Making Sense of the eBay UK Updates for August 2012

This is probably the most comprehensive guide there is to the eBay UK updates that is being released this morning that covers the impact of the updates to you and your business.

Pop the kettle on, as this one requires your complete attention. If you’re on the move there is a treat for you with a special mobile version of this guide especially for you.

It’s that time of year again and eBay have loads pre-Christmas treats lined up for you in the August 2012 seller release and one thing for sure, eBay is on your side for the busiest season ever.

There are stellar changes lined up for us and there is a lot for us to cover, however unlike the eBay updates we had in May, I’m not going to be using a scoring mechanism for the updates, because as a general rule the updates are all positive, with the exception of two epic changes that is….

More on those two epic updates later, once you’ve been through this comprehensive guide to the eBay autumn updates, I’d love to hear from you and what your thoughts are on this round of eBay updates, how they impact you and what your Christmas trade is going to be like because of them. You can let me know in the comments box at the bottom of this page.

Downloadable Edition Available!

Ebay-Updates-Ipad-Edition-2012This guide is a monster of over 5,500 words taking you through each update step by step.

That’s quite a lot to take in and because of this, I’ve created you a special downloadable version in PDF format that you can use on you iPhone, iPad or Android device.

To view this version on your mobile device:


And open in iBooks or your favourite PDF reader.

eBay to Change in 7 Days?

Before we dig into the eBay Autumn 2012 updates, I’d like to share a quick story with you from a meeting earlier this year.

Until the ChannelAdvisor Catalyst event, I hadn’t realised how much effort the team at eBay had put into organising these updates and the communications around them. Half way through the meeting, a question was asked to the audience on the premise that what would we do if we could change a specific factor and have it rolled out live in 7 days.

A nice thought, a change made in 7 days…. after basking in the idea for a few moments and I’m sure several parties taking them seriously that it was possible, the reality had hit home. Just before the meeting had started and while the delegates were just beginning to enter the room, the eBay the team huddled together.

“Right guys we know we might take a rap from some of the sellers here today, we should expect that, everything is not perfect, but we’re trying out best, lets not forget that”

To release major updates like the ones that are about to follow is not a straightforward process. There is a mountain of code to break, sorry edit :D, almost endless groups to work through, testing and re-testing and what about the buyers? Every single one of these changes, don’t just impact us as a community of sellers on eBay, they directly impact the community of buyers and they’ll need an education program as much as the sellers do!

Seven days to make a massive or even a minor change to a site with how many million users globally? Pfft not likely, twice a year is enough for me and hopefully you too.

There is a lot to cover with perhaps the most in-depth there is on the changes for this Autumn, grab a coffee and let’s dig in.

Reporting of Bad Buyers Being Introduced

eBay Report a BuyerWoooooohoooooooooooo!

Once you’ve sat back your chair after falling off while cheering, eBay have hit a home run on this one. Well, that is IF they actually action in the information they are fed from sellers.

We are going to be able to rate buyers again, but unlike before with the old “negging”, sorry “feedback” system, this process is designed to highlight “Unreasonable Behaviour” by buyers through a new form.

This form is available after the purchase has been made via the feedback page and through a set of different set options than before, leave feedback about the buyer which is forwarded directly to eBay for them to process.

“We all know that a small number of buyers on eBay have been playing the system”

Let’s be frank here, we all know that a small number of buyers on eBay have been playing the system since the ability to leave negative feedback for them was taken away from sellers some time ago.

I covered one dynamic of this around the frequency of “lost orders” when comparing eBay & Amazon a week or so ago and the feedback in the comments from business owners who also use both marketplaces was compelling (also very constructive too, see the comments around the use of a barcode for a “suggested” tracking method on untracked orders to lower the “lost” rate).

Update: This is an important note around the reporting of buyers from John in the comments at the bottom of this article:

John says:
I was concerned that reporting a buyer wouldn’t be possible if auto feedback was enabled but eBay tell me that it will be possible to still report dodgy buyers.

A video from the James Stewart, director of eBay’s EU seller team is below where he explains this part up of the update in detail:

The amount of time and money being wasted by eBay businesses due to buyers playing the game must be reaching scary amounts now and while thankfully it remains the few, it’s started to us hurt more and more as time has gone on. Time will tell if eBay stand by the statement of:

eBay UK says:
Based on your report and additional information that eBay has about the buyer, we’ll investigate if there’s a pattern of unreasonable behaviour. If so, we’ll take appropriate actions, including buying restrictions or even suspension of a buyer’s account.”

How to Report a Buyer that Exhibits Bad Behaviour

When the process is put live it will be really straight forwards to notify eBay of a bad buyer and it is important to note that this can only be done through the eBay website and cannot be automated using the eBay API.

Note: It has been confirmed that there is no intention currently to allow this to be available in the eBay API (the interface that 3rd party tools use to talk with eBay), as that could undermine the new process through automation tools and that’s the last thing we need. Phew!

Step #1 – Select the “Report a Buyer” Option

After a item has been purchased, on the Leave Feedback page here a new option will appear called “Report a Buyer” where the eBay account is the seller for one or more transactions.

Select Report a Buyer on eBay

Step #2 – Select a Reason

Next you’ll be able to select from one of five options, these are:

  1. Buyer has made unreasonable demands
  2. Buyer has left inappropriate feedback
  3. Buyer abused the buyer protection program
  4. Buyer misused returns
  5. Other problems

And there is an appropriate link to solve unpaid items through the eBay resolution centre.

Report an eBay Buyer Step 2

Step #3 – Submit Report

After making your selection, you then submit the report, noting the text in the confirmation notice “Bad Buyer”.

eBay Confirm Bad Buyer

Surely you agree that it has to be a positive system to introduce? I know I have missed a feedback process like this for some time now. What do you think? Let me know in the comments at the bottom.

eBay Buyer Communication Updates

Buyers are now going to be required to contact you through eBay first before they are allowed to start the resolution process for an order and state that it was not received or significantly not as described.

eBay Resolution Centre - Contact Seller First

eBay’s allowed a hefty time frame of 8 days for you to respond to such a request before being allowed to escalate it to eBay. 8 days does seem a lot, but remember we are dealing with a a very broad range of business types and tracking for some goods may not be possible immediately and also this does account for the time to resolve the issue between the buyer and seller.

There are also two important parts to this section of the eBay updates, these are:

  1. Only queries referred to eBay and found in favour of the buyer will be included in your seller performance evaluation
  2. If a buyer asks ‘When am I likely to receive my item?’ before the delivery date has passed, we’ll display a message reminding them of the date.

Both of those are very welcomed, saving both time in customer services demand and making it fairer for you for when you’ve been playing ball.

I was sold on the first line where the buyers are forced to contact the seller, the two extra parts of this update for the validated feedback and better communication of delivery times sealed it for me. What do you think? Let me know in the comments at the bottom.

eBay Gallery View Redesigned Including Colour Swatches!

Images speak a million words, we know that and they are second in the importance list of attributes that effective eBay businesses need to get right on eBay, right after the listing title to allow the potential buyer to find the listing that is.

eBay are known for their split testing across the site, it’s why you see one thing when signed in as one account and something different when signed in as another account when it comes to different parts of the structure of eBay when they’re testing.

eBay UK says: 
“Our trials have shown that previous increases in item image size, have resulted in a significant* increase in sales. And we’re anticipating a similar response to this update.”

No eBay USA Gallery Requirements!
Before we dig into those changes, I know for many of you that you have been concerned that we might have been seeing the same gallery requirements update that the eBay USA site had.

eBay US Gallery Image requirements

eBay USA banned extra text, forced image minimum sizes, disallowed borders in gallery images, gave suggestions on watermarks and generally floored a very useful selling strategy for gallery images (it was quite horrific). The good news is that it is NOT in this update!

The eBay UK Changes
We’re going to be seeing much larger thumbnail images on listings in the gallery view and also a neat little feature where the title will expand to the full title once the title/image area is activated.

This is much better than relying upon the “Alternative text” message that the web-browser gives you and there is more!

eBay Extended Gallery View

We’re going to be seeing the introduction of swatch images for multi variation listings.

This is… sick!

If you’ve not heard of swatches before, these are generally the little colour images that you see on product pages, that help the buyers make the decision on product attribute like colour through instant image recognition because its an image, rather than having to read text from a list of options.

Swatch Examples
To explain this as clearly as possible, let’s use two examples of the extremes from (who have had this feature for years *coff*).

The first example in the image below shows us a dress on Amazon (click to view) where the swatches only have text labels. This means that you have to read the options to make a selection and we know how disastrous that can be when we need buyers to read :D

Amazon Swatch Example - No Swatches

This second example (click to view) has actual colour images for the different variations that the dress is available in. So if you want the red dress, locating it is so much faster for the buyer.

Amazon Swatch Example - With Swatches

eBay variations and Pricing UpdatedIn eBay multi-variation listings buyers are now going to be able to clearly see that there are variations in your listing. You’ve got to agree that the “More Options” that we have currently is not clear to buyers and I know from personal experience, most people do not know what that link does when in the gallery view.

The price range annoyance is being fixed. It’s a feature that has been in dire need of for ages, as before the update if you have a product in a variation listing that ranges from £9.99 to £129.99 the highest price is being shown to buyers.

In this update we’ll be seeing “£9.99 – £129.99” instead, much better, yay.

Gallery Image Swap based Upon Search Terms
And it gets better too! If the variation option is a colour and matches the search criteria the buyer has made, then the image attached to the colour variation in the listing will be shown instead of the main gallery image.

Intelligent searches will show the corresponding variation images

So if you search for a “Pink Shirt” and there is a “Pink” variation for colour, in an eBay listing that has a “pink image” attached, eBay will show this image instead of the main gallery image.

eBay Variation Options With Set Images

Important Notes On This Update
While this is a super cool feature, it does now mean that instead of just working manually on the main listing image that is used in the gallery, the first sub image for each colour variant is going to be just as important, as this image could be your gallery image instead.

The first variation image is going to be as important as the main gallery picture

Also if you look closely in the image above and in the image below, notice the “Colors” attribute. This is being shown as a shade of a colour, just like how Amazon use shades for their colour mapping, so expect some data work to match your items to pending new item specifics and attribute sets.

eBay Variation Colour Shades

Note: Amazon uses colour mapping to group together colours so that it they are able to make better filters on the site, for example you may have a garment that is “burgundy-red”, so the nearest mapping for colour is red. This is very similar to what you can see above.

eBay Checkout Comments Toggle

eBay Checkout Add Message to SellerAt the beginning of this article we had a little story from the CA Catalyst event, in that meeting it was revealed that sellers will now be able to turn off the buyer’s comment box during the checkout process.

I can see how for some businesses (like the ones that use CA who do not support it) would find it most useful, however it would have been better to have the reverse of this option, which is to force the buyer comments box on, so that for customised goods, buyers have to fill the box out.

Not an exciting update for what it could have been, I’m sure some businesses will find it useful and there will be a new toggle option to show/hide this, probably in site preferences.

eBay Fast

eBay Fast and Free ExampleA really sweet edition, that we’re already seeing variations of on eCommerce websites is coming to eBay in October, ready for Christmas we’ll be seeing a new logo under our items called “Fast ‘n’ Free”.

This will appear on listings that have an estimated delivery of 3 days or less. So that means if you have a handling time of 1 day and first class or a courier of 24hrs or 48hrs with the same handling time.

Google Base Requirement Updates

Google Product Identifiers ExampleIt’s been a requirement for sometime now for items to be included in Google Base to include unique identifiers. For those without a clue of what these are, it’s easy, it’s the barcode of the product.

That means you’ll need to be adding an EAN, UPC, JAB, ISBN or GTIN as customer item specific to your listings (if you have no idea on what those are, see this article that explains them all in a handy 5 minute video).

Huge Tip: Remember to use the custom items specific called MPN for the “Manufacturer Part Number”. An excellent example of this in action on Google Product Search is here as shown in the image above.

Duplicate Listing Policy Extended

Prior to this update coming into effect we are able to run 1 fixed price listing and up to 14 auctions that may or may not have a BIN price on them.

eBay UK says:
“In 2011 we reduced duplicate fixed price listings and saw a sales increase across European eBay sites. Fewer duplicates mean more sales for more sellers.”

Post this update we are only going to be able to have one fixed price listing, like before and up to 14 auctions running at the same time, but none of the auctions are allowed to have a “Buy It Now” price on them as eBay are to be considering these as duplicates.

I don’t believe this to be a bad update per-say, rather that if it is viable for your business to lay-down 14 sub auctions, you’ll have to do it without BIN being offered.

Unit Prices Introduced

I’m sure you have seen this before, this has been in the supermarket shelves for some time now. If you add a weight as grams or kilograms to a listing as an item specific, it eBay will soon display and price per weight unit below the item price.

eBay UK says:
“This will help you to better comply with European laws on how the price of certain goods should be displayed”

eBay Unit Prices Shown in Update

A nice update, gotta love the EU at times, but this is not yet supported by the one place you’re likely to see a weight difference, multi-variation listings.

eBay My Messages Enhancements

eBay My Messages Being UpdatedRight this one caused some confusion across the pond, so let’s be super clear here.

eBay are not going to be reading your personal email

Instead, if you are using the reply button in you email application, say Gmail or Outlook rather than using “eBay My Messages” to make replies to queries, then when you hit reply and send a message, your “eBay My Messages” will update so that you know that the message you just replied to in say Gmail, has been replied to in eBay My Messages.

It’s as simple as that, handy eh?

Manufacturer Warranties For New Products

eBay UK says:eBay requires Manufacturer Warranty period to be added
“An increasing number of buyers look for the manufacturer warranty in a listing for extra confidence and reassurance in their purchase. Including these details in your listings can help lead to an increase in sales, especially for higher value items”


Is this really a bad thing?  Hardly, this is a super update for buyers.

They’ll know clearly what a warranty is included with their purchase and how long for.

It’ll be a requirement for all business sellers  in late September to fill in the “Manufacturer warranty” eBay item specific.

If you’re using a third party tool, make sure you add this ASAP and update your products before the requirement time is enforced.

Category, item specifics changes & eBay Catalogues Extended

At the time of writing this article, I am not 100% sure which categories are being updated for structure and item specifics, but as soon as I am fully aware I’ll add them here.

Generally all category and item specific updates are a nightmare, especially when it comes to moving data round. This time there will be a few fee increases and odd decrease as categories move entire trees, one of the downsides for having category based fee structures I guess.

Update: The categories that are changing are vast, these are as follows:

  • Art
  • Business, Office & Industrial
  • Cameras & Photography
  • Clothes, Shoes & Accessories
  • Computer/Tablets & Networking
  • DVDs, Films & TV
  • Home & Garden
  • Jewellery & Beauty
  • Music
  • Musical Instruments
  • Vehicle Parts & Accessories
  • Video Games & Consoles
  • Wholesale & Job Lots
  • Everything Else

You can download all the category changes for September 2012 as a PDF and what the new category structure will look like after the structure also as a PDF.

The eBay Catalogue is being extended, but not as widely as it was in the previous update in May, into four categories, these being:

  • CPUs/Processors (category id 164)
  • Server CPUs/Processors (category id 56088)
  • Motherboards (category id 1244)
  • PC Desktops & All-in-Ones (category id 179)

We’ve seen this path developing as the eBay catalogue becomes bigger and as a reality check, it has always been around in the media category with Muse. It’s pretty obvious that given enough time, eBay is migrating to a catalogue structure that we know and love (*coff* hate at times too) similar to Amazon’s, how much impact seller data is going to play in this, is not entirely sure just yet.

Is it a bad update at present? Nope, as long as sellers can retain their uniqueness, rather than just being on a race-to-the-bottom Amazon styled listing format.

Motors Tyre Label for EU Requirement

If you’re listing tyres on eBay UK, you’ll be required to display tyre performance information in lists for tyres manufactured on or after the 1st of July 2012.

Later this season we’ll be seeing eBay enforcing these requirements by making the item specifics compulsory when listing these products on eBay.

eBay Tyre Label Requirements

Customised Item Condition for Non New Items

This is a sweet update if you sell used or refurbished goods, as you’ll be able to add and explain any extra details about the condition of non-new items listed on eBay with a text area, which is going to support around a whopping 1000 characters.

eBay item Condition Note for Non New Items

As eBay are going to be making this custom message more apparent to buyers, they’re suggesting to remove any notes you have on the condition of a product to this field, however we all know what buyers are like and I strongly suggest you put the items condition description in the new field AND in the description area.

Featured First is GONE!

The two stunners in this update, I have saved for last. You better hold on as I was shell-shocked when I found out about this.

eBay’s highest ticket feature upgrade is going in September 2012.

For those who have not heard or used “Featured First”, for £44.95 a week or £134.95 a month, you were (were almost being the right tense) able to promote your items are the very top of the eBay search for matching keywords and thus items with featured first on them would generally make a lot more transactions than a listing without this feature upgrade.

The ability to add such a feature has pretty much always been on the eBay I have known from the days when there was such a thing as homepage featured, to today where featured first is still available.

The playing field is going to be levelled.

I know a large number of businesses that use eBay’s featured first to accelerate the performance of newly listed products. Products that are both new to eBay and new to the sellers and without this boost of activity, the length of time needed for such products to gain traction is going to be significant.

But it’s retired and that is going to be putting a hell of a lot of weight on to getting eBay’s best match working for your eBay listings and while I can see why I can see this as being a good update for buyers, like many of the updates we’ve been through above, this update is scary for sellers as you’re unable to essentially pay to be featured and now the playing field is going to be levelled.

What do you think about Feature First going? Let me know in the comments box at the bottom of the page.

Upgraded eBay International Selling

This isn’t just one update, this is a combination of updates that are going to make selling internationally more easier & more cost effective and there is an epic feature being lined up for 2013.

Postage Prices Per Country
The first part is to allow eBay UK businesses to specify postage costs per country, this feature alone I know many businesses to have been crying out for.

There is always the odd little island like Malta that breaks all the rules for despatch costs and grouping Europe up into one option hasn’t helped with the price differences for couriers across Europe, this part of the update solves this pain and as you can see in the image below, you can now add postage rates per country!

eBay Postage Prices Per Country

Listing Exposure & Translations
The second part of the international selling updates is the change for international buyers to only see listings from,, and that will post to their country.

Also to help buyers with translations of product descriptions, eBay will also be including translate button using “Translate” to swap languages to the buyers native language.

New Single Monthly XXL Subscription
The third part of the update for international selling is that eBay are releasing a new single monthly store subscription to allow a single eBay trading ID to listing internationally for one monthly fee.

eBay goes XXL, fries with that sir?

You will be able to list to all the eBay European sites and at no extra cost for the same price of an anchor eBay UK store subscription at £349.99.

By my reckoning, this is the following EU sites for free:

  • eBay Australia
  • eBay Austria
  • eBay Belgium (French & Dutch)
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • And of course the UK

Note: See the global list of eBay sites here.

The XXL subscription will give you the following:

  • Zero insertion fees for 30-day and Good ‘Til Cancelled fixed price listings on domestic, European and Australian sites
  • $0.03 insertion fee for 30-day and Good ‘Til Cancelled fixed price listings on
  • Final value fees charged according to the site that you list the item on. (You’ll also be charged relevant feature fees.)

And get this, this is in preparation for 2013, eBay are going to be allowing you to create eBay Shop for each site you list on.

I can see some third party software tools falling over with ability to support so many sites, both technically (as that is one complicated inventory structure when you account for ~14 eBay sites) and also instructing how users can leverage so many sites at the same time through a single eBay account and software backend.

I’m also not sure how eBay’s own tools are going to cope with this either, does that really mean you would need to log into ~14 sites to collect sales off each of them or is the backend of eBay going to change to facilitate this somehow.

An eBay account manager had given them an anchor store to help with their “international visibility”.

About 2 months ago, a Bristol based company I spotted had a anchor eBay store. It didn’t make sense as that’s £350 and they had around 200 listings. The threshold is exactly 6,000 listings to warrant am anchor store.

After an email or two, it was revealed that an eBay account manager had given them an anchor store to help with their international visibility. As I had pointed out at the time, that was pointless as it made no difference. Now the logic makes sense, it did not then and the account manager was a little eager maybe? After this update, it will do.

There are a lot of questions unanswered on this topic for the next update in 2013. but £349.99 for listing to so many sites, if you can get around the data requirements, then this could be lethal for the larger businesses on eBay right now.

Autumn 2012 Updates Summary

The Autumn updates are jam-packed with some super updates for both buyers and sellers alike, but I cannot believe “Featured First” is going from eBay UK.

The importance of having “quality” listings has and will never have been so great.

This is going to make it soooo hard for some businesses that use this to expedite sales of products that are new to them, new to eBay or need the competitive advantage against long standing listings that have become welded to the top of search.

The importance of having “quality” listings has and will never have been so great when this update goes live, we have new gallery image sizes, variation listing updates that will need you to work hard to make them become sticky in the search results.

We can work as a community to tackle the scum

Finally we can work as a community to tackle the scum that have been causing us so much trouble with fake loses and abusing the feedback system to their advantage. Even in eBay terms they’re calling them “Bad Buyers”, “problem buyers” might have been less harsh, but either way I as you don’t mind, that is IF eBay deliver on this one and carry through the reports we make as a community.

What do you make of the ability to report buyers, is it enough, do you see it working in the long term? The comments box is below, let me know.

Also where buyers are concerned, they’re being stopped from creating cases where they have not contacted the seller previously and then the seller is given 8 days to respond and deal with the query effectively before they can escalate the case to eBay, that is certainly another welcomed change.

eBay variations and Pricing Updated

The annoying bug with variations is being fixed, so we can see the range of prices and we’re seeing the long awaited introduction of swatch images to variations and the gallery images as a whole will be increased too.

The entire shopping experience for buyers will be better on eBay this Christmas with a easier list of items to view and also clearer messaging for businesses that use expedited delivery options with the inclusion of the “Fast’n’Free” logo appearing on listings that meet the 3 days or less delivery window.

Getting your products into Google Shopping results by including the EAN or identifier is now a requirement and also don’t forget the tip earlier about using MPN to include the manufacturers part number to also help in Google searches.

Did I mention that I cannot believe Featured First is going? Still not over that one, are you?

The link between external email applications so that your My Messages section is now updated when you reply to messages outside of eBay using the respond button is going to help you if you’re using a mixture of the my messages section and email, before you could only really use one without shouting across the office to see which ones were answered.

Besides the above and featured first going, the next largest part of this update is around international selling. No surprise really as it’s been pushed hard over the past few months and finally now we have some tools at our disposal that we can leverage to take advantage of the changes.

A Single fee for all the eBay EU sites AND eBay Australia

I did not expect to seeing that the eBay stores are going to be unified, this was a suggestion we made over a year or more ago, I guess they listen after all. I also did not expect that we would be seeing a one fee to list everywhere and in the detail above, that’s 14 eBay sites by my maths, but the devil will be in the detail and we’ll know fully as more communications from eBay surface on this.

With a single fee for all the eBay EU sites and eBay Australia, the Australian’s are going to be well pissed off with this update. As far as I can see, if you want to expand your UK business, why bother with translation’s, just open up, its far more easier.

We must not forget that this update also includes $0.03 listing fees for the core site as well and I am very curious what is going to happen with the unified eBay shops, even with sub shops as well when it comes to the eBay USA site and listing insertions.

“All in All” an excellent update, no fee increases are always welcomed.

“All in All” an excellent update, no fee increases are always welcomed and we’ve also scored with value back from eBay with the single store subscription fee. For those of you with anchor store subscriptions, it was am exact threshold of 6,000 listings over the period of a month to warrant having an eBay shop.

Now over to you, what do you make of the updates and how do you feel they are going to impact your business over Christmas?

Let me know in the comments box below.



If the above was the most comprehensive guide you have ever seen to an update by eBay ever, I believe you need consider registering for access to the free forums where we work together with any questions you may have about this or any other eCommerce related subject.

Amazon Enforcing Returns Polices on 3rd Party Sellers

Amazon LogoIs this the end for bespoke goods and a wake up call for 3rd party sellers that use Or a really good move for buyers?

Amazon has had a bit of a beating from us over the past few months, being aggressive with price parityresponse times for messages and very short notice on changes that could cripple some businesses have really not helped what is a super productive platform to makes sales upon.

But now there is a new hurdle, take a read of the following notice that is being sent out today to 3rd party Amazon sellers.

Dear Seller,

To ensure a consistent experience for buyers, Amazon sellers are required to have return policies that are at least as favourable as Amazon’s own return policies. To help provide the best experience for buyers, we will be updating the return information in the Returns section of your storefront page on 6 August 2012 to clarify that buyers may return products to you in accordance with Amazon’s return policies.

The updated return information will direct buyers to Amazon’s return policies and will continue to give buyers the ability to contact you for information about any more favourable policies that may apply. If your inventory includes Fulfilment by Amazon items, your Returns section will
continue to reference the Amazon return policies.

See this Help page for more information about Amazon’s return policies:

If you have questions, please contact our Seller Support team by clicking the Contact Seller Support link at the bottom of any seller Help page.

Kind regards,
Amazon Services Europe

In Short…

Yep in-short…

You’re having Amazon’s returns policy whether you like it or not

And that means if you’re selling bespoke goods or have got specific returns polices, to all intents-and-purposes, it doesn’t matter as the buyer is being sent to the Amazon returns page regardless.

Hidden Bonus?

This might actually be a bonus because in the three places they mention and link to “Amazon Communications Manager” from the help page for contacting “third party sellers” none of them actually go to the “Amazon Communications Manager”.

Count them and you’ll see what I mean:

So instead the buyer is left with the contact us button which is for Amazon’s own support. But it get’s even better, as you follow the support process through, its really easy for the buyer to select the option for the issue and end up being suggested to phone Amazon as a recommend option.

Take a look at the screen shot below and you’ll see what I mean. If you were a buyer, you’d click the big fat phone button wouldn’t you!?

Amazon Contact Seller Form

Your Thoughts?

So over to you, is this good, bad, or does it not really matter?

Let me know in the comments box below.

Social Sharing Buttons for eBay Listings – Copy & Paste Code!

Social Sharing Icons for eBay ListingsWould you like to be sporting the social icons that you at the top of every eBay listing, in your listings?

You know the ones the links that take your products to the sites below and are in the screen shot to the right?

  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • The button to email a friend
  • And for good measure, the “Add to Watchlist” link too.

You do? Sweet, I’ve got some sick copy & paste code for you below :)

They do come with a warning though…. Even though they are a direct replication of what eBay has on the top of each listing and the code provided in this article is based of what eBay use’s (it even uses their image for the icons and part of their CSS), this still can be classed as a links policy violation and it’s to be used at your own discretion.

How To Use

In the next part of this article I’m going to be referring to “keywords”, you may also know these as tags or macros and are used by third-party tools to list to eBay with.

If you have no idea what these are then either you’re not using a 3rd party eBay listing tool or you’ll find these two articles super useful Part 1 & Part 2.

If you are not using any of these or a tool that does support keywords, for example if you are manually listing items on eBay or using TurboLister, but still want the icons, then follow the steps for “WITHOUT” a 3rd party tool below.

For Users WITH 3rd Party eBay Listing Software

If you have 3rd party software that supports keywords, it’s going to be two edits for you and I’ve included the keywords for:

If you tool have different keywords, then just change them over by following the instructions below.

If you’re using any of the tools above or a similar product that has keywords (tags, macros or whatever you’d like to call them), then it’s a simple case of copying the code later on in this article  and swapping over the keywords for s_ItemTitle and s_ItemImage at line 59 and 60.

For ChannelAdvisor your keywords are: {{ITEMTITLE}} and {{IMAGE(ITEMIMAGEURL1)}}

For eSellerPro your keywords are: {{Title}} and  {{Image(ItemImageURL1)}}

For ChannelGrabber your keywords are: {{title}} and {{image1}}

Swap these keywords over as appropriate for text between the quotes in  var s_ItemTitle = “{{Title}}“; and var s_ItemImage = “{{Image(ItemImageURL1)}}“; and then paste the code into your listing template section and press save.

Tip: If you’re a little lost, see the next section for users without 3rd party tools for a colour coded guide.

For Users WITHOUT 3rd Party eBay Listing Software

This isn’t a biggy, you can still use this script. However it requires you to edit a little bit of HTML, but it’s really easy and if you get stuck, let me know in the forums, I’d be happy to help you (registration is of course free).

Copy and paste the code in the section below into your listing, where you would like the buttons to show, in the code there two variables that you need to set, these are:

var s_ItemTitle = “{{Title}}“;

This is at line 59 below and

var s_ItemImage = “{{Image(ItemImageURL1)}}“;

Which is at line 60.

In between the quotes for each line you need firstly change the text {{Title}} (as shown above in red) to your eBay listing  title. For example, if you’re listing with an title called “LOVELY TOWN & COUNTRY ** WELLINGTONS”you’d pop this between the quotes so it now reads like this:


If you know how to find the URL (link) for an image then you can also update the text between the quotes for the s_ItemImage setting too, if you don’t then just set this to:

var s_ItemTitle = “”;

But if you do, pop the image URL between the quotes and Pinterest will work for you :)

Now copy and paste the entire code into your listing, on the HTML tab where you would like the buttons to appear and remember if you get stuck, let me know in the forums, I’d be happy to help you.

The Social Buttons Code for eBay Listings

Below is the code you’ll need to copy and paste for your social buttons to appear, remember to set your keywords to the title and image links as appropriate. Then revise or list an eBay to ensure it’s working, noting that it has to be live on eBay to work, in a preview screen the icons will not show.

Customised, Automatic Integrated Version

On a side note: If you are not using a third party tool or have to/get fed up of manually adding the title and image URL’s each time, it would take about ~1.5 hours for me to write a PHP version that connects to the eBay API and finds the listing title and main image so that this can be automated.

This would remove the need for you to manually add the title and images each time. Plus I’m pretty sure this could be setup to “auto add” to the top or bottom of eBay listings as well. But I don’t have those 1.5 hours right now at the time of posting to do so (and they would need to be paid for hours), so for now, use the above :) If you would an automated method, it can be done see the contact Matt page if this of interest to you.

Your Feedback

If you run into problems, let me know in the forums.

Once you’ve got it working, let me know by either leaving a comment below or a post in the forums, as you’ll agree the above code is pretty darn cool, enjoy and maybe you’d like to press the tweet or like button at the top of this page share it with your friends too?

Exclusive Interview with John Hayes – Author of “Becoming THE Expert”

John: “Matt I’ve written a book”
Matt: “You’ve done what?”
John: “Written a book on thought leadership marketing”
Matt: “WTF is that? Can I have a read?”

That’s pretty much how the conversation went as John passed over the draft version of the book he had been writing for the past few months on Skype.

It’s a draft mind Matt, it got spelling mistakes” John quickly added. Like that was going to bother myself, have you seen the appalling spelling and use of grammar (<= joke, honest) on this site?

I was more curious on John had been writing and what on earth is this “Thought Leadership Marketing” jazz.

“I couldn’t put it down and blitzed it that evening”

I think I finished around 2am, I couldn’t put it down and blitzed it that evening, that was about two months ago and I’m super excited that it’s now been published and you can read it too.

Below is a unique interview with John Hayes about his book, “Becoming THE Expert” that is published today.

Oh my god John, I’m so jealous, you book is coming out today and you can wear the label as an bonafide book author. Tell us, what inspired you to write your first book?

Thanks Matt. My main source of inspiration came from meeting so many great entrepreneurs over the years while working for companies like ChannelAdvisor and in my current role at iContact.

Many of these people are building amazing businesses but have complained to me about hitting a glass ceiling in terms of how far their traditional marketing could take them forward.

“I believe the one thing that holds them back is a lack of confidence in their ability to tell a good story about their product or service”

In many cases, I believe the one thing that holds them back is a lack of confidence in their ability to tell a good story about their product or service and position themselves as the go-to person or thought leader in their particular industry.

If they can learn to do this (and it is pretty much an exercise in believing in your own ability and drawing on your industry knowledge) they can enhance their existing marketing efforts, shorten sales cycles and reduce their reliance on old-school business techniques like cold calling and paid advertising to acquire new customers.

“a pipe dream for me to write a book since I was a small child”

It’s also been a bit of a pipe dream for me to write a book since I was a small child. I decided last year that dreaming wouldn’t get me published and set myself a goal of writing and publishing a book before my 40th birthday (September this year).

Originally I was going to self-publish but was fortunate enough to meet a publisher at an email marketing event I was speaking at and I took the opportunity to pitch the book. To my surprise, they liked the idea and contracts were quickly signed.

Working with a publisher has been a steep and at times frustrating learning curve – but I’m glad I went down this path as it gives the book greater credibility and thanks to my editor’s input, I think we have produced a much better book.

Can you tell us what Thought Leadership Marketing is and how we can use it to become The Expert?

Thought Leadership Marketing takes this insight and uses it to build brand, generate leads and ultimately drive sales. I believe any business can benefit from a little Thought Leadership Marketing.

“Thought Leaders position themselves as experts in a particular industry or discipline and share their insight with a wider community.”

When you see a reputed expert on a subject quoted in a news article, or a video on YouTube instructing you how to do a task, or a blog post offering insight into the latest trends or advances in a particular industry, this is very often part of a wider Thought Leadership Marketing strategy. They are positioning themselves as experts and hopefully setting themselves up as a potential business partner for interested parties.

If there is only one thing that you could tell us to do today using Thought Leadership Marketing, what would it be?

If you are only going to do one thing today using Thought Leadership, I would suggest you start blogging.

I believe a blog gives your business a pulse and makes it stand out from the millions of static websites that litter the Internet. Because Google loves fresh, original content, a good blog is SEO gold.

A well-maintained blog will also give you great content to populate your social media activity and email marketing campaigns. Finally, a short blog post can help you test thought leadership concepts which you can then develop into larger pieces of work such as detailed white papers, videos or even your own book.

So where can we purchase a copy John?

Becoming THE ExpertThe book is currently available in eBook format from Amazon (for Kindle) and the Apple iBookstore (for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch).

You can try before you buy from either of these sites by downloading a sample of the book first.

Direct Links:

Your Feedback

Have you come across “Thought Leadership Marketing” before? Have you, like myself been doing  this all along and not realising it (well at least attempting to anyway)?

Let us know in the comments box below.

Page Length 33% Shorter, 66% Better? – That Can’t Be Right?

You may have missed it, last Friday the homepage took a hefty re-design and was clipped by a third, but that’s worse right?


Wrong, Shorter is Better.

Shorter is BetterIf we compare the old landing page to the new landing page, size really does matter as the importance of what is being shown is increased as the number of items has decreased.

Before there were 7 core articles with longer descriptions and 6 sub articles, all arranged by date order, but not by importance to you, the user.

Now we have 3 core articles which are organised by date with larger descriptions, 7 of the most popular articles on the site to the right and one featured article of my choosing.

While this is only 3 articles less compared to the longer version, the amount of space that they take up & the ease of entry into them has increased N fold, because they’re right in front of you now.

And that’s my point, shorter is better because in this case the information that you need from the homepage is only a click away.

Your Layouts

This ports, really well to what you’re doing with your website and eBay listings. Get the critical information in front of the user ASAP and if you must have fluffy stuff (like me and my logo’s at the bottom), put them at the bottom out of the way of the main listing area, so users don’t have to scroll.

This is known as “above the fold” and “below the fold”. Everything “above the fold” is the part of the website, listing or website that the user see’s without scrolling and “below the fold” is everything below the first part of the page that the user sees.

The first part of the page AKA “above the fold” is ultra important, as that is the first part the customer sees when the page loads and is the reference point that the user comes back to, hence the action points should always be near the top and definitely in the the top 10-15% of the page.

eBay Amazon comparison

Each component of the header and top % of the page is really important, it’s like a map for a user to follow, looking at the image below for eBay & Amazon, you’ll notice that the placements are actually not that dissimilar for the home icon, breadcrumb, search, basket, product image, buy button, product options, prices, help and product sub images.

The only major difference is the layout and placement of the buying option, eBay is the middle and Amazon is to the right. Which makes me wonder, if eBay will ever try swapping these around?

The information the customer needs to know is right in front of them and the desired exit point.

In eBay & Amazon’s case it’s the buy option. Look how big both those objects are in the image above, the eBay buy button is a huge blue block and the Amazon buy box is also a huge blue box, that is no accident.

In my case on this site, it’s the register button, the registration area also being red helps, (which reminds me have you registered yet?), but I am ow wondering if I have made a mistake and I need to swap it to blue?

The New Forums – Have Your Say!

Recent Forum Posts WidgetWhile we’re on the topic of changes, you’ll see that the lower part of the homepage has been focused away from the content that I directly product in the form of articles & guides and instead focusing more heavily on  user driven content?

The forums went live last week and the messages left in the new forums  are shown on the left and the comments left on articles on the right.

I’m also developing a new widget area to show the latest forum threads, not just the replies so you we can get to the latest threads as quickly as possible.

It’s time that you have your say and while I do my best to cover as many topics as I can, together we are stronger and that’s why I need your help!

If you haven’t registered yet, the forums are now open and waiting your input. You can register here for free and a password will be emailed to you in seconds. I’m look forward to hearing from you.

And Finally….

Now you know about shorter page lengths and that “above the fold” is really important, because that is what the suer see’s first when they come to your product pages. Are your buy buttons on your website over to the right, clearly shown and easily accessible?

The Amazon Buy Box – You know the Secret Formula Right?


If you’ve not read this article before, then you’re in for a treat as the Amazon Buy Box pretty much obey’s the formula and has been proven to do so time and time again.Amazon UK

If you’re new to Amazon, then in short the holy grail of Amazon is the blue buy box and if you’ve not come across the buy box before, you cannot miss it, it’s blue and on the right-hand side of almost every product on Amazon.

Hey, they’re infectious! There is one over to the right :)

When there is only a single seller fighting for the buy box, there can only be one winner, but when there are two or more sellers, then assuming that everything is even, you can win the Amazon Buy Box with the formula in this article.

The Amazon Buy Box Factors

However there is a but… This assumes that everything is equal and we know that nothing is ever a level playing field, especially when it comes to marketplaces and Amazon, well is not always even either (see this article Why do eBay Sales Stay Consistent? for further reading).

There are many factors that influence who gets the buy box on Amazon and ChannelAdvisor points out the obvious in their help file,  as a reference, I have put an amended table below.

Factor What Amazon is Considering Winning Practices
Featured Merchant Status How trustworthy you are based upon account history. Being noticed by the Amazon account managers.As ChannelAdvisor suggest, it doesn’t hurt to ask Amazon support about your “Featured Merchant Status”
Price What is your product price? What is your shipping charge? Low total price, including product price and shipping
Availability How many do you have in stock? How quickly can you ship? Quick and consistent fulfillment
Volume Do you sell many of this product? Consistency
Refunds How often do you issue a refund for seller error? Low refund rate
Customer Feedback How do customers rate your service? Low negative feedback ratings
Customer Support How quickly you deal with customer queries Answering in less than 24 hours, 7 days a week (yes that’s weekends included)
A-to-z Guarantee Claims How often do you get returns? Low A-to-z claims

A Special Note on FBA

But that’s not all, because we have not included the “motherload” which is “Fulfilment By Amazon” AKA “FBA”.

FBA means that the seller has one or more of their products in Amazon’s fulfilment centres and because Amazon has it, have verified it’s condition and knows it can get the product out to its Amazon Prime subscribers, then it promotes FBA held items heavily against seller fulfilled items and routinely it’s going to take a hefty price difference to shake FBA products out of the buy box, or is it?

The Amazon Buy Box Rule?

If you have had a slap from Amazon, whether that’s an account warning or a suspension and very worryingly even if it was not your fault and a mistake on Amazon’s part (we have this documented in a support email back from Amazon) then this can count against you if everything is even.

But course your business exceeds in every area on Amazon, you are the perfect seller, well second to Amazon that is, so for the following to work, we’re assuming that everything is level.

So to the “Amazon Buy Box Formula”:

(Lowest Selling Price – 2.7%)

– £0.01
= The Buy Box, For Longer

By taking away 2.7% off the lowest selling price (including postage) and an extra penny, you receive the Amazon buy box for much, much longer.

It took me ages to work this out, testing, refreshing over many days it’s this worked out to be the lowest % and value I could get trigger the buy box and for it to stick.

The minus one penny is in the formula for the lower priced goods in the sub £20 area, it always seemed to take that extra penny to kick the box into action.

There are a few clauses, on the accounts I tested this out on, they were ALL of a great standing with Amazon, no major issues and all had long track records of great service. The other is none of these accounts were using FBA (Fulfilment By Amazon). FBA is a lethal advantage as I mentioned above, to shake FBA items takes a little bit more.

Also none of the products that were tested on were over £50, I am sure there is alterations in the trigger for the buy box, the percentage is likely to be a lot less than 2.7% at these levels.

Your Feedback

I would like for you to try this on ONE product for ONE day and let us know your results.

I know that several of the readers here have used this formula to great success over the past year since I first published this article, what I’d for you to do is try it for yourself for a day and let me know your results here by leaving me a comment below.

Alternatively if you have been using it, let us know your feedback as the formula does move around in different categories and price brackets, again let me know in the comments box and of course if we lost you anywhere in this article, don’t hesitate to ask in the forums.

What is an eBay Second Chance Offer & Why are they Important to a Business?

Not such a daft question as you first think and in this article I’ll do my best to exceed what is most commonly known about eBay second chance offers and put them into context for you.

To explain this as clearly as possible lets start this with a quick story.

For the past few week’s I’ve been coaching the mother-in-law to sell a collection of items on eBay that she’s been getting ready to clear out, the first batch of 19 items went through and while only 15 of them sold, several did really, really well.

While being left to pack the items, a message pops up on Skype from mum, “What’s a second chance offer? Do I want one of those?“. So not a daft question if you were wondering what one was.


So what is an eBay Second Chance Offer anyway?

eBay Second Chance Offer

Every time you sell an auction on eBay where you have had two or more bidders on the auction, once the listing ends, you will be able to make a second chance offer to an under-bidder if you want to.

Now the latter part “if you want to” is the important part and the bit that confused granny. In Grannies case, she only had a single item for each listing and thus absolutely no need or desire to offer a second chance offer on the successful listings.

If you’re a private seller on eBay, this is very much likely to be the case for you too, so you can ignore it.

There is a but to that statement, which is… but if you have exactly the same item to sell again and you like the price(s) the under-bidders made you can offer it to them, the same is true if your original winner backs out for some reason and you can offer it to an under-bidder at their highest bid price.

Why are Second Chance Offers Important for Businesses?

In the example above, Granny really did not care about the second chance offers option, however if you are a business seller, there are circumstances where you definitely want to be using second chance offers as part of your business model.

If you have many items for sale, some or all of which are repeatable and you’re using “bid auctions” to sell your item through, then as long as you are happy with lower bid prices when then listing ends, then you can make “second chance offers” to the under-bidders and scoop some easy extra sales.

How Do You Make a Second Chance Offer?

Making a second chance offer is dead easy to do.

Regardless if you have Selling Manager, Selling Manager Pro or just plain old “My eBay”, on the left hand side of “My eBay” click on “sold” and next to listings where you can make a second chance offer to a buyer, it says “Second Chance Offer”, if you’d like to make one, then click on the link.

A screen will appear something similar to the one below:

Making an eBay Second Chance Offer

  • Select the number of available items that are exactly like the one that sold
    Note:  This is capped to 6 items
  • Select the duration you would like the offer to the buyer to last for.
    Tip: Normally I would suggest 1 day for this as it adds a real sense of urgency to the offer
  • The select one or more bidders, noting that their highest bid price is to the right
    Tip: If you lost of the item that sold and the prices are good, tick them all if would like! Also, another tip is to just be sure that you have no already sold the item in another auction to the same buyer (awkward!).
  • Hit continue at the bottom & confirm

The second chance offer or offers that you just made, will now appear in your “My eBay” section.

But unlike a normal auction where lots of people can see the item, only yourself and the potential buyer account you made that offer to can see it. Also the auction is now a “fixed price” listing which means the buyer cannot bid on the item, they only have the option just buy it at the price that was set (if they want to of course).

The person you made the offer to will either accept it or if they do not within the listing time you specified, the listing will end and cannot be repeated.

How Long do Second Chance Offer Last For?

As a seller, you can specify the duration of the second chance offer as either 1 day, 3 days, 5 days or 7 days.

One of the tips above was that if you have lots of an item that you have been listing in auctions and the under-bidder prices are acceptable, I’d personally suggest you work with 1 day listings for the second chance offers as these add urgency to the bidder and can help them convert into a buyer (yay).

It’s also worth noting that buyers can turn off second chance offer notices in their communication preferences on eBay (bummer eh?).

Can You Cancel a Second Chance Offer?

Yes, just like a normal auction/listing you can do so using the end an item early form here on eBay (you’ll need the eBay item number).

Can Second Chance Offers be Automated?

Oh yes! But it does mean you need 3rd party software.

Believe it not while the statistics may be showing that the number of auctions may be decreasing (and the number of fixed price listings increasing heavily), that does not mean that you cannot still leverage auctions on eBay to gain buyers.

As far as automating second chance offers, you of course, need to be using the auction format and have a listing that ends with more than one bidder, whose price you like and of course at a price you’re happy selling at.

You used to be able to do this in eBay’s own “Selling Manager Pro”, but they removed it from the automation preferences quite some time ago, so instead the only option to user a third party tool that allows you to set rules and send second chance offers automatically for you.

They all vary in features and functionality, here is a short list of software products that I know support the automation of second chance offers on eBay:

  • Inkfrog
  • Auctiva
  • ChannelGrabber
  • Linnworks
  • eSellerPro
  • ChannelAdvisor

There are probably far more software tools that offer the ability to make second chance offers, while this may be important to you, this is just one of many options you should consider when looking for & using 3rd party software.

Tip: You may find a video I made in an earlier article called “What is Order Aggregation & How Can it Help Your Business?” useful to give you a deeper understanding on what such software can help you with.

In Conclusion

eBay second chance offers are really straight forwards, if you’ve got more than one item in exactly the same condition, have an under-bidder on an eBay listing with a price you like you can make them an offer second to the main bidder for the listing they were bidding on, you can do when the listing ends.

You can also automate the sending of second chance offers using rules in third party tools, in combination with these, they can be an absolutely lethal strategy to gain extra sales using the eBay auction format, which is certainly far from dead.

Did you like this article, have a question or a comment or what has been your experiences with second chance offers on eBay? Let me know in the comments box below!

So How Many Orders Are “Lost” on eBay Compared to Amazon?

Item Not Received” how I bet you love that message appearing in your inbox, but how much more common is it for eBay purchases compared to Amazon purchases to go AWOL?

It’s a curious question raised numerous times now in conversation and this time around I’m going to share parts of an ongoing email conversation with a chap called Mr B.

So that they remain anonymous, Mr B obviously isn’t their real name, the quotes are though.

We’d both love to hear your experiences by leaving us a comment in the comments box at the bottom of this page.

So let’s dive in…

Mr B Says: On my Amazon store I have just passed the 2,000 orders sent mark and so I feel a reasonable figure to start drawing comparisons Item not received: on Amazon I have had exactly 2 from 2,000app. and both were for less than £5 sale price and so I’m absolutely sure genuine losses

It’s never nice to have a disappointed customer because of the delivery part of the order, but it happens. That to me seems about right, yea we all get losses, but it’s never really that high and 0.1% is tolerable and to be expected, stuff just gets lost, regardless of the carrier being used.


Mr B Says: If I was to compare this like for like with my eBay UK only sales I can often expect maybe as high as 2% I am no mathematician but I think this can be as much as 15% of my bottom line after all expenses involved in resolving.

So that’s about 20 orders per 1000 orders despatched, as the point is made above, when you factor in the extra legwork needed to solve these issues, 15% is probably quite generous, especially in a small business where there maybe only one or two members of staff. Those kind of numbers hurt.

Mr B Says: To be fare on eBay I think perhaps dishonest customers are a legacy of the old eBay the dodgy professional sellers have by and large been weeded out but the scam buyers remain and in my opinion are rather cynically protected by eBay/paypal policies as of course they still generate fees all be they completely at sellers expense.

I do mostly agree with ebay and paypal policies ultimately no customers = no sellers but ebays policy in pushing for these cases to be resolved with ought opening disputes does sadly keep the minority of dishonest customers hidden (I am sure you have also noticed item not received customers very very rarely leave feedback even after issue resolved) something I have noticed is that it is most likely the genuine lost in post customers that do leave glowing feedback on how issue was resolved.

On a side topic here, notice how Mr B refers to an “Old eBay”, this is now becoming quite common in discussions and hats off to eBay, their plodding to transform the site from its beginnings are starting to pay off in it’s sellers community.

Mr B also makes another very interesting point, if your order had been lost and the seller had been super helpful in resolving the issue for you, then why the hell would not leave them glowing feedback? His suggestion that the people who do not, probably have something to hide, while may taint the odd genuine loss, but for the best part is probably very true.


A Possible Solution?

Normally sellers have solutions to such problems already worked out and ideas on how they would tackle them if they could change the system to do so. Mr B not surprisingly, has his own ideas and it’s not bad:

Mr B Says: I feel a very simple solution would be to implement a system allowing sellers to atleast report customer has not received an item the chronic cases will be high lighted very quickly and a few prosecutions I’m sure will benefit all.

Failing that if a customer has a history of items not received perhaps a personal warning to seller that secure postage advised on an individual rather than global basis would atleast allow seller to make an informed decision before posting would be welcomed.

While we have settings in the Site Preferences under “Buyer Requirements“section of My eBay that covers some basic options:

  • Buyers without a PayPal account
  • Buyers with unpaid items recorded
  • Buyers in locations to which I don’t post
  • Buyers with policy breach reports
  • Buyers with a negative Feedback score
  • Buyers who may bid on several of my items and not pay for them
  • Buyers with no credit card on file

The only one option of these that could possibly help Mr B and you is the “Buyers with a negative Feedback score”, but since sellers are not unable to leave negative feedback on buyer accounts, the last line of defence is now gone.

With the feedback out of the loop and let’s face it the unlikely chances that eBay will tell you that a specific buyer is suspicious or has a risky address (more on this in a moment), then taking Mr B’s suggestion and adding a claims/ item not received option to the buyer requirements would be a very good addition.

Amazon LogoQuickly flipping over to Amazon for a few moments, for purchases made directly from Amazon, it’s always bemused me that why exactly the same product at very similar prices would be delivered by two different methods to two addresses within a few minutes walk of each other.

Even when queried in the past, Amazon staff are not entirely sure what causes one order to be sent via one method and another via another method, especially when you factor in a slight change of postcodes for exactly the same product.

Makes you wonder what extra processing of risk assessment Amazon has at their disposal, but that’s a topic for a different day…. So going back to Mr B.

Mr B Says: I don’t know if you have any contacts within Royal Mail? Personally I rarely make lost parcel claims at present due to time and effort involved lol but I am sure lost parcel claims specifically ebay related must be a big chunk from RM’s bottom line and so they would probably welcome and perhaps atleast partially fund needed changes at eBay

Just after receiving the OK from Mr B to use parts of our conversion, I contacted Royal Mail and they have not been back before the publishing of this article.

Pity, but what I would add is that part of the business contracts with RM, is that as part of the discount you get, is that you forfeit the ability to claim for losses. Ironically so if an order does get lost in transit, that you are actually paying RM to do that for you. Something that has driven me personally nuts in the past.

Your Feedback

Myself & Mr B would love to know what your experiences are when comparing Amazon to eBay for ‘lost’ items.

  • Do you see a difference in order losses between eBay & Amazon?
  • How much they impact you and your staff?
  • What would you change?

You can let us know in the comments box below.