eBay Sellers Speak Out Against Business Policies

    February 17, 2014
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

eBay sellers have become frustrated with a feature the site has been automatically turning on for their stores.

eBay announced Business Policies nearly two years ago. The feature amounts to a set of custom settings for shipping, return and payment information for sellers to manage easily from one central location. Sellers can create multiple policies, and select the ones they want to apply to particular listings with a few clicks. It’s supposed to be a time saver, and make sellers’ lives easier, but the roll-out doesn’t appear to be quite so simple for a lot of sellers.

Should eBay force the new Business Policies feature on users? Share your thoughts.

Though announced in the spring of 2012, the company said a few months later that its release would be postponed. Finally, on Friday, eBay said that it has begun turning it on automatically for some sellers. Others can opt in. Either way, it will become the only way to define policies for listings for everybody later this year.

Sellers have taken to the eBay community forums to express their frustration. Much of this appears to come from the idea that this makes things harder on sellers offering a lot of different items.

“Yikes, I just looked at it,” writes user gopetersen. “It appears to be designed for sellers who sell quantities of similar items and might be a nightmare (don’t know yet, but potentially) for those who sell a lot of unique and different items. If I’m understanding correctly, it automatically creates a new policy for each item listed with a slightly different policy and then you have to name and manage the lists. So, sellers who sell a lot of different things, to deal with this, we’ll probably have to sit down and work out a group of policies and then assign them to listings as we go. I couldn’t tell from the description if you can set up the names and policies first, but I’m hoping this is the case.”

D-k_treasures says, “So stupid for the sellers of unique items. Every change creates a new policy – look at the examples. So if you have different shipping changes on each listing, it’s a new policy. Unreal. Where do they come up with this BS?”

Piedmont33 says, “Don’t ya just love how we aren’t able to run our own businesses and eBay feels that they have to do it for us?”

Another member expressed fatigue with the site, suggesting that “for many years,” sellers have just stayed because eBay is “the place to sell,” adding, “Some day, some of us,” will just get “tired of this” and “go elsewhere.”

Ina Steiner at EommerceBytes shares a few more negative reactions:

So why the poor reception? As initially described in this February 5th, EcommerceBytes Newsflash article, sellers suddenly encountered a drop down menu containing a great number of policies that had long codes that were incomprehensible. “I have a payment policy, and a shipping policy, and a return policy,” wrote one seller at the time. “Now, I get prompts. Having no idea now what this is, I open the drop-down and see about 50 different long-numbered “policies.””

After being opted in, another seller said the feature interferes with the listing flow – those who haven’t set up policies have to leave the listing, go into their My eBay, navigate to Business Policies, set up the new policies, and then return to listing. “Did eBay do usability testing before rolling this mess out,” they wondered.

Another seller said they set up set up a shipping policy under “my business policies” for local, national and international. “I called ebay earlier this week about a shipping issue and they resolved it by removing all my policies. I cannot find how to set up policies any more. Help please?”

Frustration from sellers is certainly nothing new, though we haven’t seen quite the level of complaints in recent memory that we were seeing a few years back, and the company has made numerous changes in the meantime.

Not all of the feedback is negative luckily (a good thing considering this is supposed to make things easier on sellers).

Back in the forums, Girlspicer says, for example, “The one thing I do like is that I do mostly free shipping on the other acct and wanted to see what it was like to charge shipping and lower my sale price on this acct with shorter Buy it Now durations. I’ve created 3 policies for shipping – and have to say it’s easier to just pick one of my policies when listing for the shipping charges than manually change things. At first it was like visiting another planet setting all these things up tho because I am not a computer wiz by any means.”

eBay is offering a few tips for using Business Policies, including: consolidating them, understanding how they’re being used before deleting them or making changes, and giving each policy a name that makes sense to you.

“Every time you change even one policy detail in a listing, a new business policy is created. To keep things manageable, consolidate your policies into a short list of just a few that make the most sense for your business,” it said in Friday’s announcement. You can see which listings are using a specific policy on the
‘Manage your business policies’ page in Selling Manager or Selling Manager Pro…To save time, give each of your policies a name that makes sense to you. You might also rename those created automatically from your existing listings. Add a brief description to make it quick and easy to select the right policy when you’re listing.”

eBay offers some additional tips here.

eBay is allowing those who have been opted in to opt out, but as mentioned, this will be forced upon everyone later this year, so any opt out is only temporary. The company does say it’s listening to feedback.

The company is also catching flack for siding with a buyer over a seller in a dispute, despite evidence in the seller’s favor. The company had sent debt collectors after the seller, but when taken to small claims court, eBay ultimately paid the seller for the item as well as for additional money it had removed from his PayPal account, and court costs. The seller is still seeking compensation for time spent fighting for his case.

Sell on eBay? What are your thoughts about Business Policies? Let us know in the comments.

Image via eBay

  • mindy

    It appeared on my ebay last week and is not user friendly or applicable to my site as I sell a diversified arena of goods. It took me so long to maneuver it. I started exploring Amazon as a substitute.

    • http://iSpyQuality.com/ iSpy Quality

      It all used to be so simple.

  • A_to_Z

    I already do all this with the Macintosh program called GarageSale and bypass ebay’s entire b.s. web site. I can update all my auctions or single details on one auction on the fly. If they go ahead with this I frankly no want them conducting business in my state at all as this is the last straw. They are guests where ever they do business. I think its time state attorney generals investigate that massive consumer fraud program they have known as “free shipping”. Donhoe belongs in a jail cell for corporate terrorism. I will be contacting my local state rep and point blank tell him to do something about ebay.

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/formerebaysellers2openforum/ Rich Vernadeau

    CEO John Donahoe (from Bain Capital) continues on with his destruction of eBay.

  • Buccaneer Dan

    I left eBay a long time ago due to out and out theft via Paypal (withholding payments from buyers for up to 6 months before releasing the funds to me the seller, plus buyers who made false claims and were refunded by paypal). It is unfortunate that a once great idea and platform continues to erode away.

  • Surething

    What Sellers have to come to grips with is the fact the Ebay is only out for their own profit and not the Sellers profit due to the fact that Ebay will support the wrongful buyers that have malicious intents and wreck the Seller’s feedback ratings while “never” ever considering the Seller’s dispute in a transaction’s disagreement between buyer and seller!!! This is illegal..Ebay has a resolution Dept which always sides with the Buyer???? Then why call it a resolution Dept..I was a Silver Powerseller and worked very hard to be successful, but the fee kept climbing and the shipping costs were being penny-pinched by Ebay Policies and years ago Sellers were in Uproar with Ebay’s Policies..BUT, I would read all the comments like you are reading now and Remember seeing many times OTHER SELLERS that had the same ISSUES like me..AND they advised to SELL ON AMAZONE..and in time..Bingo I found out that they were RIGHT..See how long it takes until you get it??? Too…

    • WorkingMumsBlogSpot

      Totally agree, xxx

  • Enchanted

    one of the issues with the drop down menu, there is no where to go that explains what any of the ‘policies’ mean.

  • Ealtbay Auction

    For sellers of multiple items, with multiple shipping amounts, different shippers, or different number of days until an item is shipped truly balloons the number of ‘policy’s’ that are created by the site. Even worse -if you do not give the policy, at its creation, a custom name, the eBay policy is automatically assigned an abstract number, and returning to that policy while doing a future listing is nearly impossible -if you do not have a log book of the policy numbers.
    I personally think eBay is attempting to force all sellers to offer free shipping on all items.


    Selling on Ebay was simple and straightforward. Then some ASS+_*E Executive who probably has nothing to do but think up SH*T like this and pick his nose goes to an Ebay meeting and tells the rest of the jerks sitting there how he came up with this new idea to ”help sellers”. HEY JERKBALL I DO NOT NEED YOUR HELP! DID YOU HAPPEN TO HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH OBAMACARE????

  • Wigan

    I’ve just been suspended because my seller ID is too close to my email address and “it’s not allowed by ebay rules” well I’ve seen plenty since so I know that the suspension is a punishment for complaining about the new fee on postage costs. They are being anti competitive and I’m going to approach the EU anti trust and my MP and Euro MP about it.they are also in my view thieves because you have to “prefer paypal” can’t “prefer Bacs” payments. Fkin mafia!

  • Wim Wellinghoff

    I already pulled out of eBay 4 years ago as these whippersnappers tried to teach me how to run my business. I then started my own website racingmodels.com and we are now a worldwide power in our field. Oh yes saved a small fortune in seller fees in the process….Interesting, pay eBay to tell you how to run your business….Me? No thanks, I am not interested in this haven for wonky goods anymore

    • WorkingMumsBlogSpot

      I cannot understand how companies profit from this site, its daylight robbery! xxx

  • EbayBOOOO

    Funny you would write about this, I read an article about the End of Ebay predicted, short but sweet. Might be a good read: http://www.logicintel.com/why-ebay-must-fail-long-term/

  • technut

    Why does Ebay feel they need to run our business practices. It’s not right!

  • coolcity

    Probably only repeating what many others have already said, but it’s practically unworkable for those like me who sell a lot of different items. Changes to all of these policies created will almost certainly need to be made too when the annual round of Royal Mail price hikes comes into effect next month.

    I quit ebay a few years ago when the Best Match debacle more or less ruined my sales overnight. I have only come back because I have goods that don’t really sell elsewhere but after 5 months I’ve had enough already.

    If ebay made it as difficult for thieving buyers of low value items to place a claim it would be a much bigger improvement than this nonsense. Maybe one day ebay will come up with a seller-friendly site but I can’t see it happening in my lifetime if the past decade is anything to go by.

  • http://www.vibes4less.com stuff ebay

    Ebay is run by crooks and most buyers are crooks ,I have lost so much money to these animals and ebay and paypal alike side with the buyer knowing full well I am in the right ,even with all the right paper work they still side with the buyer ..In a small claims court I would win hands down ,so ebay can go xxck themselves where the sun don’t shine ..RANT OVER

  • gubaguba

    I have been trying to avoid Ebay using a variety of other sites to sell from. The changes they make benefit buyer however they sellers are the ones who pay for them. Sellers have been leaving in droves. Only ones left are the chinese vendors.

  • Mario Carrizales

    I tried creating an account for myself on ebay after I was selling on my bro’s account and after I sold 4 items they placed an indefinite restriction. I called them about 4 times which took more than 8 hours and never removed the restriction. I couldn’t sell at all and they kept bringing up my brother’s account’s negative comments yet he still sells a lot of stuff. WTF! eBay. Don’t waste your time. I got my own website instead.

  • http://www.apaceonline.com/ Asaduzzaman

    this is not bad idea.

  • Jason

    I’m done with ebay and all of their BS. I’ll be moving to an alternative like bidranger.com

  • http://www.bikinimonokini.com mushepea

    this new ‘improvement’, idiot idea will suck, like all the other ones in recent years. sellers will hate it and ebay doesn’t care. all the new policies have been total crap in the last 5 years – WHO THINKS THIS RUBBISH UP? so sack all those idiots and let me run it!! i was selling on there since 1997 & i can get it working properly again, but i wont sell there now.
    ebay is absolutely intent on ruining every small seller & making them leave – and thereby ruining its self. ebay distroyed my business & income all over pathetic and unsustainable DSR B/S ratings left by the idiots that use that site. 3 low scores and you are stuffed for a WHOLE YEAR!!! they introduced that a few years ago – the worst thing ever – only equaled by the total garbage dispute centre which should be renamed – rip off the seller every time central. its scandalous the way ive been ripped off, even with signed proof of delivery. and poaypal are just as bad, becase ebay refunds them THER IS NO SELLER PROTECTION – ITS TOTAL LIES ALL THAT PROTECTION RUBBISH – DONT BELIEVE THEM.
    they both let you get ripped off by anyone that wants to – or face registered post costs that mean you are too expensive to sell anything in the first place.

    the fees are going so high becase all the chinese sell everything for nothing, and all the western sellers i know have left as making nothing. so fees uop to try keep profits high. it wont last. ebay has had its day.

    i hate ebay with a vengence, it is run buy morons who have never had to use the site. every employee should be forced to attain a top rated seller acct, and if they lose top rating their income should be cut by 95% like mine was. i bet all this crap would stop witin months and i coud go back to making a living in a nice friendly manner again, not fighting with vultures trying to rip me off.
    i sell on AMAZON ONLY NOW – MUCH MORE SELLER FRIENDLY. and i havent been ripped off once (touch wood).

    so carry on ebay – no sellers means no seller fees & you go bust. ebay are too stupid to realize where their money comes from – why are they destroying themselves??

  • roidaho

    Ebay lost it’s way YEARS ago. I was the state rep for Ebay when they first started, yes, they had locale reps, and I made a killing on ebay. I quit when paypal came around and started robbing people. I wouldn’t send an enemy to buy or sell on ebay now.

  • james

    ebay’s greed is completely out of control. and now they wish to further burden us with more time at work.

  • ALAN Shirk

    I used e-bay a lot once. I really stopped when they took the comments away from sellers. Why shouldn’t we have the same rights as buyers. If there are no jobs left in America and people aren’t earning any money to spend, why would they buy anything on ebay anymore. Is it a new kind of marketing, like running a company producing or selling goods or services that no one can pay for. Now that’s what I call consumption. It still is simple. No cash in, no cash out. Is this the new ebay business model. Is Obamacare spreading?

  • Rose v

    I hate most of the “features” they offer. We cant run our own business and cant really make the store look like we want to, as the program does not let you do it. Too much is done without talking to the members.

  • Victor

    When it gets 1 step more work to sell items, I will just QUIT!

  • frustrated in Oregon

    The business policies is the most ineffiecient, stupid thing ebay has ever done. I used to be able to just pick the shipping options for a listing and specified a shipping cost. Now I have to create a new policy for each combination, for example a booklet might ship 1st class flat or media mail. Now I must create THREE policies to cover shipping at media mail, shipping at flat, or shipping at media mail or flat.
    This mail help their mega sellers, but us average sellers are screwed. I have used all day setting up policies and done no auction listings due to this utterly stupid business policy set up.

  • George

    Ebay has been corrupt for so many years anyway, and with the ease of setting up your own online store, I’m shocked people still have ebay stores. Between ebay telling you what to charge to ship items, forcing everyone to use ebay-owned paypal, despite everyone knowing about how paypal has been sued for stealing funds in accounts many times, and their numerous security flaws (they are ALWAYS being hacked!), but since ebay forces you to use it, they don’t care to fix anything with it, and the lack of ability for sellers to leave anything except positive feedback (so even if someone stole from you, all you can do is post positive about the transaction, while the buyer has free reign to do as they wish), and the lack of communication between both buyers and sellers, so they can trash you all they want on ebay, and you have no ability to defend yourself, as well as the ever-changing rules that determine who gets top posting on ebay (I’ve posted items, and STILL can’t see them in results days after!) and how ebay starts your time countdown from the moment you click “submit”, but then say your listing may not show up for hours or days, why would ANYONE want to use them?? I’m shocked they’re not dead yet…one quote in the article states “eBay is “the place to sell,”. It is?? Really?

  • George

    I used to sell on ebay, just small time stuff I wanted out of my home when I wasn’t working and was selling mostly for a buck or five bucks, a lot of DVDs I didn’t have cases for and stuff…amazing how people couldn’t be bothered to read that the disc had no case, and then would complain to ebay and ebay would REFUND these people and ding me as a seller…I TOLD you it had no case!! Then I got kicked off (but only selling) for too many negatives…but I’m free to buy from you, right?? So, after arguing with these nitwits for way too long, I simply changed all my info to BS info, so they couldn’t keep tabs on me anymore (since you know they don’t want to 100% delete you from the site, they can’t sell your email to advertisers then).