-day duration and Good 'Til Canceled (GTC) automatic renewal option. See Best Practices for more tips on improving exposure for your Fixed Price listings.
How will the new "recent sales" factor in Best Match search results impact smaller sellers or sellers who list fewer items in many categories or unique items you can only find on eBay?
Relevancy, price, and seller ratings continue to be important in Best Match search results. Also, the weight given to recent sales as a factor in Fixed Price search results will vary from one category to another as appropriate. For more details and tips on how to take best advantage of these changes and optimize exposure for your listings, see Best Practices.
What's different about how Auction-style listings are sorted in Best Match?
For Auction-style listings, item relevance, detailed seller ratings and time ending soonest will continue to be the most important factors in Best Match search results.
Return policy and handling time
When will my listings be required to include handling time and a return policy?
Starting in mid-March, all listings will be required to include handling time and a specified return policy.
Why require handling time and return policy?
We want to narrow the gap between buyers' expectations and their experiences by providing this information upfront. Buyers want to know when they should expect to receive their items and if they can return them. We'll calculate delivery (a range of time) using your specified handling time and shipping service.
Will all categories require handling time?
No, not all categories will require handling time. Real Estate, Specialty Services, and Motor Vehicles (with the exception of Parts and Accessories) will not require handling time.
Will all listing formats require handling time?
No. The following formats won't require handling time: Real Estate Ad Format, Want It Now, Half.com listings, and Classified Ads.
What if my item is available for local pickup? Do I still need to specify a handling time?
If your item is available for local pickup only, you don't need to specify a handling time. If your item is available for local pickup and also shippable, you'll need to specify a handling time for the other shipping method(s).
You mention that handling time will be used to calculate delivery estimates. How will delivery estimates be calculated?
We calculate estimated delivery time based on your specified handling time and the estimated times provided to us by the shipping service. Delivery estimates are calculated as a range of days, not a specific date.
Do I have to accept returns?
We encourage you to accept returns, as this increases buyer satisfaction. However, you don't have to accept returns. You may specify "No Returns Accepted" as your return policy.
What elements of my return policy do I need to specify?
If you choose to accept returns, you'll need to specify the time period in which the item may be returned, how you'll give the refund, and who'll pay the return shipping cost.
Revising your listings
How can I revise my listings to meet the new requirements?
You can revise your listings in three ways using eBay's tools:
Bulk editing features for active listings are available now. Tools to update handling time and return policy for ended items will be available in bulk relist in early February. In the meantime, you can simply bulk relist and then use the bulk editing features for active items to add handling time and return policy.
What happens to my listings when the new options for specifying a return policy goes into effect?
If you've already specified a return policy and handling time in your listings, nothing needs to be done for these listings. However, you now have options available to specify more details about your return policy. You can use these options to modify your return policy by revising your listings or, if a return policy is already specified, you can keep your existing policy as is.
If I specified Returns Accepted before the new fields were added, do I need to revise my listings again?
No, if you specified Returns Accepted before the new fields were added, you do not need to revise your listings again. The new field, which specifies who pays return shipping, will be defaulted to Buyer.
What about existing Good 'Til Cancelled and Selling Manager Pro templates?
We recommend that you revise your Good 'Til Cancelled listings and Selling Manager Pro templates that do not have a return policy as soon as you can. This can be done one listing at a time with Sell Your Item or in bulk using the Bulk Edit tool or Turbo Lister.
What about revising Multi-Quantity Store Inventory Format items that have a sale?
You can add a shipping service, add quantity, revise price, and add a return policy and handling time for multi-quantity Good 'Til Cancelled listings with a sale.
What will happen if my listing is blocked?
You'll need to make changes if your listings can't be relisted or renewed. You have three ways to revise ended/blocked listings: