Sellers who have the best customer service are rewarded by eBay through the Top Rated Seller program. Requirements vary between countries and eBay sites but are generally focused on sellers having a minimum number of sales, consistent shipment tracking, low transaction defects and a small number of late shipments.
To become a Top Rated Seller on eBay.com, eBay sellers must have:
- Been active for at least 90 days
- At least 100 or more transactions with a minimum of $1000 in sales (US buyers only) over the last 12 months
- Less than 0.30% of Money Back Guarantee and PayPal Purchase Protection cases closed without seller resolution
- A maximum 0.5% of transactions with one or more transaction-related defects for last 3 months (12 months for sellers with less than 400 transactions)
- Less than 3% of transactions with late shipping
- Adhere to eBay’s selling practices policy
For more details, check each eBay site’s seller performance standards page. Selling performance (daily and over the last evaluation period) can be checked easily via the Seller Dashboard.
Sellers can become Top Rated Sellers in other countries if they meet the criteria for these countries e.g. a UK seller using eBay.com can qualify to be a US Top Rated Seller based on sales to US buyers. They can also become a UK Top Rated Seller on eBay.co.uk, selling to UK buyers.
Benefits of becoming a Top Rated Seller
Aside from the satisfaction of being given a pat on the back by eBay, Top Rated Sellers get some bonus rewards:
- Discounts on shipping when using eBay Labels (saves money)
- Improved ‘Best Match’ search ranking (more visibility)
- Eligible for display of prominent eBay Premium Service badge on qualifying listings (more trust)
In the last few years, there have been some changes to the Top Rated Seller program. Sellers are no longer required to have 98% or more positive feedback and buyers cannot refine searches using the criteria of “Top Rated Seller.” The Spring 2018 seller update has brought yet more changes, with the new requirement of free shipping for Top Rated Plus listings (see below).
Top Rated Plus listings
Once a Top Rated Seller, sellers have the option to offer Top Rated Plus listings. To do so, Top Rated Sellers have to provide both:
- Fast handling (same day or 1 business day)
- Easy returns (at a minimum, 30 day free returns)*
These requirements again differ between countries and eBay sites. There are also some exceptions such as listings in specific categories (Gift Cards, Tickets, Plants and Seedlings, Food etc.)
*This is a new requirement as of June 1st, 2018.
Advantages of Top Rated Plus listings
Eligible listings show a Top Rated Plus seal and benefit from a 10% discount on Final Value Fees (FVF) on the item. The seal is displayed prominently on listings and search results, inspiring customer confidence. Top Rated Plus listings also receive an increased Best Match search result due to the short handling time and generous return policy.
Top tips about Top Rated Seller Status
- The short handling time required for Top Rated Plus listings relates to uploading tracking details for the item(s), not physically shipping the package. So if a buyer purchases an item on Friday, the tracking does not have to be uploaded until Monday and then the item shipped Tuesday.
- On eBay.com, the time zone is automatically PST. This is important to keep in mind when trying to provide the same day or 1-day handling required for Top Rated Plus listings.
- Sellers can pick and choose which of their listings to upgrade to Top Rated Plus status, so it should be considered whether each item would really benefit from the FVF discount before committing to the short handling time frame and no questions asked return policy.
Maintaining Top Rated Seller status on eBay
For most sellers, the hardest part of maintaining Top Rated Seller status is meeting eBay’s strict requirements for transaction defect, cases closed without seller resolution and late shipments. To consistently reach these standards, providing excellent customer service at every stage of the transaction is important.
- When listing, give the buyer realistic expectations of the item. Describe with facts, accurate measurements and detailed photographs. Be sure to note any faults or blemishes. Make sure your return policy is easy to understand. Don’t underestimate your handling time.
- When shipping, take the time to pack the item securely and safely using durable and appropriate materials. Consider including a return label in the package to save time later. Always use tracking and make sure the buyer has access to the tracking number promptly.
- When communicating with the buyer, be sure to use polite and professional language at all times. Respond quickly to make the most of the time period before the buyer is able to contact eBay for assistance.
Is Top Rated Seller status worth it?
The substantial Final Value Fees discount and prominent Top Rated Plus seal are very persuasive reasons for eBay sellers desire Top Rated Seller status. There are however such downsides to the program. Maintaining such a low defect rate required for the Top Rated Seller status is difficult, though not impossible. Offering such fast handling and a flexible return policy may cause some sellers to lose profit, despite the potential increase in visibility and trust gained by Top Rated status.
For some sellers, the stress of attempting to keep the number of defects so low is not worth the Final Value Fee discount or slight search result ranking increase. Other sellers may not have the same difficulties keeping defects down. With not much to lose and some decent benefits to gain, eBay’s Top Rated Seller program is something for most eBay sellers to aim for.