October 28, 2014 by Andrew Minalto - 75 Comments

eBay’s New Seller Standard – The Defect Rate

Spread the love

ebay-defectsThis year eBay have introduced a number of changes for sellers (as always!), with the main ones being eBay’s new Managed Returns Process and new seller performance measures and specifically – the defect rate.

I have already written a guide on managed returns, which you can read here: eBay’s Managed Returns Process – Explained, so now it’s time to go over eBay’s other big change – the recently introduced new seller performance measurement.

Let’s get started!

So firstly, what is this new performance measurement and when was it introduced?

Well the defect rate (as it’s known) came into effect in August this year, replacing the previous minimum positive feedback requirements, and basically, based on extensive research conducted over millions of transactions, it measures the aspects of a transaction that eBay believe are most important to buyers.

And if something goes wrong with a transaction, it counts as a defect on your account. eBay then uses this defect rate to monitor your performance and if you fall below their minimum requirements, you will lose your Top-rated seller status and even worse; your positions in search results will be penalised and you can even be suspended from eBay completely.

What counts as a defect?

A defect is a transaction that’s considered to create a “bad shopping experience for buyers” and any of the following will count as a defect against you:

  • A detailed seller rating of 1, 2 or 3 for item as described
  • A return due to the item being not as described
  • An eBay Money Back Guarantee or PayPal Buyer Protection case for item not as described
  • A detailed seller rating of 1 for dispatch time
  • An eBay Money Back Guarantee or PayPal Buyer Protection case for item not received
  • Negative Feedback
  • Neutral Feedback (yes, that’s right – neutral feedback is now considered as bad as negative feedback in eBay’s eyes!)
  • A transaction being cancelled by you due to the item being out of stock

One important thing to note here – you can only get a single defect per transaction.

So what that means is, let’s say a buyer leaves you a detailed seller rating of 2 for item as described and then also leaves you neutral feedback – that will count as a single defect for that transaction.

If a buyer leaves you a detailed seller rating of 1 for item as described, a detailed seller rating of 1 for dispatch time, leaves negative feedback and then also opens a PayPal Buyer Protection case – that will still just count as one defect.

So now you know what a defect is, let’s take a look at the minimum standard expected of sellers on eBay:

max-defectsSo basically a max defect rate of 5% for standard sellers and 2% for Top-rated sellers.

BUT in only kicks in when you have reached minimum number of unique buyers affected – 8 for all sellers and 5 for TRS. So for example, if you’re a TRS and have made just 100 sales over last 12 months and have 3% defect rate, from just 3 transactions, even though the percentage is above limit (2%), you won’t lose your TRS status because you haven’t reached minimum number of buyers affected – which is 5 for TRS accounts.

How to Reduce risks of getting a DEFECT to minimum

Without saying, your main task (as always) is to provide absolute BEST service to your customers. This means:

  • High quality products which deliver;
  • Proper, detailed product descriptions which leaves minimum room for interpretation;
  • Professionally made product pictures;
  • Honest condition description in case of used goods (don’t make it sound better than it is);
  • Fast dispatch times (max 24 hours Mon.-Fri.)
  • Reliable, preferably free shipping;
  • Secure, suitable packaging materials for products you sell;
  • Fast response to customer queries (max 24 hours Mon.-Fri.)

If you look at the defects list above, you’ll notice that many defects are related to “item not as described”. This again proves how important are your product descriptions and images. You simply have no choice but to get this part right! Create your listings in a way that it leaves no room for error!

Another important defect that you can get even by accident is last one on the list: 

  • A transaction being cancelled by you due to the item being out of stock

If you run in such a situation when someone bought an item you don’t have anymore, do whatever it takes to leave the customer happy and DO NOT cancel transaction stating reason – out of stock. That will be classed as a defect. What you can do is ideally find the item somewhere else – buy it from Amazon or same eBay and fulfil your order.

If that’s not possible, get in touch with buyer: apologies and explain the situation. You could say that you had just one item left for example but it’s slightly defective so you can’t sell it and ask buyer to initiate transaction cancellation. This way you won’t earn a defect plus get your final value fees back.

If everything else fails, cancel transactions on your own but DO NOT pick “out of stock” as reason for cancellation.

How to Calculate Your Defect Rate

Your defect rate is calculated as a percentage of your total transactions, regardless of whether or not you received positive feedback for them.

As an example, let’s say I have an eBay store and in the last 12 months I’ve made 1,800 sales. And from these 1,800 sales I’ve had 32 defects and 1,000 positive feedbacks left for me.

That means that my defect rate is 32/1800 = 1.78%

So the number of defects divided by the TOTAL no. of sales (not just ones that you were left positive feedback for) times 100 (to get the percentage).

Basically eBay are saying that if you don’t hear from your buyer post-sale, they’ll “assume the transaction went well”.

How to Find Your Defect Rate

To find out what your defect rate is, you simply have to login to your account and go to your Seller Dashboard (under the My Account tab).

From there you can see an overview of your selling standard, including what percentage of your transactions had defects.

defects-rateAnother important thing to remember, that eBay don’t really make very clear, is that your seller performance will be monitored separately by region. So to see your performance ratings for different countries, simply select them from the box in the top right hand side:

region-defectsFrom your account you can also run a Transaction Defect Report which is a tool that will help you review your performance and identify areas that require attention.

This report will include a full list of all transactions with a defect, including exactly what defect it was, so make sure you use this to identify any problems and fix them before you go over the maximum defect rate!

download-defects-reportIf this isn’t something that you’ve been monitoring closely then please; go and check your most recent report right now (they’re updated weekly).

It’s simply not enough anymore to provide an overall good experience and solely monitor your positive feedback percentage – with these changes eBay have made you really do need to keep an eye on everything 100%.

Even if a buyer seems happy and you resolve a problem completely, that transaction can still be counted as a defect.

It sounds ridiculous I know, but that’s just how it is and if you want to sell on eBay, you have to play by their rules…

In many cases a defect can be counted when a buyer never even meant to penalise you! There are countless such stories online and it is true – a defect can be counted against simply because your buyer selected the wrong option when contacting you to ask a question!

Also, it would seem this new system is even more open to buyer abuse than ever before BUT there are some safeguards in place to protect you, and in some circumstances you can get a defect removed so that it’s not counted in your seller performance standards.

That’s what we’ll be going over in Part 2, which I will publish this Friday.

Stay tuned.

All the best,

Spread the love
Join 500+ Amazon Sharks Members
and Start your OWN Amazon FBA Business TODAY!

Click Here to Leave a Comment

  1. stephen lavender

    Hi Andrew, I have a 2.09% transaction defect & 2.7% late delivery rate and I have messages saying my eBay account is about to get restricted.
    Will that affect my other eBay accounts which I don’t have any problems with ?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Stephen,

      IF eBay has linked your accounts, it could affect other accounts too, yes…

      It is very hard to tell as eBay won’t tell you this information and sometimes other accounts keep performing but I have heard that for some people, even though the metrics stay good in other accounts, they simply don’t perform anymore. But if you get suspended from eBay, all linked accounts are suspended, that’s a fact.


  2. Hi Andrew,

    I started selling on Ebay in September.
    Business started off slow 20-30 sales first month, then 160 the following month and nearly 250 this month.
    In October, I had 7 transaction defects out of 192 defects left me with a TDR of 3.65%
    I was below standard for this month from the 20th of November onwards.
    I have managed to get my account down to 1.86% – 7 out of 376 transaction.
    I am now predicted above standard for the next evaluation.

    Please tell me, will I have any further issues after the next evaluation now that I am predicted above standard Andrew?

    Kind Regards,

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Aaron,

      I can’t tell you that – it is all in hands of eBay…

      On next evaluation you will be above standard but what happens after that, depends on any new defects you get etc.


  3. Richard Priestley

    I am a literal one man band age 65 selling on Ebay for 15years with 100% feedback rating.I was ill in January & was hospitalised for a week during which time I was unable to despatch any orders.I also had a week’s holiday in April & the same applied.I collected some late delivery defects which pushed my percentage to 3.4%.
    I appealed as being grossly unfair & even wrote to Ebay’s MD (Without reply).
    After several exchanges with Customer Service I was advised to alter the delivery time on all my listings (2400+) or indeed hide my listings when on holiday/and or ill.
    In every other sphere of commercial life no one is punished for being on holiday or falling ill.Why should Ebay get away with it?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Richard,

      There are very clear rules on what you need to do on eBay in such situations – put your store on holiday settings.

      Customers can’t know that you’re taking a holiday or that you’re ill and honestly – most of them probably don’t care. They expect certain delivery standards when they make purchases on eBay and eBay rules are there to maintain those standards. If you’re doing business on eBay, you should be fully familiar with these rules.


  4. Thanks for the great info. I totally understand eBay’s policy but their god like stance over small sellers is grossly unfair. I had. Some problems with my eBay store in the past and I took steps to improve it massively. But 1 missing item in 9 months has again cost me my seller status and eBay won’t consider even listening to the person who is effectively their client ie the one who pays the eBay invoices. So frustrated. Aargh

  5. I have been a top rated seller for several years, but now I am facing above standard on Dec. 20th because I had four cancellations for being out of stock. I am evaluated by the year since I’ve not gotten 400 sales in three months. I know I could sell lots of cheap things even at a loss to make quick sales, but how would that erase the “out of stock” situation I’m in? Is there nothing to do but to wait the 12 months until that is erased? I dread every sale now that it might be something I overlooked and would bring me five cancelled transactions, which would spiral me downward to below standard. Any advice? Thanks in advance.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Paul,

      Please check out this post for some inspiration and tips on how to get out of such situations:



  6. Andrew Wicksted

    I have fallen foul of the new rules. 6 defects in 173 sales. Now a below standard seller with a rate of 3.41. Orders cancelled by selecting out of stock but weren’t. Selected out of convenience when buyer wanted to cancel.
    Several chats with ebay, they not interested and state decision is final not to clear any defects.
    I’m restricted to 25 listings per month. I calculated that even if I successfully use each listing, I will still be below standard next April until the majority drop off.
    Another kick in the pants is that even if I sell an item cheaper than any other similar item, even with cheaper postage, my listing will appear at the bottom of a ‘best match’ search.

    Very frustrating.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Andrew,

      Yes, unfortunately this cancellation mistake with “out of stock” option is very common, I get emails like this all the time.

      But there’s nothing really I can suggest apart from selling loads of cheap items to get your status back or simply start a new eBay account.


      1. Andrew Wicksted

        Hi, thanks for your response. I opened another ebay account a few weeks back but I get a zero listing allowance.
        I figure they can link accounts or something. When I requested higher selling limits, they asked me for information on my other account?!

        1. Andrew Minalto

          hmm, then this is something new they have been doing recently…

  7. Hi Andrew,

    Quick question, my current seller level is still showing ‘As of the 20th of August’

    Using dates Transaction period: Aug 01, 2015 – Jul 31, 2016

    Yet it is the 21st of August today. So when will this update?

    The section where it says ‘if we evaluated you today’ is now up to date and is using the dates

    Transaction period: Sep 01, 2015 – Aug 31, 2016

    I thought they would both update on the 20th of each month?

    I’m a little confused

    Many thanks


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Greg,

      Please check out this post which answers your question:




    Hi Andrew, I have been an ebay member since January 1999. I woke up Monday morning to discover my seller status was reclassified to below standard. I have a defect rate of 2.62% with 5 of 191 sales defected. I never even thought about my sellers dashboard till then. That has to change. My three sales since Monday are tied up for 14-21 days and apparently that will continue till October 26 when the first of five defects will become over a year old. I have had 4 cancelled due to being out of stock, at least 2 of them I just clicked the top reason out of convenience, really wasn’t out of stock. Buyer had contacted me to cancel so I did. I tried explaining that to an ebay agent and they said “no appeals after 30 days”. I didn’t realize it was effecting my selling status. The other defect was a “Case closed without seller resolution”. I gave the buyer a Paypal refund. The item was damaged in shipment and returned to me. I had to wait to get it back, so it to almost 3 weeks, but I refunded him.

    I sell automotive parts IE mirrors, headlights, tail lights and miscellaneous other parts that are consigned to me. About half are new in box and half are used take offs. Average monthly sales are about two thousand on average 100 dollars each. It has gotten very quiet the last three days. No offers, questions or more importantly – no sales. It’s like I’ve been quarantined. I used some one else’s computer and ebay account to see if my auctions came up under specific searches and five times they did, so I don’t know why the slow down. Do you have any suggestions for me as I have a garage full of boxes that I need to keep moving or my wife is going to string me up. Thank you for any advice you can give me. Jim

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Jim,

      You really need to be more careful with following eBay rules/guidelines as otherwise you can quickly lose your account. But what’s done, is done.

      Now, I would recommend you list/sell lots of cheap items via auctions, take some loss on them to improve your ratings. You can sell pound shop items, anything from your house or an easy way to do this is by using same system we use to get TRS in first place:


      You need to make lots of sales quickly to get your account back in good shape.


  9. Hi Andrew,

    My transaction defect rate is currently at 6.32% as I have been choosing the wrong option when cancelling orders. I should have chose that there was a problem with the seller address.

    If I get the percentage back under 5% will this remove all my selling limits and the account to go back to normal?

    Also, do you know how long this takes as my payments are also being suspended in PayPal as well.


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Greg,

      Yes, it should go back to normal once your defect rate improves.

      It is calculated based on last 12 month performance so you need to do some maths to see how fast you can improve it, taking into account your sales numbers.

      I recommend you selling used BRs cheaply/at loss to get your account back in good shape:



  10. I’ve fallen into low standard but can’t seem to improve my sales at all. Any tips on how to go back to normal?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Sell lots of cheap, in demand items via auctions @ starting price of £0.99.

      Free shipping, no reserve.

      You’ll make loss on these sales but will get your account back in good shape quickly.


  11. Only way to deal with it is if you have a cusomer base, build your own website. I am doing that right now.
    I cancelled transactions trying to be nice to my buyers, but ebay has their rules and does not like employing people. Nothing will change until another rule comes along.

  12. […] Probably the most important changes are to do with eBay’s Defect Rate, the current seller performance measurement, which you can read more about here: eBay’s New Seller Standard – The Defect Rate. […]

  13. Hello There,

    I’m a fairly new seller and recently a customer won an auction but hasn’t paid after almost 8 days. I initiated an order cancellation, but I mistakenly chose “item out or stock or can’t fulfill the order for another reason”. I found out that this was considered a “defect” against my account. I spoke to a CSR at eBay to explain the situation about my error and she said that there is high likelihood that they’ll remove the defect because the customer hadn’t paid after a long while and it appears I’ve sent a lot of correspondence to request payment and an address (since he apparently moved recently). In your opinion, do you think this “defect” will be overturned?

    Also, I had 2 other cancellations which I initiated because the buyers “changed their mind” and expressed to me through eBay messages. Both times, no payment was made and I sent them order cancellations with the explanation, “The buyer asked to cancel the order, or there’s an issue with the buyer’s address”. It’s my understanding that these transactions are not considered “defects” to my account? Thank you for your help!


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Steve,

      Yes, they should remove this defect.

      Yes, on those 3 other cancellations, you don’t get a defect.


  14. I’m laptop parts seller, I get lots of return due to item not as described or not working..
    they request a return,, i pay return shipping, and then i receive 100% working part.. More than 90% of my returns works great, but the problem is buyer, who don’t exactly figure out the real problem of their computer…
    Now, I feel like i’m in middle of horror movie, whenever i hear notification beep in my phone.. I’m good seller, and i try my best to lower my defect rate,,,but how can i stop buyer from returning the part that is not working with their unit…(Example: you buy motherboard, but the problem is cpu.. then what??? he will return it saying motherboard is defective…. no option)

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Dave,

      Yes, in niche like these, it’s very, very difficult to maintain low Defect rate. Probably impossible to maintain TRS status too.

      Only way you could lower your defect rate is to offer better/more personal customer support service? Like phone support to help people sort out problems like these? Not sure how viable/cost effective would it be for you though, to spend hours on the phone helping your customers, when profit margins aren’t probably that great.


      1. Ebay is creating a culture of returners. And it is growing. A buyer can order 6 shirts keep the 1 or 2 he likes. Claim not as described the seller has to pay return shipping ( hopefully the seller has enough profit margin built in). So a seller has to raise prices to cover this. AND the accounting nightmare to keep up with the returns through Ebay and Paypal.

        I sell industrial electronics. I have a full and complete description, manual, pictures AND a video of the products in the auction . The most response I get for returning ” No, I didn’t read the description”.

        If the buyer had a 25% restocking charge they had to pay, the would be more diligent at looking at the items description and deciding if the item is for them BEFORE they purchase.

        If there is no “skin in the game” for the buyer then there is no reason for them to really understand what they are buying.

        Also I see some of my competition placing paragraphs in the auction/s basically saying “please” if there is an issue contact us first. Don’t just click on the not as described button.

        Some of my competition has even dropped their listings on Ebay. And I truly believe that Ebay has set the standard so high that many sellers will just give up trying to sell there.

        All my electronics have serial numbers. Several returns come back with the same part # but different serial #’s. And through Ebay there is no recourse.

  15. Hello,Andrew. I do have a question as well. If a buyer leave a positive feedback but doesn’t give you a stars for shipping,item as described,etc. is this count as a defect rate?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Mary,

      No, of course not – that wouldn’t be a defect.


  16. Hi just wondering if anyone knows this. I’ve sold 3 items to a buyer, on three transactions, I combined postage and all when. Outbox one invoice. She wants to return them claiming not as described (a bit of a joke but I’ll leave that part out for now) will these count as three defects or just one.. Slight panic setting in! If anyone knows I’d really appreciate it

  17. […] maintain high DSRs (easiest part), keep the number of opened cases low and most importantly – keep your DEFECTS rate below 2%! 

This is why Blu-rays are so perfect for this strategy – as very rarely will you get any […]

  18. I started a change.org petition to have the defect rate changed. If we all can sign it (ill be submitting to other sites, too) Maybe eBay will change the policy. https://www.change.org/p/ebay-change-defect-rate

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Good luck with that Alex.

      Total waste of time.


  19. Hi Andrew,

    Thank you for taking the time to write this article. I am sure you have helped many sellers.

    I lost my Top Seller Status on May 20th and on 20th June my ‘projected seller level is below standard’. Of course I have seen a large drop in sales and it is shame, but I know that I will make it through and it will be resolved soon enough. We have made changes in shipping to ensure that this does not / should not happen again in the future.

    My question was regarding the use of the ‘word’ projected. Is that set in stone or can things change before then? Or is it likely that we have to wait until 20th July for another shot?

    Thank you 🙂

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Rebecca,

      Yes, “projected” is pretty much what will happen because you can’t impact this months evaluation result anymore, because it took into account sales ending on 31st May.

      So you can only improve your situation with next months evaluation as it will take into account sales in June too.


  20. Estelle S.

    Hi Andrew,

    Good day.
    Are you familiar with the private listing?
    There is not much information about this private listing from ebay website: http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/private.html?fb=true
    There is a buyer wanted to purchase 50 items from me, i only hold 50 inventory on hand.
    I wish to sell to this buyer but worry that it will sell to other buyer if i amend to 50 units in the listing.
    Hence, i’m planning to sell using private listing but not much information about this private listing.
    I cannot set private listing in my account.
    Do you have any idea?
    Sorry to disturb you again.
    Looking forward to hear from you soon.

    Best Regards,

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Estelle,

      The fact that they would buy from a private listing wouldn’t stop them re-selling these items to other people…

      So not sure what advantage you would gain of making your listing private?

      Private listings are usually used when you sell highly sensitive items (like weight loss products, adult toys etc.).


      1. Estelle S.

        Hi Andrew,

        Thanks for your reply.

        Is that means i cannot make private listing for only this 1 specific product and only for highly sensitive items?

        Best Regards,
        Estelle S.

        1. Andrew Minalto

          No, you can make private listing for anything you sell.

          I just can’t see any point in doing it?

  21. Estelle S.

    Hi Andrew,

    I’m a new seller on eBay. I had encounter this issue that buyer request to cancel a transaction after he has paid but i had shipped the item. I’m worrying that if i did not give refund to him and he will leave a negative feedback to me. If i refund, it might count as defect rate as the response to the “cancel order” request. Any suggestion to me?

    Appreciate if you can advise. Thanks. Have a nice day!

    Best Regards,
    Estelle S.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Estelle,

      You need to communicate this issue with the buyer – say that you already shipped the item and ask whatever it’s ok for them to wait when it’s arrive and then send back? If it’s a reasonable customer, you will work this out and won’t get a defect for this transaction as long as cancellation request reason is NOT – ITEM NOT AS DESCRIBED!


      1. Estelle S.

        Hi Andrew,

        Good day!
        I had send email to the buyer and even offer partial refund but there is no response from the buyer at this moment yet. Hopefully he is a good buyer. Thanks for your reply and advice. Appreciated it.

        Best Regards,
        Estelle S.

  22. Maroun Gebran

    Hi Andrew,

    I really need some advice, i went away on holidays and left my ebay store in the hands of a staff member he cancelled 23 transactions due to a particular item not being in stock in stead of closing the listing. I received my results for my monthly ebay store update and now i am below standard and all of my listings cannot even be seen on ebay they are all at the bottom of the listing pages. i am devastated since i use to be a top seller and was for a long time i worked so hard to be their even lost money just to stay at the top and now i cannot be seen.

    i have spoken to ebay and the best advice they gave me was to sell as much as i could until the next update and they will evaluate my performance.

    please let me know on your thoughts if their is anything i could do

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Apart from opening a new account and starting from scratch, not much I can advise…

      Are you on a 3 month or 12 month evaluation cycle?

  23. Hey Andrew,

    I’ve got a question. If a buyer purchases multiple items does that count as multiple transactions or just 1 for the purchases of defect rate calculation. IE if I had a customer that bought multiple items from me and is happy does that help me dilute the defect rate?

    Thanks in advance

    1. Andrew Minalto

      No, in same way as only one defect is counted for each transaction (even if it’s multiple items), you only earn “one clean” transaction for multiple-item purchases. So each purchase, even for multiple items is counted as ONE transaction.


      1. Really? Because I just read on eBays site that a transaction where buyer purchases more than one item from the same listing or different variation from the same listing it will be counted as one. However if an buyer purchases multiple items from multiple listings and combine into one invoice it would be considered as multiple transactions.

        I found this info on their seller performance page.

        1. Andrew Minalto

          As I see it, it’s only the case if buyer combines purchase from multiple/different sellers. Then yes, each would count as unique transaction.

          1. Dadodo

            You do mean different listings from same seller right? How can you purchase and combine from multiple sellers?

            I read it here btw http://pages.ebay.ca/sellerinformation/news/springupdate2014/sellerstandards.html

            Under – “What is considered a transaction?”

            Thanks for the reply

          2. Andrew Minalto

            Yes, that’s correct.

  24. Just want to add a little insight in to this discussion I may.

    Been selling on eBay since 2001 and built up a fairly successful business and for the last year or so been sat Above Average status, then at Christmas and various issues and a total of 6 cancellations and my first negative.

    I went from unlimited listings at the time I have almost 600 listing to 110 and Below Standard bang business gone over night, could not listing anything and had 400+ listings dropped.

    Spoke to eBay who basically said tough.

    Now okay some of you may think I deserved it and maybe your right I took my eye of the ball and got slapped, however what they don’t tell you when you become a Below Standard seller is the you get limited exposure? What I mean by that is that if I list an item let’s say a tent and three other people list the same tent you would think popular tent and as I listed first I would move up the page, wrong as a Below Standard seller I stay at the bottom of the page and 20 people can list and I stay at the bottom.

    eBay have told me that for the next two / three months I will stay Below Standard, but this will be reviewed in three months. I asked how do I get back to being an Above Average seller; eBays reply it will be based on your sales and feedback for those sales. my reply was you are not letting potential customers see me how can I sale anything; eBays reply the more you list the more you sale. but I am being restricted to 110 items only; eBays reply you can build your limits up over the next few months when your build up your seller status.

    The frightening thing is he seemed to believe in what he was saying.

    eBay does not give a monkeys about sellers.


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for sharing your story with us Fred.

      Yes, this is unfortunate how it works. It’s actually clearly defined that your seller status level directly affects listing search positions in Best Match algorithm, so no surprises there.

      In cases like these, it’s really better to just start everything from scratch, with a brand new account than to try fixing current one as your listings simply won’t appear high in search results. Then you can wait 12 months while defect rate clears and start using again that old account (if you need to but ideally just stick with the new account and build it up).


      1. Thanks Andrew

        Only problem with that is I trade / business name under the same name.

        So starting afresh would be difficult.

    2. Hi Fred,
      I am currently experiencing exactly the same issue. Trading since 2002 on Ebay 12,000+ feedback. Fell below standard. Now I am restricted in selling. Collected defects due to customers asking questions. Didnt realize it had such huge consequences.

  25. Hi Andrew,

    Interesting Post. I have couple questions for you.

    You have said:

    “You could say that you had just one item left for example but it’s slightly defective so you can’t sell it and ask buyer to initiate transaction cancellation. This way you won’t earn a defect plus get your final value fees back”

    So as I understood you are saying that I would not get my final value fees back if I would cancel transaction myself?

    Also if I am selling more than 400 items defects will be all gone after 3 months?

    I am really sad about those eBay rules. As I can not reach TRS status I am at 2,81%.. As I get closer to 2% someone leaves negative feedback or opens a case for a stupid reason.

    And what is the most I do not like that any buyer can leave you 7 negative feedbacks after he bought 7 items without any reason at all. He can be just your competitor or simple dumb but he can destroy all business. It is not fear at all and solution needs to be found.

    Kind Regards,


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yes, correct.

      Yes, with more than 400 transactions, they will take into account defects for last 3 months.

      1. This is an interesting question. I disagree. I have looked it up a few times, but I do admit this is very tricky. We had a higher priced item the bidder decided to cancel. I sent the cancel request and chose “the buyer wants to cancel or problem with buyer’s address” option and actually now that I think of it I had to call ebay about it, but they did credit the final value fee.

        I see now though I’ve answered my own question. You have to call them to get this done. what a sham!

        1. Andrew Minalto

          Thanks for sharing this with us Reed!

      2. Peter townsend

        These ratings are totally unfair .

        It should be reported as a class action – for unfair contract terms. !

        I have three cases – where is my item – gave tracking – settled in my favour
        How is that a defect?
        You only have 120 days to try and remove
        A ‘defect’

        I could go on. I told the eBay guy on phone –
        Ebays service to sellers is well below standard. !

        1. Andrew Minalto

          It’s a defect as in “theory” it shows bad customer satisfaction (if they have to open a CASE to sort out missing shipment).

          Good or bad, you should always resolve all issues with buyers without opening such cases, to avoid further defects. If it’s a cheap item, it’s really more beneficial for you to send a replacement or even refund, than to earn a defect. If you feel it’s a scam for a higher valued item, check out my recent post here:



  26. Andy,
    Here is a perfect example of trying to provide good customer service and eBay lumps you in a bunch! I had a transaction with someone (as a seller) who purchased 7 items. After agreeing to purchase item I sent an invoice for the shipping, but buyer did not want to pay shipping. So for everyone I canceled the transaction. This counted as 7 defects. Also that month I had 3other transactions were buyers asked me to cancel their purchases/transactions, due to they mistakenly bid on an item and won. But I went ahead and canceled those for them, knowing they likely just changed their mind. That’s another 3 defects. My account has not been effected. Ebay has kicked me off of selling permanently. I have a HUGE and what I think is a legitate argument and complaint! As I was trying to keep the customer happy I have now been penalized! How fair is this and where is the seller protection????

    1. Andrew Minalto

      I totally feel your pain…

      But you just have to follow best practice/rules in situations and simply open un-paid item case, not cancel transaction on your own…

      I agree of course that many eBay sellers just want help customers out and earn defects from cancelled transactions without understanding consequences but unfortunately that’s how eBay works and either we do it by the rules or don’t do at all.

      1. I get that but if you are not clear on the rooted rules its a loss for everyone. I’ve been a member for 15yrs. And watched policies come and go and these new policies are no good for anyone if you are lumped with the people who are really at fault and nothing happens to them! Ebay takes NO time to review these matters individually case by case. There is obviously a VERY limited few that can really come through on top and be longtime sellers. Most just sail through because they sell so many items their percentage stats stay low. But for the person who’s just trying to earn a little extra $$ this practice is a FAILURE, and absurd! Longtime members who have had NO previous issues really should have a better chance!

  27. Greg Matthews

    Hello Andy,

    I was unfamiliar with the new cancellation choices and needed to cancel several transactions on Ebay due to problems seller’s addresses. However, by mistake I used the first “because the item is out of stock or you can’t complete the order for another reason” option on all of them.

    If I contact Ebay will they changes these to the second option (problem with seller address) which won’t affect my defect rating?


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Greg,

      If it happened today or yesterday you could of course try calling them and ask to change this but I highly doubt they will do it…

      But you’ll never know if you don’t try!


  28. Andy Arshad

    Hi My question is if a customer leaves negative feedback and then agrees to remove the feedback once a removal request has been sent does this still count as a defect. So would there be any point in asking the customer to remove the negative feedback?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Andy,

      No, in such case defect won’t be removed.

      But it’s still worth doing it (getting a neg removed) for sake of your overall feedback score, TRS requirements and the fact that recent negs can put off new customers buying from you.

      Merry Christmas!


  29. […] standard, the Defect Rate, and Managed Returns (both of which I have already written about – Defect Rate & Managed Returns) it is not surprising that a smaller introduction has passed many people […]

  30. Hi Andrew
    One more thing to note – if a buyer contacts you by email and asks to return an item and you agree you must open a return item case as if there is no contact between you and the buyer on ebays message system before you refund an item – ebay will automatically assume that you have not fulfiled the order – even if previously marked as delivered – and you will get a defect.

  31. Hello
    Thanks for this info.
    From my side I can add something.
    I’ve just lost my Top Rated Seller and I am on Above Standard.
    Why? Some low rated sales some neutral feedback – in general
    my fault as I didn’t do anything to prevent it in time. Now I am building
    my reputation back and hope to be back on track this or the next month
    at the latest.
    But it is not what I wanted to say.
    Be careful with your sales and how the defects are counted.
    If as a seller you had more then 400 sales in the last 3 month
    your next evaluation will be based on the last 3 calendar month
    ( I got in this trap)
    If you have less then 400 sales in the last 3 month your next evaluation is based
    on the last 12 month.
    So be careful. If you sale more then 400 items within 3 month it doesn’t
    matter how good your performance was before.
    The information is from an ebay adviser.
    My calculation was different and I wouldn’t loose the Top Rated Seller but
    they counted only 3 last month not 12.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks Adam for your comment.

      Yes, evaluation period is 3 months if you make more than 400 sales in a 3 month period. In most cases this is better as you can quicker adjust/improve percentages, for DSRs and same defects.


    2. Buyers can not now start a “request to cancel the order” it has to be the seller who initiates this…am i correct? if this is the case then its going to cause problem

    3. ebay on some of my defect havent chosen the last 3 month period they have decided to select the worse 3 month periods to give me a below standard account they selected oct to dec and on another late delivery sep to nov but wont select the last 3 months dec to feb because I have no defects in that period why treat me so different to other members

  32. […] on from Part 1 of my guide to defects on eBay, we’re now going to take a look at what defects can be removed and […]

Leave a Reply