October 23, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 0 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #43

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questions-answers-43Welcome back!

It’s only 2 months until Christmas & I can definitely feel it already! Traffic to my websites and my eBay sales are both picking up very steadily and once again, I can clearly see yearly trends taking shape.

This week I covered a very interesting topic of gift wrapping to increase your eBay margins. I really hope you didn’t just read and forget about it as this is one of the easiest and simplest ways to increase your margins, and it can be applied to both eBay and your own online shop.

As it’s Friday, it’s time for our weekly Questions & Answers session.

Today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • How do DEFECTS affect your chances of getting TRS status?
  • Can you dropship directly from a supplier to your customer?
  • What is the best way to remove un-fair defects on eBay?
  • Can I achieve high search rankings for one-off, used games?
  • How to successfully sell on eBay UK from Ireland?
  • How to deal with double refunds on eBay?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

Love your blogs and your EAB course.

I want to follow your TRS for £200 method but I have 2 defects on my account from at least 6 months ago.

How would that affect me becoming a TRS? And what can I do to get around this? The defects are for cancelled transactions.

I appreciate your time – I know you are a busy guy and probably get overloaded with emails, but thank you and keep up the hard work.


Hi Kelvin,

These 2 defects won’t affect you becoming a TRS in any way! That is as long as you don’t get any more defects.

The maximum defect rate for TRS accounts is 2% BUT it only starts counting when you get 5 defects, so 2 is not a problem. If you get 3 more defects AND the overall defect percentage is more than 2% of your transactions, then yes, you wouldn’t qualify for a TRS account.

So for now, just do whatever it takes to not get any new defects and you’ll be fine.

Lastly, remember that these 2 defects will be “cancelled” after 12 months. So if you got them 6 months ago, they will no longer be counted in another 6 months.

Hello Andrew,

I really hope you can help me?

I have a small online business and I want my supplier to ship to customers directly from abroad.

Is this allowed? Can you give me some advice on tax, VAT and customs?

Thank you,

Hi Satema,

Yes, you can do this and it is allowed – there are no rules/laws that prohibit you from dropshipping to your customers directly from abroad.

I don’t know if you sell on eBay or not but if you do, you have to consider the negatives of doing this, of which there are many, such as:

  • Increased delivery times
  • Miss-packed items
  • Missing orders
  • Tax Issues

If the goods you sell are valued over a certain amount, your customers will have to pay import duty and VAT, which may result in a lot of unhappy customers. If the items you sell are very cheap then this might not be a problem. Check out my guide on limits when importing goods here for a definite answer:


Hi Andrew,

I am after some advice on how to deal with an unfair eBay customer that I have come across.

I have received 4 defects in Sept, which is a big blow to me. But two of these defects are definitely in error – one the customer left feedback saying “great” but also gave me a low rating and another is an item not described return request, where the customer is trying to scam me.

There is nothing wrong with the product I sent, but he opened a case the day it was received (the item was tracked) asking for a return and also threatening that if I don’t accept his request, he will report to eBay that I violated the rules by selling a faulty product.

I tried to deal with him as politely as possible, and in the end offered a refund as a gesture of goodwill.

I have reported these incidences to eBay and was emailed by customer support saying that they will remove the two defects. I even got an email saying that the status only hadn’t been updated due to a technical glitch. But yesterday another eBay support rep emailed me saying that they’ve reviewed the case again and they WON’T remove the defects. He said this is final and cannot be escalated.

I am really upset by this. I don’t understand how they can promise to remove the defects, even telling me that it’s been done and just isn’t showing yet, and then suddenly I get an email saying the exact opposite.

Is there anyway I can escalate this?

Many thanks in advance.


Hi Aiting,

Ah yes, it is indeed a very unfortunate situation and a classic example of eBay messing up with their own rules and systems.

I would strongly recommend that you CALL eBay support and speak with a customer service rep – explain the situation and see what they can do. If they still say NO, call again and speak to someone else until you get a reasonable response and some action towards removing these un-fair defects.

Calling is really the only way to get this fixed. I know cases where my customers have managed to get much worse defects removed (much worse in the sense that they were actually semi-legitimate) just by calling numerous times and speaking to various customer support reps.

Good morning Andrew,

I list most of my items as BIN. However, I noticed that one of the requirements for better search placement happens to be “sales history”.

This concept makes perfect sense if you are selling multitudes of the same item and is also fairly easy to achieve. But…what if I’m selling unique, one-off, used items?

How do/can I develop a sales history on items that are unique in order to achieve the best search placement results?

I don’t know if it helps but I’m selling used video games.

Thank you very much for your time and help,

Hi Matthew,

If you sell one-off/unique items, the best way to get them featured highest in search results is to use the AUCTION listing format, instead of BIN. The reason being is that eBay features auctions higher in search right when they’re listed and a few hours/minutes (depending on how competitive the product is) before it ends.

If it’s a very popular item, you can simply take the risk and list it as a £0.99 auction to get max search coverage. But in many cases that won’t be possible as doing it this way really gives you no control over how much the item sells for.

So a better strategy would be to list it with a starting price close to/the same as your target selling price. So for example, if you want to sell a used video game for £20, list it as an auction with a starting price of £19.99. This way the first bidder reaches your target selling price.

You could also list an auction with a BIN option, BUT remember – once the first bid is placed, the BIN option will be removed. So this works best if you simply list an item with a starting price the same as your BIN price (for example – £19.99 auction starting price + £19.99 BIN option). This works very well with many items as there are a lot of people who simply don’t want to bid/wait for the auction to end and they’d much rather BUY IT NOW!

Hope this helps!

Hi Andrew,

I only recently came across your site and I’m finding it very helpful!

I have just set up my first eBay store on eBay.ie. I am living in Ireland and will be hoping to attract customers from the UK and Ireland. I was wondering if you have any tips for competing with UK based stores that offer free postage to the UK? Shipping from Ireland to the UK starts at €2.05 for small envelopes, so for small items like phone accessories and DVDs it’s difficult to make any profit if I offer free shipping.

I am currently trying to achieve top rated seller status by selling low value items that I probably will not be selling in the longer term but I have yet to make a sale to a customer in the UK.

I plan to sell pet products that I have researched using Terapeak, but can I realistically compete with UK based stores and attract customers from the UK in the long term? Is there anything I can do to attract more customers outside of Ireland or to bump up my products on eBay.co.uk?


Hi Beth,

In general, yes, it will be very difficult for you to compete with UK based sellers on eBay UK for general, small/medium sized items simply due to the fact that you won’t be able to offer free postage.

Here is what I would recommend:

1) If you have a large budget to work with, sell high value/expensive items where postage doesn’t play such an important role.

2) Concentrate on super small and cheap items. Something you can send in a letter-sized envelope, with no tracking info needed. Check out my recent guide on how to make the most out of this concept here:


There’s a 3rd option of selling unique products with little to no competition but it will be very hard to find such products/niches so I don’t think this is a good long term strategy.

Hi Andrew,

I’m having a problem with eBay that I was hoping you could help me with.

I have been following your blog posts about being a top rated seller on eBay and I have been selling numerous items. I sold one electrical item in September, which was posted by Royal Mail Signed For.

For whatever reason Royal Mail did not deliver the item. The buyer filed a case against me and I issued a refund several days later when it was became clear the item was not going to be delivered.

What I did not know was the eBay refunds take seven days to process. This meant that my open case had to be resolved by eBay despite the refund being processed.

The main problem is that eBay also sent a second refund to the buyer, even though I already sent one previously and have now charged this to my account balance (I hope this makes sense).

I have been phoning eBay six times a day to try and get this issue resolved and to get my money back. They eventually said they are aware of the issue and will send a refund to me, but I must wait 3 to 7 days. I did so but no refund ever arrived.

I phoned again and they said I have to be patient and wait up to 10 working days, I did this again but nothing has come through.

I am getting irritated with the whole issue as this has been dragging on for the past seven weeks and I do not have a lot of money. Every time I ring them I keep getting sent from one department to another and it gets annoying.

Since you have a lot of seller experience I wanted to know if there is a better method of dealing with these types of issues affecting sellers. I hope I made myself clear with my explanation.


Hi Andrew,

Unfortunately I can’t help you much with this…

From the sound of it, it’s eBay’s own fault/technical glitch and you simply have to deal with their customer support until this gets resolved. There’s no way around it.

You’re already contacting them over the phone, which is the best way to sort out such issues so once again; I’m afraid there’s not much more I can say to help. You just have to be patient and call them for as long as is needed to get this problem resolved.


Okay, that’s it for today.

If you want your question to be featured in our weekly Q&A post, please get in touch with me via the contact form on this page. Even if your question isn’t published on the blog, you’ll still receive a personal answer/reply from me within 24 hours, Mon.-Fri.

Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂


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