A Beginner’s Guide to eBay Seller Performance Levels

Anyone and everyone can sell on eBay. To maintain buyer confidence, eBay has to ensure that minimum selling standards are met. This is achieved with the seller performance level system, which rates sellers from ‘Below Standard’ to ‘Top Rated.’

Sellers who do not perform to the required standards may find themselves restricted from selling on eBay’s marketplace. Read on to learn more about eBay’s seller performance levels and how new sellers can maintain an ‘Above Standard’ rating.

What are eBay’s seller performance levels?

There are three seller performance levels on eBay.com:

  • Top Rated – exceeding minimum standards
  • Above standard – achieving minimum standards
  • Below standard – not achieving minimum standards

To check your seller performance level, visit the Seller Dashboard. This displays current and projected performance levels.

eBay claims that seller performance levels improve buyer confidence when shopping the marketplace.

It is important to note, however, that buyers cannot see the performance level of individual sellers. The only exception the Top Rated Plus seal on qualifying listings, as described later in this article.

How seller performance levels are calculated

On eBay.com, sellers are evaluated on the 20th day of each month. The length of time considered in this evaluation is based on the amount of recent transactions a seller has had:

  • Sellers with more than 400 transactions over the last 3 months are evaluated on the last three months only
  • Sellers with less than 400 transactions over the last 3 months are evaluated on the last 12 months

This monthly evaluation is based on two major factors: the seller’s transaction defect rate and the percentage of Money Back Guarantee cases closed without seller resolution.

Top Rated sellers are also assessed on late shipment rate and tracking validation.

Please note that Feedback scores and detailed seller ratings are not used to calculate a seller’s performance level.

Transaction defects

To achieve minimum standards, sellers must have no more than 2% of transactions with one or more of the following defects:

  • Item Not Received or Item Not as Describe request (Money Back Guarantee) closed without seller resolution
  • Seller-initiated transaction cancellation

New sellers are given a little leeway, with transaction defects not affecting seller performance status until there are defects recorded with at least 5 different buyers.

To avoid receiving defects, learn to:

  • Manage buyer expectations
  • Provide customer service
  • Keep inventory organized
  • Be proactive with transaction issues

Find out more in this dedicated article on Auction Nudge.

Cases closed without seller resolution

To achieve minimum standards, sellers must have no more than 0.3% of Money Back Guarantee cases closed without seller resolution over the most recent evaluation period.

The Money Back Guarantee ensures that buyers receive the item they ordered. If the item does not arrive or is considered to be ‘not as described,’ the buyer can open a case. If the seller does not provide a solution and eBay is forced to step in, this is considered a ‘case closed without seller resolution.’

To avoid this issue:

  • Describe items as accurately as possible, using photos and item specifics, to ensure that buyers have appropriate expectations
  • Use tracking where possible
  • Respond quickly to buyers
  • Remain professional throughout the transaction
  • Understand the Money Back Guarantee and seller responsibilities

Why seller performance levels are important

Sellers who are evaluated to be performing at a Below Standard level for at least 2 consecutive months may be subject to the following consequences:

  • Payment holds
  • Selling limits or restrictions
  • Listings placed lower in search results
  • Higher Final Value Fees
  • Revoked access to Promoted Listings and partial refund tools
  • eBay Store downgrades

Below Standard sellers will not be able to create a new eBay account to bypass these consequences.

To avoid the selling restrictions as noted above, eBay suggests that Below Standard rated sellers should:

Please note that eBay reserves the right to take action and put restrictions on any selling account to protect the buying experience, even if the seller has not been Below Standard for the minimum length of time mentioned above.

How to become a Top Rated Seller

The best seller performance level is that of Top Rated Seller, a status that eBay grants to those offering ‘exceptional quality of customer service.’

To become a Top Rated Seller on eBay.com, sellers must have:

  • Been active on eBay for at least 90 days
  • At least 100 transactions and $1,000 in sales (US buyers only) over the past 12 months
  • 0.5% or less transaction defect rate, with maximum of 3 unique buyers affected
  • 0.3% or less of cases closed by eBay without seller resolution
  • 3% or less late shipment rate (over last 12 months or 3 months for sellers with 400 transactions)
  • 5% or less of transactions in which tracking was not uploaded on time or validated (over last 3 months)

Top Rated sellers must also comply with eBay’s selling practices policy.

As mentioned above, all eBay.com sellers are evaluated on the 20th of each month. For those who are eligible, the upgrade to Top Rated Seller status is automatic following the assessment.

Benefits of becoming a Top Rated Seller

Achieving Top Rated Seller status is satisfying, but the true reward comes from qualifying for Top Rated Seller Plus listing benefits.

Top Rated Sellers who offer same or 1-business-day handling time and 30-day or longer free returns are eligible to receive:

  • Top Rated Plus seal featured on listing description and search results
  • 10% discount on standard Final Value Fees

The latter represents significant savings (and therefore better profit margins) for sellers. There are, however, a few things to keep in mind:

  • For sellers with managed payments, this Final Value Fee discount applies to the total amount of the sale including shipping and tax but not the $0.30 per order portion of the Final Value Fee
  • For sellers not transitioned to managed payments yet, the discount applies to the cost of the item without shipping or tax
  • The Final Value discount does not apply to sales in categories in which the seller is rated asvery high” in service metrics for “item not as described” returns
  • This discount is also only available to sellers resident in the country in which they are Top Rated. So eBay.com sellers must be resident in the US

Top Rated Sellers can use the Seller Dashboard to check which listings are eligible for Top Rated Plus benefits.

Experienced sellers, what do you think of eBay’s seller performance levels? Do you find it difficult to maintain Top Seller or Above Standard status? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Gemma
Gemma
Gemma is our all things eBay expert. Originally from the UK, she now lives in Canada and travels extensively. You can read about her travels at her blog Off Track Travel.

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